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Sharing the story, winning awards

MSU Denver takes top honors for video, online newsroom and magazine from Colorado public-relations group.

By Cory Phare

May 29, 2018

Colorado public-relations group gold award presentationMetropolitan State University of Denver is painting the town red with Roadrunner success stories – and people are taking notice.

The Public Relations Society of America’s Colorado chapter recently awarded MSU Denver its Golden Pick Award for best video piece (for this story on homelessness and students), best online newsroom (for the Insider platform) and best magazine (for the Metropolitan Denver Magazine). 

The University also took home a second-place Silver Pick award for executive communications related to DACA information-sharing with students and the external public. 

“We were competing against the best of the best – marketing and PR work from for-profit companies and major nonprofits throughout Colorado,” said Julie Lucas, senior director of integrated marketing and communication. “It’s incredibly validating for all of the hard work from our Marketing and Communications team to help tell the MSU Denver story every day.”

A large part of this work has been integrating a tactical approach to storytelling, aligning content with channels, all while keeping senior-leadership priorities in mind.

“Having a strategic vision sets us apart,” said Dan Vaccaro, senior content strategist/news director. “We try to find messaging that fits within the framework of President Janine Davidson’s vision and priorities; we build that out to our audiences, from students to employees, alums and external news media.

“And quality is at the center of everything – if the headlines, story or other elements don’t work, no one is going to care.”

Another key element? Design, which frames how the MSU Denver stories affect audiences.

“There are two important things that design does,” said Scott Surine, interim director of brand strategy. “First, it plays a role in creating a tone – what’s the look and feel? And secondly, it guides the viewer’s eye, creating a hierarchy of content for what information to read first.”

At the center of it all, though, is the story. These are the zigzag roads our students run, the quality faculty research and the depth of our alumni, affecting transformation with their workforce-ready Roadrunner educations.

“We’ve really made some extraordinary progress with the development of our brand-journalism program,” Lucas said. “From a robust newsroom platform to our video, magazine and every other channel – it’s about showcasing everything that makes MSU Denver unique.”

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