OPINION: The Big Pitch - What should the PRSA do to improve itself and make itself more relevant?

HAROLD BURSON - Burson-Marsteller, New York

HAROLD BURSON - Burson-Marsteller, New York

HAROLD BURSON - Burson-Marsteller, New York

They need to get a workable governance structure. The PRSA does not reflect the totality of public relations; I don't think they have the credibility to really speak for public relations, and that's because there is too much emphasis on the entry level and middle level. That's down to the governance.

They changed the nominating process about 30 years ago to encourage regional diversity. The result was a loss of interest by senior people The old system wasn't perfect, but it was better than the current system. The irony is that regional diversity would have happened anyway, because many of the best people moved out of New York to follow their corporations.



KATHLEEN LEWTON - Fleishman-Hillard, New York

Chairman and CEO PRSA, 2001

There are three ways for PRSA to enhance its relevancy to the profession.

First, become member driven, significantly broadening our national leadership group, because members can best identify and help develop programs/services that meet their needs. This year we had about 140 members involved nationally - to date, 315 members have volunteered to serve and I'm getting calls and e-mails daily. Secondly, put some concrete effort beyond our commitment to diversity, to aggressively broaden our membership so that the organization truly reflects the world we work in. Finally, with leadership from our new CPRO Catherine Bolton, we must 'advance the profession' by increasing understanding and support for the role and value of public relations in the 21st century.



JOY R. SEWING - Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Houston, TX

It's imperative that PRSA and like organizations recognize the power of multiculturalism and find ways to promote it. At the recent PRSA convention, global and basic PR issues seemed to be priority. That's great. Yet, only a few workshops focused on reaching out to culturally diverse markets or impacting ethnically diverse audiences that are growing every day in our own backyard. More than techniques, I think PRSA could really impact its membership by encouraging PR efforts in this direction. I'm not just speaking of getting a press release into the daily Spanish newspaper or an African American weekly. I'm sure the sheer buying power of these groups alone would make anyone stop and take notice.



RHODA WEISS - Rhoda Weiss & Associates, Santa Monica, CA

To advance the profession, PRSA must increase understanding and support for the role and value of PR; help members with their strategist role; and provide tools, training and resources for better communications.

It should help members understand the evolving environment and provide ideas and opportunities to use our skills to make a difference in our communities through cause-related activities, community development and becoming change agents for a better America. PRSA must significantly broaden national leadership and allow everyone who wishes to serve an opportunity to participate with committees, education, mentoring, etc. PRSA must also increase its commitment to diversity and aggressively broadening membership to truly reflect the world we live in.





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