Is PR really a profession? And does it really matter?

May 23, 2010

Ray Simon

I met legendary PR professor Ray Simon in 1987. He came to Buffalo, at my invitation, to address the PRSA chapter there, and he discussed the questions you see in today’s headline.

Ray began teaching PR at Utica College in 1949. I used his book, “PR Concepts and Practices,” when I taught my first PR class at the University of Buffalo in 1985, and have always held Ray in the highest regard.

Ray’s key messages about “PR as profession” became part of my own lessons for the next 23 years. But since I can’t locate the  script he gave me that day, you’ll have to trust my notes and my memory. Read the rest of this entry »


Leaders ask PRSA to dump APR rule for national office

May 10, 2010

A  group of influential PR practitioners today launched a petition drive asking the Public Relations Society of America to become more democratic.

Add me to their list of supporters.

The petition asks PRSA’s National Assembly to remove a longstanding obstacle that blocks 80% of the society’s membership from holding national office: a requirement that officeholders first earn the “APR” designation. The restriction was put in place in middle 1970s. Read the rest of this entry »


Dear Millennials: Your parents lied to you

April 20, 2010

You’re wonderful, sweetie. Just keep working hard and you can be anything you want to be. Great job! (soccer mom, 1992)

I’ve spent the past 15 years teaching and coaching the kids known as Millennials. Some call them GenY. I call them the “self esteem generation.” Millennials were raised by parents who showered them with praise and awarded them athletic trophies for just showing up. Their lives were over-programmed, their parents hovering.

Then they went to college. Read the rest of this entry »


Kent State takes a digital focus in Week #12

April 12, 2010

When you teach college courses, you count weeks. This is Week #12 of the spring semester, which means students and faculty are near maximum stress levels and, I hope, maximum productivity.

So it’s refreshing, during a crazy week, to welcome three hi-profile guests from the digital world. They include Chris Barr of Yahoo!, Phil Gomes of Edelman Digital, and Kyle Lacy, author of “Twitter Marketing for Dummies.” Read the rest of this entry »


PRSA’s “he said/she said” controversy has me looking for answers

December 28, 2009

Color me troubled over a conflicting story emerging from the Public Relations Society of America in this holiday season. I’m not ready to take sides in this battle, but I’m also not sure whom to believe.

It started with this story from Joe Ciarallo at PRNewser, a story announcing PRSA’s decision to shut down its Multicultural Communications Section (MCS) and make it part of the society’s standing Diversity Committee. Read the rest of this entry »


Reflecting on an Excellent Adventure @ PRSA09

November 18, 2009

From Wikipedia Commons

I spent just 72 hours at the PRSA conference in San Diego last week, and I tried hard to be a good blogger. It didn’t work.

My most popular post, the one about Mike McDougall’s 24-second news cycle, drew just 5 human comments and 111 views. Key message in that post was about ethics in media relations, but I buried the lead. You sometimes make those mistakes on deadline. Read the rest of this entry »


Strong words from PRSA veteran over leadership restrictions

November 16, 2009
Art_Stevens_-_Pat_Jackson_Award(4)

Art Stevens

Longtime PRSA leader Art Stevens doesn’t mince words in a scathing editorial posted today at Bulldog Reporter. It is a must-read for all PRSA members. (Special thanks to Judy Gombita for the quick link.)

Stevens’ wrath is directed at the 2009 PRSA Assembly, which last week rejected a bylaw change that would have opened the ranks of PRSA leadership to many more of its members. Read the rest of this entry »


Things happen for a reason — even in PR

October 15, 2009

I’m not a religious person, but I am spiritual. I have a sense that someone or something is watching over me. I just don’t know what it is.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been so lucky in this life. I married the perfect woman, I have my dream job, and I win lots of stuff in raffles.

I also believe things happen for a reason. And one of those things just happened. Read the rest of this entry »


Is PRSA building walls?

July 6, 2009

prsa_logoJack O’Dwyer has few bones to pick with PRSA this week — as he always does. But because Jack is so at odds with the Society, his ideas seldom get serious consideration. Maybe I can help.

Bone No. 1: It started last year with a simple request from the editor O’Dwyers Public Relations News. Jack wants PRSA to provide a PDF version of the society’s membership directory so members (and journalists) can share the resource. Read the rest of this entry »


Are social media changing the DNA of public relations? Not one bit!

February 14, 2009

In a note to my colleagues this morning, I recapped a few things I learned from last week’s presentation by social-media evangelist Peter Shankman (at Cleveland PRSA). Let me sum up in 72 tweetable characters:

How have social media changed the DNA of public relations? Not one bit.

Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman

For the past 5 years we’ve been hearing that social media are “changing everything” about the practice of PR. For 2.5 of those 5 years, I’ve been arguing they are not (most notably in this post). Have social media tools like blogs, social networks, bookmarking, etc., altered how we practice PR? Yes, and radically so. But have they changed PR’s DNA — the basic building blocks of the function? Nope.

No matter how much the tools and the environment change, what we do in PR remains the same: We build and maintain relationships through 2-way communication. Peter Shankman’s presentation reinforced my beliefs. Read the rest of this entry »


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