PR - On the cutting edge?By John Sugg, VICE PRESIDENT FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS
Try as we might, there is still difficulty in describing or writing a job description for the local chapter public relations man. We know that every chapter that amounts to anything has one or more such men in their membership. Why, then, is there such a paucity of entries in the annual PROTY contest? Should we be concerned about it, and if so what do we need to do?
First of all, it takes a great deal of time and energy to go back over the efforts of the past year and dig up correspondence, newspaper clippings, programs, etc., and compile it for a submission to the PROTY contest. But on the other hand I never heard of a good PR person who was not an extrovert. There shouldn't be any hesitation by anyone to submit an overview of the past year's (or one single event) activities. Not only will it give the individual a chance to review his work, but also it will help in planning for the next year. Additionally, after the entry is submitted, he can expect a commentary from the judges, possibly with suggestions or ideas that will enhance his efforts. Others may also publicize his innovations and/or new ideas for use. It is simply not possible to derive a point system for judging PR. The basic rule for judging should not consider the success of any program based on money raised, quartets involved, or other benefits to the local chapter. PR should be judged by the impact that is accomplished in preaching the gospel - acquainting the general public with barbershop harmony. Sometimes a project that does not succeed as a project will still touch a large number of people and increase the awareness of our unique existence.
Let me urge every local chapter member who considers himself doing public relations, submit an entry in the PROTY contest. There are two categories, one for the yearlong effort in 1999, the second for a one-time event. Because of the preparation time you need, your district chairman will be able to accept all entries until May 1, 2000. If you do not know your district chairman, check our website www.harmonize.com/probe/ Each entry will be returned to you in its entirety, along with comments from the judges. Winners will be announced during the annual meeting in Kansas City at the time of the International convention of the Society in July.