The BLACK paPR Report


PR from an African American Perspective

Colleague to Colleague

Bad stuff.

jonathan_hay_journalistYesterday, I found this article on AOL’s Black Voices (here) about a publicist, Jonathan Hay, who “punk’d” the press and made up the story about singer Rihanna’s alledged relationship with mega mogul Jay-Z. I don’t need to go into the lack of ethics or decorum involved in that act, because most PR practitioners and publicists know better. But, such is the world of entertainment publicity and PR. It’s very different and the rules are different. I’ve met some incredibly moral and highly ethical entertainment publicists who understand that if they do something off-kilter or flat out wrong it comes back to bite you in the butt.  And I’ve met ones like the publicist in question. I found this cute short film on that parodies the entertainment (film) publicity process. Talk about a strategy session.

Do you think stuff like this really happens? No…

Good stuff.

67341158binOne of my favorite colleagues, okay my favorite,  is Jonnice Slaughter of Chatterbox Publicity. She is a contributing writer/blogger for, a subsidiary of is for, you guessed it, PR practitioners and publicists (flacks). Jonnice posted a series of blogs about mobilizing your office and PR services.  Do you know how many wonderful (and free) online services there are to help keep you organized? Well, I’ve provided links below to Jonnice’s three-part blog series on mobilization. You don’t have to be a flack to enjoy them or the services she writes about.


Mobilizing Your Office and PR Services, Part 1

Mobilizing Your Office and PR Services, Part 2

Mobilizing Your Office and PR Services, Part 3

And no, Jonnice, I didn’t get pre-approval on that photo of you! 

Serious stuff.

One of the things I preach constantly about is guarding one’s online identity and persona. I cannot preach it enough in regard to publicists and PR professionals who use, Facebook and other social media to post updates. If your updates are not locked, they become a part of a public timeline easily documented on Google. PR professionals and publicists are in the business of making others look good, not in the business of making ourselves look crazy. I have developed a few rules for my updates:

  • Be engaging but not confrontational or contentious. I never pose a question or make a comment that draws ire or anger. If someone responds to an update with anger, I don’t respond back.
  • If someone irritates me online, I don’t respond. I either avoid them at all costs or delete them from my friend/follower base.
  • I rarely if ever use profanity online. The one time I used profanity I was truly livid about something and then I instantly went back and deleted the comment. The reason I deleted it is simple: Everything I think and feel is not subject to or open to public display. 
  • I rarely if ever direct message or send private messages to people I don’t know unless it is totally business-oriented. And by the same token I use IM or chat applets in the same manner. 
  • I don’t participate in non-clinical sexual conversations online. 
  • I never lie.

Here is a really cute and cool Web article about “netiquette” or Internet etiquette. The irony of me disclosing my rules of engagement is that I’ve encountered almost all of my worst-case scenarios this morning and it’s barely after noon. (sigh)

Necessary stuff.

This week, Rene Syler created a wonderful social networking community, I’ve Been Laid Off, and it’s taking off like wildfire. If you know of anyone in need of that type of network, send them to I’ve Been Laid Off. And if you know of experts on rebounding from job loss, please send them to the site as well. This is obviously a tough time of year to be laid off or fired. In fact, Rene plans to have an online chat and video conferencing session with a psychiatrist on the issue of unemployment and grief. 

Best, Robin


Filed under: Colleague to Colleague, Help for the Practitioner, PR Standards & Practices, , , , , , , , ,

Contagious 2

royaleLast week I introduced everyone to the amazing vlogs I’d discovered on There are more and this vlog by Royale Watkins somewhat explains the power of these videos on — they engage and connect:

If I had the embedded code I’d share one of the most poignant vlogs recorded by Royale addressing the suicide of Abraham Briggs, the 19 year old Floridian who took a lethal dose of pills on-camera and then laid down on his father’s bed to die as people observed via a camera he’d set up. That camera ran for over 12 hours and someone finally had the courage and sense to contact the company hosting the streaming video to report what happened to Abraham to authorities. 

Comedian Stevie Mack created the FBTV Network to serve as a hub for the vlogging talent pool on the social network. Members of the group are privileged to information regarding intellectual property issues and video hosting.          

Last night I discovered another gem, a real GEM (Good Enough Mother), René Syler, the author of Good-Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting (Simon Spotlight Entertainment). René spent four years as an anchor on CBS’ The Early Show, and is a spokeswoman for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Read about René HERE. René’s vlogs are incredibly smart and witty, they also incredible marketing tools that engage readers of her book and engage a legion of new fans. (PR Tip: Wanna sell a book? Sell the author first.)

Watch here:

Connect and engage. Vlogging as a marketing device or networking device will not work without making an effort to connect with people and then engaging them on a personal level. The beauty of these wonderful vlogs is that people, famous and infamous, are building the field and people are showing up. This is real reality TV. 

Best, Robin

Filed under: African Americans, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,