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School of Journalism and New Media
University of Mississippi

UM recent graduates sweep public relations awards

Posted on: July 30th, 2020 by ldrucker

Students win 10 out of 14 awards presented by the Public Relations Association of Mississippi, including Best in Show

School of Journalism and New Media recent graduates swept the awards for student work in the 2020 Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition, including one student winning overall Best in Show.

JNM graduates won 10 of the 14 total awards presented in the competition open to students at all Mississippi universities.

In addition, broadcast journalism major Karsyn King was recognized for previously being named Outstanding PR Student.

“The students of the University of Mississippi set themselves apart from an outstanding field of entries,” said Rob Pettit, PRAM vice president for awards. “Our judges felt their award-winning work was exceptional.”

The students, who all earned the PR specialization, entered public relations campaigns they created in Senior Lecturer Robin Street’s advanced PR class. Each campaign was designed to increase awareness or change opinion on a topic of their choice.

The awards were presented in a webinar July 22, replacing the previously scheduled April ceremony that was delayed by COVID-19 issues.

Awards were given at three levels, based on the number of points judges award each entry. The top award is the Prism, followed by the Excellence and Merit awards. Multiple students can win in the same award if they earn the required number of points.

IMC major Sarah Biedermann of Keller, Texas, won a Prism and Student Best in Show award for her campaign “Empower Her.”

“I created Empower Her to educate women on their legal rights,” Biedermann said. “I truly believe that when women are educated on their rights, they are empowered to become the best that they can; every woman deserves that opportunity.”

Also winning Prism awards were IMC majors Tristen Bloxsom of Uvalde, Texas, for “Live Life Uninterrupted” on preventive college health and Hannah Williamson of Maumelle, Arkansas, for “Conquering Grief: Anger, Justification and Healing.”

Williamson’s campaign was inspired by her personal experience.

“The Anger, Justification, Healing” in the title summarizes the five stages of grief but also represents the initials of my late cousin, who I lost right before starting this project,” Williamson said. “I’m so thankful for all Ms. Street taught me through the process of creating this campaign while also allowing me a unique way to heal as a grieving college student.”

Four IMC majors won Excellence Awards.

  • Bridgette Carbon of Bloomingdale, Illinois, won for “Are you Ready?” about “adulting” skills.
  • Rachel Lane of Kennett, Missouri, won for “Planned Puppyhood” on spaying and neutering.
  • Jacob Palmer of Grenada won for “Go Green Mississippi” on climate change.
  • Clay Patrick of Meridian won two awards, one for “More than Medication,” on the importance of pharmacists, and another for graphics.

Two students won Merit Awards.

  • IMC major Courtney Pugh of Tupelo won for “Rebel-ing Against Depression,” on clinical depression.
  • Marketing and Corporate Relations major Sommer Grace Weldon of Brentwood, Tennessee, won for “Spend, Save, Soar” on budgeting.

Each campaign required multi-faceted skills including writing news articles, shooting video and photos, planning attention-getting events, conducting research and creating social media posts.

“Today’s communication specialists require skills in research and planning, as well as in all forms of communication including writing, designing, photography, video, social media and website creation,” Street said. “These students demonstrated that they excel in this diverse skill set thanks to the preparation they received from all the faculty members at the School of Journalism and New Media.”