UGA’s Grady College Bateman team named national champs

UGA’s Grady College Bateman Team named national champs

Athens, Ga. – A team of public relations students from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication recently took first prize in the 2007 Public Relations Student Society of America’s annual Bateman Case Study Competition, held in New Jersey.

Members Molly McFerran, Kaitlyn Bagnato, Janna Gay, Anna Harrison and Nikki Kay designed a winning public relations campaign that was selected the nation’s best from among 64 entries.

The case study, Family Caregiving 101… it’s not all up to you, is a national public awareness program designed to encourage family caregivers to acknowledge their role and seek available assistance.

The winning campaign provided family caregivers with practical and easily-accessible information about local community services and national resources. The UGA team also was recognized for its thorough research, strategies and comprehensive tactics that included press materials, resulting media coverage, a family caregiver resource fair and a community Web site that registered more than 1,000 visits over the course of the campaign.

“The competition was a great learning experience – one that we can use to further develop our careers and to continue to give back to our community,” said McFerran, the team’s media relations coordinator.

“I’m proud of the work my students put in to execute a strategic campaign that really helped local family caregivers,” said Karen Miller Russell, Grady College associate professor of public relations and the team’s coach. “Their research showed that Athens has lots of resources for family caregivers, but there’s no single place to find out about them. They were able to reach many in the Athens area with their messages.”

The team’s Web site, www.uga.edu/athensfc101, included a local resources section while their Caregiving Fair brought together caregivers and people who work for organizations that can help. They also made posters to display on Athens Transit buses and appeared on Barbara Dooley’s radio show.

Each team member also has at least some experience with family caregiving – mostly parents who’ve helped take care of grandparents. “They really cared about the project, not just because they wanted to win the competition,” Russell noted, “but because they knew they could make a difference in people’s lives.”

The University of Georgia was among three finalists in the 2007 Bateman Case Study Competition which was made possible this year with the support of Eisai Inc., a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, in partnership with the National Family Caregiver Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving. The Grady College team received $2,500 and a trophy; each team member also received a certificate of recognition.

Other finalists were second place California State University Fullerton and third place Elon University. Finalists were judged by representatives from Eisai, NFCA, the Alliance and the Public Relations Society of America on their campaign presentations.

“Eisai was proud to sponsor the 2007 Bateman Case Study Competition in an effort to help raise awareness among the 50 million Americans that serve as family caregivers,” said Cathy Pollini, senior director, corporate planning and communications, Eisai Inc., and one of the competition judges. “All three finalist teams presented excellent campaigns, and it was clear that the students devoted a significant amount of time and energy to this worthwhile program.”

Each finalist team will be recognized during the PRSSA 2007 National Conference, to be held in October in Philadelphia. For more information on the Bateman Case Study Competition, visit the PRSSA Web site at www.prssa.org.

PRSSA is the world’s pre-eminent, preprofessional public relations organization. Founded in 1968 by its parent society, the Public Relations Society of America, the organization has grown to more than 9,000 members and 285 chapters at colleges and universities in 43 states and the District of Columbia.