Beyond Katrina Wins National Award

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Blog One of Three Honored for Pioneering Social Media

Beyond Katrina announced today that it is the recipient of the Society for New Communications Research 2006 Award of Excellence in the Professional category. The society's awards program honors innovative organizations and professionals, like blogger Margaret Saizan who are pioneering the use of social media (i.e., blogs, wikis, podcasts, collaborative tools and other forms of participatory communications) in the areas of marketing, public relations and advertising, politics, entertainment, academics, and community and cultural development. Saizan and the other award winners were announced at the society's inaugural awards gala in Boston.

Saizan, who began on the eve of the nation's worst natural disaster, is a life coach and community activist focused on large scale healing and change. Thus when she found her feet planted in the epicenter of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she founded an online community and used her profession and her passion to examine how traditional journalists and ordinary citizens alike might harness the power of this new form of media to forge new ground in responding to crisis. The society's judges recognized Saizan for her understanding of how the contribution of blogs and citizen journalists, like her, to the disaster has truly awakened the world to the enormous power and potential of real time, collaborative, personal and social media.

'Beyond Katrina'" exemplifies the mission of this awards program: the successful and innovative use of new communications solutions and social media practices to enhance communications and relationships," commented Mike Manuel, SNCR best practices committee chairman. "I'm honored to be among the first group of honorees from the SNCR and humbled by national recognition of what began as an online passion," added Saizan. "Clearly Americans and people of the world looking for a deeper understanding are relying on blogs like "Beyond Katrina" to provide depth, scope and context of events surrounding us each day."

Award nominations were submitted as case studies, and reviewed by a panel of 10 judges, including SNCR research fellows, advisors, members of the SNCR Best Practices committee, vendor council members and representatives from the society's organizational affiliates. Awards of Merit and Awards of Excellence were presented in three categories, including: SNCR Professional Awards, honoring leading new communications thinkers, bloggers, journalists, citizen journalists and professional communicators; SNCR Academic Awards, recognizing leading work/research/studies from students and academic institutions; and the SNCR Business Awards, honoring organizations that are successfully adopting new communications models and leveraging them in innovative ways for business purposes.

The winning case studies are posted on the Society's blog.    Saizan's blog, which has bloomed into a lively form of citizen journalism that continues to evolve, continues to be recognized by national and international media outlets. She is currently syndicated on Blogburst, a site which delivers online blog content to mainstream heavyweights like Gannett publications, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, and the San Antonio Express-News. She has been interviewed by The Washington Post, The Week magazine, Scotland's Sunday Herald, CNN and WAFB TV in her hometown of Baton Rouge, La.

About the Society for New Communications Research

The Society for New Communications Research Research is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) global think tank dedicated to the advanced study of new communications tools, technologies and emerging modes of communication, and their effect on traditional media, professional communications, business and society. For more information, visit or call (650) 331-0083.

About Margaret Saizan

Margaret Saizan is a new media publisher, personal/ organizational coach, and community activist. The Baton Rouge, La. native became a blogger during the largest natural disaster in U.S. history – Hurricane Katrina. A graduate of Newfield Network one of the best regarded international coach training schools, Margaret focuses on empowering leadership and facilitating action during transition, crisis, and disaster as the pathway to new vision. Beyond Katrina and Big Vision Media ]aspire to ignite wise action, new vision and positive change through transformational media.

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