2013 Platinum PR Awards: Press Release

Winner: Singer Associates Public Affairs/Public Relations - The $70 Million Press Conference

Sometimes a simple and well-crafted press release can be one of the most effective forms of communication for a PR campaign.

After Singer Associates successfully used media opportunities and community pressure, PG&E and the City of San Bruno held a press conference (and a press release was subsequently issued) on March 12, 2012, a year and a half after the largest natural gas disaster in U.S. history, announcing PG&Es issuance of $70 million dollars in restitution to the city. A nonprofit public purpose entity was then established to manage the funds and determine how they should be spent in the community.

The release garnered media attention from many well-known news organizations/publications, including The San Francisco Chronicle, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, and the Los Angeles Times. The release included remarks from San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane and PG&E President Chris Johns and provided details about the agreement.

The agreement stemmed from the largest natural gas disaster in U.S. history, which transpired in the City of San Bruno, CA on September 9, 2010—killing eight, destroying 38 homes and damaging another 70. Eventually, PG&E walked away from the negotiating table, leaving San Bruno wracked with physical damage and families emotionally scarred from the experience of losing their loved ones and homes.

In the midst of the crisis, Singer Associates was brought on to develop strategy and communications that would ultimately bring PG&E back to the table and provide $70 million in restitution for the grievances suffered by this small city. Singer Associates was tasked with telling San Bruno's gut-wrenching story of devastation in order to build political, emotional and media pressure on PG&E to come back to the negotiating table and provide restitution in a situation where there was no legal recourse.

Honorable Mentions:

  • IEEE - Look Ma, No Hands: Finn Partners and IEEE Public Relations Program Drives Media and the Industry to Take Notice of the Future of Autonomous Cars
  • JCPR  - Altegris Entertainment Series


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About Chris Seymour

Steve Goldstein is editorial director for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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