Jack O'Dwyer
Jack O'Dwyer

Jack O'Dwyer, who launched his pioneering Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter 50 years ago, died Dec. 19 of a chronic lung issue. He was 85.

Respected and sometimes feared by leaders in the PR business, O'Dwyer took pride in his role as an old-school reporter dedicated to chasing down stories and revealing the good and bad of PR.

The New York Times and Washington Post lauded Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter, which was printed on distinctive yellow pages, as the "bible of PR."

O'Dwyer was a fierce advocate for transparency in PR. His annual financial rankings, which required the submission of financial proofs, chronicled the growth of the industry.

He believed the rankings contributed to the "professionalism" of PR, which helped the business earn the respect that is so richly deserved.

O'Dwyer was an advocate for the "little guy," and railed against the acquisition wave by conglomerates that not only reduced the number of independents in the business, but robbed it of some of its heart and soul.

He published the annual O'Dwyer Directory of PR Firms, which was found in every agency, library and career center throughout the country, and O'Dwyer's, a monthly magazine launched 32 years ago.

Jack is survived by his wife, Lucille; son John, publisher of O'Dwyer's, and daughter Christine, research editor of O'Dwyer's.