|April 15, 2010|
|Ex-President Excoriates PRSA Policies|
|By Greg Hazley|
|Richard Tyler, president of PRSA/L.A. in 1986 and a Fellow of the Society, has expressed disappointment with Society policies and practices.|
The “unilateral” decision to kill the printed members’ directory was called “a major mistake” and Society ethics policy was termed “weak.”
Decision-making by Assembly delegates “seems to be limited and chaotic” and “information on costs and budgets often is offered extremely late or not at all,” he said in an e-mail to this website for publication.
“Why does national seem to have a policy of avoiding the media at all costs?” he asks.
Tyler, who served as an Assembly delegate for ten years and was named as L.A. “Distinguished Professional” in 1987, rapped the “ongoing vendetta against the O’Dwyer NL and Jack O’Dwyer personally.”
PR professionals “should never counsel a client to retaliate against the media for some slight or criticism,” he added.
Tyler, a member of the L.A. chapter since 1974, was city chair of the national conference in L.A. in 1987. He has belonged to the Society of Professional Journalists, national and local chapter, for many years.
Worked for Ford, American Airlines, Byoir
He had PR posts at Ford Motor Co. and American Airlines and worked for Carl Byoir & Assocs. and N.W. Ayer.
Clients he served included AT&T, Sheraton Hotels, Hallmark, DeBeers Diamonds, the government of The Bahamas, Honeywell, Kodak and RCA. He was also national PR director for Six Flags Corp.
While working in PR he taught the advanced PR course at California State University/Northridge which serves more than 30,000 students. He was the PRSSA chapter adviser and spoke on PR at a PRSSA national conference.
Tyler’s Letter is as follows.
I have become increasingly uncomfortable with what is happening to PRSA nationally. I was very active in PRSA because I felt that the local chapters were designed to work with and for both young and experienced PR professionals, and that the national organization was there to support the chapters and their programs.
Sadly, I don't feel that is any longer the case. I think national has taken on its own agenda and has veered off course, making decisions without direct input from the members--decisions that boost national's reputation--possibly-- but do little for the benefit of the chapters.
For example, the unilateral decision to kill the printed directory was, in my estimation, a major mistake. Everyone I knew used the printed directory in their businesses, whether that be keeping in touch with individual members or selecting an agency in another city with which to partner on one project or another.
The on-line directory just doesn't work the way the other did. Members had no say in this decision.
Actual decision making by national conference delegates seems to be limited and chaotic. Pertinent information on important topics to be voted upon seems either sparse or nonexistent. Information on costs or budgets often is offered extremely late or not at all.
Salary information for key staff members appears to be kept from members, as are names of delegates who will be voting on such matters. Huge headquarters costs are now the rule. (Why was New York bypassed twice for Philadelphia as the national conference site when staff costs for travel, hotel, meals, etc., could have been avoided?)
Headquarters personnel with actual PR experience are a very small part of the national staff. Why is the PRSA ethics policy so weak? Why does national seem to have a policy of avoiding the media at all costs. Why aren't national officers and staff members appearing before chapters on a regular basis?
And, on a very specific case, why does it appear that there is an ongoing vendetta against O"Dwyer's Newsletter and Jack O'Dwyer personally?
Is it because he criticizes PRSA and some of its policies? As PR professionals, we would NEVER counsel a client to retaliate against the media for some slight or criticism. (Remember when the White House cancelled some newspaper subscriptions because the President or his staff felt the papers had been too critical? That backfired then and probably always will.)
PRSA was WRONG when it sold material from O’Dwyer and other sources. We should have just admitted it and worked for some equitable solution for all parties.
PRSA is WRONG when we say that O'Dwyer ads are not acceptable and its staffers are not eligible for membership.
Let's get back on track and move PRSA back into the right direction. If staff leaders want to rebut any of these points, let them do it in the columns of O'Dwyer's Newsletter or other PR publications. I certainly don’t expect—or want—a personal reaction to any of this.
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