Student public-relations team finalist in national competition

The advertising/public relations team from TCU is among three finalists out of 76 teams in one of the most prestigious public relations competitions in the nation, its adviser said.

The TCU PR team, Cowtown Communications, is presenting its Bateman case study campaign May 2 at the General Motors Headquarters in Detroit, said Amiso George, associate professor of journalism and academic adviser for the Bateman team.

Bateman is a national case study competition established by the Public Relations Society of America in 1973, and is the only contest recognized by the organization, George said.

Judges from General Motors and PRSA will rank the teams and announce the winner May 2 in Detroit.

The case study involved Chevrolet’s Safe Kids Buckle Up program, where they set up a free fair for students and parents of W.C. Stripling Middle School in Fort Worth.

The purpose was to educate people about the potential risks that come from not wearing seat belts, said Taylor Pashley, a junior advertising/public relations major.

Each team will give a 30-minute presentation followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session in Detroit, she said.

The competition gives participants an opportunity to exercise the analytical skill and mature judgment required for public relations problem solving, George said.

The other two teams presenting their cases for the chance to win are Loyola University, New Orleans and California State University at Long Beach, according to the Public Relations Student Society of America Web site. This is the second year in a row TCU has been in the competition after taking about a 15-year hiatus, George said.

Pashley said the other schools are great universities to be up against.

“They are consistently ranked. They are real tough competitors and we are trying to work hard to put up a good competition to win,” Pashley said.

Pashley said with the team’s research they found that minorities and Hispanics were least likely to wear their seat belts, and so they targeted information toward those audiences.

Meghan Orga, a senior advertising/public relations major, said the team gave the students a test before and after the event in a survey format, asking questions about car safety information. She said before the event, 42 percent said they would wear their seat belts. After the session, 65 percent said they would, Orga said.

“The thing we think will give us a winning edge is the testing and research we did for our targeted audience,” she said.