“By banning Jack O’Dwyer (from its 2011 annual conference) PR Society of America has lost credibility as an organization that can effectively speak for its members.”

That statement is part of Newsroom Ink’s 974-word examination of PRSA’s written ban on coverage of its conference by any O’Dwyer staffer or anyone hired by the O’Dwyer Co.

Newroom Ink was founded by photo and editorial journalist Ed Lallo of Austin who has been a director of PRSA and IABC chapters in Austin. His background includes working on annual reports for ExxonMobil, IBM, OneOk, DuPont and Berkshire Hathaway and editorial work for People Magazine, Bloomberg, CNN, American Profiles and Discovery Channel.

Headline on the Newsroom Ink web posting is: “PRSA’s Reputation Crumbles—Faces Crisis of Integrity.”

Lallo, Lewis
Lallo, Lewis
“The national organization that sponsors seminars, speakers, publications and webinars on the topic of crisis communications has failed to place trust in its own ‘best practices,’” starts the blog. It raps the Society for deciding that “the best way to handle a ‘testy’ reporter is to block access to coverage.” The article notes that PRSA was contacted before publication but that no response was received.

That’s par for the Society—its leaders and staff typically don’t acknowledge receipt of an e-mail if they don’t like its contents.

The O’Dwyer Co. today sent an e-mail to Society elected leaders and staff challenging them to an in-person meeting that would address the current PR crisis of the Society caused by its ban against the O’Dwyer Co.

Maryland PR Prof Sees Code Violation

Perry Bishop, associate professor of PR, University of Maryland Graduate School of Management and Technology, told Newsroom Ink: “On the surface, PRSA’s ‘It’s us vs. Jack O’Dwyer’ seems to violate its own Code of Ethics and certainly sets no professional example for current or future members.”

He said the Society’s action “brings embarrassment to the entire profession regardless of membership in any professional organization. The sad part is that over the years, the PRSA staff (and board) don’t appear to want to accept any personal or professional responsibility for its actions.”

The Newsroom Ink article links to New York PR pro Lucy Siegel’s blog on the O’Dwyer ban in which she said she was “embarrassed by the totally unprofessional, unethical and childish behavior of the so-called leaders of my profession, the board and staff of PRSA.”

Thirteen responses to Siegel’s blog, totaling thousands of words, were posted including those by Society VP-PR Arthur Yann (two posts), Jack O’Dwyer, Bob Conrad of thegoodthebadthespin (who criticized PRS’s description of its 2011 survey of members), Mary Barber, former national director, and Derek DeVries, who led the “Flash Mob” attack on O’Dwyer during a break in the 2010 Assembly.

Also linked on the site is the statement by the National Press Club urging the PR Society to abandon its policy of not dealing with O’Dwyer reporters.

'Journalists Telling Your Company’s Story'

newsroom inkNewsroom Ink describes itself as “journalists telling your company’s story.” Says its website: “Newsroom Ink is a communications and reputation management agency. We achieve a competitive difference for clients through brand journalist to create credible, influential news—telling a company’s stories on a dynamic newsroom platform.”

The firm feels that stories told on this platform “go far beyond static newsrooms. We create a strategic news plan aligned with the CEO’s agenda. It can be visualized as a communications triangle—the seamless merging of journalist, corporate communications and digital’s interactive technology that connects a brand to its many audiences.”

Also a principal of Newsroom Ink is Springfield Lewis, VP of strategic development, who has a journalism, corporate, online agency and consulting background. He is a co-founder of The News Group Net, which created the ISC Newsroom for the Imperial Sugar Co. (icsnewsroom.com).

Mike Long, writer, editor and publications manager, has a 35-year background in communications that includes 20 years at ExxonMobil Corp. and assignments with Valero Energy Corp., The Oil & Gas Journal, Drilling-DCW magazine, and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Tony Cecala, VP of technology, who has two masters and a doctorate in psychology from Yale University, developed accounting software for Yale’s Psychology department and became the school’s first online software librarian. Following graduation he worked at Texas Instruments in the user-systems engineering group where he designed software and hardware systems for TI and presented research to upper management on trends in IT.

Mel Ristau, also a member of Newsroom Ink, co-founded with Cecala Visual Interface Architects, software development and consulting firm that has designed user interfaces and software for Fortune 500 companies. He is a business strategist specializing in technology solutions.