The unidentified PR person who wrote such a long post to Tim on the way PR folks have picked up the slack from working journalists in running the Press Club almost sounds plausible, but let’s not kid ourselves about why PR folks get involved with press clubs. Access to journalists. Period.
The Press Club and its boards have defrauded every entrant in the 2006 Katie Award competition, and possibly, as Eric says, in others. Albanese has misused, to put it kindly, a credit card and apparently mangled several booking arrangements. All this makes the Press Club–and by association, every journalist who has participated in its contests–look foolish. And its contests a kind of giant con. Just because board members didn’t know what was going on doesn’t really excuse the Club.
Here are some recommendations:
The 2006 Awards (at least) are completely tainted and should be thrown out or resubmitted to judges not named Albanese.
Defrauded entrants should demand refunds (spare us the crocodile tears about squandered scholarships) if not legal action. The Dallas County DA ought to have a very close look at what has been going on over at the Press Club.
There should be no awards at all in 2007, if indeed there are to ever be any more.
The entire board should consider resigning, or, if new members are elected, the old ones should then resign and there should be at least 90 percent representation by journalists, not PR folks.
Maybe the Katies are not that important overall but this scandal is about more than the awards–it’s about whatever integrity the Dallas journalistic community wants to assert.