NASHVILLE — The Independent Herald’s recently revamped online edition,, claimed top honors at the Tennessee Press Association’s 2013 newspaper contests for a second consecutive year.

The Independent Herald was awarded first place among the state’s Group I non-daily newspapers in the “best website” category in the contests, co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee. Winners were announced at TPA’s annual summer convention last week.

“We have taken strides recently to allow our readers to utilize our website in more ways than ever before, and we’re honored that our peers in the newspaper industry have recognized those efforts,” Independent Herald publisher Paul Roy said.

The Independent Herald’s website was recently expanded to include an e-edition, an exact replica of each week’s print edition of the newspaper. Subscribers to the paper receive both the print edition and the e-edition for the same price, and also have access to expanded content on the website, which includes news that is updated as it happens throughout the week between publish dates of the print edition.

“We think our website serves our readers well because it enables them to access their newspaper wherever they’re at, at any given time, and we think it serves our advertisers well because it provides them with even greater exposure,” Roy said.

The Independent Herald also won a second place award for spot news coverage — a story of the prayer march through Huntsville in the fall of 2012. The march was organized by District Attorney Lori Phillips-Jones and the Stand in the Gap organization. The Independent Herald marched with the group along a portion of the route to speak to participants about the impact the effort could have on issues facing Scott County.

Another second place award was received for the Independent Herald’s sports coverage throughout the year, with judges remarking: “(The paper) aggressively covers the local sports landscape with insight, details and lots and lots of good photography. The action comes right off the page at you.”

The Independent Herald received another award for sports writing for its take on several stories — including Tony Lambert’s move from Scott High to Oneida and local reaction to Pat Summitt’s acknowledgement that she suffers from early-onset dementia and her subsequent retirement. A judge called the Independent Herald’s story on Summitt “the best one I’ve seen, (and I) saw a few this year.”

Finally, the Independent Herald’s community lifestyles coverage placed in the Top 5 as well, for a fourth consecutive year.

“You always feel good when people who work in newspapers every day feel that your work is worthy of recognition,” Independent Herald editor Ben Garrett said. “We take pride in our efforts to cover our community and its people with thoroughness and fairness, spotlighting both the things that all of us take pride in and the things that make us grimace. Press contests are valuable not only because they recognize that work, but because they allow our peers to provide an outsider’s insight into ways we can continue to improve our coverage of the local community, and we intend to do just that.”