Global PR Bloggers Self-Organize

Global PR Blog Week 2.0 is September 19 -23,2005 at a computer near you.

50-60 bloggers from 7 countries will develop the 2nd Global PR week, on the new PR Wiki for five days, Sept. 19-23. Topics are being finalized now. The event is coming together rapidly and with some urgency as the PR blogosphere has changed dramatically since 1.0 a year ago, July 12-16, 2004. The intent was to have 2.0 on the one year anniversary of 1.0. I started contributing to the group shortly before then. It became clear that this event required added coordination and effort; the number of PR bloggers has quadrupled since this time last year.

Committees are emerging. We take a survey vote on bigger decisions. We have forceful discussions about how to “steer” the event for the benefit of the reader while still maintaining open standards in the spirit of blogging. Our dialogue and all supporting background on 1.0 and 2.0 is available through TheNewPR/Wiki , maintained by the inimitable Constantin Basturea (PR meets the WWW) who keeps the technological universe of this endeavor arranged so we don’t spin apart.

Based on how we are coming together and the depth of talent involved I have no doubt that we will present compelling, timely, valuable content for the event. Our real challenge will be determining how to deliver it and in what structure. My interest is in how a group this large, so spread out, who have never met each other, come together to define and produce an event that will probably never have clear definition until, maybe, after it occurs. Pretty spooky. This feels like Howard Rheingold “mob blogging” kind of stuff.

You’ll be reading a lot about the event as it develops here and on blogs of contributors and observer/participants.

eKetchum Speaks … finally

Adam Brown of eKetchum has been barraged with inquiries from PR bloggers since Ketchcum publicly announced its “Personalized Media” practice (I have been one of them). Ketchum doesn’t have its own blog or RSS, how could it advise on blogging, RSS and SEO, is the most common complaint. Brown gave an interview to prominent PR blogger Jeremy Peppers to address these issues. But the questions keep coming.

From the perspective of a PR professional who has worked for large and small agencies, I empathize with Brown. He does an excellent job of defining Kethum’s position in the new practice, and he clearly defines the challenges of blogs, RSS and SEO in the context of PR. He doesn’t give many details but why should he? Ketchum has its clients and their own methodology to protect and Browns job is to serve the firm’s clients, not eat up non-billable time answering pesky PR bloggers. Sometimes the best PR strategy is not to respond.

Online communication is a new frontier for public relations. Agencies are learning how to negotiate the line between transparency and openness and serving their clients best interests and protecting the proprietary methods of the firm. PR people have traditionally operated behind the scenes. Now, Brown and others are being forced to step out to explain themselves and their methods. It’s a tricky business. One wrong statement and Brown could lose his job and damage the firm. Of course he needs to proceed very carefully.

See Mark Rose Bio

Ketchum Speaks … sort of

Ketchum PR took a lot of heat for its less than stellar entry into the blogoshere. Kethum promoted its new Personalized Media practice as a way for clients to understand and use blogs, search engine optimization (SEO) and really simple syndication (RSS) in the PR mix. Kethum was immediately attacked by hordes of bloggers who were offended that Kethum did not have a blog or RSS of its own – how could they understand what they do not use?

True enough. The Ketchum podcast on blogs, RSS and SEO is generic and pedestrian at best (personally, I fail to understand how blogs, SEO and RSS intersect in the PR mix). If Ketchum has any special insight into the blogosphere they are not sharing it. Further, Ketchum’s response to blogger inquiries has perpetuated its bad PR.

Constantin Basturea’s blog PR meets WWW has become the central forum for Adam Brown, Ketchum’s “Personalized Media” group leader, and influential PR bloggers to hash it out. As of now, Brown is remaining mum until his interview with PR blogger Jeremy Pepper is published.

A note of caution to PR agencies looking to capitalize on online communication — how Ketchum handles criticism within the PR blogger community could effect the success of its Personalized Media offering. Brown has been on the defensive and so far refuses to admit that Ketchum stumbled in its entry into the “personalized media” space. This story will continue …See Mark Rose Bio

Citizen Journalism In Action


I published my first piece on OhMyNews, a Korean Internet news source that is pioneering “citizen-journalism.”

OhMyNews employs 50 staff reporters and editors plus 38,000 citizen reporters who submit app. 200 stories a day. Much of the professional staff time is spent on editing and fact checking these stories before they are posted.

I wrote my piece on the London bomb blasts late last night. I got an immediate response from an editor in Seoul. I emailed graphics and background. This morning I see the story on the front page of the web site, with some additional info added by the editor.

The story was selected for the main page, top (above the fold in print terms), and earns me 20,000 won in cybercash, app. $20 US. OhMy! – you won’t rake in the bucks like Carl Bernstein but the system works. | See Mark Rose Bio

London & New York, Survivors

A few days ago I posted an item, below, congratulating London on the Olympics. The tone invoked typical New York chauvenistic brio – take the Olympics, please. Within 24 hours, after bombs blew up a bus and ripped through subways in London, the post seemed insensitive and inappropriate. News moves fast.

I walked through the New York City streets for hours the day of the London blast. Security was obviously tightened. My brother called from California. “You afraid to go in the subway?” he asked. I laughed, probably the same reaction you would get from a Londoner to that question. The City seemed quieter, in solidarity, although no less determined.

We are seeing a lot of photos of the London blasts taken with cell phone cameras. The BBC posted photos that were sent in by citizens. Once again we are reaching beyond traditional news sources for information, visuals and “feelings” attached to a tragedy.

An Italian graphic artist named dario.agosta blogged this at londonstands.blogspot.com:

To me, London tube is a major symbol of London, and its identity is a major symbol of what good graphic design should be.

…none of us can really feel he or she is safe and sound from what happened in London yesterday, or from what happened in Madrid last year, or from what happened in New York in 2001, or from what happened and still is happening in occupied countries. None. Of. Us.

But, what can I really do (apart from quitting writing such drivel ?). Good point, gosh. I am a designer, I design bloody things.

So there you are.

Echoed from across the Atlantic: New York Stands. Unafraid. See Mark Rose Bio