The Institute for PR, which says there is “science” beneath the art of PR, is wallowing in the mud of PRSA and CenturyLink in co-publishing a revived “PR Journal.”
IPR and PRSA said in June they will partner in publishing print and web editions of PRJ on a quarterly basis.
Ignored is the bad publicity PRSA is reaping by having as expected chair-elect candidate Debra Peterson, an employee of CenturyLink, $17.9 billion telecom that has been hit with fraudulent billing charges by eight states.
Negative comments about CL abound on the web. Consumer Affairs shows 713 comments, 689 giving the company one star out of five.
Facebook displays numerous complaints of poor customer service, over-charging, complicated bills and technical failures.
Charges against CL have been likened to those against Wells Fargo that resulted in $185 million in fines and 5,300 staffers being fired. CenturyLink fines could total $12 billion, complainants say.
IPR Is Uninformed, the Opposite of “Science”
IPR, based at the public, land grant University of Florida at Gainesville, is showing woeful ignorance while at the same time invoking “science,” a word that denotes boundless interest in facts and information. Stonewalling is the opposite of science.
Oddly, Tina McCorkindale, president/CEO of IPR, lives in Seattle. The post should be based in New York and not in some downtown office such as is used by PRSA, which just signed another 15-year lease in that area.
UFL is in the news because Burson-Marsteller vice chair Patrick Ford is taking a leave from B-M to join the faculty in the fall.
Heading the J/PR Sequence is Prof. Diane McFarlin, who had a distinguished career as executive editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune from 1990-99 and president/publisher of the H-T Media Group from 1999-2012.
Her bio says that under her leadership, the H-T Media, largest media company in Southwest Florida, “was touted as an industry leader in media convergence and digital innovation.”
B-M/Publicis Vet Hopson On Board
On board is Andy Hopson, who heads “The Agency at UFL,” an auxiliary of the College of J/Comms. It is “staffed by students and managed by industry pros.”
Hopson was Chicago managing director for RF, CEO/president of the Northeast region for B-M, and president/COO of Publicis Dialog, among other agency assignments through the 1980s and '90s.
McFarlin said the college is looking to develop a new opportunity for advertising and PR students "to build expertise in a hands-on environment.”
Players Are Present; Will They Perform?
Major players such as Ford, McFarlin and Hopson are on the field and in uniform.
Will they perform is the question? Will they speak out and distance the University from the abusive practices of PRSA and CenturyLink or will they be paralyzed with silence, the default position of much of PR currently. PR people have lost control of their own well-heeled trade association.
Once controlled by the Counselors Academy, which regularly drew more than 350 to its annual spring meeting and now only gets 180 since press coverage was banned ten years ago, PRSA now only shows one PR person on a staff of 55. PR people are unwelcome in their own house and put up with it.
Educator Academy Leaders Are Silent
We have brought the CenturyLink/Peterson candidacy problem to leaders of the Educators Academy via emails which sought their opinion. In the past, attempts to reach anyone from the Academy have gone nowhere.
Not responding currently are Academy chair Prof. Gemma Puglisi, American University, D.C.; Prof. David Brown, Temple University, and Prof. Melissa Dodd, University of Central Florida.
Victims of this conspiracy of silence are PR and communications students whose professors turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the current embattled state of PR. The students are paying a bundle not only in money but in time that could be spent in pursuit of knowledge. Below is The Agency listing in O’Dwyer’s Directory of PR Firms.
Agency at the University of Florida, The
The Agency at UF is an integrated firm that specializes in marketing to Millennials. Employees: 5 full-time professionals, 100 part-time UF students.
Agency Statement: The Agency at UF is an auxiliary of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications that specializes in marketing to Millennials. Led by a suite of seasoned professionals, staffed by students and inspired by faculty, The Agency utilizes proprietary tools to obtain insights about Millennial’s attitudes and behaviors to help brands and marketers engage more effectively with this segment of the population.
Andy Hopson, exec. dir.; Bob Norberg, dir., strategy & research; Jim Harrison, creative dir.
The Agency at UF Clients
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
University of Florida
Warren Henry Auto Group