We live in a digital world. The movies we watch, the music we listen to and the pictures and videos we take are all in digital form. For some of us, even the books we read are digital. As of 2015, I am happy to say that the the NCPRSA InSpire Awards are also digital.
Looking back, especially after writing the above paragraph, it’s hard to believe the decision was a tough one for me as the awards chair. I kept asking myself, “Will people accept or reject the format change? Is this really the year to make the switch?” But perhaps the biggest question I had was, “What about the thud factor?”
That’s right the thud factor. Having been involved in PRSA awards for several years – writing, submitting and judging entries – I know that there’s something impressive about flipping though an award binder that is stacked full of evidence of the entrant’s hard work and dedication. These binders make a loud thud when dropped on a table.
However, knowing that many other awards submissions are strictly online and the fact that the transition to digital was inevitable, I simply could not justify putting off the switch another year. Aside from just making the decision to make the switch to a digital format, I promised myself that I was going to stick to it. There would be no regrets, no matter what happened. And just think about all the paper we would save!
We are now a third of the way through the process and I’m excited to say that it has been smooth and easy – so far. Sure, I fielded many, many questions about the format and offered my advice on best practices when solicited. On the day of the final deadline, I thought my phone might never stop ringing as the calls came in back-to-back as the clock inched closer to the cutoff time for submissions. But, much to my surprise, no one challenged the format or the submission process.
Then it came time to sort through all 86 entries, organize them by category and enter them into a spreadsheet for the judging chapter. I found this step to be the most challenging, and ironically it had nothing to do with the digital format. In terms of format, it made the process of sending the entries to the PRSA Sierra Nevada Chapter for judging much easier. I did not have the challenge of boxing up all the entries or lugging them the post office for shipping. There is also the fact that it was more cost effective to share a link with the judges as opposed to ship them.
It might be too soon to say with 100 percent certainty, but I think the digital switch has been a success. I invite you to attend this year’s banquet on May 12 and ask me after the awards are handed out to the winners!