A Meek School of Journalism and New Media campaign asking students to “just pause” before stereotyping others has won a top award from the Southern Public Relations Federation.
The Lantern award was presented in the internal communications category at the Southern Public Relations Federation conference in Tupelo Sept. 26. Awards are presented at three levels in multiple categories, and the Lantern is the highest level.
The winning campaign, It Starts with (Me)ek, was created and implemented by a team of 31 students led by Senior Lecturer Robin Street. Judges for the competition repeatedly praised the “great job” the team did.
ISWM was a week of speakers, programs and communications encouraging inclusion and respect while rejecting stereotypes based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, mental health, religion or other factors. UM alumnus Shepard Smith spoke at two of the events.
Student committee members enrolled in an integrated marketing communications course helped create the campaign. They met weekly to plan events, videos, communications, competitions and social media posts.
“Our students worked for months to plan and implement all the components of the campaign,” said Street, who taught the class. “They spent every Wednesday night in class and countless additional hours working on their individual tasks and assignments. I was so proud to see all their hard work and true dedication be recognized.”
Scott Fiene, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment and assistant professor, directs the IMC program at the Meek School. He attended the award ceremony with Street and several students.
“Our student team entered in the professional category,” Fiene said. “So they were judged, not by student criteria, but by professional standards. I noticed that they were the only students to win a professional award that night. The award exemplifies how well all our faculty prepare our students for their careers in journalism, public relations and integrated marketing communications.”