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Here are two facts from the most recent issue of Barron’s that I find interesting:
1. U.S. Olympic Committee awards American athletes $25,000 for a gold medal. Tiny Azerbaijan gives its athletes a half million for gold. Hmmm..
2. Who knew? More than two-thirds of American men plan on buying one or more luxury items in the next year, but only 44% of women plan to.

Like I said, it is a quiet Saturday afternoon.  Too quiet.

I used to love watching cooking shows on the channels devoted to foodies like me. But not anymore.

Simple, instructive shows on how to prepare foods seem to have been replaced with contests, competitions, and high drama that might mention food from time to time.

Instead of  shows that actually teach the novice like me how to prepare desirable dishes, we get cupcake wars, restaurant rescues, and all sorts of silliness which have to have drama and conflict.

Where is Paula when we need her. Oh, that’s  right  –  too controversial. Yeah, right.

The same thing is happening to car shows. Channels like Velocity, Discovery, et al., have had some great shows, but now more and more of these shows have to have the same level of drama and conflict that infects the cooking channels. Always a tight deadline and not enough money to do the project correctly. Add to that the inevitable shop conflict. Tempers flare, feelings get hurt, people sulk.

Far too many shows on the cooking and car channels have adopted to same tired, formula composed of conflict, too little time and too little money, and way too little actual instruction.

With hundreds of channels from which to pick, you would think I could find the perfect shows. That is not as easy as it used to be.

I normally do not need reminders of why I love what I do — teaching college students public relations management — but there are times when it all comes flooding back to me.

This past December was one of those times. The Public Relations Society of America, Maryland chapter, honored me with its Educator of the Year award. I was deeply touched by this. First, to be honored by PRSA-MD was incredibly special. Second, being honored for doing what I love to do is especially poignant.

Here is the official announcement:

The 2013 Best In Maryland Committee and the 2013 PRSA-MD Board of Directors are proud to announce the 2013 Educator of the Year recipient: Lester R. Potter.

Accredited Business Communicator Lester R. Potter, an MBA, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies at Towson University, Maryland. He is “ABD” (all but dissertation) for a doctorate in Instructional Technology at Towson.  At Towson, Potter teaches Public Relations Writing, Organizational Communication, Strategic Public Relations Planning and Management, and Public Relations for Nonprofit Organizations.  He has served as Faculty Advisor to the PRSSA chapter for ten years.

Prior to beginning his academic career, Potter was President of Les Potter Incorporated, an international consultancy he founded in 1998.  His firm helped organizations worldwide use communication as a strategic management tool to boost organizational effectiveness.  For over 30 years, Les Potter has improved business operation with innovative, results-oriented interventions.  To solve clients’ problems, Potter draws on successful experience in organizational communication, strategic and marketing planning, and human resources and project management gained from work with a wide variety of organizations and industries.

Les Potter’s background includes many different and enriching business situations that prepared him for successful client service.  Potter was Chairman of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) during 1991-92.  He was named an IABC Fellow in 1997, IABC’s highest honor.  He served on IABC’s executive board, accreditation board, and as a trustee of the IABC Research Foundation.  He earned IABC accreditation (the ABC designation) in 1978.

Les is also a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the invitation-only professional association for educators, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

You have heard me talk a great deal about my Communication/PR colleagues and friends who I consider to be true professionals. What does being a Communication/PR professional mean to you? How do you become a true professional in Communication/PR?

To get to the new Wal-Mart in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, about a mile from where I live in Vienna, you go down Route 7 until you see the Aston Martin dealership on the right. Then, you take the next left at the Porsche dealership.

You can’t miss the Aston Martin dealership, for it is across Route 7 from the Mercedes dealership.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is spending $250 million of his own money to buy the official house organ of the Democrat party.

Yes , “house organ”, a pejorative, old-fashioned term that fits the Washington Post perfectly.

One can’t help but wonder if this is a shrewd move to gain Washington access. What better way to get a seat at the table of the powerful in Washington, D.C. than to own the Washington Post, which has not made a profit in years. The darling of the glitterati, the Post has devolved into little more than a house organ for all things Democrat.

But power is power, and Bezos, reported to be a Libertarian, will have a pretty nice entry into the halls of power in Washington.

The Post is just one of a long list of failed newspapers. Perhaps Bezos’ purchase will transform the business model in new and sustainable ways. Let’s hope so. A viable press is necessary to sustaining democracy.

Maybe Bezos can mitigate the Post’s shameless partisanship that is skewed so totally toward the Democrat party. A good first move would be to fire  that hack “cartoonist” Tom Toles, whose 1940s images and obvious hatred for Republicans shows up in almost every cartoon he draws.

Journalism is supposed to be unbiased in reporting the news. The Washington Post gave up on that a long time ago. The result? It has become a moral and financial failure. I wish Jeff Bezos, a true entrepreneurial genius, great success in restoring it to some sort of ethical journalistic standard.

What is your greatest personal challenge as a public relations writer? How will you deal with this challenge?

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