Northeastern University’s communications team on Tuesday won three national awards at PR News’s Platinum PR Awards in New York, topping a group of finalists that included PepsiCo, National Geographic, and Johnson & Johnson.
The university’s media relations team and its in-house news organization, News@Northeastern, grabbed the top awards in the categories of Digital Communications, External Publication, and Corporate Communications.
Northeastern was one of only two organizations to win three awards. The other, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., is a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company.
“These awards belong to everyone in the Northeastern community—the faculty, students, alumni, and staff who make our storytelling possible,” said Renata Nyul, vice president for communications at the university, who oversees both the university’s press team and News@Northeastern.
The PR News Platinum Awards recognize outstanding communications and marketing in a variety of media, including video, website design, and mobile apps. A panel of judges selected finalists based on how well they articulated campaign objectives, executed their strategies, and evaluated return on investment.
Northeastern was recognized in the digital communications category for its three-pronged approach to storytelling, which includes the use of social media, digital design, and newswriting. The university bested initiatives from National Geographic, PepsiCo, and Johnson & Johnson to win the top honor.
In the corporate communications category, Northeastern topped companies such as Capital One for deploying a unique press strategy to secure top-tier external press for groundbreaking research and discovery. In the past year alone, Northeastern’s media relations team has secured press coverage in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, Financial Times, and The Washington Post, among other leading publications.
“Nothing makes your story more credible than earned press,” added Nyul. “But press releases are no longer the secret to actually getting press. Relationships with reporters, building an in-house newsroom, and hiring journalists to tell stories—that is what works.”
News@Northeastern won best external publication for its storytelling approach: The organization reports upon and promotes the university’s groundbreaking research and creates compelling ways to cover current events showcasing the expertise of faculty in disciplines across the university. The department’s workspace was redesigned into an open-concept newsroom to encourage collaboration between writers, photographers, designers, web developers, and media relations strategists.
Northeastern’s awards were accepted by Michael Armini, senior vice president for External Affairs; Nyul; and Kevin Deane, digital design director for News@Northeastern. David Filipov, the former Moscow bureau chief of The Washington Post, and a Pulitzer Prize winner, is executive editor of News@Northeastern.
Last summer, Northeastern was recognized at the Social Media Awards for its global Snapchat takeover map, which enables students to tell their stories in a visceral, firsthand way, by posting directly to the university’s official account. News@Northeastern photographers, including Matt Modoono, won six awards at the annual symposium for the University Photographers’ Association of America.
News@Northeastern content can be accessed at its website as well as by free subscription newsletter, which is emailed weekday mornings to more than 50,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other subscribers.