Hillsborough Receives Excellence in Communications Awards

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Hillsborough Receives Excellence in Communications Awards
Town of Hillsborough Public Information Officer Catherine Wright accepted two first-place awards for the town's citizens newsletters at the N.C. City and County Communicators conference held last week in Charlotte.

The Hillsborough Public Information Office received two first-place awards for its citizens newsletters last week from the N.C. City and County Communicators’ Excellence in Communications Awards.

The awards recognize Hillsborough’s electronic and print versions of Talk of the Town, which are distributed quarterly via an online subscriber list and social media and as an insert in town water and sewer bills. The awards were presented April 6 at NC3C’s conference in Charlotte.

“The newsletters are excellent and informative,” Mayor Tom Stevens said. “They’re an important part of the extraordinary effort of our communications team to keep citizens informed, which also includes regular news releases, posts on Twitter and Facebook, videos on YouTube, and a well-designed town website. I’m delighted to see our communications team receive recognition for their outstanding work.”

Hillsborough was among 22 local governments in North Carolina to earn recognition and received its first-place awards in the categories of communication technology and printed publications.

Judges said they love the format of the newsletters, describing it as “easy to read, clear and concise, with links for those who want more information.” They added, “You put together a really great product you should be proud of.” The judges are government communication professionals from Kansas, Arizona, Texas, Michigan, Maryland and Oregon, with each previously the recipient of a state or national award.

“Our organization is full of city and county government communicators who are excellent at what they do. They are innovative, creative, passionate and dedicated, and that shows in their work,” NC3C President Glenn Hargett said. “It was an honor to preside over the program, viewing these exciting demonstrations of work to communicate the stories of the jurisdictions they serve.”

In July 2016, the Hillsborough Public Information Office added the electronic version of the citizens newsletter and moved to a two-page printed format to:

  • Reduce the amount of time needed by the staff to create the newsletter.
  • Allow for more frequent production of a newsletter and more timely information to citizens. Newsletters are scheduled for distribution in January, April, July and October.
  • Reduce costs in printing the newsletter.
  • Increase readership of the newsletter. The newsletter now reaches all water and sewer customers vs. only in-town customers.

Mailing the newsletter as in insert in water bills:

  • Reduced the cost and production time of the newsletter by eliminating mailing costs and eliminating the need to produce a file of current mailing addresses for printing.
  • Allowed for more frequent mailings of the newsletter.

The new version has resulted in a savings of about $3,500 annually in printing and mailing costs.  The electronic version also provides some additional and more timely information as it can be finalized closer to its delivery date.

See the most recent newsletter:

N.C. City and County Communicators was formed in March 2007 and encourages professional development and networking among local governmental communications professionals. More than 133 award entries were received this year. Communicators from Orange County and the Town of Chapel Hill also received 2017 awards.