Campus News

UGA Grady College team wins PRSA Silver Anvil Award

Athens, Ga. – A team of five former public relations students from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication won a Silver Anvil Award, the Public Relations Society of America’s most prestigious honor for professional public relations campaigns on Thursday in New York City.

The team continued its winning ways after being named national champions of the Bateman Case Study Competition, sponsored by the Public Relations Student Society of America, in May 2010.

The Silver Anvil, symbolizing the forging of public opinion, is awarded annually to organizations that have successfully addressed a contemporary issue with exemplary professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness. The Bateman Team Silver Anvil was awarded in the government category for events and observances of more than seven days.

“It is remarkable that a student campaign was able to compete-and win-against seasoned professionals and international public relations agencies that have been practicing public relations for decades,” said Bateman team adviser and Grady associate professor of public relations Kaye Sweetser.

At the awards presentation, PRSA celebrated and highlighted the best campaigns of the year. Kristin Ballard, the 2010 Bateman team account executive who now works for Brandware Public Relations in Atlanta, accepted the award on behalf of the team.

“Throughout my time in the Grady College,” said Ballard, who graduated in May 2010, “I knew I was being taught by the best and that the quality of education here could be considered the ‘Ivy League of PR.’ Now we see the quantifiable value of that education as a student campaign wins the highest honor in the public relations industry.This Silver Anvil isn’t just an award for the 2010 Bateman Team and our adviser, it is an award recognizing the truly outstanding education each and every professor in the Grady College facilitates for its students.”

The winning campaign, called iCount, worked to promote the 2010 Census for the U.S. Census Bureau as a part of the PRSSA Bateman Case Study Competition in February 2010. The iCount campaign in Athens, Ga. posed a simple question to the community: Is your silence worth $1,697?

iCount used the figure to illustrate how much money is lost locally for each person who does not participate in the Census. Energized by the extensive, bilingual campaign that used opinion leaders, pledge events and media tactics, iCount increased awareness 12 percent, knowledge by 5 percent, received participation commitment from nearly 3,500 individuals and educated nearly 80,000 about the Census.

Team members, who have all now graduated from Grady College, included account executive Kristin Ballard from Atlanta; Courtney Garmhaus, Litchfield, Mich.; Debbie Ebalobo, Masinloc, Zambales, Philippines; Magan Cowart, Milledgeville; and Bridgett Johnson, Brunswick.

This is the first Silver Anvil for each team member, and faculty adviser Sweetser’s second Silver Anvil. It also is the first Silver Anvil awarded for any student campaign at Grady College.

Grady College’s Drewry PRSSA chapter supported the entry by donating the financial support needed to enter the iCount campaign into the Silver Anvil contest.

Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in advertising, digital and broadcast journalism, public relations, journalism and mass media arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.