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Loyola University New Orleans School of Mass Communication PR Students Place #2 in National PRSSA Bateman Championship

Loyola press release - May 19, 2016

“Second Line of Defense” public relations campaign wins support for Student Veterans, aligns with New Orleans city and culture

Tops in the country! Strategic communication students from Loyola University New Orleans’ School of Mass of Communication won second place Wednesday in the nation’s premier case study competition for public relations students. Their prize-winning campaign to raise awareness and support for student veterans ― aptly named “Second Line of Defense” ― has both created important new partnerships and permanent change for student veterans in New Orleans.

“What a wonderful way for our students to end the school year and to begin their careers as communication professionals,” said leading PR professional and Loyola instructor Jeffrey Ory, who advised the team. “There is no higher honor for a university public relations student than the Bateman Award, and Loyola University New Orleans was proud to place among the nation’s top three prize winners.”

The Public Relations Student Society of America’s annual Bateman Case Study Competition calls on university teams to create a full-scale public relations campaign for a nonprofit organization. This year, the competition partnered with the Student Veterans of America with plans to raise awareness facing student veterans around the world.

The PRSSA 2016 Bateman Case Study Competition brought 70 entries to headquarters. Sixteen received honorable mentions in April. Three finalists presented their campaigns Wednesday in Chicago: Loyola University New Orleans, Samford University, and University of Alabama.

Cheering on Loyola’s 2016 Bateman Team -- seniors Edward Wroten, Leanne Reisz, Shea Hermann, Sophia Masone and Morgan Ballard -- from home was the Loyola Wolf Pack. The Bateman Championship is a longstanding winning tradition for Loyola’s esteemed School of Communications.

Participation this year marked the fifteenth time Loyola students have been named among the nation’s top three finalists in the elite national competition. Loyola has won more Bateman competitions than any other school in the country – having brought home nine national titles to the SMC trophy case and always placed among the top three.

Making their way to nationals demanded high-level skills and academic rigor. In preparing for the Bateman, the Loyola team performed significant market research, conducted a community survey, led focus groups, interviewed executives, prepared secondary research, then identified challenges and opportunities, created a concept, messaging and visuals, and rolled out their campaign on a multimedia platform.

Highlights noted by PRSSA judges included the Loyola team’s creativity and their ability to culturally align their campaign with the City of New Orleans, Ory said. The theme “Second Line of Defense” was a double entendre. Locally, second lines assemble the community for a New Orleans-style celebration.

However, the term carries a different meaning for the Veterans of the United States Armed Services. The second line of defense refers to military members who back the initial combat line. It also represents family members who support loved ones from afar.

The hard-working team also caught judges’ attention securing support from local leaders. In their work, Loyola students secured proclamations from New
Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-Dist.8) and the New Orleans City Council. As a result, the New Orleans City Council permanently named Feb. 15 to March 15 (the month the campaign was implemented) Student Veterans Awareness Month.

Judges also gave Loyola students high marks for the team’s innovative ideas to grow the Student Veterans of America through community partnerships. In creating their campaign, Loyola students partnered with nine veterans organizations in New Orleans, including, among others, the national World War II Museum.

“We’re overjoyed! Our students continue to show the world their talent, teamwork, hard work and success,” said Professor Sonya Duhé, Ph.D., director of Loyola’s prize-winning School of Mass Communication. “Our continued success at the PRSSA’s annual national Bateman competition demonstrates the quality of our program, faculty, staff and students.”

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