GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Frank Ovaitt, president and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), and Don Stacks, Ph.D., IPR trustee and chair of the Measurement Commission, received top awards this week at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) in Montreal, underscoring the contributions of public relations to the field.
Ovaitt received the Gerald Sass Distinguished Service Award, presented at the AEJMC conference by a sister organization, the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication. Stacks received AEJMC’s Dorothy Bowles Public Service Award. Both awards are based in part on connecting the work of academics and communications professionals.
Ken Makovsky, co-chair of IPR and president of Makovsky, highlighted the role IPR has played in advancing the public relations profession’s use of science and research. “IPR sees public relations as all the ways that a company or organization aligns its goals, messages, actions and policies with the needs of its stakeholders. IPR seeks to insert research in the process,” said Makovsky.
Stacks, professor of public relations at the University of Miami, was recognized for more than 20 years of bringing public relations theory and research into the professional’s world, strengthening both. Stacks has taught at the University of Miami since 1990 and is the president of the International Public Relations Research Conference.
Speaking during the Sass Award ceremony, Don Wright, Ph.D., Harold Burson professor and chair in public relations at Boston University, unveiled a new Research Journal of the Institute for Public Relations. The online journal will be refereed by a rigorous double-blind review process, but it aims to make research more accessible to public relations practitioners and decrease the time needed to publish new work.
Mike Fernandez, past IPR co-chair and corporate vice president at Cargill, spoke about the future of IPR and how it will continue to invest in research. Fernandez pointed out that IPR has just appointed its first Director of Research, Sarab Kochhar, Ph.D. “We will continue to develop additional ways that scholars and professionals communicate. We will work together to better understand our craft in important ways as it evolves right before our eyes,” said Fernandez.
The Gerald Sass Distinguished Service Award began in 1946 and has been won by such highly respected journalists as Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers and Al Neuharth. Ovaitt is the first public relations person to win the award. The Dorothy Bowles Public Service Award recognizes an AEJMC member for a sustained public service record that helps connect academics and professionals in mass communication.
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Contact: Sarah Jackson
PR Associate, Institute for Public Relations