PASADENA, Calif. – The South County Tourism Council was recognized Monday by the North American Travel Journalists Association for travel reporting “excellence” in its publication, the South County Style Guide. The guide won first place for working under a marketing budget of $400,000 or less.
Competing against 500 other entrants, Style was singled-out for the depth of its “evocative storytelling and spell-binding photography,” gaining first in front of another travel publication out of redwood and winery rich Mendocino County, Calif.
Ultimately, it was a marrying of South County’s beautified natural venues, cultural hotspots and passionate journalism that “transported the reader” -- and stole the show. “The creativity is reflective of the vibrancy of the travel journalists’ community and destination marketing organizations,” said Helen Hernandez, CEO of NATJA, in prepared remarks.
The Council attracted national attention for its coverage of South County’s tourist attractions in 2008 and 2010, and won another first place award in 2011 for its mobile platform, “Beautiful South County.” Myrna George, South County Tourism Council president and CEO, credits the dedication of her staff and local photographers for their ability to compel readers and as well as tourists.
“The whole reason we do it is to create a compelling story and bring our area to [the tourist’s] attention,” George told Providence Business News. “Our goal is to recognize the quality of the place we live in.”
There is economic opportunity through the telling of the Ocean State story that goes “beyond our beaches,” said George, but it’s only as good as the journalists who want to put Rhode Island on the map as a global destination. The key, George said: “Don’t disappoint people on what you’ve produced. Your words have to match with your photography, and you have to provide good information [too].”
George is also the editor and publisher of Style. The publication has two full-time and two part-time employees, and also works of with local photographers.
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