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TSD nets two top honors from Tennessee Press Association

 The New Tri-State Defender earned two, first-place finishes in the Tennessee Press Association’s 2020 newspaper contest cosponsored by the University of Tennessee.

Netting awards for The TSD were columnist Lee Eric Smith and Associate Publisher/Executive Editor Karanja A. Ajanaku.

Among Group 1 winners, Smith took top honors for Best Personal Column. His entry was headlined “Why are people still talking about Eddie Lee Smith?” It was a tribute to his father, the first African-American elected mayor of Holly Springs, Ms.

“Wow! I’m honored that my little love letter to my father resonated with so many people,” Smith said.

“He really did lead an extraordinary life, helping a lot of people along the way. I feel like he and my mother are beaming with pride from the other side!”

Ajanaku claimed first-place in Group I for Best Feature Photograph. The photo featuring two former servicemen reflected generations of service.

Karanja A. Ajanaku’s award-winning photograph reflects generations of service. (Photo: Karanja A. Ajanaku)

“Alerted that veterans were being served at the Blues City Café on Beale St., I camped out across the street and snapped away as a line of former service members formed and wound its way into the restaurant,” Ajanaku said.

“A gray-haired veteran in full uniform caught my eye and – taking multiple shots – I was fortunate to capture his warm-hearted exchange with a serviceman from a different era.”

The judges’ comment: “By far the best feature photo in the contest. Shows lots of emotions and just tells the story. Great job!”

The virtual awards presentation was held Sept. 24th.

Reciprocal judging is done with another state’s press association. This year, the Georgia Press Association judged 1,341 entries from 72 of the Tennessee Press Association’s 129 member newspapers.


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