A victory of sorts has been achieved by the O’Dwyer Co. with Wikipedia, which posted a 4,697-word history of the PR Society in late October 2012. WP in late December put a headline on the O’Dwyer section saying the “neutrality” of the section is “disputed” and ordering that the caveat not be removed until “the dispute is resolved.”
The O’Dwyer Co. has been working with WP editors since the initial posting, winning a number of changes. An initial section totaling 695 words on Jack O’Dwyer, recounting numerous false charges against O’Dwyer and the company, has been reduced to 241 words and many of the charges eliminated.
The O’Dwyer Co. will continue to work with WP editors to correct the many mistakes in the PRS entry. The “dispute” headline should not have been removed.
WP’s initial entry in late October 2012 showed this writer dressed as a male witch (warlock) burning PRS at the stake. There were also false claims that the O’Dwyer Co. had sued PRS over copyright infringement, that it published a transcript of Dean Rotbart’s speech to the 1993 annual conference, that 5-7 years of experience were required to sit for the accreditation exam, and that there was writing in the exam.
Not mentioned then and still not mentioned are that only APRs have been able to hold office since the 1970s and that prospective members are not warned they cannot hold national office until they become APR.
WP Editors Are Listening
Although the WP history of PRS is flawed, it is a start. WP editors are listening to everything we have to say to it and asking for more. Documents have been sent to the WP editors working directly on the history and numerous postings have been sent to the “Talk Page” related to the PRS entry as well as to sections that deal with conflict resolution. WP has a policy of listening fully to all sides of an issue.
WP has acknowledged the accuracy and importance of the O’Dwyer input by putting a notice on the section that it is “disputed.”
We are hopeful that it will remove claims that there is a “dispute” or “feud” between PRS and the O’Dwyer Co. We have documented numerous governance, information and press relations abuses of the Society. Instead of rectifying them, PRS has embarked on a campaign aimed at discrediting the O’Dwyer Co.
The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved (December 2012)
The founder of the O'Dwyer's PR trade journal, Jack O'Dwyer, has been a critic of PRSA since the 1970s in what PR News described as a "never-ending back-and-forth." According to The New York Times, O'Dwyer "has castigated the Public Relations Society on subjects ranging from its effectiveness to its professionalism."
In a 1992 letter to its membership PRSA attacked O'Dwyer, saying he was motivated to defame the organization as a competitor for advertising revenues. In 1994 O'Dwyer alleged that PRSA was violating copyright laws by lending articles from USA Today, The New York Times, O'Dwyer's and others to members. In 1996 and 2011 O'Dwyer criticized PRSA for poor financial transparency, auditing and spending in the context of proposed increases in membership dues.
In 2011 PRSA publicized accusation that O'Dwyer had eavesdropped on PRSA conference calls. O'Dwyer refuted the accusation and claimed PRSA members recanted conference calls to him. PRSA said phone records from its teleconferencing vendor showed a phone registered to J.R. O’Dwyer Company was calling in. Later that year PRSA started refusing O'Dwyer entrance to their events and sent a 23-page letter to O'Dwyer alleging that he was disruptive and unethical. The National Press Club tried to negotiate his entrance unsuccessfully.