What the Calendar Tells Me This Thanksgiving Eve

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

Along with celebratory events, there are a couple of academic-related and a dental appointment on my December schedule.

It all starts in earnest today.

Thanksgiving Eve metaphorically ushers in the “holiday season,” a bittersweet time from some perspectives. (Although “holiday” focused advertisements and other promotional messages have blanketed print, broadcast and digital mediums for several weeks.)

For those who could count their blessings through health and prosperity, family and friends, it’s indeed “the most wonderful time of the year.”

But for those who are sick and in need of food and shelter, alone or cast aside, it’s just another five-plus weeks of despair, sadness and uncertainty.

I count myself in the former group, blessed and thankful, although concerned that in this world we’ve inherited and nurtured that more of us are not included among those who have reason to be thankful.

The image of the calendar that accompanies this post reveals (if you can decipher my somewhat shoddy penmanship) notations of holiday-based parties and events slated for the month ahead — and that’s what I have scheduled as of today.

If history is an accurate barometer, assuredly there will be more appointments to note.

For the fact I was invited to share this time of year with others, I am, indeed thankful. There will be merriment, laughter, spirited conversation, food and libations.

From another perspective, I’m thankful for this time — right now — as I share these thoughts from my quiet office. It’s during these solitary times I find truth and beauty.

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The Armistice on This Day in History

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

This image of the poppy is courtesy of the Guardian.

On this day, November 11, 100 years ago, an armistice was signed to end the “War to End All Wars.” Today, the world remembered.

Obviously, this lofty objective for mankind didn’t happen.

And, based on what’s taking place in some parts of the world, unfortunately, the end of war won’t happen — at least not any time soon.

But to put the armistice ending World War I to perspective, here’s a short account of wars the United States has been involved in since 1918, and when the fighting stopped:

  • World War II — The Axis powers surrendered on May 8, 1945.  The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945.
  • Korean War — Fighting ended on July 27, 1953, with an armistice that approximately restored the original boundaries between North and South Korea.
  • Vietnam War — On January 15, 1972, all U.S. combat activities were suspended. Unfortunately, the fighting continued until April 1975 when Saigon fell to the communists.
  • Gulf War — With the code name of Operation Desert Shield, this war in Iraq ended January 17, 1991.
  • War in Afghanistan — The U.S. involvement started in 1999. The U.S. still has armed forces in this war-ravaged nation.

Of course, there are many, many other wars that took place since the armistice was signed a century ago — and some were undeclared conflicts like the Cold War.  (Is that conflict really over?)

Regardless, I just hope the powers of the world can revisit what led to the start of World War I and want led to its end. Perhaps it will take less than 100 years to mark the end of a war that really means the end of all war.

Questions on “Ghosting” This Halloween Night

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

Note the subtle “shadowing” around the image — my effort to add a little “ghostly” drama.

To get started, the topic of this post on what’s purported to be the “scariest night of the year,” has nothing to do with the celebration of Halloween.  Rather, my focus here is on a new addition to the modern lexicon: Ghosting.

As noted in this headline from an editorial published in today’s Chicago Tribune, the word “ghost” and its present participle form, “ghosting,” take on a particular meaning these days. The Urban Dictionary listed a definition for “ghosting” from 2016, which I’ll summarize: Halting communications without notice.  According to further research, the word is often used in personal relationships (ignoring a text from a person you have dated) and in the job market (failing to show up for a job you accepted).

Now, to my questions:

  1. How did “ghost” evolve from a noun for “spirit” into verb?  Who initiated the re-interpretation of the word?
  2. Why does modern society accept this ongoing bastardization of the language? (See this 2015 post on “doxing” for a somewhat related example.) Because it’s cool? Edgy? Modern?
  3. Why did the Chicago Tribune resort to what many may consider a colloquialism in an editorial?  And, in the headline, no less! Also, I dispute the use of “ghost” in the headline because Chicago Public School kids are not purposefully or intentionally causing the enrollment decline.
  4. What’s the next common word to get reinterpreted due to unforeseen and unfathomable justification?
  5. Can “ghosting” still be used should someone want to practice being a ghost?  Example: “I will complete a stringent ghosting regimen this week to prepare for Halloween.”
  6. What are the perspectives and insights from real ghosts on this dictionary-centered phenomenon?

Okay, I don’t anticipate a response to #6, although replies are welcomed; but please feel free to share thoughts to the other questions noted above.

But, in the spirit of Halloween, I’ll leave you with a link to a 2010 post, where I outlined public relations strategies and tactics for the holiday, one once primarily celebrated by kids. Speaking of kids, I better head home now. Don’t want to ghost neighborhood trick or treaters.

The Pallor Across America This Day in Autumn 2018

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

The intention was simple: Visit the local forest preserves to take in the remaining days when the trees around metropolitan Chicago still had color before being stripped bare by the passing of another season.

This path led me to a quiet place within nature. What path is America on right now?

Periodic light rain and the predominant overcast cloud cover would not prevent me from spending an enjoyable 60 or so minutes surrounded by nature and silence.

And, I did take in quiet time away from the our home in the Avondale neighborhood, as evidenced by the image at left.  But while I intended to just reflect and ponder nothing during my walk, my thoughts kept returning to the unsettling state our nation is in right now.

Yes, of course, I was stunned and distraught by the alleged actions of the Florida man now charged with sending pipe bombs to elected officials, including two past Presidents; and, I was emotionally deflated and enraged after learning yesterday that 11 people in Pittsburgh were fatally shot while practicing their faith at a synagogue.

The first scenario reportedly was motivated by political beliefs. The second has its foundation based in hatred.

But what also triggered my emotions beyond the pipe bomb scare and mass murder was something much less horrifying, yet certainly disturbing to me. It took place in a small community in southern Illinois.

At a rally yesterday led by President Donald Trump, some in the crowd in the community of Murphysboro chanted, “Lock her up,” echoing the chant often heard during the 2018 presidential election.

Think about this: A purported madman uses the U.S. mail to send explosive devices to elected officials and another man is now being held on charges of murdering fellow Americans in a house of worship.  However, those at the rally could not put aside their political differences for an evening; they were swept up by the moment, actions to me that dishonored the law enforcement officials who captured the bombing suspect, shot and later arrested the shooter, and most of all, the worshipers killed in Pittsburgh.

Shouldn’t Americans be better than this? Shouldn’t the people of America put their political beliefs aside following the two national news stories just mentioned?

Perhaps, I need to continue walking this fall in order to find an answer. Next week, I plan to follow a longer path.

 

 

What I Took Away from PRSA 2018 Assembly

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

DATELINE: AUSTIN, TX.

Thought I would incorporate that now bygone phrase and practice as a way to provide a “newscast” kind of perspective to the following, a post about what I learned and observed as a delegate at the 2018 PRSA Assembly on October 6.

Like any organization comprised of passionate, strong-willed individuals, there was often spirited debate during the 2018 PRSA Assembly.

The gathering of Public Relations Society of America leadership, staff and members earlier this month is the Society’s one day to have delegates present thoughts and cast ballots on how PRSA is governed. As this was only my second time as a delegate, I took my responsibility seriously.

(A disclaimer: Please excuse the delay in sharing this post as three things got in the way: Work, school and life.)

Without precedence, here are a few thoughts I scribbled during my time at the Assembly.

Ready, Set, Debate: From a parliamentary perspective, the Assembly opened with a debate on how to debate: Specifically, the time allowed for delegates to address the big issues on the agenda — proposed Bylaw changes.  (More coming up.) Some found this a poor use of time; I found it a reflection of the passion some members have for PRSA and its future.

State of the Society: In his remarks, 2018 PRSA Chair Anthony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, cited accomplishments made by the Society, including growth in diversity and advocacy issues; but he cautioned that the profession itself was “losing market share” in the communications arena due to factors like apathy and “free stuff” — digital resources. Millennials, he noted, find some forms of governance (like PRSA) irrelevant.

The Bylaw Debate: Prior to the Assembly, five proposals were made to amend existing Bylaws; learn more from this report published in June, but the focus was on ethics. I’ll refrain from much commentary. I had to depart to catch my flight home and missed some of the debate on the Bylaw proposals; however, I provided my proxy decisions to colleagues from PRSA Chicago. Two of the five amendments passed. During his remarks, Mr. D’Angelo noted that the issues were not relevant to the challenges facing the Society. But from this perspective, I’m glad PRSA gives members the opportunity to undertake changes to the way the Society is governed.

APR “Self-Improvement” Project: Of course, I had to comment on news shared that relates to the Accredited in Public Relations credential. What I learned is that there are plans to institute modules in the APR program, award “badges” to candidates, allow for online Panel Presentations and launch an online mentor match benefit. Good — no great — news.  More needs to be done to encourage professionals to seek Accreditation; more needs to be done to keep the credential a vital factor in the growth and development of public relations professionals today.

Other things learned: PRSA has developed a Speakers Bureau database, the Society is on good financial standing, membership (21,550 as of this month) has been static but is trending upwards, and there’s a new Strategic Plan being crafted.  I look forward to following these and other developments in the months to come.

But a final thought on the Assembly: PRSA will only be as vital to public relations as its members contribute to the way the Society functions and the profession is perceived in society.  After leaving Austin, I’m encouraged by the future.

 

 

The PRDude Reaches Another Plateau: Post 400

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

This question has left me in a quandary the past several days: What should be the focus of this post — the 400th published here on the PRDude blog?

Perhaps a retrospective of my “favorite” post over the past (could it really be that long?) nine years? No, who really cares, and I think I’ve already written a post on that topic, somewhere back in the 200 or 300 post library.

Announce some new feature or improvement?  Well, I’ve started to categorize posts, but that job will take a little longer than anticipated.  But stay tuned.

Image courtesy of Geo G Wiki.

Or, maybe a list of the “best 400 moments” in the public relations profession? Of course, this is absurd and who determines what’s “best” in any subject or genre?  (Actually, I addressed this topic with a post way back in 2013.)

So, I’ll take the safe and easy road on this journey:

Appreciation. A sincere thank you to all who have read, commented and shared PRDude posts. Please continue to absorb my thoughts and perspectives, and please share this blog within your network.

Supporting Public Relations. And, a mention that next week I’ll join hundreds of public relations colleagues from across the nation in Austin, Texas at the Public Relations Society of America 2018 Assembly, which precedes the International Conference.

Regarding the latter, I’ll be representing PRSA Chicago, where I serve on the Board of Directors and chair the Accreditation Committee.

For those who follow the workings of PRSA, there’s been a rather “spirited” (emphasis intentional) debate underway related to existing PRSA Bylaws. This topic is on the agenda for the Assembly October 6.

I’ll reserve any thoughts or comments on the Bylaw proposals — which address ethics, a foundation of PRSA and public relations — until I return from the Assembly.

But speaking of ethics, earlier this month I published an article through my LinkedIn account:Leadership in Defending Misrepresentation of ‘Public Relations.'” The premise of my article centers on the need for members of PRSA, especially those who hold the Accredited in Public Relations credential, to address instances where the profession is misrepresented — often equated with propaganda.

Why?  Because the Advocacy component of the PRSA Code of Ethics requires members to be “responsible advocates for those we represent.” I interpret that provision as being at the vanguard for correcting erroneous references to “public relations.”

Thanks again, and watch for post #401 soon.

Honoring an American Worker This Labor Day 2018

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

Throughout the summer months, the man in this photo brings refreshment — and certainly a little bit of joy — to people in our Avondale neighborhood and beyond.

His name?

I don’t know; but when I hear the sound of bells breaking the silence of an afternoon, I frequently race out of the house to purchase a few lime, mango or strawberry frozen treats. Given his weathered face and hands, it’s apparent that this American worker logs a long day.

This American Worker more than likely will be on the job this Labor Day.

On a bike ride earlier this summer, I witnessed the man with his cart a good mile-plus north of our home. He is employed by the Paleteria Arco Iris, a shop located a few blocks north of us on Belmont Avenue. In researching this post, I learned that a paleteria is an “ice lolly vendor,” and a paleta is a Mexican ice pop.

We’ve purchased frozen bars from the store in the past, but I prefer to get mine from this man, who’s always very cordial, always very welcoming. His job is simple: Stroll the sidewalks and sell a little happiness for $1 or $1.50.  Yes, he performs this task with dogged persistence and pride.

Too often, we only recognize those titans of the American workforce — those women and men who make headlines or have jobs deemed important or vital to the economy or society. Often, those performing the menial or less-skilled jobs frequently fall under the proverbial radar.

So, on Labor Day 2018, I offer a salute to the Paleta Man, who assuredly will be on his rounds today, and to all American workers who are unheralded or forgotten.

Later, I will listen for the sound of the bells, signaling happiness in the form of a flavorful frozen treat. And, I will savor the ice pop, knowing that with the decline of summer days, the Paleta Man will be done for the season.

* * *

Labor Day posts have been published on the PRDude blog over the years.  Here are a few: