Every day, many students in the College of Media & Communication are taught the skills of professional public relations practitioners, but 11 teams of PR students pushed themselves further when they entered this year's Texas Tech PR Showdown.
Now in its sixth year, the PR Showdown is the largest event hosted by the department and highlights what PR professionals do by challenging students' strategic communication skills.
(Vince Rodriguez speaks with a judge at the 2019 PR Showdown.)
During his introduction at the PR Showdown awards ceremony, Weiwu Zhang, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Public Relations, commended each group for following through the process with grit and perseverance.
“Just by registering for the competition, each group member showed that they are above-and-beyond a lot of other people,” he said. “Your PR clients need to have confidence in you and your skills, so our students need to look credible and professional.”
During the one-week competition, each team had to complete several client-related challenges. The teams conducted research, strategized and implemented their approach, and then recorded a pitch video for the competition's panel of industry judges.
“It's a hands-on approach for the student teams,” Zhang said. “It's a taste of the real-world and the level of intensity that our students will face upon graduation. It's an ideal opportunity to apply the information that they've learned in the classrooms.”
The overall winning team was comprised of Marco Rodriguez, Tiffany Fernandez, Sarah Armstrong and Maria Gonzales who are all majoring in public relations.
After the announcement, Gonzales said the competition was hard work and a challenge for her team.
“We'd never met before and it was a little stressful, but it was helped by all of us having information that we'd learned in class,” she said.
Madi Rogers, a junior PR major from Lubbock, agreed.
“It was a great experience and a nice affirmation of all the other skills that we've put together from our classes,” she said. “It was great being able to do this on our own.”
Katherine White, one of the judges, said, “The PR Showdown is a great learning experience for CoMC students.”
White, the media relations and community manager of Market Lubbock and CoMC alumna (BA journalism, 2013 and MA Mass Communications, 2014), said that she was very impressed with the winning team.
(The judges discuss the submissions and acknowledge the exemplary work created by students for the 2019 PR Showdown.)
“This can't be won with a formula, but only through bringing all these different components together in a new, diverse and interesting way,” she said.
“It's important for students to enter competitions like this,” White added. “When you create content, whether it's for class or for an event like this, you have more to talk about when you interview for your first job. You can provide the proof that you can do the job on Day One.”
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