Unless you’ve been in a Thanksgiving food coma the past several days, you probably heard about Tiger Woods crashing his car into a tree over the weekend where he sustained facial lacerations and a much worse injury – non-stop gossip attacks from traditional, social and tabloid media worldwide.

Several sports and entertainment personalities have chimed in, especially given Woods official, guarded statement on the situation and his apparent refusal to speak to the police.

So, are Woods and his army of crisis communicators doing the right thing? Charles Barkley doesn’t think so – but what do you think? Comment below.


November 24, 2009

The Master Practitioners group of the Phoenix PRSA Chapter welcomed Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett as its guest speaker, recently.

Bennett, who served eight years in the state senate, his last four as its president, provided a practical explanation about Arizona’s current budget crisis.   

Among his comments that resulted in heads nodding in agreement was:  “How you respond early in a crisis is key.” 

The Grand Canyon State is just one of 41 states with deficits, however, Arizona has one of the largest shortfall percentages.   Arizona’s budget faces a $3 billion shortfall, compared to California, which has a $26 billion deficit looming.

Here are some of the facts:  Overall, Arizona spends $33 billion per year.  The highest allocations are for K-12 education, $11 billion, and for health and welfare, such as AHCCCS, $10 billion.The Arizona general fund is expected to receive $7.6 billion in revenue this year, with expected expenditures of $10.7 billion.  Essentially, that’s where the $3 billion gap is.

You can check out a version of his presentation by clicking here. It’s pretty basic and highly informative.

Happy to Help!

November 23, 2009

Each year the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for the Club kids and their families.  This year, more than 300 people turned out for the festivities, which included a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and great entertainment provided by some of the kids.

Abbie, Scott and Susan joined the nearly 30 other volunteers who came out to help with the event.  All the food was donated and the staff at Scottsdale Healthcare prepared all the food.

A very special Thanksgiving indeed.


November 19, 2009

It was interesting to hear Charles M. Sennott, executive editor and vice president for GlobalPost, an on-line voice for global news, talk about the growing void in solid, unbiased international news reporting.

Sennott addressed the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) membership during the organization’s recent meetings in New York.  His resume is impressive, having worked nearly 25 years as a reporter covering the front lines of wars and insurgencies in 15 countries from the jungles of Colombia to the deserts of Iraq.  He has covered a wide range of stores from the papal transition in Rome to the oil industry in Saudi Arabia.

He told the PRGN that with the decline of newspapers’ ability and desire to have foreign correspondents, international reporting has become somewhat of a rarity.  Sennott aims to create a place for such reporting with GlobalPost, an online international news source.

Sennott says his staff of in-country correspondents, who adhere to the highest standards of journalism, bring readers unique, in-depth, on-the-ground insights on important social, political and economic international issues. He adds that the publication’s balanced, objective and accurate reports from the field help readers measure the impact of international events on their lives.

It’s an interesting concept.  GlobalPost’s goal is to surpass 1 million subscribers by the end of the year.  I’d say it’s got more than a fighting chance.

New Members, eh?

November 18, 2009

The Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), an international alliance of the world’s leading independent public relations firms, has further strengthened its global presence with the addition of two new international affiliates.  The new members are Fantail Communications Inc. of Toronto, Canada and cometis, a financial communications firm in Weisbaden, Germany.

As a founding member of PRGN, HMA Public Relations takes great pride in the quality of the firms that are part of the international network.

Jim Warrington, president and strategy leader for Fantail, along with managing directors Michael Diegelmann, Ulrich Weihle and Henryk Deter of cometis, all presented their agency’s strengths during the recent PRGN meetings in New York.

Each is a talented communicator with an exceptional sense of humor, which helped each agency gain unanimous support on their entry into the PRGN. 

abbieBethWe are huge fans of Glee – we love the singing, the dancing.  It’s definitely “cheesy bad goodness” and we have to watch it every week.

However, there have been a couple storylines lately that have us a bit concerned.  A few weeks ago, Shu’s wife decided to get a job at the high school to keep an eye on her husband and his budding romance with the guidance counselor. Her job was the school nurse and having no nursing training, started handing out over-the-counter cold medicine to help the kids stay awake during exams.  Well, we work with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and right now, kids are using OTC and prescription medications to get high at an alarming rate.

In the show, no consequences.  In real life, potential addiction.

Glee 1This week’s show highlighted Artie, the student with a disability.  We have been extremely impressed with how they have incorporated Artie’s use of a wheelchair in the storyline.  He is an active participant in the glee club and his friends are quite supportive.  However, last night’s show focused on him and the students rallying to raise money so they could get the “short bus” to take them to competition.  Really, a “short bus?”

They raised money by having a “handicapable” bake sale.  We work with Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, an advocacy organization for people with disabilities.  ABIL’s philosophy of independent living is always focused on people-first language and words like “handicapped” and “short bus” are no longer acceptable.  To see examples of people-first language, click here.

Glee 2Even more disturbing to us was the character who admitted faking her stutter in order to get out of doing a homework assignment in elementary school.  Scottsdale recently hosted the National Stuttering Association’s annual conference and having had the pleasure of working with the NSA and attending the conference, it struck us as more than a little odd that the Glee writers incorporated that into the plot.  Although Artie had the right reaction – he was upset that she’d made up something he thought they’d had in common (a disability) – it seems to us she could have just been a character with a stutter.

Are we among the majority here?  Did anyone else find these plots offensive?  Do you, like us, think the writers should have done a little more research before writing the words “handicapped,” “wheelchair-bound,” and “able-bodied” into the script?  Or do you think they wrote the story like it might happen in real life?

Are we just sensitive because we’ve worked so closely with these organizations and identify with their messages, roadblocks and goals?  Or do you agree with us?

Welcome Fellows!

November 9, 2009

scottThe PRSA’s College of Fellows, of which I am a member, has inducted 11 new members.

They are: Richard Batyko, John Deveney, Anne Dubois, Lynne Timpani Friedmann, Allen Kirk Hazlett, Margaret Ann Hennen, Stephen Johnstone, Paul Kincaid, Nance Larsen, Diane Gage Lofgren and Sandra Longcrier.

Each was recognized during a black-tie dinner at the PRSA’s International Conference in San Diego.

The College of Fellows is an honorary organization within PRSA comprised of more than 400 senior practitioners and educators, each of whom has left a significant footprint on the public relations profession.

Welcome to the College!


Anyone else read the news that someone – apparently interns – convinced the House of Mouse that it would be a good idea to re-brand Mickey Mouse for a video game? Set in a “cartoon wasteland?”

Creepy New MickeyAs someone who works with brands on a daily basis, I certainly understand the need to keep  images fresh, but doesn’t Disney already do that with of its Princesses and all those lovable Pixar characters?

To me, this has disaster written all over it – and Mickey looks creepy based on this first glance.


You don’t know Jack!

November 5, 2009

EO Logo - AZEO’s most recent learning event featured sales guru Jack Daly.

Daly is a high energy guy who has a lot of great techniques and philosophies to share.

page_jack1He says, “Selling is nothing more than getting people to make decisions in our favor.  Selling is the transfer of trust.  People tend to do business with people they like and with people that are like them.  People tend to do business with people, not companies.” 

As for goals:  “Unwritten goals are nothing more than dreams.  Things that get measured get done.”

Daly also pointed out that despite all of his proven techniques, very few of them are actually implemented by those who could benefit the most.

NAU PRSSA Birthday CakeThe NAU PRSSA Chapter celebrated its 30th anniversary by inducting 23 new members.  This brings the chapter’s membership to more than 30-strong.

Chapter President Meghan Almaas and her executive board held the induction event at NAU’s DuBois Center.  As the chapter’s PRSA professional advisor, I was also invited to speak and participate in the ceremony.    

Students always ask such good questions:  “What do you think of the international PR opportunities?” and “Have you ever hired someone without a PR background?” are two that come to mind. 

In short, my answers were, “there are tremendous international scottopportunities in PR and no, HMA Public Relations has not hired anyone without a PR background.” 

It is always fun to be around such enthusiastic PR students.  In fact, six of them are going to be attending the PRSA’s International Conference in San Diego, Nov. 7-10.  I am hopeful their optimism and energy will rub off on some of the other attendees.