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Internet Edition, January 26, 2000, Page 1


APCO Assocs., Washington, D.C., sister company of GCI Group, filed a $1.3 million breach of contract suit against Akin, Gump, Straus, Hauer & Feld, one of the six biggest law firms in D.C.

APCO says Akin Gump didn’t pay $305,000 in fees and expenses for a system designed to monitor trade issues for Korea. The suit, filed earlier this month in D.C. Superior Court, asks $1M in punitive damages.

Akin, Gump, in its response to the suit, said the Koreans told APCO there were "glitches" in the software. The PR firm dismisses the memo as part of the "give-and-take" involved in a relationship.

B. Jay Cooper of APCO said the firm agreed to work out the problems and told the Koreans of this in a memo on Akin, Gump stationery.

Hired in 1996

Akin, Gump contacted APCO in June 1996 about working for two Korean clients, the Korean International Trade Assn. and the Korea Foreign Trade Assn. Work was to be split into three phases and APCO was not to contact the Koreans directly.

The PR firm completed the database for the "Korean Information Management System" in September of that year and demonstrated it to Michael Kaye and Shannon Herzfeld of the law firm. Demonstrations were also given to the two Korean clients. Fees for the initial phase were $92,000. Phase II and Phase III were to start on Nov. 1, 1996 at $35K monthly.

APCO says it received numerous memos expressing satisfaction from Akin, Gump and/or KITA through November 1997.

As of April 1997, APCO had been paid $215,000 by Akin, Gump although it claims the law firm was behind in its payments.

During November, 1997, Korea’s currency lost about half its value against the dollar, increasing the cost for KITA and Akin, Gump in dollars. KITA, says the lawsuit, told Akin, Gump it would pay in the devalued currency (the won). APCO said its contract called for payment in dollars.

Despite the dispute, APCO continued to work on the project through January 1998.

The complaint says the law firm and KITA did not mention defects with KIMS and did not ask that corrections be made. Attempts at a settlement were "rebuffed" by Akin, Gump, says the suit. The law firm sent a letter to APCO on July 27, 1998, saying that because of KITA’s dissatisfaction with KIMS, it was revoking its acceptance and returning the software.


Courtney C. Gardner, director of marketing and membership, Health Industry Distributors Assn., was named director of PR of the 25,000-member American Society of Assn. Executives, Washington, D.C.

"She will promote the image of the profession of association management," said Michael S. Olson,  paid president and CEO of the ASAE.  One duty will be publicizing the "Associations Advance America" program of the ASAE.

The group has been fighting a law that taxes lobbying. ASAE notes that members spend three times more on professional development and public information than on lobbying. Courts have twice rejected attempts to overthrow the law and the battle is expected to reach the Supreme Court.

Kenneth Sommers, ten-year ASAE veteran who was PR director, left the group last year. PR staffer Eric Dyson joined the Council of Growing Companies, McLean, Va., as communications manager.

Gardner marketed HIDA’s conferences and annual trade show, developing attendee and exhibitor promotional materials, ads, and direct mail. She has a B.S. in journalism from the Univ. of Maryland.

The Canal Jean Co., New York, $20 million retail apparel store, is looking for a PR firm. The store, based at 504 Broadway the past 26 years, owns the building and has never used a PR firm. Harvey Russack, consultant to his brother Ira, who runs the store, is looking to expand including a website. 212/226-3663, ext. 200...Royal Caribbean International named BSMG Worldwide for an ongoing PR program after using it for projects for three years. The cruise line will spend $40M on ads...Paul Carothers named VP of corp. affairs for Kraft Foods Int’l, Rye Brook, N.Y...Carla DeLuca, producer of CNN Saturday/Sunday Morning, to Hill and Knowlton/S.F., as a managing director.

The 2000 O’Dwyer’s Directory of PR Executives, with bios of 10,360 business PR pros with more than five years in the field, has been published. They work for more than 5,000 employers whose addresses and phone numbers are provided. The PR pros are listed by employer as well as alphabetically.

Information includes employment and educational backgrounds, awards won and professional memberships. $120 from the J.R. O’Dwyer Co. Buyers who are listed receive a certificate.

Internet Edition, January 26, 2000, Page 2


"The quiet period is basically a misunderstood period," said Neil Roland, a reporter for Bloomberg News and member of a panel that discussed the SEC’s quiet period rules.

"Many companies have interpreted these provisions too conservatively and have used them as a kind of shield or cloak to avoid giving out information at all," he said.

Roland and members of the financial industry made up the panel during a session hosted by PR Newswire on Jan. 11 in New York.

SEC Delays IPO

The genesis of the meeting was a recent case involving Webvan, a Web-based grocery store whose IPO was delayed by the SEC because it violated disclosure requirements during the quiet period.

Adam Lashinsky, Silicon Valley reporter for, was allowed into Webvan’s pre-IPO conference call and then reported on information from the call that had not been previously disclosed in the prospectus.

The SEC guidelines are designed to prevent companies and investment bankers from hyping a stock before and directly after an IPO.

During the quiet period, a company may still discuss its current affairs as long as it does not disclose information not included in the prospectus that could affect its stock, according to the panel of experts.

When Lashinsky’s article was published, the SEC pulled Webvan’s offering; required the company to publicly disclose the new information, and forced it to wait an additional three weeks before going public.

Lashinsky told the PR pros that while they should consult with their attorneys about media requests during the quiet period, they should not ignore reporters.

"I don’t advise any company or publicist to do anything that their lawyer isn’t comfortable with," Lashinsky said.  "(But) what reporters really hate, and will leave a bad taste in their mouth, is pretending the reporter doesn’t exist.  The more courteous thing to do is to ask your lawyer to return the phone call and see if they can’t be helpful in some way."

Don’t Be Paranoid

Karen Dempsey, securities lawyer and partner at Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, who was also a panelist, said; "You can follow the rules and still get your story out as a company. You don’t have to be paranoid that the SEC is going to shoot you in the foot."

PR counselor Carol Ruth suggested that companies be creative when in the quiet period.

For example, one of her IPO client’s toured the country promoting a new book written by a company executive.  Company lawyers considered this an acceptable way to gain publicity during the period.

"Be sure that you are building the visibility for the company that goes beyond just the people that use your products," she said.

Glenn Faulkner, VP and officer at Nasdaq, said Nasdaq will assist firms in the going-public process.


Ten former officers and presidents of The New York Financial Writers’ Assn. have objected to the removal of Susan Rodetis as a candidate for VP.

The group has proposed an alternate slate that moves Rodetis, a freelance reporter, up from her current position as treasurer to VP.

The proposal was made after four of the seven members of the regular nominating committee, headed by Sally Heinemann of Bridge News, voted to drop Rodetis as a candidate for the number two spot because they felt her part time work as an editor of a mortgage-backed securities report for Paine Webber made her ineligible to hold office as an active member.

The alternate slate, which was proposed by Myron Kandel and Martin Cherrin, who are former presidents and members of the current nominating committee, said Rodetis "derives far more than half her income from financial journalism, and none of her work involves PR.

"Under our bylaws she is totally eligible to be an active member and officer," Kandel and Cherrin stated.

Other former officers objecting to the ouster of Rodetis were: Claudia Deutsch, Randall Forsyth, Robert Kozma, John McCorry, Sidney Rutberg, Terri Thompson, Leonard Sloane and Alan Wax.

Eugene Smith of Utility Spotlight, who is the current secy.-asst. treas. was nominated as VP, in place of Rodetis.

Allan Chernoff, CNBC, is the new candidate for treasurer and Kelly Sapp, CNNfn, was nominated for secretary-asst. treas.   

The former officers did not oppose the nomination of Bases or Chernoff.

The election will take place Jan. 26.


Bennett & Co., an Orlando-based PR firm, is producing and placing a $3 million+ TV ad campaign for, an online superstore that sells personal stationery for weddings and other events.

B&C has retained Disney i.d.e.a.s. to direct the spot commercials, which will run during Super Bowl XXXIV.

Counselor Laura Bennett said the "marketing action plan" also includes sponsorship of Bride’s magazine’s "National Will You Marry Me Day," which features a live TV show from Times Square on Valentine’s Day and a yearlong calendar of national consumer events aimed at brides-to-be and mothers-to-be, national ad campaigns on TV and in newspapers and magazines, and on the Internet.

DEATHS: Shirley Stone, 75, wife of Robert Stone of The Dilenschneider Group, died Jan. 10...Ellen B. Kovak, co-partner of Kovak-Likly Communications, Wilton, Conn., died Sept. 25...Stanley H. Brams, 89, Detroit autowriter, who in 1961 founded Press Relations Newswire, which he sold in 1985 to PR Newswire, died Dec. 25.

Internet Edition, January 26, 2000, Page 3


United Parcel Service’s annual poll of 1,500 top executives throughout Europe shows real time delivery of business news as E-business grows is growing in popularity.

The survey found 73% of European execs project that online media will become their primary source of business news within three to five years.

Just 7% do not foresee the online media coup happening.

Primary News Sources

Today, 58% of European execs say they turn primarily to daily newspapers to keep up-to-date on business news, followed by weekly magazines (17%) and online news sources (11%).

Spanish execs are strong supporters of online news.  Leading Europe, 15% of them currently rely on the Internet as their primary source of business news.

The French, Italians and Dutch will continue to rely on established news sources, with only one in five expecting to log on for business news within the next five years.

The UPS Europe Business Monitor was started in 1992.

TNS Harris, London, conducted interviews in the following countries: Belgium (101), France (253), Germany (252), Italy (254), The Netherlands (100), Spain (255) and the U.K. (251).

The average revenue of businesses interviewed is $1.59 billion; average employee size is 3,450.


Hispanics rely more heavily on TV and radio to keep them informed, according to the findings of Simmons’ new survey of more than 10,300 Hispanic adults living in the U.S.

A higher percentage of this group also views magazines as a main source of entertainment than the overall population.

Other trends:

—Fifty-seven percent think products that pollute should be banned, while 38% of the overall population agrees.

—Those who responded to the survey are slightly more likely to enjoy a wine cooler, imported or domestic beer than the rest of U.S. consumers.  They are also more focused on controlling their diets.

—Spanish is the predominant language spoken by this market segment in five of the top seven U.S. Hispanic markets (New York, Miami, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles), while English is the predominant language spoken by this consumer group in San Antonio and San Francisco.

—Just over a third of Hispanics own personal computers, as compared to more than half of the general population.

PLACEMENT TIPS _____________________

Lawrence O’Donnell Jr., who is MSNBC’s senior political analyst and host of "Real Time" on MSNBC, will write a bimonthly column on national politics for New York magazine.

Parade’s health editor, Isadore Rosenfeld, M.D., will discuss the latest medical breakthroughs in his new monthly column, entitled "Second Opinion."

O, The Oprah Magazine, is the name of Oprah Winfrey’s new monthly magazine, which will make its debut April 17 with an initial printing of 850,000 copies.  The magazine will have articles on fitness, fashion and beauty plus features related to spirituality and personal growth.

Elle, a fashion monthly, has plans to publish three travel supplements and two Internet buying guides.


Sports Illustrated for Women, which is gearing up for launch as a bimonthly magazine in March, has made additions to its editorial staff, as follows:

—Carmen Renee Thompson, previously an associate editor at Blaze, is editor of the "Your Attitude" and the news section, "Short Takes."

—Brad Smith, formerly the photo director at Sports Illustrated for Kids and a photo editor at Sports Illustrated, is director of photography.

—Vicky Lavergne, previously with Details and photo editor at Elle magazine, is picture editor.

—Richard Deitsch is a writer-reporter.  He also will continue to cover tennis for SI.

—Laura Karmatz, previously a researcher at Time magazine, was named a writer-reporter.

—Trisha Lucey is chief of reporters.

SIW, which will start with a circulation rate base of 300,000, will be aimed at women ages 18-34 who have a passion for sports both as participants and fans, and lead active and healthy lifestyles.

PEOPLE ___________________________

Jenny Harris, 30, the executive producer of "Moneyline News Hour" at CNN, and David Faber, 35, a reporter for CNBC, including "Faber Report" and "Squawk Box," were married Jan. 16.

Eric Felton has resigned as editor of Regardie’s Power—a new high-technology magazine based in Washington, D.C.—to join Reader’s Digest as a political reporter.  Philip Chalk has left as managing editor.

Laura Ingraham has signed off as host of MSNBC’s "Watch It" to cover the Presidential campaign as a special correspondent for MSNBC.

Christopher M. Schroeder, 35, was named CEO/publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, new media and electronic publishing.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, January 26, 2000, Page 4


Chicago-based WTTW-TV will produce a national program that features  discussions with CEOs.

Jeff Greenfield, a senior analyst at CNN, who has experience as a broadcast media and political journalist, will conduct interviews with top executives on the program, which is called "CEO Exchange."

Frederick Schneider, VP of program development at WTTW, is executive producer of the monthly program.

A.T. Kearney, a management consultant firm, will fund the program over the next three years.

The first show, which debuts Feb. 6, features Jim Clark, Netscape Communications co-founder and currently chairman of myCEO, and Tom Jermoluk, CEO of Excite@Home.

The hourlong show was taped in front of a live audience of business students at the Univ. of Chicago.

Schneider told Jim Kirk, who is The Chicago Tribune’s "Media Talk" columnist, that "our biggest fear was how to get away from the corporate spin."


The National Assn. of Social Workers, Washington, D.C., is working with the producers and publicists of CBS’ TV drama "Judging Amy" to develop story lines and accurate plots.

NASW was involved in a dispute with ABC’s "Norm Show" last April over its portrayal of the social work profession and "indicted" the show’s star, Norm Macdonald, on four ethics code violations.

NASW PA director Lucy Norman told Association Trends, "We knew the type of show that `Amy’ was going to be before it aired, so we called up the show’s producers and offered our help.  They were delighted and receptive."

"Judging Amy," which will air Tuesdays at 10 p.m., revolves around the life of a recently divorced, single mother, who moves back in with her mother, a family services social worker.

MEDIA BRIEFS _________________________

Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion, a bimonthly arts and crafts magazine, has raised its rate base to 525,000.

Music City News, a monthly magazine owned by Gannett, will cease publication with the February issue.  It has been covering country music for 37 years.

The Washington Post, which recently dissolved Tech Gazette and TechCapital, has started Washington Techway, a twice-a-month magazine that will have a website at

Times Co. Digital, Internet division of The New York Times Co., has launched Abuzz (www.abuzz. com), a free online service based in Cambridge, Mass., that provides a shared space where users can ask questions, publish bulletins and share knowledge.


Many PR pros may have wondered why media estimates of the value of America Online’s planned purchase of Time Warner were vastly different.

The Washington Post estimated the deal at $183 billion, The New York Times said it was $165 billion, and The Wall Street Journal provided an estimate of $156.14 billion.

Some radio and TV reports estimated the deal at  $350B, which was a figure used in a press release.

Glenn Kessler, who is national business editor for The Washington Post, and oversees the paper’s estimate of the values of major deals, said "none of the newspaper estimates is really wrong.  They’re just figured differently."

Since AOL is buying Time Warner with its own stock, the value of the deal depends on three things, according to Kessler: (A) the ratio of AOL shares to each TW share; (B) the price of AOL stock; and (C) the number of outstanding TW shares.

"A times B times C equals the value for the stock portion of the deal," said Kessler.

He said both the Post and Times used the price of AOL stock before the deal was announced, while the Journal used the price of AOL stock after the deal was announced.  AOL’s stock price fell from Friday to Monday, resulting in a lower total value.

Also, the Post and Times used TW’s estimate of the number of its shares outstanding—1.5 billion— while the Journal used 1.461 billion.

Kessler said the Post added in the value of TW’s debt and the other papers did not.

Post Uses Guidelines

Here are the guidelines the Post uses to estimate major deals:

—When a company agrees to buy another one with its stock, the price of the stock before the deal is announced is used.

—If the acquiring company assumes a significant amount of debt, it is included in the total purchase price.

—Round figures are used because the estiamte is subject to swings in the stock market and different financial assumptions.

PEOPLE _______________________________

Jonathan Auerbach, 32, who was business editor of The New York Post, was appointed Sunday editor.

He replaces managing editor Marc Kalech, 51, who has been in charge of the Sunday Post since its inception in 1996. Kalech is now head of the arts and entertainment coverage.

Monique Greenwood, who was executive editor of Essence, was named to succeed Susan L. Taylor as editor-in-chief beginning with the June issue.

Taylor, who will continue to write her monthly "In the Spirit" column, was named publication director of Essence Communications.

Internet Edition, January 26, 2000, Page 7


Several high-tech PR executives have answered criticisms of high-tech PR by Charles Ferguson, who founded the company that invented the "FrontPage" software for creating web pages and who sold it to Microsoft in 1995 for $133 million.

Ferguson, in his new book called, "High Stakes, No Prisoners," said he found the rank-and-file of PR to be "completely dominated by attractive young women, various combinations of dragon lady and bimbette, whose job is social lubrication–opening doors, getting interviews, pushing you through a crowd toward someone they’re just dying to have you meet."

He said the "basic model" for this was pioneered by Regis McKenna, who was noted for his "army of Regettes." Ferguson also said it’s common for high-tech execs to marry their PR counsels.

Robert Seltzer, president and CEO of Ogilvy PR Worldwide, said the majority of those in PR today are women and this could be checked by looking at the membership of groups such as PR Society of America and the International Assn. of Business Communicators. Seltzer called Ferguson’s remarks "bigoted stupidity." [PRSA is 64% female-Ed. note.]

Sabrina Horn, of the Horn Group, San Francisco, which has 60 employees (80% of them women), said the remarks were "offensive and erroneous."

Lois Paul, of Lois Paul & Partners, Burlington, Mass., called the "dragon lady" and "bimbette" combination a "silly stereotype."  She said she has always liked high-tech PR because it is "young and also blind to gender."

Don’t Ignore Criticism–Bohle

Sue Bohle, whose 45 Bohle Co. employees are split about 50-50 between females and males, said, "We shouldn’t get defensive as a profession or ignore the input.

Schwartz Comms., with 206 employees in Waltham, Mass., and San Francisco, is 63% female. Brodeur Porter Novelli’s San Jose office is 60% female. Carol Cone, president of Cone, Boston, said Ferguson’s comments were "over the top" and "outrageous."

"To be labeled this way does a disservice to the profession," she added. "Women are not joining PR firms because they want to get married."

Paul agreed saying, "We’re here to get a job done, not get dates. Didn’t Ferguson make a lot of money with FrontPage? Why doesn’t he get some therapy?"


Joyce Purnick, who writes a column called "Metro Matters" for The New York Times, said government officials use the Freedom of Information Act to stonewall the press.

Purnick said the FoIA, which was intended to help the press get access to government information, has become a tool to shield government documents.

She said the problem with the FoIA is it takes at least two years to get information after a request is made, so editors tend to lose interest.

Purnick, who spoke to about 50 members of the Society of the Silurians at a lunch Jan. 20 at the Players Club, said the Giuliani Administration, which uses the FoIA to delay the release of information, has made "it impossible for us to do our job properly."

Internet Edition, January 26, 2000, Page 8
Publicity brought about the arrest of Michael Skakel on charges of murdering Martha Moxley in Greenwich, Conn., in 1975. Former L.A. detective Michael Fuhrman’s book revealed how the inept Greenwich police, in effect, had "sold out" to the rich Skakel family by working as chauffeurs, parking cars at parties, serving as paid police in their private community of homes, etc.  Lack of independence (not to say possible collusion) wrecked the initial investigation.  No search warrant was ever obtained for the Skakel house. 

Fuhrman found two uniformed police who said the missing handle of the murder weapon, a golf club, was with the body when it was discovered but suddenly disappeared.  The Greenwich police, who stonewalled Fuhrman when he came around, now seem to be claiming credit. "Police call events of the week a vindication," said the headline on the Jan. 22 Greenwich Time. A state investigator, formerly with the local police, is given big credit.  No praise is given to Fuhrman, who said he "back-doored everything" when he ran into stonewalling by Greenwich officials.

PR firms selling out to rich ad conglomerates and media selling or merging with giant media and non-media companies is of concern to both PR pros and the press.  "Love reporting, hate the business," is a current slogan among reporters. Clients want opinions from PR firms that are independent and readers want news unsullied by corporate agendas.

Sergio Zyman, chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola from 1993-98 and an SVP from 1983-86, has authored "The End of Marketing as We Know It," in which he says marketing is "too important to be left solely to the marketing guys."   Marketing is "every contact with consumers," he says. Zyman is described by Rochelle Garner in Kinko’s new Impress magazine as "charming" but a "harsh taskmaster, famous for instilling terror among those who work for him." He helped create Diet Coke in 1983 ("one of the biggest marketing coups ever") but also introduced New Coke in 1985 ("among the greatest marketing fiascos of the century").



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