Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 1
FROM ABERNATHY TO NEW FIRM
former employees of Abernathy MacGregor Frank and several
of the firms clients have joined J. Frank Assocs.,
a new firm set up by Joele Frank, who was vice chairman
of AMF (which has been renamed Abernathy MacGregor Group).
50, had joined the firm in 1994 from what is now Ogilvy
firm, located at 551 Madison ave., New York (212/355-4449),
which has more than 20 clients, has three former Abernathy
staffers (besides Frank) as principalsJudy Wilkenson,
Andy Brimmer and Dan Katcher.
totals 17, said Frank, who declined to identify any clients
or confirm estimates that the clients were worth about $7
million in fees to her former agency. She said she
had no non-compete contract with Abernathy.
spokesman for Abernathy, would not confirm or deny the reports
but said Franks departure "was not cordial."
ACQUIRING HIGH-TECH FIRM
Canada is acquiring High Road Communications, high-tech
firm with offices in Toronto and Ottawa and 26 full and
part-time employees. U.S.-based PR programs for Canadian
and U.S. clients account for 75% of the firms revenues.
It will keep its name. Fees are estimated at
is senior executive of High Road. Linda Smith leads
F-Hs presence in Canada.
Carson Group acquired Kuhn Partners, Brussels, IR firm
which also provides European security holder research. All
five partners of Kuhn, including senior partners Patrick
de Ronchene and Michael Bamforth, will remain with the firm,
said Scott Ganeles, president of Carson. The two firms
have combined income of $50 million, he said. Kuhn
dates to 1969 and handles 20 of the S&P 100.
Communication and Weber PR Worldwide executives denied
there are or were ever any merger negotiations between the
Spetner, VP-CC, SunAmerica,
elected chairman of the San Francisco Academy, ten-year-old
program for senior corporate PR and PA executives. He
succeeds David Demarest, EVP, Visa International. Judith
Muhlberg, VP-communications, Boeing, is vice-chair.
COHN, OVERSTREET JOIN 360
Wolfe founder Bob Cohn, 65, and vice chairman Jim Overstreet,
52, have joined 360, a marketing communications firm in
ties with 360 principals Joel Babbit, CEO, and Mark Goldman,
president, said Overstreet.
closely with Babbit, who was press secretary to Atlanta
Mayor Maynard Jackson during the citys bid for the
said C&W and 360 have worked for many of the same clients.
job is to call everybody we know to help build the business,"
said Oversteet, an EVP at 360. Cohn, 360 chairman, stepped
down from C&W last month.
described 360 as a Southeast marketing powerhouse with fees
of $8 million from Atlanta, its only office. Clients include
Coca-Cola, Motorola, Kodak, UPS and Home Depot.
LOOKS AT TWO-AGENCY SYSTEM
is looking at its two "agency of record" system
in which corporate PR assignments are split between the
Atlanta offices of GCI Group and Cohn & Wolfe.
PR director Jeff Battcher said the "evaluation"
being conducted does not mean either or both of the firms
would be dropped. "This is not like an ad agency
review," he said.
was retained about five years ago, handles corporate and
wireless PR while C&W, added two years ago, has PR directed
to consumers and small businesses. BellSouth announced
a company-wide reorganization last October which touched
off reports of staff and budget cutbacks in PR and other
units. Battcher said there have been no PR staff cuts.
17-member PRSA board is returning to New York for its
January meeting (Jan. 27-28) after two years at resort destinations
(San Antonio in 1999 and Sundance ski resort in 1998). The
spring board meeting will be four days in London (April
5-8). Location of the July 13-15 meeting hasnt
been picked. The previous two summer meetings were
in Canada (Vancouver and Montreal).
Rooney will speak at the OPC Foundations annual
scholarship luncheon Jan. 24. Yale Club, 50 Vanderbilt
Ave., New York. 212/626-9220.
Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 2
SAYS PRSA HAS LOST ITS PURPOSE
W. Howard Chase, the last living founder
of PRSA and its president in 1956, is disappointed in PRSA.
He said the Society has "lost sight of the field.
Theres too much emphasis on techniques, press
releases and marketing and not enough about social institutions,"
said Chase, who wants PRSA to merge with IABC to become
Interviewed by PRQ
Chases criticism of PRSA came about
in an interview with Public Relations Quarterlys editor,
Howard Penn Hudson, and Elaine Newman, executive editor.
Chase, who instructed PRQ to use the "pessimistic
title""Chase Foresees Dismal Future for
PR Its Been Captured by Marketing"as
the headline for his interview, also expressed concern over
what he called "a loss of perspective" by PR people.
"Instead of PR they say they are in
marketing. They accept being subordinate. They
agree too quickly with the last person who has disagreed
with them. PR people should involve themselves in
strategy so that their opinions wont be overlooked
when decisions are made," he said.
Chase is opposed to mandated accreditation
for any member of PRSA who aspires to a position of leadership.
"I think this gets away from the whole
idea of APR," said Chase. "I had high hopes
for it. It was an effort by the Society to set new
goals for itself. I doubt anyone ever got a job because
of being accredited," he said.
He believes the PR field also has been eroded
by the decline in ethics, which has brought increasing public
distrust in the profession.
"PR people have become known as handlers.
The PR field is in desperate need of a new idealism,"
said Chase, adding: "The field degrades itself if it
accepts any responsibility for spin doctoring."
Chase said college courses in PR should
be based on a knowledge of the liberal arts and social sciences.
Schools "spend too much time on methodology.
They should study the classics, English and literature,"
CEO RAPS HIGH-TECH PR
Charles H. Ferguson, who co-founded Vermeer
Technologies in 1993, gives a scathing assessment of high-tech
PR practitioners in his book "High St@kes, No Prisoners"
Here is an excerpt: "PR is the only
part of the technology sector that is dominated by women,
and it has a hard-edged Hollywood glitz.
"The top executives are about half
men and half women. The men generally remind me of
my reacton to Clinton advisors like Dick Morris or David
Gergengreasy, overweight, amoral, somehow pathetic
even when extremely successful.
"The rank and file is completely dominated
by attractive women, various combinations of dragon lady
CALTRANS ORDERED TO PAY
The Calif. Dept. of Transportation was ordered
to pay $2.1 million to Los Angeles-based Pacific/ West Communications
Group, owned by Steve Tobia, for defamation and breach of
The arbitrator who made the ruling said
Caltrans falsely accused Pac/West of billing the state for
frivolous charges, such as a ski trip and sports tickets.
Pac/West was Caltrans agency between
Those charges were never billed to the state,
according to the ruling by William Bettinelli, a retired
Sonoma County Superior Court judge, who also discredited
Caltrans audits that said Tobias firm had overbilled
the state by more than $600,000.
Publication of inaccurate audits and accompanying
statements to the news media drove the PR firm out of business,
Robin Witt, spokesman for Caltrans, said
the department "will live" with the arbitrators
decision, which was issued Nov. 17.
Novant Health has named Fyock &
Assocs., Winston-Salem, for all PR, marketing research and
advertising for the next two years. F&A estimates
fees to be about $7 million per year.
NEWS BRIEFS ________________________
a domain name owned by Washington, D.C., counselor Edward
Segal, was not sold to the highest bidder Dec. 21 on the
www.domainrace.com auction site.
Ron Perelman, the auctioneer, said the highest
bid did not meet Segals seven-figure asking price.
Another auction may be held.
Global Communications is the name given to the new healthcare
marketing network based in Metuchen, N.J., and headed by
Gil Bashe (NL, 12/15/99).
and Sabena airlines have established a joint news
bureau in Melville, N.Y., run by Jackie Pash and Bernice
Abelow PR, Westport, Conn.,
now goes by the moniker LAPR.
PR PEOPLE __________________________
Los Angeles-based PR consultant, is author of the critically
acclaimed book, "The Princess & The Package"
(Renaissance Books). The book examines Princess Dianas
relationship with the media. Harold Rosenberg of The
Los Angeles Times said Levines work is a "fair,
thoughtful, and readable book."
Toiv, who is stepping down as White House deputy press
secretary to join Burson-Marsteller/D.C. this month, has
made a deal with America Online that allows the Presidents
press people to respond to questions submitted by the general
public on the Internet.
Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 3
ICEBERG SEEN IN LAT PROBE
A 14-page article by The Los Angeles Times
media reporter David Shaw reveals other cross-marketing
schemes have taken place since Mark Willes, a former cereal
company executive, took over as publisher of the paper in
Shaw was assigned to investigate the papers
revenue-splitting scheme with the Staples Center sports
arena for an Oct. 10 issue of the Sunday magazine.
Willes, who said he would use a "bazooka"
to blow up the wall separating the ad department from the
newsroom, told Shaw he "didnt realize it was
Many news staffers view the episode as "the
very ethical iceberg of ominous proportions," Shaw
Book Editor Talks
Steve Wasserman, editor of The Los Angeles
Times "Book Review," told Shaw he had been
told to pay more attention to books published by companies
with big ad budgets.
When he asked for an example, he would be
told, "Books in the windows at Barnes & Noble,"
according to Shaw.
The Times until recently had an arrangement
in which it received a 6% commission when anyone bought
a book after clicking on Barnes & Noble ads on the Times
In another case, the papers managing
editor unsuccessfully tried to kill a column after a car
dealer complained to the Times ad department.
On the Staples issue, the paper agreed to
give the basketball and hockey arena $300,000 of the magazines
revenue for the October issue.
Shaw said many newsroom staffers found it
troubling that a Times ad executive was allowed to see advance
page proofs of the magazine.
Newsroom staffers also objected to calling
the arena "The Staples Center," saying the owners
did not consider "the" part of the title.
Smith, previously editor of Twice,
a trade magazine, has succeeded Robert Gerson as
editor of Television Digest with Consumer Electronics, published
by Washington, D.C.-based Warren Communications. Gerson
retired Dec. 31 after 38 years covering the consumer electronics
Salpukas, 60, a financial reporter for The New York
Times, died Jan. 3. His body was found in the Hudson
River. Police do not suspect foul play.
Snow, previously weekend anchor for CNN Headline News
and national correspondent for CNN Newssource, the companys
syndicated news service with more than 600 affiliates nationwide,
was named general assignment reporter at CNNs Washington,
WEEKLY FASHION COLUMN
People has expanded its "Style Watch"
department from one page to three beginning with the Jan.
1 issue, which went on sale Dec. 30.
Included in the expansion will be a weekly
fashion column, "Behind the Seams" by the magazines
West Coast style editor, Steven Cojocaru.
The combination of celebrities and fashion
has been a staple of the magazines coverage since
its start 25 years ago.
Elizabeth Fenner, senior editor, who heads
up Peoples fashion coverage, said in this weeks
Inside People: "We were seeing lots of pictures of
stars in great outfits and couldnt always find a place
for them. We will finally have enough room for the
good, the bad and truly egregious."
BOOST NEWSSTAND SALES
Womens Wear Dailys poll of editors
shows celebrity covers accounted for some of the best and
worst selling issues in 1999.
WWDs marketing/media reporter, Lisa
Lockwood, said the winners were: Jennifer Aniston on InStyle;
Gwyneth Paltrow on Vogue; Courteney Cox on Glamour; Lauryn
Hill on Harpers Bazaar; Michelle Pfeiffer on Mirabella;
Ashley Judd on Elle, and Courtney Love on Allure.
The losers: Courtney Cox on Harpers
Bazaar; Angelina Jolie on both Allure and Mirabella; Calista
Flockhart on George; Heather Graham on Elle; Will Smith
on Vanity Fair, and Kate Winslet on InStyle.
September remains the most important month
for fashion and generally produces the fattest issues of
the year, according to Lockwood.
For example, Vanity Fairs biggest
selling issue in its history was the September cover with
the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.
The issue sold 650,000 newsstand copies,
while the worst selling issue, in July, with the Smith cover,
sold 193,000 newsstand copies.
InStyles September "Whats
Sexy Now!" issue with Aniston on the cover, sold 1.02
million newsstand copies, a 33% increase from the year before.
The magazines worst selling issue
was in October, when Winslet was featured. That issue
sold 765,000 newsstand copies, down 7% from the prior October.
The September Vogue, featuring Paltrow,
was also Vogues best-selling issue. It sold
800,000 newsstand copies. Its worst seller was Februarys
number, with Stella Tenant on the cover. It sold 400,000
Anna Wintour, Vogues editor-in-chief,
believes supermodels will make a comeback in 2000.
Elaina Richardson, editor-in-chief of Elle,
which ran six celebrity coversthe most its ever
run plans to cut back on celebrity covers in 2000.
(Media news continued on next page)
Internet Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 4
CALLS PLAYS FOR NEW MAG
Joe Montana, one of the greatest quarterbacks
of all time, will be calling the plays from the editorial
office rather than the huddle as editor-in-chief of a new
monthly football magazine, In The RedZone.
The first issue went on newsstands Jan.
RedZone is the first football magazine written
under the direction of a former NFL player, according to
a press release issued by Fleishman-Hillards New York
office, which is handling PR for the publisher.
The magazine will be published 10 times
a year by Go Deep Inc., based in New York at 30 Broad st.,
and distributed by the Hearst Distribution Group.
In addition to interviews with players and
coaches, the magazine will also cover fashion, food, new
games and gadgets, healthcare, and collectibles.
John Littell is managing editor. 68-70
Tuers ave., Jersey City, NJ 07030. 201/332-4554.
NEWS RADIO STATION TO START
An all-day radio station, featuring a mixture
of breaking news about technology, reviews of new products
and interviews with leading industry figures, will be tested
by AMFM Inc. of Dallas and Cnet Inc., a San Francisco-based
technology news and information company.
Called Cnet Radio, the new format will debut
this month on KNEW-AM in San Francisco and may be tried
in other markets later this year.
Cnet will produce programs that will be
broadcast in San Francisco from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The
remaining hours will be filled with infomercials, replays
and music or a feed from CNN.
Programs will also be broadcast on Cnets
Internet radio service and promoted on Cnets websites
and AMFMs six other Bay Area stations.
Cnet produces news on computers, technology
and the Internet for its own websites and for TV. It
also owns a 13% interest in NBC Internet, the online unit
of the NBC TV network.
AMFM, which is 27% owned by the Dallas investment
firm of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, owns more than 440
radio stations in 100 cities.
PLACEMENT TIPS ______________________
New York Times has named Cathy
Horyn, 42, as its new fashion critic. She joined the
Times in January as a fashion reporter from Vanity Fair,
where she was a contributing editor. From 1990-94,
she was the fashion reporter for The Washington Post.
is starting a monthly gossip column about life on the inside
of New Yorks fashion scene.
The column, called "Sweetie,"
will make its debut in the February issue.
Elle execs told Womens Wear Daily
the column will be "chatty, irreverent, ironic and
Sweetie is the pet dog of designer John
EDITOR SETS EDITORIAL RULES
Crains New York Business editor Greg
David said his paper each week tries to provide a look at
the most important issues affecting business and the economy
in the city.
"We include government, which has such
a big influence on what we cover, and social trends; both
the arts and nonprofit groups fall under the definition
of business as well," said David.
While the emphasis is on news, David said,
"We stress anecdotes, especially to begin stories,
`nut graphs (which tell what the story is) and `but
graphs (which tell the other side)."
Reporters are instructed to seek out stories
with "tension and conflict, to stress what is expected
to happen (forward spin), to emphasize two or three themes
in each piece and to concentrate on the people involved
in the story," said David. "No story is
based on an interview with one person, even the chief executive
of a company."
David said Crains takes "a point
of view," which means it is up to the reporter to come
to a conclusion about what is most important in each article.
All Views Equal
He pointed out that this is different from
traditional journalism, in which "all views are given
Fairness is required in stories. "We
present the other side," said David. "We
also insist that subjects of stories never be surprised
by what we write. That means they must be told of
all significant information and given a chance to respond."
David said advertisers receive no preference,
and "we accept ideas from anyone."
"PR people succeed more than others
only because they know how to interest a reporter in a story,"
The best way to get a story in the paper
is to approach a reporter (E-mail is preferred) rather than
"What Crains needs most are people
who tell us things we dont know," said David.
For example, he said the head of a social
service agency who came to lunch a few months ago, was so
well-informed that four stories resulted from his visit.
"We didnt do a story on his agency, and
we probably wont. But I will always return his
calls," said David.
Crains publishes the E-mail addresses
of its editorial staffers every week in the paper.
Rich Turner, who has covered the media beat since 1996,
was named society editor, and Peter McGrath, editor of new
media, was assigned to produce two E-Life special issues
and named the contact for Arthur Frommers Budget Travel
Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 7
MOVE BY LEVYS DAUGHTER
The board of North American Precis Syndicate
has taken legal moves to block the takeover of the company
by Dorothy York, 38, the older daughter of NAPS founder
and chairman Ron Levy.
York, who had 402,810 or 44.3% of the shares
of the company as of last October, sought to exercise an
option to purchase 11% of the shares (110,000) from her
sister, Judy Levy Haas, 36, which would have given York
51% of the stock.
the board of NAPS, which included York, Haas and Levy, voted
(over the objections of York) to add to the board Thomas
Haas, husband of Judy and EVP of NAPS.
The new board then voted a reverse two-for-one
stock split and the sale of 60,000 shares of stock to Levy
Yorks holdings to 250,223 shares (49.6%).
The action is being contested by York, a
former SVP of NAPS, in a suit filed in New York State Supreme
Court Nov. 15, 1999 (No. 99/605170).
York worked at the NAPS offices until November
1997 and part-time at home until May 1999, said an affidavit
by Levy. York said she worked at NAPS from 1986 until
Levy "terminated her employment without cause in August
York and Haas were each paid about $1.6M
in 1998 and 1999 plus $650 monthly for health insurance,
said the Levy affidavit.
Wants Orderly Transition
The affidavit said Levy wants an "orderly
transition of management" and that he favors a management
headed by Thomas Haas and EVP Galina Grunin ("a brilliant
programmer"). Levy plans to retire in five to
The option was given in 1990 to Dorothy
"only after...Dorothys repeated assurances...that
she would never try to grab the benefit of NAPS from her
sisterand thereby disrupt the equal
share of the income which I desired to provide my two daughtersunless
I died or was incapacitated and there was a subsequent dispute
over the management and operation of NAPS," said Levy.
He further said, "My top managers are
much better than Dorothy at creating the massive results
that customers expect from a NAPS distribution so Im
keeping my managers in charge." NAPS employs
136 and billed more than $16 million in 1999.
Michael Gordon of Cadwalader, Wickersham
& Taft, attorney for York, said there were no conditions
on the option and a judge has frozen the move to dilute
York's stock. She worked at NAPS many years but Judy Hass
"never worked there," he said.
IMUS BLASTS B&D MIXER; TRIAL CONTINUES
Imus, whose morning radio show draws the sixth largest audience
among talk shows (five million+), on Jan. 3 called a Black
& Decker mixer that he bought "a piece of junk."
what an awful piece of equipment," said Imus, who added
he "should have bought a Sunbeam or a General Electric."
Lucas, senior VP-PA and corporate secretary for B&D,
could not be reached for comment. She has said the
company has an IR spokesperson but not one for PR.
is involved in a $1.5 million lawsuit brought by Baltimore
PR counselor Phyllis Brotman, who charges B&D fired
her after eight years and hired one of her employees.
Brotman is also suing the ex-employee, David P. Olsen, for
1.5M. The trial is in its second month in Baltimore
City Circuit Court.
issue is mark-ups averaging 35% that the Brotman PR firm
allegedly charged to B&D. This resulted in overcharges
of $14,000, B&D said.
author Fraser Seitel testified last week for B&D that
the industry average for mark-ups is between 15% and 20%.
Consultant Richard Truitt had testified for Brotman
that there is no legal standard for mark-ups in PR.
PRSA COO Ray Gaulke wrote a letter for Brotman's side.
battle between B&D, which had 1998 sales of $4.6 billion,
and Brotman resulted in a 13-page docket sheet describing
200+ motions. B&D tried to have many of the documents
sealed but the Baltimore Sun had the order overturned.
charges that B&D, in an effort to cut ad/PR costs, fired
her firm and hired Olsen, who is working out of his home,
for substantially less. Olsen testified that his price
to B&D was 67% less than the one he prepared for Brotmans
PR firm before B&D fired the firm.
Sun did one story on the trial but has not written anything
recently. The Daily Record of Baltimore, a business
and legal paper, had written more than ten tories as of
STATE THEIR AIMS
Michael S. Olson, president and CEO of the
American Society of Assn. Executives, said associations
are at the "front line" in helping to "make
things better" for all Americans.
Nine of ten adults belongs to one association
or another and the industry contributes nearly $50 billion
yearly to the economy, said Olson, the top paid staffer
of the 25,000-member ASAE.
several reporters at a meeting in the National Press Club
in December, Olson described the ASAE as a "hybrid
organization," serving not only as a professional society
for members but as a trade association.
While many think of associations as lobbyists,
associations spend three times more on professional development
and public information than on direct lobbying, he said.
hold 90,000 meetings a year worth $56 billion of the $83B
meetings industry gross, he noted. About 1,000 new
groups form yearly.
Said Olson: One of the least known, but
most important needs associations fill is protecting consumers
in ways that most of us take for granted. Associations
set and enforce product standards on everything from toys
for our children to airline and traffic safety. And
associations are the original source for the professional
standards and codes of ethics that direct a whole host of
professions such as medicine, banking and law.
The association industry sets standards
and develops the technology that guides the safety and performance
of the products. And it's a responsibility they take extremely
seriously, investing more than $14.5 billion per year--that's
over 400 times more than U.S. government--on cultivating
consumer confidence in the marketplaceand protecting our
health and safety.
The American Society for Testing and Materials
(ASTM) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
are two associations devoted exclusively to setting standards
in virtually every area of American industry.
But they are not alone. Today, 59%
of associations set product and service standards and another
71% conduct industry research, playing a significant role
in assuring the products and services we buy are safe for
our families. For example, thanks to the joint efforts
of the ASTM and the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Assn.,
parents can feel good about high chairs they buy for their
children, knowing they've passed rigorous safety tests.
Stephen Pisinski, 2000 chair of PRSA, and
Sam Waltz, 1999 chair, sent a 3-page "State of the
Society" message to members describing PRSAs
anti-drug program; credibility index; "PR for PR"
program; its 5-year plan; the revamping of its code of ethics
and accreditation exam, and its global leadership initiative.
Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 8
defamation suit against two security analysts
has given the analyst community a case of the jitters.
Sunrise Technologies Intl, whose lasers
correct vision defects, sued Sturzas Institutional
Research and Avalon Research Group after they questioned
Sunrises profit potential and advised shareholders
to sell the stock. Both firms refused to make retractions.
"The threat of analysts being dragged
through the courts comes at a time when companies prize
good relations with analysts, and when fawning research
reports have become commonplace," said a "Heard
on the Street" Wall Street Journal column by Elizabeth
MacDonald Dec. 29, 1999.
First Call has found that analysts advise
"sell" less than 1% of the time.
The New York Society of Security Analysts
is so concerned about a possible suit from another company
that has been criticized that it called a special meeting
last November to review analysts rights of free speech,
the WSJ said.
Even frivilous lawsuits can "devastate
analysts wallets and chew up precious time,"
investment banker Gary Lutin told the WSJ.
If analysts can be sued for negative
opinions and a credentialed reporter can be sued for
covering a speaker in open session at a national conference
(which actually happened at a PRSA conference in 1993),
then free business speech is under threat. This is
of concern not only to security analysts but press, PR and
other groups. PR pros always advise "telling
the truth" but what is the truth may be a matter of
The Phyllis Brotman/Black & Decker
legal war (page 7) is an interesting one for PR counselors.
Brotman was dropped after eight years (how
bad could she be if she was kept that long?) and a former
Brotman employee almost immediately got the account. Working
out of his home, he was able to submit a bid 67% lower.
Brotman charged B&D took another of her employees
but the court has forbidden her to mention that in the trial.
A huge argument has developed over mark-ups
but testimony is that these added only $14,000 to the bill.
Since the account was worth $200K+, whats the
This seems to be a David vs. Goliath case
but the Baltimore Sun apparently lost interest after overturning
a court secrecy order and doing one story.
As a sidelight, talk show host Don Imus
lambasted a B&D product last week but we cant
get any comment from B&D on this or the lawsuit. Despite
what all the textbooks advise, corporate silence on negative
stories is routine policy.
Also on the legal front, a three-day
session of the American Society of Assn. Executives was
held Dec. 5-7 and one conclusion was that if a group has
an accrediting or credentialling program, it should be offered
to non-members as well as members to be on the safe side
of antitrust law. The "Universal" accrediting
program of PRSA and affiliated groups appears to be open
only to their members and members of groups in the North
American PR Council. PRSA in the 1970s was ordered
to drop the part of its "ethics" code that barred
members from pitching other members accounts (it was
O.K. to pitch a non-members account).
ASAE president and CEO Michael S. Olson,
in a speech at the National Press Club directed to the general
public and to which reporters were invited, described how
associations benefit the public. A big role groups
play is providing information and facts to the press and
public about numerous industries, he said.
The very same week we received a
"State of the Society" message from PRSA officers
addressed to its members. Recounted were its anti-drug
program, credibility index study, "PR for PR"
program, five-year plan and APR program. This communication
was not addressed to the public nor presented in person
to the press. The PRSA board has not faced reporters
in a press conference since 1993. It has an opportunity
to do so later this month when it meets in New York. The
17 directors will be in London for a four-day meeting in
Skeptics are wondering if the Y2K computer
fright was mostly hype. It cost the U.S. $100
billion and the world $500B, Newsweek estimated. PR
did its part to fan fears over Y2K. The Institute
for Crisis Mgmt. last February said Y2K was generating more
calls than any other topic..."The Insider,"
which portrayed "60 Minutes" vs. Brown & Williamson,
is getting lots of mention for possible best picture and
best actor (Russell Crowe playing the whistleblower).