ToughSledding has moved…

May 28, 2010

…to its own URL and to the platform.

You’ll find us here:

Now comes the hard part…finding a new look and exploring all the features using WordPress on your own server.

I’m gonna need more coffee.

(Photo by Matthew W. Jackson, via Flickr/Creative Commons.)

Flashback Friday: Public relations ethics — in 5 minutes

May 28, 2010

This summer, I’m reposting some of my personal favorites from the early days of ToughSledding. This one appeared on Sept. 14, 2006, when the blog was just 3  days old. I did edit slightly to enhance clarity. Can’t help myself.


If you had just 5 minutes to summarize the major ethical issues facing public relations professionals, what would you say?

It happened last week when Lauren, a PR major at West Virginia University, contacted me via email for input on a paper she was writing. She was on deadline; I had a class to teach. If I didn’t answer her immediately, I knew I never would. Besides, helping her is good PR for Kent State, right?

Here’s my 5-minute response to a semester-long question, edited slightly to tighten copy and fix typos. What would you have said in your 5 minutes? Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

What’s the ROI of blogging? Exactly $1.55

May 16, 2010

At least that’s what this blog is worth. A buck fifty-five per post.

Here’s how I know.

ToughSledding finally earned me some money last week — a $546 annual raise. Not much, but it’s cold, hard cash. Real ROI. Read the rest of this entry »

Flashback Friday: Does blogging call you at 4 a.m.?

May 13, 2010

My semester ends today, and for the first time in a decade, I won’t be teaching summer classes. More time for blogging? Not a chance! So I’ve decided, for the summer at least, to re-post some of my personal favorites from the early days of ToughSledding. This one appeared on Sept. 27, 2006, just 15 days into the experiment. The photo is new.

It's a long walk to the bathroom, but worth it for the view.

It usually hits me at about 4 a.m. Like clockwork, Mother Nature reminds this 52-year-old body that the bladder is smaller or the prostate larger. Not sure I want to know which, but the result is the same. 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 »

Will corporate partnerships corrupt nonprofits?

May 6, 2010

Our School of Journalism at Kent State doesn’t have a famous name like Newhouse or Scripps. And we probably won’t any time soon, given the financial state of the news business.

But let’s say, just for fun, that Rupert Murdoch offers Kent State $10 million to endow “The Fox News School of Journalism…fairness, balance, accuracy, truth.” Read the rest of this entry »

PR pros and triggering events: anticipate, create

May 3, 2010

Forgive me, but I’m feeling academic today.

Photo courtesy of BP

There’s a good chance President Obama’s plan to expand offshore drilling won’t go smoothly. You all know why.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a classic triggering event, and not a welcome one if your future is staked to the oil business. People are certain to change their views about offshore drilling as a result of this incident. Read the rest of this entry »

My interview at the Daily Dog

April 28, 2010

OK, this is a little self-serving, but if I don’t post the link, you might not see it. Honored to be the featured “thought leader” over at Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog this week. Thanks to Roxanna Guilford-Blake for asking great questions that helped me sound coherent.

Yahoo! It’s time to update your ‘Web site’ and maybe your style guide, too!

April 27, 2010

The AP Stylebook has always pissed me off.

It started in 1973 when my J-school professor insisted I spell “employe” with just one “e.” AP opted for the conventional spelling a few years later, but I still carry a grudge. Nevertheless, I enforce AP Style in the classroom. Always. Read the rest of this entry »