A nice day

My co-worker Sadie Fowler and I went to Nashville today to attend the Tennessee Press Association awards luncheon. The T-G did well; we took first place in five categories.

I wasn’t personally involved in any of the first place awards (unless I had some minor content in the tearsheets that were submitted for “community lifestyles,” and that’s possible), but I was involved in several of our other awards.

TPA awards

These are the individual certificates that TPA makes up for honorees to take home. The certificate which stays with the newspaper only bears the name of the paper. The education award was shared with Sadie and Mary Reeves, while the web site award was shared with David Melson, Danny Parker and (I think) William Mitchell. The feature photo was mine alone:

From Kenya 2010

The photo was from one of my LEAMIS trips, which makes it even more special. I had not thought of it as a contest entry, but David Melson suggested it.

This is a different awards program from the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors awards announced back in May, at which I got a first place award for video.

A mighty sky

Lightning

I had gone to Thursday night auditions, and we were waiting for someone to unlock the door of the Fly Arts Center. It wasn’t raining where director John Jones and I were standing, but there was plenty of lightning to the north. I took out my little point-and-shoot camera and my tripod, set the camera on fireworks mode, and pointed it in the general direction of the lightning. I started hitting the shutter button over and over again. By the time I had everything set up, the lightning had slowed down a bit, but I kept at it. John pointed out that the lightning was starting to move east, so I swung the camera a little bit to the right.

I must have taken several dozen shots. When I first flipped through them, I zipped past this one somehow and thought I had washed out. Luckily, I took a second look. I am really proud of this photo, and my co-workers have been very complimentary. It’s on today’s front page. (You can order prints or other folderol by clicking on the image above, or at the T-G site.)

All hat, no cattle

Well, I’ve done a good deal of whining yesterday and today about having to work tonight and missing the Times-Gazette / relish magazine cooking show and expo tonight at Calsonic Arena.

Funny thing, though: I finished my county meetings right around 7 tonight, as the “show” part of the event was starting. I could easily have driven out there and gotten in for most of the show.

But my brain was fried after an 11-hour work day (nine hours of work at the office, an hour’s break, and two hours tonight at the courthouse). And since all of my co-workers at the show, and there are quite a few of them, have various assigned tasks, I was scared it might be awkward for me to just waltz in as a spectator.

Plus, I’m going to the circus tomorrow with my parents and nephews.

I went home. Now I feel guilty for all my whining.

I did get to see Jon Ashton today at Eakin Elementary School, and I have to say he was wonderful with the kids. I’m sure the crowd tonight is having a great time.

Remembering fallen firefighters

fireflags
This afternoon, I covered an event that was two ceremonies in one — a ribbon-cutting, with an upbeat sense of accomplishment, and a dedication, with a somber sense of loss.

The Tennessee Fallen Firefighter Memorial was opened today on the grounds of the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy here in Bedford County. The memorial bears the names of 197 Tennessee firefighters who died in the line of duty. There was a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the project. That ribbon-cutting was followed by a memorial service at which the names of all 197 firefighters were read, as family members or colleagues placed roses on the memorial plaques. It was quite moving. The bell seen here (which is not a permanent part of the memorial) was rung in three bursts of five, a traditional fire signal, symbolizing the fact that the fallen have gone on to their eternal reward.

This is actually just Phase I; they hope to eventually put some sort of statue about where the bell is standing in this photo.

I’ll have a story about the event in this Sunday’s newspaper, and then a photo page about it next Sunday.

Whirlwind

I may not be blogging much for the next 36 hours or so.

I slept in this morning, because I have to put in a full afternoon of work, then cover a 5 p.m. meeting, then cover a 7 p.m. meeting (school board, which is usually a long one).

Tomorrow morning, we will rush to get the newspaper out earlier than normal so that several of us can go to Chattanooga for the Tennessee Press Association awards luncheon. I’ll be driving the Times-Gazette van.

As soon as I return from the TPA luncheon tomorrow afternoon, I will meet several of my fellow members of the Symphony in Shelbyville steering committee; we will carpool to Nashville for our annual wrap-up meeting, which will be held at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and we will stay for that night’s summer festival concert.

Fortunately, I have nothing on the agenda for Saturday — except finishing up my sermon for Sunday at Mt. Lebanon UMC.

Face facts

A week or two ago, when the Times-Gazette started our new beefed-up Sunday paper and our new destination pages, the decision was made to do half-page “house ads” to promote some of the new features. One featured the face of Sadie Fowler, to promote the new Life & Leisure section; another featured Mary Reeves, to promote her column on the “Generations” page. There was also a third, promoting the fellow who now writes a column on our technology page.

In addition to the half-page ads, little tent cards featuring miniature versions of the ads are now sitting on top of our vending machines throughout Bedford County.

I was not particularly happy about my inclusion as that third tent card. I felt that the features for which Sadie and Mary were being promoted were much more personal — much more about them — and that my technology column may turn out to be nothing special. But the powers that be decided otherwise.

Anyway, thanks to the play, my portrait on those ads and tent cards is now out-of-date:

mugshot

I will almost certainly grow back the goatee this summer — probably right after the play, although I may start with the moustache and wait until after the mission trip to grow the goatee so that I will match my passport photo.

I don’t guess I had to shave for another week or so, but I felt like getting it over with.

Online news

I got a call Wednesday from the managing editor (though I didn’t realize his title when I was on the phone with him) of the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, asking me to serve on a panel later this month at an Online News Association workshop in Nashville. I will be one of the panelists for the 2:30 p.m. session entitled “The Evolving Newsroom.” I don’t know exactly whom the other panelists are going to be, but one will be from a larger metro paper and the other will be from a TV station. Hopefully, they’ll update the web page with all of our names once everyone is confirmed.

Anyway, Scott Sines from the Commercial Appeal was quite complimentary of our web site.