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Don OF A New Day

Blount Press Row launches first print publication

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row


It’s a headline in the magazine. It’s Katherine’s. It says it best when it comes to my feelings for the people that made this happen.

Blount Press Row’s humble first attempt at a print product rolled off the Knoxville News Sentinel’s press Thursday afternoon. Dubbed our “Pigskin Preview,” it’s a look at the upcoming football season for Blount County’s four high schools, six middle schools and Parks & Rec.

Copies will be available at area businesses, including National Fitness Center (Maryville), Pokey’s & Sports, Green Meadow Country Club, Find it Blount, Razberries, Townsend Shopping Center, Gracie’s, The Village Tinker, Blount Memorial Hospital, Cherokee Millwright, Sylvan Learning, All-American Insurance Services, Parks & Rec, Vienna Coffee, Southland Books, Maryville Orthopaedic Clinic, Dandy Lions, C & D Tire, Lyle Moe Law Office, Studio 212, Foster’s Auto Body and O’Charley’s.

It’s free.

While we hope there will be others, there’s a story behind this one that means a lot, a story about the people who built it. The following is from a Page 6 editorial, composed in the heat of battle, I think says it best:

Why We Chose Don
When’s the last time you heard of anyone doing anything for 50 years?

It had to be Don.

Blount Press Row won’t celebrate its second birthday until December. We would LOVE to be here 48 years from now! I know I would, and I’d be pushing 100 by then.

When the people you’ll shortly read about agreed to make a Blount Press Row print product a reality earlier this summer, without hesitation I suggested longtime Maryville Rebs’ coach Don Sentell for the cover. Above all else, he’s what I wake every morning wanting to make this company become: a winner!

Rivalries are heartfelt when it comes to sports around here. With football, they reach down to the soul. Having Sentell on the cover I knew might upset some people, coaches I’ve befriended over the years. As granny used to say, “Sometimes, if you feel you’re right, you’ve just got to go ahead.”

So congratulations, Don, on your 50th season. Here’s to 50 more. And to Rick, Ricky and the rest, go get him!

The people that made Blount Press Row’s Pigskin Preview a reality have a marker with me for life. To the advertisers who gave us a shot, our deepest thanks. For the following people, listen up.

This doesn’t happen if former Blount Today publisher Sherri Gardner Howell doesn’t tell me I can do it. The depth of what this woman means to me would get mushy if I went on for more than a few lines. Sherri, all my love. Listen to Neville.

Print costs are considerable for something like this. You need someone who knows the business to sell it to potential advertisers. Susan and Steve Stout sold almost every ad you see in here in a month. It was truly humbling.

Photographer Jolanda Jansma shot a marvelous, first-attempt cover for us. She then slipped into the role of photo editor for the whole project. Photographers G.W. Meriedith and Brandon Shinn backstopped the stuff we forgot along the way.

Press Row rookie Katherine Fernandez, who joined us only a couple of weeks ago, was a champion down the stretch, writing, photographing, proofing copy, whatever we needed, to fill a whole lot of space.

Two people are most directly responsible for what you hold in your hands. Graphic designer Janet Hopson built all but a handful of ads you see here, along with the Herculean task that was the centerpiece, Parks & Recreation section. You were aces, kiddo!

Then there’s Tessa.

Basicially, Tessa Wildsmith built this thing. From the cover, to some of the sweetest-looking pages I’ve ever seen in something like this, it’s some of her finest work, truly, truly splendid. I taxed her mightily in the final week, and she stayed with me.

Thanks, Nicole. I still say it’s going to be a boy.

Well, it’s time to play the games. You guys be careful out there. Let’s go!

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