She Was Remarkable in Her Own Way

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

There’s something about photographs, printed ones, not the digital kind, that are so much more poignant, lasting and meaningful.

sophie-1You can’t produce real photos with a click of a button and a tap or two on the keyboard, you know. Somebody actually had to print them.

The images that accompany this post — digital here of course — were all printed and part of our Mother’s life.

They depict her, her life and those she knew and loved. They depict a life well lived.

Often, I would look at these photos — some framed, some part of a collage — and marvel at the impact this sophie-3woman had on all who had the privilege to know and love her.

A simple and honest life, well lived, can have much more meaning than one might think.

Along with her family and friends, our Mother liked simple things, like flowers, conversation and sophie-2watching parades and awards shows on TV.  Recently, she became fond of yogurt, with strawberry being her favorite flavor.

She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother, and she often said she wanted to be a nurse. And, although she did not have formal training, I can attest that there was no better care-giver.

Our Mother, Sophie V. Bury, passed away earlier today.

Perhaps she did not run a marathon or launch a start up company.

But rest assured, she was remarkable in her own way.

Will 100 Million People Really Be Watching Tonight?

By Edward M. Bury,  APR (aka The PRDude)

Another Monday night. But of course, not just any Monday night in America, or the world for that matter.

tn_combomag_header_logo-jpgYou know what I’m referring to: Tonight’s presidential debate, which the smart people who know lots more about elections and the media say will draw something like 100 million viewers.

All to watch Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump communicating to the American people and the world why she or he should be voted into the most powerful job in the world.

By now, the smart people say, many voting Americans already have made up their respective minds on who they will vote for on November 8.

So, I must ask: Why watch the debate? We can learn the candidate’s positions by visiting their respective websites.  And, for your convenience, here they are:

As for the rationale behind why so many people will comprise this proposed Super Bowl-sized television audience?  I have two:

  • Crash and Burn. Those in strong opposition to either candidate want to “be there” when the opposition nominee says something stupid, loses their composure or gets caught in a lie. There’s something about seeing it all live.
  • Morbid Curiosity. Hey, let’s face it. This is reality TV without those good-looking castaways surviving on an island and lots of beer and automobile commercials. We HAVE to watch the debates for the entertainment value.

As for me, I’m not sure.  Heck, yes I’m going to watch the debates, which start in around 30 minutes.

But, if things get boring, I might just switch on the Cubs vs. Pirates game.

And you dear readers: Will you watch tonight’s debate? Why or why not?

 

Chicago Cubs in the 2016 Post Season: Thoughts and Observations

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Was it somewhat scripted late last week that the 2016 Chicago Cubs “back in” to clinching the National League Central Division, then bring pandemonium to the Wrigley Field faithful the following day with a walk off win via a home run from a reliable replacement catcher?

Who knows, and at this point, who cares!

Cubs

What will the post-season hold? We’ll find out soon enough.

This forever Chicago Cubs fan — like millions of others — is thrilled the team has locked in a playoff spot with two-plus weeks of baseball left and boasts the best record in baseball.

But unlike many of my Cub fan colleagues, I’m going mute on predictions on October. But, I do have thoughts and observations to share about the season so far, and what I’ll be looking for in the post season.

So, as the legendary Cub public address announcer Pat Pieper would say, “Attention: Have your pencils and scorecards ready.”

  • Madden Post Game Analysis. Yes, he does wacky things like make players dress in goofy outfits for road games and has brought in a magician as a strategy to build camaraderie and ease tensions during the 162-game season. But the true genius of  Manager Joe Madden comes out in his post game commentaries. He’s eloquent, imminently quotable and always on target regarding what just transpired on the field. Win or lose, players know Joe already is thinking about how to get the best of his squad the next time the ump yells, “Play Ball!”
  • Best Off-Season Move. The big contract to outfield star Jason Heyward? The late season signing of fireball closer Aroldis Chapman? Yes, both are integral to the team’s success to date, and both will be vital cogs in the post season. But my vote goes to the versatile Ben Zobrist.  (Did you know he was born in Eureka, Illinois?) His stats are not off the charts, but in an 11-year pro baseball career, he has put up impressive numbers when at the plate and he plays solid infield and outfield positions. And, he played for the 2015 World Series winning Kansas City Royals, so he knows what it takes to play in crucial games in October. Sometimes, it’s the guy who isn’t in the headlines who makes the most impact.
  • Who I’d Like to Meet for a Beer. A tough choice, so I’ll pick two: David Ross and Dexter
    True, the Cubs have not sucked this season.

    True, the Cubs have not sucked this season.

    Fowler. Not much in depth analysis or statistics here, but I like a guy who’s cool with the nickname of “Grandpa Rossi.” And whether he smacks a lead off homer or grounds into a double play, Fowler gives it his all and looks like he’s having a good time. Shout out to Grandpa and Dex: I’ll always make time for a beer with you guys.

  • From a Public Relations Perspective. Yes, I had to sneak in a thought on the brand that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have built under the Ricketts family ownership.  (Actually, I tackled public relations and the Cubs in this 2013 post regarding plans to rebuild Wrigley Field.) The 2016 team has — fortunately — generated headlines for its performance on the field, rather than off the field. Yes, there have been injuries and that losing streak before the All Star break.  And, oh yea, the Tommy LaStella meltdown. But all season there has been an absence of scandal and unnecessary drama. This squad contains players who are unselfish and only focus on winning, not personal stats. In a more colloquial perspective, the Cubs have received “good PR” all season because ownership and management put together a group of winners, not whiners.

In just more than an hour, the Cubs will take the field at Wrigley to conclude the weekend series with the Brewers. After yesterday’s “hangover” blowout loss, perhaps Madden’s guys will get back on track.

One milestone down.  Three to go.

 

 

Here’s How to Honor Those Lost on 9/11

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

With just less than half the day left, well, at least here in the Central time zone, here’s a suggestion for my fellow Americans.

Today, on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our nation, let’s be civil to one another.

Courtesy of FreePik.com.

Courtesy of FreePik.com.

Let’s put aside pettiness and vitriol. Let’s tune out the rhetoric surrounding this exceedingly volatile and often bizarre presidential campaign. Let’s just chill, at least for the balance of the day.

I can’t think of a better way to honor those who lost their lives in the two New York office towers, at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania, as well as their families and loved ones.

Here in Chicago, the day can be best described as spectacular, clear and warm, much like on this day 15 years ago.  Hey, even the weather is providing the right atmosphere to demonstrate civility.

Lots of news organizations, commentators and pundits are sharing thoughts on the tragedy that resulted from the 9/11 attacks. Many probably can offer more poignant words than I can in this modest digital space. Just google 9/11 to get started.

But 10 years ago, I shared some thoughts on the terrorism that struck our nation in this post. That post, like this one, was relatively easy to write.

So, now I have the rest of this Sunday — Patriot Day 2016 — to enjoy myself here in America.

Think I’ll go for a walk to our farmer’s market; maybe I’ll buy something to add to tonight’s dinner. Then, I’ll probably have a few beers at the place around the corner.

Regardless of where the day takes me, I plan to be civil to everyone I meet.

Now, wouldn’t it be great if we could demonstrate civility every other day of the year? I plan to try.

Public Relations Counsel to Chicago Public Schools Teachers This Labor Day 2016

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Ah, Labor Day 2016!

One can envision today as a glorious end to the summer season and the start of fall, and with it the onset of shorter days, cooler temperatures and football.

(Hopefully, fall of 2016 will also usher in the ultimate climax to a magical season for my beloved Chicago Cubs; but that pecpslogo@2xrspective is the subject of a post for an0ther day.)

And of course, Labor Day marks the return to school for many kids and young adults, including the approximately 400,000 students who attend Chicago Public Schools.

Classes start tomorrow, September 6. The question, however, is will this school year be marred by a strike.  An editorial from Crain’s Chicago Business provides a perspective on why members of the Chicago Teacher’s Union should not go on strike.

Please take a moment to read the commentary.

Done?

Now, here’s some thoughts from a public relations perspective related to thectu strike. Granted, I’m perhaps taking some liberties in offering a correlation between public relations practices and an action by organized labor. But stay with me.

I’ll start with interpreting what’s widely acknowledged as the first step in a strategic public relations plan: Identify ways to mitigate a threat or take advantage of an opportunity.

Teachers have threatened to walk off the job in mid October unless their salary and pension contribution demands are met. Striking would effectively: Exacerbate a threat to the position of the union members as caring professional educators and diminish their standing in the community; and, cast aside the opportunity to demonstrate commitment to the children they teach and their families, to themselves as educators and to Chicago taxpayers who fund schools.

To some Chicagoans, myself included, a strike next month by CTU members would be unwise and perceived as a betrayal. In common parlance, it would not result in “good public relations.”

And, I’ll make this disclosure now: I am a Chicago property owner and more than half of my annual property tax payments goes to CPS. Yes, I would not be pleased if teachers vote to strike, like they did in September of 2012.

Four years ago, the strike led to bitter discourse and kept students out of school for some seven days.  The organization I worked for then had offices around the corner from CPS headquarters; I observed the striking teachers and tried to understand their position.

What I remember were childish taunts and lambasts aimed at Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

On this day, when we celebrate the rights of working people in this nation and around the world, I hope CTU and its leaders come to the realization that a strike will surely pose a serious threat to the reputation of Chicago teachers.

Reaching a compromise with the city would be the opportunity needed to mitigate that threat.

Public Relations and the Sunday Comics: A Perspective

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. This is true in many disciplines — the creative and culinary arts, business, architecture.

So, today, let me present the inspiration for this post, one that’s quite unconventional: Between public relations and the Sunday comics.

Please direct your attention to the image below, the introductory panel taken from the “Mister Boffo” strip published in the color comics section of many fine newspapers across the nation. I read the strip in the August 28 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Mr Boffo

The source for the image above: “Mister Boffo,” produced by Joe Martin, a very talented artist and commentator on modern culture.

Of course, those of us who practice effective, ethical public relations don’t follow “rules,” per se. We adhere to principals and, if one is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, are bound a Code of Ethics.

But I am inspired by the thought on public relations presented by “Mister Boffo” creator Joe Martin, a talented artist and funny guy. (And, in full disclosure: I read “Mister Boffo” daily.)

The inspiration: Sometimes those of us in the public relations industry — and probably many others — take the profession way, way too seriously. In today’s world, sometimes it’s productive to step back and recognize that ideals that guide our profession can have a much lighter side to the public at large.

Frankly, I’m hoping comic strip hero Mister Boffo and his “wonder dog” Weederman offer future comments on public relations. Wonder what he has in mind for Rule Number 2?

What Drove the Surge in “Small Town Wisconsin” Post?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Since this humble blog was launched way back on September 2, 2009, I had minimal expectations in terms of its reach.

Attracting millions of followers? Ha! No way in a crowded digital space dominated by sites like Huff Po, TMZ and Mashable. (Although I understand Gawker faces an uncertain future; see — it pays to be nice some times.)

Maybe with Gawker out of the picture, The PRDude blog will rise in the rankings. Maybe.

Maybe with Gawker out of the picture, The PRDude blog will rise in the rankings. Maybe.

No, I began blogging to chronicle the challenges faced with continuing my career in public relations in the midst of the Great Recession, then added “other stuff” topics to keep things interesting.

Early posts were somewhat cathartic.

So, when I learned a recent post/travelogue generated a whopping (for me) 439 visits plus 68 visits to accompanying images over the past three days, I had to ask: “What was so compelling and fascinating about this post?”

The one in question was published July 23 and featured thoughts and images — all taken by yours truly — from a four-day vacation to communities in east-central Wisconsin.

The “what I learned in small town Wisconsin” commentary was promoted via my social media channels, and I also sent a link to the Heidel House Resort and town of Green Lake chamber of commerce.  But that was more than three weeks ago.

In light of the rioting that plagued Milwaukee a few days ago, I’d like to think that the July 23 post may have been cathartic to some readers, be they from Wisconsin or elsewhere.

And, for those who might want to read more thoughts from The PRDude — or find some solace — there are 309 other posts to read.

Rest assured non qualifies as “Gawker material.”