2010 PR People Awards: Media Relations Professional of the Year

Winner: Peter Shankman

Founder/CEO, Help a Reporter Out

What's in a name? When it comes to Help a Reporter Out, the name is an amazing tagline in itself and a nearly perfect exercise in branding. This ultimate tool in media relations connects journalists with sources—including savvy PR pros—in a way that was unthinkable in the ink-stained age. It's the brainchild of Peter Shankman, for whom the designation Media Relations Professional of the Year unfairly consigns his work to the past 12 months. This PR People Award serves as a belated recognition of his role in connecting the media with its valued sources.

Shankman's free service is one of the fastest-growing social media companies in the world, with nearly 30,000 journalists tapping more than 1,200 queries weekly into an immense repository of more than 125,000 expert sources for their stories. The company is growing at a clip of 200% per year in all key performance indicators. HARO was crowdsourcing before that term reached critical mass, and it's now as essential a tool for journalists and PR pros as the Rolodex was in the pre-Internet era. And, again, it's free.