Linda Rutherford
Communication and Strategic Outreach
Southwest Airlines

Linda Rutherford has been with Southwest Airlines since 1992, and in that time has been the main advocate for PR measurement efforts and has been in the forefront of using SEO tactics and linking PR to sales. Linda, Southwest Airlines and SEO-PR won the 2005 Jack Felton Golden Ruler Award for Excellence in Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation for linking optimized press releases to sales. As Linda recently told PR News, in the early years at Southwest, the dreaded clip book began to get bigger and bigger with the proverbial “thud” as it hit executives’ desks each morning. She says, “I thought to myself there had to be a way to put the news coverage into context, in terms of volume, tone, eyeballs, versus our competitors, geographic diversity, prominence, etc. That curiosity led to an exploration of various ways to measure news coverage and to the eventual establishment of an analytics function in my department.”