Excellence in Communications Awards

CAPIO Awards are presented annually by the California Association of Public Information Officials to honor outstanding public agency information and communications programs. The 2017 awards were held in conjunction with the CAPIO Annual Conference on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at the Prado at Balboa Park.  View Award Powerpoint (PDF)



Interested in Ordering a Copy of Your Award?

You may contact ACP Publications and Marketing to order a copy of your award and have it shipped to your agency.  ACP will provide you a quote based on the quantity ordered and shipping for the award.

Carmina Bautista-Ortiz
ACP Publications & Marketing
10266 Birtcher Dr.
Jurupa Valley, CA 91752


The 2017 Awards Deadlines are:

Entries Open
January 17, 2017
Early Bird Entry Deadline
February 14, 2017
Regular Entries
February 15 – 28, 2017
Final Entry Deadline
Extended to March 1 at 5 pm!
Finalists Announced
March 20, 2017

CAPIO has established our annual awards program to recognize and honor outstanding professional work and accomplishment. This work represents standards of excellence and creativity and stand as inspiration for those in our profession. 


Tips for Success Webinar

CAPIO Awards of Excellence – How to Submit an Award-winning Entry 
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Noon- 1 p.m.

If you missed our January 19, 2017 "Keys to Success" webinar, you may view the RECORDED WEBINAR HERE.  Questions?  Contact Krista Noonan, VP Awards at knoonan@calstrs.com.   

Webinar Powerpoint (PDF)
Gold Winner - Award Entry Example 1 (Long Beach Water Department)
Gold Winner - Award Entry Example 2 (City of Santa Clarita)

Awards Finalists

Entries will be judged on overall quality, effectiveness of message (with measurable results where possible), creativity, and appropriate use of budget, rather than actual budget (with the exception of the “Dollar-Stretcher” category). Thus, projects or entities with smaller budgets can compete effectively with entries that have larger budgets. Generally, awards will be presented for first, second and third place. Where submissions may be fewer than necessary to select these, or if judges deem the quality insufficient, awards of merit or, possibly no awards, may be presented.


Any public information professional representing a California city, county, school, special district or other public agency may participate. In addition, private firms may submit awards on behalf of a public agency; however, the entry must be in the name of the public agency.

All entries must be for work performed and or executed in calendar year 2016. CAPIO membership is not a criteria for entry.

How to Enter

All entries are submitted online. To enter, you must complete and include all of the following items for each entry:

Materials should be submitted as a single PDF and cannot exceed a file size of 15 MB. If you are submitting near the deadline and paying by check, please emailed a copy of the check and send to info@capio.org.

For payment questions or issues submitting your entry, contact the CAPIO office at at info@capio.org.

A single work may be entered in multiple categories and an entrant may submit multiple works in each category, as long as separate entry fees are paid for each entry. Entry fees must accompany entries.  All entries must be for work completed in 2016.  Multi-year entries can be submitted within the appropriate category.


Early Bird, Jan. 17 to Feb. 14
CAPIO Member $100
Non-Member $150
Regular, Feb. 15 to March 1 at 5 pm 
CAPIO Member $125
Non-Member $175

Requirements & Judging

Entries will be judged based on:

  • Presentation (overall completeness and organization of entry)
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Results/Evaluation

Narrative Guidelines

  • No more than two typed pages, single-spaced with a minimum of 11 point font
  • Top right corner of each narrative page should include the agency’s name, award title and award category
  • For more information, please visit our narrative tips page.


Entries in each category will be evaluated by a panel of judges with experience in a wide range of public information and communications practices. All awards will be made at the sole discretion of the judges and are final. Entries will not be returned and become the property of CAPIO.

Award Notifications

Finalists will be notified by email in late March 2017 and will also be posted on the CAPIO website. From these finalists, the Award of Excellence winners / placements will be announced on April 5 at the CAPIO Awards of Excellence Ceremony in San Diego at the Prado at Balboa Park.

Award finalists are encouraged to bring a display if possible to show at the Annual conference.  Displays can include marketing promotional items, a binder or folder with program collateral, an image poster (on foam core backing if possible), or other creative display form. If finalists cannot attend the conference, the display can be sent to the CAPIO office or the conference hotel for display at the conference.


Entries are for work performed and or executed in calendar year 2016.  There is a multi-year category for work that began in 2015 and continued through 2016, but was completed in 2016.  If your project continues into 2017, we typically recommend that you wait until the project is fully complete so you can report on the metrics from the program.  However, you may elect to submit on a portion of the program - such as the development or planning process.  A single work may be entered in multiple entry categories and an entrant may submit multiple works in each entry category, as long as separate entry fees are paid for each submittal.    


1. Publications (Sub-Category)

  1. External and/or Special Purpose Publications. (Newsletters/Magazines/Brochures/Annual Reports/Calendars) (Entry Category)  Printed and/or electronic publications produced and distributed to an outside audience focusing on an organization, agency or government entity's activities or purpose. Includes newsletters, magazines, brochures, flyers, annual reports, calendars, etc.
  2. Internal and Employee-Focused Publications/Messaging. (Newsletters/Employee-Focused Communications) (Entry Category)  Printed publication and/or electronic newsletter, email updates or focused, call-to action message produced and distributed to an organization's internal audience.  Must show a commitment to employee information and staff relations and effectively communicate the desired message to the target audience.
  3. Media-Focused Messaging. (Includes Op-Eds, News Releases, etc.) (Entry Category) Includes feature article, editorial, opinion piece, news release, or other messages addressing a community or agency issue.  It may be a stand-alone piece or part of a program/campaign.  Be sure to specify results of your efforts in terms of media traction or stories published.
  4. Most Improved Publication. (Entry Category)  Entries in this category must include examples which effectively demonstrate marked improvement in the editorial and design quality over previously published versions.

2. Digital/Interactive (Sub-Category)

  1. Website. (Entry Category) a collection of related web pages designed for a particular organization, event or purpose.  Agency or issue-specific site.  Visually attractive, informative, ease of navigation, current and relevant information.  Include in entry an analysis of website statistics to show success of website.
  2. Most Effective Social/New Media Campaign. (Including Mobile and eGovernment Services (Entry Category)  Entries that reflect the effectiveness of various types of social/new media individually or collectively, including but not limited to Mobile outreach (apps, SMS, text campaigns), eGovernment (email campaigns), Facebook, blogging (if interactive), Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and more.  Does not include websites or web pages.  Campaign needs to include effectiveness metrics and analytics to measure success and support award entry.

3.  Video Production (Sub-Category)

  1. Video Production - Short Form (2 minutes or less).  (Entry Category)  Video spots which convey informational or persuasive message which benefits the agency or community(ies) it serves. Public Service Announcements and other videos less than two minutes are applicable to this category.
  2. Video Production - Long Form (anything over 2 minutes) (Entry Category)  Informational pieces in excess of two minutes.  These videos focus on educating, informing or persuading the audience for the benefit of the organization and constituent engagement.  Includes video series.


1. Graphic Design and Photography (Includes Custom Photography, Illustrations, Logos, Maps/Guides, Posters, etc.) (Entry Category)  Entries in this category should demonstrate unique creativity, command the target audience's attention, and effectively communicate a specific message or theme, whether it is a call-to-action, an issue campaign, or an overview of an event or certain agency/organization.  Includes designs and photos for print and electronic purposes, color and black-and-white.  Be sure to include examples of the artwork created along with links, if applicable.

3. Most Effective Data Visualization/Infographics (Entry-Category)  An effective and creative graphical and educational display of complex or comprehensive information, data, or call-to-action for internal or external audiences.


1. Go Green / Environmental / Conservation Programs (Entry Category)  Effective communication programs encouraging water and energy conservation, waste reduction/recycling, and resource efficiencies.  

2. Special Events and / or Media Press Conferences (Sub Category)  Marketing tools and special activities to promote celebrations, dedications, ribbon cuttings and other programs.  Focuses on events which resulted in increased constituent engagement and raising the profile of the government or government activity program, event, service, product or other government-related information.

  1. One-time events. (Entry Category) Such as groundbreaking ceremonies, media/press conferences, ribbon-cutting events, miscellaneous special events, etc.
  2. Recurring events.  (Entry Category)  Such as resident town halls, special events (concerts, parades, holiday-themed or seasonal events, carnivals, etc.).

4. Marketing Plans and Branding/Targeted Campaigns (Entry Category)  Effective communications plans and/or branding targeted marketing campaigns designed to achieve a particular result, e.g., voter registration, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, major infrastructure improvements, promoting new service, reinforcing or establishing identity/brand of agency or community, etc.

5. Most Creative Activity with Least Dollars Spent - "The Dollar Stretcher Award" (Entry Category)  Programs and materials that generate big impact with few resources expended.  Entries in all categories complete with limited funding that display creative use of funds to produce a quality product and achieve the intended goal.  "Produced with nothing but your shoelaces."  Must specify budget, additional resources and specific methods used to evaluate results.

6. Most Innovative Communications (Entry Category)  Recognizes a local government communications activity that pushes the limits of innovation, creativity or technology to reach an intended audience.

7. Crisis Communications/Public Safety Campaign (Entry Category)  Includes ongoing/general preparedness or specific crisis, man-made or natural disaster.

 Download / Print Category Descriptions

View Past Award Recipients