Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What An Evening of the Word! - PRSJ IABC Christmas Networking Event

What An Evening of the Word!

What do you get when you have adults folding paper planes, a rhyming medical doctor and dedicated caregivers of special children in one place? A wonderfully eclectic evening of the word!

The Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ) and International Association of Business Communicators' (IABC) joint Christmas networking event was a feast, not only of edible delicacies prepared by the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, but also of the Jamaican and English languages.

IABC President, Monique Morrison Allen
 The December 17 event was billed as an opportunity for business communicators in Jamaica to pledge professional time to organisations that serve the needs of special children. Three organisations delivered presentations, pitching their case for PR help.

The evening's programme was guided by renown author, Joan Andrea Hutchinson, who took the audience on a journey of memories of playtime in Jamaica, which aptly supported the theme of children's needs. Making presentations to the practitioners were the Jamaica Downs Syndrome Foundation, the Adonijah Group of Schools for Special Children and the Early Stimulation Programme of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation was scheduled to participate, but a family emergency has delayed Ms Chung's presentation for another time.
Director of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security's
Early Stimulation Programme, Antonica Gunter Gayle
speaks of the work of Early Stimulation Plus special school

Standout presenter for the evening, the dynamic Director of the Early Stimulation Programme, Mrs Antonica Gunter Gayle, introduced three of her children and parents as products of the exceptional work that the programme provides for children who have practically no other option for their education. The three children are students of the Early Stimulation Plus special school, an entity within the Early Stimulation Programme. The two girls and a boy, all of whom have severe neurological conditions, captivated the hearts of the audience with their charm and vivacity. Mrs Gunter Gayle expounded with pride how the school is helping children, who would not have been able to achieve their potential in the regular school system. She notes that her team of special educators can achieve more if they had more more appropriate educational materials and if they could expand the physical facilities and put in additional classrooms and a better playground. The school has a long waiting list as it an affordable option for parents with special needs children. The IABC and PRSJ are already making an impact on Early Stimulation Plus as books collected at the Christmas 2009 event were donated to the school earlier this year. PR Practitioner, Lystra Sharpe, through the Caribbean Cement Company, championed a donation of building materials to the school which is located near to the plant in Bournemouth Gardens, as a part of that company's Labour Day 2010 projects. 
Poet, Dr Michael Abrahams,
 delivers his message

 Poet and comedian, Dr Michael Abrahams, delivered a belly full of laughs with his words. The author of the popular recording, Year In Review,delighted the audience with Review 2010. He also delivered his wry observances of how the Bible-based doctrines of the pious get mercilessly bashed in houses of worship that are not their own. His booking for the event was portentous, as he shared his own challenges as the parent of two children with special needs and the overwhelming joy of witnessing each of their accomplishments.

Ms Hutchinson kept the audience rolling especially when she challenged four practitioners in the audience: Gwyneth Davidson, Christopher Benjamin, Neville Graham and Lorna Clarke to search their memories and fold a paper plane and make it travel a distance. The audience roared with laughter to see the  poorly executed models plummet at various angles to the ground. Lorna Clarke tried to pull a fast one by actually sprinting, plane in hand, to her destination, only to be roundly chastised and disqualified. All events were taken in good fun by the PR professionals who were only too relieved to take time off for a good laugh and well-needed camaraderie.

Joan Andrea Hutchinson instructs the would-be paper aviators
Christopher Benjamin, Lorna Clarke,
Neville Graham and Gwyneth Davidson.
No plane reached its destination
Vybz Expressions provided background music and public address for the event which was organised by newly installed President of the IABC, Monique Morrison Allen, along with PRSJ President, Delmares White and members of their respective executive teams.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tribute Page to the late John Maxwell, Journalist


Described as a gladiator journalist by his peers in the press, the late John Maxwell also helped to shape the writing skills of a whole generation of public relations practitioners.

We public relations practitioners remember him as an inspirational teacher who used his considerable intellect to bring students into the light of knowledge. A sartorial presence, he used the platform of the academy as well as his pen to share his passion for issues that he cared about. John Maxwell was an encyclopedia of Jamaican and Caribbean contemporary life.

John Maxwell taught Public Relations students at the Caribbean Institute for Media and Communications (CARIMAC) and also facilitated several PRSJ professional training workshops. John Maxwell graciously served as a publications and writing judge for the Society's annual Awards of Excellence for several years. The PRSJ is proud to recall that he was honoured by the Society for his lifetime achievements at one such awards ceremony.
The PRSJ extends its condolences to his wife, journalist and teacher Marjan deBruin and John Maxwell's other family members.

Comments to this page are welcome or persons may send direct tributes via email to prsj2009@gmail.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010



Kingston November 15, 2010
ODPEM Director General
Ronald Jackson

Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Ronald Jackson, has urged news writers to be careful not to confuse meterological conditions. He was referring to the fact that it was extreme rainfall and not Tropical Storm Nicole that brought severe weather conditions to Jamaica at the end of September.

Addressing the Public Relations Society of Jamaica at his office on Monday, November 15, Mr Jackson said that it was important to make these distinctions as climate change would be bringing more severe weather to the Caribbean as it was elsewhere in the world and that the public needs to be aware of what weather bulletins advise.

Mr Jackson also said that it has observed that Jamaicans are better prepared for severe weather than ever before.

The Public Relations Society of Jamaica is the local professional body that serves the interests of PR counsellors, and officers and that encourages continuing education and ethical standards in the field.


ODPEM Director General, Ronald Jackson, said that Jamaicans were more prepared for severe weather now than a decade ago in his address to the PRSJ at his office on November 15. Front Row l-r CARIMAC Lecturer Blossom Laidlaw, National Irrigation Commission PR Director, Patricia Tyrell Chong.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Power of International Marketing Links Education and Employment

Power of International Marketing Links Education and Employment

The University of Technology (UTech) will be offering the Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) next year thanks to the power of international marketing.

Canadian marketing company, Marmicmon Integrated Marketing and Communications, is the axis around which local and Canadian educational institutions operate to bring Canadian health care employers and Jamaican job seekers together. The UTech School of Oral Health Sciences is is the latest achievement of Marmicmon in Jamaica having already facilitated practical nursing and early childhood education programmes at Browns Town, Knox and  Moneague Community Colleges and Pre University School. Marmicmon is also active in other Caribbean nations.

The direct goal of Marmicmon in the Caribbean is to prepare professionals to fill a range of jobs in Canada, but UTech has leveraged that opportunity to offer BSc and doctoral studies that will serve the local public health system. In time, it is expected that the corps of locally trained dentists will support a vibrant oral health research culture in Jamaica.

The School is located at the former Dental Auxilliary School on Arthur Wint Drive in Kingston. Under the partnership, the Government of Jamaica, through UTech, provided the infrastructure and Marmicmon sourced Canadian partners who completely outfitted the school with modern equipment. The curriculum partner is the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010



Kingston, August 25, 2010

Director of the anti-corruption group, the National Integrity Action Forum, Dr Trevor Munroe, says that the country had pulled back from a tipping point on the matter of corruption as state agencies are making progress.

Speaking at a meeting of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica in Kingston on Tuesday, August 17, Dr Munroe said “what we are seeing now, we have not seen in many, many years”. 

He noted the 100% success rate by the Contractor General to have all Ministries report on the contracts that they have issued; the establishment of a Corruption Court at the Supreme Court level and the rejection of 170 police personnel on suspicion of corruption as compelling proof of progress.

Dr Munroe said, “The fact is by 2008, by plan as well as fortuitously, a number of public officials were in positions of importance who, clearly by their deeds, were demonstrating a determination to come to grips with this issue of corruption, and not least of all were the two whom I mentioned at the beginning of our talk: Danville Walker of Customs and Greg Christie of the Contractor General.”

Dr Munroe, who is also Professor of Government and Politics at the University of the West Indies (UWI), said that investigating and convicting high ranking officials for corruption was not uncommon in developed regions of the world, but the last such conviction in Jamaica happened 20 years ago. He said that the recent conviction of a senior police officer (now under appeal), the current trial of a Member of Parliament, and the recommendation of another Member of Parliament for charge were signs that law enforcement officials were prepared to deal with the most powerful in the land.

Noting the upcoming legislation regarding regulations for political parties, which he called private clubs, Dr Munroe asked public relations practitioners to remain alert.

“We need to plug the legal loopholes….I am asking you to keep your eyes very focused to the next few months on this issue of proposals to register political parties and to develop a regime of political party funding, and later on, of campaign financing….The proposals that are likely to come will represent a historic first step, but given the magnitude of the problem we face, I believe the proposals are likely to fall short of what is required in terms of disclosure to the people – who is giving how much to which political party.”

Dr Munroe said that by the end of the year, a Jamaica chapter of Transparency International, a global watchdog on corruption, will be established. He said that this Chapter will be able to develop a systematic approach to outreach and public education on the necessity of combatting corruption.

The Public Relations Society of Jamaica is dedicated to the practice of public relations in Jamaica, an expanding dynamic area that is now merging with commodity and social marketing, advertising, event planning, the business of sports and entertainment and corporate strategic decision making. 
CONTACT: Delmares White
President, PRSJ

Friday, August 20, 2010



Kingston August 20, 2010

Leading academic in the field of government, Dr Brian Meeks, says that the forces on the ground for change in Jamaica are positive. He was giving his views at the inaugural Kingston 360 lecture in Kingston on August 20. The lectures are sponsored by the Mona School of Business and the Spanish Court Hotel.

Dr Meeks, who is the Professor of Social and Political Change at the University of the West Indies (UWI) said, “I think that there are real social forces on the ground favourable for a renewal of Jamaica’s civil society, the State and the birth of moral culture.”

The professor went on to say that he and fellow political scientists have the duty to “identify who and where they are and to assist the process of giving them voice in the cacophony of despair, extremism and nihilism that characterises the present moment.”

Professor Meeks’ views come three days after his colleague, Professor of Government and Politics, Trevor Munroe, told the Public Relations Society of Jamaica that there was tangible progress being made in the fight against corruption. Both Professors are associated with the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies.

Guest Speaker at the 360 Lecture, Professor of Political Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Dr Obika Gray, added that the country was ready to shake off spontaneous order which occurs naturally in Caribbean societies. He described this as a form of co-operation where people organise themselves on the basis of shared interests and common understanding without formal hierarchy or leadership.

Professor Gray said, “What we are doing today is to try to put back in place those formal rules, those regulations those codes of conduct so that the modern bureaucratic and rational State be respected and not give way to the rituals and values of spontaneous order.”

He went on to prescribe short and long term objectives towards building a society that respected modern bureaucratic rules.

“What we need is a double move; we have to help police catch the criminals, and we have to stabilize the political system and work with the Parliamentarians and the people that we have. But the other part of that double move is that …we have to not fix power, we need to dismantle it; that is the long run project,” Professor Gray said.

The Kingston360 lecture series will be held quarterly and feature topical issues.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jamaica Observer News Article - Munroe: Lawyers should not be paid with dirty money

Munroe: Lawyers should not be paid with dirty money

BY ERICA VIRTUE Observer writer virtuee@jamaicaobserver.com
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Professor Trevor Munroe
Photo: Cheryl Smith
Listen to Prof Munroe's address here - 32 minutes

PROFESSOR Trevor Munroe wants the Government to begin examining ways to make it difficult for lawyers representing persons charged with certain criminal offences to receive payments from the funds of their clients' ill-gotten enterprises.

"I would like to see in Jamaica a version of the law in the United States that lawyers, who are defending persons alleged to be engaged in money laundering, gun running and drug trafficking demonstrate that the earnings from that defence are not part of ill-gotten gains. I believe that is certainly a topic worthy of discussion...," said Munroe, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies and former senator.

He was responding to questions following his keynote address Tuesday night at the Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PSRJ) monthly meeting in Kingston.

His views, however, came in light of the recent court appearance in New York of alleged Jamaican drug lord Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, where lawyers made it clear that they would have to be assured that money paid to the defence in the drug and gun trafficking case was not tainted.

Coke's assets in Jamaica have been frozen under the Proceed of Crime Act of 2007, which provides for forfeiture through the courts of all properties and accumulated wealth, which cannot be explained by legitimate activity.

Under US laws, lawyers must demonstrate that they are not being paid with monies from a person's alleged criminal operation. However, there is no similar law here. According to Munroe, it was crucial for Jamaica to have greater anti-corruption mobilising efforts as surveys have showed that Jamaicans perceived that the country was tipping dangerously on the brink of being overwhelmed by real, as well as perceived corruption.

According to Munroe, professionals, particularly agents of law enforcement, were very crucial at given stages in the country's development to deal with the levels of corruption which Jamaica was experiencing.

He wants Jamaica to create its own version of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisationa (RICO) Act in the United States, which he said would go a far way in punishing wrongdoers, especially those charged with corruption-related offences.

"We need the Jamaican equivalent of the RICO statute in the United States, where the persons who don't pull the trigger, or the persons who are not on the front line of the corrupt and who hide in the back, can be brought within the purview of law enforcement. And that is a big deficiency in our system as well...," Munroe told public relations executives.

Thursday, August 5, 2010



Kingston, August 5

The Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ) rejects calls for the immediate dismantling of the Constabulary Communications Network (CCN) but instead supports the findings of the Ministry of National Security Jamaica Constabulary Force Strategic Review, which proposes that the JCF “Undertake a thorough review of the mandate and functions of the Constabulary Communications Network to ensure they are aligned with future requirements of the police service and the public it serves”, (See recommendation 59).

We believe that the CCN is best placed to emerge as the professional Public Relations arm of the Force that will successfully nurture meaningful relationships with its stakeholders.

We wish to use this opportunity as a reminder that the PRSJ advocates for integrity and truth and not “spin”. The professional Code of Ethics of the Society puts it thus: “A member shall not engage in any practice, which tends to corrupt the integrity or channels of public communication; and a member shall not intentionally disseminate false or misleading information and is obligated to use ordinary care to avoid dissemination of false or misleading information.”

The PRSJ welcomes the new standards that have been adopted for the release of material by the CCN and commends its body of work under past and current leadership. It has broken new ground by providing timely information to the public on a range of issues, through a cadre of staff who have been trained with media skills. The PRSJ also commends the CCN for the important role that it plays in recording events and scenes that are necessary for police work. Journalists also benefit when CCN staff is stationed with them as they have special insights on security protocols.

The PRSJ considers the tape showing a shooting at Buckfield, St Ann involving members of the police to be truly serious. While the PRSJ supports the Commissioner and his team in subsequent actions taken, it relies on CCN to establish the relevant context of the incident so that hasty conclusions by misinformed sections of the public will categorically be avoided.

The incident in itself is a strong reminder of the power of the new and burgeoning "social media" and will keep the CCN on its toes.
Delmares White
The Public Relations Society of Jamaica
Cell contact: 399-1627

Gerry Mc Daniel
PRSJ Spokesperson
Cell contact: 564-2541
Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Broadcasting Commission Boss Cites Shortcomings in New Media (JIS article)

Broadcasting Commission Boss Cites Shortcomings in New Media


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Executive Director, Broadcasting Commission, Cordell Green (left) shares a joke with Sunday Gleaner Editor, Lovelette Brooks, during a seminar entitled 'The Role of the Media: Professional Dictates versus Social Responsibilities', on the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) campus in Kingston on Wednesday (July 21).
Executive Director of the Broadcasting Commission, Cordell Green, has emphasised the important role traditional media plays in the timely dissemination of accurate and credible information, citing shortcomings in the area of 'new media' outlets.

Mr. Green cited traditional media as broadcast media, with the most common being newspapers, radio, and television, while 'new media' or social media include YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and blogging.

He was speaking at a seminar entitled 'The Role of the Media: Professional Dictates versus Social Responsibilities', at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) campus, Kingston, on Wednesday (July 21).

Executive Director of the Broadcasting Commission, Cordell Green (left) addressing a seminar entitled 'The Role of the Media: Professional Dictates versus Social Responsibilities', at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) in Kingston on Wednesday, July 21. At right is Sunday Gleaner Editor, Lovelette Brooks.

"We know, as a fact, that much of what we get on the internet is opinionated, whether you go to Wikipedia or anybody's blog. We know, as a statement of fact, that those who operate in the sphere of new media, such as bloggers, they don't have the requirements as there are no required standards, such as source verification, balance, objectivity or fair play," he explained.

He is, therefore, urging individuals to be vigilant with the information that is made available to them.

"Only the print media seems to be losing out to social media, and we have to put a question as to whether they are losing out, or they themselves are being transformed. Radio and television remain very strong brands," he said.

"Much of what is on the net is opinionated and not held to traditional standards, so new media is not always credible," he said.

He argued that for journalists to meet their social responsibilities there is a need for freedom of the press. But that, in terms of their professional mandate, as journalists, there is no need for protection other than that they must publish what can be justifiable in a free and democratic society, where protection of sources takes on no greater importance than a man's right to protect his good name.

Mr. Green encouraged media practitioners to develop professional competences, and have the ability to access, understand and create communication in a variety of context. He also noted that information should be provided impartially, with a view of meeting the traditional mandates of media, which is to inform, educate and entertain.

The seminar was organised by the Professional Administrators Inc. (PAI), which is made up of eight secretaries drawn from various Ministries and Departments within the Government of Jamaica.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Is it Really RIP For The News Release? - Clea Mayne - UK

Is it really RIP For The Press Release? - Clea Mayne comments from the UK
Here in the UK, I still send out press releases, but many of my press contacts are on my Linkedin so we also swap news that way. Interestingly, I find UK journalists use Linkedin to push out their own news stories even more than PR people use it to circulate press releases. This is all about increasing internet presence for their bylines I expect...
Other PR people I've worked with regularly issue a press release that automatically sends a truncated version on Twitter and other social media. This is particularly so in the consumer sector, travel news --- anything that lends itself to short format announcements. In this area of PR it can also help to use Facebook to reach journalists, especially if you're planning an upcoming event e.g. a conference, a product launch, a concert, launch of a cruise ship. They can go to one place to get all their facts etc, plus receive alerts. 
Since I work in financial services, and much of my work is B2B, my news content is generally subject to strict regulatory compliance. As a result, I still find it safer to use a written press release format and journalists in my sector don't complain. I'd say my releases are shorter than they used to be when I first started in PR. I rarely go over three short paragraphs, and the third paragraph is usually a quote.  
The point of the press release format these days is more about uniformity when posting the release on the company website. The version that goes to the journalists is text in an email. By now, I thought I'd have been issuing press releases as html or as a click through URL but text within an email is still the most popular format.    
Over the past ten years or so, UK business journalists increasingly base more of their content on 'views' rather than news. e.g. "Is this the right time to be investing in gold?" This means many of us in my sector spend far more time issuing commentary than we ever do sending out news releases.  
If I'm issuing (typically investment) commentary, it's a pdf document produced for clients on a weekly or monthly schedule.  Depending on the topic,  I'll either offer it to one journalist exclusively or issue the commentary to a wider list with a bullet point summary written in the email. I spend far more time these days writing three to five email bullet points than I do writing press releases. A journalist can read the bullet points and know in 5 seconds whether they want to click on the attachment or not.
What I expect is different in the UK, is that news rooms depend on PR content even more than they did in the past. We're talking about many, many different media titles just based in London alone. All these news rooms have been downsized many times over, as they compete with the internet. Remaining journalists have to file more stories every day than ever before. One business journalist at Sky News says that her daily routine involves filing her stories for television, plus writing and posting her blog, plus regularing Tweets, plus going into the Sky radio studio to produce daily alerts which go out in syndicated news to all the radio stations that subscribe to Sky for content. 
Likewise, many newspaper and magazine journalists (including the weeklies and monthlies) are filing daily news stories on their websites. These stories go out as alerts (often free) to subscribers. I've had journalists call me up and ask me to get my clients to go online and comment on the journalist's blog so it impresses the editor, and increases the journalist's ranking on the website. 
I imagine this isn't happening in Jamaica because it's expensive to host a website with this much activity --- streaming etc. But the newspaper model here is definitely changing toward being online-focused. There is talk that at least one daily newspaper will go online-only in the near future.
I'm interested to hear about how things go in Jamaica.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quotable PR Quote - Yvonne Grinam Nicholson

Yvonne Grinam Nicholson on Social Media
"Companies should be careful before they jump into the social media sea because just like any wide body of water, you need to know its depths and the sharks that might lurk beneath. Don't jump in a set up a FaceBook page or start Twittering as if your life depended on it before you do your research... The news after you do your research might be hard to take and you might need a good strong drink to make it go down easy and some even stiffer tonic to share it with management. But now is not the time to be a wimp - man up and do the research. Social media is not going to go away - it might never replace the traditional means we use but it can be used to bolster their usefulness."

Yvonne Grinam-Nicholson, (MBA, ABC)
President IABC, Caribbean - Jamaica Chapter
She can be contacted at: yvonne@rocommunications.com.
Visit her website at www.rocommunications.com and post your comments.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Four New Members Accepted to the PRSJ


Vice President, Membership, Analisa Downes, announced the admittance of four new members to the Society at the June 15 meeting. The members were selected after a review of their applications by the Executive. The Society will benefit from their experience in journalism and public relations and also input in the key areas of public health and disaster preparation and response.

They new members are:
Journalist, radio producer and Communications Manager, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
Mr Cecil Thoms;

Public Education and Community Relations Manager at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA)
Mr Jamal Tugman;

Information Officer at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM)
Ms Kimberley Weller;

Journalist and Media Coordinator Embassy of the United States of America - Public Affairs Section,
Ms Fern White.

The Society extends a warm welcome and congratulations to the new members and look forward to their active involvement in the Society.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Investment In Males, The Only Solution – Social Violence Expert Dr Herbert Gayle

Kingston: June 17, 2010                                                                            Listen to full presentation

Noted Anthropologist of Social Violence, Dr Herbert Gayle, repeated the call for more investment in boys and young men as that was the only way to reduce the nation’s homicide rate, which he says ranks as two concurrent civil wars.

Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica on June 15 in Kingston, the University of the West Indies Lecturer and reseracher said that men have a long memory of hurt, and for them, revenge is natural.

Despite what Dr Gayle considers to be an obvious need, he said that it was very hard for male-focussed projects, such as Fathers Incorporated, to secure funding for projects that will help young men to cope with their disadvantaged situations. He went on to highlight the public education system as one area for urgent reform as he says it does not offer full education participation. As a result, he said, a full one-third of Jamaican males cannot read or write.

Dr Gayle called on public relations practitioners to be a part of civil society action that will promote long term solutions. He said that government must be encouraged to have a framework for a social state and a strong central political authority.


"Training is something that you need to raise the platform socially", Dr Herbert Gayle.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Charm, wit and writing skills - essential qualities for social media hosts

Who has the skills to mount a social media campaign?

Photos by Chris Benjamin from May meeting
Entertainment Publicist, Carlette Deleon, said that the social media campaigns needed to be conducted by persons with good writing skills and agreeable personalities. She said that PR practitioners were therefore highly suitable to take on this role.

She was speaking at the monthly members’ meeting of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ) at Jampro Trade and Invest Jamaica on May 17.

Ms Deleon also cautioned, “If you think that you need to be constantly available as a public relations practitioner, once you enter the sphere of social media, it just gets worse. Some of the common courtesies seem to go out of the door with a number of persons within the social media sphere. Your personality has to be that you are not afraid to give away your time and be accessible in infinitely more personal ways.”

She said that these campaigns do depend on your personality as the conversations needed to be fun and insightful, not just informational.

Ms Deleon said, “Be prepared never to stop and be committed to it. People lose interest and move on…develop a lot of content. Have to have a willingness and readiness to be engaged and to engage. You have to be witty and charming.”

She noted that the person behind the online site is who will make the social media campaign successful. She also cautioned that truth was essential as response time on social media was very fast.

“If you are not totally honest someone is going to call you out and be brutally honest a lot faster that if they read it in the newspaper or hear it on the radio,” she said.

Ms Deleon also cautioned against putting heavy reliance on Facebook – a website that currently struggles with subscriber privacy issues. “If you only have contact with your audience is Facebook when they shut
that down you are going to lose them.”

Despite its growing popularity, especially in the 18-34 age group audience, the effectiveness of social media campaigns, especially the growing Twitter, cannot be adequately measured for billing purposes, Ms Deleon said. She challenged PR persons to find ways to make this media as quantitative as others are.

Carlette Deleon
“It may seem easy that anyone with a computer can become a

publicist and launch a social media campaign and yes, getting the word

out is easier than before but the message becomes truly effective rather

than potentially lost when it is in the hands of a well-trained public

relations professional. We cannot be replaced by someone with a

computer that just puts up a post. Everything to get to that point from

crafting the message to getting to where it should be delivered and who

gets that message is best determined by us as public relations

professionals. In keeping with the standards that we have learned from

traditional media we can apply it now to new media and make social

media that much more effective for us.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


News Release 

From Practitioners

Kingston: May 11, 2010

The recently elected Executive of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ) has committed itself
to build capacity for development issues.

President of the Society, Delmares White, noted that most active PR practitioners are employed in the
Public Sector and so are positioned to make a difference to the successful implementation of development projects and programmes.

“The first goal of the Society is to serve the interests of the members and in these times, this dovetails with public issues such as health, employment, and media issues,” says Ms White.

Speaking from her outlook as an emergency response communications and training professional, she
says, “We can design or review Crisis Communication and Control plans for times of disasters, which dovetails with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management’s (ODPEM) national/regional programme. There are more than 100 public relations practitioners in the public service. Surely, their collective experiences can support not only each other, but also programmes of national importance. The PRSJ’s new arrangement is that general meetings will be used to present and discuss real live situations as case studies and provide an opportunity for consultations.”

PRSJ President White also said that the Society is actively seeking to reinforce the use of culture in a greater number of communications plans.

“We aim to reinforce Brand Jamaica in our PR designs. We will forge partnerships with Public Sector and Private Sector Organizations towards greater collaboration,” she said.

The first consultation meeting is scheduled to take place on May 19 when Information and Public Relations Officer at the Broadcasting Commission, Nicola Morrison, will present the Commission’s experiences in the training and recruitment of citizen media monitors. FAME FM producer, Carlette DeLeon will also give a hands-on presentation on social media tools and techniques.

The Public Relations Society is the indigenous association that represents professional public relations
practitioners in Jamaica.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Excerpts - Keynote Address 10th Anniversary UWI St Augustine Communications Studies Programme

Special address at the closing ceremony of “Profiles,” the tenth anniversary celebration of the Communication Studies programme of The University of The West Indies (UWI), St Augustine Campus held on April 16. Full text at this link.

Charting the Course for Communications in the Caribbean

Risk of Communication Technology Diluting Effective Communications
In spite of all the highly sophisticated and technologically advanced media of communications which we have at our disposal we have been drawn away from engaging in dialogue, discussion and debate with the primary groups in our society. The emphasis is increasingly becoming one of mass communication and generalisation. How we demassify and demystify information and communication and bring about multi sectoral information exchange in language we can all understand require our immediate attention before it is too late. Too often do we fail to recognize the primary groups which make up the basic fabric of the total society. I speak about the family, the old fashioned neighborhood, the youth groups, the women’s groups, the professional bodies, the religious bodies, the civic groups, Lions, Rotary, the village councils, the business organisations, the playground filled with children, the legitimate community groups and organisations to name a few. We have alienated a large cross section of our people.

Communication Risks of Government – The Trinidad Parliament Hostage Experience
Today, our young people are exposed to a world where the environment has conditioned their normal expectations to levels of fantasy of unparalleled proportions. On the other hand they confront abysmal levels of hopelessness and despair as they gaze at the reality of the less than encouraging options being offered them in their journey through life.

In the 1970s we witnessed a level of resistance which was led by young, educated and brilliant black young men who saw their future gift wrapped in the movement which at that time gripped the world at large. It was Black Power, morning, afternoon and evening. It was intimidating and many young people sacrificed their lives for the cause.In 1990 it was Abu Bakr. Also well structured and cleverly orchestrated. At the end of it all the Political Directorate pointed to one factor which they claimed was responsible for these unfortunate incidents. In one chorus they laid the blame squarely upon their failure to communicate with the people. In his capacity as Acting Prime Minister at the time, Minister Winston Dookeran was reported to have said as follows: “While pointing out that the National Planning Commission had worked on proposals for improved information and communication, Dookeran said, “A completely new regime must be worked out for communication flows to the population."

Karl Hudson Phillips was no less adamant. This is what he had to say: “The coup attempt was “nothing else but a crude terrorist attack on the democratic framework of the country – unlike 1970, it was not a popular movement’ but he felt that communication would be the tool to counter its effects. “The Government has not been successful in communicating to the population what it has done and what it has been doing,” The Government, he continued, had been able to communicate its achievements to the outside world, but it has been unable to do so locally.”

He continued in saying that “The Government had not only remained “benign” and disinclined to answer criticism, The country was caught in a conviction of misinformation at a highly suggestive and emotional level….“As far as the major players in the political sphere are concerned, the Party has to get its act together, and the way to do this is by listening, putting your ear to the ground, rapping and conversing with people”.

The Prime Minister at the time, A.N.R.Robinson also did not fail to add his quota. He was quoted as saying: “The recent crisis has left me with a heightened sense of the need to communicate with the public.”

When asked by a reporter whether he shared the view that the process of information and communication between Government and the people was at the heart of the problem, he went on to say: “One had to recognise the difficulties of the period through which the country was passing. “We have had to adapt to measures which are more difficult to understand than we have ever had in our history. We have to deal with institutions which have been bug-bears”, he said.

He continued that “There had been tremendous opportunity for destructive propaganda of the worst kind. “In my view that has been the worst thing in the society”, Robinson said. “In all my experience it has not been the man in the street who lets Trinidad and Tobago down. It’s many of those who have been educated sometimes even at public expense.”

He said that these people misused their education, to deliberately mislead people and create mischief in the society. but, He said, “The July 27 incident had shown the need for greater communication.”

Call To Students of Communication: Elevate Your Game, Be More Informed
When you leave the hallowed walls of this prestigious University of the West Indies, you are going to find yourselves working in Organisations and Institutions of varying dimensions. All these organisations whatever their role will have three responsibilities, a financial responsibility, a legal responsibility and a social responsibility. It is in the realm of the social responsibility that you will be expected to make the difference. But in the final analysis, how you harmonise the mission and objectives of the three responsibilities (financial, legal and social) will be your greatest challenge. Yes, you will be called upon to be a generalist in a specialist world.

You have to set your sights on joining the ranks of the Technocrats, elevate your practice so that you can claim the right to sit in the Executive Rooms and the Board Rooms where the important decisions are made which have the greatest impact upon our lives. The engineer focuses on his engineering, and quite rightly so, the accountant on the bottom line and quite rightly so, the Economist on feasibility and viability, the Marketing Manager on distribution and sales and quite understandably so. Your focus has got to be on the harmonisation of all their objectives. Your focus must be on the customer, the people, the society, how the inputs and recommendations of all these specialists are harmonised for the good and welfare of all stakeholders. You will be required to bring to the table the social scientist view point in the decision-making process.

It means your elevating your practice from the level of Communications Technician to Relationships Technocrat. Let us face it. The world today functions in a Relationship Economy. It is an interdependent world. The playing field is leveling. No man is an island. It will never be any more a question of win alone or lose alone. We must all be winners together or suffer the consequences of being all losers unless we pull our heads out of the sand and come to terms with the true meaning and significance of relationships. Yes my dear students. Relationships: That is the High Calling.

Everything hinges around Relationships. It will require you to expand your body of knowledge and learning to include Organisation Structure and behavior, Business Administration, Economics, Political Science, Government Organisation, Public Administration, Management Science, Statistics, Languages, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Personnel Management and this must be built around an understanding and appreciation of the Theory and Practice of Public Relations.

You will find that at times you may have to disagree without being disagreeable. To raise and face objections without being objectionable and to discharge your professional responsibilities free and fair and free from fear, without fear nor favour. That is where the measure of your professionalism will be most tested.

It is in this realm that you will find that in spite of the phenomenal advances in communications science and technology, mutual understanding, peace and harmony remain an elusive dream.

How you convert the noise around you into a harmonious and soothing melody will be your major challenge.

There will be times when the going gets tough and you may have to withdraw for a while and seek supernatural intervention. When that occurs think not of the bigness of your problem, think of the bigness of your God. The Bible is clear: When those times come upon you, reflect on the passage: Be still and know that I am God.

What is the highest ideal of Public Relations?
– 1978 Mexican Statement
Analysing social, economic, political and cultural trends, predicting their consequences, counseling the leadership, and conceptualising, planning and implementing strategies which will serve the mutual interest of all stakeholders.
This is what the Caribbean People expect from us and that is what we are committed to deliver. I have difficulty in understanding therefore how with this heavy burden of responsibility placed on our shoulders in this era of enlightenment Public Relations Practitioners can allow others less informed to water down the profession. Relationships remain the high calling. I call upon my fellow practitioners, to get real and do not allow your profession to be threatened or undermined by forces which are not equipped to set the pace and tone of its mission. They dare not do it in engineering; they dare not do it in medical practice, nor in finance, nor accountancy.

I continue to question the justification of what appears to be a trend towards rebranding the profession, shifting the focus from its original and noble moorings - the building of harmonious relationships - to that of placing the emphasis on communications, as essential and indispensable to the achievement of the mission that this activity may be; in other words, placing emphasis on the means, rather than on the end.

I know that this has become a very contentious issue among enlightened professional public relations practitioners and the debate is still in progress. But until I am proven otherwise, I insist that Relationships remain the high calling. And that is where you the students of communication science must be encouraged to set your sights. In other words majoring in communications studies is a highly commendable milestone, and yet another stepping stone on a journey which must take you to the pinnacle of the professional practice: the programme of studies which would lead to the Degree in Professional Public Relations Practice. It is on the pillar of Relationships that the earth over which we were given dominion was created. They tread on holy ground, those who attempt to shake that foundation.

Like it or not, our survival as a people hangs on the quality of relationships which we have with one another. Sharing and exchanging information with one another are essential to the maintenance of harmonious relationships among our people. Interpersonal Communications is the backbone upon which this may be best achieved. It is no less applicable to us here in the Caribbean than it is in any other region of the world. Because, in the final analysis, those who communicate in pursuance of the noble ideals of harmonious relationships, will lead.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Searching For....The Essence of Jamaica


Photographer: Mark Thompson

Searching For………The Essence of Jamaica

What is the single essential feature that makes Jamaica unique?

So far it has yet to be named, but JTI/Jampro is committed to identifying it and allowing it to support a new era of investment, production and development.

Public relations practitioners got a first hand update on this recently when country branding expert, David Lightle, shared case studies of countries that successfully rebranded using a unique nation identifier that the whole country supported. Mr Lightle, a consultant to JTI/Jampro, was addressing the annual general meeting of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ) in Kingston on March 30.

Mr Lightle noted that, in his experience, successful branding came after government made infrastructure and policy commitments that supported industry. He also stressed that the rebranding efforts must always be towards reducing poverty by growing economically.

“We know from the East Asian model that you cannot overcome poverty unless you have the minimum 10% growth rate every year for ten years…if you are wobbling at 1-2% GNP (Gross National Product) growth rate, you need to do something different.”

Giving his case study examples from country rebranding in Taiwan, New Zealand and Colombia, he noted that finding a unique common essence of a country was essential. He outlined his methodology called the Drop Formula System, which he said was a process of interviews and focus groups that revealed useful insights about the people of a nation, no matter how diverse they are.

Acknowledging the importance of public relations, Mr Lightle said that the branding will not be successful if the people of a country do not stand behind it. “It is better to have a unified image competing out there…domestic communications is essential in any country branding effort. You have to have domestic buy-in before you present your brand to the world,” he said.

Using the example of Colombia, Mr Lightle said that being inclusive was integral to the success of their brand identification process noting that the Opposition was at the table from the beginning. After six months of investigation, passion was identified as Colombia’s unique brand identifier. The Colombian government communicated the brand message to its people for 18 months before it was launched globally. The logo has been accepted by the productive sector and it is currently used on many product packages and has been adapted in slogans such as “growing with passion” for coffee growers and horticulturists, “serviced with passion” for Avianca, the flagship airline and “made with passion” for the fashion industry. Now in its fifth year, passion has helped the country to eliminate its narco state and banana republic image and successfully position it as business friendly and attractive to international investment.

In 2010, during a global recession, Colombia is experiencing more than 5% annual growth and, according to a March 25, 2010 article on Blomberg.com, has “Pulled out if its first recession in a decade in the 4th quarter.” The infrastructural support provided, according to Tradingeconomics.com is “attributed to an increase in domestic security resulting in greater foreign investment; prudent monetary policy; and export growth.”
2010 Executive

Public Relations practitioners from the public sector, private consultants, educators and PR students attended the meeting where Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Director for Information and Training, Delmares White, was elected President of a seven-member Executive. The other members are: First Vice President, communications consultant, Christopher Benjamin; Vice President Finance, director of communications and customer service, National Works Agency, Stephen Shaw; Vice President Recruitment and Membership, PR Manager, Students’ Loan Bureau, Analisa Downes; Vice President, Special Events, MIND Marketing Manager, Shawnette Henry; General Secretary, PR Manager, Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Cheryl Smith and Assistant General Secretary, communications consultant and radio and TV producer, Deborah Hickling.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You Can Make A Difference - Offer yourself for office -

Make A Difference - Offer Yourself for Office

Self interest is the only reason to be a member of a society ...what it can do for me. To reap any benefit from a society, however, each participant has an interest to make sure that it functions and that it is perpetuated.

Energetic new and experienced practitioners have offered themselves for elections on March 30, the list of names will be announced in a few days so that you can get to know them and consider them ahead of time. If you want to be a part of that dynamic team which is going to make a difference, this is the time to make yourself known by sending an email to prsj2009@gmail.com.

Only Full or Associate members in good standing (paid up) can be elected as an Officer of the Society. Members can put themselves in good standing at the start of the AGM on March 30 and be eligible for elections.

Have a look again at the full list of Officers and the duties of Officers and be prepared to serve and also to review our list of candidates.


The Officers of the Society shall be President, First Vice President, Vice President Special Events, Vice President Recruitment and Membership, Vice President Finance, General Secretary, and Assistant General Secretary. The Election of Officers shall take place at the Annual General meeting (AGM). The duly elected officers shall assume their duties of office immediately following the AGM.


The President:
- Presides at all Membership and Executive Board meetings- Appoints all Committees- Delegates responsibilities of officers and committees- Directs overall operations of the Society- Recommends and establishes goals and objectives for the Society- Coordinates the functions of all officers and committees; recommends and directs the execution of policies and procedures, together with the specific programmes in the interest of the Society and with the approval of the membership- Secures accurate information on the financial status of the Society.- Maintains contact with Past Presidents, Founders and Advisors and other important stakeholders as determined form time to time.

First Vice President:
Is elected to shadow and assist the President- Is entitled to full executive board memberships and voting rights and privileges- Is responsible for the Public Relations of the Society including publications such as the newsletter and accordingly, chairs the Society's Public Relations and Issues Management Committee- Is responsible for duties as described/designated by the President- Is unable to hold another executive board position concurrently- If unable or unwilling to complete the designated term, a resignation letter must be submitted to the President and the Society shall elect a successor as soon as practicable

Vice President Special Events:
Chairs the Special Events Committee- Supports the Professional Development Committee in planning seminars, workshops, conferences etc- Organises luncheons/dinners and other special events of the Society; including securing keynote speakers, venue, menu choices, coordinating programme, producing invitations etc.- Contacts speakers for General meetings- Obtains meeting rooms, refreshments, gifts for speakers, and introduces speakers at meetings- Makes copies of biography sketches- Maintains and updates the Speakers' List- Fosters relations through PRSJ events with Student/Alumni members.

Vice President Recruitment and Membership:
Chairs the Recruitment and Membership Committee- Recruits and maintains membership- Creates "new-member packets"- Writes "Member of the Month" articles- Updates and recommends upgrades of members from one category to another based on years of membership- Spearheads the membership benefits programme- Maintains an updated e-mail chain- Keeps track of members’ contact and other pertinent information.

Vice President Finance:
Coordinates, organises and oversees all fundraising for the Society in conjunction with the Chair of the Special Events Committee;

Works directly with the President and Executive Vice President and heads of all other Committees involved in the handling of funds on behalf of the Society (including the Special Events, Fundraising and Professional Development Committees);

Is responsible for securing accurate information on the financial status of the Society for feedback to the President;

Keeps accurate records of Fundraising activities- submits a monthly financial report- submits an annual financial report- works with designated auditors of the Society in producing the annual financial report of the Society - Collects dues from members once per year- Plans a budget for each Executive Board member- Keeps records of all the Society's spending/billing- Makes deposits in the PRSJ account- Oversees the Budget.

General Secretary:
Records minutes for all Executive Board Meetings and General meetings,- E-mails minutes, agendas, reports timely to all members,- Gives due notices for members' and Executive meetings- Develops and circulates agendas for meetings to members prior to their being held- Assists in managing the direct mail out and marketing communications programmes of the Society- Manages the e-mail and PO boxes of the Society- Responds to requests communicated via the website.- Keeps PRSJ files organised and updated and where possible using the latest technologies- Purchases the necessary supplies for the organisation,- Keep attendance records.- Requests reports from all committees and assists the President in the compilation and dissemination of the annual reports for the Society.

Assistant General Secretary:
Assists the General Secretary in his/her duties.- Assumes the duties of the General Secretary in his/her absence.- Is responsible for the website - creates, and maintains the website layout, design and content,- Responds to feedback from the website,- Corresponds with website users.

The Executive of the Society shall be comprised of the Officers of the Society, together with up to three Past Presidents inclusive of the Immediate Past President of the Society. The Executive shall have powers of co-option.

For more on the Society, read the constitution at