USA TODAY Network – Tennessee earns 10 awards in Super Bowl of journalism contests – Tennessean

The USA TODAY Network – Tennessee was honored with 10 awards in the Super Bowl of sports journalism contests, including recognition as having two of the top columnists in the country based on market size. 

Four of the Network’s news organizations — The Tennessean, Knoxville News Sentinel, The Commercial Appeal and Daily News Journal — were recognized for work published in 2021 during the annual Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest.

Sports editors and journalists throughout the country voted on the writing, website and newspaper awards. Photography awards are expected to be announced at a later date.

Tennessean columnist Gentry Estes and Commercial Appeal columnist Mark Giannotto earned prestigious top-10 placement for column writing in Category B, the second-largest category based on newspaper circulation or digital readership size. 

Estes, who has been with The Tennessean since September 2019, led the Tennessee Network with three top-10 placements, and the Daily News Journal’s Cecil Joyce was second with two. The order of finish for all writing and photo categories will be announced at a later date.

In the sports website contest, earned top-10 placement, which is the highest-possible honor, and earned top-15 recognition. 

The full list of awards:

  • The Tennessean had four placements in Category B: Estes in column writing, short feature writing and long feature writing; Vanderbilt beat reporter Aria Gerson in short feature writing.
  • The Commercial Appeal had two placements in Category B: Evan Barnes in beat writing and Giannotto in column writing. 
  • The Knoxville News Sentinel had one placement in Category B: Mike Wilson in long feature writing. 
  • The Daily News Journal had two placements in Category D: Cecil Joyce in event coverage and explanatory writing. 

Chris Thomas is the South Region sports director of the USA Today Network. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @bychristhomas.