Mort Zuckerman Speech Makes PR Pros Wish for Dr. Kevorkian

bigappleawards.jpgLast night we found ourself sitting in the Rainbow Room at the Public Relations Society of America‘s New York chapter‘s Big Apple Awards. We were, for the first time in our lives, overdressed. (“Black tie optional” apparently means “don’t wear a black tie.”) The award ceremony honored the best in PR, but we’re there to listen to Mort Zuckerman give a keynote address and hopefully speak with him afterward about Newsday or the state of the industry or whatever else seems important at that moment. (Spoiler alert: He left immediately after his speech, answering no questions.)

Zuckerman, who plugged the Daily News as the only paper to support Mayor Bloomberg during his first election bid and asked the audience to buy a subscription, began his keynote address with a joke: “Howard Rubinstein asked me if I believed in the Constitution. I said yes. He asked me if I believed in free speech. I said yes. He said, ‘Good, cuz you’re gonna give one.'” We laughed.

Then he proceeded to launch into the most depressing speech about the state of the economy we’ve ever heard: housing prices are crashing, Bear Sterns is in shambles, etc, etc. Silly us, we thought this was a celebration. “We are in for a very difficult economic time,” he said, soon after which the man behind us joked (we think), “Dr. Kevorkian is speaking next.”

Mercifully, it ended on a happy note (“We have people such as yourselves to find the positive in our lives,” Zuck concluded.) and the industry celebrated a successful year. We met some great people including G.S. Schwartz’s Joan Cear, WestGlen’s Joseph Ricci and Thirteen/WNET’s Heather DiRubba and enjoyed the view. The lesson: The economy looks fine from the 65th floor.

(We’d apologize for the self-indulgent tone of this post, but it’s the theme of the week.)

We feel so loved.

Our view… for the better part of two hours.