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Dayva Spitzer takes office as OPA president
Dayva Spitzer, co-publisher of the Sayre Record & Beckham County Democrat, was elected as president of the Oklahoma Press Association during the OPA Convention in Oklahoma City.
Spitzer will serve a one-year term as president, beginning July 1.
Other officers elected at the meeting were Brian Blansett, publisher of the Tri-County Herald in Meeker, as vice president; Rod Serfoss, publisher of the Clinton Daily News, as treasurer; and Robby Trammell, news director at The Oklahoman, as immediate past president.
Barbara Vice, publisher of the Drumright Gusher and Yale News, was elected to a three-year term as director, and Mike Strain, managing editor at the Tulsa World, was re-elected to a three-year term.
Other members of the 2016-2017 OPA board are Ted Streuli, The Journal Record; Ray Dyer, El Reno Tribune; John Denny Montgomery, The Purcell Register; and Mark Millsap, The Norman Transcript. Mark Thomas is executive vice president of the association.
Spitzer, who covers all trials at the Beckham County Courthouse, takes seriously the watchdog role of government.
"Newspapers are still strong, whether it's a small paper or a large one," she said.
Taking the lead from her father, who worked in journalism, Spitzer knew she wanted to work at a newspaper. At age 8, she began throwing newspapers from her bicycle for Bill Bacon at the Sayre Headlight-Journal. She received 10 cents a day.
Her mother worked for Mr. Bacon, sitting at a typewriter. Her father was on the football field completing pigskin stats.
When Dayva saw a note on the high school bulletin board asking for someone to write basketball stories, she was hooked and continues to chronicle the basketball stats for her own newspaper today.
She began writing for the local paper in the 10th grade. At the Headlight-Journal, she did photography, worked the double truck grocery ads and laid out the front page.
In 1987, Dayva and her husband, Brad, started their own newspaper, the Sayre Record, merging it with their commercial printing business that they started in 1982.
The Spitzers purchased the Erick-Beckham County Democrat from Helen Shultz in July 1997, and merged the two papers as The Sayre Record & Beckham County Democrat.
Dayva Spitzer enjoys working with small weekly newspapers, and advocates for them. "So many small newspapers are struggling and need a helping hand. We have to have small newspapers; they are the bedrock of who we are,” she said.
Spitzer studied journalism at Sayre Junior College, now Southwestern Oklahoma State University at Sayre, before beginning her full-time career in the newspaper industry.
The recipient of many awards, Spitzer was twice awarded a Distinguished Editorial Award from the Oklahoma Heritage Association. She also received the Oklahoma State School Boards Association and the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration award for Excellence in Education Coverage for the Weekly News Report in 2003. Brad and Dayva also received an award for their dedication to the Western Technology Center.
Dayva served as the first female president of the Sayre Kiwanis Club in 1992-93 and also was the first female president to serve statewide.
She was elected president of the Sayre Chamber of Commerce in 2013.
In 2006, she received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Sayre Chamber of Commerce for leading the effort to place clocks on the Beckham County Courthouse. The Courthouse, built in 1901, never put money set aside for the clocks. Spitzer served as project coordinator and worked alongside the county commissioners to make the project possible during the State Centennial.
Brad Spitzer oversees operations of both the newspaper and printing business. He is an ordained deacon at the First Baptist Church of Sayre, and Dayva teaches a women’s class. She also is a member of the Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma and is an avid golfer. She volunteers her time as a swing coach with the Sayre Girls Golf Program.
The Spitzers have one son, Drew, who works at the Holdenville CCA Prison.