This is an open letter to PR Society associate PR director Stephanie Cegielski who has corrected the Society website by removing the claim that 3,000 "professionals" attend the group's annual conferences and replacing that with the word "attendees." Numerous questions put to Cegielski are being ignored.

Hi Stephanie:

I noticed you have changed one word in the section of the Society website headed "Showcase Your Brand: Become a Sponsor or Exhibitor" — using "attendees" instead of "professionals."

But if you are continuing to say one-third of the attendees are "executive or senior-level decision makers," you should also point out that about one-third are students.

It is misleading to say you have 31,000 members when 10,000 of them are students paying a very low rate. My information, from statements at Assemblies, is that less than 10% ever join the Society. I would like to get your figure on this.

If the 10,000 joined in any important numbers, PRSA would not still be at the same regular member total of 21,000 that it was in 2000 (when the total was 20,266).

Michael Parkinson, a lawyer and retired PR professor at Texas Tech, has argued convincingly that PR people should not refer to themselves as “professionals” because PR has none of the hallmarks of the recognized professions such as law and medicine.

There is no disciplinary process for PR people, either via the government or privately, he notes, saying that is "the single most significant requirement" for a profession. PR is an occupation as is journalism.

You are ignoring numerous other questions of mine including where is this "retreat" of the senior staff, who is on it, what is the cost, and how long is it?

You are ignoring my request for the 2012 Form 990 which should have been ready long ago since the audit was published in May.

You ignore my question of whether I or any reporters will be admitted to the Assembly. You should know by know if you are going to give me "credentials." Press groups, by the way, are against "credentialing" reporters because it's a way of blocking coverage by critical press. Only if there are large numbers of reporters should there be any credentialing. "Pool" reporters can then be picked. That is not the case with PRSA.


Jack O’Dwyer