While doing research on changing PR practices, we came across a 1975 list of 24 New York City PR groups and find that, regrettably, many of them have vanished.

By far the most active group currently is New York Women in Communications, which has 1,300 members and a schedule of more than 75 events in 2010.

It broke away from the national Assn. of Women in Communications in 1997 and has flourished. Its signature event is the Matrix Awards lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria that raises more than a half million.

Most Active NY group
What’s needed is a neutral meeting place funded by many of the existing PR groups.

PR firms such as Ruder Finn, Manning, Selvage & Lee and Burson-Marsteller donate space for PRSA/New York meetings but many agencies will not send their employees to another PR firm.

Casualties include:

--The Chemical Communications Assn. whose members were 60 corporate, agency people and editors in the chemical industry. They lunched on the second Tuesday of the month at the Williams Club, 24 E. 39th st. Dues were $20 a year.

--The Financial Relations Society consisted of 50 corporate PR pros who had dinner meetings on the second Monday at the Princeton Club and various restaurants. Dues were $60.

--Hospital PR Society of Greater New York had 80 members and met at lunch or dinner. Dues were $25. Contact was Grace Kraskin of Beth Israel Medical Center.

--The Monday II Group was 20 New York corporate PR people who represented companies based outside of New York. Lunches at the Sky Club and other restaurants were held on the second Monday. There were no dues.

--National PR Council of Health and Welfare Services was a national group of 2,000 PR and fundraising executives of nonprofits based in New York at 820 Second ave. It was absorbed by PRSA in the late 1970s.

--New York Airline PR Assn. that had 58 members who worked for airlines serving New York. The group became the North American Airlines PR Assn. and had monthly meetings until 2008 when it made its final landing. A member said that with airline h.q. flying outside New York and declining funds available to PR, the group has become inactive. Hope remains for a rebirth. Contact Jennifer Janzen now works in Berlin on social media for Lufthansa.

--New York Business Communicators had 175 members who met monthly at different places. Dues were $55 yearly. Contact was Bill Nicolai at American Standard. Anyone in “business communications” could join.

--Paper Industry PR Group had monthly luncheons. Members included St. Regis Paper, Boise Cascade, Mead Westvaco, etc.

--Pride & Alarm had 20 mostly agency members who lunched once a month at the Wings Club in the former Biltmore Hotel. P&A, so-named because PR pros are always “pointing with pride or viewing with alarm,” claimed that it created the concept of accreditation. Originally it was meant just for agency people but corporate PR people insisted on being added. APR was created in 1964.

--PR Roundtable was about 50 PR pros who handed house PR for PR firms or ad agencies. It had monthly lunches for many years at which media figures such as “Johnny Apple” of the New York Times would speak. It also hosted a major holiday party each year for members and the press. The job of handling “house PR” for a PR firm or ad agency has almost entirely vanished.

--Shop Talk, made up of two top executives from a dozen of the biggest PR firms, had dinner meetings at the Sky Club atop what is now the Met Life building to discuss such topics as wages paid, insurance plans offered to employees, and employee benefits in general. Anti-trust considerations may have spelled its doom once this group was outed.

--Wall Street Irregulars had monthly lunches and an annual golf outing. Its more than 40 members, including financial press, met at moderately-priced restaurants. James Catalano, formerly of Hill & Knowlton and then with Marine Midland Bank, ran the group.

--Wednesday PR Group was about 25 solo practitioners or owners of small PR firms who met once a month for lunch at the Williams Club to discuss problems and opportunities facing small firms.

--Women Executives in PR merged in 2006 in its 50th year with Advertising Women of New York. Founded by Denny Griswold who also founded PR News with her husband, Glenn Griswold, WEPR had 75 members in 1975.


PRSA’s New York chapter is the second most active group after NYWICI with about 25 programs in 2010.

Its main event is the awards cocktail party each May. Other events are workshops and seminars on specialized topics.

During the 1960s and 1970s the chapter hosted monthly lunches at the Waldorf-Astoria attended by more than 300. Prominent speakers included authors and journalists, political figures and corporate executives. Kerryn King of Texaco arranged for Bob Hope to address one of the lunches.

Publicity Club of New York, which for many years hosted weekly “Thirsty Thursdays” at which editors spoke to about 50 members, will put on seven programs in 2010 including “New York Tech Influencers” Nov. 12 at noon at the 3 West Club. Daniel Sieberg, host of “Tech This Out” ABC News, will speak.

Attendance at PCNY events is around 100.

PCNY in the 1960s and 70s had an annual “Introduction to PR” course at night that drew hundreds.

Peter Himler
Peter Himler, formerly of Burson-Marsteller and Edelman, has been president the past ten years. He said he has trouble getting people to serve on the board.

Himler, who is unpaid, believes that the main job of PR pros is interacting with “influencers” or “experts” who work in or for the media although social media are also important.

PCNY had revenues of $53,806 and expenses of $54,931 in the year ended June 30, 2009.

Entertainment Publicists Professional Assn., New York chapter, has two events for the fall, “How to Pitch Monthly Magazines” on Nov. 17 and “Websites & Blogs,” Dec. 15.

The Los Angeles chapter has monthly luncheons featuring editors.

EPPS, with about 400 members, had revenues of $54,012 and expenses of $65,442 in 2008, the latest year available on GuideStar.

Cash/savings were $89,676 at the end of the year. EPPS leaders include Henri Bollinger of Henri Bollinger Assocs., and Scott Pansky of Allison PR.