During Rutgers University’s 59th annual municipal public information contest, Deptford Township won big: Its public information program was judged best overall for a state municipality for the fall of 2020.
The contest is meant to promote the use of successful and innovative procedures that increase the local government’s ability to meet citizen needs and enhance access to government services.
“Well there is a process behind it: I shoot videos every week, and we try and get content out to Deptford residents as best we can on a daily basis,” said Mayor Paul Medany.
Entries were judged in four areas: content, clarity, adaptability (does the entry lend itself to further use and adoption by other municipalities?), and appearance (is the information easily understood?)
Municipalities were broken down into sections and evaluated by size. Classifications were: towns with fewer than 5,000 people (approximately 190 state municipalities); 5,000 to 20,000 people (250 municipalities); and over 20,000 people (130 municipalities), which qualified Deptford.
“In 2017 and 2019, we were an honorable mention but didn’t win,” said Medany.
Other winners were best print media, best digital media, best innovative media, and a special award for COVID coverage. Materials submitted were produced between Sept. 1, 2019, and Aug. 31, 2020. Winners were notified in October.
“This is a huge accomplishment for us because it included over 100 different municipalities,” Medany noted.
The award was presented at the 105th annual New Jersey State League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City.
The contest sponsors hope that in the future, this will generate interest and provide incentives for municipalities to develop or enhance their public information programs. Sponsors included Rutgers Center for Government Services, The New Jersey Municipal Management Association, and the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.