NASHVILLE — The Kingsport Times News will be presented with the Tennessee Bar Association’s Fourth Estate Award for its extensive coverage of the methamphetamine crisis and its effects on the Appalachian Highlands.
The Times News received the honor for its 2021 staff project, “Meth Mountain,” which brought the region’s methamphetamine epidemic to light through detailed data, analysis and first-person accounts of addiction and recovery.
The Times News will be presented with the award in June during the TBA’s annual convention in Nashville, according to a press release issued Tuesday.
The TBA cited the Times News’ perseverance to bring light to a generally ignored issue with local impact.
“Taken as a whole, the coverage provided a strong first step toward enacting positive change, providing an analytical, unbiased, multifaceted report that will help legislators, health care professionals, law enforcement, judges and addicts,” the TBA states in the news release.
During a seven-month period, reporters, editors and a videographer took readers on a journey into the local and regional proliferation of meth and fentanyl.
Reporters conducted dozens of interviews that generated more than 20 stories, a myriad of photos, word clouds, graphics and daily videos. The newspaper also published 10 editorials or columns.
“The ‘Meth Mountain’ series resonated with not only our readers, but those in the law enforcement, judicial and treatment communities. The reporting was timely and remains important work today,” said Rick Thomason, Times News publisher and Six Rivers Media president.
“I am beyond proud of the 19 individuals in our organization who participated in this project and who continue their commitment every day to quality, impactful journalism,” Thomason added.
Earlier this year, the Times News received a National Headliner Award for the “Meth Mountain” series. The Kingsport-based paper earned second place for public service in newspapers not in the top 20 media market
The TBA established the Fourth Estate Award to recognize and encourage journalists who promote public understanding of the rule of law and improvements in our system of justice through their vigorous exercise of their First Amendment rights.
Previous winners include the Daily Memphian’s Marc Perrusquia, the Bristol Herald Courier, the Nashville Scene’s Steven Hale, and WSMV Channel 4’s I-Team.
The Tennessee Bar Association was founded in 1881. Its membership represents the entire spectrum of the legal profession in Tennessee and beyond. The TBA is open to all licensed attorneys in good standing, and it is dedicated to enhancing fellowship and professionalism among the members of Tennessee’s legal community.