It would seem so.
At least one sane voice has stepped up. “Bruce Harrison, PRSA Fellow and chair of the Counselors Academy in 1990-91, has urged PRSA leadership to face the press.” (Source: O’Dwyer’s. Subscription Required.)
Excerpt from Harrison’s email to O’Dwyer’s:
“This is embarrassing for PRSA. Jack O’Dwyer’s’ old school news reporter directness and persistence can be intimidating and irritating, but come on! He has a point. I, myself, was once a reporter.
“I’m constantly surprised somebody in PRSA leadership has not taken on the challenge of talking to Jack, answering his questions and taking any hits from that instead of escalating the problem by ‘rejecting the press’ (as the recent action justifies the way Jack characterizes it).
“PRSA members like I, who regularly read Jack, keep wishing this were resolved. We know surely PRSA leadership by now knows it’s not going away. You and Kevin [McCauley, editor of the O’Dwyer website, newsletter and magazine], don’t need to be insulted, PRSA needs to operate in the sunshine.” (Source: O’Dwyer’s. Subscription Required.)
O’Dwyer’s has been trying to get at some rather touchy issues within the association. I’m sure PRSA sees this onslaught of stories/commentary as a ploy to force the issues into public view. “The 16-member board of the Society is in New York next week but thus far has turned down requests by this website (O’Dwyer’s) for a press conference.”
Having a press conference now means exposure on other issues, too. The Armstrong Williams controversy, involving Ketchum, could put PRSA in a tender position. This is worse than last year’s VNR fiasco. Why do I mention that? I’m wondering if the PRSA will have as prolific a response to the new controversy this time.
Think about it. These 16 PR pros are supposed to be the best of the best, right? Allowing this story to build leads to the possibility of a headline that reads: “PRSA says, No Comment”. Could anything be more embarrassing? Heh, well – yes.
I’m about to walk into classes this semester and I’d really like the PRSA to help me explain why the association representing ‘media relations’ practitioners is afraid of the press.
I am a member of PRSA. I’m beginning to wonder why.