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Internet Edition, February 9, 2000, Page 1


EAW Group, Washington, D.C., is handling a $500,000 contract for Laurent Kabila, embattled leader of the Congo who is fighting rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda, which are U.S. allies.

John Aycoth, longtime D.C. lobbyist who heads the firm, said it has already been paid $300K of the total and that it is in the process of registering the contract with the U.S. Justice Dept.

Aycoth, who has had extensive business dealings in Africa, escorted Kabila during his five-day visit to New York last month for the U.N. Security Council's hearings on the Congo.

Kabila appeared on "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" and on CNN and was the subject of a story in the New York Times by Barbara Crossette. The Washington Times did an op-ed piece.

Aycoth said he only got four days' notice of Kabila's visit.

Chevron announced a $75 million investment in the Congo during Kabila's visit.


Karen Doyne   Karen Doyne, SVP, PA and issues management, Ketchum Worldwide, Washington, D.C., was named director, new litigation communications practice.  It will have an advisory board of consultants.

Doyne, with Ketchum since 1995, was previously director of national press relations, Public Broadcasting Service.  She started as a broadcast journalist in Minneapolis and was press secretary to former Senator David Durenberger (R-Minn).  She was also a senior manager, Fleishman-Hillard, D.C.


PRSA, reversing a longtime policy, is shopping for a "senior" PR pro who will have the new title of "chief PR officer."

Occupants of the PR director post at PRSA in recent years have been either junior or mid-level PR people.  Two people were in the job within the space of four years.  Both quit suddenly just before the national conference of the Society.

PRSA's only previous experiment with a senior-level person as PR head was in 1976 and it ended after three and a half months.

Martin Burke, former PR director, Society of Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriters, was named VP of PR, a new post, in early June 1976.

He also had PR posts at General Electric and Heublein and worked in the PR department of the N.W. Ayer ad agency.  Experience included reporting for the Fayetteville, N.C., Observer and the New York World Telegram & Sun.

Burke vacated his office Sept. 15, 1976, saying, "The Society is not fully behind an effort for PR. The environment at PRSA h.q. was such that they were not ready for a VP-PR and gave me no support on my projects." EVP Rea Smith said, "Burke's appointment has not worked out for either of us."

Before Burke, PRSA had a succession of PR pros with the title of manager and salaries under $20K.

PRSA then decided to expand the post and pay $25K+.

Peltier had post 10 years

Arthur Young became director of communications in December 1976 and resigned Feb. 22, 1978.

Donna Peltier was PR director of PR from 1984 to 1994.   EVP Betsy Kovacs kept a tight rein on Peltier.  O'Dwyer reporters went to lunch with Peltier only three times during the ten-year period, and each time Kovacs accompanied Peltier.

One indication of PRSA's cool relations with the press is that only one publication (O'Dwyer's) covered the historic PRSA Assembly last November in Anaheim, when the first dues hike in 11 years was passed and there were two contests for national offices.  PRSA has not cultivated relationships with the PR trade press.   The last board press conference was in 1993.  "Press" rooms at national conferences have been either locked, unstaffed, or both in recent years and no attempts have been made to win coverage by conference city media.

In previous years, national officers would seek interviews with the local press and post the stories in the pressroom.  The "chief PR officer" would have to work in a culture that has shown little interest in press relations.  The 50th anniversary of PRSA passed in 1997 or 1998 (when the state charter was granted) with no attempt to win stories about it in trade or national media.

Debra Miller, 1997 president, ordered that a "senior PR pro" be hired as a full time staffer to replace Steve Erickson, who resigned suddenly in November 1996, one-week before the start of the national conference in St. Louis.  Miller's order was ignored.

PRSA hired Richard George, a 1990 college graduate, in April 1997, as his replacement.

David Moyer
David Moyer, Moyer Sherwood & Assocs.
  David Moyer, of Moyer Sherwood & Assocs., 1285 Ave. of the Americas, 35th floor, New York 10019, is handling the search for the PR head and also a top administrative officer to succeed chief of staff Ellen Gerber who left last summer. Members of PRSA are "encouraged" to send their resumes to Moyer.

A criticism of the PRSA staff is that only two of the current 40 staffers are members of PRSA–COO Ray Gaulke and Judith Bond, program manager. At present there are no people with long backgrounds in PR on the staff of PRSA.

The board, at its meeting Jan. 27-28 in New York, also adopted a new "open" policy on press relations.

Chair Steve Pisinski and President Ray Gaulke will be "authorized spokespeople" but other leadership, board and staff members can also talk to the press "as appropriate."

PRSA for many years has restricted almost all comments to those made by or through the top elected officer.

George was PR director of PRSA until last October. He quit several weeks prior to the national conference in Anaheim.

Erickson joined in June 1995 and was to have split his time between the Counselors Academy of PRSA and being PR director of PRSA.

Before Erickson quit, he said he was devoting almost all of his time to the Academy and almost none to PR for PRSA.

India retained APCO Assocs. and senior counselor Stephen Solarz for a $75K, three-month contract. He is a former New York representative.

Solarz will present India as "an emerging friend and economic partner of the U.S.," according to the firm's Justice Dept. filing. India wants the U.S. to brand Pakistan as a terrorist state. Pakistani militants fighting India's rule of Kashmir hijacked an Indian Airlines jet last December.

Hooper, Owen, Gould and Winburn, working for Pakistan ($150K in the latest six-month period), is urging President Clinton to be involved in the India/Pakistan Kashmir dispute.

The American Cancer Society dropped Shandwick's Washington, D.C., office and will allow its contract with Edelman PR Worldwide to expire because of their ties to tobacco, said Greg Donaldson, VP-CC. Shandwick has R.J. Reynolds as a client and Edelman works for British American Tobacco. Edelman was to have made the fight against cancer an issue in the presidential election race while Shandwick had the "national dialog on cancer." Replacements have not been named.

Radisson Aruba Caribbean Resort, which has been refurbished at a cost of $55M, to Lou Hammond & Assocs.  Also added for LH&A: RF Hotels, European luxury hotels, and College of New Rochelle.   Radisson Aruba
Radisson Aruba

James P. Gallagher, former SVP/PR, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, joined, Kent, Conn., as chief communications officer. He reports to his former boss, Bob Bowman, who was president of ITT. The five-year-old E-commerce firm sells computer hardware... Ken Lerer, who joined America Online in November as SVP/PR & IR, will give up his title as president/COO of Robinson Lake & Lerer and his stock in the firm in about a year... Martin Arnold, director of CC, Rayonier, which is moving from Stamford, Conn., to Jacksonville, Fla., opted to stay in Conn. and explore new job opportunities. He will be president, Fairfield County PR Assn., this summer... Steve Brill quit as editor-in-chief of Brill's Content but is still chairman/CEO.  A Brill website is backed by media companies that Content covers.

Internet Edition, February 9, 2000, Page 2


Howard J. Rubenstein said he does not take the recent Calvin Trillin essay, which attacks several of his clients, "very seriously."

Rubenstein, who has not spoken to Trillin since the article ran in the February issue of Brill’s Content, believes it was written "tongue in cheek."

Trillin, who also writes for The New Yorker and Time, based his essay on a New York Times news report about Rubenstein’s 45th anniversary party at Tavern on the Green last fall, which was attended by about 3,000 people (NL, 9/29/99).

Bad Images

The Times story said Rubenstein mastered "the art of manipulating the public perceptions of clients."

So Trillin asks in his column: "If Howard Rubenstein is so devilishly skillful, why does the public perceive so many of his clients to be truly dreadful human beings?"

Trillin said "not all of his clients are objects of loathing.  Some are objects of ridicule."

He cited several clients as examples, including George Steinbrenner, Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, and Leona Helmsley.

"Whenever I walk into a restaurant with Steinbrenner, people cheer him," said Rubenstein, who also said Murdoch is a "brilliant media entrepreneur"; Trump is a "genius at what he does, an extraordinary promoter," while Leona Helmsley got a "bum rap."

Trillin told this Newsletter he had not gotten any reaction to the column.  He said his column was meant to be "entertaining," but he finds it strange that some of the people whom he mentioned have a "dreadful image."


Intuitive Vision, a PR firm based in Valley Stream, N.Y., uses a study that found evidence of "life after life" to promote clairvoyants as credible healers.

IV was opened about a year ago by Andrea Martone, a former senior A/E at Rubenstein Assocs., who recently was appointed media director at New York-based CooperKatz & Co.

Martone said her firm, which is run on a parttime basis by her and Janice Roberts, only represents psychics and fortunetellers.

The studies, which are called F.A.C.T (fundamental anomalous communication telepathically), were conducted by the University of Arizona under the supervision of Dr. Gary Schwartz, prof. of psychology.

Using three, separate controlled experiments, the University researched and documented what it says is "a definitive paradigm for establishing convincingly that skilled mediums with scientific integrity can reliably receive information about the departed."

Martone said Suzane Northrop, who is a client, was one of the five mediums tested by UA.

According to the publicist, Northrop has helped many people communicate with departed love ones.

Northrop will be a featured guest on a "healing" cruise, which Martone’s firm is sponsoring.  Called Now Age 2000, the cruise will sail June 10 from Miami to the Western Caribbean on Holland America’s new ship, the MS Zaadam.


Hoffmann-La Roche, Nutley, N.J., has assigned a new prescription drug, called Xenical, to Edelman PR Worldwide, New York.  The drug, used for weight reduction, was handled by Stratis-KPR, New York.

Terry Hurley is director of PA for H-LR.


Edelman PR Worldwide, Washington, D.C., beat out incumbent Porter Novelli, New York, for the Nissan North America’s consumer/trade PR account.

xterra.jpg (3439 bytes)
New Edelman client Nissan has the SUV Xterra.
  Nissan started reviewing its U.S. comms. budget last fall and decided to let PN and Edelman compete for the account.  Jason Vines, VP of corporate communications at Nissan, also restructered the Japanese carmaker's communications department in Europe.  Jere Sullivan, SVP and deputy GM at Edelman, will head the account.

Brill’s Content (February) faults the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today and Chicago Sun-Times for not making it easy for readers to make complaints about accuracy.  Praised were the Portland Oregonian, Miami Herald, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and other papers which provide e-mails or phones at the bottom or top of every bylined news story. Many provide e-mails or phones of section editors.  The Washington Post has an ombudsman but does not give reporters’ contact info...the O’Dwyer website ( has a new feature called "Best Publicity Photos of the Week."

Parade magazine reported the London publicist, Sophie Rhys-Jones, who recently married Prince Edward, incurred the Queen’s displeasure by posing for publicity photos after her firm won the Rover auto account.  She was told by the Queen’s secretary that such behavior is too crass for the royal family.

CBS’ Philadelphia affiliate KYW-TV has stopped plugging advertisers who were sponsors of fashion and food segments on the five o’clock news.

According to The Philadelphia City Paper, the station started an "Eye of Beauty" segment, got a local hair salon to sponsor it, then interviewed salon staffers for some of the stories.

Marketing Intelligence, publisher of Product Alert and Productscan online (www.productscan. com), report 29,928 new products were introduced in 1999, up 3% over 1998.

More than half (57%) of the new products were food or beverage items.  Health and beauty aids accounted for 37% of the new products, while 3% were household products.

Internet Edition, February 9, 2000, Page 3


Women’s Wear Daily is adding a separate glossy magazine to provide trade reports on the fall 2000 runway shows.

The new oversized magazine will be mailed to subscribers with WWD’s March 20 issue and sold on newsstands.

The publication will feature gossip and images from the fashion show that starts this week in New York, as well as the Paris and Milan collection that follow.

WWD was acquired last summer by S.I. New- house’s Conde Nast, which also publishes Vogue.


The former fashion director of Seventeen, Marie Moss, has joined Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion as a contributing editor.

Moss will edit "Take Care," a beauty, fitness and health column.

The magazine, which is published by Andrews McMeel in Kansas City, Mo., is starting its fourth year with an ad rate based on a circulation of 525,000.  Editorial features offer tips and ideas on home decorating, entertaining, creative arts, collecting and gardening.

Moss has also worked in the fashion industry as a freelance writer and stylist for Oprah Winfrey, Capitol Records, The Gap and The Chicago Tribune.

She has made guest apperances on CNN, "The Today Show," "The View," Lifetime TV and MTV.

Barbara Martin, executive editor of HC, said publicists can contact Moss regarding their products by E-mail at [email protected].

Forbes Special Interest Publications has published the first issue of Kinko’s Impress magazine.

The quarterly magazine will be sold at all of Kinko’s 1,000+ stores in the U.S.

Circulation of the premier issue will be 300,000.

The magazine will address how technology and the Web can enhance creative design techniques.

Each four-color, 64-page issue will have approximately five full length feature stories; 25 service-driven articles, and a section on Web education.

Duffey Communications, Atlanta, is handling publicity for the magazine.


Selby Bateman was appointed senior editor of Hemispheres magazine, which is published by Pace Communications for United Airlines.

The author of five computer-related books, Bateman was previously executive editor for CD-ROM Today, PC Gamers, Compute!, Computer Entertainment News and Games Players.

Bateman, who reports to Randy Johnson, editor-in-chief, is based in Pace’s headquarters in Greensboro, N.C.  336/378-6065; fax: 8265.


Stephanie Thurrott has joined Custom Communications Partners, Boston, as managing editor for four publications—Creative Living, published for Northwestern Mutual Life, and IBM At School, Multiversity, and Local Government, all published for IBM.

Thurrott was previously editor/associate publisher for several health, business, and government custom publications at McMurry Publishing in Phoenix.

MEDIA BRIEFS ________________________

The New York Times has started offering updated news and analysis on its website (www.

In addition to wire service updates every 10 minutes, the Times now offers the latest news on important stories reported by its own reporters.

Jerry Gray, formerly Metro political editor at the Times, is editor of the continuous news desk and will oversee an initial staff consisting of a deputy editor and several rewrite reporters in New York and Washington, D.C.

The Times’ site also features updated financial reports filed throughout the day from its joint newsroom, with, which was launched in November.

BBC Worldwide Americas, London, and New York merchant banking firm Veronis Suhler have formed a joint venture to build a U.S. publishing-based consumer media company.

The new venture will initially focus on acquiring consumer lifestyle and informational properties with cross-media potential.

The 50-50 joint venture is being capitalized at $100 million of equity, with significant purchasing power beyond this.

Brill Media Holdings, which publishes Brill’s Content, has formed to sell all varieties of content, including magazines, E-books, traditional books, transcripts, original works, academic treatises, speeches, and archives of articles from thousands of magazines.

Investors in the limited partnership are CBS, NBC, Primedia, Ingram Book, EBSCO, and James Cramer, co-founder of

Steve Brill said the Contentville venture provides that the limited partners will have no influence on, or involvement in the magazine nor will the partners have any influence on what any of the Contentville experts or staff say in their reviews about products that are produced by any of the partners’ companies.

New York magazine is inviting various people to in-house lunches with staffers.

Twenty-five staffers covered a recent lunch with The New York Post’s gossip columnist, Cindy Adams.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, February 9, 2000, Page 4

Juan Williams, a reporter, editorial writer and op-ed columnist for The Washington Post, is joining National Public Radio as host of the daily afternoon call-in program "Talk of the Nation."  He takes over on Feb. 24.

Bill Hillburg, a columnist and reporter for Long Beach (Calif.) Press Telegram, was named Washington, D.C., bureau chief and correspondent for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

John Lindsay has resigned as managing editor for features for The Los Angeles Times.

Jared McCallister has quit as co-editor of the bimonthly "Caribbeat" section, which is published by The New York Daily News.  He will stay on as assistant news editor for the News.

David Lidsky has joined Fortune Small Business as technology editor from PC Magazine, and has hired Maggie Overfelt, also formerly at PC Magazine, to write a new column, "The FSB Browser" for the tech section.

Robert Reed, 46, who is executive editor of Crain’s Chicago Business, was promoted to editor, replacing David Snyder, who was named general manager of the paper’s Internet operations.

Colbert I. King, 60, and Peter Milius, 62, who are editorial writers for The Washington Post, were named deputy editorial page editors.

King writes a weekly column, and both will also continue to write for the editorial page.

Esther Dyson, who is editor of Release 1.0, a newsletter, will write "Release 3.0," a biweekly technology column for The New York Times Syndicate.

Mark Saylor, who is senior assistant business editor for The Los Angeles Times, was named to oversee coverage of technology news in addition to entertainment.

Russ Stanton, who was Times Orange County edition editor, was transferred to the main office in downtown L.A. as assistant business editor for technology, replacing Lisa Fung, who was named deputy arts editor in charge of the "Calendar" section.

Kevin Cook, senior editor of Sports Illustrated, is leaving SI to devote more time to "The Sky Box," a sports talk show on  The all-talk radio network is also home to Richard Johnson, editor of The New York Post’s "Page Six"; George Rush and Joanna Molloy, husband and wife gossip columnists for The New York Daily News, and Bob Berkowitz, former host of CNBC’s sex advice program "Real Personal."

Mizell Stewart III was appointed managing editor of The Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat.  

David E. Davis Jr., editor of Automobile Magazine since it was started in 1986, has taken a new position with Primedia, the parent company.

Jean Jennings, a writer who is the magazine’s "Vile Gossip" columnist, was promoted to deputy editor.

MEDIA BRIEFS _______________________

PC Computing, published by Ziff-Davis, is opening a news bureau in New York and changing its name in May to Smart Business.

Audio, a monthly magazine which has been published since 1947, has "closed its doors," reports Michael Riggs, editor-in-chief.

About a year ago, owner Hachette Filipacchi combined Stereo Review and Video magazines.  The new title is Stereo Review Sound & Vision.  It is published 10 times a year.

Glynis Costin, previously executive editor of Los Angeles magazine, was named West Coast bureau chief at InStyle, based in Los Angeles.

PLACEMENT TIPS _____________________

Stewart C. Cohen, who has photographed a wide range of personalities, is working on a book called "Identity," to be published in the fall.  

Cohen’s publicist, Vicki Young, said publicists who want their clients to be considered for the book, should get in touch with her at youngco@

Stratcomm Media, Winter Park, Fla., said its Gulf Atlantic Publishing unit will write, edit, design, print and distribute up to 240,000 issues of Aloes International’s new custom magazine.

The Orlando-based company markets aloe vera and other alternative health products under the name Catherine’s Choice.

Called Catherine’s Journal, the 32-page bimonth- ly magazine will feature editorial content as well as product information.

Rebecca Ramsey is editor, at 407/628-5700.

Sports Illustrated for Women is expanding its apparel coverage, as it moves to a bimonthly frequency with the March/April issue.

Aimed at women ages 18-34, SIW will launch with a circulation rate base of 300,000.

Sandy Bailey, who is editor of SIW, said Kristina Grish is joining the staff this month as fashion editor.

Grish had been apparel editor of Sporting Goods Business.

Beginning in the March issue, a section devoted to sportswear, called "Your Style," will be added.

SIW’s coverage of "Gear" will continue to be directed by associate editor Dimity McDowell.

Internet Edition, February 9, 2000, Page 7


President Clinton used 11 PR techniques to block the move to impeach him, according to the Sixth Edition of "Public Relations Strategies & Tactics," by Dennis L. Wilcox and three other authors.

The new edition, which has color throughout (vs. one color section in the 1998 edition), has a four-page study on "The Clinton Impeachment: An Epic PR Battle." The textbook is used in 250 colleges.

Clinton’s strategy, the text says, was to portray independent counsel Kenneth Starr as a "villain"; immediately and massively rebut the Starr report; leak grand jury testimony, thus reducing interest in it; act "presidential," especially as military commander-in-chief; emphasize the political motivation of Congress; lobby Democrats in the Congress and get labor unions and others to do the same; enlist sympathetic columnists; use the election of 1998 as a referendum on the charges; have leaders like former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford propose censure instead of impeachment, and emphasize "legal hairsplitting" (he did not have sexual intercourse as defined by most dictionaries).

Spin Is O.K. Term for PR

Another new section says that "spin" is coming to be an accepted term for PR and that leaders such as Patrick Jackson, 1980 PRSA president and PR Reporter editor, are not too upset by it.

He quotes Jackson as saying that, "We’re all ‘spinners’–because it simply means marshaling the data from your viewpoint, attempting to persuade others your viewpoint is legitimate."

Four recent books on PR have "spin" in their titles, Wilcox notes—"Father of Spin–Edward Bernays," "Spin Man: the Topsy-Turvy World of PR," "Spin Cycle: How the White House and Media Manipulate the News," and "Spin: How to Turn the Power of the Press to Your Advantage."

However, New York counselor Robert L. Dilenschneider, who is quoted in the book, says there is "good" as well as "bad" spin. The former is based on reality but the latter is "toxic" spin–"mean-spirited, opportunistic, sleazy, often unethical and illegal.  It’s all over the place today and crosses the line from reality to fiction," said Dilenschneider.


Charges that an insurance company was responsible for failing to rectify unhealthy conditions in the home of a former PR executive remain under investigation in Texas.

A Hays county grand jury on Feb. 3 voted to have the next grand jury continue an investigation into the criminal charges brought by Melinda Ballard, former executive at Ruder Finn, New York. The current grand jury’s four-month term has expired.

Allegedly unhealthy mold grew in the flooring of Ballard’s home in Dripping Springs and Farmers Insurance failed to take proper action, say the charges, which are denied by Farmers.  A civil suit is also pending.  The jury could have closed the case.


Client offers to pay PR firms on the basis of results are mostly talk, according to a seminar on methods of paying PR firms Jan. 24-25 in New York.

A brochure on the conference, sponsored by Fulcrum Information Services, said Procter & Gamble’s "pay for performance" model is "revolutionizing" the ad industry and "the PR industry is next."

PR consultant Lee Levitt, a speaker at the meeting, said he knows of no company, P&G included, that is paying PR firms on the basis of sales.

Some PR counselors said that offering to be paid based on performance impressed prospects even if such a plan was never adopted.

Many participants said that because of the great demand for PR services today, particularly from dot-com clients, PR firms are able to get advance deposits against future fees. Stock options, warrants, etc., are also methods of payment.

Participants said some firms are paying bonuses up to half the annual salary to keep senior people. Other perks include vacations for pros and their wives after grueling periods and "phantom stock" promising part of the proceeds if the firm is ever sold.

Bill Bellows, founder of Copithorne & Bellows who resigned in 1998, opened with Alan Peyser, former CEO of Cable and Wireless USA. It offers advice on choosing telecom and Internet services.  Best Buy has invested $4 million in it, according to the Washington Post...colleges graduated 2,439 advertising and PR majors in 1999, up 3.1%, according to "Where Shall I Go to Study Adv. & PR" (Adv. Education Pubs., Lubbock, Texas).  Ad majors totaled 5,454 and PR, 5,004. Student enrollment in ad/PR is 40,719, up 2.8%.  PR graduate students dropped 22% to 852.  The Univ. of Florida’s PR program gave out the most B.A.’s, 190, and had the most undergraduates, 688...Richard Powell, 32, former chief knowledge officer of Burson-Marsteller/DC, was named a mng. director at Idealab, Pasadena, Calif., after it acquired VenCatalyst, where he was working.  Idealab, which has given birth to 40 firms, plans to open an office in New York.

Internet Edition, February 9, 2000, Page 8
The PR field appears to be accepting the moniker "spin industry" that many are giving it.

The textbook "PR Strategies & Tactics," which is in 250 schools, quotes Patrick Jackson as saying, "We’re all `spinners’–because it simply means marshaling the data from your viewpoint..."  Jackson, who edits PR Reporter, was president of PRSA in 1980 and is active in its leadership.

Also referred to in the textbook is an article called "Confessions of a Spin Doctor" by Bill Patterson of HMS Partners, Columbus, Ohio, that appeared in PRSA’s PR Tactics. Patterson says spin means using  "all modern methods of communication to tell the most positive story I can about my clients..."

The textbook notes that four current books about PR use the term "spin" in their titles (page 7).

But author Dennis Wilcox also quotes counselor Robert Dilenschneider as saying spin is "antithetical to legitimate PR...spin is to PR what pornography is to art..." Dilenschneider favors communication that is reality-based.

Spin is information with a Mickey in it, the equivalent of a car with parts missing.  It’s a computer virus in your databank, the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.  It’s the big type in a drug ad minus the page of hazards that are in tiny type. If information is today’s most valuable commodity, as Chicago counselor Steven Lesnik says, then spin is the least valuable.  It’s easy to tell spinners–they get angry when you ask questions although they usually just run.  Hard-to-understand financial statements are a form of spin since their perpetrators could make them much easier and provide much more information if they wanted to.

Voters rebelling against the "Big Spin" of George Bush gave a victory to Senator John McCain in New Hampshire, wrote Philadelphia Daily News columnist Sandy Grady Feb. 4. "People are sick of being manipulated by TV ads, slick images and poll-driven slogans," wrote Grady, adding: "Bush came across as a smirking poster child for Big Spin." McCain, according to Grady, "with his town hall free-for-alls and a persona that meshes charm and firmness, seemed the real thing."

While PR is embracing "spin" as a description of what it does, the new buzz word in business is "knowledge."  Some PR firms have created "knowledge" departments and "knowledge" officers.

The U.S. economy this week passed the 107th month of its expansion, making it the longest in history.

Information and knowledge are key ingredients of the expansion, according to the Feb. 7 New Yorker.

"If there are two things most people can agree on these days, they are that free-market capitalism is the only way to organize a modern society and that the key to economic growth is knowledge," says the lead sentence in the article.

Profiled is economist August von Hayek, who saw capitalism as "a spontaneous information-processing machine"–a phrase created by the New Yorker’s John Cassidy.  Hayek himself used the term "telecommunications system."  Hayek despised unions and other forms of bureaucracy that blocked the information flow.  "Planning leads to dictatorship because dictatorship is the most effective instrument of coercion..." wrote Hayek, who died in 1992.

Cassidy, expanding on Hayek’s observations, notes that capitalism can’t exist in corrupt societies. He says that the Russian economy, crippled by corruption, is half the size it was under communism.

Russia does not have the tradition of a free press to expose abuses and corruption in government, business and institutions.  The explosion in media in the U.S. including TV news feature shows and the Internet, provides consumers with the knowledge they need to make buying decisions.

PR pros who intend to pursue the "chief PR officer" job at PRSA (page one) should study the history of PR posts at PRSA.  It’s not good.  The last time PRSA tried a senior pro was 1976 when Martin Burke lasted three-and-a-half months. He quit saying the Society gave him "no support." PRSA went back to juniors and middle managers and severely restricted their relations with the press.  The last two PR directors quit just in front of the national conference—when they were most needed. Press rooms have been locked and/or unstaffed at national conferences the past five years.  PRSA last year refused to identify the 200 elected Assembly delegates (members and the press were told to call up each of the 113 chapters if they wanted such a list). The 1997 (1998?) 50th anniversary of PRSA came and went (twice) with no attempts by PRSA to write and publicize its own history.

"Timeline," by Michael Crichton, gives this paean to history: "History is the most powerful intellectual tool society possesses...(its) purpose is to explain the present–to say why the world around us is the way it is. History tells us what is important to our world, and how it came to be.  It tells us why the things we value are the things we should value.  And it tells us what is to be ignored, or discarded.  That is true power–profound power." 



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