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Joe Cohen, PRSA President, Addresses NCC Members about the PRSA International Conference

by Sheri L. Singer, President, Singer Communications
March 3, 2014

The last time that PRSA's International Conference came to Washington, D.C., it was 2010. The PR profession has changed significantly since then said Joe Cohen, APR, PRSA President and Senior Vice President at MWW in New York City speaking to PRSA-NCC leaders at the Springfield Golf and Country Club on Saturday, March 1.

According to Joe, in 2010, Twitter was in its infancy, Facebook was a toddler and few had heard of Pinterest. Today's transformative media environment provides us with an opportunity to generate a particularly rich PRSA International Conference experience Joe said.

Joining Joe were PRSA staff members William (Bill) Murray, CAE, Chief Executive Officer; Karla Voth, Vice President, Special Events and Programs; and John D. Robinson (JD), Vice President, Corporate Development and Industry Partnerships. Bill gave a short presentation about the conference and Karla and J.D. were on hand to answer questions.

According to Joe, today the lines between journalism and brand-generated content are blurring. In today's environment, PR practitioners need to not just think like a journalist but to become publishers of content. Digital media allows us to have a direct voice to our target audiences helping our organizations to carry their brands forward into the future.

Separately, the lines are also blurring between PR, advertising and traditional marketing and as the disciplines become increasingly integrated, PR pros must deepen their understanding of integrated marketing communications and how all of these levers work in concert.

We need to speak out on our own behalf to ensure that we have a seat at the C-suite table Joe advised. That seat is even more important today, because we are speaking directly to our audiences through social media and that means we are carrying messages directly to our stakeholders and to helping to shape our organization's brand.

Joe believes that as PR professionals, we have always encouraged and even driven stakeholder engagement, but with social media and a seat at the table, we can now do this as leaders.

With it's theme, Leading the Way: A Fearless Future for PR, the 2014 PRSA International Conference will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, October 12-14. To sign up as a conference volunteer or to learn more, contact PRSA Conference Co-Chairs, Jeff Ghannam jghannam@crystalcommunications.com, or Sabrina Kidwai skidawi@asaecenter.org.

Related:  Video interview with Rebecca Andersen and Joe Cohen about the 2014 PRSA International Conference.

Sheri L. Singer is president of Singer Communications, a member of PRSA-NCC's board of directors and the PRSA International Conference PR Chair.