We are just back from the EUPRERA  Annual Congress, organised by Charles University in Prague, one of the largest and oldest universities in the world, as it was founded in 1348 by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.

The congress was a success both in participation with nearly 200 attendants and in scientific contribution, with works on the theme “Responsible Communication – or Communicating Responsibility?”, grasping the legacy and challenges of the unprecedented times we are facing.

The Annual Congress is also time to hand out the EUPRERA Best Paper Awards. As always, the Awards were given to the authors of three papers with the highest rankings in a two-stage, blind peer-review process performed by a scientific committee of renowned international scholars, headed by Chiara Valentini.

EUPRERA Best Paper Awards

The three winning papers:

“I want what you want! Understanding the Impact of Public Interest Arguments in Lobbying and Public Affairs”
by Ketil Raknes and Øyvind Ihlen

This paper significantly contributes to the realm of public affairs by providing valuable insights into how politicians and lobbyists in Norway use the concept of public interest to advocate for or against energy and environmental issues. The paper is well constructed, rigorous and well-argued. It offers a comprehensive, relevant, and coherent theoretical framework that thoroughly examines the utilization of “topos” in the communicative interactions of these influential social actors. The theoretical framework is highly valuable in that it can be used to analyze a diverse set of advocacy initiatives beyond the ones in focus in this study. Overall, this study constitutes a significant advancement in the understanding of lobbyism and rhetoric within the political sphere and offers a theory-driven tool to dissect the quality of argumentations of those in power and the role of communication in affecting democratic processes.

“Sustainable Engagement with Digitalization Challenges in Strategic Communication: Introducing the VUCA Radar”
by Peter Winkler, Jannik Kretschmer, and Philip Wamprechtsamer

This paper explores the frequently used, yet ambiguously defined concept of VUCA, aiming to provide a conceptual and empirical analysis that sheds light on its impact on strategic communication and outlines effective responses to its challenges. The study is backed by qualitative data gathered in Austria. A commendable aspect of this research is the authors’ intention to enhance our comprehension of VUCA while contributing to the theoretical understanding of current public relations in both internal and external environments. To aid professionals in navigating complex and volatile situations, the paper introduces a valuable tool called the VUCA RADAR. Overall, the study stands out as an intriguing, innovative, pertinent, and ambitious contribution to the field.

 “Trend Research in Communication Management: Introducing an Interdisciplinary Approach based on Futures Research Methodology”
by Ansgar Zerfass, Daniel Ziegele, Sünje Clausen, and Stefan Stieglitz

This paper proposes an integrative approach for future research in public relations and communication management. The methodological approach integrates insights from research developments in society, management, and technology and integrates insights from professionals. There is a nice dialectical engagement between theory and practice-based experiences which positions this work as one highly commented for its practical implications and contribution in expanding our knowledge for conducting formative research. Overall, the paper suggests an innovative integrative methodological perspective, that can become an important practical toolkit for professionals and their research efforts in identifying key trends.


Special recognition to the best reviewer

EUPRERA Best Reviewer Award recognizes the work done by the reviewer because it is an essential contribution to the quality and success of the annual congress. This year’s winner is:

Melissa A. Johnson,
North Carolina State University

Dr. Johnson’s review stands at an exceptional level of quality. Her feedback is thorough, comprising in-depth and comprehensive comments, along with practical suggestions that effectively aid authors in enhancing their papers. Notably, her constructive and encouraging remarks prompt authors to introspect on their arguments and research decisions. Moreover, the review exhibits attentive feedback and a profound respect for diverse academic cultural traditions and perspectives, making it truly commendable.


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