Check out my guest appearances this week…

How’s this for a change? ToughSledding hits the proverbial road this week with guest gigs at two — count ’em, two — prominent PR blogs.

images1.jpgAt Strumpette you’ll find me under “Leader’s Perspective” with commentary and analysis about Jack O’Dwyer’s reform manifesto for the Public Relations Society of America. If you’re a PRSA member, it’s a must read (he said with all humility). If you don’t give a flip about PRSA, drop in at Strumpette to enjoy great satire and much-needed criticism of mainstream PR practice. Oh, yeah. You’ll see a portrait of me on this post never before unveiled, so click already!

My othforward_logo6_90_blog.gifer appearance is at the Forward Blog, the PR student site at Auburn University. It’s a podcast hosted by Luke Armour, a principal contributor at Forward and PR coordinator for Blog Talk Radio. Confession: I haven’t had time to listen to it yet. But, hey, I was there. Luke is one of my local blogger pals in Northeast Ohio. Catch him at Observations of Public Relations. Yeah, we still love the guy, even though he went to Akron U!

UPDATE (10/5): My post on Strumpette reports Jack O’Dwyer’s claim that PRSA has denied him press credentials for the Assembly. Response from PRSA is that Jack has simply not applied for those credentials. I don’t want in the middle of this one, but I have an obligation to air both sides. Thanks to Bill Murray, PRSA president, for his cooperation. It appears to be a misunderstanding; it does not appear to be an attempt by PRSA to censor Jack or to block his access. I apologize to Bill and PRSA for implying that in my post. But I’ll also say that a little faster response to my inquiry by the society would have helped me get both sides of the story in time to make my deadline.

10 Responses to Check out my guest appearances this week…

  1. Stacy Wessels says:

    Relax, everyone. I, too, was afraid I would see a shirtless Sledzik vamping for the camera, a la Strumpette.

  2. Kami Huyse says:

    There are a few things I need to let you know about PRSA this year. I have helped them launch a conference blog and have a great team of experienced bloggers who will be on-site live blogging. We will also have a Flickr stream, Twitter channel, special podcasts and YouTube videos incorporated into the blog.

    Oh, and you will love this one, they interviewed me on Webmaster radio along with Mia Farrow and Phil Gomes, what a lethal combo, LOL!

    I am also sitting in on the assembly representing my chapter, which can be deadly dull. However, this year we have been having a vigorous conversation about the future of the organization and some of the issues like getting info sooner on the PRSA delegate listserv (the open assembly idea).

    They are a big organization and move slowly, but we are making progress. I just choose to reform from within. I am sorry you won’t be there because I would have loved to have you on the blog team. I also would love to know if one of your PRSSA students with blogging experience might be coming. Would love the student perspective on the blog.

  3. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks for the note, Kami. My biggest regret in not attending the conference is that we won’t meet face to face. I look forward to that day.

    I’m getting impatient over reforms from within at PRSA, but I’m way older than you, and perhaps more jaded (or as my wife might say, downright crotchety) And it’s often the little stuff that sets me off. Exampes:

    1) I submitted two proposals for programs at the conference, proposals that took considerable time to assemble. I heard nothing — nada. I can handle rejection, but silence? That’s no way to treat a 25-year member.

    2) Mia. I covered this one on August 8, so I won’t go there again. But we’re paying Mia to appear when we could have, for example, Jay Rosen or David Weinberger, social media proponents, or Andrew Keen from the other perspective. I don’t understand why our program committees thinks they need “star power,” and I’m not sure Mia delivers it, anyway.

    3) Censorship. I’m still waiting for a response from Bill Murray or Joe DeRupo about PRSA’s apparent decision to deny press credentials to Jack O’Dwyer, but Jack tells me that’s what’s happened. If he is wrong, I’ll retract. I know Jack is no friend of PRSA, but he’s a legitimate journalist and critic of our business. We need more folks looking at our dark side, not fewer. This is why I’m an unapologetic fan of Strumpette. Crude at times, but so often on target.

    I’ll contact the students en route to Philly. We normally have 10-12, and I suspect a few of them have been blogging.

    Some weeks back I had decided to drop my PRSA membership, but your point about “reform from within” kinda struck a chord this morning, since I preach it loudly in my classes. Gotta think on that. Thanks again for dropping by.

  4. Kami Huyse says:

    First, I am also sorry you won’t be there, you will be missed.

    I see your points, and I do think that criticism and the resulting conversation is what makes any organization better. However, that criticism is much more effective when it is constructive. Banning O’Dwyer, if true, is probably not the best way to handle the situation, but his criticism has become too self serving — it just can’t be taken seriously. On the other hand, the delegates themselves have been lobing quite pointed criticism in the assembly listserv to some effect. Certainly the elected leadership has been making a bigger effort this year to make the assembly more constructive. I hope it works because that day is usually deadly dull and full of pontification by both attendees and leadership. It needs to become more of a two-way conversation for sure.

  5. Bill, if you hear Jack tell the story, it sounds like a lot more than a misunderstanding. It looks like PRSA has, for years, tried to avoid giving Jack info and access. Of course, he’s been pretty critical of their leadership, but is it good PR to simply ignore or try to block the media? PRSA should know better. Well, maybe not, actually, since they have only 2 bona fide PR people on staff, I’m told.

  6. Bill Sledzik says:

    I’ve heard Jack tell it, David. He says PRSA has routinely sent credentials in the past, but did not this year. So he’ll have to apply for them with everyone else. No big deal. I value the criticism Jack brings to the table, but we’d all be better served if he lost some of the rage. As my friends as Strumpette put it, “…there’s a place where harping — however constructive — becomes harangue.”

    But now you have me wondering. Do you think, as a blogger who covers PR topics, I could get a press pass and avoid the big registration fee? Hmmm. Maybe I’ll go to Philly yet!

  7. Jack O'Dwyer says:

    Hi Bill: Thanks for initiating this conversation. PR people who participate must stop attacking me in any way. Personal remarks are forbidden by debating rules and Roberts Rules. Instead, tell me I’m wrong when I say the audit of the PR Society shows 3.6% of payroll is spent on the national conference when it’s easily upwards of 25%.
    Tell me I’m wrong when I say PRS should have a registered CPA on staff who can use those initials after his or her name. Tell me I’m wrong when PRS only has two of its own members out of a staff of 55. PR is unwelcome in its own house. Senior members are simply not allowed to work there. They don’t even visit there because PRS (illogically) stopped having a library about ten years ago. I haven’t noticed that public libraries are closing and shifting everyone to the web. Telephone books are also published (PRS killed its printed directory to the dismay of about 98% of members). Leaders all buy the faulty reasoning on this.
    Tell me it was right for h.q. to move downtown, a hour round-trip from the PR and press community in midtown. Tell me it’s right for the Assembly to be “packed” with nearly 50 leader votes (17 directors, 19 section chairs, 10 district chairs). Proper governance requires separation of powers. Tell me it’s right that all the votes in the Assembly are secret when the electronic voting devices could easily generate an immediate tabulation of how everyone votes.
    Attack the criticisms, not the critic. Real PR is public debating and requires good manners and thorough knowledge of the subject at hand.

  8. I agree with Jack. He’s just trying to look out for the industry as a whole, and I believe he’s reporting it to us as he sees it. If PRSA doesn’t like what he sees, they should clean up their act, not try to ban him.

    Bill, would be interesting to see if you, as a blogger, can get a press credential to the PRSA conference. Maybe they don’t recognize bloggers as media. I think they’re still debating as to whether cable is media.

  9. […] creator and writer for one of my favorite blogs Tough Sledding had two cool guest appearances on other PR […]

  10. Bill Huey says:

    Requiring Jack O’Dwyer to apply for press credentials to cover the lame PRSA annual meeting is like requiring Vernon Jordan to go around to the back door at the Congressional Country Club instead of using the member’s entrance.
    It is just a ruse, a bit of harassment by a chickensh*t outfit, so they can have the satisfaction of making him apply. Perhaps they would even deny him a credential.
    O’Dwyer has covered the industry for decades, and has more knowledge of PRSA activities than the staff, Bill Murray, or any of the current officers or board.
    I’ve been a member of PRSA for 30 years myself, and watched as it was highjacked by academics, APR time-servers/award seekers and incompetent staff.
    I won’t be renewing my membership next year. There’s just no value anymore.

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