• Remaining Ethical in the Era of “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts”

    In Career, Ethics, Uncategorized on

    “Fake News.” “Alternative Facts.” Until recently, these topics were never a part of the PR conversation. Now, not only is everyone in PR, journalism and beyond talking about them, colleges and universities which specialize in communications studies are trying to figure out how to appropriately address these topics with their students.

    There are primers on how to recognize fake websites. Articles are written on how to ferret out fake news from the real thing. How did we get here? One answer, of course, is the rise and explosion of the Internet. There are no longer just journalists trained by the bellwether of CBS Standards and Practices. Now there are citizen journalists and bloggers. Who sets the standards for them? There are literally millions of sites to explore and it is up to the reader to decide which ones are credible.

    As PR practitioners, we not only have a responsibility to our clients to ensure that we are promoting their causes and their products to responsible news outlets, but we also have ethical obligations ourselves. Where do we turn for guidance? A good place to start is with our own professional organization, PRSA. Earlier this year, Jane Dvorak, APR Fellow, PRSA Chair of the Society for 2017, issued a statement on Alternative Facts. It began, “Truth is the foundation of all effective communications.” She refers to PRSA’s Code of Ethics as the guidelines in this arena for all PRSA members.  Our chapter president, Dan Dent, weighed in as well in the Boston Business Journal.

    For those of us who practice public relations, and particularly crisis communications, we know that we are not providing court testimony with a requirement to give “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Our obligation, after all, is to represent our clients’ or organization’s best interests. However, we cannot lie. To knowingly present a falsehood to a journalist or to the public at large ruins our own credibility, as well as that of our clients or the organization that we represent.

    If in doubt, print out a copy of the PRSA Guide to Ethics or keep it in an electronic file on your phone or laptop. Refer to it if you have a question. It can become your shield in the war against “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts”.

    By: Nancy J. Sterling, APR, Ethics Officer, PRSA Boston

  • Fast 3: Q&A with Eduardo Crespo, Founder and CEO of Hispanic Market Solution

    PRSA Boston Q&A with Eduardo Crespo, CEO, Hispanic Market Solution

    Why do some communities thrive while others become ghost towns? Building an audience is already tricky, but establishing a true community in today’s global marketplace is even harder.

    PRSA Boston took some time recently to speak with Eduardo Crespo, CEO, Hispanic Market Solution to learn more about his take on diversity in the workplace. Eduardo will be one of the featured experts at the Community Building Workshop on Thursday, March 16, at The NonProfit Center of Boston. You can get your ticket here.

    The Hispanic market is growing rapidly in the next 25 years – One in four U.S. residents will be Hispanic in 2050. What are the two most critical issues facing companies planning to enter or expand in the U.S. Hispanic market?

    The two most important issues are dealing with cultural issues and linguistic considerations. Companies must be proactive in understanding, reaching and servicing the U.S. Hispanic community.

    Recently, the “white ceiling” for people of color has replaced the “glass ceiling” that limited life choices for women 20 years ago. How can companies engage and mentor a diverse workforce to achieve competitive advantage?

    Being genuinely interested in responding to the major change in demographics happening in the U.S. by hiring, retaining and promoting Hispanics at all levels of the organization is one way. It has been proven that Hispanic cultural values can become a major asset in progressive companies.

    What three strategies can small- and medium-size companies use to foster a respectful and inclusive workplace?

    1. Welcoming and recognizing Hispanics as an integral, high-value asset of a company’s workforce.
    2. Offering Diversity and Inclusion training to all employees to create a friendly, employee-centric workforce that recognize its differences and works in unison to achieve the company’s goals.
    3. Hiring and promoting Hispanics to leadership and executive positions while encouraging them to become mentors and company spokespeople.

    Crespo is a bilingual/bicultural professional with more than 20 years of regional and national U.S. Hispanic and Latin American marketing and recruitment experience. Increasing awareness about these markets and providing strategic thinking, generating new business and creating “out of the box” solutions are his core strengths.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand. But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!



  • Brands That Win Distort Reality

    In Sponsorship, Uncategorized on

    By , March Communications

    We’ve all heard the adage, “Perception is reality.” But have we stopped to think just how important that statement really is? Every brand wants to be The Brand in their space. The greatest brands, however, create an entirely new space and dominate it. Being a great leader is about creating a new reality and making it true for others.March Communications

    There’s a very interesting video on YouTube that really made me think about this. Now, the host of this channel definitely embraces the hyperbolic and the dramatic, so his delivery may not be for everyone. But the core of what he talks about absolutely holds true.

    Are You a Real Leader?

    Revolutionary leaders — regardless of industry — distort reality. They do this by changing our perception of the world around us. We take modern aviation for granted, but there was a time in the not-too-distant past when man flying was a fantasy. The Wright brothers changed our perception of what was fantasy and what was real, and changed the world forever.

    Steve Jobs imagined a device that would use digital screens to alter the way we live our daily lives, interact with one another and consume content. Today, his imaginary device is now at the center of our reality as a modern digital society.

    So many brands today say they want to be the Uber of this industry or that space, emulating someone else’s success rather than creating their own. From a PR and marketing perspective, the greatest excitement comes from working with companies that don’t want to be something or someone else. They want to be original. They want to bring something new to the table that distorts the way people perceive their reality and creates a new one.

    Those are the types of brands that become leaders. Those are the ones the media and influencers flock to. They inspire others to see the world in a new way, shifting paradigms and moving things in exciting new directions.

    Be the Catalyst

    Social media didn’t exist 20 years ago. Today, it is inseparable from mainstream culture and has become one of, if not, the most powerful public relations, marketing and sales tool ever. The Instagrams, Snapchats, Twitters and Pinterests that marketers rely on every day wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for a kid sitting in his dorm room at Harvard nearly two decades ago who decided to change the way people socialize. That platform, which was originally called The Facebook, made $5.8 billion last year.

    When you fundamentally change the way people perceive the world around them, you become the leader and trusted brand of that space. It changes the way people absorb, process and interact with content. There is no better PR and communications strategy than being the catalyst for changing the way people perceive reality, thus changing their actual reality. The question is, can you do it?

    March Communications is a sponsor of PRxNE 2016, which takes place in Boston on June 13, 2016. Find out how you can become a sponsor and register for PRxNE at PRSA Northeast District.  

  • Attention Students and Young PR Pros: Add Patience to Your Skills Sets

    In Career, Uncategorized on

    By Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRS

    (Note: This blog article originally appeared on A Professor’s Thoughts)

    As a (now) “professional” teacher doing my thing at Curry College introducing young undergraduate communication majors and others to my own lifelong career choice/passion of public relations, I talk about a lot of stuff. (Just ask ’em… they’ll tell you!)

    Communication skills, relationship building, internships, and job skills the list can and does go on and on.

    It occurred to me recently, though, that I’ve sort of missed one of the more important aspects of successful professional life… patience.

    I talk about getting things done quickly, efficiently, and effectively, but I don’t really spend enough time talking about the role that patience plays in getting those things done.

    I know this isn’t an earth-shattering concept, but it has really become apparent to me while I’ve been on vacation how valuable patience can be. (Note to cynics: I mean this in a positive sense!)

    • Communication skills are developed over time. There’s not a pill that you can take that will make you a great communicator.
    • Relationships are the same. They’re developed slowly and carefully. It’s not “speed-dating.”
    • Internships are a way for you to figure out what it is you like and don’t like doing or what you are not great at. This takes time and usually happens over the course of several internships.
    • Job skills come with experience, which means you spend time doing things in order to learn how to do them well.

    I’m not naïve enough to believe that I’ve found the “secret sauce” that will change your life.

    But I do know that when practiced patience can do wonders for your health, happiness, and ultimate success in your professional life.

    All too often, I get panicky/irritated/confused messages from former or current students that go something like this: “I sent my resume two days ago and haven’t heard anything. What’s going on?” Or, “I’ve been in this position for six months now and haven’t gotten a promotion. I need to find another job.”

    I know we all want things to happen when we want them to happen. But that’s not how the world works.

    Your priorities are not their priorities. (However, to my past, present, and future students my deadlines had better become your deadlines! “Due in class” does not mean “later this afternoon at your convenience.”

    Instant gratification… something that, I would venture to say is becoming the expected norm for emerging generations thanks to today’s online, ever-connected world…is not realistic.

    As the saying goes, “All things come to those who wait.”

    I’m not preaching procrastination here. Nor am I suggesting that delay is always acceptable.

    How about this, though?

    At the beginning… before you start firing out resumes… ask someone who’s been there what he or she thinks is an appropriate amount of time to wait before following up on a job application. (Students, this is where your Career Development Center comes into play… talk to them!!)

    Or early on, when you’ve settled into your new job, talk with a co-worker or your supervisor about “how things work” so far as promotions, raises, etc., go. (Note: Work in these questions with those about “best practices” in the workplace, etc… performance-related questions.)

    There’s nothing wrong with showing an active interest in your future. It shows you care and are serious about your professional life.

    It also acknowledges your recognition that you are just starting out and are looking for guidance from those who are more experienced.

    Then… take a deep breath… and be patient!


    About the Author: Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, is associate professor of communication (undergraduate) at Curry College in Milton. Prior to his move into academia, Kirk practiced nonprofit and government public relations and marketing for more than 35 years in the U.S. as well as Asia. Accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Kirk was inducted into PRSA’s prestigious College of Fellows in 2009 and is one of just two actively teaching college               professors in Massachusetts to have earned this distinction. He is a member of PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards. You can read more of Kirk’s musings on his blog “A Professor’s Thought”.