by Jack O'Dwyer

Jack O'DwyerStatistics released Aug. 13 by the Universal Accreditation Board showing a 50% decline in participation in APR have caught the attention of readers who wonder how APR can be used to block candidates for PR Society office.

“It just doesn’t smell right,” wrote New York PR veteran David Reich Aug. 14 in his “my 2 cents” blog.

He notes that besides the drop in new PRS APRs from an average of 274 in1993-2002 to 136 in the nine years ended June 30, 2012, the new APR process involves no writing at all. The previous exam involved 5.5 hours of on-site writing under supervision of an outside service.

The current “Readiness Review” that precedes the new test allows applicants to describe programs they worked on and present written materials created for such programs.

This writer has hired many editors and writers over the years and our experience is that the only valid test of a writer is to send him or her on an assignment, perhaps covering a luncheon meeting, and have the candidate submit a story within an hour while in our offices.

Candidates who have a sheaf of polished essays and stories may not be able to duplicate such in a “live” situation.

UAB Fails to Enforce Bar Vs. Competitive Use

As noted Aug. 13, the UAB is failing to enforce Guidelines that bar holders of APR from using that in a competitive situation.

Running for office at PRS may not be competitive in the normal business sense but PRS national titles, once obtained, are used to competitive advantage for jobs and accounts against non-APRs.

UAB chair Janet Kacskos, director of communications, Millersville University, Pa., got PRS staffers to e-mail us the latest APR test results Aug. 13 but has been incommunicado since then.

We invited her to call or e-mail us anytime yesterday but there was no response.

Kacskos is in a conflicted situation—bound to uphold the high standards of the UAB which is supposedly independent but also bound by the rules of PRS of which she is a Fellow. PRS rules forbid members from dealing with the press without the permission of the chair, COO or PR dept. The UAB board includes 13 from PRS and seven from the other participating organizations.

Millersville University
Millersville University, located 1.5 hours outside of Philadelphia and which has 8,700 undergraduate and graduate students, espouses the highest of values on its website.

The University offers “world-class education” and is staffed by “scholars highly respected in their fields, approachable teachers and active mentors who engage their students in the classroom, the office, the research lab and in the life of the campus.”

It is said to have “a great reputation” and was “founded as a beacon of academic opportunity…one of the most highly regarded public university in its region of the U.S…dedicated educators considered among the very best in their disciplines.”

Chair of the Communication and Theatre Dept. and associate professor is Thomas Boyle, Ph.D. He is on vacation and could not be reached. Vilas Prabhu, Ph.D., is provost.

Boyle, Prabhu and other leaders of the University are being sent this and other blogs and stories so they may understand what is involved in being linked to the PR Society.

Questions Cohen Is Evading

Cohen has been asked by members and non-members via phone and mail whether he agrees with the following reforms but has not answered nor even acknowledged receiving the questions.

1. Remove the APR requirement for national office, which has placed governance in the hands of fewer than 20% of the members since the mid-1970s.

2. Release the national list of Assembly delegates which has been withheld from the members since 2005. No other legislature in the world has a secret membership list.

3. Eliminate proxy votes in the Assembly, which are banned under Robert’s Rules (which the Assembly says it follows).

4. Warn prospective members they will be second class citizens, unable to hold national office, until they pay (besides dues and initiation fee) another $410 and take the APR multiple choice test. Non-APRs are barred from the Ethics Board.

5. Provide members who want it a PDF of the entire membership list as it was available for decades in print until it was ditched in 2005 because of printing/mailing costs. PDFs eliminate such costs.

6. Provide a transcript of the Assembly as was done for decades until 2005. Members don’t know who is in the Assembly, what the delegates say, or how they vote.

7. Allow reporters to attend the 2012 Assembly and let them record anything and take pictures that don’t disturb the Assembly. Reporters were barred from the 2011 Assembly for the first time in history.

8. Reveal terms of the new three-year contract of COO Bill Murray. Federal law says members should know what their highest-paid staffers make and they shouldn’t have to wait two years to find out.

9. Again schedule New York as a national conference site. Eliminating New York (the site of one conference since 1992) snubs the city with far more communications people than any other city.

10. Allow reporters to join the Society. PR people are welcome in just about every journalistic group. IABC allows reporters as members. The National Press Club has PR associate members.