Edition, April 19, 2000, Page 1
GROUP BUYS SARD VERBINNEN
Group, which owns Citigate Dewe Rogerson, is acquiring Sard
Verbinnen & Co., a New York corporate and financial
PR company specializing in crisis communications and M&A
communications. Incepta will pay $58 million in initial
consideration for the firm.
was founded in 1992 by former Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart
executives George Sard and Paul Verbinnen. Last year
it earned a reported $13.8 millio in fees with such clients
as Sunbeam, Symbol Technologies, Northwest Airlines and
million price tage is unusual, considering Young & Rubicam
paid $30 million for rival firm Robinson Lerer Montgomery.
One factor is that SV has been involved in over 200 mergers
and acquisitions, including Pfizer and American Home Products'
battle for Warner Lambert, General Dynamics' acquisition
of Gulfstream Aerospace and Allied Signal's acquisition
of Honeywell International.
consideration is payable in shares depending on future financial
performance of SV over the period to Feb. 2005. The
further consideration will be up to a maximum of $92 million
in ordinary shares of Incepta, creating a potential toal
of $150 million.
element of the transaction was met by a vendor placing of
15,880,969 ordinary shares in Incepta. In addition,
Incepta has placed 16,551,900 shares at the same price.
CEO of Incepta, expects the deal to be "earnings enhancing"
within a year.
Sard, chairman/CEO of SV, said the transaction represents
"a unique opportunity to join a growing organization
that shares our values and goals."
and TekInsight.com have appointed Edelman PR Worldwide as
and TekInsight join other Edelman technology clients including
Expedia, Ericsson, VenSign and Autonomy.
will handle the launch of kinkos.com this summer.
The web-based service, which is based in Alexandria, Va.,
will allow customers to customize business cards, resumes,
Ross, CEO of TekInsight.com, said the firm uses new streaming
XML technology to help clients manage real time Internet
TAPS SHANDWICK FOR FRIDGE ACCOUNT
Electric tapped Shandwick International for the GE Refrigeration
2001 account. BSMG Worldwide and Burson-Marsteller also
tried for the account, said to be worth between $500,000
and $1 million.
2001 is the GE's biggest product launch since 1996.
has managed major trade shows, analyst meetings and events
for GE appliances in the last 18 months, helping with the
national launch of the Advantium speed cook oven, as well
as the Triton dishwasher and the Monogram line of home products.
Account manager Greg Mauldin will head the account from
Shandwick's Louisville office.
LEAVES B-M TO HEAD PR AT AMG
Burns, who was head of Burson-Marsteller's Los Angeles office,
has joined AMG, as head of PR.
is the first PR pro hired by the company, which was opened
16 months ago by Michael Ovitz.
Wilkes, a Sony Pictures Entertainment publicity veteran,
also was hired to handle press relations on a consultancy
basis for AMG.
DEAL WITH NFO COULD BUST
attempt at its biggest merger ever (a $600 million deal
for the NFO research firm exceeded only by its $240 million
purchase of Shandwick in 1998), could be cancelled because
of the declining stock price of the ad/PR conglomerate.
Worldwide, a conglomerate itself of dozens of research companies
that lost $6.2M in 1999 on sales of $457M, has the right
to pull out if IPG's stock dips below $44. It was
$39 on April 17.
declining price means that NFO shareholders would get less
than $26 a share for their 22.3M shares and outstanding
options for 1.7M shares. NFO traded at $21 on April
company (possibly WPP Group) recently bid $27.50 a share
but this was rejected by NFO. NFO, founded in Toledo
and where 900 of its employees are based, was owned by publisher
Robert Maxwell from 1988-91. He sold it back to NFO
executives for $37M.
was to pay as much as $624 million for NFO, which had a
profit of $14.5M on sales of (continued on page 7)
Edition, April 19, 2000, Page 2
EXAMINES DECLINE OF REPORTING
examine the crumbling state of news reporting in "The
Business of Journalism: Ten Leading Reporters and Editors
on the Perils and Pitfalls of the Press (The New Press;
New York Times correspondent, Sidney Schanberg, for example,
laments the retreat from old standards that respected privacy,
avoided anonymous sources, and took responsibility for the
accuracy of what was printed or aired.
Dugger, founding editor of the Texas Observer, outlines
how corporate control of the media has undermined journalistic
independence, while Pat and Tom Gish share their experiences
as owners and editors of a smalltown paper that has been
boycotted, threatened, and even torched because of their
insistence to report more than just "happy news."
is a daily reality for most news organizations. E.R.
Shipp, ombudsman for The Washington Post, take readers inside
the newsroom to witness how important stories are ignored
because of reporters ambitions, internal politics,
or one editors personal definition of what is news.
James Warren admits that after taking the reins of The Chicago
Tribunes Washington, D.C., bureau, he was given an
instant education in how some members of the Washington
press corps choose their stories based on the pressures
of competition, alliances with top politicians or special
interests, or the desire to become journalistic celebrities
leaving many important stories unreported, or under
president of the National Assn. of Black Journalists Vanessa
Williams speaks of the importance of integrating the newsroom
if we hope to report the stories that really matter to a
publisher of Mother Jones, offers a glimpse into the business
realities behind reporting the news, explaining how the
important facts behind many stories are frequently swept
under the carpet by the media-conglomerate news outlets.
was edited by William Serrin, an associate professor at
NYUs school of journalism and a former reporter for
The New York Times.
DRESS MAY NOT SUIT PR PROS
who is PR manager at AT&T, Basking Ridge, N.J., said
a corporate casual dress policy may be unsuitable for PR
went from dress-down Fridays to dress-down every day.
human nature to push the edge and see what we can get away
with, Stinson told The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.
kind of come as you are, or come as you want," Stinson
told the paper, which noted other large firms, such as Morgan
Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, J.P, Morgan, and
Cadwalader Wickersham and Taft, a New York-based law firm,
have also relaxed their policies to allow employees to dress
casually every work day.
early days of AT&Ts corporate casual policy, Stinson
said he was working for the day in New York, wearing khaki
colored jeans, clogs, a blousy shirt and beads when a story
broke and a camera crew called to say they were coming for
ran to The Gap and bought a shirt and tie. When the
crew arrived, he asked if what he was wearing was okay.
They told him they wanted something more businesslike,
so he borrowed an Armani sport coat from a colleague.
president/CEO of Neema Clothing, a tailored menswear company,
who is a member of the Dress-Up Thursday steering committee,
said his group plans to commission a study on whether casual
dress hurts corporate productivity and increases flirting
in the office.
EXECS QUIT SCREEN ACTORS GUILD
Moore, SAG national director of communications; Jane Wallace,
New York PR director; Catherine York, national director
of government relations, and Rafe Greenlee, PR program director
have left the 97,000+ Screen Actors Guild.
letter of resignation, Wallace cited "an unprofessional
and hostile environment" for many staffers.
members, here and in Los Angeles, have little or no respect
for senior staffs experiences, abilities, objectivity
and understanding of the issues," she added.
William Daniels, elected last fall, said he does not
know what Wallace is referring to.
PR pros were appointed under Richard Masur, who Daniels
PR PRO OPENS FIRM
who was one of at least six communications directors for
McDonalds Corp., has opened his own firm in Evanston,
who specialized in employee PR, gave himself the title of
and Headway Corporate Services, an executive search firm,
an immediate past president of PRSA/Chicago, worked six
years for McDonalds and 2.5 years for Golin/Harris,
is at 680 Hinman, #300, 60202. 847/ 332-2273; fax:
2293; [email protected]
Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger president Alan Ziegaus
and environmental consultant Chris Wahl have formed Southwest
Strategies, San Diego, a PR and PA firm specializing in
crisis communications, media preparations and environmental
communications. Wahl is Ziegaus son-in-law...E-Stamp
Corp., San Mateo, Calif., has selected Blanc &
Otus PR, San Francisco, for promotion of products beyond
Internet postage...AARP is conducting a
nationwide search for the newly created position of dir.,
organizational rels., reporting to Bill Novelli, associate
Edition, April 19, 2000, Page 3
JOURNALISTS OFFER PITCH TIPS
York health beat journalists gave Publicity Club of New
York members their prescriptions for getting medical stories
project manager at CBS Healthwatch/Medscape, told a crowd
of 120 on March 30 that she likes to get press kits containing
nicely packaged presentations.
finds the information in these kits useful to her and the
other staff reporters in covering a story.
Wills, who is health reporter for NY1 News, the local TV
station which is owned by Time, said she is so busy running
a one-woman newsroom that publicists must "get my attention
with a lively headline" on a press release.
who opens her mail, does the booking, and is her own camera
person and editor for her daily on-air reports, cited as
an example a release with a headline that read: "How
to Lose Weight by Playing with Your Balls."
was about an exercise program using rubber balls devised
by a Russian physician in Brooklyn. Wills covered
prefers to get information by fax, she gave her phone number
also: 212/465-0185; fax: 563-7632; [email protected].
gave out a list of channel assignments for her website:
ClearlyAlzheimers disease, eye care,
HIV/AIDS, transplantations, sexual health; John
Caseyalternative medicine, heart health,
impotence, mens health, migraines, sleep disorders,
weight management; Chris Dickeyaddictions,
cancer, multicultural health; Cantorbreast and ovarian
cancers, diabetes, Hepatitis C, menopause, mental health/depression,
pregnancy, parenting and child health, senior health; Heather
Hatfieldarthritis and rheumatism, bone, muscle
and joint, digestive disorders, pain management, teen health,
sports medicine and fitness, womens health (conference
coverage); Eric Saboallergy, asthma,
health and wellness, lower back pain, people with disabilities
and skincare, and Jennifer Warner, breaking
phone number is 212/760-3100; fax: 760-3141.
Steinberg, director of the Cabrini Medical Center, was the
PCNY program coordinator.
Magazine is accepting nominations for the 2000
CFO Excellence Awards, which are sponsored by CFO Publishing
and the consulting firm Arthur Andersen. Winners will
be profiled in the October issue of CFO.
forms are available in the magazine. Deadline for
submissions is May 15.
PRO GIVES WEB WRITING POINTERS
a senior A/E at Berry Assocs., Morristown, N.J., gives 14
pointers on writing for the web in CCM Communicator, the
newsletter of the Council of Communications Management.
six of her tips:
for the skimmer and scanner.Use short paragraphs (a
maximum of seven lines), numbered lists and bullet points.
every page as if its the front page. Many readers
may not enter your site through the front door,
or home page.
pyramid power.Use the journalists inverted pyramid,
which places the most important points at the top.
chunky.Web writers should write in `chunks that
fit neatly on one screen. Each screen should not exceed
100 words, with no more than three screens per story.
spaceThe more white space, the better. Double-space
between paragraphs, and put two spaces after periods so
it is easier for users to see sentence breaks.
a sans-serif font."
TO PRESENT TV PUBLICITY SEMINAR
in a series of advanced PR seminars is scheduled for May
18 at the new Subotnick Financial Services Center at Baruch
College in New York.
seminar, which will be presented by Baruchs Division
of Continuing Studies, will feature a panel discussion on
TV publicity and media relations.
consists of Gloria Clyne, former NBC News consumer reporter;
Alan Goldsand, an IR pro and former broadcast business reporter,
and Susan Liscovicz, a business reporter for Cable News
an independent PR consultant who is a parttime PR instructor
at Baruch, is panel moderator. He also is a former
president and program chairman of the Publicity Club of
who is an administrator with the Division of Continuing
Studies, said Bernard Lynch, the business programs
manager, is interested in presenting a series of advanced
PR seminars in 2000.
said a lot depends on the response to this seminar, which
will begin at 8 a.m. on the 7th floor of the conference
center, located at 151 E. 25th st.
registration fee includes breakfast.
a Miami-based Internet company, has launched an online health
and medical website for Spanish-speaking consumers.
will offer information on ailments, illness, nutrition,
fitness and wellness plus medical databases, publications,
and real-time medical news.
was named chief marketing officer of the site. Salud.com
is located at 2915 Biscayne blvd., 33137. 305/572-9400;
news continued on next page)
Edition, April 19, 2000, Page 4
IS PROMOTED AT AMERICAN MEDIA
W. Coz, editor-in-chief of The National Enquirer, Boca Raton,
was promoted to editoria director of the new consumer magazines
division of American Media, which publishes the Enquirer,
Star, Globe, Sun, Weekly World News, Country Weekly, Mira,
AMIs AutoWorld Weekly and other titles.
oversee the direction and content of the divisions
new launches and acquisitions.
executive editor of the Enquirer, was named deputy editorial
director of the new division, and Val Virga, assistant executive
editor of the Enquirer, was named creative director.
will continue to perform their existing editorial duties
at the Enquirer in addition to their new responsibilities.
editor-in-chief of Globe, is now editor-in-chief for the
Star and the National Examiner as well.
editor of the Examiner, was promoted to editor of Globe,
and Ray Villwock was named editor of the Examiner. Both
report to Frost.
Trunzo and Jim Lynch, currently editors at Globe, were named
co-executive editors of the Star.
editor-in-chief of Weekly World News, was named editorial
director for Sun, Crackled and the Detective series.
Cooke, previously managing editor, was promoted
to director of editorial development at CNSNews.com, Alexandria,
Va. She will be responsible for expanding news coverage.
Alexander was named editorial director of
Rodale Books, which plans to publish about 35 titles this
year. She will continue to oversee the editorial content
of Prevention magazine.
Mills, a former reporter for The Washington
Post, who wrote scripts for "NYPD Blue" and "Homicide:
Life on the Street," is working up a pilot for HBO
about life, love and politics in Washington, D.C. Post
"Style" writer Sally Quinn is developing a soap
opera series called "Georgetown" for NBC.
Argabright, associate editor for Open Wheel
Magazine, has joined TVV Sports as a pit reporter for Pennzoil
World of Outlaws series telecasts.
TO COVER GREEN LIVING NEWS
San Francisco, has been established to provide information
about green information, products and services for online,
broadcast and print outlets.
III, who helped start several Internet companies including
LastMinuteTravel.com, is founder and chairman of Verde,
which is backed by investors including Gryphon Ventures
and Lehman Venture<%-2> Capital along with such individuals
as Ted Turner, Chris Blackell, founder of Island Records,
and D<%0>oug Morriss, president/CEO of Morriss Holdings.
wife, Jennie, is an environmental journalist for CNN.
who is EVP of programming, said Verdes news staff
will develop proprietary lifestyle content and news reports
on everything from money matters to home and garden.
was previously general manager of the Newsstand Production
Group at CNN, where he was responsbile for the start-up
of the unit. He was also senior producer of the CNN
environment unit and oversaw weekly programs "Network
Earth," and "Earth Matters."
is in the process of assembling a news staff from traditional
broadcast and print media, as well as from online properties
and publications focused on the environment, travel and
recreation, health and healing, gardening and more.
new hires are: Jon Zilber, who is VP of content; John McManus,
managing editor; Tracy Shea, executive producer, convergent
media; Tim Naegle, executive editor; John Maccabee, executive
producer; Michael Mechanic, editor, and Chris Clarke, assignment
editor, who was previously editor-in-chief of Earth Island
PR Worldwide in Washington, D.C., is handling PR for Verde
a new shelter magazine published by Pixie Communications,
will premier with the Sept./Oct. 2000 edition.
Francisco-based magazine will feature coverage about both
the interiors and exteriors of modern home designs.
will target affluent and educated 25 to 40-year-olds.
Jacobs, who was founding executive editor of Benettons
Colors magazine and New York Magazines architecture
critic from 1996-99, is editor-in-chief.
Wagner, the founding editor of Limn and Dodge City, is managing
will be published six times per year and will start with
a paid circulation of 50,000.
offices are located at 99 Osgood pl. 94133. 415/743-9990;
Washington Post is looking for ugly travel
travel section editor has invited readers to submit images
that illustrate some small or large truth about a particular
place or vacation.
entries will receive either a beach towel or coffee mug.
Edition, April 19, 2000, Page 7
BUDGETS $150K FOR PR POST
budgeted $150,000 for its "chief PR officer" and
hopes to have the job filled by June, chair Steve Pisinski
said in a telephone interview April 12 with ODwyer
was PRSA president Ray Gaulke. Treasurer Joann Killeen was
scheduled to take part but had another engagement.
of the 17 board members of PRSA plus Gaulke made the trip
to London last week for a meeting with the board of the
Institute of PR, a 6,000-member group similar to PRSA.
charge at Berners Hotel was picked up by PRSA as well as
air fare of about $7,000. Some meals were paid by PRSA or
the trip were Sandra Longcrier, Thomas Bartikoski, Reed
Byrum, Mitch Head and Roger Lewis. Present were Pisinski,
Killeen, Kathleen Lewton, Samuel Waltz, Deanna Pelfrey,
Del Galloway, Ralph Kam, Judith Phair, Maria Russell, Stephen
Shivinski, David Simon and Art Stevens.
IPR are cooperating on professional development, ethics,
education, accreditation and new communications channels.
A panel on "spin" took place but no details were
available. There were no reports of it on the PRSA or IPR
Tactics "Does Not Cover News"
John Elsasser, editor of PRSAs monthly "PR Tactics,"
was not on the trip to cover the "spin" panel
and other parts of the historic meeting, Gaulke said that
Tactics "is not a news magazine" (although two
columns are labeled "News and Views"). He said
Tactics is for "professional development" and
also has 7,000 non-member subscribers who might not be interested
in PRSA topics.
ordered Gaulke to produce the membership totals for PRSA
from 1982-88 and he complied.
has been seeking the totals to go with statistics on those
taking the accreditation exam that the NL already has. Gaulke
had refused to provide them, saying neither he nor APR chair
Phil Wescott wants the membership totals to be compared
with the total of those taking the APR exam each year.
table shows that 273 took the exam in 1982 when PRSA had
10,737 members. A total of 406 took the exam in 1999 when
PRSA had 19,600 members plus several thousand members of
nine other PR groups who are now eligible for it. The spring
2000 exam drew 217, continuing the longterm decline in candidates
as a percentage of total membership. About 90% of PRSAs
members are eligible (five years in PR). Pisinski
reiterated PRSAs decision not to post on the Societys
website the identity of the 200 or so elected Assembly delegates.
PRSAs global initiative, one element of which was
to ask companies to join at $25,000 each for the first three
years, Pisinski said that is on hold at present.
plan created for PRSA for $25,000 by Dusty Bricker Assocs.
was "useful" but has been largely replaced by
other ideas, he said.
Edition, April 19, 2000, Page 8
article "Crisis in PR" in the May Red Herring
magazine (250,000 circ. and one million unique visitors
a month to its website) covers many of the most
noticeable aspects of PR today.
concentrates on high-tech PR, which is almost half of what
PR firms are now doing.
article says clients are being "fleeced of huge fees"
and getting "little in return." The main result
is said to be that "PR as a profession ultimately suffers
from the bad rap."
are some of the things that reporter Kenneth Cukier found:
Writers who approach PR firms get grilled themselves ("What
will be the framework of your article?"..."Can
you tell us about yourself?"). Dossiers are kept on
reporters and access is "blocked" if they have
been too negative.
Media are deluged with releases (many poorly written) but
only junior staffers are available to help them. It's a
"badge of honor" that senior pros don't have to
deal with reporters, a PR exec told Cukier.
There is high staff turnover in PR firms. Relationships
with reporters are not being built. "None of the groundwork
to reach those particular (target) reporters was ever laid,"
complained one client.
Agencies are obsessed with tracking every minute of the
day of PR staffers and billing it out; full fees may be
charged for travel time.
"Many" firms want stock as well as fees; some
charge to create media lists that already exist; a "classic"
rip-off is "media training"of execs who would
never talk to reporters.
Agencies' "hubris and triteness seems to increase commensurately
with their fees," comments Cukier.
A Wall Street Journal reporter is quoted as being amazed
at the low quality of the 40 releases a day she receives,
saying she would "like to slap them (PR pros) silly."
did not go into it but other writers have noted that working
PR pros in high-tech are almost exclusively attractive young
women. Harper's Bazaar went a step further in April,
theorizing the women are in search of the numerous male
"geeks" who give Silicon Valley a 70-30 male/female
ratio. The New York Times, following the controversial Harper's
article, sent reporter Evelyn Nieves to Palo Alto to see
what the fuss was about. She visited a few bars where women
complained how hard it was to meet men. The NYT front-paged
April 10: "In Man-Rich Silicon Valley, It Seems Like
Strikeout.com." The NYT ignored the angle of women
meeting men via PR jobs.
observations that intrigue us are that high-tech PR staffs
are mostly young and female and that turnover is high.
A recruiter said that after a couple of years the neophytes
are told to bring in their own accounts and that gets rid
of them since they have no idea (or training) on how to
do this. A new crop of ill-paid college grads is brought
were struck by the similarity between PR and the sweatshops
in the Far East which are mostly staffed by women aged 16-23.
Naomi Klein visited many such factories and wrote the Canadian
best-seller "No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies."
The factory owners, operating under contracts for Nike,
Gap, Levi's, Wal-Mart, Kmart, etc., prefer women and especially
farm women because they're so naive and submissive. When
they start getting older or pregnant, they're dispatched.
They work in fear 12 hours and more a day, and mostly for
under 30 cents an hour. The companies get a five-year tax
break and after five years just move or supposedly change
pros, meanwhile, live in fear of stories in the press that
are not "on message." Marketing execs want consistency
and are intolerant of any lapses.
famous brand names, which profess to be in love with their
customers, claim they don*t know about bad working conditions
because they just contract the work out. Klein says the
same exploitation of youthful, naive workers is obvious
in the U.S. at chains like Starbucks, Borders and McDonald's.
The multinational companies (MNCs), which comprise 51 of
the top 100 economies of the world, are "outsourcing"
practically everything these days and turning a blind eye
to employee abuses, she writes. Some boast of having "no
employees." Even CEOs are bounced after a few years
(and their PR execs with them). "No Logo" has
a chart of 17 Far East factories, the hours, wages and the
brand names that use them.
says the money that used to pay manufacturing wages now
goes into expanding retail chains and paying ad agencies
to link clients with warm, loving images while the companies
distance themselves from horrific employment practices.
She feels such hypocritical policies can be exposed with
the help of the Internet and demonstrations that "take
back the streets" from Gap and Nike outlets. Another
Klein theme is that the MNCs (and their ad/marketing agencies)
allow only a minimum of info about themselves to escape,
thus negating "centuries of democratic reforms"
that opened up the workings of governments. "What good
is an open Parliament or Congress if opaque corporations
are setting so much of the global political agenda in the
back rooms?" she asks.