Dishonorable Mention

AROUND THE RIM COUNTRY

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Whatever you're into, you probably believe that you're under-respected. It's human nature.

Being a journalist, I, of course, believe journalists get no respect. Or as my dad is wont to say, "You're damned if you do and damned if you don't."

Journalists have a test we apply that makes it easy to tell if we're doing our jobs. If everybody is mad at us, it means we are presenting an issue fairly and impartially.

That's because nobody wants you to be fair and impartial. They want you to take their side. Sometimes they understand that we have to be fair, but more often they don't.

Then there's Barry Bonds, who never met a reporter he liked no matter what we say or do. He makes the rest of you people look good.

Considering the lack of respect we reporters get, I find it encouraging that the National Basketball Association gives the Magic Johnson Award each year to "an outstanding player who works well with the media." (This year, let the record show, it went to Antawn Jamison of the Washington Wizards.)

It got me to thinking that we really should give out media awards right here in Payson. It would be a nice way to recognize those generous souls who are a joy to work with, while simultaneously allowing us to poke some innocent fun at those who aren't.

Here goes:

• Best Interview: Jim Hill, owner of The Door Stop.

This guy is like the Road Runner, while his detractors are the Wile E. Coyotes of the world. He is so funny and well spoken that he just talks circles around his foes, leaving them to fall off a cliff head first -- again and again. Whatever the cause, put your money on Jim Hill.

• Worst Interview: LaRon Garrett, town public works engineer.

I'll never forget the day a dejected Mike Burkett (ex-Roundup reporter) returned to the office and muttered, "I have just been to hell and lived to tell about it. I interviewed LaRon Garrett." That's not to say LaRon is not a great guy and a competent engineer, just that he's maybe not the most flamboyant person in town.

• Most Outrageous: Lionel "Marty" Martinez, county aide.

If you know this guy, you know what we mean. Marty thrives on outrageousness, and in our business outrageous is good.

My favorite: "I'll play the damn minority card, because I'm very upset at our legislature," Martinez once said about the community college issue. "We can ride the educational bus as long as we stay in the back."

• Most Misquoted: Ken Murphy, former Payson mayor.

We were going to go with a current council member, but dead men tell no tales (and cause no problems for reporters). Therefore the Most Misquoted Oscar goes to "the Murph." Two things you could always count on with the Murph -- it wasn't his fault and he never said it.

• Best Subject Changer: Ron Christensen, former county supervisor.

I remember asking Ron about an issue once and before I knew what hit me he was off on an extended monolog about mistletoe and forest health that had nothing whatsoever to do with what I asked him.

• John Q. Public Award: You know who you are.

To all those people who answer the Street Talk question in great detail, but then tell us we can't use your answer and/or take your picture. People, we only care what you think if you're willing to let us use it. Otherwise, we're on deadline and have to go.

• Least Likely to Return a Call: Sam Streichman, town attorney.

We understand it's part of the job, and nobody doesn't return a call with more panache than the Samster, so all is forgiven -- until the next time he doesn't return a call. (One time we got lucky when Sam picked up the phone at five to five, probably because he thought it was the wife asking him to pick up a loaf of bread.)

• Shirley Dawson Award: Shirley Dawson, county supervisor.

The first Shirley Dawson Award must go to the one and only. In future years the award will go to an individual who best emulates one or more of her tactics, which include taping you while you're taping her and not being able to hide the fact that she could care less about the northern end of her gerrymandered district.

• Most Accessible: Barbara Brewer, Payson mayor.

She always has time and never ducks an issue. In fact, sometimes you get the impression some town staffers wish she weren't so darned accessible.

• Least Accessible: Sam Streichman, town attorney.

The only double winner this year. If there's one thing you can count on in this uncertain world, it's getting Sam's voice mail -- unless he thinks it's the loaf-of-bread call.

• Most Likely to Lose It: John Siler, semi-retired PHS drama instructor.

When John finally joined the digital age and got rid of his 35 mm dinosaur, I'm thinking, "You know, you really can teach an old dog new tricks." Then he up and loses the digital card in his camera just when you are counting on him to come through with a great play picture.

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