|February 2, 2012|
|Wikipedia 'Rules' Bar Evidence of Abuses in PR|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|Wikipedia officials have told us that there is no chance that any of our thoughts on the PR Society, (PR) Seminar, history of PR, Arthur W. Page Society or the Council of PR Firms are going to get past the WP censors.|
WP bars “primary sources” (us) in “contested” areas and we’re told that the subjects we want to discuss must first be discussed in “respected publications” by “neutral journalists.”
One official says “exceptional” people would be needed to master such materials on PR and he doubts any such people “would be interested.”
So the door has been slammed in our face just about as hard as possible.
We can see why PR pros are tearing their hair out after going up against the WP bureaucracy. One WP contributor, faced with WP illogic and intransigence, wrote: “Kill me. Now.” We urge him to calm down.
The advice of one WP observer is that we write a book on PRS and the other subjects, get it published by a major company (not self-published like "The Tylenol Mafia") and that we then get it reviewed by the New York Times and other established media.
That process would take years and might not budge the WP editors.
So we’re posting our stuff this a.m. “Wait” is not our favorite word.
“Bigfoot” in Our Office Would be Ignored
WP’s refusal to accept hard evidence and documents flies in the face of reality. Its insistence on coverage of something by “reliable” media must be abandoned.
The lengthy WP entry on “Bigfoot” denies its existence. But if Bigfoot himself were sitting in our offices, no one from WP would come to check it out or report his existence until some national media did so.
WP should notice that the pool of “reliable” writers and journalists is being drained by the web and many economic, business and political forces. Those writing “for” business as opposed to those writing “about” business and other subjects now outnumbered the latter by at least five to one—250,000+ in PR vs. less than 50,000 journalists.
Newspaper ad revenues, which were $49.4 billion in 2005, $49.2B in 2006 and $45.3B in 2007, plummeted to $25.8B in 2010. The 2011 figure is not yet in. That $25B annual loss means a lot of J jobs.
Lots of “Bigfoots” In our Office
The materials we want to place on WP need no media recognition to prove their existence.
Nor do any of them have to be placed in any kind of context or have any sort of “balance” from an alleged “other side.” There is no “other side” if someone has robbed you. They should return the stolen property or make amends in some way.
Demanding “context” and “balance” before anything can be printed are hoary tricks of abusers that merit dismissal.
Our early reporting years were spent helping Leslie Gould, financial editor of the former New York Journal-American, to document financial scandals. The perpetrators pleaded for more time, more context, reporting on the “good side” of the company, etc. Sometimes they sent us a “roomful” of data demanding that the entire history of the company be told. Such pleas fell on deaf ears with Gould.
NPC Statement Is Relevant
The Oct. 19, 2011 statement by Mark Hamrick, president of the National Press Club, in which he calls on PRS to end its boycott of the O’Dwyer Co., belongs on the WP entry on PRS forthwith. It is carried in full at the end of this blog.
Not only NPC but PR Watch is worried that 31,000 regular and student members of PRS are getting the message that boycotting a critical news medium is acceptable.
NPC listened to whatever PRS had to say about the O’Dwyer Co. and not only rejected it but sent its statement to 390 major media with offices in D.C.
There is no “other side” to a press boycott—not in America.
There is no “other side” to the massive theft of intellectual property of writers that PRS conducted from at least 1980 to 1994 when our expose stopped it cold.
There is no “other side” to the nearly 30-year PRS blockage of price competition in PR that was ended by the Oct. 27, 1977 consent decree the Federal Trade Commission ordered PRS to sign and publicize. (90 F.T.C. 324; 1977 FTC LEXIS 49).
Although PRS condemns blacklisting, it practices it on the O’Dwyer Co.
WP $$ Needs Investigating
The website of Greg Kohs has extensive analyses of the financial setup of WP, the Wikimedia Foundation that provides the web infrastructure of WP, and Wikia, Inc., a private company on whose board sits Jimmy Wales.
Profit-making Wikia, Inc., “provides hosting services that help online groups to share information, news, stories, media and opinions,” says a BusinessWeek story on it.
The Foundation only had income of $8.1M in 2008 but saw this shoot up 106% to $16.M in 2009 and an expected $20.4M for the year ended June 30, 2011. Goal is for income of $29.5M in 2012. Cash/investments at the end of 2011 were forecast at $13M.
Kohs is mystified by the need for all these funds when only about $3M yearly is needed for the WP infrastructure.
Donations to the Foundation do not purchase much-needed editorial expertise at WP itself, he said. Donating to the Foundation is like tipping the owner of a cotton field when all the work is done by workers in the field, he says in a blog urging people not to contribute.
Although the Foundation raises funds via appeals on the WP website and this has not changed, the number of staffers devoted to fund-raising has jumped from one to nine in the past two years, says Kohs.
Below is full statement of NPC on the PRS boycott.
National Press Club Disappointed to Learn PRSA Banned Reporter From Meeting
To: Business Desk, Media Writer
Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-662-7534 for the National Press Club
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2011: The following statement was released today by Mark Hamrick, President of the National Press Club.
The National Press Club was disappointed to learn that the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) banned veteran reporter Jack O’Dwyer from covering the PRSA General Assembly last weekend in Orlando. We understand that Mr. O'Dwyer has covered the event for more than 40 years. We also understand that Mr. O’Dwyer and the PRSA have had a long running series of disagreements that have tested and continue to test their relationship. The nature and content of these disagreements is of great concern to both PRSA and Mr. O’Dwyer.
What we find concerning is the solution chosen by the PRSA, which was to ban a reporter who will write stories that may be critical of their organization. We asked PRSA to reconsider its position and to allow Mr. O’Dwyer in. We suggested that if he behaved in a disruptive way he should be removed. PRSA was unwilling to do this.
They have prepared a 23-page letter that says Mr. O’Dwyer is not an ethical reporter. Mr. O’Dwyer sent us the letter himself (twice) for our review as did the PRSA. While we find many of the points in the letter unfortunate and even highly disagreeable we do not think they constitute a reason to ban a reporter who has been allowed access for 40 years. Public relations professionals might have some ethical issues with individual reporters and no doubt journalists must cover and report on the activities of public relations people they find to be unethical. And we are sure this discussion will still be going on years from now as it was years ago.
On the issue of access for reporters, however, we are generally in favor of it as long as the reporters do not disrupt events. Asking difficult questions designed to get answers that an organization would rather not provide is not disrupting an event. We would rather see a group like PRSA allow reporters who might write negative stories about them into their events than not. We think it sets a good example for their members whereas banning reporters does not.
We live in a world where journalist access is too often and too easily denied. We hope PRSA will reconsider their approach and decide next year to hold a convention that does not ban any reporters who wish to cover their activities.
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