In these times of COVID, national soul searching and election upheaval, it seems an apt moment to host San Francisco Chronicle columnist Otis R. Taylor Jr. at the Wednesday, November 18, noontime meeting of the San Francisco Public Relations Round Table, which will convene on Zoom. Twice a week, Taylor writes human-centered columns about race, politics, housing, policing and immigration, among other topics.
Clearly not shy when it comes to engaging with his audiences, Taylor immediately responded with a brief, “I’m in,” when we asked him to join us for a talk about his journalistic writing on a range of subjects that make the Bay Area political stage such an interesting place. We believe you will find him thoughtful and engaging, offering much valuable food for thought. We have asked Taylor to share what he’s learned about the Bay Area (he lives in Oakland) in his five years here, how he selects what to write about, how he unearthed a few of his favorite stories, and how public relations practitioners like us can become sources for new stories he would like to write about.
Recent Chronicle columns have included a well-sourced piece on how President Trump, with his words and actions, has fueled racism in America (“Thanks to Trump, U.S. no longer in denial of racism,” Nov. 2, 2020), California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent bill that directs a task force to study the history of slavery and develop proposals for reparations (“It’s beyond time to make reparations for enslaving an entire race, but commissions aren’t the answer,” Oct. 29, 2020) and the realities of a recent call for reform in the Vallejo Police Department (“Vallejo’s police association says it’s on board with needed reforms. But the union is part of the problem,” Sept. 22, 2020).
The November 18 conversation with Otis Taylor is part of the Round Table’s commitment as an organization to raise awareness among our members, their agencies and organizations, about racial diversity and inclusion. We are currently planning several programs on the theme of public relations, communications and race. This will be the first such conversation in a series we are developing.
About Otis Taylor: Otis R. Taylor Jr. is the East Bay columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, focusing on the people who make the region a fascinating place to live and work. A South Carolina transplant, Taylor spent more than a decade at The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper, writing about arts, culture and entertainment. Previously, he was the managing editor of a tech startup. Taylor is interested in reporting on issues relating to diversity and equality in the East Bay, as well as the region’s history, culture and politics. He studied English at Clemson University.
—Molly Walker, 2020 PR Round Table Board Chair