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PRSA Maryland Recognizes Excellence in Communications with 32 Awards at Diamond Anniversary ‘Best in Maryland’ Gala

BALTIMORE, Dec. 10, 2021 — The Public Relations Society of America Maryland Chapter bestowed 32 Best in Maryland and Award of Excellence awards in 16 categories, as well as two professional awards, during a virtual gala and awards show held on December 9, 2021.

The Best in Show award was presented to The Hatcher Group for its Student African American Brotherhood work to refresh SAAB’s visual brand and redesign their website. SAAB is dedicated to ensuring men of color have the support needed to excel academically, socially, and professionally while pursuing higher education.

Crosby Marketing Communications won the most awards with five, followed by Montgomery Parks (four) and MDOT SHA, Devaney and BGE, each bringing home three awards.

Entries were reviewed by a panel of judges made up of public relations professionals from PRSA’s Phoenix Chapter and carefully evaluated based on the following criteria: planning/content, creativity/quality, technical excellence and overall results.

This year’s gala, recognizing the Maryland chapter’s 60th anniversary, was emceed by Dr. David Marshall, Ph.D., APR, Professor and Chair, Department of Strategic Communication, Morgan State University and 2021 Maryland chapter president; Jeffrey Davis, APR, three-time chapter president and head of J. Davis Public Relations; and Dianna Fornaro, M.A, APR, Senior Communications Specialist, Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company and the chapter’s accreditation/APR chair.

Following is a list of all awardees:

Professional Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Anita Brightman, APR, PRSA Fellow, A. Bright Idea Advertising and PR
  • Rising Star Award, recognizing an up-and-coming professional in public relations – Jamie Abell, A. Bright Idea Advertising and PR

This year’s Best in Maryland Awards Signature sponsor is Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company, supporting the chapter along with JukeStrat, Maryland Marketing Partnership, BGE, Fovndry, Maryland Lottery and TheYuCrew.

Best in Maryland Award Winners

Programs

PRO BONO

BEST IN MARYLAND – Boost Bmore, Abel Communications

COVID-19 COMMUNICATIONS

BEST IN MARYLAND – Helping Marylanders Protect Themselves Against COVID-19, University of Maryland School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs & Communications

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – COVID-19 Employee and Customer Communications and Media Engagement, BGE Communications

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Promoting Public Health and Safety During COVID-19, Crosby Marketing Communications

MARKETING

BEST IN MARYLAND – BGE ConnectedRewards, BGE/Honeywell

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Fairy Tale COVID Campaign, Baltimore Gas & Electric

INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS

BEST IN MARYLAND – Re the We Relationships Initiative, Crosby Marketing Communications

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Lead Boldly B2B Campaign, Crosby Marketing Communications

PUBLIC SERVICE (Campaign)

BEST IN MARYLAND  – Support More Victories for Veterans PSAs, Crosby Marketing Communications

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – The Financial Education Initiative Maryland Auto Insurance

EVENTS AND OBSERVANCES < 7 DAYS

BEST IN MARYLAND – REALTOR® Fest 2020, Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS (GCAAR)

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Financial Education Initiative, Maryland Auto Insurance

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – THB Bagelry & Deli Columbia Grand Opening, Planit

REPUTATION/BRAND MANAGEMENT

BEST IN MARYLAND – Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB), The Hatcher Group

EVENTS AND OBSERVANCES >7 DAYS

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Open Parkways, Montgomery Parks

Tactics

MAGAZINES/NEWSLETTERS-Print

BEST IN MARYLAND – Adventist HealthCare and You Magazine, Adventist HealthCare

CREATIVE TACTICS – Assoc/Nonprofit-Govt

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Flooding Maryland with Safety: State of Maryland Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Virtual Room, AECOM

BROCHURES – Digital

BEST IN MARYLAND – Virtual Meeting Toolkit, Chesapeake Employers Insurance Co.

CREATIVE TACTICS – For Profit

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – COVID-19 Construction Safety Banners, Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance

WEBSITES

BEST IN MARYLAND – MyMOS Mobile App, Crosby Marketing Communications

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Montgomery Parks Online Programs, Montgomery Parks

BROCHURES – Digital

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Heartstrings Fund Brochure, Devaney & Associates/Baltimore Medical System

ANNUAL REPORTS

BEST IN MARYLAND – The Year in Review, Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Making a Masterpiece 2020 Annual Report, Devaney & Associates/Carroll Hospital

VIDEOS

BEST IN MARYLAND – U=U Maryland Testimonial Video, Devaney & Associates/Chase Brexton Health Care/Baltimore City Health Department

EDITORIALS/OP-ED COLUMNS

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Private Sector Voice on Challenges of Today, Greater Baltimore Committee

VIDEOS

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – 2020 Board Installation Promotional Video, Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS (GCAAR)

PUBLICATIONS

BEST IN MARYLAND 2021 Scholarly Journals Subscription Catalog, Johns Hopkins University Press

ANNUAL REPORTS

BEST IN MARYLAND – Year in Review for the State Legislature, MDOT SHA

MEDIA RELATIONS-Assoc/Nonprofit/Govt

BEST IN MARYLAND – A Highway to History: MDOT SHA Archaeologists Discover Home of Harriet Tubman’s Father, MDOT SHA

SOCIAL MEDIA – Assoc/Nonprofit/Govt

BEST IN MARYLAND – Highway Workers Nearly Struck and Killed, MDOT SHA

CREATIVE TACTICS – Assoc/Nonprofit-Govt

BEST IN MARYLAND – Trails Less Traveled, Montgomery Parks

MAGAZINES/NEWSLETTERS – Digital

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Explore From Home Newsletter, Montgomery Parks

MEDIA RELATIONS – Assoc/Nonprofit/Govt

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE – Tobacco Free Kids Media Relations, The Hatcher Group

About PRSA Maryland
The Maryland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Maryland) was established in 1961 to help public relations and communications professionals stay connected professionally and personally. As part of the nation’s largest and foremost organization of communication professionals, PRSA Maryland offers networking, training, resources, and support to assist members in practicing public relations at the speed of communication. For more information, visit www.prsamd.org.

Recap – Virtual Idea Swap – Coping with COVID-19

 “This is a time of service, not so much a time of sales.”

Dealing with the COVID-19 global crisis is bringing new challenges to how we work as well as how we guide our staff and clients through this crisis. And yet it’s also spurred creativity and thinking outside the norm as we balance it all. On April 6, we were joined by Laura Van Eperen, CEO, Van Eperen; Chris Stevens, Director of Communications, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future/Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Dave Curley, Senior Vice President, Sandy Hillman PR for the first of a series of virtual idea swaps.

Listen in below. And check out the recap for some of the highlights of what we discussed.

RECAP

Staying in communication with your audience:

  • Listen rather than promote.
  • Offer solutions to the problems your audience is facing. Communicate ways we can help one another.
  • Pay attention to accuracy. Don’t speculate. Always stick to what you know and realize it’s ok to say, “we don’t know yet.”
  • Use your best judgement. Be sensitive to what’s happening locally, nationally and globally.
  • Be conscious of what you are promoting, when you are promoting, and how it will be perceived.
  • Find moments of positivity.

*When pitching to the press to help get the proper message out, offer new or unique insights and/or details to journalists they may not be getting, i.e., what a local company/organization is doing that is having a meaningful impact.

 

Staff communications – Be true to your culture:

  • Give as much leeway to staff as possible. Respect the challenges of juggling working at home while dealing with unique family circumstances such as parents becoming teachers to school-age children, the lack of childcare, spacing issues, etc.
  • Continue your regular routine as much as possible. Schedule regular virtual staff meetings, host virtual happy hours, share docs via digital platform, etc. But … be sure not to “over-zoom”! Don’t have a meeting to have a meeting.
  • Encourage staff to support local businesses and/or participate in charitable activities when possible.

External and internal communications: How many emails are “too many”?

  • Be relevant and meaningful. Ask yourself if this something that will help you or someone you care about in this moment?
  • Make sure you have a strong message and a strong subject line.
  • Be appropriate. Be careful how you tie your message into this public health crisis.
  • Be mindful of timing of message. What is going on at that moment?
  • Look at different channels for distribution such as direct mail vs. email.
  • Consider segmenting your message to be sure the right message is going out to the right people.
  • Use soft messaging.
  • Be part of the positive message.

The chat was only the beginning of a long conversation that we’ll be having for weeks and months to come. To do our part, we’ll be holding weekly virtual meetings to gather and address a variety of topics. Have a question or suggestion to share? Send us an email.

Articles of interest:

 

In case you missed it, here are few comments shared by our participants on what their organizations are doing …

One of my clients is a law enforcement support organization, and we have been able to get the CEO on Baltimore TV talking about how officers in the Baltimore PD being quarantined with coronavirus is impacting public safety. We also have placed Op-Ed pieces on the same topic in The Sun and Chicago Tribune.

My company is deferring premium payments for our policyholders, many of whom are the small businesses which are laying off employees as a result of COVID-19. We are also providing information on the SBA loans to small businesses. Additionally, the company is also providing grants to several non-profit organizations which align with our business and has also increased the amount of money it will match for employees’ matching grants.

 My content strategy is changing virtually day to day, sometimes by the hour. I represent a veterinary hospital, so today we’ve been talking about the tiger in the Bronx Zoo that tested positive for coronavirus, and what that means for our household pets. That “tiger” news just broke yesterday afternoon. We didn’t see that one coming!

Right now, at our organization the National Association of Bond Lawyers, we are sending out targeted emails to members who have bars in states who have temporarily changed their CLE requirements. We are focusing the emails based on deadlines for CLE and doing it about a month out, so members are aware of what’s happening and created a webpage listing each state with updates and doing it on a daily basis.

The Walk of Shame … what happens when we aren’t prepared to talk or work with the media

By Peggy Hoffman, FASAE, CAE

I caught up with our two media experts for a chat about the upcoming deep dive workshop on the Do’s & Don’ts of a TV Interview, September 28, 2-5pm. Debra Schindler is currently the Regional Director of Media and Public Relations, MedStar Health; however, her career started in journalism. Debra launched her television work as a reporter for the national Fox Television network show, America’s Most Wanted, followed by work at WMAR. She netted an Emmy nomination as well as been recognized with such honors as the National Headliner Award and a Clarion for investigative journalism. Today, she oversees all external media and PR efforts for MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan, MedStar Harbor and MedStar Union Memorial Hospitals where she created the MedStar Television Network and conducts physician media training.

Dan Dunne, APR, Fellow PRSA, Director of External Communications, Erickson Living. During his national spokesperson role with the U.S. Justice Department, he was interviewed each week by national news media and served as an agency media relations training expert at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Aurora, Colorado. He continues to help enhance the media relations expertise of government officials and others, recently instructing a two-day workshop enabling Franklin County, Pennsylvania officials to increase their public and media relations knowledge and news media interview skills.  

Peggy: The title is the do’s & don’ts of a TV interview, but I guess the prep starts before the interview, right?

Debra: Yes! I use this video clip (the Walk of Shame) to demonstrate the importance of contacting media relations when the media is calling.  By ignoring media requests, or not responding to negative allegations, they don’t go away. The result is an ambush interview.  And this one is from an investigative reporter I produced at WMAR -way back when- about a bad doctor. I contacted the hospital and the doctor, and no one would respond or supply a statement.  Never a good move for a PR professional. A statement would have averted this action.

Peggy: Not everybody will be confronted by TV or make headlines, so will this training translate to radio, podcasts or video casts?

Dan: Absolutely! Being successful with TV interviews is about sharing messages in a way that your audience will understand. By building your interview skills, you enhance your ability to be an effective speaker via multiple communication platforms.

Peggy: What are the top interview tips that you’ll expanding on?

Debra: (1) Use short, concise sound bites that are in complete sentences.  (2) Chances are the reporter questions are cut out of the video package so to ensure the message, put the question in the response. (3) Stay with three message points. (4) Bring visuals, such as props, models photos or video on a thumb driver or via shareable software. (5), this often gets left unsaid by the reporter … keep eye contact with the interviewer, not the camera. Reporters tend to do what they do so frequently, they forget to tell the interviewees to not look in the camera.

Peggy: Dan, what tips do you offer to control the interview or avoid tough/wrong question?

Dan: You will always have the option to “bridge” to a response that aligns best with the main messages you intend to share…your primary talking points. For example, if asked about details of an ongoing investigation (which you are not able to share), instead of saying “no comment,” you could bridge to a response like: “Since the matter remains under investigation, we are unable to share any details at this time…which is standard practice in these situations. This matter continues to be one of our highest priorities, and we will share any details possible after this investigation has been completed.”

Peggy: There’s going to an on-camera portion of the workshop – tell us more.

Dan: Because we’re hosting this in the Erickson Living TV Station, we are doing a combination of conversation/content sharing with on-camera work. So, participants will have the added value of having an on-camera interview and immediate feedback.

There is still time to register for the workshop; however, seats are limited to 12.

A really simple entry

A really simple entry

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–Industry News