2019 EPIC Awards


Awards Webinar

Entry Categories


How to Enter

Judging Criteria

The Program

The Excellence in Public Information and Communications (EPIC) Awards are presented annually by the California Association of Public Information Officials to honor outstanding public agency information and communications programs.

The EPIC Awards honors work that rises above innovation and craft – work that made a lasting impact. Our goal is to offer an equal chance of winning to all entrants regardless of agency size and project budget. If your work moved people, we want to give it a chance to take home an EPIC.


Entering is as Easy as 1 2 3 
Video credits: Son Bui (WMWD), Sarah Macdonald (City of San Marcos), Susanne Bankhead (City of Carlsbad) and Liselle DeGrave (DeGrave Communications)

 The Hardware

CAPIO provides winners and their organizations the recognition they deserve while offering validation that their work is not only highly regarded by their peers within the industry but also making a tremendous impact in the communities served.

The EPIC Award, our highest honor, is given to those entrants whose ability to communicate positions them as the best in the field. The Award of Distinction is presented for projects that exceed industry standards in quality and achievement. EPIC winners will also be showcased in CAPIO’s  Winners Gallery.

Determining the Finalists

The EPIC Awards are judged by your peers, a volunteer group consisting of experienced communicators. In order to ensure a fair and effective process, the CAPIO Awards committee work to secure judges not only from within CAPIO but from partner professional public relations associations.

Winning entries for the EPIC Awards are reviewed and selected by at least two judges per category selected, who have committed to uphold CAPIO’s commitment to fairness and merit-based achievement. This ensures each entry is afforded equal chance of winning an award, as all entries are judged to evaluate distinction in creative work. All entries are evaluated against a standard scoring criteria and judging is based purely on quality of craft, so sometimes a category may have multiple winners, or none at all.

Entries are scored on a 100 point scale by the judges. In categories that receive a large number of entries, the entries will be grouped according to service area size (small, medium and large) prior to being judged.

Finalist Notifications

Finalists will be notified by email in mid March 2019 and will also be posted on the CAPIO website.

EPIC Award and Award of Distinction recipients will receive their awards at the 2019 EPIC Awards Ceremony and Dinner in Newport Beach at the Hyatt Regency on Wednesday, April 10.

Award finalists are encouraged to bring a display if possible to show at the Annual conference. Displays can include marketing promotional items, a binder or folder with program collateral, an image poster (on foam core backing if possible), or other creative display form. If finalists cannot attend the conference, the display can be sent to the CAPIO office or the conference hotel for display at the conference.

Interested in ordering a duplicate of your award?  You may do so by contacting our awards engraving company ACP Publications and Marketing.  Contact Yadira at [email protected].  

The Details

Are you ready to learn more about the EPIC Awards and submit your work that has made an impact? Read on for deadlines, entry information and tips, scoring criteria and fees.

Deadlines and Entry Fees

Entries Open January 4, 2019
Early Bird Entry Deadline February 4, 2019
Regular Entries February 5-18, 2019
Final Entry Deadline Extended to Feb 22!
Finalists Announced March 15, 2019


Early Bird, Jan. 4 to Feb. 4
CAPIO Member $115
Non-Member $165
Regular, Feb. 5 to February 22 at 5:00 pm 
CAPIO Member $140
Non-Member $190

Requirements & Judging

CAPIO has established our annual awards program to recognize and honor outstanding professional work and accomplishment. This work represents standards of excellence and creativity and stand as inspiration for those in our profession.   This year we are excited to have the support from PIOs from across the US from partner organizations such as PRSA and 3CMA.  Thank you judges!  (Interested in being a judge?  Click here.)

2019 Awards Entry Webinar

Want to learn how you can best showcase your work?  Do you have questions about entry categories or the scoring criteria?
Listen to the 2019 "Tips for Making Your Award Entry EPIC" webinar with hints and insights on how to put your best foot forward.  Download Slides



Winning Entry Samples

Gold Winner - Award Entry Example 1 ("I Found Sammy Clarita" - City of Santa Clarita - Social Media/New Media)

Gold Winner - Award Entry Example 2  ("Marin at a Glance" - County of Marin - Annual Report)

Entry Categories

How we communicate continues to evolve in the connected world in which we live. For this year’s competition we’ve introduced Digital Communications and Best of Show categories with enhanced subcategories to recognize cutting-edge techniques being used throughout the industry.

Work may be entered into more than one category and will be reviewed separately for each category entered. All entries entered into multiple categories will be eligible for recognition in each and will be judged accordingly. In categories that receive a large number of entries, the entries will be grouped according to service area size (small, medium and large) prior to being judged.

Choose your medium to see a complete list and description of those categories.  You may also view/print the full list of categories here (PDF).

Communication and Marketing Tools (Publications, graphic design, writing, photography, etc.) view category descriptions

Communications marketing tools are the tactical tools you use to implement the idea – getting information out to get the job done. They include publications, graphic design, photography, events, writing and internal communications.

Entry Categories 

  • Annual Report
  • Graphic Design – Online (infographic, web graphic, logo, etc.)
  • Graphic Design – Print (brochure, poster, marketing materials, etc.)
  • Internal Communications
  • Marketing and Promotional (items, branding/logo, marketing event, delivery tools)
  • Media Event (Press Conferences, PR Campaign Kickoffs, etc.)
  • Newsletter or Magazine (online or printed)
  • Photography
  • Special or Community Event – One-Time
  • Special or Community Event – Recurring
  • Writing (news article, news series, blog, marketing content, etc.)

Digital Communications view category descriptions

Communications programs or tools used to implement the idea, make an impact and maximize reach through digital communications. This category includes podcasts, live streaming, social media, video, websites and apps.

Entry Categories 

  • Audio/Podcasts
  • Live Streaming/Live Stories
  • Social Media Best Use Overall
  • Social Media Campaign
  • Video Production – Event Coverage
  • Video Production – Public Service Announcement/Promotional/Marketing Video - Short Form (2 min. or less)
  • Video Production – Public Service Announcement/Promotional/Marketing Video - Long Form (anything over 2 min.)
  • Video Production – Series
  • Website/App

Communications and Marketing Process view category descriptions

Processes are broad categories of strategic communications programs and activities, such as Community Visioning or Branding, Resident Participation, Communications Plans, Campaign Plans, Go Green Programs, Crisis Communications and Service Delivery.

Entry Categories

  • Branding
  • Communications or Marketing Plans/Campaigns - Consultant-Supported
  • Communications or Marketing Plans/Campaigns - In-House
  • Community Relations/Participation
  • Crisis Communications Response
  • Multicultural Outreach/Campaign
  • Preparedness/Public Safety Education Campaign
Creative Marketing view category descriptions
This category includes two unique awards—Most Innovate Communications and Dollar Stretcher. CAPIO encourages agencies to submit their most innovative programs. Entries submitted to the Most Innovative field can include consultant-supported projects and programs.

For the Dollar Stretcher field, projects and/or tools that had a major impact using only in-house resources on a limited budget should be submitted.

Entry Categories

  • Dollar Stretcher – program/tool developed and implemented in-house
  • Most Innovative Communications

For the first time in CAPIO history, judges will be selecting from the entire entry pool, one “Best-in- Show” winner from each of the small, medium and large service areas. A separate entry is not required to be considered for a “Best-in-Show” honor.  Winners will be pulled from all subcategories.


Any public information professional representing a California city, county, school, special district or other public agency may participate. Private firms may submit awards on behalf of a public agency; however, the entry must be in the name of the public agency and the agency must be notified in advance that a firm intended to submit an entry on the agency’s behalf.
CAPIO membership is not a criteria for entry.

How to Enter

All entries must be submitted online. To enter, you must complete and include all of the following items for each entry:

Other entry requirements (included in the narrative tips web page):

  • All entries must be for work performed and or executed in calendar year 2018. Multi-year entries can be submitted within the appropriate category.
  • An online entry form must be completed and submitted with each PDF. All entries must complete mandatory fields on the online entry form, including service area size (e.g. population, rate payer, etc.) . The same service area size should be used across all entries, including internal communication (e.g enter service area, not total employees). 
  • Formatting: Each entry must include a written narrative that is no more than two pages, single spaced, in no smaller than 11 point font and a minimum of .5 margins all around.
  • Each entry should include the agency’s name, award title and award category in the top right corner.
  • Entry must be loaded as a single PDF document and cannot exceed 15MB.

A single work may be entered in multiple categories and an entrant may submit multiple works in each category.

Entry fees must accompany each individual entry. A separate entry fee must be paid for single works that have been submitted in multiple categories.

If you are submitting near the deadline and paying by check, please email a copy of the check and send to [email protected].

For payment questions or issues submitting your entry, contact the CAPIO office at [email protected].

Entries will be judged based on:

• Presentation (overall completeness and organization of entry)
• Planning
• Implementation
• Results/Evaluation

 For more information, please visit our Judging Criteria page.  Interested in being a judge?  Sign Up as a 2019 Awards Judge 


View Past Award Recipients