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    35 Area Professionals Become “Civility Ambassadors” After Virtual Workshop

    On Tuesday, March 2, the UNL PRSSA Bateman Team and local nonprofit organization Civic Nebraska hosted “Civility in PR,” a virtual training session for public relations and communication professionals. The training was part of The Civility Effect, a campaign promoting civil discourse created by five UNL seniors taking part in the PRSSA Bateman competition, a national public relations competition for college students.

    After extensive research into the topic of civility, the UNL PRSSA Bateman team chose to align its outreach within the field of communications, specifically public relations.

    “PR professionals often lead communication efforts for organizations both internally and externally,” said Emerson Belitz, Project Manager of The Civility Effect. “They hold unique positions to positively influence society through messaging and the purpose of this event was to demonstrate how they can help restore quality, integrity, and inclusiveness to public discourse.”

    The event had a total of 35 attendees from all areas of Nebraska, including Scottsbluff, York, North Platte, and Omaha. Those in attendance learned about critical civility tools and tactics and signed a pledge to become Civility Ambassadors. As Civility Ambassadors, attendees can now take part in the online ambassador hub created as part of The Civility Effect to build an online community, help further civil conversations and provide resources for additional tactics and techniques.

    Civic Nebraska’s Deputy Executive Director, Amanda Barker, and Director of Communications Steve Smith led the training.

    "Communications and public-relations professionals play a key role in shaping discourse. We are pleased to be partnering on The Civility Effect, which highlights the importance of civil discourse across the industry while providing real-world professional development,” said Steve Smith, director of communications at Civic Nebraska. “This is a first-of-its-kind initiative at a time when it is definitely needed, and to work with such innovative, thoughtful students on this project has been rewarding."

    A recording of Tuesday’s event can be accessed on The Civility Effect website:

    About the PRSSA Bateman Competition

    The PRSSA Bateman Competition is a national public relations competition for college students. Each competition team was asked to create and implement a full PR campaign for the competition client, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Campaign implementation ran from Feb. 8 to Mar. 8. Campaigns should foster more constructive public discourse in society through modeled behavior. The UNL PRSSA Bateman team includes seniors Emerson Belitz, Kateri Hartman, Morgan Libsack, Hallie Miller and Arielle Wiedenbeck.

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