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From the editor

Sentinel honcho named 'Media Person of the Year' by local PR pros

Dylan Smith, editor and publisher of TucsonSentinel.com, was named the "Media Person of the Year" by the Southern Arizona chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

So that happened. Despite my curmudgeonly best efforts, the leaders of our local top-notch public relations and marketing folks threw darts at a board and picked a name out of a hat, and somehow still tapped me as the 2021 "Media Person of the Year."

They handed me a nifty plaque last week, during an awards event that saw some of the best and brightest local doctors of spin and processors of information recognized for their work.

As I told the PRSA folks, I am truly honored by this — but it's not me they recognized so much as the dogged and determined work of so many others on the Sentinel newsroom team: editing and organization by Maria Coxon-Smith and Gene Moreland, persistent and detailed reporting committed by Paul Ingram and Bennito L. Kelty, thought-provoking analysis from Blake Morlock, the dynamic soccer photos and knowing match commentary from Joshua Pearson and Ted Prezelski, the ear-to-the-ground music columns by Julie Jennings Patterson, and reporting and opinion contributions from so many others.

According to PRSA, their media award is "presented to a journalist, editor, producer, or other media professional for an Arizona-based media outlet who has demonstrated a dedication to their craft by reporting with integrity and a focus on the public interest."

In announcing the award, they also said that it recognizes someone who is "always respectful" of communications professionals — which brought a hearty laugh from the 100 or so people gathered for the event.

Truth be told, the true pros who belong to a group like PRSA have told me often that they appreciate it when hacks like me publicly hold to account the incompetent, amateurish and unethical who purport to be experienced spoxen. Happy to be of service, folks!

Some kickass PR folks were recognized during last week's event — among them "Rookie of the Year" Rocque Perez of the University of Arizona, as well as the "PR Professional of the Year," UA's Pam Scott, who's led the school's entire crack comms squad through the info-dense and question-heavy pandemic. Congrats to them, and all of the other winners.

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