If It’s “Fake” It’s Not “News”

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

Let’s start with this assertion: The concept of erroneous or inaccurate information shared for public consumption — most recently given the title “fake news” — has been around for a long, long time.

We can expect the "fake news" invasion to continue for a long, long time. Image source: Snopes.

We can expect the “fake news” invasion to continue for a long, long time. Image source: Snopes.com.

Possibly as long as human beings began communicating. That’s because so-called “fake news” also can be construed as “telling a lie,” and there’s no question men and women have told lies for a long, long time.

Only, in this era of instantaneous digital communications that can originate from virtually anyone or any organization with a broadband connection, fabricated messages void of truth can prove very harmful for society. At least society as we know it today.

Come on! Did you really believe that Pope Francis threw his support toward Donald Trump? Photo courtesy of GazetteReview.com.

Come on! Did you really believe that Pope Francis threw his support toward Donald Trump? Image source:  GazetteReview.com.

This was made especially clear in the months leading to the 2016 national elections, when seemingly bizarre stories — Pope Francis throwing support to Donald Trump — surfaced, were propagated and believed by many.  One can ascertain that more “news” of this type will surface in the future.

So, in the debut post of 2017, the PRDude offers this manifesto of sorts to members of the media, fellow public relations professionals and anyone who will listen:

Stop referring to lies, misinformation, fabricated facts and erroneous online content and messages as “fake news.”

As I, and assuredly millions of others maintain, what makes “news” and defines newsworthiness  is based on factual occurrences, trends or developments that meet certain criteria, including:  What took place, where it took place, who or what was involved and what was compelling or interesting.

If a report is based upon “fake” information, it is not “news.”

There. I feel better. And, that’s the truth.

 

Making a Point This Father’s Day

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

Perhaps overshadowed by Mother’s Day and other non-religious holidays, Father’s Day is an opportunity to honor the men who brought us into this world. And, by that I mean sharing something beyond a tie or polo shirt.

The USS Proteus has been de-comissioned.

The USS Proteus has been de-comissioned.

Over the five-plus years I’ve hosted the PRDude Blog, I don’t believe I’ve referenced my father, Ted Bury.

So here goes.

My father was an outstanding man who worked very, very hard to provide for his family. About the most poignant thing I can remember from my Dad was his work ethic, and the fact he could make things right that were wrong.

And, Ted Bury knew how to make things that last.

To illustrate this point, please note the image below. This is a knife, okay, a sword of sorts, my Dad made when he was in the U.S. Navy during World War II and served on the USS Proteus, a “sub-tender” ship that made parts or supplied submarines.

(Trivia: My Dad served with two guys who went on to fame in Hollywood: Bernie Schwartz, aka screen star Tony Curtis, and Larry Storch, a comic actor best known for playing Corporal Agarn on a 1960s TV show called “F Troop.” Pretty good company, and probably never a dull moment.)

Note to bad guys: If  you enter our home, you might have to face this. Get the point? I mean "points."

Note to bad guys: If you enter our home, you might have to face this. Get the point? I mean “points.”

There’s nothing like this in the world today. It was made by a man from a generation that made things that lasted.  Each of my two brothers and I have one similar to this knife, which has my Dad’s name and “U.S. Navy” on one side and serial number on the other side of the handle.

If your Dad is still with you, ask him to share some thoughts about what shaped him into the man he became. Tell him you love him, something I wish I had done.

To all Dads who read this, Happy Father’s Day. Hope I made my point.

 

Chilling With PR Peers: Skyline Awards & DePaul Graduate Showcase

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

Last week culminated in two outstanding events that featured some of the smartest, most engaging and fascinating people I know (or got to know).  At both events, I refreshed relationships with old colleagues and nurtured relationships with new ones.

I’m referring, as you may ascertain, to gatherings of fellow public relations professionals.

The similarities continue.

Both were held in cool venues, both had excellent food and beverage and both reinforced to me something about public relations and those of us who are in this business.  Want to know more?

Here are capsulized reports.

PRSA Chicago 2014 Skyline Awards.

The evening of Tuesday June 10 was a rainy one in Chicago. But that didn’t damper the enthusiasm of the more than 250 attendees at this annual awards gala and dinner. From the Grand Army of the Republic hall at the historic Chicago Cultural Center, the Chicago PR community met to recognize excellence, network and socialize. prsa chicago

My big takeaway: Collectively, PR professionals know how to work together and execute a tremendous event driven by volunteer time, energy and spirit.  (As a member of the PRSA Chicago Board, I played a small role in the event: I provided music for the Cocktail Hour.  No, not me on guitar and vocals, but cool modern and traditional jazz via CDs.)  A round of applause to all who made the evening a success, especially event co-chairs Lauren Brush and Sarah Siewert, who worked very hard and speaking of cool, were just that under pressure — even during those last minutes before the crowds arrived.

DePaul University Graduate e-Portfolio Showcase.

DePaulTwo days later, I was honored to attend the Graduate e-Portfolio Showcase sponsored by the DePaul University College of Communication.  Held on the rooftop deck of a vintage building that once housed a department store on State Street, the event provided an opportunity for 19 graduate students from the University’s Public Relations and Advertising program to present their creative work and projects in an informal setting to senior PR professionals.   For the record, I would have attended even if the agenda did not include hors d’oeuvres and an open bar because the invitation to participate came from Ron Culp, professional director of the program and a titan in Chicago’s public relations community.  (Full disclosure: Ron has re-posted a few PRDude blogs on his awesome Culpwrit blog, an outstanding resource for PR careers.)

My big takeaway: As a guest, I was invited to meet with the graduates and view their online portfolios. Clearly, by the talent and work presented, academic institutions are developing people who clearly are ready to lead the communications industry in the future.  I met with eight young professionals who demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities demanded to excel and sculpt communications programs in our digitally-driven world.  Frankly, I’m glad I won’t have to compete with these men and women in the future.  Wish I had time to meet them all.

Tomorr0w, I’ll join Chapter Board members for a rare afternoon meeting. APR 50thI’ll learn about how well the Chapter did financially from the Skyline Awards, hear reports from committees and provide an update on the training program I’m leading to help members earn the Accredited in Public Relations credential.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I really enjoy the public relations profession and the people who are part of it.

 

Okay Mr. Ricketts: I Want to Buy a Piece of the Chicago Cubs

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

News last week from the corner of Clark and Addison streets made big headlines here and across the nation.  Unfortunately, the headlines didn’t boast of a dramatic win by the team that plays baseball in the park at that fabled Chicago intersection.

416x31_partyofthecenturyThe news in question: The Ricketts Family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, are contemplating selling minority shares of the ball club.  The extra dollars, or hundreds of millions of dollars actually, would be earmarked for fixing up venerable Wrigley Field, now in its 100th year.

Note to company Chairman Tom Ricketts: Count The PRDude in on this deal. My confirmed contribution amount is below.

$5.

I know, that’s not much.  Won’t buy a beer at the ballpark, much less a CubsFrosty Malt if those delicious frozen confections are still sold by vendors.

But, I have added value as a minority investor: I am the PRDude after all and a well-known blogger; and I’m an Accredited public relations professional.

My skills as a seasoned communicator — and long-standing, long-suffering — Chicago Cubs fan most surely will come into value, if not this season then in the years to come.

Like all chronic Cubs fans, my century — make that millennium — would be made if the team won the World Series.  And, like all chronic Cubs fans, I’ll cheer and root through another disappointing season, which 2014 is turning out to be.

(As of this writing, the Cubs are in last place with a 2-5 record; but they are ahead of the Pirates at the moment.)

WrigleyShould the Ricketts family secure the funding they need to rebuild Wrigley, with my $5 included, I would be an ideal fan/investor/counselor to handle communications for the renovation work.  Most of my PR career was representing real estate concerns or associations, I’ve been to the park hundreds of times since the mid 1960s and I have handled a crisis or two.

For credibility, I’ll wear my vintage 1984 Cubs cap and APR  pin during gatherings with the media.  Could any big shot investor bring that kind of credibility?

So what do you say, Mr. Ricketts?  Do we have a deal?  Tell you what: I’ll up the ante to the amount below.

$10.

What else has the PRDude had to say about the Cubs?  Here are two posts.

A PR Game Plan from 2010 and a post from last year on a concerted “public relations push.

Okay, Back to Work at Finding the Next Great Public Relations Job

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

A week has passed since I was compelled to take on the challenge of landing a new position where I can employ my strategic public relations knowledge, skills and abilities.  Yes, it will be a challenge, but the hard things in life come with some sacrifice and require hard work.

Already, I’ve reached out to dozens of colleagues and friends, and already I’ve received many referrals and messages of support. That’s tremendously gratifying, and I’m thrilled and honored to have such a tremendous network.  I even picked up a small freelance assignment, and I’m willing to blog for food.  (Just kidding! Have to keep a positive attitude, you know.)

During my last search — the one that launched The PRDude blog and catapulted me into the blogosphere — I learned a great deal about life, myself, public relations, digital communications, the value of networking and lots more.  How long will it take to land that next great public relations job?  Not sure, of course.

But this announcement earlier today from the U.S. Department of Labor certainly is encouraging:chi-ill-jobless-rate-falls-to-87-in-november-2-001

  • The nation added 236,000 jobs in February, many more than economists predicted.
  • The national unemployment rate declined to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008.

That’s a direction the job market needs to go, and even Wall Street continues to respond as the Dow charges ahead and will surely end today on another record day of trading.

What are your thoughts on the employment market?  Tell me in this very short poll:

I’ll share results next week.  Rest assured, I don’t plan on competing with the Gallup people.

If you are new to launching your own search for that next great job in public relations — or another field — I offer these pearls of wisdom:

  • Smile.  Find a reason to smile everyday. If you’re reading this, you’re probably better off than most of the world.
  • Help.  Ask for help, and offer it.  You’ll be surprised at how many people are will to assist you.
  • Meet. Get out of the home office and meet people. Attend networking events. Volunteer.  Join a group.
  • Integrity.  Never compromise your integrity for any reason.  Period.

Okay.  Breathe and exhale.  Take on the next challenge.  I plan to.

Along with Andrew Mason, Another (Almost) Famous Chicagoan Is Seeking New Opportunities

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

It was news that made headlines from Wall Street to Main Streets across the nation. But no where was the news more poignant than here in Chicago.  I’m referring to the news that surfaced last week about the departure of one of the tech world’s brightest stars — Andrew Mason.

As you may know, Mr. Mason was a founder and CEO of Groupon — the online discount deal site that prides itself on luring subscribers to purchase deals via sometimes clever copy. Here’s an example of copy for a Groupon promoting an auto cleaning service: “Cars, like cans of soup, raise suspicions if they’re dirty, coated in salt, or dented from the inside. Cleanse your ride of unwanted attention with this Groupon.” It’s your call on whether this type of message works.  But hey, several months ago, Groupon was growing at an off-the-charts rate.  Click here to see, well, a chart with the details.

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason in better days.

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason in better days.

In keeping with company communications culture, Mr. Mason announced February 28 that he was leaving Groupon to catch up on “family time,” but later corrected himself with the truth: He was fired because of poor stock performance,  lots of other related financial stuff and management mishaps.

I can relate to Mr. Mason’s situation, because I, too, lost my job February 28.  And, I too, am a Chicagoan.  A real one, in fact: Born in Chicago, raised in Chicago and still living in Chicago.  (Mr. Mason was born in Pennsylvania, which is a nice place, but located a few hundred miles east of Chicago.)  I’m not yet as famous as Mr. Mason, but I’m working on it.

This blog was launched September 4, 2009 as a forum to chronicle my search for that next great public relations position.  And, in many posts I shared advice and insight on my job search, while tackling other public relations and related communications topics.  Those early posts were cathartic, helping me grapple with lots of emotions.  I took the moniker of The PRDude as a way to stand out and establish an online brand for my thoughts.  But every post, every word, every idea was written by Edward M. Bury, APR.

Well, The PRDude plans to continue to share his thoughts on public relations and “other stuff” through this blog.  He — okay, Edward M. Bury, APR — hopes others find value from these words.

This is Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude.

This is Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude.

Back to the first person: I am seeking new opportunities and would welcome any leads or advice.  I will use these days, or weeks, or months to continue to grow, learn and give back to the public relations community.  I will blog for food.  (Just kidding.)  I will not compromise my beliefs or integrity; jobs come and go, but as those of us in public relations know all too well, reputations take a lifetime to build and nurture.

Okay: Bring on the next challenge.  I’m ready.

 

Now, After Me: I am an Accredited Public Relations Professional!

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

There was some spirited online debate last week on a subject that’s close to my heart: The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential. The debate took place within the APR LinkedIn group and included comments from current and past members of the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) and APRs at large.  As of this writing, there were 26 comments — a pretty good number.

aprlogoLet me get the disclosure stuff out of the way: The PRDude (make that Edward M. Bury) is Accredited, and I served on the UAB for two three-year terms. If you’ve read previous posts, you’re aware that I’m passionate about the credential. It was the best professional achievement I accomplished since earning a Bachelor’s degree a long time ago.

Here’s what sparked the debate: A current UAB member started the discussion with a comment stating that the Board would focus efforts in 2013 on achieving these three goals:

1) Conclude beta testing on the entry-level credential in public relations;
2) Enhance the value of APR to Accredited members; and
3) Revitalize the APR brand to external audiences with a heavy focus on the HR and business communities.

Comments from APRs (you have to hold the credential to be part of this LinkedIn group) were generally supportive. Some questioned the value for  the proposed entry-level credential, a development I knew about and wholeheartedly support. But some questioned whether the UAB should focus more towards more on items 2 and 3 from the above list, rather than allocate efforts toward #1.

I posted two comments because I wanted to make these points clear:

  • UAB members dedicate their time and allocate personal resources (okay, out-of-pocket expenses for most) to attend three or four meetings annually and conduct Board work at other times — just to manage, administer and market the Accreditation in Public Relations program.
  • Promoting the value of the credential has long been a focus — but it’s a challenging task give the fact the dollars needed for effective marketing just aren’t there.

That’s why I’m drafting this post.  I’m hoping all APRs — those who earned Accreditation prior to 2003 under the essay-focused process, and those like me who earned it when the program was re-engineered and built around a computer-based examination — will do their part and promote the credential whenever possible.  Let’s start with this virtual cheer:  “I am an Accredited Public Relations Professional!

Now, don’t you feel better?

APRs are expected to provide exceptional public relations counsel and adhere to high ethical standards every day we’re on the job. And, I trust that’s the case for just about every practitioner who holds the credential. But perhaps we don’t do a good enough job in communicating what those three letters stand for, why we earned them and what they mean to the industry.

Fellow APRs, make it a practice to promote Accreditation. There are around 5,000 professionals who are Accredited today. That’s a pretty substantial number of communicators; collectively, let’s make our voice heard. Blog about the impact Accreditation had on your career. Promote it on social media platforms. Be part of Accreditation training within your company or PRSA Chapter.

Now, it’s your turn: If you’re Accredited or have an opinion on how to raise awareness for the value of Accreditation, please share.