January Bulletin 2010


Detroit Chapter Public Relations Society of America  |  January 2010

Checking the vitals on social media in health care on Jan. 28 at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital

Special State Conference Sneak Peek:

At the 2010 Michigan Conference (April 22, Rock Financial Showplace, Novi), Henry Ford Health System communicators will present “New Hospital is No Place for Old Media,” a case study of the hospital’s innovative 2009 media open house. PRSA Detroit members are encouraged to tour the facility following the panel discussion (9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.) to see first-hand what journalists experienced.

Cost is $10 for PRSA/PRSSA members and $20 for nonmembers. Make your reservation, via PayPal, at www.prsadetroit.org – you do not need a PayPal account to use PayPal.

If questions please contact Nancy Skidmore or call 248-545-6499.

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010
8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. – Panel discussion to follow breakfast and networking
Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital

The last decade heralded the arrival of social media tools. The numbers are impressive. More than 300 million people are on Facebook. 346 million read blogs. 394 million people watch video clips online. While public relations professionals recognize the value of these communication tools, we all struggle with how to best integrate them into our PR toolbox.

How do social media strategies help drive results for the overall communication goal? What social media tactics are appropriate? How do you measure success? What’s the process for weighing the pros and cons? Join PRSA-Detroit for an open-audience discussion with a diverse panel of the area’s leading health care public relations practitioners, facilitated by Tina Reed, health and environmental digital journalist at AnnArbor.com.

  • Bill Ferris, manager, Web services, Henry Ford Health System
  • Barbara Palazzolo, APR, director, marketing and communications, In-House Hospice
  • Cande Tschetter, Ph. D., APR, CEO, Tschetter and Associates
  • Jessica Soulliere, senior public relations representative/social media communications coordinator, University of Michigan Health System

The program will be held on Thursday, Jan. 28 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, 6777 West Maple Road, West Bloomfield. The program will be held in the hospital’s Demonstration Kitchen, adjacent to the main lobby. Attendees may park in the hospital’s guest parking lot directly in front of the main entrance.

Registration open, program announced for PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference scheduled April 22 at Rock Financial Showplace

Two outstanding keynote speakers and nine breakout sessions
to feature compelling speakers, panels, case studies.

By Jennifer Wilt

PR Revolution LogoRegistration for the PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference is now open, and the full program has been released. See the conference Web site to register and for program details. In addition to two outstanding keynote speakers, Ed Gordon and Peter Shankman, the conference schedule offers nine breakout sessions in which attendees will hear from a variety of compelling speakers as they share tips, tricks and lessons learned for creating stability in the shifting PR landscape.

Professionals at all levels from all industries will gain valuable insight and key takeaways that can be strategically applied in the workplace. Speakers and panelists will present information and case studies surrounding topics that include brand management, crisis communication, social media, communications counseling, and more. View the conference program for full breakout session details.

Join professionals from across the state on April 22 at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi for this learning experience and networking. Fun and networking will continue at an afterglow at the Dirty Martini in Novi. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook for live updates on the conference program.

Register Now

Meet our Sponsors

From the President’s Desk

By Rich Donley, APR

Photo of Rich DonleyIt’s been a lifetime in the making. Let’s make a difference in 2010.

It certainly seemed like a lifetime away in late 2006 when I accepted the PRSA-Detroit chapter secretary role, a position that ultimately would lead to the presidency in 2010.

Who could have predicted what was to happen in three years; where I would be in my career; how the PR profession would evolve; how the economy would fare; what shape the chapter, Detroit and the country would be in; what ethical practices we’d face; what professional development programs would be relevant to members; what technologies we’d be using to communicate; and what the conversation even would be?

Who would have thought a former copywriter and reporter (who was quite skeptical of public relations 16 years ago when Mary Henige, APR, first brought up the subject) would turn into a seasoned PR professional and experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of leading the prestigious PRSA-Detroit chapter?

As we know, if there’s one thing that’s constant, it’s change. And a lot certainly has changed for me, the chapter and the profession over the years … even in the past several months, but it’s been a lifetime in the making. We need to embrace where life takes us, continuously anticipate the challenges and opportunities, adapt as PR professionals and evolve as a chapter.

It’s time to engage.

The chapter has made great strides since its founding in 1947. But, in the spirit of continuous improvement, we need to further engage and elevate PRSA-Detroit and public relations beyond what we have ever known.

I challenge you, and those who have not been involved recently or at all, to:

  • Engage with the chapter. Take charge. Leave your mark. Make change happen. Not a member? Join today. It only costs 88 cents a day. Your latte costs at least four times that!
  • Engage beyond just contributing. Make a commitment. Get involved. Like any organization or anything we join, it’s like a health club membership – you get out of it what you put into it. There are a number of committees that would appreciate a few hours of your time and expertise. Share your talents by contacting Nancy Skidmore.
  • Engage with practitioners at all levels – with current and prospective members, with new, mid-level and senior professionals.
  • Engage with other communications professionals within and outside of PRSA, of all ages and backgrounds and industries and expertise.
  • Engage as a PR champion and thought leader – not only for the chapter, its members, your company, clients, executives and other key stakeholders, but also for the profession.

We’re committed to continuing the value realized in 2009

As we all know, 2009 was an unprecedented year that impacted our country, state and chapter. Some of our members lost their jobs, and several companies no longer paid for memberships. We knew it was a time to reengage, not disengage. Kudos to Kim Skeltis, APR, and your leadership team, who took on the challenges and adapted to the needs of our members through more creative cost savings, more programs/professional opportunities and more touch points. Yes, more. And members responded positively that they have received great value across the board in down times.

Your current leadership team (officers, board of directors and committee chairs) and our faithful executive secretary of 22 years, Nancy Skidmore, are committed to delivering value in 2010 through quality programming, professional development, networking opportunities, career support, a welcoming environment, engagement at all professional levels and fun.

Stay tuned to the chapter Web site, newsletter and e-mail for upcoming monthly events throughout the year. One event you won’t want to miss is our one-day, biennial PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference, “PRevolution: Creating Stability in a Shifting Landscape,” April 22 at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi. Keynote speakers include Peter Shankman and Ed Gordon. Register today. Limited sponsorship opportunities for companies of all sizes are also available. Sign up. Attend. Participate. Network. Engage.

The new decade is upon us. It is ours for the making. What are you going to do? I’m going to engage. After all, it’s been a lifetime in the making. I hope you are going to engage, too, and make a difference in your career, your lifetime, for your colleagues/customers, fellow PRSA members, the chapter and the public relations field. Are you with me?

Engage in accreditation in 2010

By Tim Wieland, APR

Whether you are a member interested in enrolling in the 2010 accreditation program or learning more about obtaining your APR or are an accredited member looking to assist other PRSA-Detroit members in obtaining their accreditation, the early months of 2010 hold opportunities to engage in the accreditation process.

PRSA-Detroit’s prep session will be conducted in March with final dates still to be determined. The session will feature top speakers on the key areas of the accreditation process such as programming, research, communication theories and more. The prep session is a great way to become familiar with the accreditation process and get a refresher course on key topics in the public relations profession. The cost is $75, and the session will run a half-day on Friday and a full day on Saturday.

The accreditation committee also would like to encourage accredited members in the chapter to become engaged in the accreditation program. You can speak to another chapter member about the benefits of accreditation and volunteer to mentor him or her through the process. In addition, accredited members are needed to serve on Readiness Review panels in April/May.

If you have questions about the accreditation process or are an accredited member looking to become involved, e-mail Tim Wieland or call 248-304-1414. You can also visit http://www.prsa.org/Learning/Accreditation/ or the accreditation page on PRSA-Detroit’s site.

The 2009 PRSA Assembly passes an historic
vote and charts a new course for PRSA’s future

By Jennifer Day, APR

After the introduction of more than 20 amendments and more than six hours of discussion and debate, the 2009 PRSA Delegate Assembly passed an historic vote to accept a new set of bylaws to guide our international society into the future.

Bylaws are the ruling documents of an association. They are the navigation chart that organizations use to determine how to conduct business. They define an organization’s purpose, requirements for membership and leadership, dues, accreditation and how decisions are made. They set forth the basic structure for how an organization will run in such a way as to be flexible in its guidance, but not necessarily prescriptive in terms of policy.

PRSA’s bylaws have not been thoroughly revised since they were drafted and approved more than 60 years ago. In 2007, PRSA established a Bylaws Task Force to, in effect, start from scratch and create a new set of bylaws that conforms both to proper legal form and current standards for organizational bylaws. However, this was also an opportunity to review how PRSA conducts business as an international professional society and to recommend changes that transform the society’s governance structure.

Change, for better or worse, can be difficult in any situation, and suggestions for fundamental institutional change can take some getting used to. Recommendations made to change how PRSA has done business for 60 years was no different. Ultimately, a majority of the assembly delegates were not ready for many of the recommended changes.

One of the more contentious recommendations would have changed how the society votes for its leadership. It was proposed that the leadership be elected by the society membership as a whole and not through the assembly and its delegates. While many appreciated the idea of one vote for each member, the proposal did not earn approval primarily due to the lack of established procedures for conducting a membership-wide election. Voting on leadership will continue to be done at assembly by delegates.

Perhaps the most contentious debate involved the composition of the PRSA Board of Directors. The proposed bylaws recommended changing the current system of district representation to a system under which all seats are at-large. After intense and sometimes emotional testimony, the assembly voted 180 to 98 to retain our current system of district representation. However, understanding that some districts have a difficult time finding representation, the delegates approved a change allowing for a two-year, at-large seat in the event that a district does not have a candidate for the board. This compromise was well received.

Participating in PRSA leadership, at the chapter, district and national level is a rewarding and valuable, personal and professional experience. All professional societies reflect their membership and are only as worthwhile and valuable as its membership makes them. PRSA provides many opportunities for professional development and networking, but also provides opportunities for building important leadership skills.

The Detroit chapter encourages all members to become more active members through participation in chapter events, membership on committees and active leadership. If you would like to become more involved in PRSA at the chapter or national level, e-mail Rich Donley or call 248-304-1430.

Social media: a new realm for crisis communication

By Jared Bryan

A sold-out crowd of veteran and new professionals from PRSA-Detroit gathered at Lawrence Technical University on Dec. 15, at what many called “the best program of the year.” “We sell pizza. What could go wrong?” confirmed what many already knew: “Well, everything.”

Attendees enjoyed the taste of a variety of new flavors of Domino’s Pizza, as Tim McIntyre, vice president of communications for Domino’s, provided a list of what could go wrong at the worldwide pizza chain. From pandemic flu to boycotts, the list seemed to have everything. Everything that is – except YouTube.

Last April, the Domino’s communication team discovered a YouTube video of two Domino’s employees violating the sacred customer trust by tainting the food. While it was confirmed that none of the food was distributed to customers, the video had already reached hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, ultimately impacting company profits.

With safety as a first concern, Domino’s went to work locating where among its 8,500 stores the video was taped. With the help of a few geo-mapping experts, they were able to locate the culprits quickly and confirm the tainted food had never been delivered.

But now what? The store was closed, customers are safe and the offenders were in the process of being charged. Yet, the problem still had not been solved. Traditional media got wind of the video that was growing in popularity and Domino’s image was at stake.

It was at this point that McIntyre and his team made several crucial decisions. First, as McIntyre put it, “don’t put out a candle with a fire hose.” Domino’s never issued a press release, but decided to respond in the venue in which the company had been attacked. This resulted in a short video from Domino’s leadership stressing their displeasure with the action of the employees and the key messages that were developed in the traditional crisis strategy.

Second, McIntyre handled all media interviews and refused to put the leadership on television. This was to avoid the CEO and the video being played side-by-side. Lastly, Domino’s fought to have the video removed from YouTube. Though a long and tedious process, most of the clips have been taken down. However, with a pending lawsuit and the Web’s eternal nature, the video may still find its way to the surface.

Due to the program’s popular demand, McIntyre will be returning to present for the PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference. Be sure to check out the conference program for a detailed schedule of events.

A penny for your thoughts

By Thomas Tryban, APR

“Public opinion is everything.” – Abraham Lincoln

In the coming months, the PRSA-Detroit E-Bulletin team will take the 16th President’s words to heart.

Newsletter readers will receive – via e-mail – a short survey, querying them on subjects such as: frequency of readership, least and most favorite article topics, and writing styles.

“For many, the newsletter has been an important part of not just their PRSA membership, but also of their careers,” says E-Bulletin co-editor Schanel Moses. “As those jobs change and grow, we have to make sure the E-Bulletin keeps up with them. The survey is one way to find out how we can do that.”

The survey is expected to be e-mailed to all PRSA-Detroit members by the end of February.

Thanks to two of our PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference sponsors

DTE LogoDTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, coal and gas midstream, unconventional gas production and energy trading.

Marx Layne LogoMarx Layne helps clients develop and deliver key messages, maximize positive coverage in traditional and online media, handle crisis communications, orchestrate special events, initiate opportunities and facilitate partnerships. We combine the most effective strategies to help clients enhance brand equity, create credibility, sell products and services, shape public opinion and solidify relationships with consumers and other stakeholders. Our entrepreneurial mindset has earned Marx Layne the reputation for creating results-focused marketing strategies that cut through the clutter, reach specific targeted audiences and generate cost-effective, positive, measurable outcomes.

Worth Noting

Photo of Jeff CaponigroJeff Caponigro, APR, Fellow PRSA, inducted into the
Central Michigan University Journalism Hall of Fame

Jeff Caponigro, APR, Fellow PRSA and President and CEO of Caponigro Public Relations Inc. in Southfield and Tampa, Fla., was recently inducted into the Central Michigan University Journalism Hall of Fame in recognition of his many career achievements. In addition to his 30 years in the PR-agency business, earning his accreditation and being named to the PRSA College of Fellows, he is the author of The Crisis Counselor: A step-by-step guide to managing a business crisis, which is published in five languages and used around the world.

Christina Camilli-Whisenhunt joins University of Michigan School of Kinesiology

Christina Camilli-Whisenhunt has joined the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology as a shared appointment with the U-M Bone & Joint Injury Prevention & Rehabilitation Center (the Center) in marketing and communications. Since Aug. 2008, she has developed internal and external communication strategies and tactics to increase awareness about injury prevention and musculoskeletal health and foster a positive image for the Center. In her additional role in Kinesiology, she will be working to enhance the school’s external image through new marketing and communications programs and projects.

Welcome new members!

Peter Howell
Magnify Branding and Creative Services

Katie Marroso

Rebecca White


January 28 – Checking the vitals on health care, 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, 6777 West Maple Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48322

February – STAY TUNED: Train the Media Trainer: How to help your spokespeople become exquisite during any interview. A discussion with five-time EMMY® award winner Shawne Duperon (date, time and location TBD)

April 22 – PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference – Rock Financial Showplace 46100 Grand River, Novi, MI 48374