COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The PR campaign behind the Press Uncuffed project won a prestigious SABRE award May 3 during a gala program in New York City. Merrill College alumna Rosemary Ostmann’s RoseComm Marketing, PR and Social Media firm oversees the campaign to promote the student-powered project. Press Uncuffed was the brainchild of students in Knight Chair Dana Priest’s public affairs reporting class in 2014. They came up with the idea to sell translucent bracelets with the names of incarcerated journalists as a way to raise awareness and win their release. The continuing campaign is done in partnership with the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In an email to Dean Lucy Dalglish and Professor Dana Priest, Ostmann wrote, “This is a huge honor and we’re beyond grateful to each of you for your support and collaboration.” The Press Uncuffed campaign won over a number of much larger PR agency submissions.

Celebrating Results

The Press Uncuffed campaign is celebrating the release of seven journalists featured on its bracelets during the first year of operation. The seven freed since the campaign began in April 2015 were imprisoned in Iran, China, Vietnam, Swaziland, Bahrain, Mexico and Ethiopia. The other Press Uncuffed journalists who remain in prison are: Ilham Tohti, China; Eskinder Nega, Ethiopia; Mahmoud Abou Zeid “Shawkan,” Egypt; Yusuf Ruzimuradov, Uzbekistan; and Mohamed Ould M’Kheitir, Mauritania.

“I am beyond gratified to celebrate the freedom of more than half the journalists whose plights were highlighted by Press Uncuffed this past year,” said Priest. “Purchasing Press Uncuffed bracelets, which honor both those who have been freed and those still imprisoned, supports the crucial need of fundraising for this extremely important cause.”

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About the SABRE Awards

The SABRE Awards, which recognize Superior Achievement in Branding Reputation & Engagement, now attract more than 2,000 entries from across North America each year, and provide the premier showcase for the best that public relations has to offer. The awards are overseen by The Holmes Group, whose website says “is dedicated to proving and improving the value of public relations, by providing insight, knowledge and recognition to public relations professionals.”

About Press Uncuffed

Press Uncuffed is a campaign to raise money to free imprisoned journalists around the world by selling bracelets bearing their names. Journalism students at the University of Maryland and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter and Knight Chair Dana Priest, created the campaign, which benefits the Committee to Protect Journalists’ emergency assistance campaign. Additional information about Press Uncuffed is available at PressUncuffed.org.

About the Committee to Protect Journalists

CPJ promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ ensures the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored or harassed.