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UW Staff Members Honored for Communications Excellence

January 21, 2014

University of Wyoming communications specialists received 14 awards during the Wyoming Press Association's (WPA) annual associates' group communications contest.

Winners were announced at the WPA's annual winter meeting last weekend at the UW Conference Center -- marking just the second time the state's newspaper group has held its major convention in Laramie. The convention attracts Wyoming's newspaper professionals and the WPA's associate members for two days of workshops, seminars and speakers.

Approximately 200 WPA and associate members attended the convention, which culminated with Saturday night's awards banquet where the top newspapers in three divisions -- daily, large and small weekly -- were named. Individual award winners also were announced in several categories, ranging from writing to photography. The top newspapers were The Wyoming Tribune Eagle in Cheyenne for daily newspapers; The Jackson Hole News and Guide for large weeklies; and The Newcastle News Letter Journal in the small weekly category.

UW staff members won five first-place awards in the associates' contest, five second places, three thirds and one honorable mention.

UW Institutional Communications specialists placed in all news writing categories, winning nine of 14 awards. Following is a summary of UW's WPA awards and staff winners:

Institutional Communications specialists Ron Podell and Milton Ontiveroz each earned two first places.

Podell won first place in the single release category for “Laramie Company with UW Origins Sells its Business to Autodesk,” and also for his water grant outreach series in the three releases dealing with the same topic or campaign features category. Article titles in the series were “Jackson State University Contingent to Study Hydrology at UW This Summer,” “UW’s EPSCOR Water Grant Equipment Provides Boost to Wyoming Community College Research,” and “UW Teams with Aarhus University to Map Aquifers in Laramie and Snowy Ranges.”

Ontiveroz took the single feature writing category with “UW Student Releases Debut Album,” and for “UW’s Kaycee Nelson Ropes Her Way to a Possible National Title,” in the three releases dealing with the same topic or campaign news competition. The series followed Nelson throughout the week as she attempted to win a College National Finals Rodeo breakaway roping title. The Buffalo, S.D., senior finished as national runner-up.

Second places were shared among three UW Institutional Communications staff members.

Podell picked up two second places. He placed in the three releases dealing with the same topic or campaign features category for his energy research series, which highlighted the research functions of various labs in UW’s Energy Innovation Center. Article titles were “UW Enhanced Oil Recovery Research Lab Targets Stranded Reserves,” “Shell 3-D Visualization Lab Offers Detailed Views on Energy-Related Research,” and “Peabody Energy Advanced Coal Technology Laboratory Focuses on Coal Conversion.”

Podell also placed second for “UW’s Stratospheric Research Using Balloons is Longest Continuous in World” and “Balloon Research Launch Requires Teamwork, Early Start” in the single feature competition.

Director Chad Baldwin was the runner-up in the magazine article category for his piece, “UW Creates Strong Bond with Ag Community,” that appeared in UWyo Magazine.

Ontiveroz placed second in the single release news category for “Powell Graduates Among Highly Sought Petroleum Engineers.”

Baldwin also had two third-place awards. He placed in the single release news writing competition with “New UW Research Shows Grizzly Diet Shift Hits Elk Herds,” and also for “Construction, Renovation Project Promises Boost for Performing Arts” in the single feature release category.

Podell added a third place in the magazine article competition with his UWyo Magazine piece, “Taking the Plunge: The Largest Grant in University History Buoys UW’s Study of Wyoming’s Hydrology.”

The top four positions in the single feature category was swept by UW Institutional Communications staffers when Ontiveroz added honorable mention with “UW Cowboys Take Game on the Road to Wind River Indian Reservation.”

UW Extension Public Relations Coordinator Steven Miller and Tana Stith, Extension technology and communications manager, produced the award-winning "Backyards and Barnyards," which was named the associate group’s top publication.

Miller and Stith swept the category, placing second with UW Extension’s “Reflections” magazine.

UW President Dick McGinity gave welcoming remarks during Friday night's dinner.

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