Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University

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Public Relations Students Recognized for Work on May 4 Newsroom

UCM staff and Flash students receive two gold awards and best of show at the PRSA Cleveland Rocks Awards.

Congratulations to PR students Tyler Norris, Erin Orsini and Robert Checkal (left to right) for their award-winning work on the May 4 Newsroom project. Emily Vincent, Thomas Neumann, Dustin Lee and I (Stefanie Moore) are thrilled to pose with our red electric guitar.

I can’t believe the holidays have come and gone and that we’re already three weeks into the spring semester. In fact, I’m still basking in the afterglow of last semester’s success.

Three Flash Communications students and I attended the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Cleveland Rocks Awards ceremony on Dec. 3 in Cleveland, Ohio. At the event, Kent State University took home two gold awards and the most coveted “Best of Show” award for its work on the 40th commemoration of the May 4 shootings that occurred on the Kent State campus. The energy and pride at our table was infectious.

The PRSA Cleveland Rocks Awards recognize outstanding public relations programs and projects. The annual awards go to public relations practitioners who have “successfully addressed a contemporary issue with exemplary professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness.”

Kent State received a gold award in the Interactive Communications category for the May 4 40th Anniversary Online Newsroom. The resource for journalists and the general public was co-created by Flash Communications and the university’s media relations team. The newsroom features releases, videos, photos and links to social media sites where people could engage in discussion about May 4 and the 40th anniversary.

Flash Communications helped with research, content, web design, videos and a variety of social media outlets. Public relations students assisted with maintaining a May 4 Twitter account and a May 4 Visitors Center Facebook page. We created a blog and worked with a student in a May 4 special topics class on content. We also posted photos on Flickr and uploaded videos to a special May 4 You Tube channel.

Read “KSU public relations group takes Best of Show for May 4 projects” in the Record-Courier, Dec. 13, 2010, which is one of several papers that picked up the news.

What’s cool about this story is that student work went up against professionals’ work in this category and took home the gold.  My students “rock.”

The university’s other gold award was for its entry in the Special Events and Observances (Seven or Fewer Days) category. This entry also earned the university the “Best of Show” Award, which represents the finest example of public relations programming among all winners in all categories. It also gives us the rights to a red electric guitar for a year.

In addition to being recognized for our efforts at the Cleveland Rocks awards, Flash Communications received an “Honorable Mention”  in the website category at the PR News Nonprofit Awards in November.  See the news release I wrote for more information.

I’m so proud of my Spring 2010 students for their work on this project, and it feels good to be recognized. It’s even more significant because it was such an important part of Kent State’s history.

More information on the events of May 4, 1970, at Kent State can be found on the May 4 Newsroom and at www.kent.edu/may4. For more information about PRSA Cleveland, visit www.prsacleveland.org.