Public Relations Tactics

23 Years of Tactics

June 30, 2017

Tactics debuted in July 1994, making this our 23rd anniversary.

While that’s an odd year to celebrate, I do become nostalgic when this month rolls around in the editorial year.

I started at PRSA in late March 1994 to help launch the newspaper. We had ample time to assemble the first issue. (I think I proofed every article to the point of memorization.)

So the headlines from that edition seem as fresh to me today as they did 23 years ago. Here’s a sampling: “The Computer Media Tour,” “Desktop Specialists in Demand” and “Public Relations Enters the High-Tech Era.”

Other (short-lived) features included a Faxpoll (two people actually responded) and a crossword puzzle with a disturbingly low number of PR-related terms.

My first reporting assignment for Tactics was a trends feature on laptop computers. You see, PR agencies were starting to make these newfangled word processors available to their employees.

Here’s a an excerpt from my exposé:

“This is my office,” says Christopher Dobens, an account executive with New York-based Creamer Dickson Basford Inc., pointing to his laptop computer.

Staffers now can work at home or on the road, keeping in touch via e-mail. Among the things stored away on Dobens’ laptop: billings, expense reports, client release forms and media contacts. Dobens says the laptops improve client service, especially in a pinch.

Will laptops become the latest agency rage?

“This is the future,” says Dobens.

Tactics also ran a how-to piece — for some reason — on how to send an email to the White House. Quite simple, really. Here’s how we explained it:

CompuServe’s “go white house” command, MCI Mail’s “View White House” command, Prodigy’s “Write to Washington” feature and America Online’s “Clinton Pz” address will prepare a pre-addressed message for the president.

If you want to use the president’s Internet address, send your message to

When I attempted to assign this feature to the writer in 1994, he paused and said, “Why?” I hemmed and hawed before doing what any worthwhile new employee does: I blamed my boss. The contributor agreed to write the explainer but not before saying, “No one is going to read this.”

Well, it does make for a fun anecdote 23 years later!

John Elsasser

John Elsasser is PRSA's publications director. He joined PRSA in 1994.


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