August 2014



Next at IABC Fort Worth ...
Make Your Writing Sing

Author-writing teacher Carmen Goldthwaite knows how to accomplish this with simple literary techniques that can dramatically alter the fiction/
nonfiction writer’s narrative voice, and attendees at this month’s IABC meeting will have a better idea how, too, before they even get back to the car.

Goldthwaite is a seventh-generation Texan who combines her love of writing with passing on the skills she has developed over “a few” decades. She teaches in SMU’s creative writing program and also conducts small-group classes in her home. After teaching a few years in TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication, she was named writer-in-residence in its Texas Center for Community Journalism.

Earlier, her investigative reporting led to statewide awards and to syndication with Scripps Howard News International. She has longtime affiliations with SPJ, Western Writers of America, Investigative Reporters & Editors, the Texas Press Association and Texas State Historical Association.

“We write for the ear as much as for the eye. Seduce the reader,” she says, “with techniques that add to the rhythm, the music of words, the mood and the pictures we want to convey.” There you have it: Writing that sings.

Time & date: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26
Place: Texas Star Conference Centre, 1400 Texas Star Parkway, Euless
Cost: members $25, nonmembers $30, students $20; online add $1,
walk-ins without a reservation add $5; lunch included


Defamation and Invasion of Privacy: What Communicators Must Know

What kinds of statements create exposure for a claim for defamation?   Everyone has heard about invasion of privacy, but what is it really, in a legal context?

Fort Worth trial attorney Laura Elkind will discuss the basics of defamation and invasion of privacy at the next PRSA meeting. More importantly, she will address how to avoid these claims altogether.

Elkind is an experienced commercial litigator and trial attorney with more than 20 years of experience in both state and federal courts in Texas.

Time & date: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13
Place: Colonial Country Club, 3735 Country Club Circle, Fort Worth
Cost: chapter members $25, national members $30, nonmembers $35, students $20; walk-ups add $5


Next at Fort Worth SPJ ...
No meeting this month. Activities will resume with customary vigor in September.



Former journalist Scott Morgan, now a professional writer, editor and creative writing teacher, has this rousing talk about talk — “You Talkin’ to Me? How to Write Better Dialogue in Your Fiction” — and he’ll give it at the next Writers’ Guild of Texas meeting, 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18, at the Richardson Public Library. What makes for good dialogue, what makes for bad dialogue, and what do the words your characters speak actually convey? Morgan knows, from writing "Character Development from the Inside Out," an Amazon bestselling guide to better characters; "How to be a Whiny Beeyotch: 71 Writing Excuses Meet the Back of My Hand," a motivational guide for writers; and “Stories My Evil Twin Made Up,” a collection of short stories. More on Morgan here and on the Writers’ Guild of Texas at

IABC local update: Martha Germann, founder and CEO of the Mindful Games Institute, will discuss “Thriving Beyond Survival” — increasing productivity and having more fun along the way — at the IABC Dallas luncheon Tuesday, Aug. 12, at Maggiano’s NorthPark. Info here.  

PRSA local update: PRSA members make the news. Chapter president-elect Michelle Clark, APR, and treasurer-elect Lisa Albert have been selected to participate in Leadership Fort Worth 2014. Leadership Fort Worth contains four programs through which it engages emerging leaders, reinspires established leaders and creates meaningful civic connections. It addresses issues by promoting discussion and challenging participants to make an impact. Clark is account director for Global Prairie Integrated Marketing Communications. Albert is TCU director of strategic communications.   |   Sandra Brodnicki, APR, and John Brodnicki wrote an article for The Strategist on the shaky crisis communication plan that emerged following the disappearance March 8 of Flight MH370, a Boeing 777 carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. They interviewed TCU associate professor Amiso George, APR, Fellow PRSA, and ABC News analyst/aviation consultant John Nance for the piece. Sandra Brodnicki is president of Brodnicki Public Relations. John Brodnicki, ATP, certified flight instructor, is a veteran aviator who serves as the agency’s aviation consultant.

PRSA local update II: The 2014 Southwest District Conference is booked for the Hilton Downtown Baton Rouge Capitol Center, Oct. 29-30, with an optional excursion to New Orleans on Oct. 31. Keynoter Devin Lemoine, president of the leadership development company Success Labs, will present “Tales from the Crypt: Secrets to Managing a Successful Career and Being a HiPo,” or how to get tagged as “high potential” in an organization. Lemoine also will explain why you should “own” your professional development and the three things you can do to ensure career security. Sponsored by the PRSA Baton Rouge chapter, the conference is expected to draw attendees from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. Registration is $299 for PRSA members, $399 nonmembers, with a $50 discount through Sept. 29.
Info here.

PRSA local update III: Essentially a repeat but worth hearing again. Greater Fort Worth PRSA will offer a free boot camp for members interested in earning the Universal Accreditation Board designation accredited in public relations, or APR. Four weekly 90-minute sessions, beginning Sept. 9, will be held at TCU; accredited chapter members will guide discussions about the APR exam’s tactical and strategic content, plus offer preparation for the readiness review and online exam. Readiness reviews will be completed after the final study session. The process concludes with the required online exam at a Prometrics testing facility in Hurst or Dallas. More from accreditation co-chairs Linda Jacobson, APR, at or Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow PRSA, This year marks the 50th anniversary of the designation, which is managed by eight professional communications organizations, including PRSA.

PRSA local update IV: Standing reminders. Subscribe to the GFW PRSA blog and receive an e-mail when news, articles and upcoming events are posted. Visit, put your e-mail in the “Subscribe to our Blog” box and click subscribe. ... A job listing can be created, edited and removed directly on the DFW Communicators Job Bank site, and page view counts show the level of interest. And job seekers can push alerts for specific keywords to their personal e-mails. The job bank lists full-time, part-time and internship positions in PR, media affairs, advertising/sales, event planning, graphic design, marketing, and corporate and employee communications throughout North Texas. Employers who are members of the participating organizations may post a job for $75; the cost for nonmembers is $100, for nonprofits $50. Each posting runs a month. Greater Fort Worth PRSA receives a portion of the proceeds when a member marks his or her membership status on the submission form. More from Jerrod Resweber, GFW PRSA job bank chair, at or 469-375-0216. ... Stay on top of emerging trends and industry news, extend your network while increasing your knowledge, and keep learning and stay competitive. Any practitioner with at least two years in the field is eligible for membership in the world’s leading organization for PR professionals. Those with fewer than two years experience or who recently graduated from college and were active in PRSSA may join as an associate member. More from chapter president Richie Escovedo at

PRSA local update V: Ginger Hardage, Southwest Airlines senior VP for culture and communications, will discuss "Building a Brand from the Inside Out" at the PRSA Dallas monthly meeting Thursday, Aug. 14, at Seasons 52 at NorthPark Center. Info here.



“With the recent rash of journalists publicly admitting to inventing sources and quotes, I wasn’t surprised at my husband’s reaction to a recent story on ‘Dateline’ about a man who was turned down for a job as a police officer because he was too intelligent. … As a journalism major, I remember being amazed at the diversity of subjects required to complete my degree. … Most reporters are required to write on a wide range of topics. While they can’t be expected to be experts on all subjects, a base knowledge in a variety of subjects helps. It wasn’t that long ago that Apples were just a fruit and Windows were what you opened to let in a breeze. As a whole, I do think reporters are people with above-average intelligence. Unfortunately, we’re finding some very public cases where they didn’t choose to use it.
– then-PRSA member Beth Park, writing in the eChaser, August 1998

Americans' faith in each of three major news media platforms — television news, newspapers and news on the internet — is at or tied with record lows in Gallup's long-standing confidence in institutions trend. This continues a decades-long decline in the share of Americans saying they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in newspapers or TV news, while trust in internet news remains low since the one prior measure in 1999. Confidence in newspapers has declined by more than half since its 1979 peak of 51 percent, while TV news has seen confidence ebb from its high of 46 percent in 1993, the first year that Gallup asked this question. Gallup's only previous measure of Internet news was in 1999, when confidence was 21 percent, little different from today.
Gallup poll, June 2014


Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas update: Secrets wrapped up in lawsuits over the 2013 explosion of the fertilizer plant in West could keep valuable health and safety information hidden from the public forever. Because a judge has approved confidentiality agreements requested by attorneys, even people who live in West may never find out much more about what happened. The agreements allow both sides to label as confidential virtually all information uncovered as the lawyers prepare for trial. “I’ve read hundreds of these. I read them all the time,” said Richard Zitrin, a law professor who has testified before the U.S. Senate about secrecy in the courts. “These are some of the most outrageous examples I have ever seen. It is completely unlimited.” Details. ... Ask Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott about his record on providing the public greater access to government records and he will tell you it is one worth bragging about. But open government advocates find the transparency record of the state’s longest-serving attorney general to be quite varied, especially in light of recent rulings that kept both the locations of facilities storing dangerous chemicals and details about compounding pharmacies that produce execution drugs out of view. Details. ... The Sunlight Foundation compiled data from all 50 states on the accessibility of governors’ executive orders and found that Texas ranked among the top. The rankings are based on whether executive orders are uploaded online in a timely fashion, whether the text of the orders can be easily searched, and how long the orders are available online. Along with Texas, leading states in accessibility were Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan and Minnesota. Among the worst states were Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii and Nevada. Details. 



Community Impact Newspaper, which boasts one of the largest distributions in the country, is looking for an editor for its Katy, Texas, paper (part of the Houston metro area). ... The Victoria Advocate has an opening for a copy editor/page designer. ... The Associated Press seeks a newsperson/desk editor for its East Regional Desk in Philadelphia. ... The Victoria Advocate seeks a photo/video editor; responsible for two full-time photographers and two interns. E-mail cover letter and résumé to ... The Idaho Falls Post Register, a regional daily with 24,000 circulation of 24,000, is looking for a page designer/copy editor. E- résumé, cover letter, references and your best page design and editing samples, including alternative story forms, infographics and illustrations, to managing editor Rob Thornberry at



PRSA ... Brian Brooks, American Heart Association - Tarrant County ... Whitney Vandiver, North Central Texas Council of Governments ... Kristen Laramore, Freese and Nichols


Richie Escovedo, Greater Fort Worth PRSA

Looking back. moving forward. 2014 is half done, and I wanted to share where I believe your PRSA chapter is headed.

We're on target with monthly programming, having completed six luncheons for members and guests with five to go. We took our customary month off in July, but things rev up again Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 11:30 a.m. at Colonial Country Club as Laura Elkind, a Fort Worth trial attorney with more than 20 years of experience, discusses the basics of defamation and invasion of privacy. Details and the registration link are here.

The 3rd annual Worthy Awards highlighted excellence in strategic communication and made us all proud. Entries were down, perhaps attributable to glitches in a new online entry system. We’ll fix them. Overall, it was a positive learning experience. Anyone interested in being on the awards team for next year, let me know.

PR After Dark has been an exquisite diversion from our lunchtime programming. It’s working, so you’ll get more of it.

Be sure to read through the accreditation chairs’ plans for the APR boot camp. Speaking of professional development, let me again thank our friends at AAF Fort Worth and Social Media Club Fort Worth for working with us on an event back in March. I can’t wait to share our chapter professional development program plans in October (but to get those details early, you'll have to attend the Aug. 13 luncheon!).

The hits just keep coming. We still have ethics and diversity to explore in upcoming luncheons, among other topics, and I hope you will consider helping with a chapter community service project once the details are set.  

I continue to be impressed with the work of our committee chairs and board. Chapter members, I hope you appreciate how much effort these volunteers put in on your behalf. I'm proud to serve alongside such dedicated professionals who give of their time to keep Greater Fort Worth PRSA in motion.


Betsy Deck, IABC Fort Worth

Tired of driving from/to Fort Worth to/from Dallas or Irving or even Frisco? Highway construction seems to be everywhere you turn. In response, we are strategically scheduling meetings in different parts of town.

We’re also considering other options, including webcasting and teleconferencing. Let us know of any ideas you may have to serve our wide constituency area and to combat the unyielding traffic.

The Board of Directors is forever working on a strong slate of programs and has published our full calendar for the rest of the year. As always, we will continue to update our social media pages at Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as our website, with the latest news.

We encourage you to follow us online. I look forward to seeing you as we charge ahead!


John Dycus, Fort Worth SPJ

Condolences and gratitude to PRSA newsletter scribe Jeff Rodriguez, who late last month went to Iowa for his mother’s memorial service but before he left town met his eChaser commitment and filed a short This Month in PR History. Jeff is a true professional. And, I’m thinking, a really good son. ...

Members are encouraged to review candidates for national office, who will be elected by the SPJ membership. Click here for bios of people who have declared their candidacy. Interested? You can still run for an office. Contact nominations chair Sonny Albarado at The big annual board meeting will be held during Excellence in Journalism 2014 on Sept. 4, with the opening business session that afternoon. The electronic ballot will be e-mailed after the session’s over. Voting ends at 2 p.m. Sept. 6. ...

SPJ and 37 other journalism and open government groups have called on President Obama to stop practices in federal agencies that prevent important information from reaching the public. A letter to Obama urges changes to policies that constrict information flow to the public, including prohibiting journalists from communicating with staff without going through public information offices, requiring government PIOs to vet interview questions and monitoring interviews between journalists and sources.

Closing words: "I think I could be a good woman if I had five thousand a year."
— ambitious adventuress Becky Sharp in William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1848 classic “Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero” ... "The Romans would never have found time to conquer the world if they had been obliged first to learn Latin." — German poet Heinrich Heine