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Internet Edition, March 15, 2000, Page 1


Novell, Oram, Utah,major computer software and hardware company, switched its PR to Porter Novelli Convergence Group, San Francisco, after five years at Cunningham Communications, S.F.

Billings are estimated at $1-$2 million.

Susan Fallon, director of worldwide PR of Novell, said it was time to make a change after the contract ran out and that the split was "amicable."

She said VP Brian Mast will head an account staff of 12.


Edelman PR Worldwide, largest independent PR firm by a wide margin because of the acquisition binge by ad agencies, grew 18% in 1999 to $186 million and 1,692 employees.

The ranking of the top 50 PR firms, normally published at this time, has been blocked because the Council of PR Firms is withholding the financial reports of most of the big ad-agency owned firms.

In second place on the independent list was another family-owned PR firm–Ruder Finn, up16% to $59.4M. RF had 418 employees as of Dec. 31, 1999. Waggener Edstrom, Bellevue, Wash., whose major client is Microsoft, was in third place with $50.5M in fees, up 23.6%.

Dropping out of the top ten because of mergers were Morgen-Walke Assocs., which sold to Lighthouse Global Network; Powell Tate, acquired by Shandwick, and Lois Paul & Partners, acquired by Fleishman-Hillard. Other independents sold included Cone, LobsenzStevens, Dragonette and Selz/Seabolt.

New to the top ten independent list are FitzGerald Communications, high tech firm, up 50% to $13.4M; Gibbs & Soell, up 9.4% to $12.7M; Middleberg & Assocs., high tech firm, up 119% to $11.3M, and Chandler Chicco, agency for Viagra, up 26% to $11.6M. Middleberg had the biggest percentage jump among the first 88 firms in the rankings. Nine other firms were up of 90% or more.

Council of PR Firms Boycotts O'Dwyer

Fifteen of the 18 firms that are represented on the board of the Council of PR Firms, including nine of the ten firms that would normally be in the "top ten," gave their financial reports only to the CPRF, which is withholding them.

Jack Bergen, CPRF president, said they are being held for release after March 20. "What I*m trying to do is be a service to the media," he said. "I'm working for uniformity," he added.

Not participating in the boycott were firms represented by CPRF board members John Graham of Fleishman-Hillard; Pamela Talbot, Edelman, and Patrice Tanaka, PT&Co.

BSMG Worldwide, eighth biggest PR operation last year, also did not participate in the boycott. Harris Diamond, chairman/CEO, who is not on the CPRF board, said: "We*re in the PR business. Our job is to give out information, not withhold it."

The 130 independents ranked include 48 of the 107 CPRF members listed on the CPRF website. The 48 have followed the O'Dwyer rules which include top pages of income tax returns, payroll totals, lists of accounts and executives, and certain "agreed-upon procedures" of CPAs. The CPRF rules allow up to 49% of income in the form of ad commissions for corporate and issue ads and profits from graphics, printing and other activities. Account lists are not required.

Dix & Eaton Opts out of Any Rankings

Scott Chaikin, chairman/CEO of Dix & Eaton, Cleveland, said D&E wouldn't be in any rankings because the top 50 list has become "dominated by firms owned by public companies and those positioning themselves to be purchased." The growth demands of the equity markets have created "immense pressure on many PR firms to grow their top lines," he added. He believes "sustained rapid growth is generally incompatible with sustained service excellence...the rankings (are)...a race we have chosen not to run."

Beth Waters, president of Cooney/Waters Group, New York, 40th ranking firm in 1998 with $7.4M in fees, said her firm received forms from O'Dwyer, PR Week and the Council and decided not to answer any of them. She said the firm had an "unbelievable first half" and has no time for such forms.

Steven Schwartz, president/CEO of Schwartz Communications, sixth biggest independent with $21M in fees and a member of the CPRF, said his firm followed the O'Dwyer rules. "Our figures are as pure as the driven snow," he said.

Gary Myers Urges Common Rules

Gary Myers, president/CEO, Morgan & Myers, Jefferson, Wis., 28th largest independent in 1998 with $5.6M in fees, was one of the firms only reporting to the CPRF. He is on the CPRF board.

Myers urged the O'Dwyer NL to get together with PR Week, Inside PR, PR News and the CPRF to arrive at a common method of doing the rankings.

Firms represented by the entire executive committee of the CPRF only gave their figures to the CPRF.

The committee members are David Drobis of Ketchum, chairman of CPRF; Cathy Lugbauer of Weber PR Worldwide, vice chairman; Andy Hopson of Publicis, secretary, and Margi Booth, of M Booth & Assocs., treasurer.

Other board members withholding their numbers from the PR trade media were Louis Capozzi, MS&L; Kathy Cripps, Sciens Worldwide PR (also current chair of the Counselors Academy of PRSA); Robert Druckenmiller, Porter Novelli; Robert Feldman, GCI Group; Thomas Hoog, Hill and Knowlton; Richard Jernstedt, Golin/Harris; Gwin Johnston, JohnstonWells PR; Chris Komisarjevsky, Burson-Marsteller; Robert Seltzer, Ogilvy, and Sharon Van Sickle, KVO.

The CPRF website says: "The ranking rules and applications have now changed, making them less onerous for PR firms and creating a more accurate, credible and fair ranking for the industry."

Lisa Kovitz, senior VP at Cairns & Assocs., New York, joined Burson-Marsteller as a managing director, consumer brands specialty group.  She will report to Chet Burchett, practice chairman.

Interpublic is negotiating to buy Maitland Consultancy, major U.K. IR firm, according to the Financial Times of London.  Maitland advised German telecom giant Mannesmann in its unsuccessful bid to ward off a hostile takeover from Vodafone AirTouch.  The deal, Europe's biggest merger ever, was agreed to in February.

The Ladies Professional Golf Assn., 50 years old this year, named Cohn & Wolfe, New York.   The LPGA has used C&W in the past.  Diane Perlmutter, CEO of C&W/NY, served on the advisory committee of past LPGA commissioners.

Highland Park, Ill., hired Jasculca/Terman & Assocs., Chicago, for PR after five police officers filed a federal lawsuit accusing the police department of singling out minority car drivers.   The firm is being paid an average of $185 an hour to help answer questions from media and the public.  "We needed them to help us with the eight news programs and newspapers that showed up," said assistant city manager Sean McBride.

Korn/Ferry International searches include Global Crossing, Beverly Hills, VP, corporate comms.; A.C. Nielsen, Stamford, Conn., VP, external relations, reporting to Barry Holt; Cardinal Health, Columbus, Ohio, VP; Bear Stearns, New York, IR director; American Skandia, Shelton, Conn., IR dir., and Boston Consulting Group, media relations dir., New York or Boston, and post in London.

Internet Edition, March 15, 2000, Page 2

Debra Miller, 1997 president of PR Society of America and 1999 nominating committee chair, is asking the task force on nominations to open the nominating process so that the entire membership can participate via the PRSA website.

Candidates would still have to be APR and have served in the Assembly or as a district, section or chapter leader, she noted, since this is required by the current bylaws.

But candidates could present their views and backgrounds via the PRSA website and even engage in debates over the issues, she noted.

Miller wants all 20,000 members eventually to be able to vote directly for the candidates. She noted that the American Society for Training & Dev. has direct elections and so do many other groups.

Time for Reform, Says Harris

Chicago counselor Thomas Harris said "Electoral reform is in the air" and that "As long as the rank and file remain excluded from the smoke-less filled room that picks the Society's leaders, the more irrelevant the Society will become to the real needs of the members."

Harris said there is a "crying need" for "PR for PR" and that should be a top priority for the "organization representing our much misunderstood field."

Added Harris:

"It is particularly ironic since we are first and foremost in the business of gaining understanding and support through communications.

"The recognized leaders of the advertising industry are those who take part in the American Assn. of Advertising Agencies. The very top advertising leaders aspire to the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in gaining understanding and support of advertising.

"Compare that to the typical route to leadership in our Society and it's clear that we are poor little lambs who have lost our way. Bah. Bah. Bah."

Open It Up, says District Chair

Robert Holtzman, EVP of Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Sunshine District chair, said:

"Of course we should open up the nominating process! Associations in general have problems communicating to their full membership at all levels, and PRSA is, unfortunately, no exception.

"Though I have stayed outside the political processes of PRSA national, I sensed unusual tensions and in-fighting amongst the leadership group throughout last year’s Assembly.

"The whole point in having an association is to have the best representation for your profession’s future...PRSA must really begin to focus this association on not only only improving the level of the profession, but publicizing the benefits of PR professionals to the business world."

"I’m APR, but beyond personal satisfaction, I can’t say it ever landed me a job. We’re in the publicity business. Why can’t our association focus in large part on selling our product.? That’s the kind of thinking that can only come about when you open up the nominating process and let new ideas and new people into it."

Former "PR for PR" Head Supports Move

Davis Young, of Edward Howard & Co., Cleveland, who once served as national "PR for PR" chair of PRSA, said he agrees with those who advocate using the web to "share more information about potential candidates for PRSA leadership."

But he said PRSA must be careful not to let the web be used for promoting "political agendas."

The goal of the nominating process, he added, is to obtain the best leaders for the Society.

"If the web helps to accomplish that, who can be against it?" he asked.

Weintraub Raps "Insiders"

Robert Weintraub, president-elect of the New York chapter of PRSA, the second largest chapter, said:

"The democratic process is not a PRSA strong suit. The Assembly is not a representative body since delegates are limited to APRs. This disenfranchises a large majority of PRSA members.

"The Society is run by a 'club' of insiders who have their own personal agendas and support members of their clique.

"People are elected to office because of years of service and who their friends are, not qualifications for the job. I think this happened with one of the contested elections last year. Will the entrenched leadership be willing to surrender its power? I doubt it."

"A Great Idea," Says Spetner

Don Spetner, PRSA member and West Coast PR executive, said:

"PRSA runs the risk of rendering itself irrelevant if it does not open itself up to individuals and companies outside its traditional power structure.

"The new economy is a powerful force and the single biggest issue facing long-standing industry associations and trade organizations like PRSA is how to make their services relevant to this new world. Debra Miller has put forth a great idea that embraces the power and efficiency of the Internet, and energizes the nomination process."

Kostka supports Miller

Denver counselor and former national Board member William Kostka said:

"I'm in favor of a vote by the membership, however the nominating process is accomplished.  Everyone in this business today has E-mail capability and, while you won't get everyone to vote, anymore than we do in a national election, the officers selected by the membership that does vote will be more representative of the membership and its desires for the leadership of PRSA than it is today.  I strongly support moving to Debra Miller's propsal as soon as practical.

"The nominating committee still will be the nominating committee and they will pick the same persons they always have unless there is some method to get the selection made by the membership.  I can't imagine anyone wanting the job enough to independently throw their hat in the ring.  Perhaps nominations can come from the chapter level with a resume and a platform of some kind from the candidate once the chapter has selected the individual and that person has agreed to run.  Then perhaps the nominating committee can weed it down some way so that they don't just pick the good old boys." 

"Let in Sunshine," Says Seitel

PRSA member and PR textbook author Fraser Seitel, asked about the Miller proposals, said: "I support anything that promotes openness and candor. They are part of the heritage of PR. Democracy and sunshine are what the field is built on."

Seitel is author of "The Practice of Public Relations" textbook and editor of the PR Strategist of PRSA.

Virgil Scudder, president, Virgil Scudder Assocs., New York, said open nominations and elections are "exactly what PRSA needs. I back these proposals one hundred percent."

He said the openness and "transparency" would Aspark interest in PRSA.

Best Thing for PRSA in 15 Years

Chicago counselor Herb Kraus said Miller's suggestion was "the best thing I have heard proposed for PRSA in 15 years. It would democratize the election process and give new blood to the leadership and new life to the Society," he said.

Rene Henry, vice chair of the College of Fellows, said election reform is one of the big national issues and PRSA could take a leadership role by reforming its own election process.

Frank Wylie, 1978 president, said, "The entire nominating process needs to be washed out."

John Paluszek, 1989 president, said the "power of the web should be fully used to collect information about and consider the nominees."

Few Candidates Ever Show Up

Robert Stack, who rejected his nomination to the board last year to protest the "flawed" nominating process, complained at the time of the dearth of candidates for office, among other abuses.

"There's something wrong when a 20,000-member group only turns out two candidates for secretary and three for treasurer and often has one or no candidates for district directors," he said.

When no one ran for director for the Northeast district in 1997, Robin Perrin was appointed to the post and was later elected to it.

Stack also complained that only a few insiders knew who the candidates were and that they put pressure on the board.

Ed Orgon of The Torrenzano Group, New York, former president-elect of PRSA/NY, said he supports an "open" nominating process. He said use of the web could "break up the clubbiness" and get influential people back in office. He said PRSA was better run when it was led by members who worked for big PR firms and companies.

Jack Felton, president, Institute for PR, who heads the task force on nominations, said his committee would keep "an open mind" to all suggestions including Miller's. He said letting candidates run for nominations via the PRSA website is "jumping way ahead of the process." Chair Steve Pisinski has asked his committee to report as soon as possible.

Internet Edition, March 15, 2000, Page 3


Time Warner, which said last November it would eliminate "soft money" contributions, has kept a high profile in the political arena by sponsoring debates that also promote the company's multi-media outlets.

A debate between Al Gore and Bill Bradley took place Feb. 21 at the Apollo Theater in New York that linked Time magazine and CNN.

The Harlem theater's outdoor marquee advertised the event, and inside the hall, banners bearing the CNN and Time logos were hung.

The debate was moderated by CNN's Bernard Shaw, and Time correspondents covering the two candidates--along with Jeff Greenfield, a CNN analyst--asked the questions.

During the debate, Shaw also reminded viewers that questions would be considered if they were sent to, or

The Apollo debate is part of a larger trend, according to the Alliance for Better Campaigns, which is keeping track of the major political debates of candidates running for presidential nominations.

ABC's records show CNN and MSNBC have aired 17 live debates, often pairing one of their top journalists with a local anchor or reporter.

The Apollo debate was the 10th primary debate aired by CNN.  In 1996, CNN broadcast five debates.  MSNBC and Fox News did not exist at the time.

Among the networks, NBC has aired two "Meet the Press" debates; ABC has sponsored a special "Nightline" debate, and CBS has not had a debate.

Neither ABC nor CBS has a link to a 24-hour news channel.


Steve Brill, editor-in-chief of Brill's Content, did not show up for The Deadline Club's March 1 meeting after accepting an invitation to be a panelist in a discussion on corporate media mergers.

Steve Brill
Steve Brill

The other panelists, who showed, were Bill Moyers, PBS broadcaster, George Gerbner, Temple University journalism school dean, and Mark C. Miller, a journalism professor, who directs the Media Ownership Project at New York University.

The media watchdog had accepted the press club's invitation before his company, Brill Media Holdings, formed an alliance with CBS, NBC, Primedia and the Ingram Book Group.

"Could it be that he didn't want to hear criticism" said Betty Ashton, president of the club.

Lilly Gioia, the program chairwoman, said Brill had agreed Dec. 30 to be a panelist, and she sent him an E-mail noting the time, place and date.

On the day of the event, his office called Gioia, claiming he had not known the exact time of the event and he would have to cancel due to a scheduling conflict.

Last April, Brill did not appear as scheduled to deliver the keynote lunch speech at a Ragan media conference.


Lester Craft, who is editor-in-chief of eCommerce Business, a new Cahners Business Information publication and website that is starting April 17, has named four veteran E-business editors to his staff.

They are: Jim Carr, who will specialize in covering technologies and services that support e-commerce (831/786-9571); Jo Fleischer and Henry Howard, who will cover business-to-consumer e-commerce and e-commerce services (203/261-8944 and 336/605-1131, respectively), and Rob Spiegel, who will cover bus.-to-bus. e-commerce (505/275-2556).

DOT-COM OFFERS CUSTOMIZED NEWS, Alexandria, Va., has started a free news service that provides users with personalized lifestyle news and information.

Subscribers get daily or weekly E-mails in more than 30 lifestyle categories, ranging from entertainment to business and investing and weekly categories ranging from women?s health and fitness to seniors.

Editors get their information from hundreds of media sites every day; identify the top articles by category, and E-mail subscribers summaries, along with direct links to the best content on the Web.

Barbara Daniel, who is special projects manager, said about 9,000 individuals had signed up in the first week.  Subscribers have been asked to limit their picks to four categories. was co-founded in 1999 by Thomas W. MacIsaac, who was previously with the Washington, D.C.-based Venturehouse Group, and James A. Dunn Jr., who was president of Affinity Group, a business consultancy.


Ford got the most national media coverage at this year's North American International Auto Show, according to a study by Delahaye Medialink.

The study shows Ford got 954 million impressions in the U.S. media, which topped BMW (306 million impressions); Chevrolet (302 million); Toyota (254 million); Buick (227 million), and Dodge (220 million).

More than 6,300 journalists attended NAIAS 2000 and 1,974 news stories reached over 1.5 billion potential readers and viewers, according to DM. 


Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, a book reviewer for 31 years for The New York Times, was appointed chief writer of major obituaries, which are prepared in advance.

Janet Maslin, who stepped down as chief movie critic in January, succeeds Lehmann-Haupt as one of the paper?s three book reviewers.  

Bruce Weber, an arts reporter, will become a theater critic.

Internet Edition, March 15, 2000, Page 4


Robert Weisman, previously business editor of The Seattle Times, and Stephanie Stoughton, formerly a retail reporter for The Washington Post, have joined The Boston Globe?s news staff in Boston.

Weisman is technology editor and Stoughton?s beat is E-commerce.

Alex Pham, a reporter, was recently assigned to run the Globe's new Silicon Valley bureau.

Pham runs the bureau out of her home in Oakland, Calif., and can be reached through the Globe's switchboard at 619/929-2982.


David Carr, longtime editor of The Washington City Paper, is joining Powerful Media, a new website, in May.

The web-only media trade magazine was started by Kurt Andersen, who wrote for The New Yorker, and Michael Hirschorn, former editor of Details mag.

Carr will be the website's national correspondent for newspapers and magazines.

PLACEMENT TIPS ______________________

Talk America Radio Networks, which is based in Canton, Mass., has added two weekly programs dealing with the world of the Internet.

"NetProfits Radio," hosted by Jim Wishner, airs every Saturday from 4-6 p.m. (ET).

Wishner, who is also a Twin Cities (Minn.) morning newscaster, picks the brains of movers and shakers.

"The Online Shopping Report" is broadcast every Sunday from 6-7 p.m. (ET).

Host John Rody interviews some of the biggest names on the net and offers a forum for discussion of the latest trends and what they mean to the average person.

Other TA programs dealing with computers and technologies include: "Computer Daze" with Guy Kemp (weekdays 10 p.m.-midnight); "Log On U.S.A." with Jaclyn Easton, and "Net Profits" with Steph Van Viack.

Tom Star or Stan Hurwitz will respond to PR inquiries at 781/828-4546.

"Bloomberg Money," a half-hour news program from Bloomberg TV, made its debut March 6.

The program, which airs at 6:30 a.m. (ET), is being produced in cooperation with Maryland Public TV.

The program will present relevant news from Bloomberg bureaus around the world in advance of the American markets' opernings.

Kathleen Campion, who joined Bloomberg News in 1992, is anchor of the show, which reaches more than 70% of the national public TV market., an Internet-based print news service run by the Conservative Communications Center, Alexandria, Va., has revised its "Expert Files" section. It now offers a database of expert resources and hundreds of issues in the conservative movement, complete with names, phone numbers, websites and E-mail addresses.

Users are now allowed to suggest new topics and indiviudals for consideration as experts by the CNS editorial staff, which is headed by executive editor Scott Hogenson.

The section can be accessed through the main page.  703/683-9733; fax: 7045.


Michelle Macguire, who was associate accessories editor at Allure magazine, has joined Glamour as senior editor, sittings and beauty.

Allison W. Frank, who was bookings director, was named Glamour's entertainment editor, and Christine Spines, former senior writer at Premiere, has joined Glamour as a contributing editor, covering the entertainment industry from Los Angeles.

PEOPLE _____________________________

Eugene Robinson has succeeded Quincy Troupe who resigned as editorial director of Code magazine, the black men?s fashion title owned by Larry Flynt's LFP Inc.

Todd Oldham, who was a fashion model, is taking fashion photos for US Weekly.

Laura Begley was promoted to style director at Travel & Leisure to oversee the magazine's coverage of fashion, style and design.

Kristin Perrotta was promoted to beauty director at Allure magazine, replacing Marianne Diorio, who has rejoined Estee Lauder as VP/communications for U.S. and Canada.

Ralph E. Danford, 75, a retired field rep for the American Automobile Assn., who wrote travel articles for tourism publications while employed by a variety of national travel organizations, died Feb. 23.

Mort Sheinman, managing editor, Women's Wear Daily and with WWD 40 years, was named editorial director, Publicis Dialog, New York.

MEDIA BRIEFS __________________________

Business Week Online now has more than 600,000 registered users, 70% of whom do not receive the print version.

Talkers Magazine's February number has the annual list of the 100 most important radio talk show hosts.  The finalists were chosen from a list of 4,300 radio talk show hosts in the U.S.  Michael Harrison is editor of TM.

Money magazine's newsstand sales for the second half of 1999 averaged 215,000, up 22% according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Internet Edition, March 15, 2000, Page 7

The International Assn. of Business Communicators has disclosed all the income and expense categories that were left out of the Deloitte & Touche audit that was published last week (3/8 NL).

Sherm Smith, CFO of the group the past three years, resigned suddenly March 6, the day he returned from a one-week vacation in Hawaii with his family.  He had supervised the hiring of D&T, which replaced Grant Thornton.

Neither he nor president/CEO Elizabeth Allan would discuss the reason for his departure. Smith said he is exploring job opportunities.

The additional numbers reported show that IABC spent $398,755 for "web development" in 1999 vs. nothing the previous year. It said it is not providing details of the web development at this time because of "competitive reasons."

Expenses of its magazine and register of members (Communication World and Worldbook) grew 15% to $623,440 while revenues were even at $34K.

Spending on accreditation was down 9.7% to $53,953 while income was up 91% to $19,585.

The annual conference made $340K profit and the awards program, $30K. Income from ads, exhibits and list rental went from $132K to $153K while costs dropped from $118K to $83K. Net contribution to the IABC Foundation was $194K vs. $202K. IABC had a deficit of $339.9K in 1999 after a loss of $107K in 1998. A $25 dues hike to $175 started in 1999.  The group had cash of $1.9M and $519K in net unrestricted assets.

The International Assn. of Business Communicators has disclosed all the income and expense categories that were left out of the Deloitte & Touche audit that was published last week.

REVENUES 1999 1998
Membership 2,146,079 2,196,828
Conference 1,092,250 940,415
Information Resources 556,449 476,744
Gold Quill Awards 230,618 212,260
Adv., Exhibit & List Rental 153,654 132,987
Seminars 385,465 397,096
Comm. World/World Book 34,795 33,584
Accreditation 19,585 10,245
Public Relations Revenue 0 58,295
Other Programs 16,760 3,338
Investment Income 89,970 101,533
Leader Services 12,485 11,453
Total Revenue 4,740,110 4,574,778
Membership 584,991 526,222
Conference 751,575 699,389
Information Resources 483,624 427,649
Gold Quill Awards 200,490 169,046
Adv., Exhibits & Lilsts 83,517 118,974
Comm. World/World Book 623,440 541,507
Accreditation 53,953 59,765
Leader Services 201,903 175,651
Information Technology (allocated among all expense categories)
General Administration 519,499 474,076
Executive Board 275,337 246,779
Public Relaitons 75,931 131,211
Student Membership 19,960 17,850
International Development 85,774 138,683
Seminars 321,484 422,356
Leader/Chapter Visit 28,512 36,460
Research and Information 92,295 104,961
Other Professional Dev. 79,253 171,936
Net Contrib. to the Foundation 194,664 202,670
Other 8,211 12,434
Interest Expense 4,274
Depreciation (allocated among all expense categories)
Web Development 398,755 0
Total Expenses 5,083,368 4,681,894
Net (343,258) (107,116)
*The FY 97-98 expense figures have been adjusted to reflect the allocation of Information Technology and Depreciation expenses throughout all expense categories so that a comparison with FY 98-99 can easily be made.


Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger formed a committee to find ways to keep veteran staffers from leaving. Reports are the editors and reporters left for higher salaries which the WSJ was not willing to match.

Leaving this month were Amity Shlaes, 17-year veteran and editorial board member, who joined the Financial Times as a columnist; Joseph Cahill, 40, reporter in Chicago who rejoined Crain?s Chicago Business, and Kevin Salwen, small business editor and a 19-year WSJ veteran.

Other recent departures include:

George Anders, a special writer in the San Francisco bureau and a 22-year veteran, who joined Fast Company magazine as head of its West Coast news bureau; Tom Petzinger, a 21-year staffer, who joined LaunchCyte; Peter Gumbel, former Los Angeles bureau chief, who went to, a start-up website, as editor; Quentin Hardy, who joined Forbes; Gregory Steinmetz, London bureau chief, now at a New York investment firm; Greg Hill, a features editor, who went to San Francisco-based eCompany Now, after 30 years with the Journal; Kyle Pope, who was the TV/ad editor, who joined Powerful Media, and Patrick Reilly, a former ?Weekend? section reporter, now a senior VP at Robinson Lerer & Montgomery.

Internet Edition, March 15, 2000, Page 8

The Council of PR Firms has pocketed, for the time being, financial results of a dozen major PR firms, blocking this NL from printing its list of the top 50 firms, which ran March 10 last year. The CPRF is also holding back the financials of several smaller firms that have given their results to the CPRF for release at its discretion.

However, the good news for us (and, we think, the PR field), is that 48 independent firm members of the CPRF plus 82 other independent firms have continued to follow the O'Dwyer rules for ranking, rejecting the more lenient CPRF rules.

CPRF rules allow up to 49% in non-PR "related" services such as commissions on corporate and issue advertising; profits from graphics, printing, events and video production; research in support of PR, and website building and promotion.

The CPRF requires no CPA signatures (4% of the returns will be checked by CPAs) and no documents such as the top page of a corporate income tax return and W-3 (showing payroll costs for the year). Also not required by the CPRF are any account lists or lists of professionals employed.

The firms of fifteen of the 18 board members of the CPRF, including eight of the top ten firms (all eight owned by the big ad agencies) are taking part in this boycott. Fortunately the great bulk of the CPRF's membership is not. At least in terms of numbers (although not in dollar totals), the board is out of step with its members.

The CPRF has suggested to us that we get together with it, PR Week, PR News and Inside PR and agree on ranking rules. We told the CPRF the New York Times does not call up the Wall Street Journal and ask it to work out joint rules on how an industry will be covered or ranked or anything. The NYT and WSJ will do their best to exceed each other in detailed coverage. The PR trades should be competing with each other to set tighter standards of measurement, not acting in collusion with the other trades and the CPRF. This is not a wholesome activity for the CPRF, which could be doing a lot of other things with its $1M in dues such as PR for PR.

Debra Miller's proposal to end PRSA's "smoke-filled room" approach to nominations is an idea whose time has come. PRSA should use the miracle of the web to allow anyone with good ideas to run for office. There's even time to call a special Assembly to remove the bar against non-APR candidates. Under current rules, less than 2,000 of the 20,000 members qualify for board or officer posts (APR plus Assembly service or leadership in a chapter, district or section). This tiny group has hijacked control of PRSA for 20 years.

Here's our suggestions for a winning insurgent platform:

Instead of spending $475K net on APR, switch some of the funds to web building, on which a paltry $60K has been budgeted for 2000.

  • De-couple office-holding and APR.

  • Stop the waste of $225K on international.

  • Let experienced PR pros work at h.q.

  • Immediately post the list of 200+ Assembly delegates on the web.

  • Correct the false figures on the web claiming PRSA makes money from its publications and that PRSA's net assets are nearly $2M.

  • Start a major PR for PR program.

  • Publish the Fellows' study of recruiters' critical views of APR in Tactics and on the web.

Both chair Steve Pisinski and treasurer Joann Killeen agree PRSA's publications are subsidized but they can't get h.q. to change the figures posted on the web. This says a lot about who is running the Society. We're sure an interested member or members could add more or different planks to the above. We'll be glad to give candidates space in our NL and website and PRSA should do the same.

Bob Woodrum of Korn/Ferry International, on being told the latest APR pass rate was the lowest ever and the class one of the smallest ever, and that PRSA is spending $475K net and $635K gross on APR this year, said the directors could face charges of failing to live up to their fiduciary responsibilities since they are ignoring reality...Phil Wescott, APR chair, says a new APR test will not be ready before 2001...John Crudele, New York Post financial columnist, says the federal government is fudging the inflation rate by not including the oil price hikes in its latest Consumer Price Index. The government's fatuous excuse is that "extreme price volatility" in a commodity should be ironed out of the stats...sign of the times: the 30-year-old Newsletter Publishers Assn. is now the Newsletter & Electronic Publishers "average" session of a sex instruction class conducted by author Lou Paget includes "Hollywood wives, ex-wives, actresses, agents, and P.R. women," said an article by Krista Smith in the March Vanity Fair...James Wyckoff, 1999 PRSA/New York president and now with Marshall Consultants, recruiters, was named to the ethics board of PRSA. He had also served on the 1999 national planning board of PRSA. PRSA/NY, which was actively campaigning for de-coupling in 1998, abandoned that goal in 1999. The 2000 chapter leadership has said nothing on the subject.



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