Michelle HinsonHinson

Michelle Hinson, sales director, PR measurement, CyberAlert, Stratford, Conn., has been named chair of the PR Measurement Committee of IPR. She is coping with criticism of awards by Katie Paine.

Paine, who heads Paine Publishing, Durham, N.H., said companies and agencies pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into award PR programs each year “but only a handful present evidence of actual outcomes.” She cited research by three college professors.

The paper titled “Outputs or Outcomes,” was called “the most depressing research findings presented to the 2015 International PR Research Conference March 4-8 in Miami.”

The researchers, who note their findings are preliminary, are Maureen Schriner, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; Rebecca Swenson, Ph.D., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Nathan Gilkerson, Ph.D., Marquette University.

Said Paine: “Results showed that the Barcelona Principles and industry standards have been virtually ignored by most award winners despite the PR Society’s efforts to tie results to objectives. Only a handful presented evidence of actual outcomes.”

She added: “Sadly, the result is that organizations and their agencies continue to believe that impressions and activity are acceptable measures of success.”

Katie PainePaine

Awards Programs Have Proliferated

Other events the firms support, with costs running at $4,000+ per table for the dinner alone, include the PR Council (formerly the Council of PR Firms); Arthur W. Page Society spring dinner; Institute for PR dinner at the Yale Club; Foundation of PRSA annual Paladin dinner; New York Women in Communications Hall of Fame banquet at the Waldorf each April; Adrian Awards Gala of Hospitality Sales & Marketing Int'l; the PR Week/U.S. awards dinner in March and the PRW/U.S. "Hall of Fame" dinner in December, and the prnewsonline awards luncheon Dec. 9, 2014 at the National Press Club honoring "rising stars" under 30 years of age and which also will induct seven veterans into its "Hall of Fame." Tickets are $475.

The PR Foundation's dinner joined the circuit in 2009 when John Graham, with Fleishman-Hillard since 1966, became the first "Paladin." The Paladins were 12 knights attached to the court of King Charlemagne (742-814) who ruled the Frankish kingdom in Central Europe.

PR Society Has Paladin Award

A Paladin, a defined by the Foundation, is a "knightly or heroic champion, a determined advocate or defender of a noble cause." The latest arrival on the circuit is the PRW/U.S. "Hall of Fame" dinner which made its debut last year by honoring Harold Burson, Al Golin, Jon Iwata, Marilyn Laurie, Charlotte Otto and Marcia Silverman. To be honored Dec. 8 are Dan Edelman, Bill Nielsen, Ofield Dukes, Margery Kraus and Marina Maher. Individual tickets are $449.

One of the oldest awards programs is the Silver Anvil/Bronze Anvil contest staged each spring by PR Society of America. For many years the Society gave 30 Silver Anvils and hosted a sit-down dinner.

Award categories have proliferated in recent years and last year 134 Silver Anvil winners and Awards of Excellence were distributed plus 126 Bronze winners and Awards of Excellence for a total of 260. A cocktail reception has replaced the dinner.

Also a major program is the SABRE Awards of The Holmes Report which are conducted in five geographical areas--Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe/MiddleEast, North America and Southeast Asia. The North American banquet drew 1,000 May 6, 2014 to Cipriani, New York.