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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

USU student second in Utah Public Relations Student of the Year contest

Breen Heiner

November 20, 2008 | SALT LAKE CITY -- Breea Heiner of USU took runner up in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Greater Salt Lake Chapter's Utah PR Student of the Year award.

PRSA announced the winners of the third annual student competition at the Golden Spike Awards for communications professionals.

Britnee Nguyen, a communications major from Utah Valley University in Orem took first, with Heiner and Emily Crane (Brigham Young University-Idaho) placing second and third respectively. Honorable mention top five finalists represented Weber State University (Graham Allen) and the University of Utah (Nathan Jackson).

More than 40 communications students representing six universities across Utah and into Idaho competed for $1,000 cash prize and an opportunity to intern with the 2008 nonprofit client, Utah Cancer Foundation. In October, students submitted a written strategy including research, objectives, tactics and a timeline for the Utah Cancer Foundation. A panel of PR professionals judged the entries and selected five finalists from five different universities to present their campaign plan to PR agency directors and the executive director of the Utah Cancer Foundation at a daylong competition in Salt Lake City, Nov. 1.

"One day of this competition is comparable to what students might learn in a semester PR internship," said Jason Mathis, PRSA Greater Salt Lake Chapter president. "This is a learning experience unlike any other for those preparing for a communications career."

The five finalists formally presented their strategy, pitched a story to seasoned KSL-TV health reporter, Ed Yeates, wrote a timed press release and managed a crisis situation. The judges asked finalists direct questions about their campaigns and gave one-on-one to the soon-to-be professionals.

The competitionís client, Utah Cancer Foundation, is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients today. The foundation offers support groups, housekeeping and lawn care services to those undergoing cancer treatment in Utah. Ideas gathered from the competition will be used in Utah Cancer Foundationís ongoing PR efforts.

Corporate sponsors of the competition were Intrepid, Vanguard Media Group and Alphagraphics. Past winners of the competition were from the University of Utah (2007) and Utah State University (2006).

The Public Relations Society of America is the world's largest organization for public relations professionals. The Society has nearly 32,000 professional and student members. PRSA is organized into more than 100 Chapters nationwide, including the Greater Salt Lake Chapter. The Greater Salt Lake Chapter includes public relations and communications professionals from the Salt Lake Valley as well as southern Idaho.

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