Virgil Scudder’s Ball State Acceptance Speech

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Apr 15, 2013

ball-state-acceptance-speechI’m humbled and flattered by this award. And, most of all, I’m honored to be listed among previous award winners…some of the giants of the PR profession. People like:

  • Denny Griswold
  • Ed Bernays, the father of modern PR
  • Harold Burson, the legend
  • Chet Burger
  • John Graham
  • Dan and Richard Edelman
  • Larry Foster
  • John Reed
  • John Paluszek
  • And, Bob Grupp


Those are real giants of public relations.


There is another giant in this room: Professor Mel Sharpe.


  • Mel has turned Ball State’s PR program to one of the largest and most respected in the nation.
  • There is no finer educator or leader in public relations in American universities.


I want to address some remarks to journalism and PR students today. As professionals, yours will be a symbiotic relationship.
You need each other. And, society needs you…needs you to cooperate in dispensing reliable information and truth.
If the relationship between journalists and PR is bad, somebody is doing something wrong.
Responsible journalism is in crisis today. So, in my view, is PR. There is a tremendous loss of trust in both. And, it’s not totally unjustified.
Too many so-called news outlets are just propaganda machines, spewing out more bias than fact. Too many PR professionals practice spin, rather than honest advocacy.
There is a huge difference.
You serve different masters. But, you also need to share a common master: integrity. Integrity means dealing with honesty, candor, and truth.
I call on Ball State’s journalism graduates and PR graduates to help put things back on track.
You are our conscience…and our watchdogs.
The PR professional must be the moral heart of an organization.
The journalist must serve the same role for society at large.
We need both of you to give us reliable information and perspective.
It won’t always be easy. But, it will always be vital to the well-being of your professions and to society.
I wish you well. We will all be watching.