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It’s always a proud moment around here when our staff wins recognition or an award. Over the years we’ve won our fair share of professional journalism awards, and on Friday we were notified by the Utah Press Association that we just won three more. Christopher Smart was awarded first place in the category of “Best Editor’s Column” for a media criticism piece he wrote about the high school student in Milford who was charged with criminal libel. Not civil libel, but criminal libel. The kid apparently took liberties on a website he created that offended pretty much the whole town of Milford, which is hard to do considering it is the pig capital of the west. Nice job, Chris!

Ben Fulton won two first-place awards; not unusual as Ben seems to win every year. In the words of one judge, his “excellent, exhaustively researched, and compelling” story on Dr. Robert Weitzel earned him a first place in the “Best Features Story” category. Lots of people noticed that one, including the CBS program 60 Minutes, which requested copies of it forwarded to them prior to the Weitzel story being aired a couple of weeks ago.

A good reporter always cuts through the smoke and follows the money. Ben did both on his story about big tobacco and the $980-million payout to the State of Utah—with a sizable reward for the attorneys who handled the case. That story got Ben another first place in the category of “Best News Story.” Ben’s been with the paper for over 10 years and I simply can’t say enough about the quality of his work nor his mastery of the English language. That he is one quirky fellow is another matter.

That’s pretty good going for us, winning three first places out of five entries. When one considers that many judges in such contests haven’t a clue what an alternative paper is, it tastes even better. As a reader, you’ve become accustomed to City Weekly fighting the fight of the little guys, telling the stories that no one else will tell, offering details you won’t find elsewhere, and generally confounding fans and critics alike every week. So, you may be wondering what the paper that set the pace among all others during the Bonneville Pacific scandal and Giftgate will do next. How, you may fairly ask, can the paper that tirelessly fights for civil liberties and constitutional freedoms possibly keep up the pace, now that even Mitt Romney has left town?

In a word, Mullets. That’s right, hot on the heels of his big wins from the Utah Press Association, Ben goes deep this week with a story that is certain to offend no one, except perhaps, former newspaper publishers. Mullets. How we got this story ahead of the Tribune and Deseret News is a mystery to me and I want to keep it that way.

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