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 »

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.

Millennial post is a tough act to follow

April 24, 2010

Last week’s post about the Millennials taught me a lesson.

The last 15 days were lookin' up.

The post shattered records for single-day traffic five times. I’m flattered by the attention, but I know it’s probably a one-time thing.

I don’t do posts outside my realm. I just stumbled onto a hot topic. Lots of folks liked it, I guess, and the conversation continues. 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 »

Can a campus radical make it in PR? Not a problem!

April 6, 2010

Where have all the radicals gone?

I admired campus radicals back in the day.  These long-haired, sandal-sporting, granola-chomping freaks sounded the alarm that eventually ended a war in Southeast Asia. And along with all that social justice came the sexual revolution, a welcome development to any young man coming of age in the late 60s.

By the time I got to campus in ’71, the protests were pretty much over. Hippie attire and hippie lifestyle were mainstream by then, but most of the passion was gone. Being a “hippie” in the 70s was more about rearranging brain cells than rearranging the world order.

Campus-radical wannabes learned that social movements seldom pay the rent. So we cut our hair and went to work for “the man.” Read the rest of this entry »

It’s tea time in Appalachia; I’m in a parallel universe where communication and logic are lost

March 25, 2010

Is this the end of civility?

I don’t watch the TV pundits, liberal or conservative. And I don’t listen to the radio numbskulls like Glenn Beck. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t influential — and scary.

I’ve spent the past 10 days in rural Western Pennsylvania. I grew up here, the grandson of union coal miners – one a Democrat, one a Republican. They were smart and civil men, and they made up their own minds without any help from the likes of Beck or Limbaugh. They read the newspaper, they attended union meetings, and they went to church. They thought things through, and they believed in community. Read the rest of this entry »

PR Interns Part III: You get what you pay for

March 22, 2010

I’ve been placing interns for 18 years and mentoring them for 30. And I’m still surprised when I learn so many of them work for free. That’s nuts.

Or is it? Why don’t most employers actually “employ” their interns? Is it a budget issue? Or don’t they see value in the interns’ contributions?

My predecessor at Kent State, the late E. Zoe McCathrin, set the tone for paid internships long before I arrived here. She cajoled every employer in the area to pony up at least minimum wage, and in some cases she outright bullied them into it. If you knew Zoe, this won’t surprise you. Read the rest of this entry »