Mississippi communications tools take top honors


By the Advocate

A special edition of the Mississippi United Methodist Advocate published shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast was recently named the best United Methodist print publication for the past year. 

Also receiving an award of excellence from the United Methodist Association of Communicators was The United Methodist Hour’s Time That Makes the Difference radio program, which won in the audio category.

“As heartbreaking as the storm and its aftermath were, I believe our United Methodist communicators did an outstanding job of providing information within our conference and around the world about the tragedy,” said Advocate editor Woody Woodrick. “Some of this work was done while the devastated areas lacked vital infrastructure, and I firmly believe these communications tools helped bring at least some relief to those affected.”

Said Shane Stanford, executive director of The United Methodist Hour: “We at the United Methodist Hour are honored by this recognition and are proud to continue the long tradition of providing outstanding programming that proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is a team effort, and there is no better team than the United Methodist Hour.

“We are especially proud of the award for radio because it highlights Keith (Tonkel) and his outstanding contribution as the host of Time That Makes the Difference.”

The awards were presented at the United Methodist Association of Communicators annual meeting in Indianapolis Oct. 18-21 and were among 15 total awards presented to communicators in the Mississippi Conference. Gwen Green, conference communications coordinator, graphic designer Cindy W. Clark and videographer Dempsey Amacker also received awards.

Most of the work honored related to Hurricane Katrina. The special edition was published Sept. 7, just over a week after the storm hit Mississippi on Aug. 29. The four-page edition carried photos and stories about the storm.

“This is a remarkable special edition,” the judges wrote. “Great reporting and lots of useful information. Excellent work on deadline.”

The special edition was also rated the top such effort in the annual conference/episcopal area division, and the Advocate was named top newspaper in its division.

Woodrick won the newswriting award for conference newspapers for his April 19 story headlined “Following God to ‘Goula” about a Georgia couple who sold most of their possessions and moved to Pascagoula to help with Katrina recovery.

Green won best of division awards for special publications and visual design. The publication was Voices of Katrina, which gave those affected by the storm a chance to share their stories. The design award, shared with Clark, was for the Hope Award poster which featured a photograph by Rev. Bruce Taylor of a lone flower standing amid the rubble left by Katrina.

The United Methodist Hour won best in division in television/cable production for the “Sailing Against the Wind” Time That Makes the Difference program.

Certificates of merit winners included:

Video/Film – Helping Heal Hearts and Homes; Green and Amacker
Video/Film – Be the Hope: Continuing Katrina Response; Green and Amacker
Special Publications – The Word newsletter; Green
Artwork – Hope Award Poster, Green and Clark
Print Design – Vol. 59, Issue 1, Mississippi United Methodist Advocate, Clark
Photography – A post-Katrina photo of Leggett Memorial UMC, Woodrick
Television/Cable – "Remembering Katrina," The United Methodist Hour