Informative Writing

This award is presented to the best example of informative writing, such as news release, blog, feature story, etc. 

This is awarded one per each region and among those, an international winner is selected.

Each agency may submit only ONE entry.

Criteria for selection:

  • Content 
  • Clarity
  • Engagement
  • Effectiveness

2023 Winners

International and Region 4

Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles

Colorado DMV Ready to Roll with DMV2GO Press Release

If you are going to make a major customer service announcement in the middle of nowhere, you have to knock the press release out of the park and that’s just what the Colorado DMV did with its DMV2GO press release, Colorado DMV Ready to Roll with DMV2GO is the Colorado DMV’s mobile and pop-up driver license office program that was designed from the ground up to serve even the most remote mountain towns. To illustrate that capability, the DMV hosted a press event and vehicle reveal in Pagosa Springs, a remote town more than 65 mountain miles from the nearest brick-and-mortar DMV office. Knowing most news outlets would be unable to send reporters or photojournalists to such a remote location regardless of editorial desire, the Colorado DMV focused on writing a clear and informative press release that included photos, b-roll, and a fact sheet — everything news outlets needed to produce a story. The strategy worked very well and it was published or covered by over 18 news outlets, when only one local news outlet was able to attend the event, and typically hostile news outlets praised DMV2GO. The press release also generated two television and two radio interviews, and even had Fox Denver saluting DMV2GO. The press release also was very well received on DMV social media channels reaching over 8,150 people organically on the DMV’s Facebook page while being shared almost 30 times. On Twitter, the release reached over 1,500 Coloradans. The first two business weeks after the press release, DMV2GO page visits increased 260%. This release highlights how simple, direct copy written in active voice can frame the narrative and generate positive, statewide earned media – even from a remote, sleepy, mountain town.

Region 1

Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration

Child Passenger Safety Content

The website is a user-friendly, one-stop shop for all initiatives under the five-year Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) created by the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office (MHSO). The site allows timely and relevant information to be created and posted quickly for users. This feature was especially important in April 2022 when Maryland lawmakers passed SB 176, a bill that upgraded the current child passenger safety law to include children under two to ride rear facing. Parents, caregivers, health officials, and law enforcement needed background information on why the legislation was introduced by MDOT MVA, timing for implementation, and citation guidelines. Road Safety contains the eight focus areas outlined in the SHSP and an additional page for child passenger safety. When a user clicks on child passenger safety, the first headline they see is a notice regarding the new legislation and a “more information” button that takes them to a downloadable document containing relevant information on key components of the bill. The document was written by MHSO Deputy Director Myra Wieman, a Child Passenger Safety Technician. To reach a diverse audience of caregivers, the document was written just slightly below an 8th grade level with a reading ease score of 70, making the text easy for the average adult to read. It opens with an interpretation of the law and how it brings Maryland in line with many other states, most notably two neighboring states and the District of Columbia. A reference to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation for transporting children rear-facing, brought further credibility to the document. Because many times drivers are concerned about the financial impact of citations relevant to new legislation, it was important to highlight that the new law carried a written citation only for the first offense. Finally, the piece provided information on low-cost seats for income qualifying caregivers. During FY 2022, the page had nearly 32,000 visitors and the document had been downloaded 1,475 times. Since the law went into effect October 1, 2022, the webpage and document continued to reach Marylanders with an additional 30,000 page visitors and 1,800 downloads in October.

Region 2

West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles

Capsule: WV DMV's Response to the Challenges of the COVID Pandemic

When the global COVID pandemic hit in early 2020, leadership within the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (WV DMV) realized the organization was going to have to come up with a whole new way of doing business to reach customers safely, efficiently, and effectively. This Capsule was created to provide a two-year snapshot of all the efforts WV DMV made to provide the best customer service possible during an unforgiving pandemic that had the nation in fear and scrambling. The intended audience was two-fold. Internally, WV wanted to provide administration in the Department of Transportation and the Governor's Office of the State of West Virginia a more focused overview of all the pandemic-related modifications and additions they made, as an addition to their regular Annual Report. They also wanted to reach the external public to be sure they were aware of all the ways WV DMV could serve them. The Capsule was reviewed by WV DMV executive staff, and then released to WV DOT administration. Administration then published a press release statewide on April 25, 2022 entitled, "West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles meets COVID pandemic with innovation, continues to think outside the box" for news stations to pick up. Additionally, the release was featured in AAMVA's "The Week in Review". By issuing a focused report on new and more convenient ways of doing business, they called attention to some of the new transaction methods that customers were not aware of. All of these new innovations in the "way we do business" had been promoted statewide as they were implemented, but in the middle of all the panic, changes, and uncertainty of the first year of the pandemic, customers claimed they were "confused" with all the information being "thrown at them" from everywhere, as well as information constantly changing with COVID guidelines. This Capsule became a quick reference guide for employees and customers to know exactly what transactions had changed, why they had changed or been implemented, and the benefits gleaned.