The Don Bartholomew Award is intended to provide a public relations/communications or business school graduate student with the opportunity to gain practical experience in public relations research at Ketchum and learn what “research that matters to the practice” means. The intern will also have the opportunity to have their resulting research paper published on the IPR website.

Sponsored By:

Ketchum Global Research & Analytics in cooperation with IPR

Application Deadline: April 17, 2024
Internship Dates: June 17 – August 9, 2024
Final Paper Due: August 31, 2025

Award Content

  • The winner of the Don Bartholomew Award will receive at least a $5,440 stipend and an 8-week public relations research internship at Ketchum occurring virtually during the summer of 2024. Depending on where the winner is located, they may also have the opportunity to work in-office in one of the following cities: New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • The successful candidate will work an average of a 40-hour week with Ketchum Global Research & Analytics on a wide array of clients and challenges – ranging from measurement-focused work to strategic positioning research – with exposure to all areas of the full-service PR agency and its resources.
  • At the end of this experience, the Intern will produce a research paper intended for practitioners – not an academic paper, though appropriately rigorous. This paper will be due August 31, 2025.
  • Development of one or more nontraditional components (infographics, video, etc.) to present the aforementioned research is encouraged.
  • The winner will receive a $2,500 grant for the research paper, after it has been accepted for publication by IPR.
  • The winner will be recognized at the 2024 IPR Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner in NYC on December 4, 2024.

Who May Apply
Graduate students majoring in public relations, communications, business, or research who have completed at least one year of study toward a Master’s degree are strongly encouraged to apply.  Post-doctoral candidates are welcome to apply.  Complete fluency in written and spoken English is critical for the successful candidate.

Required Application Materials

  • Application Form – click here to download
  • Statement of Interest explaining why you feel you should be considered for the Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research.
  • In 1000 words or less, explain the topic of research you plan to cover (research prospectus).
  • A resume of public relations-related work/research experience and/or other pertinent experience. Please email to Anetra Henry at

Selection Process
Will be done by a panel of distinguished public relations researchers, educators and practitioners. The top two candidates will be interviewed by Ketchum. Ketchum is seeking someone who exhibits exceptional intellect in the field of PR research and measurement, and who can also serve as a valued member of the staff. 

Past Winners

University of Oregon student, Isaac Bisilki, won the 2022 Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research. Bisliki, a doctoral candidate, received a $2,500 grant for publishing a research brief on tech companies’ promises to communities of color in 2020: gauging the trust levels of diverse publics targeted two years on. The award is administered by the Institute for Public Relations and sponsored by Ketchum. 

“Isaac displayed a remarkably positive attitude on every project. He’s a team player with a strong eye for strategy, and it was a pleasure having him in the fellowship program,” said Carlina DiRusso, Ph.D, managing partner at Ketchum. “We look forward to encountering more bright professionals through supporting the Don Bartholomew Award in partnership with IPR.”

Bisilki holds a M.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oregon. Bisilki’s research is published in the IPR Research Letter and on the IPR website. 

Xuerong Lu is a Ph.D. candidate of public relations at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia (UGA). Her primary research areas focus on how publics respond to competing and conflicting information (e.g., misinformation vs. corrective information) spread on social media in times of public health crisis or risk situations. She is especially interested in examining the social, cognitive, affective, and physiological mechanisms underneath individuals’ crisis information consumption experience, including 1) how they process and act upon crisis information and 2) how their informational decision impacts their responses to organizational crisis communication efforts.

Carlina DiRusso, a Ph.D. student at the Pennsylvania State University, won the prestigious 2019 Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research.

DiRusso’s research paper from her time at Ketchum is titled: “How to Design Corporate Advocacy Campaigns: Examining Relevance, Valence and Intensity.” Read the blog based on her research here.

Jung Kyu (Rhys) Lim, a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland, won the prestigious 2017 Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research. Prior to his time at the University of Maryland, Lim held various marketing and public relations positions in South Korea. Lim’s research investigates how organizations can improve communication regarding risks, crises, and issues management.

“I am humbled, honored and grateful to IPR and Ketchum for the amazing opportunity,” said Lim. “Working at Ketchum Global Research & Analytics will be an immensely valuable experience to complement my research and coursework on public relations, crisis communication and big data analytics. I look forward to this amazing opportunity to learn from industry leaders at Ketchum.

Michail Vafeiadis, a Ph.D. candidate at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Communications, has won the prestigious 2016 Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research. Prior to his time at Penn State, Vafeiadis held multiple public relations positions in Europe. Vafeiadis’ past research has focused on construction of social media-based strategic messaging, crisis communication, and health communication in public relations and advertising.

Zifei (Fay) Chen, a doctoral student at the University of Miami, has won the prestigious 2015 Ketchum Excellence in Public Relations Research Award, now known as the Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research.

“I look forward to working with Ketchum’s Global Research & Analytics team to apply what I have learned to research that matters to the practice,” says Chen. “I am very grateful for this wonderful opportunity provided by Ketchum and IPR and the support I received from my adviser Dr. Don Stacks at the University of Miami.”

Hear about Fay’s experience at Ketchum in her blog post for IPR.

Download Press Release: University of Miami Ph.D. Student Wins Ketchum’s Don Bartholomew Research Award

KEPRRA winner Aaron Westbrook, a master’s student from DePaul University, will be interning at Ketchum’s New York City office for 10 weeks this summer. There, he will gain practical experience, learning what “research that matters to the practice” truly means. He will receive a $7,500 for his work.

“This experience will be invaluable as I seek to expand my comprehension of measurement as a PR practitioner,” Westbrook said.

Download Press Release: 2014 IPR Graduate Student Award Winners Announced

Download PDF: A Conceptual Model for Measuring Coalition Building Effectiveness

Sarab Kochhar, a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida, started working this month as the 2013 Ketchum Excellence in Public Relations Research Award winner. Kochhar said her 10-week internship with Ketchum’s Global Research and Analytics office in New York City has already provided her with new insights into her field of research.

“We are very pleased to have Sarab join our research and analytics team for the summer,” states David Rockland, PhD, Partner and Managing Director, Ketchum Global Research and Analytics.  “Sarab’s analytics expertise coupled with her real world understanding of the PR industry is a tremendous asset to our team as we work to provide powerful insights to our clients.”

“Working with Ketchum will be a great experience. I am thankful to IPR and to Ketchum for such a wonderful opportunity. I am glad to be working with the best in the academia at the University of Florida and the best in the industry at Ketchum’s Global Research and Analytics team,” said Kochhar.

Download Press Release: University of Florida Ph.D. Student Wins 2013 Ketchum Excellence in Public Relations Research Award

PDF: Intermedia Agenda Building of the Blogosphere

This investigation takes a network perspective by recognizing that blogs do not stand alone as information sources—they are connected. Public relations research must also consider that blogs do more than reach publics, they also reach other blogs. Public relations practice can benefit from an understanding of the interaction between blogs. A network perspective examines objects and the relationships that connect them, which forms a network (Monge & Contractor, 2003). In this case, blogs are seen as the objects and the hyperlinks between them are the relationships. Just like with human relationships, the more popular blogs will receive more hyperlinks (relationships) directed at them by others. Receiving more hyperlinks places a blog at a more central point in a network. What is unclear—as the literature review will illustrate—is how a blog’s network position affects how stories transfer to other blogs in the network. Such research is an important departure from the agenda-building scholarship as it explores the understudied area of intermedia agenda building process of blogs (Meraz, 2011). The research presented here provides practitioners with greater insights into selecting and communicating with appropriate blogs based on the blog’s network position. A blog’s network position can be one of the factors for measuring its influence—a concept that has received much attention by practitioner researchers (Mittenberg, 2013).

PDF: Cultivating relationship with tourists

This study examined the construct of perceived authenticity in the context of travel and tourism identifying its linkage with a destination’s image and relationship with visitors. Focus group and interviews were conducted with 11 public relations practitioners of a cultural and eco-archaeological theme park in Mexico to understand their role and responsibilities in developing and promoting the park’s image that fosters perceptions of an authentic tourism experience. Additionally, the study analyzed survey data collected from 545 tourists and in-depth interviews with 16 visitors to evaluate their attitudes and opinions about the park’s image and authenticity. Variations in perceived authenticity with demographics, visit characteristics, and information sources were also examined. Findings revealed that a destination’s image is a significant predictor of its perceived authenticity, which in turn positively influences visitors’ trust, satisfaction, and commitment with the destination. Findings imply the value of public relations, which could lead to supporting behavioral intentions towards a destination.

PDF: Measuring the Impact of Leadership Style and Employee Empowerment on Perceived Organizational Reputation

The current study examines the impact of organizational leadership on public relations effectiveness from an internal perspective. Specifically, it builds links between leadership style, employee empowerment, and employees’ perception of organizational reputation. The results showed that transformational leadership positively influences employees’ perception of organizational reputation, not only directly but also indirectly, through empowering employees. Transactional leadership represented by contingent reward behavior has a significant negative direct effect on employees’ perception of organizational reputation. Transformational leaders are more likely to delegate power to employees and involve them in decision making than transactional leaders. Employees who feel more empowered in terms of competence and control tend to have a more favorable evaluation of organizational reputation. Significant theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

PDF: Measuring Social Media Credibility: A Study on a Measure of Blog Credibility

Individuals now have great expectations about interacting with organizations online, especially using digital and social media. Consequently, public relations and communication professionals are looking for new and more effective ways to enhance these interactions with various publics. The author illustrates how credibility of social media is a key factor impacting public engagement and communication effectiveness in digital and social media. A literature review shows that previous research on the credibility of blogs has reported limited reliability, due partly to the use of credibility measures originally developed to assess credibility of traditional news media.

This study has developed and validated a new 14-item measure of blog credibility using focus groups and a survey of blog users. The study also discusses the implications and practical aspects of measuring blog credibility

PDF: Analyzing Corporate Social Responsibility Measurement Parameters

This research aims to create a universally-acceptable sustainability framework to measure corporate performance, which can adapted by any organization irrespective of size and/or country-of-origin. Select corporate social responsibility measurement indexes of The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are analyzed in comparison to the frameworks of the Japanese and Australian Environmental Reporting Guidelines, on the basis of the ‘Triple Bottom-line Approach’ of Economic, Environmental and Social Initiatives.

PDF: Representing PR in the Marketing Mix: A Study on PR Variables in Marketing Mix Modeling

In spite of increasing emphasis on coordinating all communication activities (including advertising, sales, promotion, and public relations), few studies have empirically examined this interplay of communication activities and the investigation of integrated marketing communication has received little attention in public relations scholarship. The purpose of this study is to explore companies’ use of integrated marketing communications and the evolving roles of public relations and marketing.

In particular, this study addresses one critical area of this integration, the issue of measurement and evaluation. As public relations and marketing are further coordinated, the question of measurement, especially the issue of public relations’ contribution to organizational objectives (i.e. sales, revenue), will become one of prime importance. This study will examine one emerging area of growth- marketing mix modeling- and PR’s representation in such measurement and evaluation.

PDF: The Value of Investor Relations: A Delphi Panel Investigation

Investor relations officers (IROs) say that one of the biggest challenges of their work is proving to management that investor relations contributes value to the organization. One might consider it obvious that good investor relations is good for an organization; however, quantifying such “goodness” can be a demanding task for an IRO or for an investor relations scholar. This study provides an initial step in evaluating investor relations’ contribution to an organization’s bottom line.

This study first provides a theoretical overview of suggestions in the literature of the contribution of investor relations to the organizational bottom line. Secondly, this theoretical overview serves as a starting point for an empirical investigation organized as a Delphi panel. Investor relations officers from corporations and investor relations agencies were recruited to participate in the panel and share their practical insights in response to the theoretically identified indicators of investor relations value.

In sum, this study first identifies what academic research considers the contribution of investor relations and, secondly, evaluates these academic ideas by experienced investor relations practitioners. The evaluations by individual practitioners are merged into one consensus answer, which becomes a snapshot of today’s view of both academics and IROs on how investor relations contributes to the organizational bottom line.

PDF: Measuring the Impact of Public Relations: Using a Coorientational Approach to Analyze the Organization-Public Relationship

Research has stressed that the quality of the relationship between an organization and its publics is an indication of public relations effectiveness. While it seems intuitive that public relations should demonstrate its greatest impact on the organization-public relationship (OPR), early perspectives on the role of public relations within an organization did not always recognize this concept, focusing instead on one-way models of public relations. Probably due to the practitioner-focused research while the discipline was in its infancy, evaluating success in public relations consisted primarily of measuring the short-term, immediate results of a public relations program (“outputs”) or assessing the impact the program had on a target audience (“outcomes”). While it is necessary for public relations professionals to monitor these outputs and outcomes, focusing on these factors will only yield information about the success of an individual public relations program. To gauge the true effectiveness of public relations over time, a long-term perspective needed to be taken, requiring not just a new way of measuring public relations impact, but a complete shift in the focus of public relations research and a new way of thinking about organizations and their publics.

This paper details the development of a new way of measuring public relations effectiveness. It focuses on the impact of public relations programming on the quality of the relationship between an organization and its publics by using established relationship measures within a coorientational framework. Unlike previous approaches, this paper outlines an integrated approach that will attempt to include both parties (the organization and the public) in an evaluation of the organization-public relationship (OPR) by combining the coorientational methodology advocated by Broom and Dozier (1990) with the relational dimension measures proposed by Hon and Grunig (1999). Applying these measures within the coorientational model will indicate the degree of agreement and accurate perception between organizations and their publics when assessing important relationship dimensions. This should generate a complete picture of the OPR. Furthermore, the strength of the OPR over time can then be used to help demonstrate the return on investment in public relations in order to illustrate the value of public relations to managers and clients.

PDF: Can There Be Just One Trust? A Cross-Disciplinary Identification of Trust Definitions and Measurement

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of trust research, identifying common foundations and multiple constellations of trust. In doing so, the paper also addresses important implications of theory development and empirical research. First, it provides a historical sketch of different approaches to understanding the phenomenon of trust. Second, it explains why trust should be measured. Third, it deals with the operationalization and measurement of trust in different disciplines. Fourth, it answers the question is one trust definition or measurement appropriate? Finally, it briefly concludes with recommendations for future research.


PDF: The Employee-Public-Organization Chain in Relationship Management: A Case Study of a Government Organization

This study examines the critical roles that employees play in an organization’s relationship-building with its publics. The findings suggest that employees who have high levels of commitment and use symmetrical cultivation strategies contribute significantly to positive organization-public relationships. The study also found that employment empowerment can occur through participation in public relations programs for external publics.

PDF: Measurement of Organization-Public Relationships: Validation of Measurement Using a Manufacturer-Retailer Relationship

A valid measurement scale for organization-public relationships can offer practitioners and scholars a way to measure the relationship as it develops. This study examines the measurement of organization-public relationship by testing measures on one organization and a key public in an Eastern culture, South Korea.

Trust, control mutuality, satisfaction, commitment, and face and favor were developed by Huang as the core relational dimensions to measure organization-public relationships in Taiwan. Based on Huang’s study, this study proposed personal network as a culture specific dimension in South Korea to measure retailers relationship with Samsung Electronics.

A survey was administered to managers (n=247) of Samsung Electronics and local retailers (n=214) using internal mail and one-on-one interviews in South Korea. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed that trust, satisfaction, commitment, and personal network were better able to capture Samsung Electronics-retailers relationship. Findings indicated that trust, control mutuality, satisfaction, and commitment were closely related to each other whereas personal network is positively associated with other dimensions in the retailer group. In contrast, the managers representing Samsung Electronics’ position perceived more negatively the personal network dimension than did the retailer group.

The results also suggested that there exists a structural model with antecedent dimensions and successor dimensions. The acceptable structural models indicated that trust and personal network may play antecedent roles in the development of satisfaction and commitment. The possible structure of relational dimensions may shed light on the sequential flow of relationship development and suggest implications for relationship management strategy. The present study also revealed that trust, satisfaction, and commitment are global relational measures, whereas personal network as conceptualized here may reflect unique aspects of Eastern culture. Furthermore, these four relational measures can be used to evaluate public relations outcomes.

PDF: Toward a Normative Theory of Relationship Management

This study seeks to understand and describe the strategies that multinational companies use to develop and maintain relationships with their publics in China. It also seeks to extend the findings to develop a normative theory of relationship management for public relations research.

The author studies cultural factors that affect these strategies and explain why companies use them. The proposed normative theory encompasses types of organization-public relationships, maintenance strategies, the effect of multiple publics in an organization-public relationship, relationship outcomes, and the external forces influencing relationship maintenance and outcomes.

PDF: Playing by the Rules: Relationships with Online Users

How do corporate-sponsored Web sites serve to enhance and maintain the corporation’s relationships with customers or Web site users? How do Web sites build a sense of “community” (or “family”) so that users become involved online on the organization’s behalf?

The purpose of this paper is to propose a new research methodology, based on established theory and tested scale techniques, for evaluating organization-public relationships, and particularly those conducted in an online environment. Corporate or organizational Web sites are defined and their would-be users explored. Next, an outline is presented of research done thus far on organization-public relationship measurement tools. This is followed by an explanation of the rules-based theory used here for relationship measurement. The research method is then provided with illustrations of how it was adapted to two different types of Web sites. Lastly, findings are introduced and discussed.

PDF: The Lawyer-Public Relations Counselor Dynamic

Public relations practitioners and lawyers each were asked to sort 34 statements roughly onto a most agree/most disagree continuum. By analyzing the subjective responses to these statements, two types of public relations practitioners and two types of lawyers emerged.

One public relations type, the Caring Collaborator, was marked by the desire for collaboration, understanding and forthrightness. The second public relations type, the Legal Eagle, was also collaborative in nature, but was more confident about her ability to assess problems from a legal perspective.

One legal type, the Cooperative Colleague, is also strongly collaborative and believes lawyers should take part in message development during crises. This lawyer believes public relations plays a unique and essential role in crisis management. The second legal type, the Confrontational Counselor, wants public relations to be involved, but is also strongly committed to controlling public statements. This lawyer believes “no comment” is a responsible reply to queries whose answers have not been fully evaluated.

Comparative analyses showed that lawyers were better able to predict the responses of public relations practitioners to the statements than were public relations professionals able to predict lawyers’ responses.

PDF: Measuring the Bottom-Line Impact Of Public Relations at the Organization Level

Showing the relationship between public relations expense and public relations goals is becoming a critical task in the public relations industry. The purpose of this study is to hypothesize and test the relationship between public relations expense and the public relations goal.