UC Berkeley brings home the gold for campus communications

UC Berkeley’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs has won a Gold Award for excellence in news writing from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for its efforts to communicate campus news to the public, media, alumni, parents and friends of the campus.

(UC Berkeley video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally)

The council, which received more than 3,300 entries from some 700 higher educational institutions for its 2016 Circle of Excellence Awards in all categories, awarded its top prize to a package of five news pieces published on Berkeley News in 2015 on topics ranging from gentrification in the Bay Area to how the campus is reinventing sanitation to a formerly incarcerated student who used literature to get through solitary confinement.

“This entry was marked by exceptionally well-written and compelling stories about the institution and its people,” wrote the judges in their notes. “UC Berkeley got it right with readable, human interest stories that bring credit to the university.”

(UC Berkeley video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally)

A Silver Award also went to the public affairs office for excellence in research, medicine and science news writing, which “clearly communicated complicated science without dumbing it down, making it accessible to the general audience the university serves through its website as well as through mainstream media.” The package of five research articles included stories on climate change and its effect on the global economy, octopuses’ unique hunting behavior, bioengineering of the human heart, Mars losing its largest moon and sleep’s role in Alzheimer’s disease.

The Berkeley Web redesign project, produced by the public affairs Web and marketing team, received a bronze for its comprehensive digital design system for a highly decentralized campus. “It is a feat to keep the site simple for the breadth of items that could be competing for homepage presence,” said the judges.

California magazine took home a bronze for feature writing for “Into the Deep Freeze,” a story about the first man — Berkeley alumnus and retired psychologist James Bedford — to have his body purposely frozen after death. The judges noted, “This story points to something that might be a trend in the future and poses a fascinating question: why doesn’t everyone try it?”

For a complete list of winners, visit the CASE Awards site.