It’s the leadership, stupid — not the media relations!

January 24, 2007

If you were awake during the 1996 presidential election, you know where I got the headline for this post. I got the idea for it from PR’s favorite blogging vixen, Strumpette.

Yeah, I’m giving “Amanda” some ink this week, but she’s earned it.

In yesterday’s post, Strumpette takes to task Matt Szabo, press secretary to LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Seems that Szabo tried to set some last-minute ground rules for an interview betweeen LA Times columnist Steve Lopez and the city’s transportation director. Szabo thought he had a deal; Lopez didn’t. You can read the complete column, but here’s the gist of it: Read the rest of this entry »

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Is “daylife” tomorrow’s mainstream medium?

January 11, 2007

daylife.gifTo say I’m intrigued by daylife’s beta site is an understatement. This may not be the ideal way to package news for an online world, but it’s a step in the right direction. Spent an hour on it today, losing myself in the endless story “connections” that make the site an adventure. But those connections also make daylife a place where I can dig into a story and explore its many angles.

wii.jpgBefore you explore daylife, start by reading Jeff Jarvis’ explanation of the concept. Then link from his blog to daylife. If that’s too many steps for you, then just go direct, but be sure to start with the “covers” tab to see how daylife packages the big stories.

I learned about DayLife last week on Buzz Machine, as Jarvis himself is working on the project. Most folks in media circles consider Jarvis a “must read” blogger. Those who don’t, I worry, are still seeking ways to bring back the Sunday Roto section. I include this plug for Buzz Machine mostly for my students, who may not yet have Jarvis on the aggregator. Required reading, guys. Do it.


PR bashing from the media? Take your best shot!

November 28, 2006

It took a local news story about “image makers” to remind me again that the media don’t like us — or at least they act like they don’t like us. I didn’t need the reminder, but there it was on page one.

Fact is, I’m OK with news-media types taking potshots at public relations. I mean, they need to assert their independence just like everyone else. So I say to my partners in public relations: Stick out your chins and let your reporter friends take their best shots. Trust me. It won’t hurt a bit.

beacon.gifThat local story was Phil Trexler’s piece in last Sunday’s Akron Beacon Journal, flagship paper of the former Knight-Ridder chain. Trexler’s report doesn’t just cast aspersions on PR people, it questions the very need for us to exist — at least in the public sector, where taxpayers fund our salaries. The headline decries that “media handlers” often are paid more than teachers or police. Sheesh. Should I even try to point out the fallacies in that one? Nah. It’s too easy. Read the rest of this entry »


Public relations ballyhoos LeBron’s $150 sneakers

November 7, 2006

lebron_james.jpgThe NBA season arrived last week and with it came the optimism of Cleveland Cavalier fans. That optimism exists because the NBA’s best player, LeBron James, wears the wine and gold.

But this isn’t a story about basketball. It’s a story about PR and marketing for basketball shoes.

While page one of our local paper reported on the Cav’s upset of the Spurs last Friday, page one of the business section talked about the introduction of King James’ new shoe, the AirZoom. Well, it’s not really an introduction, since you can’t buy the shoe airzoom.jpgor another week or so. For now, the shoes are locked in Plexiglas cases at Footlocker, Dick’s and other big-name retailers. You may go there to genuflect before the swoosh. But until Nov. 16, don’t touch. Now that’s how you build anticipation! Read the rest of this entry »


History placed PR education in journalism school; some of us think it still works

October 5, 2006

When asked to prepare a post for the faculty blog at Kent State’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication, I agreed. But only if they’d let me post it here, too. It’s my first “double-dip” since entering the blogosphere. Who knows, maybe it’ll boost my readership!

logo.jpgFor 70 years now, the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Kent State has offered some type of public relations class. According to Pathways, Fred Endres‘ history of the school, it began with a taylorphone.jpgcourse in publicity in 1936, shortly after William Taylor (right) took over as director. Today public relations is a popular major with more than 150 students and a 92.5% job placement rate.

OK, that’s a self-serving plug, but I spent two days gathering the data, so I figure I deserve the payback. Read the rest of this entry »


Elmo story tickled me, the media, my class

September 27, 2006

OK, I probably shouldn’t be giggling over the story of a man whose life was threatened when he refelmo.jpgused to give up his new Tickle Me Elmo dolls. It happened in a Target store in Tampa, and no one there was laughing. But how can you NOT manage a smirk over some lunatic who risks a felony charge (he claimed he had a gun and would shoot the other customer if he didn’t give up the dolls) for some goofy $40 toy?

I led a discussion about the story in my Media Relations class yesterday at Kent State, and together the students and I explored three different lessons. Read the rest of this entry »


Who’s your PR hero? Blogging has changed that, too!

September 26, 2006

Every time we interview a candidate for a spot on the Kent State faculty, I ask this question: ksu.jpgWho’s your hero in public relations? When I was asked in 1991, I told the search committee I was a Jacksonian – Pat, not Andrew. They nodded, happy to know we worshiped the same PR prophet.

That was 16 years ago, when few of PR’s “lecturing practitioners” approached Pat’s brilliance. Certainly none matched his stature. But things have changed. Pat died in 2001. And around that same time, the PR world began tinkering in the blogosphere.

Some new “heroes” emerged, as I learned in our last faculty search, in 2005. I asked the hero question then, and I got some very different answers. Read the rest of this entry »