Thursday, October 28, 2004


I've tried not to say too much about the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in this blog. Why attack an organization that is nominally doing good for the practice of PR? But, if the numbers I read in the Oct. 27 Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter are accurate, the society is on the edge of irrelevance. O'Dwyer claims that of the 12 biggest PR agencies with 17,400 employees in 2001, there were just 617 members of the PRSA that year and that has dropped to 316 members in the 2004 PRSA Bluebook. That's slightly less than 2% of the employees in the top 12 agencies. You can bet that most of the 2% are juniors and not middle managers or senior executives. If this is true, PRSA has about as much importance to PR as the Democratic Party to the Bush/Cheney reelection bid.

So what is PRSA good for? I was not able to answer that question years ago when I left PRSA and gave up the APR I once possessed. The society had no importance to work I was doing, but I figured it was me. Apparently, it wasn't.

I am fully prepared to talk to anyone from the PRSA who can prove the society is relevant to the PR business, as long as that person can produce facts and figures to back the case. I suspect, as Jack O'Dwyer contends, PRSA serves small agencies and academics who value the APR. The rest of the PR world has gone in a different direction, and PRSA apparently made no effort to keep up or lead.

If true, it is sad. There is room for an effective association of and for PR practitioners. I'm not sure PRSA is that association.


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