Editorial: Specialist judges to mirror diversification

Time is running out to enter this year's PRWeek Awards and entries continue to roll in. A stellar line-up of judges representing all the constituents of the PR spectrum will pore over the submissions in early July.

This year the judging process has been modified in recognition of the fact that the industry is becoming more specialist.

Both the shortlisted entries and the winners for each category will be decided upon by a select panel of specialists in that category. So the crisis management campaign of the year will be judged by issues and crisis management experts, the public affairs categories will be decided by practitioners renowned for their political and lobbying nous, and so on.

In the past, specialist panels drew up the shortlists, with a more generalist panel sitting down at a later stage to decide on the winner. The more generic awards, such as for communicator of the year, PR professional of the year and agency of the year will be decided by the editor in conjunction with the chairman of the judges, Vodafone corporate affairs director Simon Lewis.

In recognition of 2005 being the Year of the Volunteer - and of organisations that demonstrate their commitment to CSR - this year sees the introduction of a pro bono award to recognise PR practitioners who volunteer their communications expertise.

The deadline for all entries is 3 June and they should be sent to senior events manager Bridget Drummond (bridget.drummond@haynet.com).

Industry dogged by staff retention issues.

Stemming the brain drain is becoming an increasingly crucial issue for the PR profession - particularly at executive and middle-management level.

Readers still have a week to participate in the PRWeek/Ketchum Staff Retention Survey, available at prweek.com, which will help pinpoint the major junctures in people's careers.

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