Coastkeeper Wins Two Bernays Awards

Bernays_San_DiegoIt starts like a bad joke—a lawyer, a scientist and writer walk into a room.

But that’s where it turns good. They put their heads together, strategically align their communications with their programs, and they win awards.

Last week, Public Relations Society of America San Diego and Imperial Counties honored San Diego Coastkeeper with two awards for our communications.

Our team won a Bronze Edward L Bernays Award of Excellence for our blog and a Silver Edward L Bernays Award for our crisis communication response to last year’s sewage spill. Both are the top honors in each category.

That’s no joke.

Along with Yana Titova, a long-term communications volunteer who coordinated so much of the work that lead to these awards, I attended the evening event packed full of the region’s most talented public relations agencies and in-house teams from organizations like the San Diego County Water Authority and City of San Diego.

Little ole us. A one-person department depending on a rockstar volunteer and thoughtful writing and expertise from program staff and organizational leadership. Little ole us with zero budget and no expert agency on hand to help. We won.

Like so much of our work at San Diego Coastkeeper, it is just us. Our Waterkeeper Jill Witkowski is often the sole voice at the Regional Board asking for more effective controls to stop urban runoff from polluting our waves. Our Water Quality Lab Manager Travis Pritchard is one person running a volunteer-driven countywide water quality testing program to help the region understand what pollution damages our waters. It’s Jill that is the one person commenting on the San Diego Bay Cleanup Team’s poor communications plan because the communities that will be impacted by the massive cleanup deserve an effective strategy.

And you know what? We like those odds.

We’re small and nimble. We’re creative and connected. We’re dedicated to protecting and restoring fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters for every resident and visitor in San Diego County. And we know that one voice isn’t really just one voice. Our voice is the megaphone for each of you—our volunteers, our supporters, our members and the families and workers in San Diego County that rely on clean waters to live happy, healthy lifestyles.

A scientist, a lawyer and writer walk into a room. And they bring with them thousands of San Diegans each wanting fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters. And they get results.

It’s not a joke at all.

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