PRSA/New York has joined national PRSA’s press blackout of today’s Assembly by refusing to supply any coverage of the meeting.

Chapter president Olga Gonzales refused to identify the six delegates at the meeting in Boston even though the chapter website promises their names. She referred questions to national staff which has not responded for many years.

Olga GonzalesOlga Gonzales

PRSA bylaw proposal 1702, changing “PR” to “communications” in “most locations,” has touched off a furious debate on the Society’s website.

“PRSA should be advocating on behalf of public relations,” wrote Kay Barkin, MHMR, Fort Worth. The bylaw will be voted on today. Reporters are barred from the meeting and there is no live web coverage.

PRSA CCO Laura Kane, answering the critics, said only 13% of members have “PR” in their titles. “We selected the term communications because it is more encompassing than PR.”

“The intention of the bylaw,” she said, “was to address the importance of digital and social on the profession as it continues to evolve. What has traditionally been defined as PR is now being described as social media, digital communications, content management and influencer marketing among others.”

PRSA Should Promote “PR,” Says Member

“Wouldn’t it be the role of PRSA to help individuals with all these different titles to understand they are part of PR, instead of simply making PR part of communications?” Barkin asks.

Titles that Kane had mentioned in a response to her “would fit neatly under PR in the profession’s truest sense as strategies or tactics, and it seems to me PRSA should be advocating on behalf of PR,” she added.

Anthony Hicks of SRVS, Memphis, said “Completely eliminating the words PR from the bylaws of a professional assn. with PR in its official name, that is founded and grounded in PR, is a pretty significant move that seems to warrant a compromise.”

The reason for the change, wrote Kane, was “to take a forward look at where titles associated with our profession are headed.”