Contact O'Dwyer's: 271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471; Fax: 212/683-2750
ODWYERPR.COM > Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter return to main page
Return to NL Archives Index


Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, April 5, 2000, Page 1


Mel Webster, one of the four founding members of Copithorne & Bellows, is leaving April 14.

With William Bellows, 47, having left in 1998 and San Francisco head Richard Moore having left in March, this leaves David Copithorne as the only founder still with Porter Novelli, which acquired C&B in 1995 (via stock of parent company Omnicom).

C&B, listed in 1998 PR firm rankings with $26 million in fees, has disappeared as a separate entity and is now part of the Convergence Group of PN.

Webster, who joined C&B in 1990, two years after it was started, was hailed as one of the four principal builders of the firm by Copithorne.

Copithorne is a 1975 Harvard graduate. Webster and Moore both worked at the Haverhill, Mass., Gazette in the early 1980s. Copithorne said both plan to continue their careers.

Called "Heart and Soul" of C&B

Copithorne, in a two-page memo on the departure of Moore and Webster, said they are "not only two great personal friends, but the heart and soul of C&B. They will remain the inspiration for what the new PN Convergence Group could and should become."

The memo said C&B created a unique brand and reputation for quality service based on the mantra of "senior people doing hands-on work."

It was the "C&B philosophy, style, and work ethic that Rich and Mel–more than anyone else–created and drove year after year, personally, passionately and relentlessly, throughout our organization," said the memo. "Rich called this formula for success our 'genetic code'"...

Copithorne noted that in 1999, C&B's last year before its absorption into PN, the Thomas Harris survey of PR clients named C&B as "Number One in quality among all PR firms worldwide."

C&B also appeared on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing privately held companies, on the lists of the largest high-tech specialist PR firms, and on the lists of the 20 largest PR firms of any kind.

Moore and Webster supported and "drove" the merger of C&B into the Convergence Group, said Copithorne. Webster "hatched" the plan with Copithorne and it was proposed to PN CEO Bob Druckenmiller, the memo said. "We owe Rich and Mel a big debt of gratitude," the memo said.

"Just as Bill Hewlett and David Packard invented the immortal 'HP Way,' we have Mel and Rich to thank for the 'C&B Way,'" wrote Copithorne.


The $300K National Dialogue on Cancer account is being pitched by Porter Novelli, Fleishman-Hillard, Hill and Knowlton, Hager Sharp, Schechter and Assocs., and Widmeyer Baker/Chlopak, Leonard.

The $25,000-a-month account was pulled from Shandwick after the American Cancer Society found the firm was also working for R.J. Reynolds, said Greg Donaldson of the ACS. NDC is 140 groups that want to start a national discussion of cancer.

EgyptAir named Hill and Knowlton for media relations related to the crash of Flight 990 last October off the coast of Nantucket. All 217 passengers were killed. There were indications  the crash was caused by a suicidal co-pilot but EgyptAir has denied this...Jeff Zilka, head of financial PR at H&K/Chicago, to client Archipelago as CCO. It has SEC approval as an electronic network and has linked with the Pacific Exchange to provide an electronic stock market...Tyumen Oil, whose $500 million in U.S. loan guarantees have been blocked by the State Dept. to protest Russian military action in Chechyna, named Fleishman-Hillard for $25K monthly...Magazine Publishers of America named Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, lobbyist, and Dittus Communications, PR firm. MPA has budgeted $10 million to fight the proposed 15% rate increase for periodicals and to seek reform of the postal system...Farmers Insurance, the object of civil and criminal charges brought by PR executive Melinda Ballard of Dripping Springs, Texas, named Hillco & Partners, Austin, lobbying and government relations firm, as a consultant. The local press has been covering stories related to dangerous mold growth. Ballard charges that Farmers failed to correct fungus problems in her home...Hoover's Online: The Business Network named Middleberg + Assocs. for PR. Hoover CEO Patrick Spain noted the firm has extensive online experience...Greg Spector, president, GCI Group/San Francisco, to Blanc & Otus, part of Hill and Knowlton, as SVP/GM, S.F. Spector's background includes five years as bureau chief, PC Week...Bob Seltzer, president and CEO of Ogilvy PR Worldwide, named chairman and CEO. The firm has doubled in size in two years. The president's post remains open.

Internet Edition, April 5, 2000, Page 2


Stephen Miller, assistant technology editor of the New York Times, resents PR pros who view the press as "an enemy to be held at bay."

Miller appeared at the first of Bogen PR's series, "Crisis Communications for Internet Companies," held at New York's Bryant Park Grill. Michael Klepper, chairman of Klepper Assocs., New York; Mitch Baranowski, VP of corporate communications at aviationX; and Mike Dunne, director of PR at Datek Holdings Corp., also spoke. Edmund Bogen moderated the event, which had an attendance of 250, mostly PR people.

"We're not out to damage any company," Miller said, "but honesty is still the best policy. I expect a PR person to put some degree of spin on any story, but you don't put the best face on stuff by lying about it."

Miller added that hearing "no comment" from a PR person is like hearing, "We're guilty."

Miller also recommended building relationships with reporters to establish trust.

"I am constantly getting calls from PR people who don't know what I do," he said. "Get to know the press in advance of a crisis."

Baranowski said one misperception of crises is that they last 12 hours.

"There are two types of crises," he said. "The smoldering and the sudden. Both can change a company forever."


Major stories broke in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times March 30 saying that Tiger Management, which sued Business Week for $1 billion in 1997 over a cover story, may close.

Founder Julian Robertson, 67, had $23 billion under management in 1998 but this is now about $6B.

Fraser Seitel, sole spokesperson for Tiger, announced March 30 that Tiger would close after distributing remaining funds to investors.

Seitel is editor of PRSA’s PR Strategist and author of one of PR’s leading textbooks, "The Practice of PR."

Stories in the financial press said Robertson failed to invest in the high-flying high-tech stocks.

Robertson’s style was to look for bargains in the stock market. High-tech stocks, which seemed over-valued, were avoided.

Robertson’s investing style "is the opposite of what is working in today’s tech-stock-crazed market," said the Wall Street Journal.

Tiger has been gradually selling off stock in recent weeks so as not to upset the markets.

Miffed at an April 1, 1996 Business Week cover story that questioned his ability and portrayed him as having a hot temper and a mania for control, Robertson sued BW in April 1997 for $1 billion (proving he had a "hot" temper, said some critics).

The BW story was headlined: "The Fall of the Wizard of Wall Street."

The suit was settled in December of that year with BW printing an explanation related to the story but not an all-out apology.

Tiger had a 25% return rate over a period of 20 years, Seitel noted.


Counselor Susie Marino said the article in the April issue of Harper’s Bazaar, which described PR women in Silicon Valley as "gold diggers," was unfair and untrue.

She and her sister, Marianna, who were described in the article as "PR bunnies," have co-owned Marino & Assocs., San Francisco, since 1994.

Chris Nolan, who covers the technology beat for The New York Post, said the "PR crowd—almost uniformly female and uniformly young—is up in arms over what they think is an inaccurate and unfair portrayal."

One publicist is conducting a poll that asks for suggestions for various means of retaliation against the writer of the article, Nancy Jo Sales.

The publicist suggested that Brill’s Content do a story on the magazine’s reporting methods.

Marino had more than eight years experience in high tech PR before founding M&A. She received a degree in communications studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

The firm specializes in Internet PR and organizing parties and events for clients. Susie said less than 15% of her time is spent on party work.

The agency’s clients range from Hewlett-Packard to start-ups in the Internet messaging, music, health and interactive TV arenas.

Correction: O’Dwyer’s NL quoted Marino as saying "women show up in what the PR girls call ‘boob dresses.’ They get on the circuit and start working the geeky Internet guys."

The remark should have been attributed to Sales.


Warner-Lambert voluntarily pulled its Rezulin diabetes treatment off the market because a barrage of negative stories linked it to liver damage, and in some cases death, according to Jason Ford, super- visor of media relations for W-L.

Ford says W-L still believes Rezulin's benefits far exceed any risks. It decided to stop marketing the drug to prevent confusion among doctors and consumers.

W-L will spend $100 million to remove Rezulin from the market and to write off its inventory.

More than 1.5 million patients have used the drug since it was approved by the FDA in 1997. The drug has been linked to 63 deaths.

Rezulin has generated more than $1.7 billion in sales for W-L's Parke-Davis unit.

The FDA recommends that patients should not discontinue using Rezulin until they consult with their doctors.

SmithKline Beecham, whose Avandia competes with Rezulin, launched a national ad campaign this week to position its drug as an alternative to the W-L offering.

WPP Group's CommonHealth unit handles the Avandia campaign.

Internet Edition, April 5, 2000, Page 3


Kinsey Wilson was named editor-in-chief of

Wilson was formerly editor of daily news at Congressional Quarterly.

He will be responsible for editorial content on the website, which has nearly 15 million unique monthly users, according to the publisher.


Nominations are being accepted for CFO magazine's 2000 CFO Excellence Awards.

The awards are sponsored by the magazine and Arthur Andersen, the consulting firm.

Mary Driscoll, editorial director of CFO Enterprises, New York. said the awards offer public companies and private companies with revenues of over $500 million the opportunity to bring a new level of visibility and recognition to their finance teams.

The winners will be profiled extensively in the October issue.

Applications for one or more of 12 categories are due on May 15.

Application forms are in the February, March and April issues of CFO magazine.

Nomination forms are also available by calling Alexandra Ballantine, CFO director of operations, at 914/279-5808.

MEDIA BRIEFS ________________________

William F. Gloede was elevated from editor of Mediaweek to group editor of Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek magazines.

Keith Dunnavant is now editor of Adweek Magazines' special reports/Mediaweek Features; Michael Burgi was named managing editor, and James Cooper was appointed news editor.

Kathryn Dennis was named executive editor of MC, Adweek Magazines' monthly computer publication.

Patricia Orsini is editor of IQ, the interactive supplement of Adweek Magazines, and Kipp Cheng was named news editor.

John Brecher has resigned as Page One editor of The Wall Street Journal to write a wine column with his wife Dorothy Gaiter.

Anne Kilpatrick is the newdirector of photography for Teen People magazine, and Christine Duvulo was named photo editor of Teen People Online.

Joseph Steuer, previously a reporter for The Hollywood Reporter and Women's Wear Daily, is now executive editor of Interview magazine.

Katherine Boo of The Washington Post, Sam Roe of The Toledo Blade and Willy Stern of The Nashville Scene were awarded 1999 medals by the Investigative Reporters and Editors for their investigative work.

Alberto Oliva, previously U.S. bureau chief of Editorial Atlantida, an Argentine magazine publisher of nine weekly publications, has joined People En Espanol as associate editor. He will oversee the editing of primary features for the magazine.

Lisa Napoli, who is the Internet correspondent for, said a publicist pitched her a story about a new print version of, asked her to recommend former colleagues at The New York Times, who might be interested in the story, and then a few hours later asked her to hold the story to let The Wall Street Journal have an exclusive.

"It surprised me that the caller was so brazen and careless with his tidbit of information, and didn't stop to think that his request might be insulting," said Napoli.

"Not really seeing the Journal and the Times as competition to my job here on TV and on the Web, and feeling sorry for the begging man on the other end of the phone, I said "okay," said Napoli, who did not identify the publicist.

But Napoli changed her mind after she saw the new magazine, called Nerve, was being promoted on the company's website.

Her story ran March 31, three days before The Journal's report.

Her story also discloses dropped its PR agency, RLM PR, and started its own in-house agency in February. "They claimed they were doing so, according to one report, because of 'frustrating' experiences with firms," said Napoli. The publicist, who asked her to hold her story, was hired away from RLM to head the new PR department, according to Napoli, who said RLM's managing director said the publicist had just five month's experience.

Veteran PR pro and author Leonard Saffir is CEO of, a website for consumers that will feature an array of celebrity news and merchandise.

Saffir said the Boca Raton-based site, which is scheduled to be launched in May, will be packed with the latest news, information and profiles about CDs, DVDs, videos and licensed merchandise linked to the stars of films, TV, Broadway, music and sports.

Saffir said the three major stockholders in CelebrityStores are: e-Integrators, Beber/Silverstein & Ptrs., a Miami-based ad agency, which also owns JGR PR, and Plexus Interactive, also based in Miami.

The editorial content will be supplied by Streaming Media, a company which resells stories from more than 500 media outlets, ranging from The Associated Press to Rolling Stone to The New York Times and USA Today.

Editorial offices will be located at 3020 North Military trail.  Saffir is currently interviewing for an editor and other news staffers.  The company is currently at 1515 S. Federal highway in Boca Raton. 561/479-2969.

The company also has an agreement with Celebrity Sources, Los Angeles, to provide celebrities and handle licensing of merchandise, ranging from T-shirts and caps to high priced collectibles, Saffir said.

Tilson Communications, an 11-year-old PR firm in Boca Raton, is handling publicity for the new website. Tilson is also a stockholder of the company.

Saffir, who was executive VP of Porter Novelli from 1984 through 1990, is the author of "Power PR," and a new book, called "Power PR: How to Master the New PR," which was published in February by NTC Business Books.

The book includes case histories of recent White House scandals, Philip Morris and MasterCard, illustrating the scope, pervasiveness, and power of PR.

It also contains information on crisis management, the influence of PR in political campaigning, evaluating the success of a PR program, the advantages of PR over advertising, and more.

Since moving to Florida, Saffir has been an independent consultant to various clients for PR, marketing, fund-raising and financial projects.

James Cramer, the hedge fund manager who co-founded, which is up for sale, is glad to be back at New York magazine as its "Bottom Line" columnist.

Cramer, who left four years ago, says that E-zines cannot hold a candle to the old media.

"I like to be read by my peers on Wall Street, and I like to be read by the people where I's driving me nuts I lost those great audiences..." he says in an editor's note in his first column since returning.


Three U.S. newspapers--The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times--made the top 10 list of "elite dailies" in a new study published in the IPI Report, a quarterly journalism magazine.

The study was conducted by John C. Merrill, who is professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Here are the 1999 top 10:

1. The New York Times (U.S.A.); 2. Neue Zuercher Zeitung (Switzerland); The Washington Post (U.S.A.); The Independent (U.K.); Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Ger.); 6. Le Monde (Fra.); Asahi Shimbun (Japan); The Los Angeles Times (U.S.A.); Frankfurter Allegemeine (Ger.), and 10. El Pais (Spain).

In a similar study conducted by Merrill in 1968, The New York Times and Neue Zuercher Zeitung also were ranked number 1 and 2.

Merrill based his findings on the opinions of the leaders in business, politics, education, theology, science and the arts with whom he spoke and who completed his questionnaires.

Merrill, who defines a "global-elite daily" as international in its major thrust, said readers of these papers have more interest in foreign affairs, global business, the sciences, arts and humanities than do the audience members of more localized, mass-appeal papers.


Automobile, a monthly magazine, will review new car accessories, such as driving shoes, seat covers, radar detectors, and tires in a new section.

"We will actually try out new products and pass along our unvarnished opinions, dishing out the dirt as we see it," said Jean Jennings, who was recently promoted to editor-in-chief of Automobile (

The two-page section, which is called "In Gear," is edited by new associate editor Joseph E. DeMatio, who had been the magazine's senior copy editor.

The first section, which appears in the May issue, was written by Monte Doran, who is the magazine's road test coordinator.

Doran gives favorable reviews to all six products featured in the section.


Daniel Peres, 28, was named editor of Details, replacing Mark Golin.

The fashion magazine for young males, which has been closed, will become a supplement to DNR, a daily trade paper that covers the men's fashion industry.

Peres has been European editor of W magazine, which is also published by Fairchild Publications.


An Internet news release distribution service, called, has been started by Durazo Communications, a Los Angeles-based PR firm, and Electronic Media Communications, an Internet and broadcast PR production and distribution company based in Irvine, Calif.

The new service will distribute news releases to hundreds of U.S. Hispanic-targeted media and thousands of Hispanic opinion leaders working in business, non-profits, government and academia.

A recent survey of approximately 500 Hispanic-targeted media outlets found strong demand for news releases distributed via the Internet.

Of nearly 100 survey responses received, 84% of Hispanic journalists use the Internet while working, and 80% use E-mail.

Queried on how they prefer to get news releases, the top choice was E-mail (57%), followed by fax (52%) and U.S. mail (50%).

The survey was conducted last February by Durazo, which specializes in the U.S. Hispanic market.

Dan Durazo, executive VP, said will accept releases in English and Spanish, and editors will produce a Spanish-language summary, or "newsbyte," for every English language release at no additional cost.

Patrick Pharris, president/CEO of EMC, said NoticiasWire is "truly unique" in that it is the only bilingual press release distribution system that can deliver the story in an integrated form to Hispanic media immediately and interactively.


James Surowiecki has joined The New Yorker as a staff writer to contribute a weekly business columnm as well as some longer pieces for the magazine.

The new "Financial Page" made its debut in the April 3 number.

Surowiecki was previously at Slate, where he wrote the "Moneybox" column. He was also a contributing editor at Fortune and a staff writer at Talk magazine.

New Yorker Gets Finance Page
The April 3 issue of The New Yorker features the new "Financial Page" plus a report on MicroStrategy's Michael Saylor who lost billions of dollars in a single day last week when the Securities and Exchange Commission forced the company to revise its accounting practices.

Previously, he was the business columnist for New York magazine. He also has contributed to The Wall Street Journal, Wired, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post and Linqua Franca, where he has written on subjects ranging from Silicon Valley, college basketball and the publishing business.

Surowiecki, who lives in Brooklyn, will write about business affairs each week.

His first piece is a report on UPN, a national TV network that has lost more than $800 million since it was started five years ago by Chris-Craft and Viacom.

Last week, Chris-Craft rejected Viacom's offer to either buy or sell its half interest.

Surowiecki uses UPN as an example to show that more often than not, companies and divisions are kept afloat long after they've stopped creating value.

"Plenty of businesses exist only--well, because they exist. Call it the allure of persistence," said Surowiecki.

The issue also features a profile of Michael Saylor, the 35-year-old CEO of MicroStrategy, who recently lost $6 billion in one day after the SEC forced him to adhere to more conservative accounting practices.

A week before his company crashed, Saylor had pledged a $100 million to start an Internet university that would offer free tuition by means of videotaped lectures.


James Cramer is returning to New York magazine to write the weekly "The Bottom Line" financial column.

Cramer was writing the column when he left the magazine in August 1996 after Kurt Andersen was let go as editor.

Cramer will give up his column in Time magazine.

Internet Edition, April 5, 2000, Page 4


Several financial services companies have begun experimenting with daily webcasts.

The new programs, which resemble newscasts, feature the companies' own analysts reporting on market trends and recommending stocks.

Financial reporter Anthony DePalma says in the March 27th New York Times that the webcasts "stand to further blur the line between financial service companies and the traditional media."

For years, the big brokerage firms have sent TV stations recorded interviews with analysts and video news packages featuring the firms' big clients.

"The self-generated webcasts also raise questions about maintaining objectivity, when the primary purpose of the information being given is to attract clients and sell service," said DePalma.

Since last March, Merrill Lynch has put out two daily menus, one on its general Internet site ( for casual browsers and another just for clients.

The daily webcast on the company's general Internet site is available starting at 11 a.m. each day the stock market is open.

Viewers can obtain reports on what the firm's analysts think about individual stocks in the featured industry by linking to the client site,, which includes what is called the Global Investor Network.

Once there, they have access to the complete webcast.

Fred Yager, a former reporter and TV producer, is director of Merrill Lynch global broadcasting service, and Bob Plunkett, a former reporter for the Fox TV network, who runs his own company, handles production.

Other firms planning to start webcasts include Goldman Sachs, PaineWebber, and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, according to The New York Times.

Bear, Stearns, which uses streaming video to take the place of the investor roadshows, is discussing a deal with CNBC to use the firm's website to rebroadcast interviews done with its analysts after they appear on TV.

The company may also revamp its website to include its own daily webcast and other services.


Guy Trebay, a senior editor and editorial writer at the Village Voice, is joining The New York Times as a fashion writer.

Trebay, who will succeed Anne Marie Schiro, will write fashion features and cover shows in New York and Europe.

Trip Gabriel, who is fashion news editor, said Ruth LaFeria, who is a former men's style editor at The New York Times Magazine, is rejoining the magazine.

LaFeria had been freelancing at various publications.


CNBC's new weekly series, "Market Week with Maria Bartiromo," will make its debut March 31.

The half-hour show, which will broadcast live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, will expand Bartiromo's daily financial segment on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

The program will feature an in-depth report on events poised to affect the following week's market, a newsmaker interview, a company profile and discussions with Wall Street analysts.

The program will air at 4 p.m. each Friday and be repeated over the weekend.


TransWorld Stance, a new magazine aimed at teenage boys, has been launched by Times Mirror.

The 100,000 circulation monthly will focus on the culture surrounding "emerging" sports such as skateboarding and snowboarding.

The first issue also has articles about clothes, custom cars, electronic gadgets and European women.

Fran Richards, 36, is editorial director, and the only editorial staffer over age 30.

Men’s Health is also coming out with a new bimonthly magazine for teenagers in September, called MH-17.

The magazine, which will offer fitness tips, will also have articles about sports, fashion, gear, life and relationships.

The initial circulation is set at 300,000.


The first issue of the New York Financial Writers' Assn. newsletter has been sent to members.

Called Financial Writers’ Update, the eight-page newsletter is edited by John Fulton of Bridge News and Brad Finkelstein of National Mortgage News.

The first issue features a lead story report on Dan Bases' plans for the future and a report on the executive secretary's retirement.

The letter also devotes a full column to a new book by Diana Henriques, and it carries an item that Tom Mariam, who is media relations manager for Booz-Allen & Hamilton, got engaged to Alyce Appleman at last year’s Financial Follies; Judy Glass has moved to New York, and SportsBusiness Journal has openings for two reporting positions in Charlotte, N.C.   

The editors want to get E-mail submissions only.  The addresses are: [email protected] and [email protected].


Kevin Maney, a technology columnist and reporter at USA Today, has won the 1999 Award for Excellence in Technology Journalism sponsored by PRSA’s technology section.

Maney, 40, won for his story "Behind the PC," which focused on advances in quantum computing and was published on July 14, 1999 in USA Today.  His entry was one of 291.

The tech columnist, who joined the paper in 1985, has been a reporter at Westchester-Rockland Newspapers, The Binghamton (N.Y.) Press and The Courier-Ness in Bridgewater, N.J.

PlanetOut, an Internet website for homosexuals, will buy Liberation Publications, a gay-oriented publisher. The sale includes The Advocate, which publishes every other week.

PEOPLE _________________________________

John Hackett was named managing editor of Mortgage Technology magazine.

Reggie Harris, 46, a reporter and anchor at WWOR-TV in Secaucus, N.J., died March 27 while exercising at home.

Dave Seanor was named editorial director of Golfweek, Orlando, and Jeff Barineau becomes editor.

Barbara Fairchild, executive editor of Bon Appetit magazine and Jeffrey Steingarten, food columnist for Vogue magazine, will be inducted into D’Artagnan Cervena Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America at the 10th Annual James Beard Foundation Awards, May 8, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Shirley Scheibla, 80, who was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and Washington, D.C., editor for Barron's magazine, died March 18.

Patrice Sikora has succeeded Sal Giangrasso as managing editor of Dow Jones radio news.

David Kleinhard, who was previously senior editor at Information Week's Washington, D.C., bureau, has joined, in New York, as technology section producer.

Edward Kosner, 62, has replaced Debby Krenek, 44, as editor of The New York Daily News.  Kosner had been Sunday editor.

Bethany McLean and Jerry Useem were promoted to senior writers at Fortune.

McLean writes feature stories and contributes to both "Fortune Investor" and the "First" section.

Useem continues to cover management and e-business issues, and also contributes to eCompany Now and FSB: Fortune Small Business.

Michael Short, 59, previously Boston bureau chief for The Associated Press, has joined Boston-based TelcomNet’s online publishing division as executive editor.


Dennis Kneale, 42, was appointed managing editor of Forbes. He was one of two executive editors of the publication and will replace Lewis D’Vorkin, who left to join America Online as VP.

Kneale, a former senior editor at The Wall Street Journal, joined Forbes in Nov. 1998.

MEDIA BRIEFS ____________________________

Senior Media Directory 2000 shows there are 1,258 newspapers, magazines, radio and TV programs, plus other media, with editorial content devoted solely at 50 and older Americans.

The directory is published by Don Picard, who runs Creative Ink, Burnsville, Minn.  612/894-6720.

CNN Interactive, the online unit of Time Warner’s Cable News Network news channel, has formed a content-sharing alliance with The Los Angeles Times, a unit of Times Mirror.

CNN Interactive, Atlanta, will provide video-on-demand reports to the website of the LAT, and in return, the paper will offer election and political coverage to CNN’s site.

The National Star’s business and editorial offices have been relocated from Tarrytown, N.Y., to Boca Raton, which is also the headquarters for American Media’s other two papers, The Globe and The National Enquirer.

The weekly Star will keep its New York bureau open.

Internet Edition, April 5, 2000, Page 7


The Saatchi and Saatchi 1999 Super Bowl commercial for Just For Feet that showed militarists chasing a black man in Kenya, drugging him and putting sneakers on him, had a "very, very negative impact on the company," Karl Friedman, of the law firm of Sirote & Permutt, Birmingham, Ala., told this NL.

Just For Feet
Just For Feet, although its assets are being auctioned off, still has an active website at It once was one of the largest shoe retailers with $775 million in sales and was dubbed the sixth fastest growing company by Fortune in 1997.

However, he said the "Kenya" commercial, as it came to be known, was not the only reason the company went into bankruptcy last year.

JFF, based in Birmingham, had more than 200 stores and sales of $693 million for the first three quarters of 1999.

It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Nov. 4, 1999. Its auditor, Deloitte & Touche, resigned and JFF's stock ceased trading on Nasdaq Jan. 7, 2000.

Lawsuits were filed against JFF in Alabama charging insider trading, breach of fiduciary duty, common law fraud, and deceit. The charges were denied by JFF. In addition, The Alabama Securities Commission told JFF it had started a probe.

An auction of JFF's assets started in Jan. 2000.

S&S, JFF Sue Each Other

S&S sued JFF for $3.1 million when the client refused to pay for the ad and JFF sued S&S for $10M, claiming the ad, viewed by an estimated 127 million people, exposed the company to charges of racism, implied it "promotes drugs," and was "muddled," "confusing," and " the media and the ad industry."

CEO Harold Ruttenberg, who said he got a "deluge" of comments on the ad, told online magazine Salon May 28, 1999 that total costs were nearly $7M, including $1.7M for the media buy, $3M to hire Saatchi & Saatchi Business Communications of Rochester (now part of Rowland Communications Worldwide), and $2M for newspaper ads in all of its markets to alert shoppers to the third quarter ad (which ran in the fourth quarter of the game). Product worth $1M was given away.

The JFF suit, now on hold because of the bankruptcy, said Friedman, charges Ruttenberg was dominated by the hard-selling team at S&SBC.

Ruttenberg told Salon that JFF executives were "flabbergasted" and "kind of horrified" when the TV spot was first shown to JFF in Birmingham.

"But S&S assured us this was the best thing they had ever done," Ruttenberg is quoted as telling Salon. "We didn*t want anything controversial... we*re a family-oriented company," he  told the magazine. But S&SBC insisted on having its way, said Ruttenberg. "We said `no.* They said 'yes.' They said they knew better. And we are prepared to say that under oath," he told Salon ( ).

S&S, Rowland Discussed on Yahoo

S&S, Rowland and client DuPont became the subject of postings on the Yahoo Finance message board last week.

An author identified as "addude us" claimed that Kurt Landgraf, CEO of DuPont Pharmaceuticals, had employed three of his children at DuPont and that Mark Landgraf, a son of Kurt, was given a job at Rowland two months before Rowland got the ad/PR account of DuPont Pharmaceutical for what Rowland announced was $100 million in billings (about $15M in commissions). "addude us" claimed Mark Landgraf quit after two months. Rowland said Landgraf worked last summer for several months after Rowland got the account. The source also posted critical remarks about S&S and some of its executives.

Calls to the former S&SBC in Rochester were referred to Mark Weiss, CEO of RCW, New York.

Rowland confirmed that Craig Wood, who was named COO of S&S Rowland last May, has left the S&S network. He was previously EVP of Rowland Co. and before that with S&SBC. Rowland, at press time, was attempting to find out where he is.

Mark Weiss
Mark Weiss, CEO of RCW

A current account list of S&S Rowland was being sought. The Rochester agency handles professional cameras for Kodak, which appears to be in conflict with Rowland*s Canon account in New York. Rowland said both clients feel there is no conflict. Asked about a reported legal dispute involving healthcare specialist Julie Wang, who left Rowland last July, a Rowland executive said he would not comment on it.

Since the S&S Rowland unit in Rochester did little, if any, corporate advertising, more than $15M in commissions from such ads came from offices in the Rowland network, most of them abroad. By counting such ads and other income, RCW was able to report a 53% jump in fees to $49.7M for 1999. Copies of the corporate and issue ads are being sought.


Patrick Jackson, 1980 president of PRSA who co-headed the task force on the future of PR that became the five-year planning committee of PRSA, said he favors "open" nominations of PRSA directors and officers in which candidates would be known to the general membership and could seek support from members.

Pat Jackson
Pat Jackson

That was the procedure until five years ago when the nominating process went "in-house," he said. Jackson led a move two years ago to expand the nominating committee and bring about change.

Last year's committee of 20 recommended dropping two officers from the board.

The task force on the future of PR recommended decoupling accreditation and office-holding and the five-year planning committee adopted this.

Jack Felton, who heads a task force studying the nominating process, is collecting member comments but is not yet ready to reveal any.

Steve Pisinski, PRSA chair, said he will reveal the members of the committee when it is complete.

Jack Felton
Jack Felton

He said the Society will post complete audited financials in a few days. Pisinski said he favors discussion of decoupling at the next Assembly.

Internet Edition, April 5, 2000, Page 8

The hard-selling ad culture is on display in lawsuits between Saatchi & Saatchi and Just For Feet and in a piece in online magazine Salon.

JFF CEO Harold Ruttenberg was "flabbergasted" and "horrified" by the concept of a black being hunted down in Africa (the theme of a Super Bowl commercial created by S&S for JFF). Heated arguments went on with the S&S creative team in Rochester, which insisted it "knew better," said Ruttenberg.

The agency won out and the ad ran in front of an audience of 127 million. Media coverage of the ensuing controversy blanketed the nation.

JFF's first foray into national advertising was a disaster and played a possible role in its bankruptcy (although other major factors were present).

Lamont Jones of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asked why the finished commercial was not "run by a culturally diverse focus group?"

The Adweek Directory listed "PR" as among the services offered by the Rochester office, with $4.7M of capitalized income attributed to PR, research and newsletters in 1997.

Were these PR staffers silent? Was their opinion sought? The Rochester office also had gobs of PR expertise available via sister company Rowland.

Anne Hayden, who became CEO of the office after the three other top executives left it, told the Rochester Business Journal May 21, 1999, in a story about S&S/Rochester becoming part of Rowland Communications Worldwide, that this was a good thing since the agency lacked PR capabilities. Maybe what she meant was PR people that the ad people would listen to.

We think that whatever PR people were around were no match for the hard-driving ad people.

Plenty of material is available on S&S/Rochester from Internet and Nexis sources. One trade story from 1998, based on an interview with Hayden, says the office had just won the $25M DuPont Lycra global account and an $8M project for footwear retailer Just For Feet. The story says: "The retailer may award the agency another $22M in billings after the first quarter" (of 1999).

Saatchi & Saatchi is not commenting on the suit to the press but S&S comments are in court documents and have been quoted liberally by Salon. When JFF argues that S&S is guilty of "appallingly unacceptable and shockingly unprofessional performance," S&S responds that "The imposition of a punitive damage award in the absence of explicit, particularized guidelines and standards is highly unfair." Salon comments: "Saatchi's defense appears to be that it can't be sued for violating professional standards in a field that has none."

The JFF commercial was far from the only ad in the 1999 Super Bowl that was in questionable taste. New York Times ad columnist Stuart Elliott, reviewing the 51 spots, said "many" were dominated by "sophomoric slapstick, toilet talk and gratuitous sex and violence." Females were either a "scantily clad sexpot, demure mother or dowdy great-aunt."

Elliott felt the movie, "Something About Mary," had made a big impression on the creators of these ads.

Since there is a big push on now for integrating PR with advertising, we think PR pros should study the advertising culture. PR pros are going to have to fight hard to get their voices heard. Integrated marketing can mean the elimination of PR.

New York Times high tech writer Stephen Miller is annoyed at PR people who view the press "as an enemy to be held at bay" He's had his fill of "no comments" and interprets this to mean that the firm is "guilty." Miller says he*s not out to "damage any company."

Unless a longterm view is taken, a reporter calling on a negative story about a company is viewed as a threat to that company. The marketing, sales and ad departments don't like airing of all the facts in a negative situation. In fact, they don't like reporters "poking around" their companies on general fishing expeditions. The PR pro will have to fight to get out the facts and point out that longterm relationships with the press and public are important.

Some companies and associations have eliminated the PR function or keep the job unfilled. They give no help to reporters in either positive or negative situations (to be evenhanded) and rely on advertising and their trade associations to do any "communicating."

Some pointed comments about Saatchi & Saatchi, Rowland and DuPont have been posted on the Yahoo message board. Meanwhile, a story in the 4/1 New York Times noted that U.K. message board Demon Internet has agreed to pay $25,000 to a physicist who says he was libeled on the board. The story said the U.S. has stronger freedom of speech laws but that Internet providers should be concerned. U.K. lawyer Mark Stephens said the "rich and powerful" can use lawsuits to choke off free-wheeling commentary on the web.



Copyright © 1998-2020 J.R. O'Dwyer Company, Inc.
271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471