Random Thoughts on a Friday: PR & More

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka the PRDude

Here are some thoughts and observations on public relations and other stuff of interest.

  1. PR Specialty: Street Gangs. Earlier this week, the print and broadcast media reported on a recent “secret” meeting between Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis and reputed street gang leaders.  The purpose: Weis said gang leaders must stop the rash of drug-related shootings and violence that has plagued parts of the city.  Otherwise, authorities would use federal racketeering laws to the fullest to prosecute the leaders and seize their homes, cars and valuables.The reputed gang leaders responded with a news conference yesterday that was covered by Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass. According to Kass, the news conference “was somewhat disorganized, with conflicting messages, a lot of emotion, but no focus.”   What intrigued me about the “news conference” centered on the fact that the coalition of gangs on Chicago’s West and South sides employed the services of a local public relations firm to announce the event.  Really? There are PR firms that would take on business from clients who reportedly sell illegal drugs, terrorize neighborhoods, incite violence and commit other heinous acts?One underlying value and purpose of the public relations profession and those who practice it is this:  Public relations efforts should have some redeeming social value.  Helping to spread the word about a reputed gang leader news conference has no redeeming social value whatsoever.
  2. PRSA NomCom Revisited. Around a month ago, I had the honor and privilege of serving on the national Public Relations Society of America Nominating Committee, which met here in Chicago to select the slate of officers and delegates for the National Assembly.  An “emergency”  fill-in delegate representing the PRSA Midwest District, I sat shoulder-to-shoulder with PRSA leaders from across the nation.  At the table were past presidents, long-time national officers, section leaders and other PR professionals from virtually every discipline within the industry.  To keep the debate on track and according to established rules, PRSA employed a parliamentarian.By no means was I intimidated by this cadre of peers; but I was very impressed with their dedication to the nomination process.  Of course, I can’t discuss any particulars, but let’s put it this way:  The debate was quite spirited.   My take away was a much better understanding of the process of electing PRSA leadership and a greater respect for those volunteers who do, indeed promote the theme:  “Advance the Profession and the Professional.”Special thanks to my friends and colleagues at PRSA Chicago, for recognizing my participation on the Chapter website home page.
  3. 365 Day Later.  Today marks the one-year anniversary since I launched the PRDude blog.  Yes, it’s been 365 days since my position as Senior Director of Public Relations was eliminated.A note of heartfelt thanks to those who have read this blog and to those who have offered comments.  I remain totally committed to the profession and resilient in my search for that next great job in public relations.  Since last fall, I’ve gone on several face-to-face interviews, participated in phone screens and completed online questionnaires.  I’ve joined business social networks and posted my credentials on several online job boards.  I’ve targeted companies and made cold calls. I’ve attended dozens of networking events, participated in numerous webinars and continue to read up on latest the technology and best practices.  My volunteer participation with PRSA Chicago and the Universal Accreditation Board remains high.  And, I continue to complete writing and consulting assignments for clients in the real estate and other B2B industries.And, of course, I’ve maintained this blog.

    People have told me:  “You’re doing all the right things.”  Understood, yet my search continues — and it will continue.  I’ve learned that when life presents challenges, you must muster the necessary resources and succeed.

    On this Labor Day weekend, I wish all a safe and pleasant holiday.  Special words of support to the 15 million Americans who are searching for work: Your next job is out there.   I conclude with this bit of optimism:  As I write this — mid afternoon on  Friday, September 3 — the Dow is up more than 100 points, due to better-than-anticipated news on the employment front.