Original video programming from the Village of Oak Park, as well as its ongoing social media efforts, won top awards from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors in September.
The Government Programming Awards, presented Sept. 19 at the annual NATOA conference in Orlando, Florida honor excellence in broadcast, cable, multimedia and electronic programming produced by government agencies. VOP-TV and the Village's Communications Department swept the field, winning first place in all three categories they entered, including an award for overall excellence.
In the Programming Excellence category, VOP-TV highlighted more than a dozen videos produced for television and YouTube focusing on public safety, dining, public health, Village government, sustainability initiatives, outdoor festivals and other Villagerelated topics. In each case, VOP-TV Manager Joe Kreml worked closely with the various Village departments and divisions to bring the videos to life.
"There's so much going on in Oak Park in a typical year," Kreml says. "We're never short on ideas for new videos, and we always try to push the envelope and tell the story in new and unconventional ways."
In the Public Information Series category, VOP-TV submitted a new dining series co-produced with a local newspaper columnist. Each episode of You Really Should Eat This features columnist David Hammond introducing viewers to a specialty dish at a local Oak Park restaurant. Two episodes from the series also were recently selected to screen at the Chicago International Food Film Festival in November.
The final category, Use of Social Media, was a newcomer to this year's GPA awards, but that didn't stop Social Media Coordinator Patrick Rollens from seizing on the opportunity to showcase the Village's efforts.
"We've found that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are excellent venues for reaching residents," Rollens says. "Whether we're sharing photos from an outdoor festival or soliciting feedback on a highway proposal, we can count on a techsavvy population of residents ready to dive into the digital online conversation."