Winner announced in tenth anniversary edition

#prstudent #CreatorAwards23

About the author

Richard Bailey Hon FCIPR is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

Richard Bailey celebrates with Prakriti Roy. Photo: Aileen Guing
Richard Bailey celebrates with Prakriti Roy. Photo: Aileen Guing

I’ve reviewed the stats from this year – and have also taken a look back at the ten years we’ve run this challenge.

In academic year 2022-23 we included 59 posts from 30 students at 7 universities. These are lower numbers than in previous years.

As you can see from this table, only two universities featured prominently this year:

University # students featured # posts included
Leeds Beckett 19 35
Sunderland 4 13
London College of Communication 2 3
Birmingham City 2 2
Cardiff Metropolitan 1 4
Other 2 2


Leeds Beckett is the leading university this year, which is awkward for me as it’s where I teach and I’ve always wanted to avoid the charge of favouritism in what should be a national contest. Yet reviewing the ten years we’ve run this challenge and its predecessor (#bestPRblogs), no Leeds Beckett student has previously won or even been shortlisted.

No individual reached double figures of appearances this academic year, yet we do have a clear winner and joint runners up. Congratulations to our winner Prakriti Roy.

Congratulations also to our runners up Destiny Hollern and Chloe Rose.

Ranking Student Appearances
1 Prakriti Roy, Leeds Beckett (PG) 9
2= Destiny Hollern, Sunderland (PG) 5
2= Chloe Rose, Sunderland (PG) 5
4 Pia Gizzi, Cardiff Metropolitan (UG) 4
5= Lydia Cooper, Leeds Beckett (UG) 3
5= Nafatiti Nimako-Boatey, Leeds Beckett (UG) 3
5= Charlotte Smith, Leeds Beckett (UG) 3


These three are all on postgraduate courses. Looking back over the ten years, undergraduate students have won much more frequently than postgraduates, perhaps because the latter only spend one year on their course so have less time to build momentum. 

Of the three universities to have won more than once, it’s sad to report that none of Liverpool John Moores, Solent or Sunderland still offer undergraduate PR programmes; Bournemouth and Leeds Beckett no longer offer single honours BA Public Relations courses.

So the future looks uncertain for public relations degrees and for any further #prstudent challenges such as this. But on a positive note, Lydia Cooper, Nafatiti Nimako-Boatey and Charlotte Smith are all still in their first year, so have plenty of time to continue finding their voices and developing their content creation skills.

One obvious explanation of the low take up this year is the decline in public relations degree courses that we’ve previously documented through PR Academy’s research.

Another explanation is that fee paying students tend not to be motivated by challenges that don’t contribute directly towards their grades. So this contest is the victim of the perverse incentive that the higher the fees are, the less willing students are to be challenged.

Yet this was never conceived as another means of academic assessment. It was created to reflect the real-world challenge of developing content and using it to form connections. As a result, winning and shortlisted students have been visible and attractive to employers.

Nor are we asking students to do anything out of the ordinary, since they all have social media accounts and since everyone’s smartphone now has many of the creator tools previously only available to Hollywood studios. Blogging is undeniably a slog and it takes exceptional planning, determination and creativity to keep one going (that’s why Orlagh Shanks is our all-time champion). But we no longer require or expect students to blog. We’ve had one recent winner who documented her time in London through TikTok videos focused on her social life and another who published regular reflections on LinkedIn.

Here’s the full list of winners from the past ten years.

Year Winner/s
2023 Prakriti Roy (Leeds Beckett, PG)
2022 Jasmine Denike (London College of Communication, PG)
Bethany Gough (Solent, UG)
2021 Eloise Newman (Solent, UG)
2020 Niamh Murray (Ulster, UG)
2019 Orlagh Shanks (Liverpool John Moores, UG)
2018 Orlagh Shanks (Liverpool John Moores, UG)
2017 Lucy Hayball (Bournemouth, UG)
2016 Arianne Smart (Sunderland, UG)
2015 Olivia Crawford (Solent, UG)
2014 Jess Ramsey (Sunderland, UG)


It’s no surprise to see women so well represented since females outnumber males two-to-one within public relations; on degree courses the ratio can be as high as nine to one.

Yet it’s disappointing that we have never had a male winner. So let me add a word of recognition for Marcel Klebba who was a strong runner-up around the time of the peerless Orlagh Shanks – a runner-up in her second year before winning in her third (placement) year and fourth year, an unmatched record.

As a London-based student (he was at the University of Westminster), Marcel Klebba was frequently spotted at industry networking events and became well known even before he’d graduated.

The contest was conceived with this end in mind: helping students to become better connected to those in the industry.

To demonstrate how this works in practice, let’s revisit the experience of last year’s joint winner Bethany Gough.

Bethany Gough

Even before she had been declared joint winner, she’d been snapped up by digital PR specialists Battenhall where she’s been working for the past year.

Reflecting on what motivated her to maintain a winning blog, she says: ‘Final year of university was a stressful time, but I found that sitting down each week to write a short blog sharing my thoughts on topical news stories, pop-culture or something I’d learned about at university that week was a really nice break from my dissertation and assignments

‘I really enjoyed getting my thoughts down on a page, and got a huge sense of achievement seeing my blogs get featured by PR Place each week which definitely motivated me to keep blogging all year.’

Then she describes how the graduate role at Battenhall came about.

‘In the midst of looming dissertation deadlines and planning for post-graduate life, I took my chances and shared a tweet asking if any London-based PR agencies were hiring. I definitely didn’t expect anyone to reply, however, I received a lovely message from one of my now colleagues asking if I’d be interested in hearing about Battenhall.

‘I loved everything I learned about Battenhall’s clients and culture, so I decided to apply and a few weeks and interviews later I was thrilled to get the news that I would be starting at the agency in July.’

‘The whole of the past year has been full of highlights for me. The main one being the amazing clients I now work for, everyday is different and it’s so cool to be working with some dream clients across global campaigns so early on in my career. 

Another huge highlight has been making new friends, and experiencing the London agency life! Battenhall’s internship scheme means there are regularly new faces popping up in our office or online, and I love getting to know everyone and sharing my PR knowledge to anyone who wants to learn more.’