NEW YORK – March 15, 2018 — The Page Society awarded two Brigham Young University students the Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award for their winning submission analyzing United Airlines’ crisis response to the viral incident of a passenger being forcibly removed from a 2017 flight. Supervised by academic advisor Dr. Christopher Wilson, students Brooke Smith and Steven Pelham will be recognized with the prestigious award during Page’s annual Spring Seminar, taking place on April 5-6, 2018 in New York City.

The Case Study Competition in Corporate Communications, which is sponsored by the Page Society and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), awards students whose original case studies best examine the practice of corporate communications in a business issue or crisis. This year's competition drew 105 entries from 36 communications and business schools across the country.

The winning submission, “Responding While the Record Button Is Always On: Flying High and Low with United Airlines Corporate Culture and Stakeholder Empowerment,” explores the successes and challenges of United’s response to its crisis and the policies organizations need to develop in response to the changing dynamics of stakeholder empowerment and social media.

"The incident on flight 3411 spurred a critical dialogue around the new normal for communications in our digital, always-on world. This case study provides a culturally relevant analysis that demonstrates why communicators must evolve their best practices for digital communications, especially around crises," said Roger Bolton, president of the Page Society. “Brooke and Steven's robust analysis of this issue will become a critical resource for PR and communications practitioners worldwide looking at solving modern communications and business problems. Congratulations them and to all of the other winners for their exceptional entries."

In addition to the overall grand prize, the competition awards winners in the categories of Communications Schools and Business Schools. This year's winners represent DePaul University, the University of Notre Dame, and Grand Valley State University. To see a complete list of the winning submissions and for more information about the competition, please visit:

“This case study competition truly challenges students to take a 360-degree view of how communicating around a program or issue can have a significant impact on the overall business of an organization,” said Dr. Tina McCorkindale, President and CEO of IPR. “Winning this highly-competitive award is a great honor—congratulations to all the award winners, especially Brooke and Steven, under the guidance of Dr. Wilson, for their case study of the United Airlines Flight 3411 crisis.”

The annual competition is judged by a panel comprising Page members and members of Page Up, a membership organization for senior-level communicators who have the potential to rise to a CCO or another Page eligible role. Judges for this year’s competition include:

About the Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award

As the first chairman of the Arthur W. Page Society, Jack Koten was among the founding members of the Society who extracted from Page's lifetime of work the set of defining values that we know today as the Page Principles. These Principles not only serve as criteria for this competition but also as a guide for Page members in their daily work. Jack personified the belief that businesses should operate honestly and honorably, and with unwavering integrity.

Upon his passing in 2014, Jack bequeathed funds to the Page Society that its Board of Trustees voted to use to fund in perpetuity the annual Case Study Competition grand prize, which that year was renamed the Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award. 

About the Page Society

The Page Society is a professional association for senior public relations and corporate communications executives who seek to enrich and strengthen their profession. Membership consists primarily of chief communications officers (CCOs) of Fortune 500 corporations, the CEOs of the world's largest public relations agencies, and leading academics from top business and communications schools. With more than 700 members in over 20 countries, the Page Society enables members to develop professional relationships with the most knowledgeable, influential and innovative global leaders in enterprise communications. Members also participate in producing thought leadership that is shaping the understanding of the value and role of corporate communications, and are able to take advantage of professional development opportunities for their staff. The Page Society is dedicated to strengthening the enterprise leadership role of the CCO. For more information, please visit

About the Institute for Public Relations 

The Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit research foundation dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. IPR focuses on research that matters to the profession, providing timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. All research is available free at and provides the basis for IPR’s professional conferences and event.


Melissa Lobato

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