In late January when the Public Relations Society of America issued its statement against "alternative facts" (and before IABC issued its own statement, and started an ethics petition that's now up to 1,002 signatures), I wrote to its National Chair Jane Dvorak:
I’ve covered PRSA and IABC on and off for 25 years, and I’ve never seen a stronger statement from either association than the one you signed on Tuesday. So let me add my voice to all the kudos you’re getting.
I have two questions, one with my blogger/journalist porkpie hat on and the other with my other fedora on, as the executive director of the Professional Speechwriters Association:
Porkpie: All the Twitter feedback I can find is in support of your statement. Did you get any significant blowback from members supporting the Trump administration?
Fedora: As the head of the more PSA, it has occurred to me that until it becomes an issue of unethical speechmaking (which it may) … we’re going to keep our powder dry on making such statements. But we’d love a chance and a way to back YOUR statement, the way we’ve also backed pledges for civil discourse, etc.
If you’re collecting logos of other trade associations to get behind PRSA, you can use ours.
I’m sure you’re deluged with reaction to all this, so as the wise correspondent said, write when you can. Not when you can’t.
David Murray, Executive Director
Professional Speechwriters Association
Jane wrote back over this last weekend:
I’m not sure I ever responded to you fully. I’m just finally getting caught up after all of this.
In response to your question regarding support and blowback. Of course there were concerns raised by a few people. Differences of opinion exist on all things and this is no different. I have listened, I have responded and have taken the comments into consideration. Overwhelming, though, the response to the statement was positive from members and organizations such as yours. We received support from the UK, Canada, Mexico and in the US from SPJ/SDX, Arthur Page Society and you. Our statement was never intended to be political. It focused on ethical behavior and we will stick to the importance of that for all PR professionals and communicators.
To your second question, Mr. Fedora, is that PRSA will advocate on a topic when we know it can have an impact for our members and the profession. We were careful to discuss the ramifications of this decision before making our statement and a process is in development to ensure future situations are handled with equal care. We will limit our scope to PR and communication professionals, as this is where our strongest voice lies. We haven’t taken to aligning logos or other organizations externally with our statement. I did share this with our executive team, though. We appreciate your support and willingness to stand strong with us on this issue of ethical behavior.
There’s much ahead to elevate the work we do; this is just one example.
Laugh Often –
Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA
2017 PRSA National Chair
And so, as PRSA leaders worked on a process by which to handle "future situations," the Communicator's March continued to grow.