Both mainstream media and the blogosphere roared like a wounded beast when Jack O'Dwyer, its long-term nemesis, arrived with his reporter's hat to its conference in Florida, and they didn't let him in. Now, O'Dwyer has become St. Jack. Actually, for decades he was just that to so many of us in communications who got the exposure we needed from his newsletters and now his digital website http://odwyerpr.com.
Of course, that hit to the brandname of the PRSA was a direct result of its own seeming dumb-as-dirt public relations. The timing for such a PR blunder by a PR trade association couldn't have been worse.
Thanks to social media, PR professionals have free access to everything from free information and insight to the tools for lobbying. Why would a reasonable PR pro pop for the membership to the PRSA? There are 100s of no-cost webinars for me to keep up. I can tweet my beef directly to the president of the United States. Leave my business to schlep south for a conference? What a joke dating back to the age of affluence.
There's a lesson here for all us seasoned players: take the high road in a feud. There's a growing number of media outfits eager to exploit a seeming lowlife tactic. St. Jack is thriving. If the PRSA is shrewd it will provide a very public mea culpa. "St. Jack, forgive us, we have sinned."