The people responsible for getting the word out about Monmouth County government — Howell resident William K. Heine and Rumson resident Laura Kirkpatrick — this month received national recognition for their work.
The team took home awards from the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO) in four categories: news releases, speech-writing, photography and video production. All 3,077 U.S. counties are eligible to compete in the NACIO awards program.
"I am very proud of my staff because they work very hard all year long to publicize the many good things about Monmouth County government,” said Heine, public information director. "Being recognized by one's peers, especially on the national level, is extremely gratifying."
The awards are as follows:
- William Heine, Superior (1st), Photography — A photograph of a law enforcement officer paying tribute to a fallen brother at the county’s Sept. 11 ceremony.
- Laura Kirkpatrick, Superior (1st), Audio Visual Production — The "Monmouth in Focus" television show providing an overview of the Oceanic Bridge project.
- William Heine, Meritorious (3rd), Speech-writing — A graduation speech prepared for the basic law enforcement graduation class at the county’s Police Academy.
- Laura Kirkpatrick, Meritorious (3rd), News Release Writing — A news release titled “Oceanic Bridge to close for repairs” about the county’s project to replace the bridge’s bascule span last winter.
Kirkpatrick, the county's public information officer, said that without the TV crew of Brookdale Community College her award would not have been possible. She also acknowledged Cynthia Scott of Malboro, who is the public information officer for the sheriff's department. The former News 12 reporter is the host of "Monmouth in Focus," whose professionalism, Kirkpatrick says, "really makes it happen."
In addition to producing a monthly TV show and utilizing traditional media outlets such as radio stations and newspapers, the department makes available a weekly e-newsletter and posts information on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Residents can sign up for the newsletter from the county’s homepage at www.visitmonmouth.com, where they can also find links for various social media outlets.
The judges reviewed nearly 350 entries in nine categories from large and small counties and county associations for the 2011 Awards of Excellence. El Paso County, Colo., collected the entries and coordinated with public relations and media groups to judge each of the categories.