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Find commonalities, then go deeper and understand our differences

By Nadine L. Monn

Dr. Deanna Ferree Womack leads plenary (photo by George Conklin)

Reflect for a moment on the term “interreligious communication.” What role does a communicator play in these efforts: promoting religious literacy? Perhaps fostering understanding of various faith traditions? Or is it cultivating relationships between people of different faiths?

In Friday’s plenary, “Interreligious Communication: How Does It Look, How Should It Look – Models from the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries,” Dr. Deanna Ferree Womack of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University invited convention attendees to examine these questions while highlighting positive and negative examples from the last three centuries.

Initially, Womack distinguished between interfaith relations and interfaith dialogue.

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Communicators attend workshop on crisis scenarios

by Ryan Koch

Katherine Kerr, APR (photo by Andy and Malinda Rawls)

Katherine Kerr, APR, the co-founder of Polaris Non-Profit Solutions, LLC, reprised her excellent crisis communications workshop from last year.

Walking participants through the steps of responding to crises, Katherine drew from her vast experience to provide real-world examples of crises that will eventually occur.  Although each crisis is unique, they will all follow similar patterns both in terms of preparation for them, and in terms of response to them.

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Reputation management requires planning, evaluation of risks and opportunities

By Kurt Gwartney

Katherine Morales, APR (photo by George Conklin)

Communication professionals must remain vigilant about the reputation of their companies and institutions in the age of social media and ever-changing news cycles.

“Reputation management is about managing in the good times and bad times,” said Katherine Morales, APR, in her presentation during the 2018 Religion Communicators Council convention in Atlanta.

Morales said it is commonplace for institutions to be thrust into the court of public opinion on a divisive social issue. While a quality reputation can help a company or organization through the rough times, communicators also need a plan for dealing with a reputation challenge or crisis.

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Ask, decide, and take action: Tips for visualizing expanded media engagement

By Michelle Collins, Director of Communication and Discipleship (Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA)

Jacqueline Fuller (photo by George Conklin)

In her workshop, Jacqueline Fuller, RCC Board member and host and executive producer of the TV Show “Interfaith Connections” in Washington, D.C., gave participants practical steps for visualizing an expanded media engagement on a limited budget. The purpose of the “Visualizing Your 15 Minutes of Fame” workshop was to strengthen the competency and confidence participants felt when wanting to increase the visibility and connection between their organization and the media.

Participants in the workshop represented a variety of faith communities, from Episcopal to 7th Day Adventist, from Buddhist to Lutheran, as well as some independent communicators and consultants. They began by sharing their goals for the workshop – most identifying a goal having to do with strengthening the connection between their organization and the media and expanding visibility and publicity.

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Awards presented to religion communicators

By Eron Henry, APR

DeRose-Hinkhouse Best in Class winners (photo by George Conklin)

The Religion Communicators Council (RCC), the oldest public relations organization in the United States, recognized outstanding work done by its members in 2017.

The annual DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards are given annually to active members of the RCC who demonstrate excellence in religious communication and public relations.

News, feature, promotional and other materials in all forms of media – print, electronic and digital – with either local, regional or national reach, were recognized.

Winners were presented with Best in Class, Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit during the DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia on April 5.

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