Take This Job and Love It

Sixteen years after founding the Center for Media and Democracy and our publication PR Watch, I'm moving on this June to new challenges. The search for my replacement began last week, and we hope that by summer CMD will have a new executive director. I believe that CMD needs a high-energy executive director especially skilled at taking us to our next level of success. At age 56 I want a less demanding life with more personal time. I also look forward to getting back to my activist and organizing roots, and getting out from under the management and fundraising demands of this job.

I started CMD in 1993 with $5,000 out of my own pocket because the world needed a public interest group devoted to documenting and exposing how government propaganda and corporate spin undermine democracy and progressive social change. My CMD colleagues are the world's leaders in this unique area of investigative journalism and citizen activism that we have pioneered. Our research, articles, books, websites, radio shows, interviews and lectures reach more than two million people each month.

CMD has become a vital national and international institution. I believe we will find a new executive director with the necessary passion, skills and commitment to continue our growth in the years ahead. I'll be available as needed as an advisor to CMD; my commitment to our organization is unflagging.

It's of course crucial that my successor take the reins of a strong and healthy organization. We raise CMD's budget each year from individual donations and the support of a handful of foundations. We currently have more than half of our 2009 budget in the bank, which would be good for a normal year, but no one has seen a year this economically disastrous since the Great Depression.

Donate to CMD!

Please help us through tough times and to make a successful transition. Click here and donate now to support CMD.

On a personal note, let me say that my 16 years with CMD are the highlight of my life. I'm not leaving for another job, and I can't imagine ever having a job I'd love as much as this one. That's exactly the passion and attitude we hope to find in our next executive director.

Again, you can help ensure our continuing success with an online donation or by sending a check to CMD at 520 University Avenue #227, Madison, Wisconsin, 53703.

The job description for our next executive director is available. Please read it, and pass it on to anyone who might want to take this job and love it.

Comments

You have more guts than most people I met. Good luck wherever you might go. LL

Best of luck to you in your endeavors,. Brian

The oldest PR trade press in the USA, O'Dwyer's, has an article on their website about my announcement of my leaving CMD. The headline on their homepage is: "PR World Weeps as Stauber Steps Down" It is currently on their homepage at: http://www.odwyerpr.com/ As one of my colleagues commented after reading some of the nasty comments from PR industry types, "it's always nice to know that you've angered the right people." Of course the irony is that I'm leaving, but our organization currently has 9 employees, so it's not like these industry PR flacks will catch a break. John

Here's the text of the actual article, with the comments at the bottom. O'Dwyer's is both a part of the PR industry and a real thorn in its side, a constant critic of major players. It's a wonder they have managed to survive. Jack O'Dwyer is on the dartboard of many PR execs and Kevin McCauley his senior editor is very sharp. (OK, maybe with those kind and honest words they'll not ask me to pull this off our site since they charge for it on theirs!) ====== John Stauber is stepping down as executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, publisher of PRWatch.org. Stauber The founder of the Madison, Wisc.-based, nine-staffer PR watchdog says, "At 56, I want a less demanding life with more personal time." His successor will be a high-energy fund-raising pro with an understanding of the world of public interest social change, he said. Stauber says he launched CMD 16 years ago with $5,000 because the "world needed a public interest group devoted to documenting and exposing how government propaganda and corporate spin undermine democracy and progressive social change." His successor will lead CMD as it probes areas of human rights, citizen empowerment, social and economic justice, ecological sustainability and political and corporate accountability, according to the job specs. CMD wants a new executive director in place by the summer. Boston-based Egmont Assocs is handling the search for Stauber’s replacement. A cover letter, resume and salary history goes to segmont [at] egmontassociates.com or 85 East India Row #24, 02110. Responses: Don Quixote (2/23): Yes, we're all very sorry to see Mr. Stauber ride off into the sunset. But what exactly did he accomplish? What's changed? How is the world a better place? Veep (2/23): I'm sure a lot of reporters will be sad to see him go. He was the go- to quote when a slam on PR or story critical of PR spending was needed. Oh lord, he's probably going to write a book now, isn't he? Ron Levy, NAPS Research Director (2/24): They should be authorized to pay half the minimum wage for disseminating half-truths. What these people DO tell you is what they say you will get from what they propose. But what they often DON'T tell you is the "peril of the alternative" -- what the public will lose if it does what is urged. Just as every medical pill and procedure may confer not only an intended benefit but also a possible risk, so does every industry including PR which these people attack. Anyone who creates public benefit can be criticized: why don't they do it for less ... or better ... or with fewer side effects? But the public NEEDS much of what our companies and industries create. These critics don't tell how to do it better but often just whine that we should get more or pay less. Inherent in being a "public watchdog" is sometimes less watching than bitching.

Don Quixote: "But what exactly did he accomplish? What's changed? How is the world a better place?" Ron Levy: "But what they often DON'T tell you is the "peril of the alternative" -- what the public will lose if it does what is urged." Okay, let's hear you guys talk to each other . ;-)

Why? You have been the strongest voice for ending the Iraq War at CMD and I'd argue elsewhere as well. No chance you'll change your mind?

Thanks for your kind words. CMD as an organization has been in the forefront of exposing pro-war propaganda and my leaving will not change that. But I am not headed out to pasture. While I look forward to leading a less stressful life, I will be very active and hopefully visible and engaged in fundamental social change. I'll be again working independently as a speaker, writer and consultant to social change organizations. I have added a line to my blog above since I first wrote it to say that "I also look forward to getting back to my activist and organizing roots, and getting out from under the management and fundraising demands of this job." As a line in a Neil Young song says, "I won't retire but I might re-tread."