ST. GEORGE — Steven Dunham, director of communications and public relations for the Washington County School District, received a well-earned round of applause at the recent meeting of the Washington County Board of Education.
Superintendent Larry Bergeson announced that Dunham recently earned a media relations award, presented by the Utah Public Information Officers Association. Dunham was presented with the award Sept. 29 at the organization’s annual conference in St. George.
Bergeson praised Dunham’s hard work and professionalism and said he’s gratified that Dunham is being noticed at the state level. The superintendent said the most notable part of the recognition was that Dunham was nominated for the distinction by Chris Jones of KUTV 2News.
Jones serves as KUTV 2News’ investigative education reporter and that his scrutiny includes the Washington County School District. He also hosts a “Beyond the Books” series for the station that Bergeson said “shines a spotlight on education, and not always necessarily a positive spotlight.”
Jones’ faith in Dunham is well-placed, Bergeson said.
“He represents our school district very well and on some very challenging and difficult topics,” he said. “I’m glad it’s him and not me who is in front of the TV camera.”
Dunham told St. George News he has a guiding principle when it comes to his job: “I have to be transparent. That’s my key – to try to be open with everything,” he said after the meeting. “You can’t always control whether (the news) is good or bad. You can control how open you are.”
If transparency is Dunham’s top priority, accessibility is a close second. He makes a point of being available to field media questions 24/7.
“My biggest fear is to look at a story and read, ‘Steven Dunham was unavailable for comment,'” he said.
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