I really goofed! One of the most interesting recent threads of discussion has been inadvertently deleted!!

Wow, just one little blunder and a whole lot of interesting content disappears in a second and cannot be retrieved

A few minutes ago I found myself commenting on Joao Duarte’s recent post on the Greek fires but mistakenly filed it under the stimulating Princeton Review debate. A very attentive reader from Canada quickly advised me of this and so I went to the ‘manage’ function to delete that entry and upload it under the right post. In the meantime my friend Jack O’Dwyer had just filed in, on the Princeton Review debate, a very interesting comment which followed on at least another ten which had come in in the last two-three days.
I had done this before successfully, but this time I goofed and cancelled the whole post with all the comments (including Jack’s…). I immediately called our webmaster Andrea Barbagelata and he sadly told me that he believes there is no trashcan feature on wordpress from which one may retrieve a cancelled content… In case someone should have other ideas please send them asap so that we may remove this post and put back the original one. Otherwise I don’t know what to do. I could retrieve my original post, others may wish to resubmit their original comments…. What do you suggest? This is what happens when one fails to do one’s homework before making decisions (in this case to press yes when asked do you really want to delete?)… in the case of our profession this has to do with listening to stakeholder expectations, in this case with stupidity and, possbily, overconfidence…. Sorry friends. By chance, can anyone recollect recently downloading this discussion? Or sending it to someone via email? If so will you please let me know??

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23 Replies to “I really goofed! One of the most interesting recent threads of discussion has been inadvertently deleted!!

  1. It would appear, from its response to Jack O’Dwyer, that The Princeton Review clings to an all-too-familiar management refrain:

    “My mind is made up; don’t try to confuse me with facts.”

    The result, as with most who follow that approach, may well be a decline in their credibility.

    If so, perhaps they will require the counsel of PR professionals whose education has taught them not only to write well, but also to assess the situation (using appropriate measurement techniques), develop an appropriate response strategy and recommendations, counsel and train management to deal effectively with inquiries from faculty, professionals and press, and — oh, I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I?

    TPR just doesn’t get it. And when it’s time for my daughter to explore colleges, we won’t get TPR.

  2. >Hey Matt — Lighten up on Prof. Toni.

    >Most of us are not professional bloggers. He made a mistake and he was honest about it asked for help. Should he have tried to cover it up or put a “warm fuzzy spin” on it?

    I agree with your comment – I was out of order and I did apologise above:

    >To follow up, firstly my comments aboev sound a touch uncharitable (sorry).

    I’m happy to do so again explicitly. I overreacted, and I apologise for that. I should have done wha I could to help (which I have now done) and made the point mor gently.

  3. Because this conversation went into two different directions, let me begin by sharing something with those who ever lost information on their computers (because it’s never too late to know this): here are some tips on what you should do to help contain damage and facilitate data recovery in an emergency
    http://www.handyrecovery.com/data-recovery-tips.html

    It might not be the best reference, but if you google “data recovery” you’ll get lots of other results.

    With regard to the Princeton issue, here’s the (very constructive) response from the Commission on Public Relations Education (www.commpred.org) to the Princeton Review.

    http://www.prconversations.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/commpred_response_tpr.pdf

    It presents important facts while also suggesting that in future editions the Commission is available to act as a source. This message is signed by two of the vice chairs of the comission, Dr. Dean Kruckeberg and John Paluszek (Global Alliance Ambassador at Large of the Global Alliance whom I thank for sharing this with us).

    (Relevant Note: This was issued before the 31st August reiteration of arguments by The Princeton Review)

  4. Hey Matt — Lighten up on Prof. Toni.

    Most of us are not professional bloggers. He made a mistake and he was honest about it asked for help. Should he have tried to cover it up or put a “warm fuzzy spin” on it?

  5. Hey Matt — Lighten up on Prof. Toni.

    Most of us are not professional bloggers. He made a mistake and he was honest about it asked for help. Should he have tried to cover it up or put a “warm fuzzy spin” on it?

  6. Too bad the comments got deleted. I didn’t keep mine, but I know it said we should not sit by and let this stupidity go unanswered. Response should ideally come from PRSA, which should then mount a long-overdue campaign to do some p.r. for the p.r. industry.

    1) Send proper information to high school guidance counselors
    2) Begin an ongoing campaign to clarify what p.r. does and how it works, aimed at the general business community and specialized communities like marketing and advertising, which utilize and work with p.r.
    3) Work to get more p.r. education into college programs, especially into general business studies and marketing programs.

    These are all things that PRSA should have been doing for many years on behalf of the industry, instead of talking to and fighting among themselves.

  7. Too bad the comments got deleted. I didn’t keep mine, but I know it said we should not sit by and let this stupidity go unanswered. Response should ideally come from PRSA, which should then mount a long-overdue campaign to do some p.r. for the p.r. industry.

    1) Send proper information to high school guidance counselors
    2) Begin an ongoing campaign to clarify what p.r. does and how it works, aimed at the general business community and specialized communities like marketing and advertising, which utilize and work with p.r.
    3) Work to get more p.r. education into college programs, especially into general business studies and marketing programs.

    These are all things that PRSA should have been doing for many years on behalf of the industry, instead of talking to and fighting among themselves.

  8. I appreciate the expressions of commiseration with my great loss. It sure was the Mother of all Goofs. (I would compare Toni’s woe with the colic suffered by a pink newborn elephant while mine is the demise of the herd matriarch, over 70 years of age, a gaunt old dowager with tattered ears and rheumy eyes. I can still feel the earth jump under my feet as she went down).

    Judy was perceptive in saying that I was going through the classic stages of grief. First I was devastated by what I had lost–how was I going to function since my whole life was tied to that computer. Alaska seemed like a holiday compared to the desert I will have to face here. Then I became angry with the technician who formatted the hard drive without saving my data. I had visions of what I would do with the matriarch’s tusks when I caught up with him.

    However, deep down I knew that I was the one to blame. But how could it be that I, one of the world’s most careful people, did not have an external backup for the last 3 years. I stared at my students’ study guide, where I told them repeatedly to back up their data. So why didn’t I?

    As I sat down last night and ‘reflected’ on what had happened, I noticed something interesting. I have triple backups of the work done on an assortment of ‘old’ computers. The trouble started when I got my gleaming new machine, the top of the range laptop. I never backed up anything (externally) after that. But the most amazing of it all was that I never noticed that I didn’t! How could that be?

    Possibly because I didn’t have a day’s problem with it. As time passed by, I started to feel safe protected by Norton and Windows firewall and all other possible updates, and I snoozed in my comfort zone. I started to depend on my machine, since it provided me with an answer to any question, either amongst the data stored there or via the Internet. It became my lifeline to the outside world. It became my constant companion, day or night. It accompanied me on my travels—even carrying the photographs of my loved ones.

    So last night realisation hit home with a thunderbolt — I started to TRUST the damn thing. It had in fact become a trusted friend. It was always there for me, day and night. I had formed a completely satisfactory RELATIONSHIP with it! Might I say that it was a beautiful relationship while it lasted. And it brought sharp pain when it ended.

    And I cannot but help to think of the story of the Jewish father who told his son to get up on the roof of their house, and then told him to jump. Which the boy did. But the father made no effort to catch the son, and the boy hurt himself. And when the son asked why his father didn’t help him, the father answered: “Didn’t I tell you never to trust anybody”? I can sure learn from this.

  9. Ah, the ‘wrong button’ syndrome. I have huge sympathy Toni – as there but for the fickle finger of fate go I – or any one of us after a long day at the keyboard as we participate in our informal dialogue and ideas exchange. But worse things happen at sea, as my old Mum used to say, (or ‘down at the computer shop’ might be a more appropriate analogy) and I am sure we can reassemble the Princeton discussion.

    There will be cache corners and bits and pieces to be retrieved from here and there – and if that fails we can always start again. I can send you my comment if you wish or re-post it, but as this comment thread was getting a bit long and a bit distracted, I was wary of sticking it up again here as it would follow the Greek fires comment and perhaps add to the confusion.

    Benita – polar bears are beautiful but hand-feeding them may result in more than a loss of data. And I think you might find Alaska a bit of a chilly transition from your current location! On one platform recently, I encountered someone wanting advice on how to become a ‘moose whisperer’ which I felt had real possibilities as an alternative career for my sunset years (once I’d stopped laughing) so if all else fails, I’ll send you my moose whispering tips as an alternative to any potential polar bear sojourn you may consider. For the moment, I send you a large, virtual and very sympathetic hug for your data loss and the whole episode has me scurrying off to back-up my back-ups in case I have missed anything, being the ‘belt-and-braces’ kinda girl that I am…

  10. Agree.
    Like many of this period’s goofers who follow our professional advice…..I apologize.
    But you should also be aware that I am not a professional blogger nor have I ever pretended to be one.
    At this point it’s up to you…
    a) you accept to visit a blog where these things happen…(hopefully not every day, but say…once a year?) and I would be very glad if you did so also to receive from time to time the benefit of your professional blogism …
    b) you decide to chuck me out of the window of your attention and of course I would be saddened by such decision.
    thank you for passing by.

  11. To follow up, firstly my comments aboev sound a touch uncharitable (sorry).

    Second, you can retrieve the post from the Google cache here (I think this is the one):

    http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:zRlJYswf5tkJ:www.prconversations.com/%3Fp%3D306+site:http://www.prconversations.com/+greece&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=uk

    Search on just your site on google, like this – using the “site:” directive:

    site:http://www.prconversations.com/ greece

    You could use a WordPress plugin called “WordPress Database Backup” which you can set up to email you a backup daily or do a manual backup before risky operations – which may help.

    Yor lost post:

    In recent debates on PRConversations about the level of strategic practice of PR, the value of licensing, the role of active professional associations or even the misguided conceptions about lobby, I must confess I couldn’t bring much positive experience from Portugal unless that great advantage that lies in the fact that we can still do things from scratch and try to learn from the best examples all over the world. So now I want to share with you an example that should probably be in a case-study collection about the best of PR in Portugal (at least I would like to think that way)…

    At least most of readers in Europe must be aware of the gigantic tragedy going on in Greece because of tremendous fires of yet unknown origins, but with strong suspicious of set fires. As they where increasing, these fires have also set a political crisis upon a highly criticised Government facing upcoming anticipated elections. But, as this NYTimes article shows, there are sufficient angles to write stories able to touch people from pretty much everywhere in the world. As Portugal is, according to reports by our Government, the southern European country with the highest number or registered fires (or at least of situations that mobilize the civil protection forces) between 1980 and 2005, having had 10 times more fires than Greece in that period, I thought this was worth writing about.

    Yes, we suffered a lot from the blazes, from a changed climate and from bad coordination of civil forces by bad politicians and decision makers but some got the lesson. Last year the total burnt area decreased some 78% with the civil society playing an active role in this and this year we have reasons to be even more confident thanks to the power of public relations.

    It all starts as a group of companies recently decided to act against fires after a couple of years of tremendous fights against devastating blazes. The “Companies against Fire” Movement (ECO Movement) was set up by a group of 23 major companies in Portugal and started based on the belief that the most important asset that these companies could bring to this cause was their communication networks. The group of companies includes the most important retailers, banks, the Portuguese post, insurance companies, consumer goods, paper producers and media companies among others. Some printed messages in shopping bags; others printed them on sugar packs served with coffee but all had the common purpose to reduce the estimated one third of human related fires, half of which are due to negligent behaviour. The movement started only recently and the impact of its actions is not yet known. But the fact is that the messages are going through and, believe it or not, the actual number of fires in 2007 is not even near the usual in Portugal for this time of year.

    This movement of companies is coordinating directly with Civil Protection Authorities and has also donated goods and services that range from bicycles to jeeps, from computers to satellite mobile communication systems and even special software to coordinate the fire fighting resources.

    From the PR point of view, this movement is not set on a highly visible media relations strategy but rather on an effective number of direct communication actions. It does have a representative with a very high profile (a former CEO of Portugal’s biggest company) to gather goodwill but hardly to be considered as a typical hire-a-celebrity-to-give-the-face-for-the-cause kind of campaign. All communication efforts are synergistic and this is what makes the network so powerful. Each of the involved companies’ acts as a multiplier of the messages and the Government (mainly Internal Affairs and Agricultural ministries) thanks them a lot because they are actually saving a lot of public money and showing a sign of a strong civil society.

    From our professional point of view, I would like to consider that these companies’ public relations are showing a tremendous way to add value to society and protect the common good. Companies are acting together for a specific target and they are putting the best of them at the service of this cause. I just wonder if it would work the same for other causes like reduce risk behaviours that generate road accidents, reduce corruption behaviours and other kind of mass phenomena. I also wonder how to better describe this: corporate diplomacy, public relations, corporate social investment or simply communication in the public interest….

    Your opinions?

  12. On second thoughts, I don’t think I should be kind…

    I’d expect to be jumped on for a technical website error, or for a PR error related to a website for which I am responsible (I should know when to use a PR professional) – so perhaps you do deserve some stick!

  13. OK.

    Not being particularly kind (sorry), but a good question:

    If this blog was your PR client that had just deleted a load of comments from the public, what would your advice as a PR professional be on handling the crisis?

    And how do you measure up 😉 ?

    Perhaps blog management be professionalised?

  14. As recovery of the original post looks highly unlikely at this point, I believe it’s best to provide links to some of the source documents, too, particularly for new visitors/readers.

    The (infamous) Princeton Review article
    Career: Public Relations, A Day in the Life
    http://www.princetonreview.com/cte/profiles/dayInLife.asp?careerID=171

    Links to the Commission’s report-originally pointed to by João Duarte-which paints quite a different picture of post-secondary program of study of public relations in North America (specifically, the USA).

    The Commission on Public Relations Education, Public Relations for the 21st Century (with members of the commission including Frank Ovaitt, APR; Terry Flynn, APR; and Jean Valin, APR.):
    http://www.commpred.org/
    http://www.commpred.org/report/
    http://www.commpred.org/report/2006_Report_of_the_Commission_on_Public_Relations_Education.pdf

    Finally (as referred to by Brian Kilgore in an above comment), the links I provided to earlier posts by Professor Gary Schlee (co-ordinator of the corporate communications postgraduate program at Centennial College) on his A Class Act blog (“A forum about public relations education in Canada”).

    Canadian PR Education, Part I – Undergraduate
    http://classact.prblogs.org/2007/01/16/canadian-pr-education-part-1-undergraduate/

    Canadian PR Education: Part 2 – Postgraduate
    http://classact.prblogs.org/2007/01/26/canadian-pr-education-part-2-postgraduate/

    Canadian PR Education: Part 3 – Part-time Studies
    http://classact.prblogs.org/category/pr-education/

    BTW, after reading Toni Muzi Falconi’s (excellent but now sadly, inadvertently deleted) post on the topic (“Bad news friends! Public Relations courses in Universities are unnecessary, writes the Princeton Review…”), Gary Schlee was inspired/incensed enough to write his own post:

    PR knowledge? Princeton Review suggests it’s unnecessary:
    http://classact.prblogs.org/2007/08/28/pr-knowledge-princeton-review-suggests-its-unnecessary/

    (Benita, as tasked I’m gathering some local/relevant PR conference options together, but I will post them online at a later date. The weather in T.O. is simply gorgeous for our long weekend, so I am going to get off the grid and make sure to enjoy it!)

  15. As recovery looks highly unlikely at this point, I believe it’s best to provide links to some of the source documents, too.

    The (infamous) Princeton Review article
    http://www.princetonreview.com/cte/profiles/dayInLife.asp?careerID=171

    Links to the Commission’s report-originally pointed to by João Duarte-which paints quite a different picture of post-secondary program of study of public relations in North America (specifically, the USA).

    The Commission on Public Relations Education, Public Relations for the 21st Century (with members of the commission including Frank Ovaitt, APR; Terry Flynn, APR; and Jean Valin, APR.):

    http://www.commpred.org/
    http://www.commpred.org/report/
    http://www.commpred.org/report/2006_Report_of_the_Commission_on_Public_Relations_Education.pdf

    Finally (as referred to by Brian Kilgore in the comment above), the links I provided to earlier posts by Professor Gary Schlee (co-ordinator of the corporate communications postgraduate program at Centennial College) on his A Class Act blog (“A forum about public relations education in Canada”).

    Canadian PR Education, Part I – Undergraduate
    http://classact.prblogs.org/2007/01/16/canadian-pr-education-part-1-undergraduate/

    Canadian PR Education: Part 2 – Postgraduate
    http://classact.prblogs.org/2007/01/26/canadian-pr-education-part-2-postgraduate/

    Canadian PR Education: Part 3 – Part-time Studies
    http://classact.prblogs.org/category/pr-education/

    BTW, after reading Toni Muzi Falconi’s (excellent but now sadly, inadvertently deleted) post on the topic “Bad news friends! Public Relations courses in Universities are unnecessary, writes the Princeton Review…”, Gary Schlee was inspired/incensed enough to write his own post:

    PR knowledge? Princeton Review suggests it’s unnecessary:
    http://classact.prblogs.org/2007/08/28/pr-knowledge-princeton-review-suggests-its-unnecessary/

    (Benita, as tasked I’m gathering some local/relevant PR conference options together, but I will post them online at a later date. The weather is simply gorgeous here in T.O. for our long weekend, so I am going to get off the grid in order to go outside and enjoy it!)

  16. Like Benita, I once lost several years of “stuff” owing to a dead computer – I spent a long time asking students and other contacts to send me back what I’d lost. But it was also cathartic in some ways to rethink a few missing pieces.

    Anyway, my contribution to the earlier comments related to a lack of surprise about the poor advice, but that this reflects other career sites that I’ve seen (and some PR agencies). I also wondered about what information is being provided to career advisors in schools/colleges.

    In the UK, there is a good level of information available from CIPR and University websites. Although, I noted that the first year undergrads I taught last year didn’t have a clear idea of what they had signed up to study for the next four years. Some may have been disappointed if they thought they were getting into a party-profession. But the vast majority discover a much more interesting career. During their studies, they gain a solid foundation in a wide range of specific and transferable skills — covering everything from politics to economics, rhetoric to persuassion, new media to global affairs. Most of the PR graduates I know from 2007 have opted for a career in the industry.

  17. I can’t remember much about what I wrote originally, but I did refer Jack to the links in Judy’s message, where she directed people to research by Gary Schlee about PR education in Canada.

    I remember mentioning that the head of the world-wide Research firm Echo, bassd south of London and in New York, is a Canadian woman who graduated from Mount St. Vincent University, in Halifax and then went to live in Paris before moving to England. In addition to being really smart and really good, she a beautiful blonde who used to work with me a million years ago.

    Yesterday, rading my local/national number one business paper in Canada, I noted that Freda Colbourne has been named CEO of Edelman Canada, replacing the late Charles Fremes. Freda was and is a beautiful blonde, and smart, and almost a million years ago she was my account coordinator at Burson Marsteller. My recollection, trying to remember back a long time, is that she was a Humber College PR graduate, and I seem to think it was from the one year course because she already had a busienss degree from somewhere else. I jsut checked Edelman’s announcement of her promotion, and it does not go back far enough.

    Regardless — wherever she was educated, it worked really well, and I believe that a business degree plus a year of community college PR could well be all you need to attain this level of success, if you are smart and proactive and imaginative and work hard. (Being an account coordinator and keeping me and my department on time, on schedule, with up to date time sheets, plus armed for any meetings we were going to, was a hard job and she was so good I still remember.

    BAK

  18. “Bad news friends”. That is all I can say. How aptly Toni described it. And I quote from the Princeton Review’s reiteration of their view of PR: ” In our view, it’s such a fluid career that students do have the flexibility to major in something other than PR, which helps them perhaps specialize in a segment of any number of industries—from trucking to government.”

    If my students read this, I will be out of a job. (Not that it would matter much, since I will be in Alaska feeding polar bears). Because why should they take the hardships of a PR master’s thesis (plus job plus husband plus kids) if they can do as well without it. Their English is fine. Therefore they will be fine (in dealing with ambiguity, that is). They should forget about majoring in PR. Transport economics will do as well. At least that will assist them in driving sales.

  19. Benita has been sharing her lost data tales of woe with me over the past week (she’s working her way through the classic stages of grief), and Toni I have to say that as unfortunate is today’s trigger-finger incident (“The Day of the Big Delete”), she’s right in that it’s a drop compared to her three years of research and original writing.

    If you want to start rebuilding this discussion about the Princeton Review article from the top-down, I *did* receive notification of the comment Jack O’Dwyer left, via e-mail. Here it is in full:

    “Bad news friends! Public Relations courses in Universities are unnecessary, writes the Princeton Review…”.

    Author: Jack O’Dwyer

    Take vs. PR Is “Official”

    PR profs wanted to know if advice against “PR” courses was the “official” stand of Princeton Review. It is, said the Review, but it notes “communications” is a popular major.

    Fri., Aug. 31

    PRINCETON REVIEW REITERATES PR STAND

    The Princeton Review, in response to a query from this website, has reiterated its stand against undergrads taking public relations courses.

    Said the response:

    “Yes, this is the Princeton Review’s view of the PR field. PR specialists are talented individuals with great communications skills and varied backgrounds. In our view, it’s such a fluid career that students do have the flexibility to major in something other than PR, which helps them perhaps specialize in a segment of any number of industries—from trucking to government.”

    A section on “Major: Public Relations,” provides a definition of the field by Kent State University.

    PR is said to be “the strategic management of communication and relationships between organizations and their key publics.” Once students master the basics of PR, they’ll be able to “drive sales for your client and earn favor in the public eye…knowing when to communicate what is essential in PR.”

    The Review lists the “ten most popular majors” based on data it collects from students and ranks “communications” as the eighth most popular major.

    The rankings are:

    1. Business administration and management.

    2. Psychology.

    3. Elementary education.

    4. Biology.

    5. Nursing.

    6. Education.

    7. English.

    8. Communications.

    9. Computer science.

    10. Political science.

    Communications Defined

    Communications majors “learn how certain messages influence individual and group behavior as well as how our reactions reflect the underlying values of society.”

    Students study “different kinds of speaking and writing and the strategies people use to make their points and drive them home.”

    They will also “delve into monumental speeches, revolutionary political campaigns, radical social movements, and the trends in news reporting.”

    Communications majors can pursue careers in business, PR, advertising, human resources, government, education, media or social services, the Review says.

    English Majors Are “Well-Rounded”

    English major can be found in “countless types of jobs, advises the Review, including author, reporter, journalist, editor, radio broadcaster, advertising and PR executives.

    With their “well-rounded, well-read background,” they can also become “teachers, lawyers (after law school, of course), film directors, politicians, actors, you name it,” the Review adds.

    English majors should be “be prepared to read, think, write, discuss, and then read a whole lot more,” it says.

    Use of “Princeton” Being Investigated

    Some professors have complained that the use of the term “Princeton,” especially with the word “Review” strongly suggests that the college rating and test preparation service is part of Princeton University.

    The media relations dept. of the University said it will look into this issue.

    Princeton is the name of a town in New Jersey and numerous local businesses use that name.

  20. Count yourself lucky, Toni. It is only one discussion. It could have been all of them!

    Last week I contracted a virus on my laptop, took it in to a techician, and he deleted 3 year’s worth of data on the hard drive in an effort to save it! And this was a computer shop!! (Needless to say, I didn’t have an external backup. So if you don’t hear from me again, it is because I retired and now live in Alaska).
    BS

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