City Council member Joel Burns honored as “Communicator of the Year
The first-ever Worthy Awards were announced Thursday May 31 at an inaugural awards gala held at Marquis on Magnolia in Fort Worth. The Best of Show went to Sandra Brodnicki, APR and Gigi Westerman, APR for a campaign they developed for Catholic Charities’ financial education program, rebranded “Money School.”
Judged by the Central Michigan Chapter of PRSA, the new annual competition bestowed 12 Worthy Awards, eight Awards of Excellence and 10 Awards of Achievement. A separate academic category recognized the contributions of faculty at TCU and UT-Arlington to the public relations profession. The Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) established the Worthy Awards this past year to honor excellence in the strategic communications field in the region.
The chapter recognized City Council member Joel Burns as Communicator of the Year for “his willingness to expose his personal story and become a national spokesperson for victims of bullying,” said Bob Ray Sanders, a Star-Telegram columnist who announced the awards. The chapter established the Communicator of the Year award to honor a public figure who exemplifies the principles of honest, transparent communication and effective relationship-building for the common good.
The highest-level Worthy Awards went to:
o Balcom Agency for its social media for Justin Boots and for the agency’s digital newsletter;
o Bill Lawrence, Lawrence and Associates, for publicity for “The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor,” an exhibit at the Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame;
o Chris Smith, Smith Communications for an op-ed published in the Houston Chronicle about a proposed coal plant, written for several environmental groups;
o Concussion for its approach to launching Enchanted Rock Vodka in the highly competitive, “Texas-made” adult beverage industry;
o Fort Worth ISD for a video shown by Superintendent Walter Dansby to business leaders about renovations and schools funded by a $593.6 million bond program;
o Fort Worth Museum of Science and History for the opening of a new exhibit, the 9/11 Tribute: Tenth Anniversary;
o Gigi Westerman, APR and Sandra Brodnicki, APR for their integrated campaign for Catholic Charities Fort Worth to rebrand and promote a financial education program for low-income families.
o GCG Marketing for a campaign for Rahr Brewery after the roof collapsed and production was shut down in early 2010;
o J.O. Design for the agency’s new website;
o Margaret Ritsch, APR, for an executive report for Balfour Beatty US on the business case for social media;
o The Trinity River Authority of Texas for a revitalized annual report and a more cost-effective method of production and distribution;
o TCU Vitals, for a student-led campaign to educate fellow students about the symptoms of alcohol poisoning so they can get help when needed.
Eight Awards of Excellence, the second-to-highest honor, went to:
o The University of North Texas for a social media blitz;
o Cash America for a company blog;
o The University of North Texas for UNT Research, an annual report;
o Lawrence and Associates for publicity for the Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame;
o Fort Worth ISD for a “how-to” video in Spanish and English;
o Mansfield ISD for its election-winning bond ;
o Concussion for a campaign for the 2011 Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival;
o Balcom Agency for a campaign to launch the Justin Bent Rail brand.
Ten Awards of Achievement went to:
o Cash America for a “Cash Rap” video contest and an article called “Bringing Honor” to spotlight employees who served in the military;
o The University of North Texas for the fall 2011 issue of The North Texan;
o Balcom Agency for a 2012 calendar/annual report for LifeGift;
o Hillwood Properties for the AllianceTexas Media Day;
o J.O. Design for publicity for Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth’s prom dress sale, a video about the agency’s temporary headquarters, and a campaign to build pride for the Green Wave at Tulane;
o Fort Worth ISD for a promotional video for South Hills High School's brand new Gold Seal Programs of Choice;
o Concussion for an art project designed for the “T.”
Judged by faculty at Belmont University in Nashville, academic Worthy Awards went to Amiso M. George at TCU for the newly published Case Studies in Crisis Communication: International Perspectives on Hits and Misses and her leadership for the student-led Vitals at TCU; and Julie O’Neil at TCU for her review of white papers and books on PR research, measurement and evaluation. UT-Arlington’s Department of Communication received an Award of Achievement for coursework in which students conduct research and develop strategy, tactics and key messages for various community partners.