|June 17, 2010|
|Doctoroff, Other Media at Secretive PR Seminar|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|Daniel Doctoroff, former New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development who became president of Bloomberg in 2008, addressed (PR) Seminar June 3 but a Bloomberg spokesperson said the speech would not be made public.|
Doctoroff, former managing partner of investment firm Oak Hill Capital Partners, served in the city post from 2001-2007, the longest such term for that office.
He spoke on opening day at the annual meeting of (PR) Seminar which took place this month at the Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain, outside of Tucson.
His speech was titled, "Toward a Unified Theory of the Future of News."
Seminar's rule is that anyone who speaks to the group must agree not to divulge what he or she said. Members also agree not to publicize the meeting in any way.
Although more than 20 major media have been represented at the meeting, now in its 58th year, none of them have ever mentioned its existence.
On this list are media such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, Economist, Forbes, Fortune, Newsweek and the major networks and cable TV shows.
NPR, ProPublica, Columbia J School Present
Speakers this year included Matt Thompson, editorial products manager, National Public Radio and Amanda Michel, editor of distributed reporting, ProPublica, the group of investigative reporters headed by Paul Steiger, former managing editor of the WSJ.
ProPublica describes itself as an "independent non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest."
"Our work focuses on truly important stories, stories with moral force," says its website. It also says that investigative journalism is “at risk” because many news organizations see it as a "luxury."
Also a speaker was Bill Grueskin, dean of academic affairs, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
They addressed the topic of "Relationship Journalism: New Models for Creating Valuable News and Public Trust."
SPJ Ethics Guru Rapped Seminar
Peter Sussman, a founder and member of the Ethics Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists, sent extensive materials on Seminar by the website, said that the presence of journalists at such a meeting violated nine sections of the SPJ code. (article, sub req'd)
He said their attendance is "a very good example of the way that news organizations have failed their readers, listeners and viewers." He also said journalists are supposed to remain free associations that may compromise their integrity including avoiding conflicts of interest, real or perceived."
Instead of telling the story of the diversity and magnitude of human experience boldly, they are "telling the story of the powerful meekly," he said.
Journalists are supposed to avoid favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage, he said.
Sussman brought his views to the SPJ Ethics Committee but they did not issue any criticism of Seminar or the journalists who speak to it.
He noted that his criticisms were his personal views.
Also speaking to 2010 Seminar, whose total costs are close to $1 million (registration is $3,350 per couple) were:
Van Jones, founder of Green for All, who spoke on “The Green Collar Economy.”
Anne Mulcahy, former chairman and CEO, Xerox Corp., who spoke on “Lessons Learned from the Firing Line.”
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Dan Christman, former assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who spoke on “The World’s Hot Spots: U.S. Leadership and the Military/Political Challenges of the 21st Century.”
Kathy (Bushkin) Calvin, CEO, United Nations Foundation; Irene Kahn, former secretary general, Amnesty Int’l, and Ann Veneman, former executive director, UNICEF, who spoke on ‘The Business Case for Empowering Women & Girls.”
Michael Leavitt of Leavitt Partners, former U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services and three-time governor of Utah, who spoke on “Leadershp and the Collaborative Impulse.”
Dan Ariely, author of “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions,” who spoke on “Who Put the Monkey in the Driver’s Seat?”
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