Darth Blogger’s Holiday Writing Rant

December 21, 2009

Confession: Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday.

Before you “scrooge” me, consider that Christmas follows one of my two busiest times of the year: finals week and finals week. You bake cookies and trim trees; I grade papers. When I could be choosing meaningful gifts for the people I love, I’m coaching the next generation of PR pros, and occasionally evicting a few from the business. It’s a dirty job, but… Read the rest of this entry »

When it comes to manufacturing buzz, no one does it better than PETA

November 30, 2009

Love ’em or hate ’em, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) ranks among the most skilled media manipulators anywhere. PETA’s publicity machine makes the best Hollywood flacks look like rank amateurs.

What makes PETA so good at creating headlines? First, they pay attention to current events, then they make stuff up. That “stuff” often involves gorgeous naked women, and that always gets my attention.

Actress Charlotte Ross earned plenty of exposure for her appearance in this PETA ad.

I’m not saying PETA lies or fabricates. The group simply understands how to re-frame a story and give it a creative spin. Most times, PETA’s publicity supports organizational objectives and fuels the fundraising machine, too. 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

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 »

A Tale of Two Assemblies at PRSA

November 9, 2009

Update 11/16/09: Longtime PRSA national leader, Art Stevens writes a strongly worded editorial in Bulldog Reporter this week regarding APRs and national leadership. I agree with Art on this one. It goes well beyond “inside baseball.” A must read for all PRSA members.


To most of us, the workings of the PRSA National Assembly is “inside baseball.” That is, unless you’re part of the governing body, you tend not to know or care what’s going on. I have little interest in PRSA politics, but I’m struck by what I’m calling “A Tale of Two Assemblies,” one presented by PRSA, the other by newsletter editor Jack O’Dwyer. Read the rest of this entry »

Media relations and the 24-second news cycle

November 9, 2009

prconf2009Made it to the PRSA conference hall in time to catch a session on Sunday afternoon. Since I’m back to teaching the Media Relations class at Kent State, I decided to take in Mike McDougall’s session called “Working at the Speed of ‘New’: Secrets for Conquering and Surviving the 24-second News Cycle.”

I’m a sucker for titles with colons in them. Must be the academic in me.

Mike, VP of corporate communications and public affairs at Bausch & Lomb, offered some great advice for media relations practitioners, but the media landscape he described worries me – a lot. Read the rest of this entry »

PRSA Day One

November 9, 2009

I landed in San Diego about 11 a.m. yesterday, but didn’t have the time or the access to alert my Twitter friends or my ToughSledding readers. I’m sure you all survived my absence 🙂

Everyone is raving about this beautiful city on the bay and its perpetual 72-degree weather. Me? I don’t get it. On Saturday, back in Ohio, we celebrated the end of fall by raking our leaves, then taking a barefoot kayak tour around Sandy Lake and its feeder canal. But here’s the big difference: In San Diego, $250K doesn’t by your squat. In Northeast Ohio, it gets you 2,600 square feet on a private lake.

Okay, I know I won’t be paddling the kayak come January. But I will be skiing the trail around Sandy and celebrating the change of seasons. Like I said, I don’t get California. Let it snow. Read the rest of this entry »

A citizen journalist heads for the Coast

November 5, 2009

I touch down in San Diego Sunday morning for my first PRSA national conference in 8 years. This time, I’m attending not as a PR professional or educator, but as a PR blogger — a media person in search of a story. (Stop your snickering!)


Photo from Creative Commons.

What does this mean? I have no idea. But as a “credentialed journalist” in a tough economic year, I’m not expecting a press room stocked with champagne and caviar. OK, it would be nice. But I’m told PRSA has eliminated the media room altogether, an anachronism from an analog age.

(Update 11/5/09: PRSA email says there is a “media center” at the conference. I stand corrected, but I still don’t need it. Opps! See next update. I guess I DO need it!) Read the rest of this entry »

Kent State interns turn classroom lesson into social-media initiative

October 27, 2009

I’ve been intrigued by the social media news release since Todd Defren posted his first template in 2006. SMRs are versatile tools, especially for reaching consumer audiences. goodyearlogoThey incorporate audio, video and still photo components along with story information. And they allow for comments and bookmarking, making them truly interactive. Read the rest of this entry »

Plagiarism and other tomfoolery — You won’t believe this

October 23, 2009
Susan Getgood

Susan Getgood

Online pal Judy Gombita sent me a link to this post by popular blogger Susan Getgood. I’m not a regular at “Marketing Roadmaps,” but I am interested in issues of PR ethics, so I’m happy Judy passed it along.

In her post yesterday, Getgood tells us about a PR pitch that appears to have been plagiarized from another blogger’s post  — almost word-for-word.  That’s more than bad PR practice — that’s theft of intellectual property. Read the rest of this entry »