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Sun Advocate earns kudos at press competition

Greg Madson, 2009 UPA president and publisher of the Leader in Tremonton presents the traditional plaque of the passing of the gavel to Richard Shaw, publisher of the Sun Advocate on Saturday, March 20. Shaw will serve at the organizations president through March 2011.

Sun Advocate reporter

Saturday, March 20 proved to be a good one for the Sun Advocate and its sister newspaper, the Emery County Progress, as peers deemed the Web sites of the two eastern Utah publications as the best in their respective classes at the annual Utah Press Association Convention in St. George.

"Over the last few years we have won the best Web site award for one paper or the other but we never have come in first in both papers in the same year," said Jason Bailey, the two papers' IT/Web master. "This is very exciting."

The papers also received many other awards at the UPA Awards ceremony banquet during the organization's annual winter convention.

Those awards included a number in the area of editorial excellence as well in the design, presentation and publication of advertising and circulation promotions.

The judging for the awards took place in February of this year by members of the Wyoming Press Association, continuing an interstate tradition that has been going on for years. State press associations around the west trade off judging each others papers and products every year.

This past fall members of the UPA judged papers from New Mexico at the Salt Lake Tribune's office in Salt Lake City.

The Sun Advocate took first place in five categories (besides the web design which doesn't count toward the general excellence award given to the paper that is considered the best in its class each year). First place winners included:

*The best editors column category where the rules required three entries ("People are always more than you know," April 28, 2009; "Listen and learn from your mother," June 23, 2009; and "Understanding what it means to have enough," Nov. 26, 2009) all written by publisher Richard Shaw.

*Best circulation promotion (Firefighters selling subscriptions to buy equipment for their respective departments in June, 2009) with design by Kelly Wilkinson and promotion by Richard Shaw.

*Best in-house produced ad (Better You Medical Spa) by Cherie Murdock and Kelly Wilkinson.

*Best run of press ad campaign (Murice's clothes store) by Jenni Fasselin and Kelly Wilkinson.

*Best advertising idea (Click Away promotion for on-line directory) designed by James Bailey, Lynna Tweddell and Kade Lyons.

Second place winners included:

*Feature series (Three articles on foster parenting, April 21, 23 and 28, 2009) written by Richard Shaw.

*Feature column (Wasatch Behind on July 14, Sept. 22 and Dec. 29, 2009) written by Tom McCourt.

*Sports photo (Dinos overtake Emery... Dec. 15, 2009) taken by Sun Advocate sports writer Terry Willis.

Third place winners included:

*In-house promotion ("Carbon Cooks" columns, ads and cookbook) developed and written by Sherill Shaw with Jenni Fasselin and design by Kelly Wilkinson and James Bailey.

The combined awards added up to a second place finish in the class two newspaper category, with the Signpost, Weber State University's student paper edging out the Sun Advocate for the general excellence award.

The Emery County Progress (which competes in the class one category) won three first places awards, one in the best ROP category, one for best breaking news (story written by editor Patsy Stoddard concerning the shooting of the Sharp couple in the Oct. 27, 2009 issue) and for the best sports columns ("Sports Stuff" written by Garry Arrington). The Progress also won three three second place awards and two third place awards.

Besides the Signpost winning the general excellence award in category two, other general excellence winners included the Sentinal (Spanish Fork) in class one, the Davis County Clipper in division three and the Deseret News in category four, a group of papers that includes the major dailies in the state.

The UPA is led by a president who presides over a board that makes decisions about many items concerning press matters in the state. On Saturday afternoon the general membership of the association elected Richard Shaw from the Sun Advocate as the 2010-11 president.

The position was turned over to him during an ending ceremony that evening following the newspaper contest awards.

"It's pretty humbling to be elected to this kind of a position," said Shaw after the ceremony. "The association been around for 117 years and I will be one in a long line of publishers that have served as president.

"Each year we find ourselves fighting more and more battles at the Utah State Capitol during the legislative session and around the state with various governmental agencies concerning the protection of the publics right to know and issues surrounding transparency in government.

"We always find ourselves protecting those rights through more than just writing articles and editorials in our papers. We have to be active politically to keep things on an even keel."

The Utah Press Association was founded on Dec. 17, 1893 and since then, the association has continually represented Utah's newspapers and helped people gain access to print media.

The purpose of the UPA is to function as a collective voice and a legislative watchdog for all Utah member newspapers.

It assists the public as an economical placement service for news releases and advertising in associate newspapers.

UPA offers an electronic clipping service for anyone with an interest in any particular topic in the state's various newspapers.

The association also provides print media training on a local level and two conventions each year to educate newspaper employees in all aspects of running a successful newspaper.

The UPA is Utah's oldest trade association.

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