This blogger called Kotcher, chairman of the Council of PR Firms, last week about his group’s plan to bankroll an electronic weekly “newsletter” [sub req'd] in conjunction with Bulldog Reporter’s Daily `Dog, a venture that has outright favoritism written all over it. It was then that Kotcher’s assistant unveiled the “only scheduled calls” philosophy.
That was a stunner, especially coming from the office of one of the leading lights of PR. I have not run into that policy after 18 years at O’Dwyer’s and nearly a decade at the fabled Gallagher Report.
Does Kotcher’s policy cover clients? How about potential clients? Is the policy suspended in a time of crisis? Who knows? I did not ask to be put on Kotcher’s call list. He can call me anytime to flesh those things out.
There are many troubling questions to be asked about the basic fairness of the Council shelling out $85K to Bulldog’s parent, Infocom, for the partnership. That hefty outlay covers only the first year of operation. What's the payback?
Infocom has a 50/50 ad split with the Council. Jim Sinkinson’s Emeryville, Calif.-based operation is already eying a cool $25K because Kotcher’s Council claims it has $50K in verbal commitments from would-be sponsors.
There has been a certain amount of backtracking from the Council when it comes to labeling The Weekly Buzz, which is supposed to debut in mid-March.
The Council documents in November that discussed TWB called it an “E-Newsletter” that will feature news and promote benefits of joining the organization.
That sounds like TWB will contain a large dose of spoon-fed fluff that any journalist worth his or her salt would stay far away from. Calling TWB a newsletter damages the integrity of PR journalism.
The Council on Jan. 11 emailed this blogger a statement said to be from Kotcher in which he describes the new venture as a “special purpose publication.”
I read “special purpose” as “house organ” because presenting TWB as anything else demeans those publications—including this one—that attempt to report the “real news” of PR.
Kotcher’s headshot is featured on the mock-up of TWB. He is presented as author of an opinion piece called: “PR firms must retake the initiative in managing—and marketing—the corporate website.”
That’s rich as the Council’s new venture with Bulldog is an attempt to manage news about its members.