The Clermont Sun wins best news and coverage at ONA convention

By Megan Alley
Sun staff

The Clermont Sun earned a number of top honors at this year’s Ohio Newspaper Association convention, held Feb. 8 and 9 in Columbus.

The Clermont Sun earned first place for News Coverage and Sports Coverage from the Hooper Weekly Newspaper Awards. The newspaper also took home second place for Best Website – Independent.

“Lots of local coverage and strong writing on important local issues,” judges said in their remarks about The Clermont Sun’s news coverage.

“The variety of stories covered was compelling – from clean up efforts to a student in a wheelchair. Showed great creativity,” judges said in their remarks about The Clermont Sun’s sports coverage.

Garth Shanklin, The Clermont Sun’s sports editor, was awarded first place for Best Sports Photo and third place in Original Columns.

“Garth Shanklin’s columns explore the intricacies of professional baseball in a manner that would not only appeal to fans but perhaps also makes the sport more interesting to the laity. The articles are thoroughly researched and often place baseball within broader conversations about history and politics,” judges said in their remarks about Shanklin’s columns.

Clermont Sun Publishing Company Owner Scott Champion shared his enthusiasm about The Clermont Sun’s achievements.

“It’s great to have such dedicated reporters and staff that really care about the community,” Champion said. “When you win awards like that, it really shows the dedication that everybody has.”

The convention, which was hosted by the Hilton Columbus, included two days of breakout sessions with industry leaders on producing great journalism, the impact of the 2016 election on journalism, creating new digital products, discovering what advertisers want and more.

Gov. John Kasich, who spoke to attending reporters on Feb. 8, was originally invited to present on Feb. 9 about his plans for Ohio and his thoughts on the 2016 election, the 2017-18 state budget and more.

The resounding theme of the Feb. 9 breakfast presentation by Kevin Slimp, a newspaper design professional and returning speaker was that “print is not dead.”

“Survey participants said they get a bunch of stuff online, but they don’t want to get their news online,” Slimp said.

Slimp added, “If you leave here with no other information, know that newspapers aren’t dying.”

He also said that newspapers need to focus more on local content in order to grow readership numbers.

“Generally speaking, papers are doing well,” Slimp said. “Community papers are doing especially well, and overall, the industry is doing really well.”

Also during the convention, members of the ONA, which has represented the interests of Ohio’s newspaper industry and their communities since 1933, voted to change the group’s name to the Ohio News Media Association, and the ONMA’s related foundation also changed its name to the Ohio News Media Foundation.

Additionally, the ONMA amended its membership qualifications to include bi-weekly and monthly publications.