If Jack O’Dwyer’s journalistic credentials were ever in question before, let all doubt be removed with his recent flurry of scandal-mongering.
Responding to PRSA’s thorough documentation of O’Dwyer’s unethical behavior and rationale for his lack of press credentials at the latest PRSA International Conference, O’Dwyer has ramped up his campaign against the organization and is now incorporating students in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
Unlike Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who have taken an objective approach to covering the US Government in their careers, Jack O’Dwyer is much more like Statler and Waldorf – the comical gadflies on the Muppets who criticize the performers no matter what they do.
It’$ All About the Benjamin$
The economic backbone of O’Dwyer’s operation is, like much of the traditional media, based on “eyeballs” (ie subscribers, traffic to his website, etc). In order for it to be financially-viable, O’Dwyer needs to be perceived as being an important figure in the public relations industry where his trade is plied, and to have attention-grabbing material to write about. Read more…
O’Dwyer’s repeated unethical and illegal behavior forced the organization to take the step of refusing to issue him press credentials (the evidence against O’Dwyer and the rationale for the move are detailed eloquently in this blog post by PRSA). Here’s my favorite part of their response to his complaints about not being allowed in:
“Mr. O’Dwyer is an activist, and he has the right to be one. But much like the author of the “Sprint Really Sucks”blog would not be invited to attend the annual meeting of Sprint shareholders, so, too, does PRSA have the right to deny access to an activist who harasses our employees, volunteers and business partners.”
- (Arthur Yann, ‘Aren’t You Tired Of It By Now Too?’, October 26th 2011)
So O’Dwyer became a one-man flashmob, posting himself outside the entrance to the assembly with a fistful of papers (some of which looked like a list of names that were being checked). I took the opportunity to shoot this video of O’Dwyer camped in the public space outside the assembly so that people could get an idea of how he conducts himself:
Regarding the comments O’Dwyer made on the phone and his generally-unprofessional conduct:
- The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) invited O’Dwyer to resign his membership.
- Vendors clearly have no problem with PRSA’s decision, nor do they have any problems accessing O’Dwyer to mug for the camera as these examples show:
- Example 1: (Sidebar: This is one of my favorite videos of all time as it shows how completely out-of-step O’Dwyer is with the rest of the world – he’s asked to defend his position that public relations people should never be allowed to interact directly with the public (because they apparently have special communication powers that make it an inherently unfair situation. No lie – he actually believes that – it’s one of his many criticisms of PRSA.)
- Example 2
- Example 3
- As I mentioned in the video – if O’Dwyer wanted to find out what was going on in the conference, the hashtags #prsadelegates and #prsa_leaders carried unfiltered discussion about each moment of the 2011 Assembly directly from the attendees. Unfortunately Mr. O’Dwyer is the journalistic equivalent of a coelacanth (something you believe is extinct until you actually encounter one in the wild) and isn’t a very skilled user of social media.