PRSA 2011 Assembly Flash Mob Video (Featuring Jack O’Dwyer)

This year I took a break from organizing flash mobs like I did in 2009 and 2010 and instead handed the reins over to Jack O’Dwyer, my favorite curmudgeon.

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.
Thus far the handful of advocates for journalistic access who have published content in support of O’Dwyer have demonstrated that they’re painfully ignorant of the situation they’re inserting themselves into.  Let this be a warning to any others that they may want to vet Jack O’Dwyer before itching their wagon to his and turning him into the poster child for transparency.

2 thoughts on “PRSA 2011 Assembly Flash Mob Video (Featuring Jack O’Dwyer)

  1. Jack O'Dwyer says:

    Hi Derek:

    Thanks for all this attention. I’m the subject of 18 comments on the national PRSAY website including one of mine and I’m attempting to post another one.

    No matter what you or anyone from PRSA says, there is no way they can ignore the press release sent by the National Press Club to 390 major media expressing NPC’s “disappointment” with PRSA’s boycott of the O’Dwyer Co., all its employees and any “assign,” at the national conference.

    NPC listened at length to both Art Yann and me and picked me. I marshalled all my evidence and PRSA marshall all of its evidence. The 23-pager is dust. It always was because no one from PRSA would present the charges to me in person. They all avoid me or run away just like your “Flash Mob” did at the 2010 conference.

    I hope you will allow me this reply. PRSA national allowed me on its PRSAY section Friday Oct. 28.




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