Leicester takes gold for Richard III discovery

Posted by pt91 at Sep 11, 2013 09:15 PM |
Media handling of historic announcement receives international accolade
Leicester takes gold for Richard III discovery

Lights, camera, action: photojournalists at the University's press conference in February.

The University of Leicester’s search for Richard III has received another award, this time for the media coverage of the project. The Search for Richard III has been awarded Gold in the CASE Circle of Excellence Awards 2013.

CASE is the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, an international body for professionals working in higher education marketing and communications. More than 2,900 entries were received from 600 institutions in 18 countries across 45 categories. About 280 Circle of Excellence Awards have been announced but of these, just nine awards were made to UK institutions, including Leicester’s Gold Award in the ‘Media Relations Programs and Projects’ categories.

The University's award-winning press plan started with extensive local, national and even international interest in the dig, following the discovery of human remains with battle wounds and a curved spine. This was announced to a packed press conference in Leicester Guildhall in September 2012 and immediately became the biggest story which the University’s Press Office has ever handled.

Over the next five months, the press coverage was carefully managed as Leicester academics investigated the remains, building up to a press conference in February 2013 which dwarfed even the September event. Scores of camera crews, photographers and journalists from all over the world crammed into the University’s Council Chamber, each with their own requirements (the Melton Times was listed alphabetically next to the New York Times!). Richard Buckley’s announcement that the bones were those of Richard III “beyond reasonable doubt” was greeted with spontaneous applause.

Mike Simpson, Vic Russell and Ather Mirza collect the award.
Mike Simpson, Vic Russell and Ather Mirza collect the CASE award.
At its peak, England's last Plantagenet king knocked the Superbowl and Beyoncé off the number one spot on Twitter.

In the wake of this announcement, the University received numerous commendations for the way that this unprecedented news story had been handled. The Gold Award from CASE is the icing on the cake.

The award will be accepted at the CASE Europe Annual Conference in Manchester in August. This is Leicester’s second Circle of Excellence Award: in 2011 we received a Grand Gold Award for the quality of the news writing on our website.

Update: Members of the University's Marketing Communications team and Press Office were present at CASE's Annual Conference on 29 August to receive the award.

  • The Search for Richard III was led by the University of Leicester, working with Leicester City Council, and in association with the Richard III Society.
  • Search for Richard III website