The following was submitted by Dr. Steve Iseman, APR, Fellow PRSA, who currently serves as the faculty advisor for the National Committee.
Jack O’Dwyer has been a long time critic of PRSA and I congratulate him for it. I think that critics are important. They cause organizations to think about what they do and examine policies and procedures carefully. But in recent years Jack O’Dwyer has become what some might call a rogue journalist – one that goes beyond the gathering of facts and slips into the territory of intimidator or maybe even predator.
When PRSA got fed up with what they determined were his lack of accurate, truthful and respectful reporting about the society and shut the door on communication with him he turned to students who are members of PRSSA’s national committee. Initially his contact was only asking them to confirm address information for free subscriptions to some of his publications. When most of them didn’t respond – anybody’s right to any marketing pitch – he bombarded them, their faculty advisors and even their college and university presidents with e-mails and phone calls charging them with obstructing his right to information, preventing him from clearing the “stain on his name,” denying students in their “pursuit of truth” and labeling PRSA as “un-American.”
Do you think this approach to reporting is acceptable in today’s changing media landscape, or do we have the right, without fear of personal intimidation and unfair attack, to refuse to talk to reporters we consider to be not accurate, truthful or respectful?