Plain Talk columnist wins first place in S.D. press competition

Paula Damon, columnist for The Vermillion Plain Talk, won First Place in the 2010 South Dakota Press Women (SDPW) Communications Contest.

Damon's winning entries were selected from her weekly column "My Story Your Story." Judges evaluated her work in four categories: Humorous, General, Informational and Specialized.

"Her columns give readers a chance to belong," the judges said. "Her writing has a universal appeal. Her style is quite good."

Taking the top spot in South Dakota were her articles "Sea shells, cockleshells, she only says the words" and "Her front, her back, her insides transmit hope." Also winning First Place were her columns "It's going to be a great day because I'm giving it all away" and "Secrets of an alternative lifestyle revealed." Damon also received Second Place for her Humorous entries and Honorable Mention for her articles in the Specialized category.

First-place winners advance to the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) Communications Contest for judging. National winners will be announced in September at NFPW's annual conference in Chicago.

In 1993, Damon's writing won First Place nationwide in the NFPW Communications Contest and throughout the years, she has won numerous writing awards in Iowa Press Women and SDPW Communications Contests.

In her role as director of marketing and communication at Briar Cliff University, Damon oversees marketing and communications for the university. A resident of southeast South Dakota, she holds a bachelor's degree in mass communications and a master's degree in English from The University of South Dakota, Vermillion.

Enrollment at Briar Cliff University is over 1,100 students from 28 states. Students are educated in the Franciscan tradition of excellence in the liberal arts and career preparation in an environment of care, compassion and openness to all. For more information, please visit

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