By Phil Klutts
July 4, 2023

Top-15 finish for OC PR students

Oklahoma Christian University PR students recently excelled in a national competition.
Ciana Fryar, co-director of the student-run Eagle PR firm (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

In a display of talent and dedication, public relations students from Oklahoma Christian University (OC) have once again showcased their skills by securing a spot among the top-15 colleges in the nation in the prestigious Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Bateman Competition. This achievement marks the third time since 2016 that OC students have earned this recognition.

Combating misinformation: the “Know Your Facts” campaign

Led by Co-Directors Ciana Fryar and Sydney Turner, the students formed a formidable team within the student-run Eagle PR firm. Their mission was to develop and execute a comprehensive campaign promoting news literacy in both the campus and the local community on behalf of the nonprofit News Literacy Project. The team researched, planned, implemented, and evaluated a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing awareness and critical thinking regarding news consumption.

Known as the “Know Your Facts” campaign, Eagle PR’s approach centered around combating misinformation prevalent on social media platforms. Disturbingly, studies have shown that over 59% of Americans find it challenging to discern false information on social media, while 63% of people worldwide struggle to differentiate reliable journalism from rumors or falsehoods.

To address this critical issue, the students mobilized their resources and embarked on a mission to educate the community. Through their “Ask Questions, Verify Sources, and Share Knowledge” initiative, they aimed to equip individuals with the necessary tools to evaluate online news and information critically. The team organized a series of informational table events, inviting students to engage in various activities and learn about misinformation while having the chance to win prizes.

Recognition and impact

The remarkable success of Eagle PR’s campaign did not go unnoticed by PRSSA leadership. Michelle Egan, chair of the board for the Public Relations Society of America, commended the team’s ingenuity, perseverance, and cleverness in spreading awareness about the significance of critical thinking skills.

“Dis- and misinformation are proliferating throughout our society, and news literacy skills are essential to be able to combat it effectively,” said Egan. “The ingenuity, perseverance, and cleverness shown in this year’s student campaigns were not only inspiring but truly effective in spreading the word about the importance of critical thinking skills in understanding the world around us.”

Impressively, OC is the sole university in Oklahoma to secure a spot among the top 15 in the national competition. Furthermore, OC’s consistent achievements in the Bateman Competition over the years distinguish it as the only school to earn this honor multiple times. It is worth noting that schools in the top 15 typically have an average enrollment of over 25,000 students, while OC’s student body totals just 2,000.

This recent accomplishment adds to OC’s impressive track record in national competitions. Eagle PR has previously achieved top-10 or top-20 rankings three times in the last five years in the national Up to Us campaign competition, which raises awareness of national debt among college students.

The exceptional work of OC’s PR students reflects their commitment to excellence, creativity, and the importance of accurate and informed news consumption. As they continue to make a positive impact in their field, Oklahoma Christian University takes pride in nurturing the next generation of skilled and responsible PR professionals.

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About Phil Klutts

Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.

In addition to being the co-owner of Edmond Business, Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.