|August 30, 2010|
|A PRSA First: Charging Reporters at Conference|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|PR Society of America has instituted a policy of charging reporters the full member rate of $1,275 for covering the annual conference that starts Oct. 17 in Washington, D.C.|
Reporters can cover without charge the Assembly meeting that takes place on Saturday, Oct. 16.
The press table at the Assembly is at the rear of the meeting hall and outside the area where the delegates sit. Reporters are not allowed in the delegate area when the Assembly is in session.
Arthur Yann, VP-PR of the Society (pictured), announced the new policy in an e-mail yesterday. No reason was given for the policy.
The Society for years has been reducing facilities for the press at its annual conference.
It previously provided a press room with telephones, computers, internet access, fax machines and copiers. A bulletin board displayed coverage obtained in the city where the conference was taking place. Texts of a half dozen or more speeches at the conference were provided. Coffee and other beverages were available as well as fruit, juices and pastries. Society staffers were stationed in the press room throughout the day to help reporters.
An "interview" area with several seats and a table was set up so that Society officers could conduct on-the-record interviews with reporters who received full conference registrations, including all meals and the Sunday night opening reception.
The 2009 "press room" consisted of a table in a hallway with no phones, computers or copiers available.
Jack O'Dwyer in the PRSA "media center" in 2009.
The table was staffed by local volunteers who were unable to answer questions by reporters. This website left a series of ten questions with the volunteers but none were answered.
Speakers Are 'Second Tier'
Keynote speakers this year are not of the stature of previous keynoters who included Donald Trump, Tim Russert, James Earl Jones, Arianna Huffington, James Carville, Mary Matalin, Mia Farrow and Donna Brazile, among others.
Keynoters for 2010 are Bettina Leuscher, chief spokesperson, United Nations World Food Program; Bill Tancer, author of "Click" (advice for web users); Jeffrey Hayzlett, a "digital thought leader," and Charlene Li, author of "Open Leadership" (social media).
Society members, noting that the spring meeting of the 19 board members (including two non-voting African-Americans) was cancelled, ostensibly to save money, said spending on speakers this year also seems to have been cut due to budget constraints.
Return to Latest News