The East Tennessee Historical Society honored Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday night with its first annual East Tennessean of the Year Award at a celebration dinner held at the Cherokee Country Club, reports the News Sentinel.
“If there is an award for most blessed East Tennessean, that would be me,” Haslam said after accepting the award.
The board of directors of the Historical Society established the award to honor an East Tennessee history maker who is not only an ambassador for the region but who also represents integrity, dignity, leadership qualities and the volunteer spirit, according to Tennessee Supreme Court Judge Gary Wade, who is from Sevier County
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessean announced Thursday that Maria DeVarenne has been named executive editor and vice president/news.
DeVarenne comes to The Tennessean, owned by Gannett Co. Inc., from The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif. She was vice president/news at that A.H. Belo newspaper, which posted growth in its digital and print audiences during her 10 years there.
“I’m excited and honored to be joining The Tennessean, given its legacy for great journalism,” DeVarenne told the newspaper (http://tnne.ws/vOhEXy ).
“There is a strong, award-winning foundation to build on in the Nashville newsroom as we expand further with digital media to provide news and content any time on any device for the region and foster a greater connectivity throughout the community with social media.”
The Tennessean’s coverage of the 2010 Nashville flood was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news this year.
DeVarenne is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and a 2009 Fellow of the USC/Knight Digital Media Center.
She succeeds former editor Mark Silverman, who moved to the Gannett corporate staff in September.
Before joining The Press-Enterprise, DeVarenne worked for Gannett newspapers, including the San Bernardino Sun.
DeVarenne starts her new job Dec. 26.
Alfred H. Knight III, a prominent Nashville attorney who fought for decades to open government to the press and public, died Monday at Saint Thomas Hospital, family members said. He was 74.
“What I like most about the practice of law is helping people who need help,” Mr. Knight said in an interview videotaped this year for the Nashville Bar Association’s oral history project. “It’s just that simple.”
For decades, those who needed help were media outlets including The Tennessean and organizations like the Society of Professional Journalists, which awarded Mr. Knight with its highest accolade, the First Amendment Award, in 1984.
More in The Tennessean.
Editorial Page Editor Dwight Lewis, whose newspaper career has ranged from exposing problems in Tennessee’s correctional system to becoming an influential voice for children in underserved communities, will retire this week after 40 years at The Tennessean.
From the newspaper’s report on his departure:
The Knoxville native, 63, began his career as a part-time campus correspondent for The Tennessean, covering Fisk University and his alma mater, Tennessee State, then moved into general assignment reporting. He went on to cover state politics, reporting on the scandal-ridden administration of Gov. Ray Blanton, and worked a stint as the newspaper’s correspondent in Washington.
He reported on key issues of the day, such as public-housing conditions, but he also, after repeated tries, got to interview the
state’s most famous inmate at the time, James Earl Ray. The exchange lasted for more than a decade, and Lewis had one of the last interviews with Martin Luther King Jr.’s killer before his death in 1998.
“As a reporter, Dwight was driven to cover areas of community life ignored by other journalists — which led him, for instance, to a series of meaningful reports on the state Department of Correction and conditions at state prisons,” John Seigenthaler, chairman emeritus of The Tennessean who was editor and publisher when Lewis was hired, said last week.
“As an editorialist and columnist, he was driven to explore and comment on issues of community controversy, always exhibiting compassion for the problems of the poor and the powerless.”
Dwight’s own farewell column is HERE.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessean has announced that editor Mark Silverman is leaving the newspaper to join the Gannett Co. corporate staff.
Silverman, who has been Tennessean editor for about five years, is going to corporate headquarters in McLean, Va. He will be part of a Community Publishing Division team that works to strengthen the chain’s 81 local U.S. newspapers, The Tennessean said Tuesday.
Silverman was named Editor of the Year in 2010 by the National Press Foundation, and The Tennessean’s coverage of the Nashville flood was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news this year.
Silverman previously was editor of Gannett newspapers in Detroit; Louisville, Ky.; and Rockford, Ill., and at Gannett News Service.
Gannett’s holdings include USA Today, newspapers in Britain and 23 TV stations.
At least six people running for public office in this year’s Metro election, including two incumbents, have been convicted of crimes.
A Tennessean search of criminal records in Middle Tennessee turned up no felonies for the 112 people running for office in Nashville, but it found several misdemeanors, including assault, trespassing and driving under the influence.
Misdemeanors do not bar people from running for office, and the Election Commission does not run background checks on the candidates, said Joan Nixon, deputy administrator of elections.
“It’s not illegal for these folks to run,” said local political analyst Pat Nolan. “On the other hand, depending on the seriousness of the
would want to consider. I don’t know that these people are going to put it in their campaign literature, but it’s fair information for people to be aware of.”
The Tennessean searched criminal records in Davidson, Williamson, Wilson, Sumner and Rutherford counties, along with registries for Tennessee felons, sexual offenders and meth offenders.
In a Sunday editorial, The Tennessean suggests that Gov. Bill Haslam is missing the point when it comes to open government issues. Both the editorial and a companion piece by Dick Williams, state chairman of Common Cause, review the governor’s record and politely suggest there are several shortcomings.
From the editorial:
In a phone conversation on Friday, Gov. Haslam was asked if he would rescind his January disclosure policy. He said he has no plans to do so, and then asked “What is the public good?”
But the good that comes of knowing your public officials is vital, indeed. What citizen would not want to know the extent of an elected official’s business holdings, since those dealings often intersect with the work of government? How these officials have conducted their careers, whether in the public or private sector, obviously informs their decisions about who they will vote for. And businesses, nonprofits and other institutions who might in future deal with these officials likewise want to know whom they are dealing with.
It comes down to trust — a pact between public officials, voters and taxpayers that goes beyond the vote that put them in office.
Gov. Haslam could take a big step toward assuring Tennesseans of that trust by rescinding his January order, and along with his senior administration officials, disclose not only their sources of income, but also how much they make.
It does matter to Tennesseans, governor, whether you made $1 or millions of dollars. They not only have a need to know but a right to know.
Williams hopes that Haslam’s present attitude is the result of inexperience.
These examples are not insignificant for the public to be aware of, but not necessarily the final word on the administration. We can hope that these are examples of a new administration coming from the private sector into the public sector with its responsibilities for openness.