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Hear Me Out: Civil Discourse Gets a PR Treatment at WT

This week, High Plains Morning caught up with Sophia Britto, one of four students at West Texas A&M University taking part in the 2021 Public Relations Student Society of America Bateman Competition. It’s an annual competition that challenges student teams to design a public service campaign, and this year it’s focused on “civil discourse.” The team at WT has been working on the project for almost a month now, and they’ve recently launched what they’re calling Hear Me Out. Hear the full interview on the link below.


(From WTAMU): Four WT students are actively finding ways to turn the temperature down in potentially contentious conversations through their Hear Me Out campaign, part of the 2021 Public Relations Student Society of America Bateman Competition. WT’s team presentation is about 20 minutes long and includes a short experience piece when there is time for it. They conclude with a short survey.  

The Bateman Competition is PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) ’s national case study competition where students create and implement a full public relations campaign. This year, the goal is to help the Public Relations Society of America to reverse the corrosion of civility in American life and encourage respectful conversations in public discourse in all corners of society.

The WT team will promote its campaign on WT’s campus and in the Amarillo and Canyon communities. Team members are Sophia Britto, sophomore digital communication and media major from Amarillo; Jordan Conde, freshman digital communications and media major from Dumas; Mallory Grimm, junior public relations and advertising major from Amarillo; and Laura Putts, senior public relations and advertising major from Amarillo.

“ ‘Hear Me Out’ is an effort to encourage meaningful, thoughtful, and respectful conversations about difficult topics. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in public discourse by creating a community that listens to another without ridicule, teaching others how to navigate difficult conversations and promoting civility and understanding in our discussions,” the team’s mission statement reads.

“We believe the first step is to listen and to simply hear each other out, ” Grimm said. “We tend to spend more time talking than we do listening. The audiences we’ve spoken to in person and over Zoom said they’ve learned more on how to have a civil discussion.”

The campaign will run through March 8, and the team will submit their entry by March 29. Final scores will be calculated in mid-April. The group will give presentations in person and digitally and has more than six planned events this month. )

The competition was established in 1973 as the National Case Study Competition and was then renamed to honor the late J. Carroll Bateman, one of PRSSA's founders.

To hear the steps to improve conversations when people disagree, contact Kim Bruce at kbruce@wtamu.edu.


(From WTAMU): Sophia Britto is a sophomore digital communication and mass media major from Amarillo. She's very passionate about food and when she graduates, she's hoping to find a job in the food media field. Currently, she's enjoying her job at a local apiary called Creek House Honey Farm and creates content for the Media Communication department part-time. This school year, she's also involved in National Broadcasting Society, 1910 PR, Maroon Productions, and the Bateman Team.  

Jordan Conde is a freshman digital communication and mass media major from Dumas. This year he is involved in National Broadcasting Society, KWTS, WTTV, and the Bateman Team. After graduation he plans to pursue multiple fields in the media world from sound production in the music industry to creating advertisements.

Laura Putts is a senior public relations and advertising major from Amarillo. She has learned a lot about promoting businesses through public relations and advertising classes as well as crisis management class. She is extremely passionate about photography and plans to use her fresh skills to own a legitimate photography business in the future. This semester she is involved in 1910 PR and the Bateman Team.

Mallory Grimm is a junior public relations and advertising major from Amarillo. She is heavily involved in the media communication department at WT, with organizations such as Buffalo Advertising, PRSSA, and 1910 PR. She serves as the assistant editor and social media director for the Eternal Flame Magazine. During her time at WT, she has been involved in creating and implementing many PR campaigns for local and national clients. After she graduates, Mallory would love to pursue a career in social media management.

Jenny Inzerillo joined HPPR in 2015 as the host of High Plains Morning, our live music program that airs weekdays at 9 am to noon CST. Broadcasting from KJJP in beautiful downtown Amarillo, she helps listeners wake up with inspired music from our region and beyond. Tune in for new voices in folk/Americana, deep cuts from your favorite artists, soulful tracks from singer/songwriters across the world, and toe-tapping classics dating as far back as the 1920s. Plus, discover underground greats that just might be your new favorite band.