Tom Unger, APR, ABC, Fellow PRSA
Regional Communications Manager
What past Spotlight-winning project are you most proud of?
It would have to be the one I received in 2008 for a news release I wrote about a Salem woman who was planning to retire from Wells Fargo after working at the company for more than 62 years. The release itself was not complicated or difficult to write, but it generated a TON of positive results, which brought so much joy to the retiree. The release wound up as a front page story in The Statesman Journal. Later that year in a readers’ poll, more than 200 people chose the article as the “Best Heartwarming Story” of the year. The Oregon Bankers Association also wound up honoring the retiree. She remains grateful and keeps in contact with me.
What do you think is the key to Spotlight success?
Make sure your two-page project summary includes all the information the judges are being asked to review, including budget and measurable, specific objectives and results. If your project does not yet have results, don’t bother entering until it does. Without including your specific objectives and results, the judges won’t have any way to determine the success of your work. I have posted other contest entry tips on my blog at NewsWritingPro.com.
Why should others enter the Spotlight awards?
Earning a Spotlight award has numerous benefits. It validates your work in the eyes of your coworkers, your industry peers, your clients, your supervisors and, most importantly, yourself. It shows you are among the top professionals in your field and that your work is outstanding and worthy of recognition.
What project do you plan to enter in this year’s awards?
I’m pretty choosy about which projects I enter. I will not enter an awards competition unless I have worked on a project in the past year that is truly extraordinary and had, yes, you guessed it, measurable, specific objectives and results. To do otherwise would be a waste of my time and money and the judges’ time.