Wednesday, Jul 12, 1:47pm

The Laurel TV team continued its winning ways during this year’s television industry awards season --bringing home two international Telly Awards, and two Communicator Awards from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts.

Communications Director Audrey  Barnes says the Department earned the awards for its COVID-19 documentary and “Take the Shot Laurel” vaccine PSA.  Reporter Jamal Williams won a Telly for his story on a local racing phenom.

“That recognition for the Communications Department was especially rewarding during the pandemic-- which kept the Laurel TV studio closed for months. It showed us that we can find a way to communicate with the community, even in the midst of a crisis,” Ms. Barnes said.

The Department of Communications is really three different departments all rolled into one.

“We have a community email distribution list that allows us to send press releases directly to people’s smart phones and inboxes on their computers.,” she said. “Social Media is one of the fastest means to get information out, and the City maintains nearly two dozen Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. And Laurel TV, on Comcast channel 996 or 71, and Verizon channel 12 is the third tool in our communications toolbox,“ Barnes said.

Coming soon, Laurel TV will open a membership-based, podcast room and make it available not only to City employees and elected officials, but community contributors too.

“Adding the podcast room to our multi-media facility allows us to engage and communicate with the community in one of the most interactive and technologically advanced ways available,” says Assistant Communications Director Joyce Jackson.” Plus, it’s fun.”

The City of Laurel Passport Acceptance facility is also part of the Communications Department.

Full-time Passport Agent Anngie Morales, and three other trained part-time agents in the department, process thousands of applications each year.

And finally, nearly everyone doing business with the City of Laurel deals with one of the most important roles within the Department of Communications-the front desk receptionist. Not only does Maria Moscoso accept and transfer hundreds of calls daily, she also processes the mail, and is always on point as the first and friendliest impression of the City of Laurel. Ms. Moscoso speaks Spanish fluently and is a tremendous asset to our growing Hispanic community when they call or stop by the Municipal Center for a Passport or other business.

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