FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lorri Freeman, APR
Southern Public Relations Federation
Lantern Award Chair
Date: Thursday, October 1, 2015
Southern Public Relations Federation
Announces 2015 Lantern Award Winners
The Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF) recognized outstanding work in the field of public relations during the Lantern Awards ceremony held Sept. 22 at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Ala.
Awards, including Certificates of Merit, Awards of Excellence and Lantern Awards, were given within three tiers and a student category. Of the Lantern Awards given, the judges also select the Best of Show Award and two Judges’ Choice Awards.
Mississippi Department of Transportation received the William A. Taylor Best of Show Award for its “Get Your Game On” campaign designed around sports to inspire Mississippi residents not to litter.
Two Judge’s Choice awards were presented, one to The Focus Group for their campaign “Every Shrimp Has a Tail; Our Shrimp Have a Story” and one to Le Meridien New Orleans for their “Managing a Potential Identity Crisis: Transitioning W New Orleans to Le Meridien New Orleans.”
In addition to these awards, here is a complete list of local winners:
- Lantern Awards:
- NASA Technology Video – Chantel Minish, Media Fusion
- SLS Booster Test Firing Plan – Kristina Hendrix, ASRC Federal for NASA Marshall
- Awards of Excellence:
- Huntsville-Madison County Public Library Website – Chantel Minish, Media Fusion
- NASA “Rocket Man” Recruitment Campaign – Chantel Minish, Media Fusion
- Huntsville Restaurant Week 2014: Ten Tasty Days of Deals – Jessica Carlton, Huntsville/ Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Certificates of Merit:
- NASA 3DV App – Chantel Minish, Media Fusion
- #iHeartHSV: a social media lovefest for Rocket City, USA – Jessica Carlton, Huntsville/ Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Huntsville City Schools’ Summer Labs Program Powered by Appleton – Sonia Robinson, Appleton Learning
- Huntsville Utilities 75th Anniversary Logo – Deborah Hudson, Huntsville Utilities
Founded in 1972, SPRF is the umbrella organization for the Public Relations Council of Alabama, Public Relations Association of Mississippi, the Public Relations Association of Louisiana and Emerald Coast Public Relations Organization. SPRF exists to further the professional and networking interests of today’s public relations and communication professionals in private, public and nonprofit businesses and organizations. Along with networking, SPRF serves to advocate on behalf of and assist its members through ongoing professional development and defining ethical behavior. For more information about SPRF, visit the organization’s website at www.sprf.org.
The Public Relations Council of Alabama (PRCA) honored several North Alabama chapter members and their organizations during the Medallion Awards Ceremony in Montgomery earlier this month.Each year PRCA recognizes professional achievements in the industry and across the state for a variety of categories. Congratulations to all the winners in North Alabama for your outstanding work.
Winners from NAPRCA included:
Media Fusion, Inc., for the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library Website
Awards of Excellence
• Huntsville/Madison County CVB for the #IHeartHSV 2014 Social Media Campaign
• Huntsville/Madison County CVB for the Huntsville Restaurant Week 2014 Campaign
• Kristina L. Hendrix, APR, with ASRC for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center on the NASA Space Launch System Vertical Assembly Center Ribbon Cutting
• Media Fusion, Inc., for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center SLS Messaging Guideline
In addition, the University of North Alabama was well represented with Beth Garfrerick PhD, assistant professor, honored as the 2014 Educator of the Year, and student Savannah McKinney as the 2014 Student of the Year.
Feb. 17, 2015
PRCA North Alabama Chapter seeks college scholarship applicants
The North Alabama Chapter of the Public Relations Council of Alabama is seeking college student applicants for the Michael K. Simmons Memorial Scholarship. The award is $2,000 toward the recipient’s tuition and fees for the Fall 2015 or Spring 2016 terms. The scholarship is open to students majoring in public relations or public relations-related fields of study such as public communications, marketing, mass communications, or journalism. Students must be a member of the North Alabama chapter of PRCA, be enrolled in a university located in north Alabama, and have completed at least one semester of coursework.
The award selection will be based on grade point average, extracurricular activities, a faculty recommendation and an essay.
The North Alabama chapter of PRCA established the Michael K. Simmons Memorial Scholarship Program in 1994, with the purpose of encouraging students to explore the public relations profession and to introduce them to PRCA and the important role a professional organization can play in the early stages of their career. Funds for the scholarship are raised from individual member donations, professional development events and workshops.
“PRCA is committed to advancing the caliber and professionalism of the Public Relations profession, and that absolutely includes students. The North Alabama Chapter is proud to support emerging leaders in the Public Relations industry with this scholarship as well as access to training, mentoring and professional development opportunities,” said Leah Gradl, NAPRCA President. “We encourage all Public Relations students across North Alabama to engage in our professional organization and apply for this scholarship.”
All applications and support documents must be emailed to Dr. Beth Garfrerick, NAPRCA Student Chapter Liaison, by March 31 at email@example.com. Questions about the Simmons scholarship may also be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 256-765-4941.
The Public Relations Council of Alabama seeks to promote the development of public relations practitioners through continuing education and increased awareness about the profession.
You worked hard all year long — and this is your moment to let those campaigns shine! The submission process is online and straightforward. Visit www.prcamedallions.com for
- Online Submission
PROFESSIONALS: $50 per entry, ($45 per entry if submitting three or more at once)
STUDENTS: $5 per entry—student checks must be postmarked February 6th
Questions? Contact 2015 Medallion Awards Chair Kristina Hendrix, APR and she can help you choose the best category or answer online submission questions. You can review this presentation called Bringing Home the Trophy on Slideshare for great tips. And it never hurts to use the APR Study Guide (a downloadable PDF – jump to page 37) to help write great campaign plan summaries and objectives.
We’d love nothing more than seeing #TeamNorth dominate this year’s Medallions Award gala in Montgomery!
Want to hear tips for winning in this year’s awards competition? Email Kristina Hendrix, APR — and go #TeamNorth! Webinar date is Friday, November 14 at 10am.
The North Alabama Chapter of the Public Relations Council of Alabama earned first place overall in the 2014 Southern Public Relations Federation Chapter of Distinction Awards. NAPRCA’s 2013 president, Abby Guasti, APR, was named SPRF President of the Year.
Each chapter may compete in up to eight categories: Accreditation, Chapter Management, Membership, Communication, Public Service, Programs, Projects and PR Education. The submissions are evaluated by accredited public relations practitioners based on four criteria (situation analysis, goals/objectives, execution, and evaluation). The SPRF Chapter of Distinction awards were created in 2009 and the Mobile chapter took first place overall for the first five years. SPRF honors the chapter that excels in the most categories by awarding the Jamie Palmer Chapter of Distinction Award.
NAPRCA members Sonia Robinson, APR and John Wessel, APR received the SPRF Senior Practitioner designation in 2014.
by Lori Miller
[UPDATED 1-22: Just added another award winning entry. Deborah Hudson of Huntsville Utilities agreed to share her 2008 Lantern “Best of Show.” It’s at the bottom of this post.]
As last year’s Best of Show winner in the 2012 Medallions competition, I’ve been privileged to have my work evaluated by PR peers and found worthy. Winning PR awards is heady stuff and very gratifying. Helps sell your worth back to the boss as well!
But make no mistake – it took work to get the entry ready. Our great project did not “speak for itself.” I made it speak through the narrative I wrote to tell its story, and through the collateral I selected to go in the binder to bring the words to life. You may have a great project. And it still may not win if you don’t put in the time to write a good entry.
On Friday January 11, several previous Medallion award winners in the state conducted a webinar to talk about how to win. If you missed it, you can download the slides now, and you’ll see that they help guide you through the entry process.
But what the slides do not share are those tips that fall somewhere outside of the instructions that nevertheless make a big difference. It’s the stuff you wish someone would tell you before your fingers touch the keyboard.
Yes, we’re competitive. But I want to see our chapter do well at this year’s conference, so I’m all about helping my fellow NAPRCA members get ahead.
So – let’s do this! Here are five tips that will help you put together an award-winning entry.
(1) Remember, you are being judged on your entry, not your collateral
I am not saying that your collateral isn’t important. Far from it. But I am saying that your clever and beautifully crafted postcard doesn’t amount to much if you didn’t write a compelling PR objective and explain how the postcard helped you achieve the result you needed.
Say it with me: It’s about the entry.
So give yourself time to write it well. The judges are applying APR standards for planning and measurement to your entry, so familiarize yourself with the RPIE format, especially the parts about writing good objectives. You can download a PDF of the APR Study guide and jump to page 43 “Writing a Public Relations Plan.” That’s what I do. And then I put the SMART acronym at the top of my rough draft – SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, with a Timetable for getting it done.
(2) Tell a story, but make it fast
Nobody really wants to hear this but it’s true – those judges are looking at LOTS of entries. They can start to blur together. They get tired. They stop writing comments and just start scribing numbers.
Knowing this, tell a story with your entry. Make it interesting and conversational, because in this case, your audience is the judge. You need to be painting pictures with words, because the judge may have made up most of his or her mind before they get to your beautiful collateral.
At the same time, make your entry easy to scan. Use bullets and subheads. Tie your actions back to your objectives so they cannot possibility miss it. You only have 500 words – 250 in some areas – to make your points, so choose your words wisely.
I go into the Medallions website and cut and paste the word limits and points potential for each section into my draft. Then I write offline, ruthlessly edit, and cut and paste the finished entry back into the right sections so I can print the entry form.
(3) Let someone else read it – preferably someone who doesn’t know the project
Let those familiar with your project help you proof it. But I suggest handing it to someone outside your industry for a final read. Here’s why.
The judge looking at your entry is well-qualified, but he or she may not be familiar with your industry. For example, I know a great deal about media relations, events and speech writing, but I’ve never written an annual report or competed for government grants.
The best protection against unintentional myopic thinking is letting someone else read it – someone who isn’t already familiar with the project you are describing. Does it make sense to them? Do they understand the significance of each bullet? In your effort to edit, did you cut out some necessary background?
(4) Don’t leave anything out
When I was in charge of SPRF’s Lanterns, I had the opportunity to see many judging sheets. And there are a few things that often get left out of entries.
Did you talk about your budget? You need to mention it, even if you cannot divulge the amount due to confidentiality. Did you name your key audiences? While you were describing the situation, did you remember to talk about research? Did you provide solid metrics in the evaluation section that tie directly back to your objectives? Did you remember to identify your specific role in the project?
Also, this is just a personal opinion, but I think it’s okay to admit that you didn’t reach an objective. Just make sure that you talk about what you learned and what you’d do differently.
(5) Creativity applies to your support material and the way you present it in the entry
You are not supposed to pretty up the entry, and the formatting of the printout isn’t great. So how to do get creative? I’d argue it’s the words you use and the presentation of your collateral. Take the time to include dividers. Include emails if they help finish telling the story and provide “color commentary.” I’ve even been known to place post-it notes under the sheet protectors to call attention to specific pieces of the collateral for the judges (making it easy to scan, remember?).
So there you go. The deadline for entering Medallions is postmark Friday January 25. So get to the Medallions website and enter! And since I believe it helps, I’ve included a shortened version my entry last year. Good luck.
Get your best work together! All PRCA members are invited to enter the best of their work in the 2013 PRCA Medallion Awards competition.
Any PRCA member in good standing may submit entries. Entries must have been produced between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.
Entries must be postmarked by Friday, January 25, 2013. n Please note the deadline WILL NOT be extended.
$50 per entry
$45 per entry if submitting three or more entries
For more information about the Medallion competition, contact 2013 Medallion Chair Keisa Sharpe-Johnson at email@example.com.
As PRCA members, we are also automatically members of the Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF). And that means we can all enter the SPRF Lantern Awards.
Awards, including Certificates of Merit, Awards of Excellence and Lantern Awards, are given in 25 categories that mirror our PRCA Medallion Awards process. However, the eligibility window for entries is different. The timeframe for Lantern entry eligibility is from May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012.
The deadline to enter in the 2012 Lantern Awards program is July 2, and the extended deadline is July 13.
Entry fees are $55 per entry (May 1-July 2) and go up to $65 per entry (July 3-13). There will be no additional extended deadline after July 13. Winners will be announced during the SPRF conference Oct. 7-9, 2012, in Destin, Fla.
Lantern Entries are Now Open!!
The Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF) recognizes outstanding work in the field of public relations through its annual Lantern Awards program. Awards, including Certificates of Merit, Awards of Excellence and Lantern Awards, are given in 25 categories. From those, the judges also select the Best of Show Award and two Judges’ Choice Awards.
The deadline for entries in the 2012 Lantern Awards program is July 2, and the extended deadline is July 13. Entry fees are $55 per entry (May 1-July 2) and go up to $65 per entry (July 3-13). There will be no additional extended deadline after July 13. For more information or to submit your entries, visit the entry website. Winners will be announced during the SPRF conference Oct. 7-9, 2012, in Destin, Fla.
SPRF Senior Practitioner Nominations are due June 8th!
The senior practitioner designation was established to honor SPRF members who are recognized by their peers as veteran public relations professionals with high ethical standing. Nomination and selection is made by local chapter based on criteria set by the Federation. To receive the designation “senior practitioner,” a recipient must qualify in three of the following four criteria:
- 15 years of full-time public relations experience
- Accreditation by a UAB member organization
- Officer or board member at chapter, state or SPRF level
- Recognition of professionalism as evidenced by such awards as Practitioner of the Year, Lantern Award or similar honor
Please complete the following form and return it to NAPRCA VP Projects Sarah Collison, firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is Friday, June 8, 2012.