A night at the PRism Awards (that we didn’t win any of) June 13, 2009Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.
The outcome was never in doubt. Every year I join a group of my colleagues from RIT University News at the annual PRism Awards, sponsored by the Rochester chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Simply put, it’s a salute to the best work taking place in the local public relations field, and I’m used to our team walking away with top honors in at least a few categories. Well, that wasn’t going to be the case this year, and I already knew that heading into Thursday evening’s event.
Michelle Cometa, the newest member of the University News staff, served as this year’s awards chair. Not one to express any level of disappointment EVER!, I knew she had felt bad about informing me weeks prior to the ceremony that we had been shut out. No PRisms this year. But all was not lost. We would be receiving three Awards of Excellence, which is basically runner-up recognition, for our entries in the categories of Integrated Campaign, Media Relations, and Photography. Whatever.
“No PRisms, guys,” I told the staff. “What? Not even the magazine?” Our alumni magazine publication has won a PRism in six of the seven previous years. “Not even the magazine,” I said. There was half a temptation to just blow off the ceremony this year. “You know what?” I thought. “Let’s go. Everybody who helped put together an entry, let just go enjoy a night out.” And, wow, did we!
Bar? Open. Heavy hors d’oeuvre? Not so heavy. “I’m going to need more food than this,” said magazine editor Kathy Lindsley, not one to ever hold back an opinion. After a couple glass of wine, I knew what she was getting at. Each of was quickly developed a clear case of the sillies, and now it was time to enter the ballroom to begin the presentation.
Certainly you’re familiar with the concept of the “church giggles.” It’s when you’re supposed to behave, but that only makes it harder to keep from laughing. Okay, that was pretty much the University News table. Kathy pulled out the office digital camera and, before long it was being passed around the table. This was starting to get ugly.
God bless Dresden Engle, the public relations director for the George Eastman House, and the evening’s emcee. Dresden’s all about having fun, so she kindly pointed out that “RIT has the rockin’-est table.” Validation! I guess that basically took us off the hook.
As the presentation continued, three of us would eventually stand to accept our framed certificates—first me for Integrated Campaign, then John Follaco for Media Relations, and finally Sue Weisler for Photography. Flash! Flash! Flash! “For goodness sake, Kathy, put away the camera.”
The only PRism statuette that made its way to our table was the one Michelle accepted on behalf of another local agency. “What the hell, Michelle?” She just shook her head at me and laughed, which was the correct response. Plus, I couldn’t help but noticing during the ceremony that you pretty much needed to be a pregnant woman to receive a PRism this year. I’m just sayin’.
So, after some coffee and dessert, it was time to head home. As I walked outside with my coworker Kelly Downs, we immediately noticed the rain coming down. Kelly, who had just come from a hair appointment that afternoon, immediately expressed concern. “Here,” I said as I handed her my framed Award of Excellence. “This should to the trick.”
On the way to her car, frame held overhead, I heard Kelly say, “Works like a charm.”
Yeah, try that with a statuette.