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Honoring Veterans: PRSA and the Military

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On this Veterans Day, PRSA pays tribute to the men and women of the United States military and their families, thanking them for the noble sacrifices they have made and will continue to make in service to our country and way of life. Both as Americans and as public relations professionals, we value and appreciate the vital role the military plays in protecting the core freedoms we hold so dear — especially freedoms of speech, press, assembly and petition — and in upholding the values that guide us, which include honesty, transparency and the free flow of accurate and truthful information.

With that in mind, we take a brief respite from our regular PRSAY posts in lieu of a collection of previous commentary relating to public relations and public affairs in the military. We hope you enjoy the content, and encourage you to offer a word of thanks to each and every member of the military you come in contact with throughout the year.

With Honor: The Air Force Receives the Best of Silver Anvil Award for Tribute to Fallen Soldiers

The Public Relations Strategist | Aug. 23, 2010

On Feb. 26, 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates reversed an 18-year policy that prohibited media access to “dignified transfers,” the process of transporting slain service members’ remains from combat zones to the military’s mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Commissioned to facilitate this solemn process, the Air Force’s public affairs and mortuary affairs corps created a family focused media relations program that has honored more than 600 fallen soldiers since the change in policy. At the same time, their program has offered the media a view into the human price of war.

Their efforts were noticed from the war room to the pressroom. For excellence in strategic yet sympathetic public relations, the Honorable Erin C. Conaton, undersecretary of the Air Force, accepted PRSA’s Best of Silver Anvil Award on behalf of the Department of Defense at the Silver Anvil Awards Ceremony on June 3 in New York City.

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Accreditation in Public Relations + Military Communication Achieved by Inaugural Group of Public Affairs Professionals | Sept. 15, 2010

PRSA honors the inaugural group of public affairs professionals has achieved the Accreditation in Public Relations + Military Communication (APR+M) certification. Those professionals who earned their APR+M certification are:

  • Navy Lt. Cmdr. (ret) Barbara Burfeind, APR+M, Defense Media Activity.

  • Erin K. Dunn, APR+M, U.S. Joint Forces Command.
  • Robert Hastings, APR+M, Bell Helicopter and former ASD/PA.
  • Suzanne Holroyd, Ph.D., APR+M, Office of the Secretary of Defense.
  • Air Force Lt. Col. (ret) Don Miles, APR+M, Fellow PRSA, U.S. Northern Command.
  • Army Reserve Lt. Col. (ret) Douglas F. Cannon, Ph.D., APR+M, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
  • Naval Reserve Lt. Kaye Sweetser, Ph.D., APR+M, University of Georgia.

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Barbara Burfeind, APR+M, Discusses New Military Accreditation Option

comPRhension | Oct. 17, 2010

Watch a video interview with, incoming chair of the APR+M Council, as she discusses what the APR+M really is, how it differs from the traditional APR and who should go through the APR+M process.

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APR+M Delivers Lasting Value to Military PA Professionals

comPRehension | Sept. 7, 2010

The new APR+M credential provides an important new tool for military public affairs professionals to both develop their skills and demonstrate high proficiency in military communications activities.  However, it transcends those benefits. The APR (Accreditation in Public Relations) is the oldest, most recognized communications credential — valued by public, private and government sectors in the selection of trusted counsel to organizational leaders. Accreditation is not only recognized by military PA leaders, but it can be helpful to those who may want to pursue a public relations career after leaving active duty and for Reserve or National Guard military public affairs personnel trying to advance their civilian careers.

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APR+M Offers Military Public Affairs a Unique Accreditation

comPRehension | Sept. 3, 2010

When I prepared for an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2006, I quickly realized that the process was about more than a test. The process allowed me to both reflect on the highlights of my career to date and refocus on the principles of what it takes to be an excellent, ethical practitioner.

So I really don’t know why I thought that when I went through the process to transition from an APR to the newly created military-specialty APR+M that the experience would only be like a test.

Wrong again.

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What can PR Learn from the Military about Social Media?

comPRehension | Nov. 19, 2009

The session, “Social Media: Learn from the Armed Forces and Associations How to Leverage Technology to Meet Strategic Communication Goals during a Down-sized Economy,” went beyond social media 101 to give specific examples about how social media strategies were formed and executed. Before I begin to relay the brainy tidbits of this session, I must give a thumbs-up to PRSA for adding a military track to the conference this year. Not only is this area near and dear to my heart, but if the federal government and military can implement social media strategies in such a regulated environment, this should serve as inspiration for any organization, big or small, to get into the interactive space.

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About the author

Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA

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