NEW YORK: The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) international conference saw an end to the controversial rule that mandated that only accredited members could serve as representatives to the national assembly.
The assembly is the voting body of the PRSA.
The amendment now requires that assembly members must either be accredited, or be serving as a board member in their chapter, district, or section in order to be a delegate to the assembly.
"This opens up our governance to a broader base of leadership," said PRSA president and CEO Del Galloway. "What we've seen in years past is a dwindling of participation because of the requirement. The assembly needs to be about full representation."
The board also voted to allow individuals to apply for the APR designation after five to seven years of experience and a coursework in PR. It voted against mandatory accreditation and a full-time employment requirement for APR eligibility.
Carol Scott, chair of the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), noted that the organization, which oversees testing, does not take a position on universal accreditation.
Instead, the UAB has launched a branding campaign to increase its visibility.
The assembly meeting took place on the eve of last week's international convention in New York City. Organizers said that attendance topped 3,600. The conference's guest chair was PR legend Howard Rubenstein. Thomas Hoog, chairman of Hill & Knowlton, was the recipient of the Gold Anvil, the PRSA's highest honor.
Celebrity headliners populated the agenda, including famed real-estate mogul and star of NBC's The Apprentice, Donald Trump.
Ken Auletta, media critic for The New Yorker, criticized the way newsrooms are increasingly run like corporations. "[Corporate media owners] look upon journalists as aliens," he said.
Auletta added that the press is on the lookout for conflict "for sizzle, for wow, for keeping the audience entertained, for scoops."
CNN talk-show host Larry King stressed the value of working with PR people. "I think they're valuable to broadcasters," King said. "Some of my best moments have come from
a guest pitched by a PR person."