Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Enough is enough Mr. O'Dwyer, drop your sword

I don't know Jack. Jack O'Dwyer that is.

I don't know much about Mr. O'Dwyer's media company but according to the site, it appears to provide the "Inside News of Public Relations & Marketing Communications."

However, I am aware of a long-standing and ongoing battle between he and the Public Relations Society of America, the reasons for which are probably well-defined and entrenched on both sides. I've been a PR pro for over 10 years the majority of it as a PRSA member. In general, O'Dwyer and his grumblings don't really show up on my radar. (This is most likely a result of being half a country away from the epicenter of O'Dwyer vs. PRSA in New York.)

The latest battle is over what AdAge has called a "phone hacking" issue coming as no surprise framed in light of the Murdoch/News of the World phone hacking scandal across the pond. AdAge writes:
"The Public Relations Society of America has been a target of Jack O'Dwyer's criticism for years, but generally has opted to stay mum. Now, in a rare move, the trade group is speaking up -- and what it has to say is bold.
In a passionate response to a claim by Mr. O'Dwyer, the publisher of the long-running PR newsletter and website, that the PRSA has auditing issues, the group is accusing the writer of engaging in phone hacking."

From the PRSA newsroom:

PRSA Responds to O'Dwyer's Regarding Society's Financial Reporting and Auditing

The PRSA responded to a July 13 blog post on O’Dwyer’s Blog in which its publisher, Jack O’Dwyer, makes false allegations regarding PRSA's financial reporting and auditing.
"Mr. O'Dwyer, while a free press is essential to our country, principles and profession, not everything—or everyone—wrapped in the mantle of "journalism" is right or ethical, as the News of the World scandal demonstrates. But then again, it would appear that your organization condones such practices, given that records from our teleconferencing vendor show that telephone numbers registered to the J.R. O'Dwyer Company connected to PRSA teleconference calls without PRSA's permission five times between May 22, 2007, and May 12, 2009.
This new skirmish is being hashed and discussed in various corners of the online and PR realm. I don't really know if what happened does or does not constitute "phone hacking" in the same sense of the News of the World. I do know that as a member, I'm pleased that PRSA pushed back. It's important for organizations to assess claims and fight back when it's appropriate. Or as Jason Keith tweeted, "in this day and age you can't sit on the sidelines, you have to respond and react when necessary. That's why I liked it."

Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, chair and CEO of PRSA replied to me in a tweet on this issue: "...We have to speak up when misinformation & half truths are so blatant, esp when they question our management."

Yep, good move.

Additionally, I think it's time for Jack to move on. Mr. O'Dwyer holds a grudge and seeks vengeance by trying to catch PRSA in some wrongdoing or another while attempting to come across as the watchdog journalist out for truth. (A quick check of O’Dwyer’s Blog showed that 22 of the last 30 blog posts authored by Jack O'Dwyer were on PRSA.)

Ok, we get it. You don't like PRSA. Fine.

I'm with Derek DeVries who writes on his blog,
"It would be great if an accommodation can be reached (perhaps by allowing another member of the O’Dwyer staff to cover the PRSA beat to lend more objectivity).  Here’s to hoping."
Mr. O'Dwyer, please let it go. Drop your sword or at least pass it on to someone who can be a little more objective.
Photo credit: toddquinn via Flickr creative commons

Friday, July 1, 2011

For a little while, PR means 'Person Resting'

Pause ButtonImage by Kevin Grocki via FlickrI'm a school PR guy in need of a break. Looking back at the last school year (2010-11), I can easily say that it was one of the more challenging years. And looking ahead at possible hurdles next year makes me glad we've started to take our communication department's planning to greater levels this summer.

But for now, it's time for a pause. 

I have a wonderful benefit of having days for vacation. It's time to recharge my mind, enjoy some fun with my family, and remind myself that my focus in life goes way beyond the realm of public relations and school district communications.

As for work, there's much to be done, prepare, ponder and explore. I'm looking forward to (almost) all of that. I plan on being refreshed and ready for what's next. And it'll be because at least for a little while, PR will mean "Person Resting."

And to you, dear reader, I hope you take opportunities to be a Person Resting too.

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