The City of Lenoir was among 21 North Carolina governments to earn recognition in the North Carolina City & County Communicators’ (NC3C) 2020 Excellence in Communications Awards.
The City of Lenoir won First Place in Digital Technology - Audio, and Second Place in Digital Technology - Website.
Local government communicators from across North Carolina submitted 192 entries in the 2020 NC3C award program. All entries were judged by professional communications peers from the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators.
“It is my honor to congratulate all the 2020 NC3C Excellence in Communications contest winners,” said Rebecca Carter, NC3C President. “Each year, I’m blown away by the incredible talent of local government communicators in North Carolina. The creativity and expertise NC3C members show in communicating, informing, and educating their residents showcases not only their ability and skill, but also how much they care about their communities. I’m so proud to be part of this remarkable group.”
The Communication and Public Information Department handles internal and external communications for the City of Lenoir. Department Director Joshua Harris is responsible for writing and publishing press releases, promoting city services and events, monitoring public engagement with the City, and managing the City’s digital presence.
City of Lenoir City Manager Scott Hildebran said it’s important for government to keep residents informed.
"Communication and transparency are vital for good government," Hildebran said. "The City of Lenoir City Council values and prioritizes those qualities as we work to keep our community informed on the happenings in the City. I appreciate the recognition of Joshua’s efforts in finding new avenues to communicate with our residents."
The City of Lenoir’s First Place award was given for the City’s radio public service announcements (PSAs). Harris started producing the PSAs last year. He wrote and recorded 27 radio PSAs in 2019. The PSAs were broadcast more than 3,000 times across the Foothills Radio Group stations, totaling more than 1,600 minutes of air time.
Some of the judge’s comments for the entry included, "This was a great opportunity to tap into unused and cost-effective media to convey your message to your target audience," "It’s good to be aware there is a whole market of people not yet on digital or have fully moved away from print newspaper," and "The metrics pulled for this effort, especially the more than 27 hours’ worth of airtime at a $0 total project cost, clearly demonstrated the goals were achieved."
Visit the City’s Lenoir Local page to download audio of meetings, PSAs, and future podcasts.
The City’s Second Place award was given for the redesign of www.cityoflenoir.com. In 2019, the City of Lenoir took on the task of creating a new website. A five-member team, including Harris and one City Councilmember, worked with CivicPlus to evaluate, redesign, and build a new website. The new site is mobile-friendly, ADA-accessible, and has a fresh look. The goals of the redesign were to create a user-focused site that lets visitors get the content they want as fast as possible. The new design also put more relevant content on the front page and increased the number of direct messages sent to users.
Some of the judge’s comments for the entry included, "The analytics show that the changes you made have increased activity on the website. Appears people are able to do more and find information quicker," "Being able to get more messages out at quicker rate is a big leap in government communications. That is great that you can send out messages because people don’t always know where to get the information," and "A 95% increase in subscribers is fantastic. That is effective."
Harris said he was happy to receive the awards.
"It’s always good to receive recognition from your peers for a job well done," Harris said.
To see all the award categories, visit nc3c.com/Excellence_in_Communications_Awards.
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 the website www.nc3c.com.