Next at IABC Fort Worth ...
No meeting this month, but stay tuned — website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — for info on February.


On the Front Lines of Communication

The American Red Cross mobilized more than 14,000 trained disaster workers, 90 percent of them volunteers, to the Northeast United States to assist people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Nearly 3,000 workers remain on the job, providing food, water, shelter and relief supplies. A big part of that job is coordinating timely and accurate communications in the communities involved.

Phil Beckman, for the last eight years a public affairs volunteer with the Red Cross’ North Texas Region, will share lessons from his experiences on the front lines of communication at the January PRSA meeting.

Beckman is a Northwest ISD Partners in Education specialist, and before that he was the interim marketing and communications officer for the American Red Cross Chisholm Trail Chapter. He served the Burleson ISD as public relations assistant/webmaster and later as public information officer. He worked for the Star-Telegram for more than 11 years.

Time & date: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9
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 ...
Plans are percolating. Likely topic: blogging.



The next Writers’ Guild of Texas meeting (7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, Richardson Public Library) will explore the creativity-tapping skill C.L. Talmadge uses to produce 80,000-word novels in months instead of years. Talmadge also employs this skill to generate ideas for novels, and she will engage attendees in exercises to help them tap into their own creative flow. Come with questions, expect answers. A professional writer since 1976, Talmadge began her writing career reporting for, among others, Business Week, D Magazine, The New York Times and Forbes. In 1989 she started providing services to corporations, consultants, authors and companies in real estate, energy and financial services.  •  Third-Monday early-birds: Feb. 18, David Haynes, “The New Landscape for Publishing and Marketing Your Work”; April 15, Wendi Pierce, “The Anatomy of a Writer’s Blog”; May 20, Kim Jackson, “The Gumption of Assumption: Dissolving the Barriers between Writers and Audiences.”  •  More on the Writers’ Guild of Texas from membership coordinator John Vance, john.vance1@gmail.com, or critique group coordinator Liz Klein, wgtcritiquegroup@gmail.com. Send calendar items to Carol Woods at carol.woods@verizon.net.

IABC local update: Cooper Concepts CEO Todd Whitthorne will coach how to become a more productive, energetic and focused leader — all tied to daily health choices — at the IABC Dallas meeting Tuesday, Jan. 15. Info here. Register by Jan. 13.

PRSA national update: Membership has its privileges. Fort Worth members have access to more than 50 live and on-demand webinars offered throughout the year, at no cost. Participation in just one a month is said to represent an annual savings of nearly $2,000. Get information on a range of topics reflecting best practices, cutting-edge techniques and measureable results.

PRSA local update: The 2013 Southwest District Conference, “Keep PR Weird,” will be June 5-7 in Austin at the Omni Hotel downtown. The call is open for exhibitors and speaker abstracts. Proposals must be submitted by Jan. 31.

PRSA local update II: Two members have accepted the courageous task of leading new committees — history and digital media. As 2013 history chair, Jeff Rodriguez, formerly the newsletter chair, plans to brave the cold, dimly lit cellar that houses PRSA materials dating back decades and from them compile a chapter history. He will continue the fan-favorite “This Month in PR/Marketing History” series. Chip Hanna, 2013 digital media chair, will ramp up the member blogging, tweeting and Facebooking. He’s also working with program planners to invite speakers on topics related to digital media.

PRSA local update III: This Month in PR/Marketing History, by Jeff Rodriguez. 45 B.C.: Julius Caesar’s calendar went into effect, and for the first time New Year’s Day was celebrated Jan. 1. Caesar also changed the month of Sextilis to August (after his brother, Augustus) and changed Quintilis to Julius after, well, you get the idea. The festivities ended on a down note, however, as Notre Dame again beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl.  •  1975: In the early hours of Jan. 6, a crowd started gathering outside Boston Garden to bring on home some Led Zeppelin tickets. Perhaps dazed and confused, the fans pried open the locked doors. They burst inside and acted like a bunch of fools in the rain, trashing the Garden and leaving it trampled underfoot. The mayor did not have a whole lotta love for this: He canceled the concert, and Zeppelin never again performed in Boston, probably instead going to California.  •   1919: A 58-foot-high tank filled with 2.5 million gallons of fiery hot molasses burst open and poured into the streets of north Boston, pushing over the support beams of an elevated train and toppling a firehouse. The molasses flood killed 21 people and dozens of horses, and took weeks to clean up. It also took weeks to untangle the legal mess involving more than 100 lawsuits. Even for the best PR pros, some situations are too sticky to handle.  •  1976: Long before e-mail there was citizens band radio, and on Jan. 10 “Convoy,” a song about truckers and their CBs, rose to No. 1 on the charts. The song was a true cultural landmark, not only celebrating a craze but furthering it. In response, good buddy, Hollywood created such important works as “B.J. and the Bear,” “The Dukes of Hazzard” and the timeless “Smokey and the Bandit.” “Convoy” was recorded by C.W. McCall, a.k.a. Bill Fries, an Omaha, Neb., ad executive with no professional music (or trucking) experience but a grip on how to profit from the times. Now let’s hear some words that rhyme with “Bluetooth.”