The BLACK paPR Report

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PR from an African American Perspective

Colleague to Colleague

barack_obama_01I’d already posted my blog last week before reading this article by the NY Times’ Jeff Zeleny, Lose the Blackberry? Yes He Can, Maybe. Zeleny points out that Mr. Obama, our president-elect, will have to give up his beloved Blackberry before he takes the oath of office in January 2009. Zeleny writes, 

“But before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful.

For all the perquisites and power afforded the president, the chief executive of the United States is essentially deprived by law and by culture of some of the very tools that other chief executives depend on to survive and to thrive. Mr. Obama, however, seems intent on pulling the office at least partly into the 21st century on that score; aides said he hopes to have a laptop computer on his desk in the Oval Office, making him the first American president to do so.”80997358MW006_OBAMA_RETURNS

Do I think this is funny ha-ha or funny peculiar? I think it’s both. Mr. Obama is evidently quite fond of that Blackberry. His entire campaign was based on technology and digilization, so that’s the ha-ha funny. The peculiar part has to do with him having to give up something that brought him some semblance of normalcy, but that goes with the position. We will see what happens and I have no doubt that he will comply.

The spin on this topic has been incredible. Here are a few articles to read:

Why Obama Should Keep His Blackberry – But Won’t (Wall Street Journal, 11/21/08)

Barack’s Gadget Blackout (Sky News, 11/17/08)

Let Obama Be Obama (Motley Fool, 11/20/08)

By the time this story broke about Mr. Obama’s Blackberry, it was reported that his Verizon cell phone, a flip phone, had been hacked by employees of the company. 

Should he have to give up the Blackberry? 

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Barack Obama will also be posting weekly YouTube broadcasts, which I think is a wonderful continuation of his viral or contagious social engagement. Of course, I am geeked (no pun intended). In the event you’ve missed them so far, watch below:

Saturday, November 15 Address

Saturday, November 22 Address

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This week’s guest contributor is an old friend, Terrance (Terry) Harris, a sports columnist with The Houston Chronicle. If you’ve followed this blog since its humble beginnings, then you know I love sports and anything to do with sports PR and publicity issues. Terry’s blog post is a reprint about the lack of African American college/university football coaches at majority schools. That’s a serious PR issue that should be addressed though Terry doesn’t deal with the public relations aspect directly. I saw the spin. 

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Thank you, Alfred Edmond for your comment on my blog. Your words only confirmed your graciousness and willingness to share. Alfred wrote, 

 

“Robin,

Thank you so much for your encouraging assessment of where we are taking BlackEnterprise.com. We have a long way to go, but we share your view that we are headed in the right direction.

However, I do want to echo Pam: kudos not just to me, but to a great staff, including Interactive Media Director Alvaro Muir, Interactive Editorial Director Deborah Skinner, Online Reporter Marcia Wade, Copy Editor Janell Hazelwood, Editorial Assistant Renita Burns, Ancillary Editorial Sonja Brown and contributors from our magazine, design and television teams.

We are all enjoying a boost of confidence and are reenergized in our mission to make BlackEnterprise.com the forum and source for business and wealth-building success on the Web. Please continue to share your feedback (both positive and otherwise).

Alfred”

And on that note, thank you to Alvaro Muir, Deborah Skinner, Marcia Wade, Janell Hazelwood, Renita Burns, Sonja Brown and the rest of the contributors on the new BlackEnterprise.com. 

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I’d also like to thank Pam Purifoy, my colleague. This past week, Pam introduced me to Ken McGee, a former political flack who worked on Carl Stokes‘s bid for mayor of Cleveland in the 1960s. It was a pleasure connecting with Mr. McGee who knew my uncle, Kenneth Clement, who was Carl’s first campaign manager and a prominent physician in Cleveland. And I discovered as did Ken that as a child I played with his children who were often at the campaign headquarters. Small world. 

 

 

Filed under: Colleague to Colleague, Public Relations, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the White House But Still Not On The Sidelines

Lack of African-American Coaches in College Football Still Shocking

Commentary/Blog Post on BlackPower.com, November 11, 2008

Reprint Permission by Terrance Harris


coach-largeThe United States of America just elected its first African-American president.
 
Now, if only college football could be as open-minded.
 
Last week the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida released a report saying that black coaches in major college football are at the lowest numbers in 15 years. Let’s just hope a lot of money wasn’t put into this study because the numbers are obvious.
 
With the ouster of Tyrone Willingham at Washington and now Ron Prince at Kansas State, the number of African-American head coaches at the Division I-A or NCAA Bowl Subdivision level has dropped to four among 119 member schools. Talk about insulting.
 
It’s even worse when you take into account that 55 percent of all student athletes at these schools are minorities. Even with an African-American man in the Oval Office, the old saying that we’re good enough to play but not good enough to coach still rules in major college football.
 
Dr. Richard Lapchick, who co-authored the report, offered a couple of interesting solutions to solve the gap. In 1997, there was an all-time high of eight African-American coaches at college football’s highest level. Today, there are just four. The last time the numbers were worse was in 1993, when only three black men held Division I-A head coaching jobs.
 
Lapchick suggests that the NCAA adopt a rule similar to the Rooney Rule in the NFL, which mandates that a minority has to be interviewed for every head coaching vacancy. At the NCAA level, it would be known as the Eddie Robinson Rule as tribute to the late, ground-breaking Grambling coach.
 
Good idea, but very problematic to institute at the collegiate level. Rich white boosters often control the purse strings and haven’t seemed comfortable turning their beloved football programs over to people who look like the players. Then you can’t forget that the NCAA does not exert the same control over its member schools as the NFL does over its teams and players.
 
But this is a serious problem that might require radical measures to solve.
 
How about if the parents of perspective student athletes became a little more proactive and decided not to allow their children to consider those universities that aren’t inclusive in their hiring practices? The information is easy to obtain from the Black Coaches Association. Heck, why can’t the best athletes stock the football programs of our HBCU’s? Trust that the cameras and coverage along with NFL scouts would follow. Just ask Steve McNair and Jerry Rice.
 
My guess is that if white schools lost out on some of the top athletes, who ultimately elevate programs into lucrative BCS paydays, that would get their attention.

 

I remember several years back when Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow and his son (Kellen Winslow, Jr., now a tight end with the Cleveland Browns) had it out on national television on football signing day. Pops wasn’t about to sign any letter of intent to a school that didn’t have an African-American in a position of leadership, either as a defensive or offensive coordinator.
 
Already this year, high-level jobs like Clemson, Tennessee, Washington, Purdue and Kansas State have opened up. Several names are being thrown about. But no African-American coaches seem to be in the mix.
 
Guys like Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood and Texas Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil should be at the top of many lists. But sadly they aren’t.

~Terrance Harris

terrance.harris@chron.com

Terrance Harris is a sports columnist for the Houston Chronicle.

Filed under: African Americans, Ethics, Mass-Mediated Images, Sports PR, Stereotypes, The Black Pro Athlete, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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