Prism awards up the ante


The Prism awards, awarded to professionals in public relations and communication management, are joining their peers in the larger communication industry by implementing a more robust and accountable judging process. Along with the Loeries (for advertising communication) and the PICA awards (publishing), both already hosting their events in Cape Town, the Prisms will also join the party in the mother city for the first time in its 14 year existence.
Improved judging system

The improved judging system, which splits the entries in the 26 official categories into three clusters, sees a chief judge and five additional judges reviewing each entry, a significant improvement from the two judges on each entry in previous years. Richard Linning, International Public Relations Association (IPRA) president, gives an international perspective to the judging process.

Daniel Munslow, a chief judge on one of the entry clusters and involved in driving the changes at the Prism awards, says more people judging, and judges with greater expertise in the categories they judge, mean better debate and more credible winners. Entrants will also have access to judges’ comments on their submissions, should they request it.

So far the changes seem to be having the desired effect – entry numbers nearly doubled from last year to 166 this year.

In a bid to engage the broader industry, entrants have also been uploaded onto the Prism award site for peer review. This review does not influence the winning entries, though.

The judges rate work on five specific points, namely research, objectives, planning, execution, and measurement. Munslow says entrant submissions in background research and measurement sometimes fall short but that this is improving.

The entry requirements were changed last year to force entrants not to use multiplying factors (such as prominence, prestige of the media channel etc) with the Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) measurement method (which compares the cost of a paid advertisement with the same amount of space or airtime of an unpaid publicity item) for submissions. Only a direct 1:1 comparison of value can be used by entrants, in line with international standards.

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