The True Story of a Bogus Blog


And the IACC has grown more circumspect as the controversy has spiraled.

"The IACC did not propose nor would have endorsed the fictional 'Heidi Cee' character the Hunter students developed," the group wrote in a statement to Adweek.

Metzger, the publicist who works on the trade-group account, adds: "I agree that it violates the PRSA code of ethics." Metzger says a copy of that ethics code will now be included in the kit the group sends to professors who teach the sponsored course.

Metzger faults Hunter for assigning the course to a professor who protested that he was unqualified to teach it. "That's very disappointing that they chose someone to teach the class who didn't have the appropriate background or experience, and to find out one year after the campaign that was the case," Metzger says.

As for the timing of Frankfort's $1 million donation, Hunter's Halpern says the gift "was not contingent upon the inclusion of the IACC course in the curriculum."

One Student's Lesson

Sarah El-Edlibi, 21, a senior at Hunter, took the Coach-sponsored class as a junior. "I can honestly say this was one of the best classes I've taken at Hunter," says El-Edlibi, who earned an A. "Prior to that class, I had two PR internships and they were bullshit. You end up doing the grunt work and you learn the nature of the business, but no methodology."

El-Edlibi set up Cee's Facebook account using photos of a non-student who a classmate had enlisted to be the face of the campaign. She then posed as Cee to invite students to join her friends network

"People just want friends on Facebook -- that's why it worked," she says.

What does El-Edlibi think of Facebook saying the profile violates its terms of use?

"Oh, please," she responds. "People do crazy shit on Facebook like every day."

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