When you earn front-page coverage 4 times for one story — and all within a 2-week period — it’s usually bad news. Such is the case with Kent State, and I can’t let it pass without comment.
The story that keeps on giving.
It began with this story on March 10. Internally, KSU announced plans to hire East Coast marketing firm 160over90 to help redirect the university’s brand. The cost, just north of $100K, is small change in the scheme of things.
Nothing was released to the media, but emails sent to 4,000 employees tend to get around. Continue reading
Update, March 13, 2015. KSU Board of Trustees voted, in executive session this past Wednesday, to extend benefits to dependents of domestic partners, retroactive to January. Hat tip to Bev Warren for doing the right thing. Raspberries to the administrators who fought for discrimination and the status quo for the last 6 months.
Kent State’s Beverly Warren faces the first major leadership challenge of her 8-month presidency this Wednesday. But you probably haven’t heard about it. Continue reading
A scandalous story unfolded in my neighborhood in recent weeks. It has all the elements of a made-for-TV movie, which may explain why the rise and fall of Chief David Oliver remained a Page 1 story — and a PR nightmare — for a fortnight.
Chief David Oliver’s celebrity included a popular Facebook page and this book.
It’s the story of a man once dubbed “the most popular cop on the Internet.” Oliver, from tiny Brimfield Township, Ohio, used social media and an affable personality to become bigger than life. At one point he had 80,000 followers on Facebook and a hot-selling book. He’d also been the focus of dozens of national media stories, most praising his sense of humor and no-nonsense approach to crime. Continue reading
Life if tough all over. Especially for those in the biz formerly known as newspaper publishing. Under pressure to keep the doors open, even the Grey Lady herself is selling content like a hooker on a street corner. Continue reading
I’m eager to see how folks with serious interest in ethics will analyze the Ice Bucket campaign. And I’m hoping the discussion includes more than the knee-jerk reactions we typically see in social media. Let me start the discussion here. Continue reading
Most PR guys don’t have the luxury of recalibrating their careers at age 60. Most have been put out to pasture — victims of our youth-driven culture. I’m fortunate to have some control over my career exit, thanks to academic tenure and a union contract. So I’ve made some decisions.
1) I will retire from teaching in 2020, at the end of my 28th year — barring unforeseen variables such as untimely death or another Bush-like presidency that crashes my investments. It breaks my heart to think about leaving this incredible… wait, wait. That’s total bullshit. I can’t freakin’ can’t wait to retire, and with the right incentive I’ll exit long before 2020. Send Powerball tickets. Continue reading
When a certain Midwestern state university conducted a presidential search in relative secrecy last year, it rightfully drew criticism from news media and public records advocates everywhere (my summary here). And though none of these media outlets challenged the secret search in court, the university suffered great losses in the court of public opinion.
It was a PR disaster. But on the bright side, it’s one that a new president can use to guide future decisions. Continue reading
Disagree if you’d like, but using the NFL team name “Redskins” is akin to using the N-word. It’s a racial epithet used only to disparage. It’s not a label that civil and thinking people ever apply to Native Americans.
But Washington team owner Dan Snyder sees it differently. In fact, he even used another N-word to make this point last year: “We will NEVER change the name of the team.” Continue reading
It’s May 15, and most juniors and seniors in my program are settling in at their summer internships. If past is prologue, more than 85% of our PR majors are earning a paycheck at or above $8 an hour. Most of these interns also are earning 1 academic credit for the internship and paying around $500 for that credit. Continue reading
As a hardcore utilitarian, I can’t complain much about Kent State’s decision to conduct its presidential search in secret. After all, utilitarians focus on consequences and outcomes — the greatest good for the greatest number. When this “secret search” ended, the outcome was a good one. We like this new president and wish her good fortune.
Nevertheless, I was compelled to criticize the process because it violated the university’s own policies on transparency and likely violated the Ohio open-records laws. The end does not justify the means. Continue reading