Graphic Designer, James Bailey; Publisher, Richard Shaw; Community Editor, Charles McManus and Advertising Director Jenni Fasselin show some of the awards garnered by the Sun Advocate at the Utah Press Association's yearly presentations. Among them is the prestigious, R. LaVaun Cox Community Service award, won chiefly, for the paper's 'Fire in the Hole' firefighter's benefit.
Sun Advocate Web and IT Administrator Jason Bailey was instrumental in the winning of several awards by both the Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress.
While in the last seven years the Sun Advocate was picked by the Utah Press Association as the best overall paper for its size three times, this year while not winning that award, the paper was given the prestigious "Community Service Award" for the first time in 40 years.
The last time the paper was awarded the R. LaVaun Cox Community Service Award was in 1969, when it was a paper published once a week and owned by the Sun Advocate Publishing Group headed by publisher Robert L. Finney. Since the award was begun in 1948, the paper also won it in 1953 and 1958 (Hal McKnight, publisher), and in 1967 (also Finney).
"We have had a great staff over the past decade and we have won a lot of awards in that time, but because it has been so long since the paper was honored with this award, and the fact that it means we are doing a lot of the right things with our community, well I think I am prouder of getting this honor than any of the others we have garnered," said Sun Advocate publisher Richard Shaw on Saturday night after the UPA press association had announced the awards during a dinner in St. George. "I just want to say this has little to do with me; it is the staff and especially some individuals on the staff that have brought us this honor."
The community service award is presented based on the services it provides and the involvement a newspaper has with community projects. While the Sun Advocate worked with many organizations and committees for the betterment of the community this year, the "Fire In the Hole" golf tournament that was sponsored and organized by the paper was one of the main reasons for the honor. The one day tournament generated almost $4,000 to help fire departments across the county buy equipment for their volunteers.
"The tournament was such a success, we intend on doing it every year," said Shaw. "In fact we already have the date for the next tournament set for this October."
The Sun Advocate has also done some community projects in conjunction with the other paper that Shaw publishes, The Emery County Progress. That paper also won the Community Service Award within its category to. The last time the Progress won the award was in 1996 when Kevin Ashby was the publisher.
The Sun Advocate also picked up some other honors at the award's banquet as well, including a first place award for the best advertising idea (Castle Country Cookbook ads, Jason and James Bailey).
Second place honors also were bestowed in the categories of Best Circulation Promotion (Fire in the Hole promotion, Charles McManus and Jenni Fasselin) and for Best Editors Column (An Angel Dog Goes Home, Richard Shaw).
The paper also received six third place awards. They were for Best In-House Promotion (go online ad, Jason Bailey), Best Run-of-Press Ad Campaign (Desert Thunder Raceway, Jenni Fasselin and James Bailey), Best Lifestyle Page (Recreation focus on Black and White photography, Charles McManus and Diana Root), Best News Photograph ( Lost little boy found, Richard Shaw), Best News or Feature Series (four part series on the banking system and insolvency, Richard Shaw) and Best Single Feature Story (Business journal, Taking the Plunge, story by Richard Shaw, photography by Terry Willis).
The competition pitted papers of equal sizes against one another. Group one (0-3,000 subscribers) was won by the Sanpete Messenger. The Emery County Progress, part of this category came in second place with five first place awards, two seconds and three thirds. The Progress also won an award that doesn't count toward the total points for best paper for the best website in a group one newspaper.
Group two (3000-6000 circulation) is the group the Sun Advocate competed in and it was won by the Uintah Basin Standard, one of the Sun Advocates sister papers in Brehm Communications.
In Group three (above 6000 circulation) the Tooele Transcript Bulletin won that category. And in the daily category, the Salt Lake Tribune took home the top honors.
Each year the competition is judged by a press association from a different state. This years judging was done by the New Mexico Press Association.
"This competition is always fun and we have been very successful over the years. But while winning competitions that are judged by our peers is great, its how we serve the community, our advertisers and subscribers that really counts," concluded Shaw.