SFU Newsmaker Awards

Call for nominations

SFU is pleased to recognize excellence in media relations, digital engagement, and communications strategy.

The call for nominations is open to current staff and faculty in four categories: Media Newsmaker of the Year, Social Media Newsmaker of the Year, Strategic Communicator of the Year and Emerging Thought Leader (ETL) Newsmaker of the Year.

Each of these awards will showcase a staff or faculty member who has supported SFU’s role as Canada’s Engaged University by sharing their expertise with the larger community through earned media, social media and by leveraging strategic communications skills.

Nomination and selection

University staff, students, faculty, alumni and members of the general community can nominate candidates. Previous nominees can be re-nominated.

SFU Communications & Marketing will review the nominations and recommend the award winners to the Vice-President, External Relations. Winners will be recognized at the university’s faculty and staff awards.

The deadline for receiving nominations is Friday, December 24, 2021.

Make a nomination

Nominate yourself or another candidate by emailing us at comms_marketing@sfu.ca with the subject line: SFU NEWSMAKER AWARDS.

Please submit the following information about the candidate:

  • Candidate’s name, department, contact information including phone number.
  • Description of nominee’s contributions, including a clear statement indicating why this candidate exemplifies outstanding service to the university through earned media, social media engagement or strategic communications. Work should have taken place at some point over the past three years.
  • Applications should be no more than one page.
  • Supporting letters are welcome but not necessary.

Nominees will be considered on the basis of the following criteria:

Media Newsmaker of the Year

  • Impact on advancing/shaping public knowledge/opinion over a year-long period during the last three years, measured by:
    • Responsiveness to and availability for media opportunities concerning events in the news and/or the individual’s research
    • Extent and consistency of media coverage (i.e. local, national, international)
    • Promotion of public relations participation among colleagues/faculty
    • Leadership voice on key issues and support of engagement with the community

Emerging Thought Leader (ETL) Newsmaker of the Year*

  • Successful completion of the ETL program
  • Impact on advancing/shaping public knowledge/opinion, following completion of the program, in media and social media, measured by:
    • Extent and frequency of media coverage (i.e. local, national, international), including the number of op-eds published
    • Engagement, scope and creativity of online presence, including responsiveness
    • Promotion of public relations and/or digital engagement among colleagues/faculty

*Please note that while nominations are still welcome in this category, the Communications & Marketing senior leadership team will choose a shortlist of candidates from past participants of the ETL program based on media and social media success.

Social Media Newsmaker of the Year

  • Impact on advancing/shaping public knowledge/opinion over the last three years, measured by:
    • Responsiveness online
    • Engagement, scope and creativity of online presence
    • Promotion of digital engagement and participation among colleagues/faculty
    • Leadership of engagement with the broader community

Strategic Communicator of the Year**

  • Impact on advancing/shaping public knowledge/opinion over a year-long period during the last three years, measured by:
    • Development and execution of a strategic communications plan that moved forward an SFU institutional priority
    • Promotion of public relations participation among colleagues
    • Collaboration with SFU Communications & Marketing to achieve a strategic result

**Please note that while nominations are still welcome in this category, the Communications & Marketing senior leadership team will choose a shortlist of candidates based on past media, social and strategic communication success from members across the university-wide communications group.

2020 Award Winners

Media Newsmaker of the Year

2020 - Caroline Colijn and Kelley Lee, professors in science and health sciences

Social Media Newsmaker of the Year

2020 - Laya Behbahani, lecturer, labour studies

Strategic Communicator of the Year

2020 - Katrina (Kat) Trinidad, director, student communication

Emerging Thought Leader Newsmaker of the Year

2020 - Julia Smith, research associate, health sciences

Previous award winners

2019 - Stewart Prest and Sanjay Jeram, SFU political science lecturers - Media Newsmaker of the Year (shared award)

2019 - Merran Smith Clean Energy Canada SFU Fellow - Social Media Newsmaker of the Year

2019 - Rachel Bennett, marketing and communications director, SFU Lifelong Learning - Strategic Communicator of the Year

2019 - Fatemeh Torabi Asr, affiliated researcher, SFU’s Discourse Processing Lab - Emerging Thought Leader Newsmaker of the Year

2018 - Andy Yan, Director, City Program - Media Newsmaker of the Year

2018 - David Shiffman, Postdoctoral Fellow, Biology - Social Media Newsmaker of the Year

2018 - Donna Dove, Student Services - Strategic Communicator of the Year

2017 - Paul Kingsbury - Media Newsmaker of the Year

2017 - Paola Ardiles - Social Media Newsmaker of the Year

2017 - Tia O’Grady - Strategic Communicator of the Year

See previous winners of the Newsmaker Award

  • 2013 - Ryan D’Arcy 
  • 2013 - Marjorie Griffen Cohen
  • 2012 - Gordon Price
  • 2011 - Andre Gerolymatos
  • 2011 - Krzysztof (Kris) Starosta
  • 2010 - John Reynolds
  • 2009 - Doug McArthur
  • 2009 - Richard Smith 
  • 2008 - Jon Kesselman
  • 2007 - Rob Gordon
  • 2006 - Mark Jaccard
  • 2005 - John Richards
  • 2004 - Barbara Mitchell
  • 2003 - Raymond Corrado
  • 2002 - Barry Beyerstein
  • 2002 - Gloria Gutman
  • 2001 - Gail Anderson
  • 2000 - Len Berggren
  • 2000 - Lindsay Meredith
  • 1999 - Neil Boyd
CONFIDENTIALITY: ALL NOMINATIONS WILL REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL.
ANY QUESTIONS SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO IVANA FILIPOVIC, PROJECT DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS ANALYTICS & INSIGHTS, COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING – IFILIPOV@SFU.CA.