FEMA and PRSA: The Blind Leading the Blind

TV coverage of the fake FEMA press conferenceOn December 6, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) "conducted a communications workshop for external affairs and management staff of the Federal Emergency Management Agency at FEMA's offices in Washington, D.C." PRSA offered the workshop after FEMA's controversial fake news conference in October, where FEMA staffers played reporter, asking their boss softball questions. PRSA's press release said the workshop was the first time "that a federal government agency formally engaged and consulted the Society ... involving staff on the topics of crisis communications, ethics and reputation management." PRSA hopes the workshop "will be the beginning of an ongoing interaction with FEMA -- as well as an open door to relationships with other government agencies," according to its press release. PRSA has also worked with the U.S. State Department "on public diplomacy for Congressional members and their staff," reports O'Dwyer's. In 2000, PRSA revamped its ethics code, getting rid of all internal enforcement mechanisms.