Two NIU publications win international awards

Logo of the 2011 APEX Awards for Publication ExcellenceTwo new NIU publications produced by the Division of University Relations were singled out for excellence in the 2011 Awards for Publication Excellence competition.

The APEX Awards are sponsored by Communications Concepts, a producer of newsletters and other resources for professionals who write, edit and manage business communications. They recognize excellence in graphic design, editorial content and effectiveness in communicating.

This year, the international competition drew more than 3,300 entries from across North America and from as far away as Germany, France and Singapore.

The NIU publication, “Today’s Challenges – Tomorrow’s Solutions” received a Grand Award for overall excellence, a distinction extended to only 100 publications, of which only three were produced by universities. The other NIU publication singled out – “Dream. Discover. Do.” – was one of only three university entries in the Marketing & Public Relations Writing category to receive an Award of Excellence for writing.

Making those honors particularly impressive, said Kathy Buettner, vice president for University Relations, was that NIU was competing against similar publications produced not just by other universities, but also by major corporations and large not-for-profit agencies.

Among the other Grand Award winners were publications produced by Toyota, Lockheed Martin, the American Red Cross and the Walt Disney Co.

“To win a competition of this caliber speaks volumes about the strength of the creative staff that we have within this great university,” Buettner said. “It demonstrates that we are well equipped to help NIU stand out in the increasingly competitive higher education marketplace.”

Today’s Challenges – Tomorrow’s Solutions“Today’s Challenges – Tomorrow’s Solutions,” featured the writing of Tom Parisi, Mark McGowan and Joe King of Media and Public Relations, and photography by Don Butler, Scott Walstrom, George Tarbay, Bob Banke and Wade Duerkes of Media Services Photographic Services. The book was edited by Virginia Seymour and designed by Jorie Lee, both of the Office of Publications.

The brochure, which focused specifically on research across the university, impressed evaluators in all facets – writing, design and photography. In their comments, the judges wrote: “Research projects – each with a concise, interesting, narrative overview of the program, its goals, and results – combines nicely with a look at the faculty members behind each project. All presented in a very appealingly designed large-format booklet.”

Dream. Discover. Do.A second publication – “Dream. Discover. Do.” – provides an overview of NIU and how it enhances the region. It features the writing of Parisi and McGowan and the photography of Walstrom and Tarbay. The book was edited by Virginia Seymour and designed by Barbara Kolb, both of the Office of Publications.

The awards are a source of pride for the entire Division of University Relations, which was formed only two years ago in an effort to better use the strengths of NIU’s communications and creative departments.

The division includes the offices of Publications, Media and Public Relations, Web Communications and Media Services, as well as Government Relations and Board of Trustees Operations.

“I am extremely proud of everyone involved in the production of these booklets,” said NIU President John Peters. “These awards provide vivid examples of the synergy that has developed since we brought these organizations together under the University Relations banner to better tell the story of NIU.”

The books were the first in a set of four created by University Relations to help raise the profile of the university within the higher education community, with businesses across the region and with other key audiences.

The remaining two publications (completed after the APEX 2011 deadline) are “Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow,”  which focuses on work in the arts and humanities at NIU, and “People, Planet and Partnership,” which spotlights activities within the College of Business, the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology and the College of Law.

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