Special Awards


(in honor of R. LaVaun Cox)
This award is given to the newspaper that demonstrates
effective contributions and involvement in its community, and
building the community’s understanding of an important issue.
R. LaVaun Cox was a former Utah newspaper publisher
and Questar executive. At age 28, Vaun became the youngest
president in the history of the Utah Press Association. In 1957,
his newspaper the Manti Messenger was named the best smallcirculation
weekly in the state. Vaun was committed to public
service. He was a member of the American Legion for more than
50 years, served on the Utah State Road Commission for more
than 20 years, and was a state senator for four years. He died at
the age of 73 in 1999.


(in honor of Jim Cornwell)
This recognition was established to honor outstanding
newspaper professionals whose service to the industry
exemplifies the dedication and expertise required to make Utah
newspapers successful.
J.M. (Jim) Cornwell has been involved with Utah Press
Association since 1955. He was its 1961 president and became the
second Utahn to serve as President of the National Newspaper
Association (1972-73) and to receive its prestigious Amos
Award (1976). The first was Charles W. Claybaugh (1963 and
1968). Jim began the collection of photos of past presidents in
1956, designed and gave to UPA the President’s plaque in 1961,
conceived the Honorary Publisher certificate in 1962 and created
the John E. Jones Award in 1976. He chaired the Hall of Fame
committee from 1972 to 2001 and was in charge of redesigning
its state capitol display. He is the author of the book, “UPA … A
Century Later.”


(in honor of Kirby Kirkman)
This award is given to the newspaper that demonstrates
consistent excellence in all areas of newspaper production.
Outstanding content and news coverage, writing quality, layout
and typography, photography and headlines are all considered
with this award.
Kirby Kirkman was an enthusiastic associate member
of Utah Press Association as a public relations representative of
Mountain Fuel Supply. He possessed an almost inexhaustible
supply of humorous stories which for many years kept his
newspaper friends laughing. He’s equally remembered as a
devotee of target shooting, where he frequently shared his skill
and knowledge by conducting clinics for association members.
He received the Honorary Publisher Award in 1972 and long
maintained his associate membership.
This award is a lighthearted, fun recognition for someone
who works in any field but has some type of ties to newspapering
or the work we are doing in the industry. This gives UPA
members the opportunity to recognize someone who is a good
friend of newspapers or who help us to succeed in one way or


This award is given to an active, working newspaper
person or someone closely allied with the newspaper industry
in recognition of distinguished service and/or substantial
contributions to the press of Utah in general and the programs
of Utah Press Association. The ultimate purpose is in recognition
of Johnny Jones who traveled throughout the state to get the
publishers thinking together again. By the late 1920’s he had
the daily and weekly newspapers speaking to one another and
working toward the common good of newspapers in general.
This award is not given out every year, but only when there is a
truly stand-out person working in the newspaper field.
John E. Jones arrived in Salt Lake City in 1917 as the
newly-named Manager of Western Paper Union. Prior to that
a bitter controversy had erupted in 1911 and split Utah Press
Association into two groups with distinctly differing views of
membership rules and officer structure. Jones was known for
his skill at reconciliation and healing ruptured feelings. His
work carried him throughout the state and he set about knitting
together the rival publishers. In spite of their bitterness, he
succeeded and by 1920 the organization was again united. In
appreciation he was accorded life membership in UPA.


This award has fairly simple rules but not everyone
qualifies. The plaque reads: “He has worked hard, lived
honorably, thought soundly, influenced unselfishly and is
entitled to the highest recognition in his profession.”


This is the most prestigious recognition we give any past
publisher who has been deceased for 10 years or more. It gives a
history of their background in overseeing their newspaper and
their community involvement. A special tribute to this person
and their life is given each year during UPA Winter Convention.
A portrait is done of the recipient that is then added to the
permanent Hall of Fame display at the Utah State Capitol.