PRSA sticks resolutely to Atlanta conference plan to show strength

NEW YORK: Unlike the American Advertising Agencies Association, the

PRSA is pressing ahead with its annual conference, hoping the decision

to go to Atlanta as planned will be "a powerful symbol the PR industry

is back to business."

The 4As conference has been canceled, and the American Magazine

Publishers Association scaled back its conference, moving it from

Phoenix to New York. Despite admitting that pressing ahead with the

event initially appeared to be a "financial risk," the PRSA decided not

to alter its plans.

"The PR industry has to take a leadership position," said Kathy Lewton,

PRSA chairwoman and CEO.

"It also allows us to do our bit for the economy, supporting not only

Atlanta, but also the airlines and hotels."

Although a few registrants pulled out of the conference after September

11, Lewton reported a high number of registrations in the past week.

With 1,200 delegates already signed up, the PRSA was confident it would

be a "huge success," financially and otherwise.

MIT economist Lester Thurow will headline the event, talking on the

power of PR in a changing marketplace. His fellow speakers include

diplomat and political leader Andrew Young and humanitarian Coretta

Scott King.

A new session has been devised called "Beyond September 11: the role of

PR in building a more tolerant world." It will feature panelists from

the Association of Arab Writers, and the Kuwait Information Office.

Also included in the program are: PR people from Columbine High School

and Oklahoma City, who will talk about healing a community; and an

updated tourism session featuring the Washington, DC Convention and

Tourism Corporation, discussing how to lure people back to the city.

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