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‘Democratic’ PRSA Petition Gains Some Traction; Will It Be Enough to Force Change?

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In early May, a group of PR industry executives, including Edelman CEO Richard Edelman, started a petition to “democratize’ the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

The petition calls on PRSA to to remove accreditation — known as APR — as a requirement for being a national director or officer in the organization.

While the group is seeking 1,000 names for the petition, only 329 have signed up so far.


However, as O’Dwyer’s reports, 65 members of the exclusive Arthur Page Society, including PR executives from General Electric, Chevron, Intel, Wal-Mart, United Airlines, Levi Strauss and United Airlines, have added their names to the petition.

The Page Society, a small group of the top communications executives in the U.S., is now being led by Julia Hood, former publishing director and editor-in-chief of PRWeek.

Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2010 Chair and CEO of PRSA, said in a statement to PRNewser at the time the petition launched:

PRSA’s current Board of Directors has not taken any position in support of or against the proposed amendment. Individual Board Members, like all Delegates to the PRSA Assembly, will be free to vote in favor of or against the amendment, as they determine.

If the petition does in fact change accreditation, it could lead to large changes at PRSA, which is now currently run only by those with the APR title. The reaction from PRSA accredited members to PRNewser’s first report on the petition was mostly negative. Natalie Ghidotti, APR, and owner of Ghidotti Communications, said in a comment to the report:

Every time I see this issue come up, I see Richard Edelman’s name. When people who are promoting this idea of “non-APR” directors, they always bring up Richard Edelman. What I’m truly, truly curious about is why Edelman doesn’t have his APR. I’m pretty sure he could take the test with his eyes closed, and, yes, he’s an extremely busy professional, but aren’t we all?

Some in the industry have also said to PRNewser that they expected to see more than 329 names on the petition after two months in circulation.

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