The Handmaid’s Tale

The Hand Maid's Tale

“Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.”
– Bertolt Brecht, Life of Galileo

We are an over-polled society, a fact which subsequently influences politicians to prefer to follow rather than lead. Yet, how is it possible that up until U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization leaked, only 20% of Americans thought Roe v. Wade was in danger of being overturned? It is like looking at a Monopoly game board and not recognizing that it is a square.

It is time for companies to think deeply about their positions on reproductive rights, health care as a political issue, same sex marriage and related matters. History sometimes moves backwards—one court watcher referred to the leaked opinion as being akin to overturning Brown v. Board of Education with Plessy v. Ferguson—and it is going to be ever more difficult for companies to stand on the sidelines.

While few companies have yet to see this as “a business imperative,” as Levi Strauss uniquely argued immediately after the leak, they will soon. Taking sides on the most problematic issues of the day may not be advisable, but it may also be unavoidable. Companies should be using their peacetime wisely to plan and determine what and when to implement. Ten recommendations follow to help start the process:

  1. Understand these times: For the foreseeable future—likely at least for a generation—understand that the Court will not be shy about overturning long-held norms nor concerned about winning popularity contests (historically this has often been a virtue). Surrounding yourself with decision makers who habitually look backwards is not going to be helpful in making critical decisions during these unprecedented times. You may choose to say and do nothing on choice, birth control, same sex marriage, etc., but do so out of a careful, multi-disciplined analysis, not because “it is the way we have always done things here.”
  2. Where to locate? Where you open your next establishment is no longer limited to the tax and regulatory rubric. Anti-choice states that criminalize currently legal behavior will not only impact your current work force but your future one as well. Since the “Pill” was approved by the Food and Drug Administration almost exactly 52 years ago, women have entered the workforce at 11 times the rate they did prior to its approval. While access to birth control and abortion are by no means the only reasons why women entered the workforce in large numbers, their impact cannot be underestimated. Already college age students and their parents are evaluating their college choice on whether their daughters might become a criminal. Consider recruitment in the coming years.
  3. Understand your workforce: Levi’s acted in part because of its substantial female workforce and large female customer base. Unionized or not—and increasingly employee activism is coming as wildcat actions rather than organized labor—understand the thoughts and feelings of your employees. You may not always be able to lean in, but the more accommodating you are on other issues the more room you will have with reproductive matters.
  4. Where is the market going? Nike embraced Colin Kaepernick because they understood where the market was going and were willing to leave smaller groups of traditional customers behind. The question for you is not where your market is now, but where it is going.
    Sacrifices will be required. No matter your position or whether you take no position at all, some constituencies will be offended. In this day and age, threats of boycotts are seldom realized, but neither is the hope of pleasing everyone. There will be no unanimity amongst employees, customers or critics, so do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  5. Your political contributions are transparent: Most corporate political contributions are no longer opaque. It is increasingly difficult to stake out positions while simultaneously funding politicians with opposing views. There is a 100% chance you will be exposed for contributions inconsistent with publicly expressed corporate views as there are now publications and NGOs that study these political contribution records and make them public. Traditional journalists closely follow their work.
    For as little as companies receive in return for political contributions, rethink your strategy. Either align your political contributions or make none at all, like IBM. Never has doing the right thing been less expensive.
  6. Plan for the long haul: The division over Roe is five decades old; the division in the country is a fifth of that, but both will get worse before they get better. This is not a “lipstick on a pig” moment. Neither play Whac-A-Mole with this issue nor think that you can get away with hypocritical or superficial positioning. Whatever you do, build it as part of a long term strategy.
  7. Listen: In these challenging days, conversations between people with sincerely held pro-life and pro-choice positions finding common ground are among the most inspiring moments. Explore this common ground and see if it can provide you platform to remain both neutral and helpful, if that is the position you want to stake out.
    There are lots of ways to carve out these issues. Have robust conversations with diverse leaders in your firm, including HR, diversity, legal, insurance, brand, medical, employees and more to determine what is the very best way to address reproductive rights and sexual preference issues and carve out a strategy that works best for your company. Build a communications strategy around it, rather than vice versa. This is not just a legal or political issue and should not be internally addressed as if it is.
  8. Your brand will be defined by these decisions: Why is your company in business? It is no longer just for shareholder profit and customer satisfaction. The more senior executives understand why they are in business the more easily they can carve out positions on these challenging issues. Starbucks has always been “the third place.” Apple was always for the creative in us. Understanding who you are has never been more important. If you have not already after DEI, ESG, #MeToo, global warming and more, it is time for a 360 degree review of the totality of your brand.
  9. Don’t be first or last unless you want notoriety: If you want to get noticed —and there can be great value in that—then be first to win the media coverage. Otherwise, be anywhere but last.
  10. Be sincere and authentic: Chick-fil-A’s since-largely-abandoned anti-LGBTQ positions never inspired organized resistance because they were based on authentic and sincerely held as well as well-articulated religious beliefs. Sincerity and authenticity may not be Kevlar, but they go a long way in defining who activists are going to target.

Whatever you do, Dobbs will not be the end of challenging public issues for corporations. Plan for a series of challenging decisions over the coming years, build your strategy comprehensively, and be forward-looking.  What you do next is going to have more impact than all of your advertising, marketing and political contributions combined.

There is a non-scaling fence around the Supreme Court of the United States. It is a shocking admission of where we are as a country. A country, that just a century and a half ago had erected a monument on its shores as a beacon to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Unless you’re pregnant.

Enjoy the listen.

Richard Levick

Listen to Overturning Roe v. Wade

Richard LevickAbout the Author: Richard Levick, Esq. is Chairman & CEO of LEVICK, representing countries and companies in the highest-stakes global communications matters – the Venezuelan crisis; Qatar; the Chinese trade war; the Gulf oil spill; Guantanamo Bay, the Catholic Church and many others.

He and his firm have represented more than 300 of the world’s largest law firms, hundreds of companies and over 30 countries, providing heads of state with intelligence, access and insight into Washington. Mr. Levick and his team provide the communications “air cover” for CEOs, boards, lawyers and lobbyists to maximize efficiency, solve conflicts and re-emerge stronger and better positioned.

A Conversation with Don Lemon, CNN Anchor, on His New Book, ‘This Is The Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism’


Join Michael Zeldin for this important conversation on race in America with Don Lemon as they discuss his book, This Is The Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism. This frank conversation addresses the root causes of systemic racism and the steps that must be taken to eradicate it: Commitment, forbearance, and hard work.

In recognition of Juneteenth, CommPRO & The Museum of Public Relations are pleased to share this special episode of That Said With Michael Zeldin podcast.


Don Lemon

CNN Anchor | Author, “This Is The Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism”

Don Lemon anchors Don Lemon Tonight airing weeknights at 10pm. He also serves as a correspondent across CNN/U.S. programming. Based out of the network’s New York bureau, Lemon joined CNN in September 2006. He is a #1 best selling New York Times author of This Is The Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism.A news veteran of Chicago, Lemon reported from Chicago in the days leading up to the 2008 presidential election, including an interview with then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel on the day he accepted the position of Chief of Staff for President-elect Barack Obama. He also interviewed Anne Cooper, the 106-year old voter President-elect Obama highlighted in his election night acceptance speech after he had seen Lemon’s interview with Cooper on CNN. He has served as moderator for CNN’s political town halls, co-moderated first 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate and co-hosted Color of Covid special that addressed the pandemic’s impact on communities of color. Lemon served as the network’s leading voice guiding viewers through the death of George Floyd and summer of nationwide protests and riots.

He has reported and anchored on-the-scene for CNN from many breaking news stories, including the Orlando shooting at Pulse Nightclub (2016), Charleston church shooting (2015), death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO (2014), the George Zimmerman trial (2013), the Boston marathon bombing (2013), the Philadelphia building collapse (2013),the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (2012), the Colorado Theater Shooting (2012), the death of Whitney Houston, the Inaugural of the 44th President in Washington, D.C., the death of Michael Jackson (2009), Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana (2008) and the Minneapolis bridge collapse (2007).

Lemon has also anchored the network’s breaking news coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Arab Spring, the death of Osama Bin Laden and Joplin tornado. He reported for CNN’s documentary Race and Rage: The Beating of Rodney King, which aired 20 years to the day of the beating. He is also known for holding politicians and public officials accountable in his “No Talking Points” segment.

He joined CNN after serving as a co-anchor for the 5 p.m. newscast for NBC5 News in Chicago. He joined the station in August 2003 as an anchor and reporter after working in New York as a correspondent for NBC News, The Today Show and NBC Nightly News. In addition to his reporting in New York, Lemon worked as an anchor on Weekend Today and on MSNBC. While at NBC, he covered the explosion of Space Shuttle Columbia, SARS in Canada and numerous other stories of national and global importance.

In addition to NBC5 and NBC News, Lemon has served as a weekend anchor and general assignment reporter for WCAU-TV, an NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, an anchor and investigative reporter for KTVI-TV in St. Louis and an anchor for WBRC-TV in Birmingham. He began his career at WNYW in New York City as a news assistant while still in college.

In 2009, Ebony named him as one of the Ebony Power 150: the most influential Blacks in America. He has won an Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of the capture of the Washington, D.C. snipers. He won an Emmy for a special report on real estate in Chicagoland and various other awards for his reporting on the AIDS epidemic in Africa and Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, he won three more local Emmys for his reporting in Africa and a business feature about Craigslist, an online community.

Lemon serves as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College, teaching and participating in curriculum designed around new media. He earned a degree in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College and also attended Louisiana State University.

Follow Don on Twitter: @donlemon


Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings.

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelzeldin

Alpha Sigma Capital Joins Council for Inclusive Capitalism

CommPRO Editorial Staff

As part of Alpha Sigma Capital’s commitment to becoming a zero-carbon digital asset fund focused on the blockchain economy and the shift to a decentralized Web3 infrastructure, announced that Enzo Villani, CEO and Chief Investment Officer has joined the Council for Inclusive Capitalism. The Council is a global nonprofit organization that joins moral and market imperatives to build a more inclusive, sustainable, and trusted economic system that addresses the needs of our people and the planet.

“I am thrilled to welcome Enzo Villani to the Council and look forward to working with them as they take the necessary actions to ensure a better future for us all,” said Meredith Sumpter, CEO of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism.

The Council for Inclusive Capitalism is rooted in action. The Council is led by CEOs and global leaders who commit their organizations to specific actions that create long-term value for all stakeholders.

Council members are accountable for their actions. Members’ commitments are measurable and made public on the Council’s online platform. These commitments are intended to motivate and challenge others to bring their own reform ideas to the movement.

The Council is inclusive. Council members lead organizations of all sizes, across all sectors and geographies. It will take the conscious and collective action of all Council members—from industry leaders to mid-caps to small business owners—to scale the impact needed for capitalism to become more inclusive and sustainable.

The Council was launched in December 2020 with the belief that businesses have a responsibility and the capability to create stronger, fairer, and more dynamic economies and societies. Council membership is open to all companies and organizations who are willing to make measurable, public commitments toward more inclusive and sustainable business practices.

The Council is led by a core group of leaders which include:

  • Ajay Banga, Executive Chairman, Mastercard

  • Oliver Bäte, Chairman of the Board of Management, Allianz SE

  • Marc Benioff, Chair, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-founder, Salesforce

  • Edward Breen, Executive Chairman, Dupont

  • Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation

  • Mark Carney, United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, and Financial Advisor to the Prime Minister for COP26

  • Carmine Di Sibio, Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, EY

  • Brunello Cucinelli, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A.

  • Roger Ferguson, Former President and Chief Executive Officer, TIAA

  • Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Founder and Managing Partner, Inclusive Capital Partners

  • Kenneth Frazier, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Merck & Co., Inc.

  • Fabrizio Freda, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Estée Lauder Companies

  • Marcie Frost, Chief Executive Officer, CalPERS

  • Alex Gorsky, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson & Johnson

  • Angel Gurria, Secretary General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

  • Alfred Kelly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Visa Inc.

  • William Lauder, Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies

  • Bernard Looney, Chief Executive Officer, BP

  • Fiona Ma, Treasurer, State of California

  • Hiro Mizuno, Member of the Board, Principles for Responsible Investment

  • Brian Moynihan, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of America

  • Ronald P. O’Hanley, President and Chief Executive Officer, State Street Corporation

  • Rajiv Shah, President, The Rockefeller Foundation

  • Tidjane Thiam, Special Envoy on COVID-19, African Union

  • Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

  • Mark Weinberger, Former Chair and CEO of EY, and Board member of J&J, MetLife, and Saudi Aramco

Source: Blockchain Wire

PR Masters Series Podcast, Episode #33 – Ron Culp


The Stevens Group has been presenting the PR Masters Series Podcast for almost two years now.  This series is part of the ongoing partnership between The Stevens Group and CommPRO to bring to PR,digital/interactive and marketing communications agencies the wisdom of those who have reached the top of the PR profession.  Today’s special guest is Ron Culp, PRAD Professional in Residence, Instructor and Professional Director, Graduate Professional Program Director – Public Relations and Advertising at DePaul.



About Our Guest

Prior to joining DePaul and becoming an independent public relations consultant, Ron Culp held senior public relations positions at four Fortune 500 corporations and two major agencies. Ron’s career spans a broad range of communications responsibilities in government and industry sectors including business-to-business, consumer products, pharmaceutical and retailing.

Ron’s two agency stints include being partner and managing director of Ketchum’s Midwest offices and head of the agency’s North American Corporate Practice. Prior to Ketchum, he opened and served as managing director of the Chicago office of Sard Verbinnen and Company, a leading financial communications firm.

Previously, Ron was a corporate officer and senior vice president, public relations and government affairs, at Sears. During his Sears career, Ron managed internal and external communications, marketing public relations support, state and federal government affairs, community relations and the Sears-Roebuck Foundation. Earlier in his corporate career, he held senior communications positions at Sara Lee Corporation, Pitney Bowes and Eli Lilly.

Following graduation from Indiana State, Ron began his career as a reporter for The Columbus (Ind.) Republic before moving to the New York State Assembly where he served as director of member services (the public relations support unit) under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Ron is active in several civic organizations including the Economic Club of Chicago where he is a former board member and past vice chair. Culp serves on the board of Gilda’s Club Chicago, Public Relations Museum and Library, PRSA Foundation, Indiana State Foundation and the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, which he also chaired for five years. He was listed in Crain’s “Who in Chicago Business” from 2009 to 2017.

Culp is the only individual to receive both the Distinguished Service Award and the Hall of Fame Award from the Arthur W. Page Society, which is comprised of senior communication professionals, agency heads and leading academics. In 2011 he was honored with the John W. Hill Award by the New York Chapter of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and a year later he received the PR Professional of the Year from the Chicago chapter of PRSA. He also is featured in the PRSSA book, “Legacies from Legends in Public Relations” (2007) and was named to the PR News Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2012, Ron received the David Ferguson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Relations Education by a Practitioner, and in 2017 he received PRSA’s Gold Anvil, the organization’s lifetime achievement award.

Ron and his DePaul colleague Matt Ragas are co-authors of a business basics book for PR professionals entitled “Business Essentials for Strategic Communicators” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and they jointly edited “Mastering Business for Strategic Communicators” (Emerald, 2018). Also in 2018, Ron compiled and edited an eBook entitled, “The New Rules of Crisis Management.”

Ron and his wife, Sandra, fund a scholarship at their alma mater, Indiana State, for first-generation college students. In addition, Ron sponsors an annual PRSSA scholarship for student mentors.

Visit Ron’s career blog, Culpwrit, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

PRSA To Recognize Members for Substantial Contributions to the Society and Public Relations Profession at 2019 International Conference

CommPRO Editorial Staff

PRSA, the nation’s leading professional organization serving the communications community, will present eight individual awards during the PRSA 2019 International Conference, honoring members who have served the Society with distinction and made a difference in the public relations profession. The individuals will receive these awards during the Conference being held from Oct. 20–22 in San Diego. 

“We are incredibly pleased to recognize these individuals for their outstanding achievements in public relations,” said Debra D. Peterson, APR, 2019 PRSA National Chair. “I’m always inspired by the extraordinary work our members do and these award winners epitomize exceptional public relations professionals.”   

Gold Anvil Award – Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA

The Gold Anvil Award, PRSA’s highest individual honor recognizing lifetime achievement in public relations, will be presented to Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, president of Rhoda Weiss Consulting Group, Inc. She is a past PRSA National Chair/CEO and the 2019 International Conference Chair. 

A highly honored innovator in public relations, marketing and branding, Weiss travels globally as a speaker and is a well-known consultant and author for nationally recognized organizations. She chaired the AHA Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development, receiving its Leadership Excellence Award, as well as led Women in Health Administration and was a recipient of its Woman of the Year award. 

Weiss is the recipient of several honors, including the PRSA Health Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, Educators Academy Award for Contributions to Public Relations Education and the PRSA Los Angeles Professional of the Year. A Kellogg Foundation Fellow and UCLA Extension Distinguished Faculty honoree, Weiss is also a U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff National Civic Leader, and chairs the AMA Executive Leadership Summit and Becker’s Healthcare C-Suite National Conferences. She is listed among its Top 24 Women to Know in U.S. Healthcare. 

Public Relations Professional of the Year – Brook DeWalt, APR+M, Fellow PRSA 

Captain Brook DeWalt, APR+M, Fellow PRSA, a captain in the U.S. Navy, and Director of Public Affairs Operations in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, will be honored with the Public Relations Professional of the Year Award. The award is given to the individual who, in the previous year, represented the best in public relations as an outstanding example of the management function that established a mutually beneficial relationship between an organization and the public upon who its success or failure depends. 

DeWalt has more than 33 years of military/civilian experience in the communications profession, and previously served as the Deputy Chief of Information for the U.S. Navy, and as chief of public affairs for America’s largest combatant command, the U.S. Strategic Command, based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. While there, he led efforts to increase public understanding of global warfighting responsibilities including strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, space operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, global strike, missile defense and analysis & targeting. 

He also served seven years with the Universal Accreditation Board, overseeing professional standards in the field of public relations. 

Atlas Award for Lifetime Achievement in International Public Relations – Justin Green 

PRSA will present Justin Green, president of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, with its Atlas Award for Lifetime Achievement in International Public Relations. This award recognizes a public relations professional who has made extraordinary contributions to the practice of public relations on an international level. 

With a communications career spanning 30 years, Green has become a leader in international public relations. As president of the Global Alliance, he represents more than 280,000 professionals in over 120 countries and has played a key role in the organization’s growth and diversification. In addition to his work with the Global Alliance, he has made an impact through campaigns for diverse clients as CEO of Wide Awake Communications, an Ireland-based agency, and as the director of agencies in Kenya and Nigeria. A past president of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland, he is also the global ambassador for the African Public Relations Association and the Public Relations Society of Kenya. 

Outstanding Educator Award – Rochelle Larkin Ford, Ph.D., APR 

The Outstanding Educator Award, which recognizes a PRSA member who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of public relations education through college or university teaching, is being given to Rochelle Larkin Ford, Ph.D., APR, dean of Elon University’s School of Communications. 

A nationally recognized leader and scholar in communications and diversity, Ford serves more than 1,300 students and more than 80 faculty members at Elon University. In her role, she has led the reorganization of academic departments in the School of Communications to create more access to administration for students, improved mentoring of faculty and strengthened academic programs of study and industry partnerships. Ford has led hundreds of presentations on multicultural communications and diversity and her scholarly works have appeared in numerous publications and refereed journals. She has been the Champions of PRSSA Co-Chair since 2010, as well as the Programs Chair and board member of the PRSA Foundation since 2012. She was also inducted into the PRWeek Hall of Fame and the PRSSA Hall of Fame in 2018 and 2000, respectively. 

Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA – Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA

Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA, president and CEO of The Barber Group, is receiving the Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA. The award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions in advancing PRSA and the professional development of its members. 

An accredited communications veteran with more than 40 years of experience in public relations, Barber has counseled clients throughout the West, including a variety of food organizations and as a key team member on two successful U.S. Senate campaigns. She is the current co-chair of the PRSA Governance Committee and has been a co-leader of the Newcomer Orientation at the International Conference for more than 10 years. Barber is a former PRSA national board member, past chair of the College of Fellows and has served in numerous leadership positions with the Alaska Chapter and on several district and national committees.  

Paul M. Lund Public Service Award – David R. Hakensen, APR, Fellow PRSA

The Paul M. Lund Public Service Award is being presented to David R. Hakensen, APR, Fellow PRSA. The award honors a PRSA member whose participation as a volunteer in important public activities has increased the common good and reflected credit on the organization. 

With more than 35 years of agency and corporate public relations experience, Hakensen is a seasoned practitioner with expertise in crisis and sensitive issue communications, as well as being a skilled media relations strategist. During his career, he has held management positions at Minneapolis firm Padilla Speer Beardsley (now Padilla), Pearson Education and the Minneapolis/St. Paul office of FleishmanHillard. Hakensen has been active in PRSA his entire career, serving as president of the Minnesota Chapter and Midwest District Chair. Additionally, he has served on many nonprofit organization boards. He currently has his own consulting firm, H Co. in Minnetonka, Minn. 

David Ferguson Award – Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA

Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA, vice president of communications for Wells Fargo’s Atlantic Region and President and CEO of PRSA in 2004, will receive the David Ferguson Award, recognizing outstanding contributions to the advancement of PR education on the part of public relations professionals. It honors the late David Ferguson, APR, Fellow PRSA, in recognition of his outstanding support to PR education as PRSA president in 1985 and co-chair of the PRSA Educational Affairs Committee. 

Galloway previously served as co-chair of the Commission on Public Relations Education. In 2014-2015, Galloway expanded the organization’s outreach and mission, and co-chaired the first-ever Industry-Educator Summit sponsored by the Commission, convening professionals and academicians for a day of discussion and action. The results from the summit informed CPRE’s 2017 report, “Fast Forward: Foundations and Future State, Educators and Practitioners,” which provides an overview of the current state of public relations worldwide and reviews current and potential undergraduate curriculum guidelines.

Parke Gibson Award – Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR

 PRSA will present Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR, dean of the College of Communications at California State University, Fullerton, with the D. Parke Gibson Award. The award recognizes a PR professional who has helped expand awareness of PR with multicultural communities. 

Sha has lectured on intercultural public relations on three continents and won the Institute for Public Relations’ Pathfinder Award, a lifetime achievement award recognizing her program of scholarly research. Sha is co-author of the most-recent edition of Cutlip and Center’s Effective Public Relations, in which she added information about the experiences of minority public relations professionals. Previously director of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University, Sha won a grant from the PRSA Foundation to create a bilingual media writing program to prepare Spanish/English-fluent San Diego students to enter public relations and other media professions.

Kathy Ring Named Recipient of the Chicago Advertising Federation 2018 Silver Medal Award Editorial Team

The Chicago Advertising Federation (CAF) has named Kathy Ring, CEO of Starcom USA, as the 2018 Silver Medal Award winner.

Kathy Ring is the 24th professional and 4th woman to receive the prestigious award. The Silver Medal Award recognizes a distinguished member of the Chicago advertising community for his or her career contributions and accomplishments. This criteria includes:

Creative ability

  • The candidate must show evidence of a consistent and high degree of creative, original thinking in whatever phase of advertising he or she has worked.
  • Contributions to the general advancement of advertising
  • The candidate must have worked towards increasing the stature and raising the standards of the advertising profession.
  • Contributions to specific area of advertising
  • The candidate must have achieved success working in one of the following areas of advertising: advertising agency, advertiser, media or advertising service company.
  • Contributions to the community
  • The candidate should have been active in civic, religious or other groups dedicated to some phase of human or social welfare.

Past recipients have included Burrell Communications Co-CEO, Fay Ferguson, Spark Foundry CEO, Chris Boothe, Former Digitas North America CEO, Tony Weisman, among many other inspirational leaders within the advertising industry.

“Kathy Ring is a stand-out leader within the Chicago advertising community and the industry overall,” said Kim Theiss, VP, Disney Advertising Sales and President, Chicago Advertising Federation. “Kathy’s passion and dedication to mentoring and developing talent, combined with her commitment to the Chicago and Midwest market was truly what made her stand out for our Board of Directors at the Chicago Ad Federation. Kathy is committed and consistently giving back to our Chicago community, and she is making a difference each day.”

“I am truly honored and have been lucky to be surrounded by inventive clients, industrious activation partners and, of course, tremendous co-workers,” said Kathy Ring, Starcom USA CEO. My passion continues to be mentoring, inspiring and supporting talent – and watching them grow into authentic, strong leaders throughout our advertising community.”

A celebration honoring Kathy will be held at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 and will be open to CAF members and the general public. Sponsorships and congratulatory ad placements are available and will be posted at

Finalists Announced for 2016 Online Journalism Awards

onaA Commpro News Update

Today, the Online News Association announced the finalists for the 2016 Online Journalism Awards, with a wide range of nonprofit, public, academic, major media and emerging technology organizations from around the globe.

Now, more than ten of the awards come with a $53,500 prize, given by the Knight Foundation, the Gannett Foundation and the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. The awards honor several mediums: data journalism, visual digital storytelling, investigative journalism, public service, technical innovation, student journalism and general excellence.

“The range of this year’s finalists is truly remarkable,” said David Smydra, ONA Board member and Online Journalism Awards Committee Chair. “In so many respects — newsroom size, geography, subject matter, platform, technology, storytelling techniques and more — judges were extremely impressed by the full scope and achievements of digital journalists across the industry.”

A group of over 75 journalists and media professionals screened 1,029 entries and select semi-finalists. Twenty judges representing a diverse cross-section of the industry then determined finalists and winners.

The winners will be announced at the 2016 ONA Conference and Online Journalism Awards Banquet on Saturday, Sept. 17, in Denver.

The finalists, many of whom push the envelope of innovation and excellence in digital storytelling and distribution, are:

Breaking News, Medium

  • San Bernardino Terrorist Attack, Los Angeles News Group and San Bernardino Sun
  • An Occupation in Eastern Oregon, OPB – Oregon Public Broadcasting
  • Emanuel AME Church Killings, The Post and Courier

Breaking News, Large

  • Paris Terrorist Attacks, CNN
  • San Bernardino Terrorist Attack, Los Angeles Times
  • Paris Attacks, The New York Times

Breaking News, Small

  • No finalists

Planned News/Events, Small

  • Campaign 2016, Council on Foreign Relations
  • The New Hampshire Primary, NHPR – New Hampshire Public Radio

Planned News/Events, Medium

  • One Year in Ferguson, St. Louis Public Radio
  • For Peshawar, The Express Tribune

Planned News/Events, Large

  • US Election Primaries, The Guardian US
  • The Election, The New York Times

Explanatory Reporting, Small

  • Pulp Fiction, Climate Central
  • Video Explainers, Grist
  • The Population Bomb?, Retro Report
  • Unequal Risk, The Center for Public Integrity

Explanatory Reporting, Medium

  • The Circuit: Tracking America’s Electronic Waste, KCTS9, OPB – Oregon Public Broadcasting and EarthFix
  • Killing the Colorado, ProPublica and Matter
  • Shocking Force, The Baltimore Sun
  • The Price of Admission, The Texas Tribune and REVEAL, from the Center for Investigative Reporting
  • How The Iowa Democratic Caucus Works, Featuring Legos, Vermont Public Radio

Explanatory Reporting, Large

  • What Is Code?, Bloomberg Businessweek, Bloomberg Digital
  • The Upshot, Inequality, The New York Times
  • 2050 Demographics, The Wall Street Journal
  • America’s Great Housing Divide, The Washington Post
  • An Exploration Into Medical Errors,

Topical Reporting, Small

  • Hawaii Behind Bars, Honolulu Civil Beat
  • God & Governing: How Texas Legislators’ Religious Beliefs Guide Their Lawmaking, The Texas Tribune

Topical Reporting, Medium

  • Reliving Agent Orange, ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot
  • Violence in Baltimore, The Baltimore Sun
  • Student Voices in a Tumultuous Year, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Topical Reporting, Large

  • #OscarsSoWhite, Los Angeles Times
  • Missing and Murdered, The Globe and Mail
  • The County, The Guardian US

Online Commentary

  • Boston Globe Ideas, The Boston Globe
  • The Real Miss America, Mashable
  • A Conversation on Race, The New York Times

Sports, Small

  • Blood and Sport, Retro Report
  • Disqualified After Concussions, College Football Players Recruited Back Onto the Field, STAT

Sports, Medium

  • Going For Eleven: UConn Women Win The 2016 NCAA Tournament, Hartford Courant
  • Becoming Royal, The Kansas City Star – McClatchy

Sports, Large

  • BBC Winners – Silvana Lima, BBC World Service
  • Sports Visualization, The New York Times

Feature, Small

  • The Harbor: This Waianae Homeless Camp Is Not What You’d Expect, Honolulu Civil Beat
  • The Doctor, The Atavist Magazine

Feature, Medium

  • Inheritance, FRONTLINE
  • Unsettled Journeys, The Baltimore Sun
  • The Downloaders, Verdens Gang

Feature, Large

  • Cosby: The Women, New York Magazine
  • The Life and Times of Strider Wolf, The Boston Globe
  • Ground Water, The Desert Sun and USA TODAY
  • Taken Hostage, The Wall Street Journal

The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Small

  • Chasing Lithium, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
  • The Wait: Inside the Lives of Asylum Seekers in Germany, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
  • Transplanted: How Undocumented Immigrants With Terminal Kidney Failure Fight To Navigate a Health Care System That Doesn’t Acknowledge They Exist, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Large

  • NYC Values, NYU Journalism, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute
  • This is a Canadian Issue: Reflecting on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, Ryerson University, School of Journalism
  • Bordering on the American Dream, Texas Christian University
  • All My Intimate Relations: Stories of Indigenous Sexuality, UBC Graduate School of Journalism

Pro-Am Student Award

  • America’s Weed Rush, Carnegie-Knight News21 Initiative, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University
  • Bridging Selma, Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication and West Virginia University Reed College of Media
  • Return to Chernobyl, NYU Journalism – Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and FRONTLINE
  • Out of the Shadows, UBC Graduate School of Journalism
  • The University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism, Small/Medium
  • Surgeon Scorecard, ProPublica
  • The Drone Papers, The Intercept
  • The University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism, Large
  • The Tennis Racket, BuzzFeed
  • What Went Wrong in Flint,
  • Focus on Force: An Investigation In Use of Force by the Orlando Police Department, Orlando Sentinel
  • Failure Factories, Tampa Bay Times
  • The Families Funding the 2016 Presidential Election, The New York Times

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Small

  • “Permission to Exterminate” Terror in Central Asia, Coda Story
  • Asunción 360, DIVE
  • Undercurrent, Steven Johnson School of Media and Journalism, University of North Carolina
  • Fatal Extraction: Australian Mining in Africa, The Center for Public Integrity and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
  • Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Medium

Casualties of the Streets, Austin American-Statesman

  • Virtual Reality, FRONTLINE
  • Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Large
  • The Yellowstone Issue, National Geographic
  • Buying Democracy, Newsy
  • 6×9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement, The Guardian and The Mill
  • Homan Square: An Interactive Portrait of Chicago’s Detainees, The Guardian US
  • Visual Digital Storytelling from The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal
  • Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism

Nearby Tipping, Breaking News

  • Atlas, Quartz
  • Shorthand, Shorthand
  • ArchieML, The New York Times
  • Autotune, Vox Media’s Product Team, Vox Media, Vox Product
  • The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Small
  • Exxon: The Road Not Taken, InsideClimate News
  • Civilian Deaths in Yemen: A Social Media Investigation,
  • The Mastermind, The Atavist Magazine
  • The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Medium
  • The Color of Debt, ProPublica
  • Officer Involved, Southern California Public Radio (KPCC)
  • Pesticides in Pot, The Oregonian/OregonLive
  • The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Large
  • Amazon Doesn’t Consider the Race of Its Customers. Should It?, Bloomberg News
  • Red Cross, ProPublica and NPR
  • Insane. Invisible. In Danger., Sarasota Herald-Tribune/Tampa Bay Times
  • The Panama Papers: Politicians, Criminals and the Rogue Industry That Hides Their Cash, The Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 media organizations
  • Homan Square, The Guardian US
  • Knight Award for Public Service
  • A Matter of Dignity, Star Tribune
  • Clash in the Name of Care, The Boston Globe
  • Prisons Reporting, The Huffington Post
  • Nuisance Abatement, The New York Daily News and ProPublica

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small

  • De Correspondent,
  • KBIA,
  • The Intercept,
  • The Texas Tribune,
  • The Trace,

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium

  • Le Temps,
  • ProPublica,
  • Quartz,

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large

  • AJ+,
  • Bloomberg News,
  • The Huffington Post’s Highline,
  • The New York Times,
  • Vox Media,

The Right to Remain Silent?

The Right to Remain SilentBy Filomena Fanelli, CEO/Founder, Impact PR & Communications, Ltd.

One of my favorite bits of public relations advice to give is this: build relationships when things are good. If you proactively tell your story, you prevent someone else from telling it for you.

This past week our social media newsfeeds were chock full of images of police officers, along with heavy-hearted sentiments from those shocked and hurt by the violence in Dallas, where officers were senselessly killed. Then there was Louisiana and Minnesota. These are hardly the first times social media chatter centered on police departments. Remember Ferguson? Or the discussions surrounding the Los Angeles Police Department and brutality?

Officers are often the subject of the media and public’s fascination – and scrutiny. One moment a departments’ actions are questioned, the next moment those same men and women in blue are lauded as heroes. With all of this attention comes great responsibility and a need to connect with the very communities each police department serves through clear, consistent communications. Is it time to consider PR for the PD? Perhaps.

In recent years, many police departments have turned to public relations firms for assistance on that front. Some are doing so to stay ahead of a crisis; others to manage a situation that has already grabbed headlines or spun out of control. A few examples come to mind.

Three months ago, the Honolulu Police Department announced that it had retained a public relations firm for the first time ever. Among the agency’s duties are to media train staff and leadership, perform research, offer branding advice, strategic counsel and crisis communications assistance. Sounds wise, right? Now the kicker: the move was made following public criticism about Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, and court cases involving disputes with family members. Accusations of police misconduct related to the investigation were made, but the Deputy Chief Marie McCauley, in a statement, noted that the impetus behind retaining a public relations firm was to “expand our team’s capacity to communicate clearly and effectively to our community as we protect and serve.”

A year ago, after several years of negative attention, the Portsmouth Police Department brought on a PR firm with a niche in representing police and fire departments. The agency’s mission was to highlight some of the positive activities within the department, handle social media training for officers, disseminate news and respond to media inquiries and incidents. The most interesting part about the agency’s direction? It wanted to eliminate missed opportunities to talk about the world of good these officers were doing in keeping the community safe and making it a wonderful place to live in, work in or visit.

Ferguson hired a public relations firm after the city became synonymous with racial profiling and police brutality. Then the very act of hiring an agency to protect its image – and one that was not at all diverse – caused more negative chatter. In this instance, timing was everything. Had that same firm already been in place as part of an ongoing public relations effort, the outcome may have been different.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) now has a robust media relations department to better respond to news media, keep the public informed on its activities and to stay on top of the public’s perception of the force. Smart move, LAPD, smart move.

There are certainly examples of getting it right. For instance, the Topeka Police Department recently hired a PR outreach person to engage in social and traditional media outreach. In a communication style that oozes 2016, the newly appointed PR person shared her plans to put together an “Ask the Chief” session to allow Topeka’s Police Chief James Brown to more personally interact with the public on Facebook and Twitter and announced the formation of “Tweet Alongs,” Twitter-based versions of ride-alongs that more fully explain what each unit does and encourage a two-way conversation.

While police departments all over the United States face enormous challenges by the very virtue of their work and the real-time responsiveness that today’s media environment demands, the need for trust and transparency are always present. Telling a story is as important for public agencies as it is for private companies (and perhaps even more so). Do police departments have the right to remain silent? Maybe. Should they? In a world where what you say can and will be used against you, and one where what you don’t say can be just as problematic, I’d think twice.

About the Author: Filomena Fanelli is the CEO and founder of Impact PR & Communications, Ltd., an award-winning public relations firm based in Poughkeepsie, NY. She is also an adjunct professor at Marist College’s School of Communication and the Arts. Filomena can be reached at

A Broadcaster’s Take on Social Media and How it Impacts PR and the Media

A Broadcaster's Take on Social Media and How it Impacts PR and the MediaLive streaming video technology presents an exciting — but often overlooked — earned media opportunity for public relations and communications specialists.

The next time you pitch broadcast media, think beyond traditional on-air coverage.

In addition to using social media to gather information and interact with viewers, many television newsrooms across the country are turning to social to broadcast stories – even when the station is not on the air.

“It gives public relations clients more opportunities to get in front of multiple audiences,” says Michelle Li (@MichelleLiTV), award-winning evening news anchor at WISC-TV, the CBS-affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin. “Get your folks in front of a screen. Always push your clients to do webcam-type interviews.”

Phone interviews, she says, make for “bad television.”

Li, whose following on social media accounts includes more than 670,000 subscribers on Google Plus, recently participated in a Twitter chat focused on how broadcasters use social media. During this #ConnectChat, she also offered tips to public relations professionals interested in engaging with television news personalities.

“You have to make an effort every day,” says Li of her involvement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Periscope, YouTube—the list seems endless. “There are great tools to keep you active.”

[Don’t miss the next #ConnectChat: PR Newswire’s @ProfNet hosts a Twitter Q&A every other Tuesday between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. ET.] 

In a video Li shared with #ConnectChat participants, viewers get an inside look at how newsrooms like WISC-TV use social media to enhance their work.

Following an outbreak of severe storms that spawned tornadoes, the station used social media to take its audience behind the scenes, live streaming as crews collected footage and interviews between newscasts. When riots broke out in Ferguson, the station identified and spoke with a local connection through live streaming video, which editors later downloaded for broadcast.

Continue reading here on BEYOND PR.