This website is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to gain access to the 2012 annual conference of the PR Society at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Oct. 13-16.

A press release (below) on the blockage has been sent to many travel editors and other press including Joy Jernigan, former travel editor at msnbc.com/TODAY.com, who is a co-worker of Chris “Hardball” Matthews of MSNBC. Kathleen Matthews, communications head of Marriott and former longtime Washington, D.C., reporter, is the wife of Chris Matthews.

Jernigan, Matthews
Jernigan, Matthew

We’re hoping Chris or Jernigan, now features editor for NBCNews.com, will bring this matter to the attention of Kathleen, who thus far does not return phone calls or e-mails. There is no PR staff at the S.F. Marriott.

Chris Matthews would no doubt howl if he were blocked from covering something open to other reporters.

PRS thus far is refusing to issue press credentials to any O’Dwyer staffer and the Marriott is assisting in press interference by demanding that any press at the conference report to the PRS registration desk for credentialing. Those without such credentials will be asked to leave, says the hotel.

Staff at the Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando adopted a “hands-off” policy last year when guards blocked O’Dwyer reporters from entering the exhibit hall, the opening night reception, the Assembly and all plenary sessions.

Ellen Gonda, SVP of global corporate communications, Hilton Corp., called PRS staff in 2010 when PRS was demanding that O’Dwyer reporters register for $1,275 each for the conference at the Washington Hilton when other trade reporters went free. She said she urged the Society to treat all press equally but her pleas “fell on deaf ears.”

Press release from:
Jack O’Dwyer, www.odwyerpr.com, 646/843-2090
jack@odwyerpr.com
New York, NY Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012

Press Barred for Second Year at Marriott Hotel

New York, Oct. 4 -- A Marriott Hotel on Oct. 13-16 will be the scene of a second formal press boycott carried out by a client of Marriott, the Public Relations Society of America.

Reporters and any “assign” of the O’Dwyer Co. were barred from covering the Oct. 12-15, 2011 annual conference at the Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando, Fla., and a similar ban is in effect for this year’s conference at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

The ban, putting in writing on the last page of 23 pages of charges against the O’Dwyer Co. (http://bit.ly/yc2LVT) was examined by the National Press Club which issued a statement to 390 major media on Oct. 20, 2011 urging PRSA to stop interfering with press coverage by O’Dwyer. http://bit.ly/p0jJuj

New York State Senator Liz Krueger, who represents editor Jack O’Dwyer’s district in New York, examined the PRSA charges as well as the NPC statement and issued a statement on her own stationery saying she “heartily agreed” with the NPC stand. http://tinyurl.com/7dhdy3g

NPC president Mark Hamrick, an AP reporter, said he was concerned that the 21,000 regular and 10,000 student members of PRSA should get the message that the way to deal with critical press was to cease cooperation with them or ban them from an organization’s events.

“I find it ironic that hotels, which are part of the hospitality industry, should be inhospitable to a reporter,” said O’Dwyer.

“A particular irony here,” he added, is that the worldwide head of PR at Marriott is Kathleen Matthews, longtime Washington, D.C., TV reporter who is married to Chris “Hardball” Matthews of CNBC.

Guards at the Marriott Grande Lakes last year blocked O’Dwyer staffers from entering any of the PRSA functions for four days although O’Dwyer staffers had covered the annual conference without interference for 40 years.

Staff at the S.F. Marriott have told the O’Dwyer Co. that if any reporters show up without official PRSA press badges they will be directed to the PRSA registration desk and if they can’t obtain press badges they will be asked to leave. The hotel’s attitude is that PRSA has rented the space and can do what it pleases with it.

This is the opposite of the attitude of executives at the Washington Hilton where PRSA had its 2010 annual conference. Ellen Gonda, SVP of global corporate communications, said she called up PRSA VP-PR Arthur Yann and told him that all press must be treated equally. She said her plea “fell on deaf ears.” http://tinyurl.com/8fbl2yb

Interference with press coverage is a growing worldwide threat to press freedom that has been described in a 51-page report issued in April by Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights of UNESCO. Perpetrators are able to act with “impunity” because organizations and governments ignore the problem, she said.

The O’Dwyer Co. in 1994 exposed PRS’s massive (3,800 information packets yearly) sale of copyrighted works without the authors’ permission causing the immediate removal of all such materials.

Facts and statements in this release may be checked with:

Jack O’Dwyer, jack@odwyerpr.com, 646/843-2090

William McCarren, executive dir., NPC, wmccarren@press.org, 202/662-7500

NYS Senator Liz Krueger, lkrueger@nysenate.gov., 212/490-9395, Andrew Goldston, aide

Gerard Corbett, PRSA chair, San Bruno, CA, gerard@corbett.org, 650/866-5005

William Murray, PRSA COO, William.murray@prsa.org, 212/460-1401

Arthur Yann, VP-PR, Arthur.yann@prsa.org, 212/460-1452

Kathleen Matthews, dir., global corp. rels., Kathleen.matthews@marriott.com, 301/380-6954

Joanna Young, event staff, S.F. Marriott, Joanna.young@marriott.com, 415/896-1600