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UW Institutional Communications Staff Members Honored for Writing Excellence

January 22, 2018

A pair of University of Wyoming Institutional Communications specialists received awards during the Jan. 18-20 Wyoming Press Association (WPA) associates’ group annual contest.

Winners were announced at the WPA’s annual winter meeting in Casper. The convention attracts Wyoming’s newspaper professionals and the WPA’s associate members for two days of workshops, seminars and speakers.

About 200 WPA and associate members attended the convention, which culminated with the awards banquet where the top newspapers in three divisions (daily, Casper Star-Tribune; large weekly, Jackson Hole News and Guide; and small weekly, Thermopolis Independent Record) were named. Individual award winners also were announced in several categories.

UW Institutional Communications Specialists Milton Ontiveroz and Ron Podell won two first-place awards in the associates’ contest, one second place and two honorable mentions. This year’s contest drew a high number of entries from communications specialists from around the state. UW Institutional Communications specialists competed against media representatives such as those from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Department of Transportation, Wyoming Military Department, Wyoming Business Council, Laramie County Community College and area public relations firms.

“Our staff members work hard to tell UW’s story across Wyoming and beyond, and it’s wonderful to see them recognized for their quality work,” says Chad Baldwin, UW’s associate vice president for communications and marketing. “There is certainly an abundance of stories to tell about UW’s great students, faculty and staff, and we appreciate their cooperation in spreading the good word about the university.”

Ontiveroz was selected as the associate members’ liaison, representing the associates on the WPA board. He is only the second person to hold that position in the association’s 25-year history.

WPA associate members, including those from UW, attended two workshops last Friday, participated in a roundtable discussion on media relations strategies and held their annual associates’ meeting. One of the workshop presenters was UW Institutional Marketing Specialist Jenny Petty, who discussed marketing strategies with associate members.

Tanya Engel, UW Extension graphic designer, designed the posters of all the award winners’ respective work, which were displayed at the convention.

Listed are the two UW communications specialists with their individual awards, contest categories in which they won, titles of their entries and what the judges had to say about their work:

-- Ontiveroz, first place, single feature, “For UW’s Jason McManamen, You Can Go Home Again.” Judge’s comment: “Great story-telling skills on display here. You had me hooked from the first sentence”; and second place, single news release, “UW, State Department of Corrections Receive National Award.” Judge’s comment: “Good detail showing the partnership.”

-- Ron Podell, first place, three features on one topic, “UW Husband-Wife Research Team to Lead Pacific Ocean Floor Research Expedition.” Judge’s comment: “Interesting, well told story that had broad interest for a lot of people”; honorable mention, three news releases on one topic, “UW Plans Many Activities for Aug. 21 Eclipse.” Judge’s comment: “These entries were full of detail for the readers”; and honorable mention, single feature, “UW Scientist Explores Archaeological Record by Studying Mongolian Reindeer Herder Camps.” Judge’s comment: “Well written, clear, good story.”

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