Arthur Yann, VP-PR of PR Society of America, has contradicted himself twice in moves to impede coverage of the 2010 Society conference in D.C. by O'Dwyer staffers.

He told this website via e-mail Aug. 26 that this reporter and a D.C. writer hired by us could attend the Assembly Oct. 16 but each would have to pay the full fee of $1,275 to attend the conference. When we asked if this was a policy applied only to the O’Dwyer Co., he answered via e-mail, "The policy has not been applied selectively. No."

We called up Scott Van Camp, editor of PR News, who said he is being given full conference registration at no cost and that he was accepting this even though we might be barred.

Relaying this to Yann, he then e-mailed us that under a new policy, "Any trade publication that attended last year’s conference but never wrote about it, is not being given a complimentary conference registration, but instead is being asked to pay for their registration this year if they wish to attend. Jack O’Dwyer’s Newsletter falls into this category."

This statement is false because extensively covered principal speakers Arianna Huffington and Wendell Potter.

Conference Speakers Covered

O’Dwyer media have extensively covered conference speakers for many years, including 2008 featured speakers Penelope Trunk who gave career tips, and Craig Newmark, founder of CraigsList.

PRSA staffers pleaded with me to come to a pre-speech press briefing because I was about the only reporter present. I did so and asked him a number of questions.

In 2007, I gave extensive coverage to the remarks by TIm Russert, Karen Hughes, Ray Kotcher, Mia Farrow and other speakers. This coverage appeared on our website, mag and NL.

In 2006, I gave huge coverage to Tavis Smiley, talkshow host, who demanded that PR people "Stop the spinning."

John O’Dwyer Falsely Described

Yann said on Aug. 26 that John O’Dwyer, who has both editorial and sales duties, could attend the Assembly. "A credential for John to attend the Assembly is not a problem; I’ll add him to the list," he wrote.

But later in the same day, he wrote: "I checked John's role at the O'Dwyer Co. and your website notes that he is the 'Advertising Manager and Webmaster.' Press credentials are for working press, not ad sales reps. Unless he's on the editorial side, it would not be appropriate for him to attend the Assembly. I'm sorry but I cannot add him to the list."

John O'Dwyer, as his title says, is both editorial and ad sales. "Webmaster" is an editorial title. John O'Dwyer covers public affairs, lobbying and FARA news in the nation's capital.

PRSA's 'No Comment' Policy Described

Yann is directing Twitter users to the Society's “Media Policy” that bars anyone connected with the Society from talking to the media for or about the Society unless "specifically authorized to do so by the president and chief operating officer or VP of PR."

Says the policy:

PRSA members and volunteers at all levels of the organization should refrain from speaking with the media as a representative of PRSA and/or on PRSA's behalf.

This policy applies equally to national board members (other than the chair/CEO), national staff members, national task force and committee leaders; College of Fellows inductees; chapter and district officers and board members; section and affinity group chairs and executive committee members; PRSSA national committee members, and PRSSA and PRSA at-large members.

Individual members may speak to the press but "care should be taken to label the viewpoint expressed in such a way that it cannot be construed as an official stance on PRSA’s business operations, policies, thoughts or positions."

All media inquiries are to be directed to the VP-PR or other members of the Society's PR department.