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The University of Florida Takes First Place in PRSSA’s 2023 Bateman Case Study Competition

May. 4, 2023

NEW YORK, May 4, 2023 – PRSSA, the foremost organization for students interested in the public relations and communications fields, announced today that The University of Florida was named the winner of the 2023 Bateman Case Study Competition. Earning second place was The University of Colorado Boulder -- The Daily He(a)rd, followed by Louisiana State University in the third-place spot.

This year, PRSSA teamed up with the News Literacy Project, the nation’s leading provider of news literacy education, to challenge students to research, plan, implement and evaluate a PR campaign centered on raising awareness around the importance of knowing how to separate fact from fiction and creating better informed, engaged and empowered individuals.

“Dis- and misinformation are proliferating throughout our society, and news literacy skills are essential to be able to combat it effectively,” said Michelle Egan, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2023 PRSA Chair. “The ingenuity, perseverance and cleverness shown in this year’s student campaigns were not only inspiring but truly effective in spreading the word about the importance of critical thinking skills in understanding the world around us.”

Originating in 1973, the Bateman Competition allows PRSSA members to showcase the analytical skills required for PR problem-solving. In 1983, PRSSA changed the name of the competition to honor the memory of the late J. Carroll Bateman, APR, a past president of PRSA who was instrumental in founding the student organization. 

PRSSA received 49 entries from colleges and universities across the nation.

The University of Florida’s CommuniGATORS team embarked on a research-driven campaign that exceeded all objectives. The team listened to, engaged with and inspired the community to take action to stop the spread of misinformation. By creating meaningful moments and fostering key partnerships, the team empowered the target audiences. Over the course of this campaign, the CommuniGATORS hosted 30 news literacy workshops, motivated 1,111 people to sign a pledge to stop the spread of misinformation, reached 21 counties in North Central Florida via multiple TV and radio stations and received more than 27,000 social media impressions. This multi-pronged campaign equipped Black, Latino and rural communities with the tools to unite around facts and inspired a new generation of news-literate individuals in Gainesville.

“It was incredible to see how the community reacted to our campaign,” said Hannah Schoff, CommuniGATORS team member. “Being able to reframe how people interact with information online was the most rewarding part of this experience. The News Literacy Project’s extensive resources allowed us to equip our community with the tools they needed to stop the spread of misinformation online.”

Research shows 90% of young people believe the spread of misinformation is a problem. To address this important issue, the University of Colorado Boulder team created the “Stop the Rumor Ripple” campaign, a nod to News Literacy Project’s RumorGuard. The goal was to make news literacy more approachable and fun for students who are often overwhelmed by the news. The campaign reached CU Boulder students and the Latine community through social media engagement on TikTok and Instagram, local business partnerships, and events at popular Boulder locations.

“We created 'Stop the Rumor Ripple' to give young people the tools they need to combat misinformation,” said University of Colorado Boulder student Erin Bauman. “To tackle this important issue among our generation it must be approachable and fun.”  

The Plug In team at Louisiana State University founded its campaign upon research demonstrating that students do not know as much about news literacy as they might believe. This led the team to create a strategic communication plan revolving around the slogan, “Information is Power. Plug In.” The team members adopted an education-through-entertainment strategy, encouraging students to “plug in” to valuable resources like the News Literacy Project and RumorGuard. They prioritized fun engagement as the foundation of the campaign, hosting six unique events relating to news literacy throughout the implementation period. Overall, the team successfully achieved its goal of boosting news literacy awareness on campus, increasing awareness of the News Literacy Project by over 75%.

“As a team, we worked tirelessly to develop an immersive education-through-entertainment based campaign that would energize our target audiences to ‘Plug In’ to the News Literacy Project’s mission of advancing the practice of news literacy," said LSU team captain Emilie Ravain. “It was incredibly meaningful to us to represent this organization that aims to develop a stronger democracy.” 

In addition to the three finalists, 12 entries received honorable mention:

  • Brigham Young University -Provo Team One
  • High Point University
  • Kent State University - Kent State Bateman Gold
  • Montclair State University
  • Ohio University
  • Oklahoma Christian University
  • Penn State - Nittany Lion Communications
  • St. John's University - Team Goal Diggers
  • St. John's University - Team Next Door
  • University of Delaware - Bateman Blue Hens
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • University of South Carolina – Garnet

About The News Literacy Project
The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.

About the Public Relations Student Society of America  
The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. Since 1967, PRSSA has served hundreds of thousands of student members, offering educational programs, resources, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities that prepare students for a successful career in communications. For nearly 50 years, the organization has hosted the Bateman Case Study Competition, which challenges student teams to implement a public relations campaign for an actual client. PRSSA is active on college and university campuses across the U.S., as well as Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Puerto Rico. For more information, visit www.prssa.org.


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