EVERETT - Advertising design specialist Aaron Rider and reporter/photographer Jennie McGhan were singled out for their on-the-job expertise at the annual Washington Newspapers Publishers Association's annual convention in Everett, held last weekend. The two Daily Sun News employees captured between them seven awards from the 2011 "Washington Better Newspaper Contest."

Rider, an advertising design specialist for the Sunnyside newspaper, was a four-time winner in this year's contest. He earned first-place honors in the youth-oriented content advertising division for an ad titled "We Treat You Like Family." Contest judges noted that Rider's creation was "...very eye catching."

Rider, too, came away with a pair of second-place awards. One of his runner-up designs focused on a Cal Ripken field clean-up effort in the category of most effective use of a small black and white ad. Judges commented that the shape definitely made the ad come alive, and "...came up off the page." Rider's other second-place award was in the category of ad campaigns for a single advertiser. The ad focused on new doctors working at Sunnyside Community Hospital, which was described by contest judges as having good use of color and type.

Rider's crowning achievement in this year's statewide contest, however, may have been a first-place award he was presented in a category outside his area of selected expertise. An amateur photographer, he was named the top winner in the WNPA contest's color photo essay division of competition. Rider trekked to the new Paradise Visitors Center at Mt. Rainier on his own time and brought back with him a collection of photos that were presented in a full page layout in the Daily Sun News. Contest judges said his work in taking the photos and in designing the photo page drew readers in, and also noted that the postmark he included on the page, which has become Rider's signature on other similar projects, "...was great."

DSN Editor Bob Story said Rider's achievement of winning a first-place award in a contest category he is not formally trained in speaks to the versatility of all the staff employed at the Sunnyside newspaper.

"Being a small community newspaper, all of us often have to take on jobs that we haven't been trained for," said Story. "Aaron's passion for photography and his willingness to share with our readers some of the wonders he captures through the lense of his camera, he definitely goes the extra mile."

McGhan was named a three-time award winner in this year's Washington Better Newspaper Contest.

Her photograph at a summer swim meet competition between Sunnyside and Grandview was deemed the best in the category of best color sports action photo. Judges commented, "The photographer was in the right spot and at the right time."

McGhan, too, earned a second-place award for her photographic skills. In the category of color photo essay, in which Rider's Mt. Rainier scenes were deemed the best, she was the runner-up for her photo page layout of the Raptor House's sanctuary for birds of prey. Contest judges noted that with two tweaks on the actual page design, which was undertaken by Vanessa Rodriguez, McGhan's work would have been designated the best in that category.

The veteran McGhan also came away with a third-place award in the spot news photo category for a shot she captured of a pick-up truck fire that reduced traffic on I-82 to just one lane.

The Daily Sun News, too, walked off with second-place honors in the category of topical/non-tourism special sections for its annual tribute to military veterans, titled "A Salute to Heroes," which is published each year just prior to Veterans Day. Crediting the entire staff effort, contest judges said "...what a way to honor veterans. We really enjoyed this section and how it incorporated old and new."

The one other award winner from the Daily Sun News in the 2011 better newspaper contest was reporter and seasoned veteran John Fannin. In the category of best criminal and court story, he was named the first-place winner for the article he wrote, titled "Evidence issues, folding witnesses lead judge to reduce bail." The story focused on the two county deputies who were fired upon while responding to a call for help from the community of Outlook.

"In this year's contest it was people like John, Jennie and Aaron who were singled out," said the DSN editor, Story. "The common theme year in and year out here at the Daily Sun News, though, is that it's an entire team effort from the 20 or so people who are on staff here, all working to bring to our readers the most comprehensive and professional news package we are capable of delivering.

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