PR’s Top Pros Talk… Social Justice – Donovan Thompson

The time to speak up is now. Executive producer of The Grapevine, Donovan Thompson, breaks down the current state of diversity and racial awareness in the workplace and shares thoughts on the effective ways to implement change.


PRWeek reported that only 13% of the leaders in PR agencies are non-white, even after five years of trying to increase diversity in the industry. This is a trend that goes beyond the PR field; black people are underrepresented in leadership roles across all industries. As a result, there is no one to speak to the diversity and colorism, says Donovan. He encourages that organizations allow diverse people to be experts in diversity, without alienating them. Donovan stresses the importance of empowering black employees with actual leadership roles, instead of just giving them diversity positions.


Diversifying your organizations could be tricky. Should the companies be explicit about their efforts? Donovan emphasizes that they need to be very overt about it, they need to make a real effort. Black employees find it complicated to speak out about systemic racism, fearing that it will follow them throughout their careers and create obstacles along the way. This is why it’s imperative for organizations to lead the way intentionally, allowing black people to take charge and encourage these conversations from the top down.


It’s ok to have awkward conversations, everyone needs to sweat a little bit, says Donovan. For employees, now is the time to speak up, advocate for changes that you’d like to see in the workplace and offer your services. Donovan is convinced that if organizations allow black people to be their full selves, it will revolutionize and promote the business in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

The Grapevine TV:

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PR’s Top Pros Talk – Matt Kucharski

Organizations need to get out of the “going back to normal” mentality. Matt shares findings of his team’s ethnography study that tries to understand how the mindset of executives is changing and evolving as a result of COVID-19 and racial unrest. The role of strategic communicators is increasingly becoming more important when it comes to giving advice on not only what to say during these challenging times, but what to do.

Matt also suggests that organizations be honest with their stakeholders and communicate with them, leveraging media, even if they don’t have all the answers. It is essential to acknowledge the issues that we are facing and actively cultivate change.

Media Guide for PR Pros – Episode 6: Viewing Impressions of Local TV Are Increasing

A recent report by TVB shows that local TV news viewership is up 162% among 18-34 year olds. What are PR professionals saying about the shifting local TV landscape?


61% were surprised that a high percentage of journalists is interested in interviewing brand executives.
More than 80% said that COVID-19 made it more important to get organization leaders and CEOs featured on television, with 52% increasing their efforts in trying to realize this goal.
Only 37% felt that they were technically prepared to make sure their leaders looked and sounded their best.

It is more important than ever for PR professionals to recognize the importance of leveraging local TV news and presenting organization leaders in the best way.

Need some help getting ready for an interview? D S Simon Media is providing free tech checks to help make sure spokespeople deliver the best audio and video quality for their next TV interview. Contact Doug Simon, to schedule.

PR’s Top Pros Talk – Olga Fleming

Communities are stronger than ever. Olga encourages communicators to really take the time and understand what their communities are going through to convey  authentic messaging and show empathy.

She also stresses the importance of taking care of your employees first and then informing your customers on how you’re navigating the new environment on the channels that your audiences engage with. When it comes to social justice, staying silent Is no longer an option. Brands need to define what steps they are taking in the fight for social justice.

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Marvin Stockwell

Marvin reminds us that this is the whole world’s crisis and we all have a role to play. This is a time for brands and non-profits to be flexible and give themselves permission to try new things. He encourages organizations to use television and media to convey how they are being helpful and useful during these challenging times.

Marvin also emphasizes the uptick in the interest and demand in science-related stories among the media. Audiences want to hear these stories now more than ever.

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Gil Bashe

Transparency + Timeliness = Trust. This equation is crucial for businesses and communicators as they transform due to the accelerated change brought on by COVID. Will these changes be permanent? Gil shares his take for communicators and shares insight into the tidal wave of change within our healthcare system.

He also addresses the importance of getting your leadership communicating effectively through the media during these troubled times.

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Tamara Norman

Employees are your number one stakeholder. Companies need to be empathetic and responsive to their employee needs now more than ever. During these times communicators really need to understand what their audiences care about and what’s important to them. This way communicators can adapt their strategy to reach the audiences effectively. Tamara’s suggestions include leveraging media and TV to go the stakeholders directly, be transparent and show what your response is to the new norm.

She also stresses the importance of maintaining diversity and educating the workforce on inclusion, even as we move into a virtual office environment.

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Michael Kempner

The actions brands take today will have significant impact on how they perform during the next phase of the COVID economy. Those are among the key findings of a consumer study recently published by MWWPR. In his conversation with Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media, Michael shares how brands can show leadership to stakeholders including customers and employees during this challenging time.



PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Lisa Ross

Lisa emphasizes the importance of taking action in this moment – especially regarding the dramatic effects of COVID-19 on historically-marginalized communities. She notes the responsibility for brands to be serving and solving, rather than selling. And she notes that, despite low marks for all four institutions studied in Edelman’s Trust Barometer in January, the pandemic offers government, business, nonprofits and the media a chance to rebuild trust with their actions.

Check out Lisa’s most recent research piece.

PR’s Top Pros Talk COVID – Jim Joseph

It’s time to rethink your value as a brand. Brands need to seek new ways to offer value that goes beyond products and services. In his discussion with Doug Simon, CEO at D S Simon Media, Jim Joseph also encourages to listen closely to why customers are making the decisions they are–the subject of his new book The Conscious Marketer.

It’s also more important now to make appearances in the media and inform the public on the changes you’re making to ensure public safety and how they’re taking care of their employees during these times.