The advance registration list for the PR Society of America annual conference starting Saturday in Orlando totals 965, including day registrations.

Annual conferences usually draw between 2,000 and 3,000 registrants including nearly 1,000 students.

Among those attending are 23 ex-presidents/chairs and 26 staff members.

The largest single contingent is educators, totaling 137. They pay a reduced rate of $700 but are not allowed to take meals at functions.

The rate for a member is $1,075 before Aug. 26 and $1,275 after that. Non-members pay $1,375/1,575. Day registrations are $670/725 for members and $770/$825 for non-members.

Ex-Presidents/Chairs Go Free For Life

Ex-presidents and chairs of the Society can attend without charge for the rest of their lives. They also are exempt from paying annual dues for the rest of their lives.

Such “payments” may be a violation of the New York State charter of PRSA, a 501/c/3 non-profit. Such organizations are not allowed to compensate volunteer elected officials in any way.

SPJ Refuses to Make Statement

The Society of Professional Journalists, which was asked to make a statement protesting the refusal of PRS to “credential” any O’Dwyer reporter for the 2011 Assembly and conference, has refused to do so.

Joe Skeel
Executive director Joe Skeel, in denying the request, invited us to quit the SPJ after 40 years and offered to return the $70 dues that we had just paid.

Said Skeel’s e-mail: “For two decades you have come to the SPJ with the same request: condemn PRSA. We have declined to do so. Nonetheless, I’ll try to make this as clear as possible—again. SPJ will in no way, shape or form get involved in your situation with the Society. Any future correspondence from you on this matter will not be addressed.”

Skeel offered to waive the SPJ’s non-refund policy and return our dues “in full.”

We responded that SPJ was not asked to condemn the PR Society but to protest our exclusion from the Saturday Assembly, a meeting we have covered 40 years in a row. We told Skeel that positioning this as some personal “situation” of ours with the PR Society is falling for the spin that PRS wants to put on it.

Blocking a reporter from covering a meeting that has always been open to the press is an abuse of press freedom and something a PR group should have no part of. Journalist groups should protest it.

Ex-Presidents/Chairs at Conference

Jay Rockey, 1976
Judith Bogart, 1983
Barbara Hunter, 1984
John Felton, 1987
Dwayne Summar, 1988
John Paluszek, 1989
Jerry Dalton, 1990
Joe Epley, 1991
Rosalee Roberts, 1992
Joe Vecchione, 1994
Luis Morales, 1996
Mary Lynn Cusick, 1998
Sam Waltz, 1999
Kathy Lewton, 2001
Joann Killeen, 2002
Reed Byrum, 2003
Del Galloway, 2004
Cheryl Procter-Rogers, 2005
Judy Phair, 2006
Jeff Julin, 2007
Rhoda Weiss, 2008
Mike Cherenson, 2009
Gary McCormick, 2010

The only living ex-president/chair not going is Debra Miller, 1997 and 50th anniversary president. Deceased are are Tony Franco, Hal Warner, John Beardsley and Steve Pisinski.