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Serfustini retires, McManus takes over as SA editor

John Serfustini (left) and C.J. McManus at the Sun Advocate office Monday. In the foreground are 105 issues of the newspaper, a year's worth of work for them.

When C.J. McManus came to work at the Sun Advocate in 2007 little did he know that within the next few years the direction of his work life would change dramatically.

For John Serfustini, who came three years later, it was deja vu.

McManus spent his first two years at the paper as a reporter and community editor covering almost all aspects of news. A graduate of East Carbon High School and the College of Eastern Utah, he had always dreamed of working as a writer but never fathomed it was something he could make his living doing.

"When I was offered a job at the newspaper I couldn't believe it," said McManus. "I had read the Sun Advocate my whole life and never thought that I would be a part of it."

Serfustini began his journalism career in 1975 working at the Wasatch Wave in Heber City. He joined the Sun Advocate in the old office downtown in 1976. For two years he was the editor of the paper before he left in 1978 and moved to Salt Lake to work for KTVX-TV News and then the Salt Lake Tribune. There he rose to the position of city editor.

In 2010, he was rehired at the Sun Advocate as the associate editor. On Jan. 1 of this year he officially retired from the newspaper as a full time employee, giving his post up to McManus.

"It's kind of funny that I started my career at the Sun Advocate and ended it here as well," he said. "These last four years have been a great deal of fun, at times I didn't even feel like I was coming to work, I liked it so much."

However, as retired as he may be, he still plans on working part time at the paper, covering Helper City, doing features and working on special editions.

"I will miss John's ability, experience and good nature a lot," said publisher Richard Shaw. "He came here when it was just myself and one other reporter and he took a great deal of work off my back. He not only did that but he did it well. I have to attribute the reason we won the Utah Press Association Award for General Excellence largely to him."

Serfustini, who is originally from Buffalo, N.Y., attended journalism school at the University of Utah and graduated magna cum laude in 1975. He later earned an MBA degree from Brigham Young University.

A former Marine and a veteran of the Vietnam War, his take on the news was refreshing at the time. When he returned to Carbon County, he helped to make the Sun Advocate better as well.

"I can't say how many stories we would have missed or would not have been as good if he hadn't been here," said Shaw. "I may have been acting editor, but John is a real editor. I have learned a lot from him. There have been times his reason and caution have kept me out of hot water."

McManus had the two year stint with the newspaper from 2007-2009, and then he went into the radio business at Castle Country Radio where he was the station's news director and hosted a morning show. That experience gave him a unique perspective on the whole of Castle Country, something he probably wouldn't have seen if he had stayed at the newspaper.

"It was sometimes tough getting to the station at 4 a.m. in the morning, especially as a new father with a working wife, but I wouldn't give that experience up for anything," said McManus. "Thanks to (the late) Tom Anderson and Paul Anderson I got an experience I never would have had anywhere else."

However, McManus missed writing and working in print journalism. He was ready for a change and he got it.

"When Rick (Shaw) hired me back he put me in advertising sales," said McManus. "That was a tough job but I learned a lot about the newspaper that I didn't know. Working in a different department gives you respect for the job others must do, and working in advertising gives a person a completely different perspective concerning this business."

Last June, Shaw moved McManus back into the newsroom.

"I was so happy," he said. "I love this job so much. This is where I want to work for the rest of my life."

Anyone who knows McManus realizes how much energy he has. That will transfer well over to the job of associate editor.

While some people might be a little concerned about having their old boss working in the paper as a part time employee, McManus sees it entirely as a positive.

"I have learned so much from John since I came back," he said. "And I know I have a lot more to learn. I am so glad he is sticking around to bail me out when I need a little wisdom."

Two men, each at a different end of the career spectrum.

Both dedicated to their craft, the community and the Sun Advocate.

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