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OC students again ranked in the top-15 for national public relations competition

Eagle PR student from Spring 23
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Originally published by Eagle PR, a student-run PR firm at Oklahoma Christian University. Read the original post, or learn more about PR at OC.

The students earned Honorable Mention for their 2023 Bateman campaign promoting news literacy.

Public relations students from Oklahoma Christian University placed among the top-15 colleges in the nation in the Public Relations Student Society of America Bateman Competition. This is the third time since 2016 that OC students have earned the honor.

The team, working in the student-run Eagle PR firm, researched, planned, implemented and evaluated a campaign to promote news literacy on campus and in the community on behalf of the nonprofit, nonpartisan News Literacy Project. Eagle PR’s campaign report was then evaluated by PR professionals chosen by PRSSA’s offices in New York City.

The students were led by Co-Directors Ciana Fryar from Edmond, Oklahoma, and Sydney Turner from Denison, Texas. The team also included Staff Associates Stephanie Heredia, Trinity Langan and Hope Tugman. Heredia is from Arlington, Texas; Langan is from Tuttle, Oklahoma; and Tugman is from Norman, Oklahoma. Other members of Eagle PR included Zani Fuller, Lynker Mugire and Sophie Mae Smith. Associate Professor of Communication Josh Watson served as adviser.

“The work these OC students did was phenomenal, especially given some truly difficult challenges this spring,” Watson said. “Ciana and Sydney inspired and encouraged the team of almost all first-semester PRSSA members to achieve more than the team thought possible. News literacy is really about truth, something that is central to the Christian call. These winning students have such a bright future in PR.”

Eagle PR’s Know Your Facts campaign sought to raise awareness of misinformation online and in social media. According to NLP, more than 59% of Americans say it is hard to identify false information on social media, and 63% of people worldwide agree that the average person cannot tell good journalism from rumors or falsehoods.

Eagle PR focused on calling the community to Ask Questions, Verify Sources, and Share Knowledge. The students provided the campus with multiple resources and learning experiences to help more citizens know how to evaluate online news and information. They also hosted Washington, D.C.-based reporter Ben Watson, creator of the Defense One podcast.

Fryar led the Know Your Facts social media channels. She created and curated posts pointing back to the News Literacy Project, specifically the nonprofit’s Informable app that allows consumers to see real examples of misinformation.

“The campaign this year was challenging but a lot of fun,” Fryar said. “I learned a lot about leadership and how important it is to communicate properly and efficiently with a team. I also would not have been successful without my co-director, Sydney. She kept me sane through the process and helped a lot with behind-the-scenes work and timeline management.”

Turner led the team’s event planning and outreach messaging. She planned a week's worth of informational table events that allowed students to learn about misinformation and win prizes by participating in various activities at the tables.

“The table events were such a success for us during the campaign,” Turner said. “People would see various logos and famous graphics they recognize and approach the table to see what we were doing. We used the concept of the Mandela Effect to show real examples of misinformation. For example, almost everyone remembers Curious George as having a tail even though he never has. That small example helped students realize how they don’t always remember and share accurate information online.”

OC is the only university in Oklahoma to place in the top 15, and it is the only school to achieve the honor in multiple years. The average enrollment for schools in the top 15 – including institutions like the University of Florida, the Louisiana State University and the University of Nebraska – was 25,000+ students. OC’s enrollment is just 2,000. In addition, Eagle PR has also placed in the top-10 or top-20 three times in the last five years for the national Up to Us campaign competition to raise awareness of national debt among college students.

In the past 15 years, OC’s Public Relations and Social Media graduates have worked for leading agencies, nonprofits and corporations. Some employers include Disney World, the Texas Rangers, McDonald’s North America, Wal-Mart Corporate Communications, Mitchell Communications, Jones PR, Saxum, Mental Health Colorado, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, the Alzheimer’s Association, Devon Energy and the Gooden Group.