PRSA Chair responds to harsh criticism of Public Relations industry

February 12, 2009

I picked up this sweet little Letter to the Editor on PRSA’s Twitter feed.

In short, USAToday.com writer, Seth Brown wrote a scathing article/book review describing the Public Relations industry ‘amoral and manipulative.’ He even went as far as throwing in a Hitler and Goebbles reference. 

The CEO and Chair of the PRSA Mike Cherenson responded with a Letter to the Editor.

This is how it is done folks … take notes. 

February 11, 2009

To the editor:

Seth Brown’s article and book review, “Despite Dim View of Public Relations, It May be Needed,” concludes that “PR is amoral, difficult to define, and difficult to measure.” Had Mr. Brown actually solicited input from the public relations industry in researching and writing his article, he would have come to a very different set of conclusions.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) champions a Code of Ethics for its 32,000 professional and student members and, more broadly, the public relations industry at large. The values it advances—Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty, and Fairness—are fundamental beliefs that guide the industry’s behaviors and decision-making process. The PRSA Code also contains specific provisions for advancing the free flow of accurate and truthful information, and for disclosing all information necessary to foster informed decision making in a democratic society.

In our complex, pluralistic society, public relations helps individuals reach decisions and function more effectively by contributing to mutual understanding among groups and institutions. It aids businesses, governments, and other organizations in understanding the attitudes and values of different audiences in order to further the achievement of their institutional goals. The public relations practitioner is a counselor to management and a mediator, helping to translate private aims into reasonable, publicly acceptable policies and actions, and to mitigate risks.

The outcomes that public relations drives are no longer difficult nor expensive to measure, and include both attitudinal and behavioral metrics, as well as financial measures, such as return-on-investment. Public relations’ effect on sales, market share, brand awareness, stock price, reputation and trust, customer satisfaction, fundraising, employee morale and retention, event participation, Web site traffic, and regulatory changes can all be quantified, by way of example.

Mr. Brown also decries the industry’s lack of formal training. In fact, PRSA maintains student chapters at 302 colleges and universities that offer baccalaureate degrees, are accredited by nationally or regionally recognized accrediting associations or boards, and offer a sequence of at least five courses in public relations that are supplemented by ancillary courses allied to this field of study.

Furthermore, PRSA and the Universal Accreditation Board, a consortium of 19 public relations and communications organizations, administer a course of study and testing that allow individuals to become Accredited in Public Relations (APR). The APR designation proves that an industry professional has successfully demonstrated competency in the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to practice public relations effectively in today’s business arena.

As for Mr. Brown’s use of “Hitler, Goebbels, and the Nazi propaganda machine” as a metaphor for the public relations industry, I would hasten to add that Hitler was a book author, as well.


Michael Cherenson, APR
Chair and CEO
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)




National Sport School Biathlete Golden at Jr. World Championships

February 7, 2009


Kurtis W. Won 3 Medals at the Youth and Junior World Championships

Kurtis W. Won 3 Medals at the Youth and Junior World Championships



Calgary born biathlete and Grade 12 National Sport School student, Kurtis W. captured the gold medal at the Youth and Junior World Championship in Canmore, Alberta. The hometown hero set a pace no other athlete could match, completing the 7.5 km sprint event in just over 21 minutes.

Read More


You Can Find Me In The Globe and Mail Redux

February 7, 2009

Here is my repsonse to a question posed in the Careers section of the Globe adn Mail.

The question was about ethical behaviour on LinkedIn.


The last question

A reader asked: I belong to the LinkedIn online network, which keeps me informed about what my business associates and acquaintances are up to. Recently, I noticed that one of my friends is now connected to some people who could become good business prospects for myself. Is it acceptable practice for me to contact those people and offer my services to them?

The responses

LinkedIn ethics are very interesting. I would suggest two things: If you are worried about your friendship then ask your friend to “introduce” you via LinkedIn. Secondly, don’t offer your services if they aren’t required. Similarly to blogger relations, you should first establish a dialogue showing an interest in what they do rather than offering them a service they may not want.

Matthew John, Hamilton


Two New Stories Up

January 24, 2009

Here are my two latest stories for the Calgary Board of Ed website.


The Calgary Board of Education honoured Flextronics Calgary Centre as a community partner in January with the Lighthouse Award for its work with theBook Bags for Kids program.

Several years ago… read full article here





photo_beaverbrookblockbusterMegan R. is no stranger to story telling. The Grade 12 Lord Beaverbrook High School student has been penning stories since the third grade. All those years of writing have surely paid off. Her book… read full article here


Tmobile Commercial – Liverpool Station (amazing)

January 20, 2009

I don’t know what it is but spontaneous dancing makes me really emotional.



You Can Find Me In The Globe and Mail

January 17, 2009

On Monday the Globe and Mail ran an editorial piece praising Canada for being the only country on the UN Human Rights council to vote against Israel’s “grave violations” in Gaza. It also went on to say that the entire council was bias and the vote was “unworthy of its noble mandate.”

The part that really irked me was this:

“at odds with the abstentions of other Western countries that were unwilling to defend outright the principle of fairness, to say nothing of the role of the Arab, African, Asian and Latin American countries, including such human-rights abusers as China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia (all, shamefully, members of the council) in singling out Israel for condemnation.” — rest of the article

The next day, I wrote a letter to the editor and it got published.



New Job!

January 16, 2009

I’m two weeks deep into my new postion at the Calgary Board of Education and absolutely loving it! Communications Services is a very talented group people that are doing an amazing job for one of the largest public school systems in Canada. 

I’m getting tons of opportunities already to buff up my portfolio. Writing speeches, feature stories, offer marketing advice and even get to talk social media and the future of communication at the CBE.

I also got to snap some pics with a sweet Canon SLR and my new Sony Snapshot!

Here is my first Spotlight story for the CBE. (Pics From the Sony)

Cricket Canada and Scotiabank made history at Crossing Park School, participating in the launch of the Cricket Canada Scotiabank School Program (CCSSP)… read more

And here’s my office!


My office at the CBE

My office at the CBE