Clay Morgan, publisher and president of AntiochTenn.com announced that Michelle Willard will be joining the AntiochTenn.com team in a journalism role.
“Michelle is a top-notch, award-winning journalist who lives in the community and calls the Antioch area home,” Morgan said.
“Initially, Michelle will focus on business and development, and related stories,” Morgan said. “And probably a bit of business. The main thing we’re focusing on with Michelle is original Antioch journalism and the ability to cover a few more local events.”
Willard is something of an endangered species, a Middle Tennessee native.
Born in Nashville and raised in Rutherford County, Willard is an award-winning journalist who comes to AntiochTenn.com from Murfreesboro’s The Daily News Journal and USA Today network in Tennessee.
Willard grew up visiting her grandmother’s home off Edge O Lake Drive and spending time at Hickory Hollow
Mall, she said.
“I’ve seen many changes in Antioch over the years,” she said. “Antioch has a special place in my heart. I’m excited to connect with the community and learn more about the changes to come in Antioch.”
Willard began her career in journalism over a decade ago as a government and education reporter for The Murfreesboro Post. She climbed the ladder to eventually become editor of the weekly newspaper.
In her time at The Post, she was awarded the Council for the Advancement of Education District III Media Award in February 2008 for “Outstanding reporting about higher education” for her coverage of MTSU and given an honorable mention in September 2013 for “Best Feature Series” by the National Newspaper Association for a three-part series on child abuse.
She then moved to The DNJ where she covered crime, courts and business in Rutherford County.
While at The DNJ, Willard received the state’s highest honor for investigative reporting, the Malcolm Law Investigative Reporting Award, in March 2015. It is given by the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors.
Her investigative reporting has also been honored by the Tennessee Press Association.
Morgan said Willard brings a new dimension to the news site.
“We’ve done, I think, a great job of providing community news and information,” Morgan said. “However, we sometimes have needs for some real reporting, some depth, and investigation. Michelle brings that to the table.”
In recent months, AntiochTenn.com has seen its readership explode, now registering more than 30,000 regular readers. The site is also capable of delivering an advertiser 250,000 views and three to five times the ad click rate of Google.
Michelle Willard welcomes Antioch story ideas and may be reached at [email protected].