Georgia Baptist communicators bring home numerous awards in national competition


Associate Managing Editor Scott Barkley's column "Remembering the Jesus Man and His Voice for the Gospel" received a 1st place honor in the Editorial/Opinion category. SCOTT BARKLEY/Index

ALEXANDRIA, VA — Baptist Communicators Association recognized the work of Georgia Baptists 14 times at the 54th annual Wilmer C. Fields Awards Competition, held April 20 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton here.

Linda Wilkins

Barry Dollar

The annual competition presents the best work among Baptist communicators over the most recent calendar year. Areas of contribution include news and feature writing, print and digital design, public relations campaigns, and video as well as audio production.

The Communications Department of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board garnered several awards. State missionary Linda Wilkins received a 1st place award for an app for Conclave, a student ministry training event sponsored by Student Groups and Faith Development.

Jon Graham

Rod Hampton

Ron Lawson

In addition, Jon Graham earned a 1st place nod with his audio piece on former professional wrestler Ted DiBiase with "Ted DiBiase: The Price of Fame." In a collective effort, Graham, Rod Hampton, and Ron Lawson were presented a 1st place finish for their work on Life With Purpose Radio.

Communications department member Barry Dollar also received recognition for several entries. The state missionary earned two 2nd place finishes. One came for the #ReachingNextGen website (adapted template) and the other for the Move Conference website (adapted template). His development of the Confluence website received 3rd place in the event or promotion category, adapted template.

The Communications team also earned a 2nd place finish in Public Relations or Special Events, less than $25,000 budget, for their work on The Big Invite. That campaign urged churches and leaders to a focused preparation on inviting visitors to Easter services. 

Index work recognized for writing, Fullard for design

The Christian Index received several awards as well. Managing Editor Joe Westbury earned a 1st place finish in News Writing, Single Article, more than 1,500 words for "The Face of DACA, The Hands of Georgia Baptists." The story chronicled the efforts of Colquitt County Georgia Baptists in preventing the deportation of teenager Jonathan Cervantes. A photo of Cervantes attending Vacation Bible School as a child proved foundational for his case. Westbury's work on the DACA issue also received a 1st place finish in Feature Writing.

Index Managing Editor Joe Westbury and Associate Managing Editor Scott Barkley stand with honors received at the annual awards dinner hosted by Baptist Communicators Association, this year in Alexandria, VA. MARC IRA HOOKS/Special

A series of articles written by Westbury on Mission:Dignity earned a 3rd place finish for series or package in Feature Writing. The story focused on Bethea and Sandra Fielding, a Woodstock couple who received a new living space thanks to efforts from members of First Baptist Woodstock and Johnson Ferry Baptist Church.

The series – "Mission:Dignity Couple Served Others for a Lifetime, Now Are Served by Georgia Churches" – was posted last July.

In Single Article, less than 750 Words, Associate Managing Editor Scott Barkley brought a 3rd place finish with "Columbus Church Sign Goes Viral, Howbow Dah?" The story recounted the welcome sign for Britt David Baptist Church and it's reference to a viral video at the time.

Barkley also received nods in the Opinion/Editorial category. His piece "Remembering the Jesus Man and His Voice for the Gospel" brought a 1st place finish. Another column, this one about an 88-year-old Shorter University graduate – "Tired Schmired: Meet Horace Sheffield" – earned second place in that same category.

Natasha Fullard

Freelance designer Natasha Fullard, a regular contributor in Georgia Baptist communications efforts, earned a 3rd place finish for her cover design of "A History of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board: 1972-2017." The book, written by Index Editor J. Gerald Harris, was published last fall.

BCA is a professional organization of communicators who serve in editorial, public relations, electronic media, photography, management, marketing and graphic design positions principally within Baptist agencies and institutions. The group consists of some 250 members from across the United States and the world. 

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