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Save Our Towns wins second national communications award

March 17, 2016

Hannah Samlall with Brenda Marrah in Galax

Hannah Samlall, a senior, with Brenda Marrah, a grant writer, with fire truck in Galax, Virginia.
Hannah Samlall of Warrenton, Virginia, a senior majoring in communications, hops on a fire truck alongside Brenda Marrah, a grant writer who has brought millions of dollars into Galax, including grants to the fire department. Samlall was the Save Our Towns field reporter on Episode Six.

For the second time this year, Save Our Towns has been recognized in a national public relations competition, receiving silver in two categories in the Bulldog Digital/Social PR competition. The Bulldog Reporter competition is the only U.S.-based contest exclusively judged by journalists.

The categories are best use of digital or social communications for cause/advocacy/corporate social responsibility and best use of video in a digital/social environment.

Earlier this year, Save Our Towns won first place in Best Community Affairs in PR Daily-Ragan’s 2015 worldwide Corporate Social Responsibility Awards competition.

The video series is released in monthly Web episodes and targeted to small-town leaders.

Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs, says: "The very word bulldog connotes unrelenting persistence. With almost two full seasons of Save Our Towns completed, Outreach and International Affairs and Virginia Tech faculty have demonstrated a commitment to consistently share expertise, news, and information through a shared social media and video platform to Appalachian towns throughout the commonwealth and beyond."

"The work, from every contestant, is a testament to creative brilliance at the highest levels," says Pulitzer Prize winning author, journalist at the Oregonian and Bulldog Award judge Tom Hallman Jr.

The mission of Save Our Towns is to guide and inspire leaders working hard in Appalachia to improve their towns. The program's second season wraps up this spring and includes an upcoming bonus episode on Flint, Michigan's, struggles with lead-poisoned water.

Save Our Towns connects mayors and town managers with each other, in the process generating more than 8,000 views on YouTube and almost 20,000 page views on the Save Our Towns website.

The program's footprint is Virginia's Appalachian region as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission, encompassing 25 counties and 80 towns and independent cites in the commonwealth.

A Save Our Towns Summit is planned for September 15 on the Blacksburg campus and is scheduled to include a juried student poster exhibition.

 

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