New AP Stylebook Changes

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Spring brings sprouts, sunshine, and a new AP Stylebook full of changes every serious PR writer needs to know and understand. Alysha Love, a former journalist and current member of the executive committee of ACES – The Society for Editing, joins Robert to examine the latest updates to the writer’s must-have style reference, confessing her affection for hyphens, percent signs, and composition titles.

Our Buzzer Beater player recommends a social media strategy to celebrate the 76th anniversary of the novel, “The Little Prince,” while Robert recalls watching the movie in high school, entertaining us with his 10th grade-inspired impression of the Little Prince himself. We debut a new feature called “Jason’s Tweet Time,” and find out who Sarah talked with this week on the streets surrounding the office.


White House considered dumping migrants in “sanctuary cities”

Guest: Myles Goldman

South Carolina football ordered $2k worth of pizza. They tipped the driver 5 bucks.

Trump’s “truly bizarre” visit to Mt. Vernon

A story from last year’s 75 th Anniversary of “The Little Prince:” The beloved classic novel “The Little Prince” turns 75 years old

AP Stylebook adds new umbrella entry for race-related coverage, issues new hyphen guidance and other changes

Guest: Alysha Love

Creating an account on

AP Style Quizzes

Contributor: Jason Mollica

Burger King is apologizing for its “ignorant” commercial

Contributor: Adrienne Wallace

In a bold marketing move, Lush UK breaks up with social media

Digital PR Students

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The Flack Pack visits a classroom at American University to discuss digital PR and social media with a group of rowdy students, and their professor, Jason Mollica. He gives us his advice for managing digital communications, and discusses the digital skills students bring to the PR party. Buzzer Beater history is made, despite some tough PR questions. And Robert goes undercover to serve up an April Fool’s delight: the elusive McDonald’s McPickle sandwich.


Guest: Jason Mollica

Arrested, again: Why Carlos Ghosn has been detained, what is different now?

Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes is engaged: Here’s what we know about her fiance.’

Joe Biden’s video non-apology: Weirdest campaign kickoff ever

What a pickle! McDonald’s April Fool’s Day prank backfires

White House spokesperson calls Puerto Rico “that country” twice. It’s not a country.

Justin Bieber’s April Fool’ pregnancy joke draws backlash

Peak bloom protocol: Don’t bother the blossoms

Unhealthy Holly: Baltimore mayor taking time off as children’s book deal comes under scrutiny.

Park Service looking for “genuine conversation” about protest costs.

Alysha Love

PR Per Icon Harold Burson

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Harold Burson’s career spans most of the 20th Century, and he’s not done yet. At 98, this icon of the public relations industry continues to work several days a week in his Manhattan office.

The Flack Pack recently ventured to New York City for the chance to spend a couple of hours with the man PRWeek once called “the century’s most influential PR figure.” 

In this special episode, you’ll hear Burson’s views on several current topics, including the state of the PR business, global threats to journalism, why PR people should support their media colleagues, and more.

Robert is joined by Emma Ingram, the publications editor in chief for the national office of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Together with producer Koji Wieber, they ask the questions, and reflect on them between segments.

The Buzzer Beater and Sarah Shelson’s question of the week return on Friday, April 5th.


Guest: Harold Burson

Co-host: Emma Ingram

Amazon: The Business of Persuasion

Female PR Superheroes

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Women in public relations need sponsors to help them soar to new career heights. We wrap up our celebration of Women’s History Month with two interviews, one focused on women helping each other, and one examining the history of women in the PR industry.

Crystal talks with Flack Pack contributor Gina Luttrell about the difference between a mentorship and a sponsorship. Then Jessica discusses the history of women in our business with Shelley Spector, a veteran of boardroom wars, who shares what she’s learned from more than 50 years of professional experiences.

Robert assembles an odd set of questions for this week’s Buzzer Beater contestant, and Sarah gets answers to a basic PR question from complete strangers as they walk past our offices near the White House.


“Husband from Hell”

Guest: Brandon Johnson

Jair Bolsonaro: Brazil’s firebrand leader dubbed Trump of the Tropics

Immortalize yourself in music: Have your remains pressed as a vinyl record

Guest: Dr. Tina McCorkindale

Mind the gap: Women’s leadership in public relations

Guest: Gina Luttrell

Center for Talent Innovation

Guest: Shelley Spector

Museum of Public Relations

PR's Gender Gap

Women rule the PR world everywhere except in boardrooms and front offices. In recognition of Women’s History Month, Summer talks about the latest research on this topic with Dr. Tina McCorkindale, President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations.

Robert celebrates St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a conversation about a tradition in Chicago that leaves other American cities green with PR envy; and we ask why Kermit the Frog is left off a sheet of new U.S. stamps honoring the 50th Anniversary of Sesame Street. Maybe Kermit was right when he sang “it’s not easy being green.”


In Brexit, could Ireland wear the crown?

Trump bashes airplane tech after Boeing crash: “I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot.”

Guest: Elizabeth Frenaye

Boeing faces questions about its new 737 Max jet after Ethiopia crash

Is Milwaukee really equipped to host the DNC?

U.S. stamps for Sesame Street, Tyrannosaurus rex, Halloween

Did Miss Piggy appear on Sesame Street?

Miss Piggy’s Instagram page

Guest: Dr. Tina McCorkindale

Mind the gap: Women’s leadership in public relations

Amazon: Athena Rising

2019 IPR Bridge PR and Communications Conference

Guest: Sally Daly

Here’s how the Chicago River is dyed green every year 

Amazon: The Business of Persuasion

A PESO For Your Thoughts!

How do you write your PR plans? Are they long, short, or somewhere in between? Do you use a template each time, or scratch them out on a napkin?

Writing a PR plan can be fun, tedious, and necessary all at the same time. But is there a way to make sure you’ve covered all the bases without losing your mind in the process?

Gini Dietrich, CEO of communications and marketing firm Arment Dietrich in Chicago, created the PESO model in 2014, after developing a process to streamline her own team’s planning process. She explains the PESO model, and the name!

Also, University of Maryland senior Gillian Casey competes against the buzzer this week, and holds her own against some tough PR questions; Sarah asks PR students about celebrities and companies with good and bad PR reps; and Koji and Jessica preview Flack Pack episodes yet to come.


Trump threatens retaliation after DNC’s move against Fox

House repudiates bigotry after Omar comments split Dems

This is when cherry blossoms are expected to hit peak bloom in Washington, D.C.

Why daylight saving time starts Sunday

International Women’s Day 2019: History, theme and importance

Captain Marvel is about female power – not empowerment

Guest: Gillian Casey

Michael Jackson estate drops concert film on YouTube during “Leaving Neverland” premiere

Taylor Swift is talking about politics, but why did she wait until now?

AOC Obsession

Guest: Gini Dietrich

PR pros must embrace the PESO model

Download a copy of “An introduction to the PESO model.”

Cherry Blossom PR

Public relations is not only practiced with news releases and press conferences. More than a century ago, Japan delivered a powerful message of friendship with a gift of cherry trees that today continues to speak to millions of spring-time visitors to Washington, D.C.’s Tidal Basin.

With 40 events and a world fixed on the annual arrival of the cherry blooms, the non-profit National Cherry Blossom Festival communications team has its hands full all year long. Krystle Fleetwood and Nora Strumpf are about to watch their hard work come to life, starting with a kick-off media event on March 6th. But they still made time to talk with Robert about handling the PR for one of America’s most treasured springtime routines.

Also, Summer reports on three African American PR pioneers who are among those being remembered at the Museum of Public Relations in New York City; Harold Burson recalls covering the Nuremberg war trials in Germany in 1945; the contest for an autographed copy of Burson’s book continues; and Momma Dukes plays the Buzzer Beater (Hint: She’s Jessica’s mother and herself an accomplished PR pro).


Abrupt end to Trump-Kim summit prompts sighs of relief, questions about what’s next

Why are North and South Korea divided?

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom song from the Show Tease on social media

Amazon: The Business of Persuasion

Buzzer Beater Guest: Donna Cahill

While Nike is being mocked for Zion Williamson’s shoe blowout, don’t expect long-term damage to brand

Why did it take a Lifetime TV series and a hashtag to take down R Kelly?

“Hold the date:” Trump announces July Fourth celebration

Guest: Krystle Fleetwood

Guest: Nora Strumpf

Museum of Public Relations

Inez Kaiser

Ofield Dukes

Moss Kendrix

Nuremberg War Trial radio scripts written by Harold Burson

PR pros must embrace the PESO model

Building Digital Villages

Does building an online community sound impossible? Is it worth the effort? What can you do with one after it’s built? Crystal talks with digital communications expert Kami Huyse about how to build an online community and provide the inspiration you might need to get started creating one for your project, campaign, or organization.

Also, Flack Pack contributor Gina Luttrell talks with Robert about the importance of transparency when social influencers are part of your tactical approach; a guest contestant finally slays the Buzzer Beater; Harold Burson waxes about the Cola Wars; the team makes a pitch for a Coke machine in the Flack Pack office; and the rules of an awesome contest with a cool prize are announced!


White House braces for Mueller report

Guest: Adrienne Wallace

Gucci apologizes after social media users say sweater resembles blackface

Burberry chief says it’s “deeply sorry” about noose accessory

Dems down to three possible 2020 convention host cities

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson sets date of first trip into space

Guest: Kami Huyse

How to build effective online communities

Podcast: Communities that Convert

Contributor: Gina Luttrell

IZEA 2018 State of the Creator Economy

FTC Endorsement Guides

Cola wars: A social and political history

Guest: Harold Burson

Amazon: The Business of Persuasion: Harold Burson on Public Relations

Video: I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Honest Abe's PR Lessons

Throughout history, American presidents have had to communicate – with voters on the campaign trail and constituents once elected to office. Some have been better at it than others.

In a special President’s Day Weekend episode of the Flack Pack, we hear from Laura Petrolino, a communicator with a bent for history, about the PR lessons to be learned from 16, Abraham Lincoln.

George Washington taught us to always tell the truth, although there remains some question about his sincerity given the cherry tree episode. But this week, Petrolino tells us it is Lincoln’s lessons that go to the core of what we call the public relations.

Also, Jessica catches up with a Capitol Hill comms director to discuss his experience messaging three government shutdowns in two years; the Pack delivers a singing telegram; and Honest Abe makes a Buzzer Beater cameo as a Lego mini-figure!


Apple goes for the jugular with subscription revenue deal

President Trump installed a new golf simulator at the White House, report says

Reddit gets $150 million investment; users posting memes to mock the deal

Journalism isn’t dying. It’s returning to its roots.

Summer Johnson

President Trump signs deal to avoid government shutdown

Guest: Amanda Holdsworth

Elizabeth Warren makes unannounced appearance at Native American luncheon in Washington

Why doesn’t President Trump have a pet?

Those wild star cameos in “Lego Movie 2” explained

Guest: Ben Williamson

Four communications lessons from Abraham Lincoln

Amazon: Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails

Guest: Laura Petrolino

Fyre Festival to fashion week, how do Instagram influencers make so much money?

New York Fashion Week 2019

Journo Spot Flop?

The Washington Post scrambled recently to create a Super Bowl television commercial in support of its “Democracy Dies in Darkness” campaign defending journalism and the First Amendment. But did it make a difference? Was it a waste of time and money? How many football fans paid attention to the newspaper’s serious message, airing just moments before the New England Patriots prepared to vanquish another helpless opponent?

Dr. Michelle Amazeen, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at Boston University, discusses the commercial, addresses whether it helped journalism’s cause, and tells us why PR people should share the news media’s concerns over continued attacks on their work.

Following up on the topic, Robert examines the challenges facing newsrooms with a former broadcast journalist who now teaches budding reporters attending classes at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. And Sarah Shelson quizzes PR classmates at American University about PR lessons learned from the bogus 2017 Fyre Festival.


Fake news has direct impact on real media, new research finds

Content confusion in an era of fake news

Democratic women send political message by wearing white to State of the Union

Why Trump’s zigzagging speech made perfect sense

TV anchors lunch at White House

Schoolhouse Rock “Sufferin’ Till Suffrage”

Fyre Festival YouTube Announcement

Hulu: Fyre Fraud

Netflix: Fyre documentary

Emma Ingram

Super Bowl 2019 Ratings Slip

What was Andy Warhol doing in that Burger King ad?

Dr. Michelle Amazeen

Washington Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness” Campaign

New York Times’ “The Truth Is…” Campaign

CNN “Facts First” Commercial

Journalism Needs a Political Messaging Campaign to Make Patriots Proud

Brian Rackham

NAU Media Innovation Center

Millenial Spin

With Millennials expected to surpass Baby Boomers as the largest living adult generation this year, according to the Pew Research Center, PR people everywhere would be wise to do all they can to understand this generation’s mindset.

Researchers Gina Luttrell, also a Flack Pack contributor, and Karen McGrath, have written a new book, The Millennial Mindset, to help us understand what Millennials are thinking and why they think the way they do. Presented through the public relations lens, they provide key insights that should help everyone better work with this group of people born between 1981 and 1996.

Buy the book on using the code FLACKPACK25 and save 25% off the cover price—a savings available only to Flack Pack listeners. 

Also this week, Robert gets excited to unveil the new Flack Pack Season 2 cartoon, and we meet a bunch of people who are either new to the Flack Pack, or who’ve helped it get this far: Jessica Cahill, Brian Rackham, and Don Lee.


The Millennial Mindset

Dr. Gina Luttrell

Dr. Karen McGrath

Millennials projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation

Kyrsten Snema is not just a funky dresser. She’s a fashion revolutionary.

BuzzFeed paid the teen making its top quizzes in free swag

Another cartoonist loses his job. This does not bode well for the future of newspaper cartooning.

Season 2 Cartoon

DIY PR Research

There’s no debating the value of research to the success of a PR campaign. But there can be challenges to the process that few of us want or like to admit. Sometimes clients don’t care to spend the money or take the time to understand their audience, or the problem they face. In other cases, the boss wants a solution on the street, or in the media’s hands, today. If we are honest, we all must admit we’ve been down this road. 

So what can we do about it? Dr. Tina McCorkindale is the President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, a non-profit ready to help PR pros tackle all their research challenges. In this week’s episode, she addresses this issue and offers some DIY solutions to the problem.


Dr. Tina McCorkindale

Institute for Public Relations

Best practices for the use of statistics in Public Relations

IPR Research Bootcamp info

Primer of Public Relations Research on Amazon

2019 PR Industry Predictions

The new year is underway. What is in store for PR pros? Who will drive the communications agenda this year? How does the job picture look? Will the economy continue to support growth in the industry?

Public relations icon Fraser Seitel kicks off the second season of the Flack Pack offering his predictions for our profession with an unvarnished view of what to expect in 2019.


Fraser Seitel

The Practice of Public Relations

The 12 Days of PR Christmas

As we wrap up the first year of the Flack Pack podcast, we wanted to thank our listeners with a special treat - a PR version of the 12 Days of Christmas that we wrote a few days ago.  We think it's not too bad, but we'll let you be the judge of that. Whatever you think, we're grateful this holiday season that you've tuned in every Friday to support our work, and, we hope, learn something new about PR along the way.

If nothing else, this short Christmas Eve show reinforces the notion that the Flack Pack is the best PR podcast out there, and that our flacks definitely have attitude. We'll hope to do an even better job for you when we launch our second season of the show on Friday, January 18, 2019!

Happy Holidays from the Flack Pack crew.

Robert, Crystal, Summer, Greg, and Jonathan

What Does PR Look Like in China? with Eisenhower Fellow Dr. Steven Guanpeng Dong, Ph.D.

We've talked about the digital revolution in China on Flack Pack before, but what does PR—generally speaking—look like on the other side of the world? Eisenhower Fellow Dr. Steven Guanpeng Dong shares with us the cultural and institutional differences between PR in America and PR in China. It wasn't that long ago that PR operated on a minimal level in China...and now it's ramping up, thanks to the work of Dr. Dong and his colleagues.

Dr. Steven Guanpeng Dong is the Chair Professor of Media and Public Affairs and the Provost for the Faculty of Professional Studies, Executive Programs, and Continuing Education at the Communication University of China. He is also a political scientist and communications professional, and has trained spokespersons of cabinet ministries, provincial governments, and large state-owned enterprises. As an Eisenhower Fellow, Dr. Dong met with hundreds of communications professionals in the U.S. to continue introducing new curricula and approaches to training Chinese officials and executives in communications.

What's Up with PRSSA?

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Everywhere you turn, it’s beginning to look like… the end of another semester of college. Not what you were expecting us to say? Not in school? Haven’t been a college student for how long?

That’s OK. If you’re in PR, you’re surrounded by young talent – college kids vying for a gig in public relations.

It’s a business that thrives with the help of young people, so that’s our topic this week, as we sit down with the immediate past president of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Andrew Cook.

Like you, he’s out of school too, but it wasn’t long ago that he was taking finals and looking forward to graduation.

The Flack Pack wraps up a two-week conversation about the future of the business, as students see it, and the value of PRSSA to aspiring pros still in school.

Even if you’re not a student, you’re hiring them or working with them as interns or freshly minted grads, thus knowing what’s on their minds, and how they see our work, can be helpful when they’re part of your team.

In a way, the Flack Pack is taking everyone to school even as classes are going dark for the holidays.


Public Relations Student Society of America

Andrew Cook

Student Presidents Dish PR

It’s December and if you’re a college student that means prepping for finals and dreaming about winter break.

If you’re not a college student, then you’re probably longing for those days when you could leave it all behind, hop a plane or a train, and head home for three or four weeks of sinking into a couch at your parent’s house, swaddled in the biggest blanket you can find. Those were the days!

We’ve got students on our mind this week, as we check in with a few PR overachievers to see how they’re feeling about the business, now that the semester, and the year, are set to wrap up.

We’re dishing PR with three D.C.-area PR pacesetters—Gillian Casey, Diana Ochoa, and Brandon Johnson. Each is the president of their school’s PRSSA chapter, and each is sold out on the practice of public relations.

These students are smart, plugged in, and focused. And they’re together in studio for a special end-of-the-semester edition of the Flack Pack.


Public Relations Student Society of America

American University PRSSA Chapter

Bowie State University PRSSA Chapter

University of Maryland, College Park PRSSA Chapter

Diana Ochoa

Brandon Johnson

Gillian Casey

You Have a PR Corp. Who's in it? A Social Media Week London Discussion with Rebecca Blinston-Jones, Gareth Davies, and Pippa Ellis

Flack Pack got a chance to go to Social Media Week in London! This year’s theme was “Closer." We explored the changes and impact that today’s rapid pace of technological innovation brings about, which includes social media. One discussion we had at the conference is a segment of today’s population that has some important and unique characteristics, and that uses social media pretty heavily. These individuals are called CorpSumers and they can have a big impact on brands and organizations. CorpSumers care about your values and are extremely loyal brand activists.   In this episode, Rebecca Blinston-Jones, Gareth Davies, and Pippa Ellis from MWWPR’s London office share with us why this is a part of the population that you’ll want on your side—and NOT positioned against you.  


Social Media Week London


Rebecca Blinston-Jones

Gareth Davies

Pippa Ellis

White House Turkey Photo Op

It’s Thanksgiving week, so naturally we’re talking about turkeys, the kind that visit the White House each year looking to avoid an untimely end as someone’s holiday feast.

The National Turkey Presentation is a PR bonanza for the turkey industry, with reporters lining up in the Rose Garden to report on the annual pardoning ceremony.

Abraham Lincoln spared the first bird, but his successors presumably ate the annual presidential gift until Harry Truman picked up the notion of pardoning the animal for all to see.

Today, it’s a PR event unlike any other and it comes with a Presidential seal of approval.


A White House Turkey Timeline

Angela Greiling Keane

National Turkey Federation

2017 Turkey Pardon News Release

Beth Breeding

West Wing Reports

Paul Brandus

Adam Belmar

Midterms PR Fallout with Adam Belmar, Partner at EFB Advocacy

The midterm elections are over and you’re probably relieved you’ll no longer have to suffer through a barrage of nasty television and radio ads from candidates blasting their opponents.

It’s true the political fights during prime-time TV have ended, but if you do PR, the fun is just beginning.

That’s because we’re surrounded by politics and as hard as you might try, you, your organizations or your clients may soon find yourselves swept up into a bitter political shoot-out that starts in January when Democrats take over the U.S. House and begin investigating everything under the sun.

It’ll be therapy for them, but could cause nightmares for you.

We’re talking about that happy topic this week on the Flack Pack with Adam Belmar, a veteran political rail bird who has done it all – network TV news, White House politics, and now, agency PR.


Deniers over Definers? Facebook execs make a PR mess even worse

CNN wins Round 1 in court

Adam Belmar