February 2017 Print

President's Message

Dear Fellow PRSA Members,

Credibility—what does it mean to you? What does it mean to your stakeholders? Do stakeholders trust your organization? Do they trust the information you deliver to be transparent and accurate, or beneficial to their decision-making processes? These are important answers to discover as we catapult into our initiatives for 2017.

Our strategic approaches to reach stakeholders must continue to reflect our audiences’ constant shift of information sources. This can be difficult in environments where stakeholders consume information in a vacuum—a vacuum crowded with like-minded messaging, outdated content, false information and misleading headlines.

Further, humans now have an attention span shorter than a goldfish, rendering communication theories—such as Schoenfeld’s 30-3-30—upon which we’ve learned to build our messaging platforms unusable.

So … how do we adapt? How do we stay relevant and improve the value we bring forward to our leadership teams? Our 2017 programming will explore these questions and more. Our program topics are designed to address hot trends in our industry, while elevating your strategic thinking and building upon your tactical skillsets.

Our February program with crisis expert Chris Lukach, president of Anne Klein Communications Group, touched on the shifting paradigm of news consumption. Consumers increasingly are fueled with content supporting confirmation bias. Further, fake news—while it has always existed in the form of satire—is presenting as a problem we need to address because the level of critical thought our audiences are applying is decreasing.

On March 21, we’ll explore the race for relevance when we welcome renowned PR expert Deirdre Breakenridge, an international keynote speaker who will share her insights working with PR executives to educate them on her shifting PR hybrid model. Professionals have the opportunity to learn new competencies, raise the bar for PR in their organizations, secure a permanent position at the strategy table and change PR’s image from cost center to profit center. Register early and, in addition to discounted registration, you’ll be entered into a raffle to win one of Deirdre’s books.

This is just a taste of what’s to come this year. Have other programming ideas of interest to you? Email us at programming@philly.org. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Yours in PRSA,

Kim Nissen
President, PRSA Philadelphia

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Welcome New Members

PRSA Philly extends a warm welcome to the following new members who joined us in January:

Dana Melia – Strategic Communications Professional, Exelon Corp
Mary Anna Rodabaugh – Associate Member – Corporate Communications Manager, Holy Redeemer Health System
Stacey Kaspin Cohen
Leslie Wojcik – SEI
Merida Straubel
James Moock, III – Senior Vice President, Gregory FCA
Alexander Nye - Senior Vice President, Gregory FCA
Karyn Piechule - Associate Vice President, Gregory FCA
Railia Leah Sophia Katsanis – Gregory FCA
Amy Lash – Senior Account Executive, Gregory FCA
Brittany Liberatore – Vice President, Gregory FCA
Tony Catinella – Senior Account Executive, Gregory FCA
Marissa Foy Comerford – Associate Vice President, Gregory FCA
Benjamin Thomas Cooper – Gregory FCA
Kerry Davis – Vice President, Gregory FCA
Lauren Claire Davis – Vice President, Gregory FCA
Kimberly Ann Harmson – Vice President, Gregory FCA
Florence Laumanamea Brown, MPA – Director of Communications, Coordinated Health

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Calendar of Events

The Race for Relevance: Embracing the Evolving Roles in PR

March 21, 2017
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
 Add to Calendar

Slice Communications
234 Market Street, Fourth Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106

5:30-6 p.m. Networking with Deirdre Breakenridge 
6-7:15 p.m. Presentation
Book signing to

There’s a race for relevance in PR. Taking the lead in the race are the PR professionals who embrace evolving roles by learning new skills and competencies. They are taking on different responsibilities, growing professionally and creating more impact in their organizations. Whether you work at an agency, in-house, a non-profit or in government, PR has expanded. There is more opportunity and it is time for you to win the race.

Deirdre Breakenridge, CEO of Pure Performance Communications, international keynote speaker and author of the book Public Relations and Social Media, has been working with PR executives, educating them on her shifting PR hybrid model. There are several new PR practices, moving PR out of its silo, connecting your work with other areas of an organization. Professionals have the opportunity to learn new competencies, raise the bar for PR in their organizations, secure a permanent position at the strategy table and change PR’s image from cost center to profit center.

Event attendees who want to win the race for relevance will learn to evolve their roles into several new practices, which include:

  • PR Tech Tester who knows social media technologies facilitate deeper relationships.
  • COMMS Organizer who uncovers important intelligence and learns to use a mix of media to engage audiences.
  • Relationship Analyzer who uses visualization tools to better understand the influencers and to build relationships through new channels.
  • Pre-Crisis Doctor who does not wait to be called into a crisis, but who knows how to head off crisis escalation.
  • Master of the Metrics who is no stranger to the numbers not only proving value but also helping to improve decision making through data analysis.


Join Breakenridge for a discussion that looks at PR differently and takes the PR person of the past forward. Learn to tackle new challenges, navigate changing media, become more intimate with customers, uncover new insights and intelligence, and create stronger relationships with important constituents.

Enjoy complimentary cocktails and snacks while networking with Breakenridge and fellow attendees at 5:30 p.m. The presentation will take place from 6-7:15 p.m. with a book signing to follow.

PRSA members are encouraged to register early (by March 10) to receive a discounted rate and the chance to win one of Breakenridge's books: Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional.

Final registration closes on Friday, March 17.


$45.00 Member
$30.00 Earlybird rate before March 10
$55.00 Non-member

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Submit Your Agency or Independent Consultancy

PRSA Philly is inviting members who operate independent practitioners and agencies to submit information about their offerings. The information will be used to create an online directory for individuals seeking PR recommendations and inquiring about service offerings. 

Please submit your information here:  PRSA Philly Form

*We do not have a save and return feature for submissions. Updated or modified information will have to be submitted as a new entry.

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2017 PR Institute

PRSA Philly’s annual PR Institute is now registering participants for the Spring session 
(April 4 – June 6)

The PR Institute is an eight-week advanced training program to keep up-and-coming professionals in tune with industry tools and trends. The program is ideal for professionals working at an agency, corporation or nonprofit as well as transitioning professionals looking to break into the public relations field.

This is real experience, leading to real opportunities. Participants compete on mock-agency teams to create and pitch an integrated communications plan to an actual client. On a parallel path, participants attend two-hour educational sessions taught by leading industry practitioners.

For a 2017 interest package or questions, please email: prinstitute@philly.org.

To register, visit PRSA Philly’s website: Philly.org/PR_Institute.

PRSA Members: $250

Non-members: $350 

Registration closes April 1, 2017
(or when sold out)

Committee Chair: Melanie Wright, prinstitute@philly.org

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Call for Judges: 2017 Prism Awards

PRSA Philly is seeking volunteers to help judge Central Ohio PRSA Chapter's 2017 PRism Awards. This cross-collaboration helps make each Chapter's awards program a success.

Judging will take place from  March to April. Members interested in volunteering should email admin@philly.org for more infmormation.

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Meet the Media Q&A

By Carnelita Slaughter, public relations assistant at DDCWorks and PRSA Philly Communications Committee member.

The PRSA Communications Committee caught up with Danya Henninger, Culture Editor at Billy Penn. Danya has contributed writing and photography to the Philadelphia Inquirer, All About Beer, Vice, Draft, Philly Beer Scene and Edible Philly, and was a restaurant critic for the Courier-Post and New Jersey Monthly.

1) Tell us about your background.

I never expected to become a journalist. I grew up in NYC, Manhattan and attended Brown with the goal of getting a Biochem degree. I met my husband, moved to New Jersey and started a business. Then came the crash of 2008. Thanks to early Twitter, I got keyed into the suddenly surging Philly food and drink scene, and I started writing about drinks for a friend’s blog. In 2010 I was hired as Zagat Philly’s first online editor, and in 2012 I became the editor of Drink Philly/The Drink Nation. I began freelance writing also in 2013, with placements in Inquirer, Philly Beer Scene, Edible Philly and All About Beer. I started a weekly column at Philly.com in 2014 and became a South Jersey restaurant critic for the Courier-Post newspaper later that year. When Billy Penn launched in 2015, I started freelancing for them, too, then got hired part-time as a weekend editor. In 2016, Billy Penn hired me full-time as culture editor, and I’ve mostly given up freelancing. This was the first salaried job I’ve ever held!

2) What does it mean for reporters working at Billy Penn to be a mobile first platform?

Our site was built from the ground-up to be mobile-friendly. That means no annoying pop-up ads, and also no multi-page slideshows – which figures into how we do stories with lots of photos. Instead of sections, our homepage is a mobile-friendly stream, which we populate with our own articles and curated links from other sources. Our method is “write the best, link to the rest” – we don’t aggregate (we don’t rewrite others’ stories without new info or reporting) – and that’s driven by our mobile-first design.

3) Is there a difference in how you cover/approach stories as an editor vs. reporter?

The first steps of thinking about a story are the same whether it’s one I’m reporting or just assigning as an editor. What’s the angle? Who is the audience? What voices should the story include? Which stats and sources will be important? Then it splits. As a reporter, you do reporting – calling people, researching background, sitting for interviews, taking photos, scanning for social media reactions. Only then do you sit down and figure out a structure for your piece – sometimes that happens as you’re writing. As an editor, once you have a draft from a reporter, you first check for thorough reporting and research. Then you look at the organization of the written story, and often make suggestions about what would make a catchier lead or what is too much exposition. Occasionally you jump in and do a bit of rewriting yourself. 

4) You've worked for traditional outlets like the Philadelphia Inquirer and non-traditional outlets like Vice, are there any unique opportunities that come with reporting for non-traditional outlets vs. traditional ones? Should PR pros approach the two outlets differently?

The difference between “traditional” and “nontraditional” news outlets is shrinking smaller and smaller each day. But it still does exist. If you’re pitching the Inky, for example, something dealing with obscenities would be sold on its shock value, and you know you won’t ever get a curse word in the headline. For a non-legacy outlet, it’s the opposite. Put the curse/shocking thing front and center and pitch it on solidarity with readers. The same advice applies for a story with a social media focus. Legacy outlets are going to want to explain it, while newer publications will want to just push the trend forward.

5) You're also a photographer; do you have any tips for PR pros on photography duty at events?

No photo at all is better than one that’s blurry or too dark. However, beware of flash, especially on phone cameras – it’s ok for people shots, but do not use it for food or product close-ups. Make sure to shoot both horizontal and vertical pics if you plan to send them out (i.e. hold the phone sideways sometimes). If shooting food, the best angles are directly overhead or directly from the side, not some in-between angle. If shooting crowds, make sure there is not a shiny bald head in the foreground.


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Events in Review

By Brian Price, senior associate at Anne Klein Communications Group and PRSA Philly Communications Committee member.

Reputation Management in the Attention-Deficit Age

“We don’t have a problem with fake news. We have a problem with critical thinking.”

On February 22, 2017, Chris Lukach, president of Anne Klein Communications Group in Mount Laurel, led PRSA Philly’s February program, “Reputation Management in the Attention-Deficit Age,” with this very premise. Fake news, Lukach said, is just a modern form of the ancient custom of satire. Why now, then, are communicators bemoaning fake news and its rise? Because the media landscape is the most fertile it has ever been. Nearly half of consumers consider social media a primary news source; nearly eight in 10 millennials say the same. Nearly six in 10 Facebook users claim to have shared content (thereby giving said content a boost of validity) without actually having clicked through to read and, more important, to validate the content. Oh, and in 2015, the attention span of a human (8.25 seconds) officially dipped below that of a goldfish (nine seconds). The media landscape is forcing consumers to consume media not to be informed, but to be validated.

Communicating in the attention-deficit age, Lukach said, is about being mindful of how the audience responds not just to the content, but to the channel of communication. Facebook, for example, is increasingly shown to be a venue to build tribes and communities and not for proper information dissemination. For communicators, there’s a need to connect with your audiences both emotionally and logically; the challenge in today’s landscape is knowing when to use which, and to be deliberate in your efforts.

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Don't Miss These On-Demand Webinars From PRSA

FREE PRSA Webinars


11 Deadly Presentation Sins

Category: Techniques & Tactics

On-Demand, available until April 8, 2017

Register here

Solid presentation skills can help PR pros win new business, gain approval for projects and budgets, rally teams, motivate employees and better position themselves as industry and community leaders. Yet, even professional communicators can succumb to the worst sins of public speaking, from listless delivery to lackluster content, from meandering stories to mundane visuals. In this engaging and information-packed session from PRSA National, you’ll receive practical techniques to overcome the deadliest of presentation sins. You’ll also learn how to:

  • Analyze and understand your audience’s needs and concerns.
  • Focus and structure content.
  • Find, shape and tell more powerful stories.
  • Communicate with emotion to win hearts and change minds.
  • Create more compelling visuals.
  • Ignore common body language myths and focus on what matters.


Cut Through the Clutter
Make Every Piece You Write Easier to Read and Understand

Category: Techniques & Tactics

On-Demand, available until March 10, 2017

Register here

Is your copy easy to read? According to communication experts, that’s one of the two key questions people ask to determine whether to read a piece – or toss it. You’ll leave this session with “the numbers” you need to measurably improve your copy’s readability. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Apply a seven-step system for making every piece you write clearer and more concise.
  • Use a cool tool (you probably already have it, but you might not know it) to measurably improve your message’s readability.
  • Drastically condense your copy using the fastest, most effective approach.
  • Hit the right targets. How long is too long for your paragraphs? Your sentences? Your words?
  • Increase reading by hitting one key on your keyboard more often.


Anatomy of a News Release
Tap current best practices, from lead to boilerplate

Category: Techniques & Tactics

Live March 16, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
On-Demand, available March 23 through April 7

Are you building a compelling foundation for your PR pieces? Or are you still using structural techniques you learned when you were 19? In this webinar, you’ll learn to use a structure that’s been proven in the lab to grab readers’ attention, keep it for the long haul and leave a lasting impression. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Decide between triangles, boxes or lists: Choose a structure that increases readership, engagement and sharing.
  • Steal a trick from the New York Times: Trade in your bloated fact packs for snappy synthesis leads.
  • Build a better benefits lead with our fill in the blanks approach.
  • Avoid PR 101 leads: It’s time to move on to a more effective approach.
  • Beat the boilerplate blues: Here’s one way to stay off The Bad Pitch Blog.


10 Future Trends Corporate Communicators Need to Know NOW
Lead Your Corporation Into the Next Era of Effective Internal and External Communications

Category: Communication Strategy

On-Demand, available until November 4, 2017

Register here

Corporate communications is undergoing significant change. Major influencers include the expanding global marketplace, shifting demographics, digital technology and other forces. Corporate communicators can play a vital role in helping their organizations not only adapt, but rise above the competition. In this webinar, you will:

  • Learn how to leverage visual storytelling and video, rather than relying on the traditional written content that’s still widely used in corporate environments.
  • Learn how to integrate and measure social media in impactful and meaningful ways.
  • Understand global and diversity perspectives among internal and external audiences.
  • Discover how to identify and leverage smart data vs. big data.
  • Learn how to best address the continuous blurring of media with the creation of content for shared, earned and paid media.

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Best of the PRSA Philly Blogroll

Best of PRSA Philly PR Blogroll

A round-up of the posts you can't miss from Philly blogs. Have a useful blog post that gives our members insight on how to be better PR professionals? Email chapterchat@philly.org for consideration in this column.

Want to learn what the Philadelphia PR world has been talking about this month? Here are some great articles from PRSA colleagues:

“The days of distributing your press release through a wire service and hoping for the best are long gone. It takes research and strategy to get your news covered and one of the most important steps is to make sure you are sending your pitch to the right reporters.”

“The public relations industry is rapidly changing and we must recognize it. This change is primarily being driven by the continuous decline of print journalism, the shift to digital media and the evolving world of social media and digital communications.”

New Year. New Trends. We’re two months into the new year and the team at Slice Communications have been correct in predicting 2017’s social media trends. Are you up-to-date on the latest developments?

While the post focuses on giving advice to recent college graduates, anyone who is currently looking for a new job can benefit from the tips provided in this blog.

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