Commissioners Recognize Public Information Office
During this past year, Jefferson County's Public Information Office
(PIO) won several national awards. To recognize this impressive accomplishment, the Board of County Commissioners at its Dec. 20 hearing formally presented the awards to the PIO staff.
The first award presented was the Superior Award received from the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO) for a campaign to increase awareness of the county's planning commission. It was awarded to Bailey Becker, citizen information coordinator, and Julie Story, web content manager.
In 2010, after learning of upcoming vacancies on the Planning Commission, PIO staff worked with the Planning Director to publicize upcoming vacancies. This volunteer board is responsible for making recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on land use issues.
Bailey interviewed Planning Commission members who talked about their work on the commission and why they found it rewarding. Her article was published in newspapers; and Julie coordinated outreach on websites, Facebook and Twitter. The result was an increase from the usual one or two applicants to 27. The judges called the campaign "an excellent idea that was well executed."
The second award was also from NACIO, which gave a Superior Award for the Jefferson County Insights video series and was presented to Allison Gerdes, Jeffco's employee communications coordinator, who produces the programs. For years Jefferson County wanted to broadcast BCC meetings but lacked the infrastructure, equipment and experience that many cities have. A few years ago Public Information joined with the Information Technology division to create an online program, without the expense of a cable station and cable crew, where citizens could watch BCC hearings on their computers. The county began rebroadcasting BCC meetings in 2009. They can be viewed at www.jeffco.us/videos.htm.
Last year, the PIO staff expanded the fledgling video program through a partnership with the city of Arvada, creating informational videos for citizens. Twelve videos were produced in the first year in a program called "Jefferson County Insights." Topics ranged from preparing for emergencies to restaurant inspections to internet safety for kids.
The videos are produced by Jeffco staff and Arvada staff Rick Assmus, Wendy Brockman, and Damon Parrish. Both organizations get the high-quality content they need while the working relationship brings skills and resources to benefit each other. The videos can be viewed on Jeffco's website, Arvada's website, YouTube and are aired on Arvada's KATV station.
The third award was from the City and County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA). Jefferson County Insights received its most prestigious award, known as the Savvy. In presenting the award, the judges commented that Jeffco's video program "was very well done in all aspects and the scripts, music and video come together nicely to produce a very engaging program."
The fourth and fifth awards were from the National Association of Telecommunication Officers and Advisors (NATOA) which gave a third place award for the Jefferson County Insights series and also a third place award in the public education category for an individual video on the PastPort program, which promotes local tourism, celebrates the county's 150-year history and gives third and fourth graders a hands-on lesson in history by showcasing local historic sites.