Sun Advocate achieves general excellence recognition in company contest
|Production staff member James Bailey and reporters Charles McManus and Les Bowen display the first place plaques the Sun Advocate captured in parent company Brehm Communication's newspaper contest.|
In two of the last three years, the Sun Advocate was selected as the best weekly newspaper of its size in the state by the Utah Press Association.
And last week, the Sun Advocate achieved the recognition that the newspaper had been striving to attain for 14 years - the Brehm Communications general excellence award.
Brehm Communications is the parent company of the Sun Advocate and sponsors a contest between its newspapers. Three divisions of newspapers exist in the company - dailies, weeklies and shoppers. The Sun Advocate won the company's weeklies award.
"It was a total shock," said Richard Shaw, publisher of the Sun Advocate. "We actually picked up more individual category awards for this contest than we have in all our years of being a part of the company. Then the topping came when we got the general excellence award."
Shaw accepted the awards last Thursday during ceremonies in San Diego, Calif. Feb. 22 awards and honors banquet completed a week of meetings with publishers from more than 50 newspapers owned by Brehm.
"When we compete in the UPA contest, I am always confident that we will do well," said Shaw. "But the Brehm contest has been a bit of a puzzle for us. Each year we would put in entries, and once in awhile we would get a second or a third and even more rare was a first place. This year was like a dam breaking; it was a watershed event for us."
In December, 21 weekly newspapers operating at locations ranging from southern Indiana to northern California submitted entries in the 19 categories in the Brehm contest.
Categories included advertising, editorial and opinion page, Web site, circulations projects and goals, typography and photography.
Contestants were judged on various factors and, in some cases the contest required information beyond what was printed in the newspaper.
Judges for the weekly newspapers in the Brehm Communications contest included the faculty, staff and students in the journalism department at the University of Southern Illinois.
The Sun Advocate garnered four first place awards. The local newspaper captured first place honors in:
Web page promotion - advertising.
Typography and design - page layout, headlines, order of pages, printing, etc.
Series of front pages - Aug. 1, Aug. 3 and Aug. 8, 2006.
The circulation promotion the paper ran in conjunction with the Dino-Mine Adventure Park from the beginning of last year through September 2006.
The paper also received a second place award for an editorial column submitted. The column, written by Shaw, ran on August 15, 2006 and was titled "A community comes together in tragedy."
The general excellence designation was presented to the Sun Advocate based on points the paper received on the individual awards.
Other papers in the company won top honors in several different categories. But the preponderance of first place awards received by the Sun Advocate put the newspaper over the top as the most excellent weekly in the company.
"We are very, very proud of this accomplishment," said Shaw. "When people came to work on Monday morning and I had the plaques I picked up Thursday night on a table, they were all very surprised. Our goal is to put out an excellent newspaper each and every time we publish and our staff deserves all the credit for doing such a good job. They deserved this award."