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 The announcement that Gilbert would receive the award was made in February during the MultiMedia Mega Conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., where Gilbert was appearing to deliver the keynote address to 470 media executives.

“Clark has driven his company to an unequalled level of success for any local media company over the past year,” said Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell, who announced the award in his introductory remarks at the conference. “The local media industry needs great leaders and superb innovators, and Clark is the hands-down choice this year for his work in Salt Lake City.”

Gilbert accepted the award two weeks later at Borrell’s 2011 Local Online Advertising Conference in New York. Gilbert keynoted that conference along with former Harvard Business School colleague Clay Christensen, author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” The Borrell conference was be held March 3-4 at the Grand Hyatt in New York.award-150w

The Innovator of the Year award is given annually. Borrell Associates selects the recipient after examining the growth patterns and innovative characteristics of more than 4,400 local online operations across the U.S. and Canada over the previous year. Borrell also accepts nominations via an online submission form between late December and mid-February. Borrell selects “an individual who’s exhibited the greatest innovation in a local online media company and execute its strategy in a financially viable way.”

This is the second year for the award. The first recipient was Colleen Brown, CEO of Fisher Broadcasting in Seattle.

This year’s recipient became president and CEO of Deseret Media in early 2010. The company oversees the Deseret News, KSL-TV, two radio stations, and a book publishing company affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior to taking on that role, Gilbert was an associate academic vice president at Brigham Young University and was a professor of entrepreneurial management at the Harvard Business School.

While at HBS, Gilbert collaborated with Borrell Associates in 2002-2003 to author a study on how the Internet was disrupting local media companies. The ground-breaking report was followed by Gilbert’s work with The American Press Institute on the “Newspaper Next” project, and numerous award-winning articles on innovation in Harvard Business Review and MIT/Sloan Management Review.

The award comes with a crystal statue and a check for $1,000.

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