Posted October 1, 2018
By Abe Danaher
Ernie Grigg, an instructor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the faculty
advisor of The Carolina Agency, was selected as PR News’ 2018 Platinum PR Winner for Educator of the Year at their
Platinum PR Awards luncheon on September 21.
This awards luncheon celebrated achievements within the marketing and communications
fields, and featured over 500 guests displaying excellency in their respective fields.
“The PR News Platinum Award is a big thing,” said Grigg. “It’s not quite the Oscars
of public relations, but it is a pretty big industry award that people get excited
Grigg was recognized because of the two new PR courses that he developed in the SJMC,
his commendable record of job placement, his advisement of students as they created
USC’s Think Twice campaign, and most specifically, his leadership in transforming The Carolina Agency from a
student-run organization to a full-scale firm.
“One of our goals is to make sure that everyone in the professional world knows what
fabulous students we have,” said Dr. Andrea Tanner, director of the School of Journalism
and Mass Communications. “This award just helps show them that we have a top-notch
program with top faculty in the field.”
While attending the luncheon, Grigg met many professionals from around the country
who were interested in hearing more about TCA and the students involved in its work.
“It put South Carolina on the map with people that are going to be hiring our students,”
The award also reaffirms Grigg’s decision three years ago to leave his public relation’s
firm in New York City to teach at USC. He said that when he had announced his decision
to leave his company for teaching, he had received some odd looks. Yet when given
the award, many executives from his past company were among the first people to congratulate
As TCA’s prestige grows, Grigg’s next goal is to begin attracting clients outside
of the local Columbia market. He also said that the agency is working to expand its
services within the University by collaborating with more schools and departments.
By increasing the influence of TCA, the students involved will become more prepared
for the professional world.
“Ernie brings the professional world of public relations into the classroom so that
there are no surprises for students when they land their first professional job,”
Outside of TCA, Grigg is focusing on continuing to create new classes within the journalism
school’s public relations program. He is very excited about collaborating in the future
with the School of Library and Information Science to expose his students to data
synthesis and analysis.
Abe Danaher is the communications assistant for the College of Information and Communications. A journalism
minor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Danaher is in his last
semester at USC. He is from Syracuse, New York.