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Internet Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 1


Eleven former employees of Abernathy MacGregor Frank and several of the firm’s 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).

Frank, 50, had joined the firm in 1994 from what is now Ogilvy PR Worldwide.

The new 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 principals—Judy Wilkenson, Andy Brimmer and Dan Katcher.

The staff 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.

Tim Metz, spokesman for Abernathy, would not confirm or deny the reports but said Frank’s departure "was not cordial."


Fleishman-Hillard 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 firm’s revenues.  It will keep its name.  Fees are estimated at US $2.5M.

Mia Wedgbury is senior executive of High Road.  Linda Smith leads F-H’s presence in Canada.

The 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.

Cunningham Communication and Weber PR Worldwide executives denied there are or were ever any merger negotiations between the two firms.

Don 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 & Wolfe founder Bob Cohn, 65, and vice chairman Jim Overstreet, 52, have joined 360, a marketing communications firm in Atlanta.

Both have ties with 360 principals Joel Babbit, CEO, and Mark Goldman, president, said Overstreet.

They worked closely with Babbit, who was press secretary to Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson during the city’s bid for the 1996 Olympics.

Overstreet said C&W and 360 have worked for many of the same clients.

"Our 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.

Overstreet 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.


BellSouth 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.

BellSouth 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.

GCI, which 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.

The 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 hasn’t been picked.  The previous two summer meetings were in Canada (Vancouver and Montreal).

Andy Rooney will speak at the OPC Foundation’s annual scholarship luncheon Jan. 24.  Yale Club, 50 Vanderbilt Ave., New York.  212/626-9220.

Internet Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 2

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.  There’s 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 "more dominant."

Interviewed by PRQ

Chase’s criticism of PRSA came about in an interview with Public Relations Quarterly’s editor, Howard Penn Hudson, and Elaine Newman, executive editor.

Chase, who instructed PRQ to use the "pessimistic title"—"Chase Foresees Dismal Future for PR— It’s 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 won’t 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," said Chase.


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" (Times Books).

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 Gergen—greasy, overweight, amoral, somehow pathetic even when extremely successful.

"The rank and file is completely dominated by attractive women, various combinations of dragon lady and bimbette."


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 contract.

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 Caltran’s agency between 1992-96.

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 Tobia’s 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, Bettinelli said.

Robin Witt, spokesman for Caltrans, said the department "will live" with the arbitrator’s 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 auction site.

Ron Perelman, the auctioneer, said the highest bid did not meet Segal’s seven-figure asking price.

Another auction may be held.

Health!Quest 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).

Swissair and Sabena airlines have established a joint news bureau in Melville, N.Y., run by Jackie Pash and Bernice Bramble.

Lorraine Abelow PR, Westport, Conn., now goes by the moniker LAPR.

PR PEOPLE __________________________

Michael Levine, a Los Angeles-based PR consultant, is author of the critically acclaimed book, "The Princess & The Package" (Renaissance Books).  The book examines Princess Diana’s relationship with the media.  Harold Rosenberg of The Los Angeles Times said Levine’s work is a "fair, thoughtful, and readable book."

Barry 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 President’s press people to respond to questions submitted by the general public on the Internet.

Internet Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 3


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 1997.

Shaw was assigned to investigate the paper’s 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 "didn’t realize it was wrong."

Many news staffers view the episode as "the very ethical iceberg of ominous proportions," Shaw said.

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’ website.

In another case, the paper’s 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 magazine’s 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.

PEOPLE ____________________________

Stephen 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 industry.

Agis 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.

Kate Snow, previously weekend anchor for CNN Headline News and national correspondent for CNN Newssource, the company’s syndicated news service with more than 600 affiliates nationwide, was named general assignment reporter at CNN’s Washington, D.C., bureau.


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 magazine’s West Coast style editor, Steven Cojocaru.

The combination of celebrities and fashion has been a staple of the magazine’s coverage since its start 25 years ago.

Elizabeth Fenner, senior editor, who heads up People’s fashion coverage, said in this week’s Inside People: "We were seeing lots of pictures of stars in great outfits and couldn’t always find a place for them.  We will finally have enough room for the good, the bad and truly egregious."


Women’s Wear Daily’s poll of editors shows celebrity covers accounted for some of the best and worst selling issues in 1999.

WWD’s marketing/media reporter, Lisa Lockwood, said the winners were: Jennifer Aniston on InStyle; Gwyneth Paltrow on Vogue; Courteney Cox on Glamour; Lauryn Hill on Harper’s Bazaar; Michelle Pfeiffer on Mirabella; Ashley Judd on Elle, and Courtney Love on Allure.

The losers: Courtney Cox on Harper’s 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 Fair’s 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.

InStyle’s September "What’s Sexy Now!" issue with Aniston on the cover, sold 1.02 million newsstand copies, a 33% increase from the year before.

The magazine’s 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 Vogue’s best-selling issue.  It sold 800,000 newsstand copies.  Its worst seller was February’s number, with Stella Tenant on the cover.  It sold 400,000 newsstand copies.

Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor-in-chief, believes supermodels will make a comeback in 2000.

Elaina Richardson, editor-in-chief of Elle, which ran six celebrity covers—the most it’s ever run— plans to cut back on celebrity covers in 2000.  

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 4


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. 3.

RedZone is the first football magazine written under the direction of a former NFL player, according to a press release issued by Fleishman-Hillard’s 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.


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 Cnet’s Internet radio service and promoted on Cnet’s websites and AMFM’s 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 ______________________

The 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.

Elle is starting a monthly gossip column about life on the inside of New York’s fashion scene.

The column, called "Sweetie," will make its debut in the February issue.

Elle execs told Women’s Wear Daily the column will be "chatty, irreverent, ironic and confessional."

Sweetie is the pet dog of designer John Bartlett.


Crain’s 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 Crain’s 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 equal time."

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," said David.

The best way to get a story in the paper is to approach a reporter (E-mail is preferred) rather than an editor.

"What Crain’s needs most are people who tell us things we don’t 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 didn’t do a story on his agency, and we probably won’t.  But I will always return his calls," said David.

Crain’s publishes the E-mail addresses of its editorial staffers every week in the paper.

Newsweek’s 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 Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine.

Internet Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 7


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.

However, 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 for $1.44M.

This reduced York’s 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 1999."

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 ten years.

The option was given in 1990 to Dorothy "only after...Dorothy’s repeated assurances...that she would never try to grab the benefit of NAPS from her    sister—and thereby disrupt the equal share of the income which I desired to provide my two daughters—unless 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 I’m 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.


Don 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."

"God, what an awful piece of equipment," said Imus, who added he "should have bought a Sunbeam or a General Electric."

Barbara 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.

B&D 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.

One 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.

PR 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.

The 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.

Brotman 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 Brotman’s PR firm before B&D fired the firm.

The 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 this week.


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.

Addressing 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.

Associations 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 PRSA’s 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.

Internet Edition, January 12, 2000, Page 8
A defamation suit against two security analysts has given the analyst community a case of the jitters.

Sunrise Technologies Int’l, whose lasers correct vision defects, sued Sturza’s Institutional Research and Avalon Research Group after they questioned Sunrise’s 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 dispute.

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+, what’s the big deal?

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 can’t 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 1970’s 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-member’s 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 April.

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).



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