Killing Bambi: It still brings PR problems


Cover story about PR challenges with deer management, from PR Tactics, March 1997.

Here we go again…

For some 20 years, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was been trying to kill Bambi. But public consensus over the deer problem in this urban national park has eluded administrators and remains a significant PR challenge for parks throughout the country.

This week, CVNP announced another plan to control the population of white-tailed deer. Unfortunately, the new approach is pretty much the same as the old one. It involves a controlled kill that targets adult females of the species. Continue reading

Don’t pay your interns? See you in court

Pay your interns, or prepare to pay the piper.

That was the message sent by a U.S. District Court yesterday. By summary judgement, Judge William H. Pauly III ruled that Fox Seachlight had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying its interns at least minimum wage. The judge also certified a class action suit for interns who have worked for Fox Entertainment.

If you’re a student or a student advocate like me, this ruling calls for champagne and confetti. It’s terrific news for interns everywhere, since it could signal an end to the often-abusive practice of unpaid internships. Continue reading

A Kent State farewell to Bob Batchelor: scholar, teacher, visionary

Bob Batchelor

Bob Batchelor

Today, I officially say goodbye and good luck to my friend and colleague, Bob Batchelor, who announced his resignation from Kent State effective August 25th. Bob was, by far, the most effective teacher/scholar I’ve worked with in my 21 years here, so losing him is a severe blow to the program — and to me personally. But it’s a great move for Bob, and I’m elated for him. Continue reading

College prez finding success in social media

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 5.38.51 PMI attended graduation last week at the University of Cincinnati — and I was ready. My fully charged smart phone would assure my escape from the boring grind of commencement. But as it turned out, this ceremony had some real personality that kept me focused, and his name is Santa J. Ono, the new president of UC. Continue reading

When the ‘PR Fail’ case is you

As PR educators, we lean heavily on case studies to help students connect theory and practice, and a lot of those case studies involve PR failures. For whatever reason, we learn more from mistakes than successes.

When the case study is about you and an organization you care about, the learning is painful. That’s how it’s been for my colleagues and me over the past 6 weeks, as the Kent State School of Journalism landed itself in a shit storm over the inexplicable firing of popular and high-performing professor. Continue reading

Maker’s Mark gets it right: Quality trumps quantity

It’s a simple story with a happy ending.

250px-Makers_Mark-1Ten days ago, Maker’s Mark Distillery announced plans to reduce the alcohol content in its popular bourbon. Intent was to stretch the supply by about 6% to meet surging demand and to do it by watering down the whiskey.

This decision to place quantity ahead a quality is one that surprised some people and shocked others. Continue reading

Student comments offer insight on Kent State’s Online PR Master’s

Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 6.02.25 PMMy recent post, “Grading the Online Master’s at Kent State,” generated some interest. Together, we wrote nearly 20,000 words and posted 89 comments. OK, 28 of those comments were mine, but it’s my blog, so I’m allowed to jump in anytime. 🙂 Continue reading

Soaking up the brilliance of Kent State’s Gene Sasso

Update 2/26/13: This morning, Inside Higher Education (a national trade publication) featured Gene’s story — more evidence that an angry groundswell cannot be silenced. In the interest of transparency, I cooperated with the reporter — something I hope every faculty member in a School of Journalism would do. 

The story, titled Succeed and Lose Your Job, is damaging to Kent State, but it provides an important lesson about listening to one’s stakeholders. We teach these sorts of case studies all the time in our classes. Now we’re one of them. More on that in a future post. Continue reading

Grading the PR Online Master’s at Kent State: How’d we do?

After 21 years of grading other people’s work, I thought it might be fun to turn the tables.

Bob Batchelor

Bob Batchelor

In this post, I grade my own work and that of my teammates in the Kent State Online Master’s in Public Relations. Those teammates, Bob Batchelor and Gene Sasso, developed the curriculum, the architecture and the vision over a 3-year span. I consulted on curriculum and created two of the courses in my supporting role. Continue reading