Never Stop Learning

August 15, 2016

by Roger Pynn

I’m just back from the 78th Annual Conference of the Florida Public Relations Association, which I’ve had the honor to lead as its president for the last year, and I’m reminded of the critical importance of continuing education for professionals.

From the tremendous insight into leadership communication by senior Ketchum executives Jamey Peters and Chris Thorton to  an incredibly candid opening keynote presentation by SeaWorld Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Jill Kermes to an inspiring closing session of pick-up basketball with Gainesville Police Department Public Information Officer Ben Tobias on the power of viral video, PR practitioners had dozens of opportunities to gain valuable takeaways to improve their professional value from these general sessions to breakout talks and workshops.

And we didn’t just listen to fellow public relations people.  Florida Trend Publisher Andy Corty recruited Duke Energy Florida President Alex Glenn for a discussion called “Listen to the C-Suite,” with this powerful Florida business team exploring what our employers and clients expect of us.  Glenn’s belief in the power of public relations was refreshing.

To me, it is about public relations.  To others it may be about accounting, law or engineering … but my takeaway from these past few days was that we must never stop learning.  If you consider yourself a professional, align with an organization that can fulfill the need we all have for knowledge.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the Florida Public Relations Association in my life since 1974.  It has shaped my career in more ways than I can count.  If you consider yourself a professional, align with an organization that can fulfill the need we all have for knowledge.  You’ll get a lot more than you pay for and if you take the time to become involved, you’ll get a lot more than you give.


Aghast!

July 22, 2016

by Roger Pynn

Journalists, journalists-turned-public relations people and lifelong PR folks seemed aghast on social media yesterday when news broke that Florida Today announced plans to cease publication of the Central Florida Future, the newspaper targeting University of Central Florida students.

Serving the nation’s second-largest university with a population in excess of 61,000, many couldn’t get their arms around how this could happen.  After all, the Future started out as the on-campus, university-sponsored newspaper at my alma mater just two years short of half a century ago. The Central Florida news and PR community is heavily stacked with alumni from UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication … many of whom cut their journalistic teeth reporting and editing at the paper.

The Future became part of Florida Today in 2007 when its parent company Gannett purchased it after more than a decade of private ownership following a move off campus in 1992.

Oh my how times have changed … but it hardly seems surprising.  If this isn’t an omen for the future of printed newspapers, I don’t know what is.  As one of our UCF grad employees said, “The students don’t read that paper.  They only want the gossip they can get online.”

If that’s the case, the social and civic implications are just as concerning as the future it portends for newspapers in general.  Civic literacy scores have been plummeting for years with less than half of the tested population often failing tests that gauge their knowledge of how to participate in their communities.

Gannett didn’t get out of the business because it didn’t like young readers.  It got out because there weren’t any.  How we expect to rely on a generation that won’t read news (or can’t distinguish between news and gossip, commentary or online rants) is a scary proposition for those who have no choice but to place our faith in their ability to lead.


Kicking the Bucket

June 27, 2016

by Roger Pynn

No.  This isn’t about that.

Sometimes you just run into a great piece of marketing savvy and it makes you smile.

I can usually be found most weekends visiting either a Home Depot or a Lowe’s store (or both) as I work on the old “Honey Do” list.  And, no … I’m not handy, but like everyone else, there’s always something to fix.

And, yes, like many of you I’ve bought one of those now ubiquitous orange buckets at Home Depot.  Until this weekend, I never even knew that there was a blue Lowe’s bucket.  As little research shows buckets are big business with the two home improvement giants aggressively pricing them a penny apart.

Bucket

Now, with this clever promotion, I’m betting many of us will question what color bucket suits us best.


Heartache

June 14, 2016

by Roger Pynn

I can remember like it was yesterday sitting in church the night of September 11, 2001.  My heart ached.

I will remember the same feeling Sunday sitting in front of a television 2,400 miles away in California where we had been for a conference.

There’s a sense of sadness that goes with all these terrible situations.  We’ve all experienced it too many times.

And yet you hear people say “I’m not going to let them win” or as our Mayor Buddy Dyer said “we’re not going to be defined by haters.”

They are so right.

Later as we flew home from Los Angeles we felt firsthand how powerful that attitude can be when our Delta flight attendant (a Downtown Orlando resident, himself) came through the cabin passing out “I Love Orlando” buttons.  It gave us something to say, something to smile about.

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A New Era

March 21, 2016

by Roger Pynn

This probably won’t earn me any friends at Crain’s, but when this first edition of the much-awaited CRAIN’S ORLANDO arrived in my inbox I have to admit to scratching my head.  A lot.

The first four offerings in this “curated” news service are from either Florida Today, the Orlando Business Journal or the Orlando Sentinel.

crains

Perhaps someone ought to tell them that Florida Trend has been doing an excellent job of this kind of news aggregation with its Florida Trend DAILY PULSE for years now.

flrorida trend

Unless CRAIN’s elects to do some original reporting this could quickly become nothing more than clutter in your inbox.  Not what you expect from this respected publisher of such titles as Advertising Age, Automotive News, AUTOWEEK, InvestmentNews and many more.


Curses!

March 2, 2016

by Roger Pynn

The media love a train wreck (see the 2016 Presidential race).  The only thing they seem to love even more is a troubled cruise line (see the tribulations of Carnival and Costa).

And now they have another.

But they also love to give names to sensational stories.  My first recollection of that was Watergate, the break-in by Nixon political operatives to a Washington, D. C., office complex by that name that has since spawned countless “gates,” so named by media before the birth of the hashtag.

One has to wonder when someone will sue a headline writer for defamation.


Down Comes “the Wall”

March 2, 2016

by Roger Pynn

There has always been an invisible wall between newsrooms and the business office of newspapers – until today.  Tribune Publishing has done away with “the wall,” promoting editors of its newspaper properties (that include the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and seven others) and making them responsible for the business side as editors and publishers.

This will put some fine journalists to the test as the work to balance the commercial interests of publishing with the sanctity of the journalistic process.  In the past, journalists were generally free from worry about having the heavy hammer of the publisher coming down on them as they worked for – as Clark Kent would say “truth, justice and the American way.”

Increasingly today the world of journalism is blurred as media companies struggle to stay alive in the always-on, user-driven world of communication that has left countless business models on a junk heap of failed digital experiments.

I’ve written often about the demise of the business where I started and lamented the prospect of a world without daily local newspapers.  Perhaps having put journalists in charge isn’t such a bad idea … if these newly crowned publishers can just remember that the product is news … true, balanced, unfettered journalism.


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