Carroll Communication Students Place Second in National Media Competition

Thursday, June 20, 2019

HELENA – Carroll senior communication and public relations majors Kelsie Watkins and Peri Dropping finished second in a nationwide media planning competition, entered by nearly 100 colleges and universities. Their success at the finals of the Washington Media Scholars Foundation’s Media Plan Case Competition in Washington, D.C., earned them both $3,000 scholarships towards their Carroll degrees. The University of South Carolina, a perpetual power in this competition, won the event.

Funded and organized by the Washington Media Scholars Foundation, the competition paid all expenses to bring the final six teams and their advisers to Washington, D.C., for a seven-day media educational workshop culminating with the final presentations.

In the final on Thursday, June 13, the teams presented to five media professionals from major media organizations at the Newseum, a museum tracing the history of journalism.

Dropping and Watkins, who also debate together for the Talking Saints, received glowing reviews from the judges on their 20-minute presentation of their media plan to spend $4 million to support the opening of a new major league baseball stadium.

“Media week with the Washington Media Scholars Foundation exceeded all of my expectations,” said Watkins. “I learned so much not just about the media industry, but about the professional world as a whole; I have never been so excited about my life post-grad. I am so thankful to Carroll's public relations department for giving me the skills I needed to be successful in this competition. Without the knowledge I gleaned from that curriculum, this accomplishment would have been impossible.”

Dropping, never at a loss for words, was almost speechless.

“I can’t believe we just did that,” she said.

During the week, Dropping and Watkins toured national media companies including NBC, Politico and Google. The Carroll students shadowed media professionals from Scripps, a major American broadcast company which just recently purchased KTVH in Helena, located on the Carroll campus. Scripps invited the Carroll students to dinner after their Thursday success. The program included lunch, served by waiters in tuxedoes, at an exclusive dining club near the White House. The students dined with media executives at the Metropolitan Club.

“Seeing top executives in national media celebrating Carroll students in the nation’s capital was one of the proudest moments of my teaching career at Carroll,” said communication professor Brent Northup. “Their final presentation was polished and powerful, and they received high praise from the best in the media business. Seeing media companies wanting to take them to dinner afterwards was a perfect finish to an unforgettable week.”

There was one surprise still ahead after Dropping and Watkins received their Thursday night awards. As they prepared to leave for home on Friday, they opened the Washington Post to page three and saw their names and photos with the words, “Congratulations to the 2019 Media Scholars.”

An excited Dropping immediately texted Northup a photo of page 3: “Did you pick up a copy of the Washington Post today?”

Yes, he did.

“I purchased a bunch at the airport to bring back to Carroll,” said Northup.