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Wonk of the Year 2015

The Challenge:

AU’s Wonk of the Year Award recognizes a well-known individual who represents the embodiment of a wonk—someone smart, passionate, focused, and engaged who uses his or her knowledge and influence to create meaningful change in the world.

Previous award winners include former president Bill Clinton and CNN journalist Anderson Cooper. In 2015, former first lady Laura Bush was the first woman to receive the award and the first former first lady hosted by AU’s Kennedy Political Union, which hosts the award event.

UCM’s goals were to encourage excitement and pride among AU students and alumni, promote the selection of AU’s 2015 Wonk of the Year, and support the AU brand.

The Solution:
In advance of the Wonk of the Year event, UCM wrote a news story for the university website announcing Mrs. Bush’s selection. Following the event, UCM wrote a news story for the university website about her remarks at the award event and the enthusiastic audience reaction, particularly among AU students.

Results:
Since the event “preview” story was published on February 23, 2015, it has received 3,491 views, 3,109 of which are unique. Approximately 990 views came from the university’s home page, which featured the story from February 23 through March 10, 2015. The average time on page for the preview story was 3 minutes and 1 second, a full minute longer than the site-wide time-on-page average for news content.

UCM also shared the preview story on Facebook, where it reached 38,680 people, received 627 likes, and was shared 82 times.

Since the post-event story was published on April 8, 2015, it has received 541 views, 495 of which are unique. The average time on page is 3 minutes and 17 seconds, more than 1 minute longer than the site-wide time-on-page average for news content.

The post-event story was also aggregated by and shared on Gretawire, the blog for Fox News Channel’s On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, and tweeted by Dana Perino, former George W. Bush administration press secretary and current host of Fox News Channel’s The Five. Perino has 611,000 Twitter followers.