Story by Katherine Hunt
Predicting the Grammy Award winners as a project for class sounds too good to be true, right? Well, this was a secondary project for students that took JMC 143: Publicity. Offered as an upper-level course for public relations majors, this class focuses on strategic planning and issues management to teach students how to be a good public relations consultant.
The Times-Delphic caught up with David Remund, assistant professor of public relations, to learn how students were even able to accurately predict award winners.
“One aspect of JMC 143 is learning how to critically evaluate publicity, be that positive or negative publicity,” Remund said. “Students are encouraged to analyze what is being done and said on traditional news media, as well as what is being shared and discussed on social media. While hype or buzz isn’t the reason why someone would win, it can certainly be a leading indicator.”
However, sometimes saying is a lot easier than doing. Some students hit roadblocks on the way to determining forecasted winners.
Senior Maren Kalland ran into difficulty trying to find credible sources of information.
“I expected to find credible entertainment websites with concrete reviews but ended up turning to blog entries by no-namers to read up on predictions,” Kalland said.
Senior Lauren Arndorfer ran into other problems further down the road.
“I began my research on Twitter with the advanced search function and several social listening tools,” Arndorfer said. “This helped me narrow down the nominees in the Best New Artist category to two: Hunter Hayes and Fun. After that, I had to switch my focus away from social media because it wasn’t providing a clear enough distinction between the two nominees.”
This past Sunday, Feb. 10, the students’ predictions were put to the test. Every student successfully predicted winners in the assigned Grammy categories. Junior Stephanie Esker gave her personal method of predictions for the Grammys.
“Personally, I used sites to analyze Twitter and Facebook to monitor the publics’ opinion, and then I used entertainment websites to monitor critics’ opinions,” Esker said.
While the primary focus of JMC 143 was on planning public relations for the Des Moines Urban Youth Learning Garden, the Grammy and Academy Awards predictions were definitely one of the top highlights of the course.
Junior Margaret Moller recommends this course to students within any discipline.
“To be honest, for any major where a deadline would be a possibility in their future careers, I feel like taking a J-term JMC: 143 should almost be required,” Moller said. “It gave us the real world perspective of what it will be like to meet a deadline on a tight schedule.” This course will be offered once again this fall.