WILMINGTON, NC – Gaston County was among 25 North Carolina jurisdictions to earn recognition in the North Carolina City & County Communicators (NC3C) 2023 Excellence in Communications Awards last week in Wilmington. Gaston County collected a state-best six awards, including three first places.
The awards were announced May 4, during NC3C’s annual conference. All 144 award program entries were judged by professional communications peers from the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators.
“To win an award in this field of outstanding communicators is a real accomplishment,” said NC3C President Stacie Galloway. “The NC3C board extends our sincere congratulations to those working so hard to reach their communities in creative and effective ways.”
Gaston County won first place awards for a public service announcement on tips to protect your vehicles from break-ins; for a photography series partnership between the Gaston County Museum of Art & History and the Animal Care & Enforcement Shelter entitled Curators, Cats & Canines; and for the weekly podcast Savvy Citizen.
Savvy Citizen started in the fall of 2020 as joint effort between the Communications Office and the Office of Budget & Strategy. The weekly show features not only a behind-the-scenes look at county government, but also broader entertainment and cultural topics of importance to the community. The show is hosted by Budget & Strategy Director Janet Schafer, Communications Director Adam Gaub and Budget Analyst Elizabeth McGee, the latter of whom judges raved about having “a voice that contends with expert podcasters.” One judge also wrote that the quality of the show rivals that which is produced in the private sector, noting “I had to remind myself that it was produced (by) government. This is a lot of work, and it’s so well done.”
Savvy Citizen is available for streaming and download on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify and many other streaming platforms, along with being online at SavvyCitizen.Podbean.com.
The PSA was a collaboration between the Communications Office and the Gaston County Police Department. Starring Ofc. Chad Owens and Sgt. Ronnie Parsons, the short video takes a light-hearted approach to providing three basic tips on how residents can better protect their vehicles. One judge called it “a great PSA about something simple, but in a humorous enough way for folks to keep thinking about it.”
The Curator, Cats and Canines photos are taken and edited by Digital Media Specialist Joshua Braswell. The monthly program highlights adoptable animals by bringing them to the Gaston County Museum of Art and History for unique photo shoots. The program has seen a 100 percent success rate in that all of the animals featured have been adopted. Judges praised the photos and called the idea for the campaign “genius marketing.”
Gaston County also won second place awards for a video produced with the Tax Office letting residents know how to navigate the appeals process for property revaluations; the Communications Office’s news update video series ‘Eye on Gaston’; and for its monthly employee newsletter, ‘Gaston County Close Up,’ which is edited and produced by Deputy Communications Director Dandria Bradley.
The purpose of North Carolina City & County Communicators is to encourage professional development and networking among local governmental communications professionals. The organization was formed in March 2007, and consists of professional government communicators from around the state. For more information about NC3C, visit www.nc3c.com.
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