Douglas Smith Student Award recognises brightest public relations talent

Three Sunderland University students have won the 2015 Douglas Smith Student Award, a national competition to find the most talented PR students, organised by CIPR International.

Eva Maclaine, chair of CIPR International and board member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, presented Lauren Old, Hannah Lennox and Arianne Williams a cheque for a total of £1,000 and a crystal trophy.

The award ceremony took place at the Northern Insight magazine launch party in Newcastle upon Tyne. Students faced a challenging campaign brief addressing one of PR’s burning issues. They were to develop an international public relations campaign about a new wearable technology product: a contact lens. They were instructed to either support or oppose the launch of such a product with high regards to ethical considerations.

Sarah Pinch FCIPR, CIPR President 2015
I am delighted to be involved in the second year of the Douglas Smith Student Award. On behalf of the judges I’m pleased to recognise the work of the outstanding students who entered this award. It was a pleasure to read their submissions and be able to highlight the exceptional work of one group of students, who won this year’s award. Their project was exceptionally creative, ethically sound, multi-culturally relevant and took an international outlook.
Sarah Pinch FCIPR, CIPR President 2015

In addition to the CIPR President, the judging panel included top public relations experts from both the industry and academy: Stephen Davies, digital consultant and guru, Prof Anne Gregory, chair of the Global Alliance, and Stephen Waddington, European Digital and Social Media director, Ketchum, and Visiting Professor, Newcastle University.

Eva Maclaine FCIPR
These students are the future of PR and supporting and nurturing them is a key strand of the work of CIPR International. We are very pleased to be able to help them on the start of their journey towards PR.
Eva Maclaine FCIPR

The presentation was preceded by a visit in the afternoon to Press Ahead in Sunderland, a PR, marketing, research, creative and media consultancy. Here they had a tour around the offices and met with the head of PR Sally Pearson, who was able to tell them what employers are looking for from young PR professionals.

Notes to editors

Douglas Smith was a founder member and patron of CIPR International, and a former CIPR President. This award extends his legacy and his support for young talent. Last year’s Douglas Smith Student Award winner was Jeremy Dickey, at the time an MA student at London’s University of the Arts.


About CIPR International

CIPR International represents 1,100 Chartered Institute of Public Relations members from 88 countries, who work internationally and in the UK. It facilitates understanding of cultural differences, builds relationships with people from other countries, and benchmarks, shares and learns from inspired practice.


It brings together the many different sectors within the international communications industry to network, discuss, and learn from each other about the global issues facing international PR practitioners today.


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About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With over 10,000 members involved in all aspects of public relations, it is the largest body of its type in Europe.


The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).