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Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

USU student Elizabeth Wortley named Utah’s public relations Student of the Year

December 5, 2006 | Elizabeth Wortley, a Utah State University senior majoring in public relations, won first prize in the inaugural Utah PR Student of the Year competition, sponsored by the Greater Salt Lake Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

Wortley will receive a $1,000 check and bragging rights Wednesday, Dec. 6, as this year’s top PR student in Utah at the Golden Spike Awards luncheon in Salt Lake City. The program honors top communications projects in the profession.

She was among four finalists ­ selected from among the state’s colleges and universities ­ who were asked to present public relations proposals for a hypothetical science center, pitch story ideas to a working journalist, and recommend responses for a crisis communications scenario.

“The team of judges, representatives from the board of the Greater Salt Lake Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and practicing PR professionals, was immensely impressed by all four finalists,” said Joan Mitchell, president of the chapter. “Ms. Wortley exhibited creative and strategic skills that are more representative of a professional with several years’ experience than a graduating student. Congratulations to all of the participants for doing an outstanding job.”

This is the second time this year a USU student has won a PR Student of the Year competition in Utah. Last spring, Trisha Taggart, also a senior majoring in public relations, won a $1,000 prize in a competition sponsored by Richter7, a full-service public relations, advertising, and integrated marketing agency based in Salt Lake City.

“Our students ­ in print and broadcasting as well as public relations­ have made it a habit of pushing for excellence in their training as future professionals,” Mike Sweeney, professor and head in the department of journalism and communication (JCOM), said. “Many of our students, like Ms. Wortley, are building solid portfolios of professional experience through internships and hands-on projects in and out of the classroom.”

Just within the last two years, USU students majoring in PR have successfully carried out campaigns for more than two dozen local, regional, and international clients, including A.M. Todd, ImmunoLabs, AirLaunch, Microsoft, SCO software, Cache Valley Clerk’s Office, Utah Department of Transportation, Association for Space Explorers, USU’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, the Utah Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, and Bear River Health Department. Recently, USU PR students were chosen to work extensively with community leaders on fund-raising activities and media relations when ABC-TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to Logan in October.

More than 400 students major in print, broadcasting, and public relations in the JCOM department at USU.

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