Helen Armstead, a character in the new book, A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee, is portrayed as a "genius for crisis management."

thousand pardonsHer technique: clients must accept that they cannot "manage crises" but can only beg forgiveness.

She tells a client: "You will admit to everything. You will apologize…you have to be sincere. You have to be completely abject and not attempt to defend yourself or your behavior in any way."

Armstead is so convinced of her approach that she advises it to clients who are falsely accused, writes reviewer Katherine Noel in the May 12 New York Times Book Review section

Noel feels the novel "speaks to something similar in the zeitgeist: the idea of confession as a business strategy. Is reputation just a form of capital? What does it mean to apologize publicly for private sins, or privately for public ones? When one person grants another forgiveness, which of them is redeemed?"

NYU's "Resort" in Abu Dhabi Is Described

Since we recently wrote about New York University's April 2 PR Career Forum, bumping into the story that NYU's largest college had just voted "no confidence" in president John Sexton, partly because of his expansionist policies, a two-page feature in the May 13 New York magazine on NYU/Abu Dhabi caught our attention.

The piece, by Lisa Miller, paints of picture of students "holed up in a 45-story luxury high-rise dorm," saying Abu Dhabi has the "flavor of a fancy beach resort." The NYU students there, compliments of a $50 million (so far) gift from Abu Dhabi, "might be the world's most pampered undergraduates," says Miller.

NYU is ignoring various human rights abuses in the country and its strict policies towards women, said an article in the Feb. 20, 2013 New York Observer.

NYU professor Andrew Ross, head of the NYU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, told the paper that the Abu Dhabi issue is one reason for the no confidence vote. "The decision to invest so much of NYU's reputation in Abu Dhabi was made unilaterally by Sexton, and it is one of the factors weighing on the faculty's desire to pursue a vote of no confidence in him," he said.

emirThe 298-224 vote in March by the faculty of NYU's largest college is not mentioned in the New York article.

Issues include his alleged "top-down management style," his campaign of opening NYU facilities in other countries, (Shanghai this fall), his pay of $1.5 million yearly plus a $2.5M "length of service" bonus to be paid in 2015, and his plans to add six million square-feet to NYU facilities by 2031.

PRSA's Nall to Speak May 21 to FPRA

Mickey Nall, chair of PR Society of America, is to address the Northwest Florida Coast chapter of the Florida PR Assn. Tuesday May 21 at Top'l in Destin.

His speech is titled: "Storytelling, Media Relations, Reputation: Putting it All Together for Your Brand."

FPRA is Florida's largest PR association with 1,100 members. Jami Ray of Outright Social Communications is chapter president.

Nall's last previous publicized appearance was Feb. 22 at the "Real World Career Forum" of the Georgia chapter of the Society. Nall, managing director of the Atlanta office of Ogilvy PR, does not provide a schedule of his speaking engagements.

Students who covered the Career Forum for O'Dwyer's said Nall's message was that "ethics" should be the supreme concern of PR people and that "making money" is not what PR is about.

Every speaker at the day-long program stressed the importance of ethics, students said.

One Nall quote obtained by a student was that "PR is not a revenue producing department."

Well, the first question he can ask is whether COO Bill Murray has or is about to get a new two-year contract as of Jan. 22, 2012. He can also ask Murray’s pay package, last seen at $373K in 2009.

It's possible he meant "profit-making." Nall did not return a phone call and e-mail seeking an explanation.

Nall, whose topic was how different generations work together, said that the duty of PR people no matter what their ages is to be "honest, transparent, authentic." Those are three "core values" of the PR Society, he said.

"Marketing colleagues may own the brand but PR colleagues own the reputation," he said. PR people should warn their CEOs that a great marketing campaign may not always be great for the company's reputation, he added.