Universe claims awards in Utah Press Association competition

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The Utah Press Association has recognized The Universe with 22 awards in its annual Better Newspapers Contest.

The competition is structured so newspapers compete against similarly sized papers. The Universe claimed first place in the categories of Best General News Story for Local farmers will survive dry weather by Kristian Ekenes; Best Feature Story, for “Provo’s future temple evokes memories of tabernacle’s past,” by Spencer Ngatuvai; Best Sports Story for Utah fans help make MUSS of BYU offense by Daniel Lewis; Best Sports Page with “The concussion discussion” designed by Brad Davis; and Best Staff Produced Ad for “Don’t get caught in the gap” designed by James Gardner.

Members of the women's soccer team celebrate their win over Marquette. This picture took 2nd place in the Utah Press Association competition. (Photo by Sarah Hill)
Members of the women’s soccer team celebrate their win over Marquette during the 2012 season. This picture took 2nd place in the Utah Press Association competition. (Photo by Sarah Hill)

Online, universe.byu.edu was Utah’s only student news website recognized in the competition, claiming second place behind The Park Record in Park City.

The Universe also took second place in the categories of Best General News Story for Orrin Hatch and Dan Liljenquist debate across the generation gap by Casey Adams; Best Editorial for “In the midst of adversity: Finding strength when trials weigh us down” by Katie Harmer; Best Sports Story Freshman running back ‘Baby J’ is excelling in first year at BYU by Taylor Street; Best Sports Photograph for a picture of the BYU women’s soccer team celebrating a win, by Sarah Hill; Best Staff Produced Ad for “Don’t slip up” by Brett Bertola; and Best Use of Ad Color for “Don’t get caught in the gap.”

The Universe took third-place awards in the categories of Best Breaking News Story for “Students react to missionary age change” by Crystal Myler, Sara Michael and Shawn Fielding; Best News Coverage throughout 2012; Best News Series for stories on BYU’s massive computer-systems crash, by Kate Bennion and Miriam Shumway; Best Feature Series for stories on Mitt Romney’s BYU years, by Katie Clark; Best Editor’s/Feature Column for “Balancing feminism: Why feminism isn’t an either-or option” by Katie Harmer; Best Front Page featuring the London Olympics designed by James Gardner; Best Staff Produced ROP Ad Campaign for Ninth East Dental designed by Brad Davis; and Best Special Section for The Universe’s Bridal Guide.

Winners of the 2013 contest, with entries drawn from editions published in 2012, were announced Saturday at the Utah Press Association convention in Sandy.

The Universe is BYU’s student laboratory news organization and is one of the anchors of the Communications Department. Journalism faculty coordinate coursework with the operations of the newsroom. Student reporters majoring in journalism and public relations number from 20 to 40, depending on the time of year, with another 10 to 20 journalism students bringing special-project coursework to the newsroom.

The Universe operates a complete business model with revenue from advertising sales in its print, web and mobile editions supporting the bulk of its operations. More than 40 students, most of them in roles supporting their academic pursuits, fill positions as section and online editors, photographers, artists, designers, ad sales representatives, computer programmers and accounting and office staff.

The print edition was published each weekday as The Daily Universe until this past April when the Communications Department initiated sweeping changes in the staffing and publication structure, moving the print edition from daily to weekly and boosting The Universe’s emphasis on its digital products.

Since then, The Universe has updated its online archive and launched a new website; made several interactive upgrades to its mobile app, available on both the iPhone and Android platforms; boosted interactivity with its readers with projects like the 500-photo gallery A Day in the Life of BYU and #Ygram; and increased its presence on all major social media platforms.