|Newly named production manager Kelly Wilkinson and ad manager Jenni Fasselin display the four first place awards the Sun Advocate captured in the 2005 Utah Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.|
The Sun Advocate won high honors and recognition in the 2005 Better Newspaper Contest conducted by the Utah Press Association.
The Carbon County newspaper garnered four first place, one second place and seven third place awards at the association's annual conference, presented March 23 to March 25 in St. George.
Newspapers competing in the annual contest are divided into three groups.
Classification one papers have circulations of less than 2,500.
Classification two papers have circulations between 2,500 and 5,999.
Classification three papers have criculations of more than 6,000.
The Sun Advocate falls into the second category of the statewide competition.
The best newspapers in the groups are determined by the total number of points received by the publications in 25 different categories.
Weber State University Signpost won the top honor in group two in 2005.
Capturing first place awards is not an uncommon occurrence for the Carbon County newspaper.
Last year, the Sun Advocate won six first place trophies on the way to becoming the group two newspaper earning the most points in the 2004 competition.
First place winners for the Sun Advocate in 2005 included two news categories and two from advertising.
In the editorial department, the Sun Advocate came out on top in the best general news story category with "Board votes to close East Carbon High," published April 26, 2005. The story, written by Richard Shaw, related the story of the county education board's decision to close the school which had been open since 1959.
The Sun Advocate also captured first place in the best overall news coverage category of the 2005 contest.
The paper was required to submit the first issue in March, one issue from August and one issue from December along with a scenario about what the news team at the Sun Advocate faces in covering all the stories that happen in Carbon County.
The judges noted that the paper provided good coverage of the area.
The judges were particularly impressed with the "follow through on the inside pages" and "especially the organized court coverage" the Sun Advocate provides Carbon County readers.
Involved in the issues of the Sun Advocate winning first place coverage were editor Lynnda Johnson, reporters Les Bowen, Chari Jelsma and Tom McCourt as well as Shaw, who is now the publisher of the newspaper.
In addition, the Sun Advocate won first place for the best classified advertising section and the best run of press advertisement that ran for Murdock Chevrolet last July.
Staff members responsible for winning in the advertising categories were Linda Barnett, Kelly Wilkinson, Jenni Fasselin, Cherie Murdock, James Bailey, and Jason Bailey.
The Sun Advocate's second place award came in the best sports column category. The newspaper had to submit three sports columns published during the contest year.
The columns tackled the issues of long and mixed up sports seasons, published Feb. 17, 2005; the number of classifications in the Utah high school ranks, published March 17, 2005; and the demise of East Carbon sports teams due to the high school's closure, published May 5, 2005. All three sports columns were written by Shaw.
Third place awards earned by the Sun Advocate involved a combination of feature materials and advertising categories.
In advertising, the newspaper won third place for the best in house promotion, the best run of press advertising campaign, the best use of advertising color and the best advertising idea. The staff members responsible for winning in the categories are Wilkinson, Fasselin, James Bailey, Jason Bailey and Kate Johanson.
In addition, third places were awarded to the Sun Advocate for the best feature photography, a cat at the animal shelter taken by Shaw, published March 22, 2005; best sports photography, Carbon girls state basketball championship taken by Shaw, published March 1, 2005; and best lifestyle pages, three issues of the weekly Focus section, written by Bowen and Shaw.
"We are pretty proud of the categories we won in," said Shaw. "When you enter these competitions, you are sometimes surprised what what didn't win and what does take the cake. Sometimes you definitely have a gut feeling about the best work submitted, though."
The publisher pointed out that the staff at the Sun Advocate is as good as any at a small newspaper in Utah.
"I feel very honored to be working with such a fine group of dedicated newspaper people," concluded Shaw.