Saturday, November 29, 2014

Five Reasons to Serve as a Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Competition Judge

By Chris O'Neil
Communications Director

White wigged,black robed, gavel holding judgeWe’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s good to be the king.” (Thank you Mel Brooks)  But I’m here to tell you that it’s good to be the judge – well at least a judge.

That’s right, it’s good to be a judge, specifically, a judge for the National Association of Government Communicators’ Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards.

Ok, so there’s no crown jewels, court jesters, powdered wigs, black robes or cool gavels, but there still some good perks to serving as a judge for the annual competition that recognizes excellence in government communications in more than 40 categories (including the newest for Infographics).

What’s in it for me you may ask?  Here are five solid perks:

1.  Resume building creds.  We all work.  We all work hard.  We all work hard at communicating about our agencies.  Not every one gets the chance to work hard at evaluating competition submissions, providing insightful feedback and determining, sometimes by the narrowest of margins, who goes home with the plaque or trophy.  Truth.  Serving as a judge sets you apart from your contemporaries – it establishes you as a regarded subject matter expert with valuable experience from which others seek to learn.

2.  Insight.  Remember when you were learning to write news copy?  What did your instructor or professor tell you?  They told you to read, and then read some more.  When you serve as a judge you read a lot of submissions, which gives you insight.  You get to see what other teams are producing, how they are evaluating effort and success.  You get to see how they addressed an issue, developed a strategy, set goals and implemented tactics.  You get to see some good ideas.  Chances are some of that is bound to rub off and maybe help you with an issue or project you’ve been struggling with.

3.  Professional Development.  Judges don’t get away with simply giving a numeric value.  Our judges provide insightful remarks – they mentor folks who entered submissions.  Serving as a judge is a great way to sharpen your saw as a mentor, and to reinvigorate your commitment to the professional development of the communicators you supervise. 

4.  Bling.  If you attend the 2015 school, your name badge gets emblazoned with one of those wicked-cool ribbons that say you were a judge.  Hang that with your other event credentials.  Sweet.

5.  Sense of Pride.  Yeah, it’s pretty satisfying to know you had a hand in making someone else’s day, maybe even their career.  You’re the one.  Go you (cue Joy Zipper tune "One").

So there you have it, five solid reasons for becoming an NAGC Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards Competition judge.  So what are you waiting for?  Go to our website at, download the judge’s application form, fill it out, and take your first step to greater professional fulfillment.  It’s good to be a judge.

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