PR professors including Tina McCorkindale, chair of the PRSA Educators Academy, and Marcia DiStaso, chair-elect, maintain that a "dialogic loop" is the ideal form of communications for PR people.
A dialogic loop is defined as "any negotiated exchange of ideas and opinions."
"Both parties must be willing to be open and listen to the other parties even if there is disagreement," says their 23-page article on the use of social media in "Fortune's Most Admired Companies" in the Society's online PR Journal.
However, attempts by this reporter to set up such a loop with McCorkindale and DiStaso or any of the 14 other board members of the Academy have been unsuccessful. Two directors, in fact, have demanded that we not contact them again.
The 14 other directors (none of them are from New York) are:
Dean Kazoleas, Ph.D., APR, California State University, Fullerton, CA, secretary and immediate past chair.
Elizabeth Kerns, Asst. Prof of Communication/PR, Washington University, Ellensburg, WA
Alisa Agozzino, Ph.D., Asst. Prof, Ohio Northern University
Sandra Duhe, APR, Assoc. Prof, Southern Methodist University Dallas
Julie Henderson APR, Fellow PRSA, Prof, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
James Lingwall, Assoc. Prof, Clarion University, Clarion, PA
Juan-Carlos Molleda, Ph.D., University of Florida Gainesville
Bonita Neff, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Robert Pritchard, APR, Fellow PRSA, Instructor and Faculty Adviser, PRSSA, University of Oklahoma
Gemma Puglisi, Asst. Prof, American University Washington, DC
Hilary Sisco, Ph.D., Asst. Prof, Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
Maria Elena Villar, Ph.D. Asst. Prof, Florida International University, Miami
Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, Rhoda Weiss & Associates Santa Monica, CA
Donald Wright, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, Harold Burson Prof and Chair in PR, Boston University
Loopers Answer Questions, Says Paper
Dialogic looping is positioned as the sine qua non of social media.
McCorkindale and DiStaso, quoting numerous sources, say that creating mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and stakeholders is based on "openness, trust, dialogue, understanding, and willingness to negotiate."
"These principles also form the foundation of relationships with stakeholders on social media," they say.
"One of the most important principles" of dialogic looping, the paper further says, is that it "allows stakeholders to query the organization and the organization to respond to queries…the dialogue must be ethical, honest and forthright in terms of transparency as well as authenticity."
"Respond to queries" is one principle we would like to see followed but so far the educators are not following it with us.
McCorkindale, in a couple of initial replies to us, said she could not accept an invitation to visit the new O'Dwyer's PR Library because she will not be in New York until next year. She said she was busy with end-of-school-year activities. Most educators have a summer free of formal duties.
Who Will Rep Academy at Leadership Rally?
However, we have asked her if she or any other Academy director will attend the "Leadership Rally" of the Society in New York from Thursday, June 13, when the Silver Anvil Awards are presented, to Saturday, June 15.
The 14 section chairs, 10 district chairs and 110 chapter presidents will each receive $550 towards their expenses from national to attend the event.
They also get five free meals including two breakfasts, two lunches and a dinner at a Class A restaurant Friday night. The Society has put the cost of this weekend at $140,000 and considers it sacrosanct. When suggestions were being taken on how to cut expenses during talks about the $30 dues hike in 2011, leaders said that there was no chance of cutting the Leadership Rally. One money-saver suggested was dispensing with the in-person Assembly. The Leadership Rally is not currently mentioned on the Society website.
Where are Society's Financials?
Since responding to queries is so important in social media, we wonder how the educators can be associated with an organization that responds to almost no press queries.
Reporters are not allowed to join the Society although they are welcome at the International Assn. of Business Communicators, a similar organization with 14,000 members.
IABC is holding its annual conference this year from June 23-26 (Sunday-Wednesday) in New York, a location that has been eliminated as a site by the PR Society. Its last New York national conference was in 2004. It has picked the next five cities but refuses to identify them. New York chapter members say New York is not one of them.
The audits of the Society and its Foundation are late in coming this year. They were usually published in April.
Members can only get IRS Form 990, which shows pay packages of the top seven staffers, by going to h.q. or making a written request for it. The Society normally waits until near the end of the calendar year (after the Assembly) to supply the document.
Society's Leaders Don't Loop
Candidates for the national board last year, including Joe Cohen of MWW Group, refused to answer any questions put to them by reporters or members.
No national president or chair has presented himself or herself to the New York chapter membership for questioning in more than 25 years.
Cohen is a member of the New Jersey chapter of the Society and attempts to loop with any of the officers and directors about the subject of accreditation have been unsuccessful so far.
APR is under attack on the ground that the current test involves no writing or creativity and participation by Society members is less than half of what it once was. At one time 5.5 hours of writing were part of the APR process. Only APRs have been able to hold national office since the 1970s.
APR chair of the N.J. chapter is Carlos Arcila, external communications manager of Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
His phone number is on the chapter website but if called it answers, "Please enter remote access code." A message cannot be left. He did not return an e-mail.
We were able to reach via phone Verizon executive director of media relations Robert Varettoni. Peter Thonis, media relations head, is not reachable by phone or e-mail. Calls to him are taken by an "executive receptionist" who will not forward calls to Thonis nor give out his e-mail. A letter is being sent to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams.
Verizon should not be connected in any way with an organization such as the PR Society that has poor financial reporting practices; that has an undemocratic governing system (resulting in the "Committee for a Democratic PRS" in 2010), and which bars reporters from its annual legislative Assembly.