Editorial: Broadcast shines on PRWeek Awards night

After two intense days of judging by 50 or so distinguished practitioners, the 2004 PRWeek Awards that took place this week were a showcase of industry best practice and a very public reward for endeavour. For all those who went up on stage to collect their awards, receiving the acclaim of friends and strangers alike, congratulations.

Giving two of the most prestigious awards to either serving or former BBC journalists - business editor Jeff Randall was named Communicator of the Year while former reporter Paul Charles, now Eurostar director of communications , was PR Professional of the Year - was of course a coincidence. But it does help highlight the ever-growing importance of the broadcast media in running corporate comms campaigns.

This importance was underlined again by the broadcast category itself.

It was noticable, for example, that all four of the shortlisted entries were instantly recognisable and memorable. The worthy winner, Broadview and Norwich Union's work on publicising the insurer's 'flood map', will have been familiar to anyone who owns a TV, and is an excellent example of the way corporate communicators can create compelling enough content for broadcasters to latch onto.

In this category, certainly, it did not feel as though the media relations process was one of convincing sceptical journalists of the merit of a particular editorial idea - rather it was a collaborative process that ensured everyone, from the brand to the media owner, emerged with a win.

Journalists would be horrified by this description of news generation, but it works and wins awards.

The other category especially of note was Young Professional of the Year, won against fierce competition by Lewis PR's Kath Pooley. In both this category and with the finalists for the inaugural James Maxwell Award (won by James Fryer), the extent to which the industry is attracting the very best young talent should be of great reassurance to employers in all sectors. The scale of achievement and ambition exhibited by all those who even came close in these categories was quite inspiring.

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