Record awarded for news, sports and editorials
June 23, 2015
Last week, Park Record veteran news reporter Jay Hamburger was honored by the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as Best News Reporter among the state’s nondaily newspapers.
Hamburger’s award was based, in part, on his comprehensive coverage of the dramatic lawsuit over Park City Mountain Resort’s lease of its ski terrain from Talisker. While the town waited anxiously to see whether Park City Mountain Resort might be forced to shut down, Park Record readership hit an all-time high as people throughout the ski industry pored over Hamburger’s coverage of the latest developments.
According to Park Record editor Nan Chalat Noaker, "Jay couldn’t walk down the street without someone asking him what he thought was going to happen to the resort. Even Wall Street analysts were calling to find out if he had any inside info about the issue."
Hamburger’s award also included a sample of wide ranging stories covering a controversial architectural concept for the Kimball Art Center that was eventually shot down by City Hall; a piece about whether Park City might host another Olympics and a story about restoring a famous graffiti artist’s work after it had been vandalized on Main Street.
In sports, Adam Spencer defended his two first-place titles from the previous year in both Deadline and Non-Deadline sports reporting.
In January 2014, Spencer spent time with Park City snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg as he prepared for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. His award-winning profile painted a picture of a warm-hearted, humble local kid. When Kotsenburg eventually snagged a gold medal in the wildly popular slopestyle event in Sochi, Park City fans felt as if they were cheering for the kid next door.
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The SPJ judges were also impressed with Spencer’s profile of Mike Morgan, a former major-league pitcher who has turned his attention to coaching for local youth and high school baseball programs. That story won first place in the Non-Deadline category.
The newspaper also earned first and third places among non-dailies in the Editorial category. Nan Chalat Noaker’s editorial praising Third District Court Judge Ryan Harris’s careful deliberations during the ski resort dispute was named best in the group. Her editorial exhorting the state Legislature to take action on Salt Lake’s smog crisis came in third.
Chalat Noaker also placed in the government reporting category, for an article highlighting last November’s county department head elections and for a review of the Sundance film, "Last Days in Vietnam."
Park Record photographer Christopher Reeves, who recently left the staff, was also recognized with three second-place awards for his work in Sports, Spot News and General Photography. Those images included an intense photograph of an air tanker dousing the Rockport Estates Fire with fire retardant chemicals, a high school rodeo barrel racer and a mud-covered Spartan race contestant.
According to Park Record Publisher Andy Bernhard, "Receiving an award from the Utah SPJ is not only prestigious but significant in that it represents recognition from a respected group of Utah’s finest journalists. In this case, is reflective of The Park Record editorial staff’s integrity and commitment to the highest journalistic standards.
"In a close, tight-knit community like Park City, theirs can be a tough job and affirmation from within your peer group always feels good. Great job, well deserved."