Public Relations Tactics

20th Anniversary Thoughts

July 1, 2014

With this issue, Tactics turns 20. The newspaper debuted in July 1994 with the cover story, “Why Whitewater Didn’t Go Away,” an analysis of the Clinton administration’s crisis management challenge.

Other articles from that first issue include now charmingly quaint headlines such as “The Computer Media Tour” and “How to Send an E-mail to the White House.” Other headlines are as relevant today as they were 20 years ago, such as “Putting the ‘News’ Back in News Releases” and “The Secret to Landing a Job.”

For two decades, we’ve continued to highlight people, ideas and technologies helping to advance the profession and the professional.

As Joe Vecchione, APR, PRSA’s Board Chair in 1994, wrote in the first issue: “Our plan is to continue providing you with useful information and provocative ideas that you can put to use immediately. We’ll be low on theory and high on information, with lots of tips and practical advice to help you do things a little bit better every day.”

While our mission hasn’t changed, the way we go about delivering the information has. In addition to the print version, we provide daily news updates via Issues & Trends emails, online briefs and on our Twitter feed (@PRSAtactics), as well as a monthly e-version and digital flipbook. (And our publications team remains the same size as it was in July 1994, with expanded duties that include producing The Strategist every quarter.)

In this issue, we revisit some of the news, trends and how-to information that Tactics has covered through the years, from the silly to the sage. 

Our 20th anniversary package is a reminder of how far we’ve all come as communicators. For instance, here’s a tidbit from a news release survey from November 1994: “74 percent of newspaper editors prefer to receive information as hard copy, while 26 percent prefer to receive it on a disk.”

There are many people to thank, including our members for their devoted readership and our advertisers and corporate partners for their continued support. I’m also grateful to our contributors who put their energy and inspiration into Tactics by sharing their views and expertise.

Thanks to the PRSA staff and Board leaders, past and present, and a special thanks to William M. Murray, PRSA’s most recent CEO, for his guidance. Thanks to our editorial team: Amy Jacques, managing editor; Kyra Auffermann, digital content editor; Lenore Oliveri, director of creative services; and Susan Yip, art director.

Lastly, thank you to Adam Shell, our founding editor, who hired me in March 1994 to help launch the paper. Adam had the vision at the time to create a publication that provided a lot of information in an economical manner. He’s still following that philosophy today as he covers Wall Street for USA Today.

Here at PRSA headquarters, we are committed to improving our publication — both in print and online, to serve the growing diversity of our membership and to address the PR-related challenges ahead.

And we’re looking forward to the next 20 years! 


John Elsasser

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


Joan Gladstone says:

Congratulations on your 20th anniversary with PRSA and the 20th year of Public Relations Tactics! Your efforts on behalf of PRSA have contributed to the professional development of PR practitioners around the world.

July 13, 2014

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