Truthiness: “a quality characterizing a ‘truth’ that a person making an argument or assertion claims to know intuitively ‘from the gut’ or because it ‘feels right’ without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.” (from Wikipedia)
As a professional communicator, how do you feel about “truthiness”? Does it exist? Is it acceptable in today’s world? Do audiences really care, so long as it fits one’s perspective? Tough questions to ponder as we move through the remainder of 2016 and into 2017.
What’s not tough to think about is our final chapter luncheon, Dec. 8 at the Hotel Roanoke. Please bring a friend for just $25. We’ll have plenty to celebrate, like all the amazing Summit Award winners, as well enjoy the company and fellowship among our friends.
Speaking of the Summit Awards, special thanks again to Gala committee members Catherine Fox, Jen Ward, Chuck Lionberger, and Josh Meyer for their hard work. It was a special evening honoring terrific public relations work, Adam and Alison, and WDBJ7’s Joe Dashiell (read more about the gala, including a full list of award winners, below).
Take time this Thanksgiving to be truly grateful.
PRSA Blue Ridge President
Don’t Miss Our Year-End Celebration!
Are you ready to celebrate the year and the holidays? How about doing it together?
Join us at noon on Dec. 8 for our end of year networking social!
Bring a friend for just $25, a discount off our non-member rate, and introduce them to all of us and PRSA.
We will celebrate the year we have had, announce a few awards, induct our executive board for 2017, and enjoy a holiday buffet lunch together at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. Register for this event here.
See you on the 8th!
The Blue Ridge Chapter held its 20th annual Summit Awards Gala on Nov. 3 at the Roanoke Sheraton Hotel, recognizing the best in public relations work in western Virginia. The chapter introduced a new format to the awards competition this year and received more than 60 entries in various campaign and tactics categories. Gold and Silver awards were presented in most categories, and a “Best in Show Award” was presented to the top scoring entry in each of the two divisions: campaigns and tactics.
This year, the Chapter decided to honor the memories of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, who were tragically lost in August 2015, by creatingthe Adam & Alison Award for Media Excellence. Chapter members nominated members of the media who exemplified excellence in media reporting. The PRSA Blue Ridge board then selected a single winner. The winner of the inaugural Adam & Alison Award for Media Excellence is Joe Dashiell from WDBJ TV.
“Many of us worked with Adam and Alison closely and we continue to grieve over their loss,” said Chapter President Betsy Parkins. “We wanted to find a way to honor their memories for many years and we felt this award would be a great way to do that.”
The Blue Ridge Chapter presented another special award: The Lin Chaff Award, named in honor of a founding member of the Blue Ridge Chapter who was widely respected in the public relations profession. This award recognizes overall creativity in a tactic or campaign. The winner of the 2016 Lin Chaff Award is Carilion Clinic for the Up and Away: Launch of the Carilion Children’s Brand Campaign.
The 2016 Summit Award winners are:
Internal Communication (For-Profit Organizations):
Internal Communication (Non-Profit Organizations):
Issues & Crisis Management:
Marketing Products or Services (For-Profit Organizations):
Marketing Products or Services (Government/Education Organizations):
Marketing Products or Services (Non-Profit Organizations):
Public Relations Campaign (Government/Education Organizations):
Special Event (Two days or shorter):
Special Event (Longer than two days):
BEST IN SHOW: Carilion Clinic – Up and Away: Launch of the Carilion Children’s Brand
Media Relations (For-Profit Organizations):
Media Relations (Government/Educational Organizations):
Media Relations (Non-Profit Organizations):
Multimedia Program (two minutes or less):
Multimedia Program (longer than two minutes):
Newsletter (internal audiences):
Print Publication (single page):
Public Service Announcement:
Website (primary site):
Website (special purpose or microsite):
BEST IN SHOW: Carilion Clinic – Up and Away: Launch of the Carilion Children’s Brand TV Spot
Congratulations to all award winners and many thanks to all participants! Thanks also to the Summit Awards committee for putting together such a special gala.
Blue Ridge Chapter delegates helped approve two bylaw changes and elect 2017 national officers Oct. 22 at the PRSA Leadership Assembly in Indianapolis. Douglas Cannon, Ph.D., APR+M, Fellow PRSA, and Adedayo Abah, Ph.D., represented the Blue Ridge Chapter at PRSA’s top policymaking meeting.
Delegates changed the PRSA bylaws to allow:
These organizational changes take effect immediately.
Delegates elected the following officers for 2017:
Newly elected members of the PRSA Board of Directors are:
Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA, will serve as 2017 PRSA chair. She is principal of JKD & Co., Lakewood, Colo.
The Leadership Assembly passed—but did not approve—a third bylaw proposal. It would have allowed the PRSA Board of Directors to amend organizational bylaws. Those changes could have been reviewed and overturned by the Leadership Assembly when it convened each year. The amendment didn’t receive a two-thirds affirmative vote.
Students Turn Knowledge into Action
The Blue Ridge PRSA Chapter presented $350 grants to each of its five student chapters at the annual chapter meeting in October.
Thanks to the Lynchburg College PRSSA and Liberty University PRSSA students who stayed after the October luncheon to discuss upcoming chapter plans. A number of PRSSA advisors and PRSA-Blue Ridge board members were on hand to offer insight and suggestions. The James Madison University PRSSA was unable to attend.
Radford University PRSSA interim advisor William Kennan, Ph.D., accepts the student chapter’s check from PRSA Blue Ridge president Betsy Parkins.
Lynchburg College PRSSA faculty advisor Jeremy Langett, Ph.D., chapter president Amanda Frattaroli, and historian Barbara Rypkema accept their check.
Liberty University PRSSA president Reid Koutstaal and vice president Amanda Johnson accept their chapter’s check from PRSA Blue Ridge president Betsy Parkins.
Virginia Tech PRSSA students, along with faculty advisor Douglas Cannon, Ph.D., fellow PRSA, APR+M, and professional advisor Lori Greiner, accept their chapter’s check.
The five PRSSA chapters have had a busy and productive start to the school year.
This semester, James Madison University PRSSA achieved its goal of winning national Star Chapter status at the PRSSA National Conference in October. To be eligible, chapters must meet eight out of 10 requirements, including community service, strong chapter relations with its parent chapter and engagement with high schools to increase awareness of public relations.
Also, the JMU PRSSA hosted a business etiquette workshop and resume speed dating event, and they raised funds and designed and marketed a new JMU School of Communication Studies t-shirt that cautions “Watch Your Language!”
Smile! The JMU student chapter will offer an opportunity to get an updated LinkedIn headshot for $5 on Nov. 16.
JMU students are seen at one of several agencies in Washington, D.C., including Edelman, Porter Novelli, CRAFT DC and Crosby Volmer.
The Lynchburg College PRSSA is working on the College's Quality Enhancement Plan to gauge attitudes surrounding the "WE Write for Success" program. It has involved focus groups with current students and instructors.
The student group also is brainstorming strategies to improve course survey responses. A plan for that objective should be in place by the end of the semester.
The Liberty University PRSSA had a sweet Skype meeting with Anna Lingeris of The Hershey Co., who sent in advance a sampling of candy, including Cookie Layer Crunch, Hershey’s newest product that won’t hit store shelves until December. Lingeris gave insight into her role at Hershey and the skills she looks for in interns. She also gave advice on applying for a job after graduation.
LU PRSSA President Reid Koutstaal reports that the “National PRSSA Conference was a blast!” Four executive board members, a member of the chapter’s student-run PR firm Innovations, and PRSSA National Board member Liz Skeele attended the Indianapolis event. Conference workshops covered such topics as crisis, entertainment, start-ups, blogging, politics, storytelling, CSR, non-profit, and much more. “We were able to network with current students as well as PR professionals from all over the country and from all kinds of companies. We were also able to connect with, and learn from, other chapters,” says Koutstaal.
Liberty University PRSSA members in Indianapolis for the PRSSA Conference.
This semester, the Radford University PRSSA hosted a number of events, including a bake sale fundraiser, a chili sale fundraiser, and a social media workshop.
The Virginia Tech PRSSA hosted Elevations: Raising the Bar for PR, a two-hour conference to motivate students to be their best in PR and strategic communications. James Williams, Ph.D., the keynote speaker from the University of Tennessee, delivered a thought-provoking talk on personal branding. A Q&A session featured a panel of public relations professionals. Attendees also had time to network. About 35-40 students attended the event, which also raised money and cans of food for the Women's Resource Center.
VT PRSSA students also hosted resume speed dating and speakers at several meetings. The chapter firm planned a promotional event for a local frozen yogurt business.
Radford University and Virginia Tech PRSSA students at Elevations.
The Blue Ridge PRSA has a tentative date set for its 2017 PRSSA Leadership Retreat and Pizza Party: Friday, Sept. 8. Roanoke location to be announced. We’ll revisit the date next semester to be sure it works for all fall calendars.
The Blue Ridge PRSA and its PRSSA chapters have Facebook and Twitter accounts, so it’s easy to connect. Let’s stay in touch!
Are You Taking Advantage of Your Membership Benefits?
Did you know that your PRSA chapter membership comes with the benefit of participating in live webinars on a variety of public relations topics completely free? A number of them are even available for a set time after the live event to be viewed on-demand.
Take advantage of your free learning opportunities! Check out these remaining live webinars coming up this year, and be sure to refer back to the PRSA website often to see what has been added to the webinar schedule:
Name: Deborah Bell (“Debbie”)
Title & Company: Community Outreach Coordinator, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia
Joined PRSA: August, 2016
College/University attended: Graduated from both Virginia Tech and Radford University
Why did you choose PR as a career? I enjoy the ability to combine law enforcement and public service resources together
What have been the highlights of your career, or what are some goals of your career? Working with many volunteers, especially as President of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, Roanoke Valley Chapter; Working with the Roanoke County Police Department in the Criminal Investigations Division; Assisting on political campaigns; And (currently) working toward my Crime Prevention Specialist Certification (goal).
Are you married; single? Married to Brandon Bell (fifteen years)
Do you have children? Two children
Do you have pets? Two dogs, Lincoln and Mary Todd
What are your hobbies & interests? I especially enjoy the extreme sports – white water rafting and mountain biking
What is the strangest situation you have found yourself in, or what has been your biggest adventure? Every year my two best friends and I plot a secret vacation spot and folks must guess where we are headed – it has to be different every year. (This year, a passport will be required!)
Upcoming events at a glance:
· Thursday, Dec. 8 – Year-End Chapter Luncheon; noon; Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center; Register here.
Tell Us What's Going On!
Help keep PRSA Blue Ridge members informed by submitting items for the chapter newsletter. Please send your industry-related story ideas and articles to newsletter coordinator Tricia Simons.