Edition, June 7, 2000, Page 1
SELLS TO EURO RSCG
Euro RSCG is buying Middleberg + Assocs. in New York, a
leading Internet communications and PR firm. M+A, which
has 150 employees, reported net fees of $11.3M in 1999.
firm was ranked 30th on O'Dwyer's Ranking of Top 50 PR Firms
in the U.S. Among its clients are AXA Group, UAL Corp's
United Airlines and International Business Machines.
Middleberg, who opened the firm in 1989, said the terms
of the "payout deal were excellent." Middleberg, who would
not disclose the sales price, said "money was a prime consideration,"
and the contract requires him stay for a minimum of five
years with the agency as CEO.
said M+A will operate independently as a wholly owned subsidiary
within Euro RSCG Worldwide's corporate communications group,
and not as a unit of Havas Advertising.
The agency will be renamed Middleberg Euro RSCG.
said the sale makes sense because it gives M+A offices in
Europe, which it did not have. He said the firm's executive
committee decided about a year ago to look for a buyer that
would move the firm up to the "next level."
RSCG's two other U.S. PR firms--Creamer Dickson Basford
and PResence, which are both headquartered in N.Y., are
units of Havas Advertising. Bob Schmetterer, CEO of Euro
RSCG, estimates the agency's business still in traditional
advertising is just over 50%.
NAMES H&K LEAD AGENCY
named Hill and Knowlton as lead PR firm effective at the
start of 2001. H&K has handled projects for the company
in the U.S., Europe and Asia for the past six years.
Belkin, H&K spokesman, said Motorola (1999 sales $33
billion) will be one of the firm's five biggest global clients.
The multi-million dollar account will be handled by H&K's
Chicago office headed by Gene Reineke, general manager.
Harlan Teller heads the worldwide corporate PR practice
of H&K. Motorola uses many PR fims worldwide and it's
expected that some of these will be kept.
Communication handled corporate PR. Burson-Marsteller worked
for Motorola in the past but not currently. B-M initially
sought the account but did not make a final pitch. Brodeur
Worldwide also reportedly sought the account.
Chadlington, formerly Peter Gummer, who founded Shandwick
in 1974 and built it into a firm with $206 million in fees
in 1997 and 1,742 employees, selling it to Interpublic in
1998, is leaving the company in September.
said that the International PR Group, which Chadlington
headed and which included Weber PR Worldwide, Golin/Harris
Communications and Shandwick International, has been dissolved.
The three PR entities are part of IPG's Allied Communications
Group, of which Larry Weber is now chairman and CEO.
was purchased for $170 million in mid-1998 by IPG, which
also took on about $70M in debt that Shandwick had run up
in acquiring about 35 PR firms.
held 9.5 million shares of Shandwick worth $10.8 million
at the time of the sale to IPG. He had sold 2.3 million
shares in 1989 for $4.65 million coincident with the acquisition
of Dorf & Stanton Communications and Welbeck Golin/Harris
Communications that year. When Shandwick's stock sank to
2.75 pence in 1992, Chadlington purchased more than three
million shares at below four pence.
buyers of Shandwick included The Railway Workers Pension
Trust, which owned more than 5% of the stock in 1989, and
Baillie Gifford & Co., investment house.
Chadlington, 57, the son of Canon Selwyn Gummer, an Anglican
vicar, is the brother of John S. Gummer, one of the leaders
of the Conservative party in the U.K. Peter Gummer was admitted
to the House of Lords in 1996 and became "Lord Chadlington
of Dean" (the village in which he resided). The title
is not heriditary.
He began his career by publishing his father's sermons and
also worked on local papers following college.
Went on Acquisition Spree
Shandwick, a public company, went on an acquisition spree
from 1986-89 in which it acquired 35 PR firms, most of them
in the U.S., for an initial $90M and a possible further
payout of $180M. The firm stressed that local agency names,
management and cultures would be kept because they were
crucial to the practice of PR.
was also an ardent believer in the separation of PR and
advertising. His firm surveyed marketing directors of the
500 largest U.K. companies in 1996 and found that eight
of ten wanted advertising and PR to be managed in different
parts of the company.
said Chadlington, is "essentially a very blunt instrument
intruding in our lives...ad agencies look for the lowest
common multiple...they want to produce the same ad in China
as in Japan, Sweden or London," he said.
Because of the steeply rising profit margins required by
the Shandwick formula, only a small portion of the $180M
was ever paid out. Profit increases of 30% or more a year
The acquired firms had $100M in fees and employed 1,700
Shandwick stock at one point was 195 U.K. pence but this
dipped to 2.75 pence on Sept. 10, 1992. It rose several
years later to the area of 40 pence. IPG paid 70 pence per
share of Shandwick. At the time of the sale, Shandwick was
using the name "International PR" as the owner
of the shares.
the U.S. acquisitions that Shandwick made during 1986-89
and whose names later disappeared as the result of consolidations,
were Henry J. Kaufman & Assocs. ($4.8M in fees and 70
employees at the time of the sale); Rand PR ($1.8M and 24
employees); Adams Group and Adams Publishing Group ($5.4M
and 60 employees); Simon/McGarry PR ($1.7M and 25 employees);
Casey Communications Mgmt. ($3.1M and 40 employees); Rubenstein,
Wolfson & Co. ($2M and 25 employees); Hi-Tech PR ($2.24M
and 24 employees); Mona, Meyer & McGrath ($6M and 80
employeess); Wenz-Neely Co. ($1.5M and 23 employees), and
Dorf & Stanton ($8M and 100 employees).
of the principals left the acquired companies. Some, including
Amanda Brown-Olmstead of A. Brown-Olmstead, Alex Stanton
and Stan Bratskeir (Rand PR) founded new PR firms.
that survived were Golin/Harris; Rogers & Cowan, and
Miller (as part of Miller/Shandwick Technologies.
PR, which handles numerous celebrities, may merge
with Huvane Baum Halls, another celebrity PR firm, New York
News columnist Mitchell Fink said June 5. Both firms denied
the report. (PMK is profiled
in new book Dish)...
is selling several foreign offices to Edelman PR Worldwide
(in London, Italy and Australia) but the deal may not be
completed for another week...
Steve Frankel, managing
director of Burson-Marsteller, heads mergers and acquisitions
online video media, to BSMG Worldwide and FCB Chicago, units
of True North.
Edition, June 7, 2000, Page 2
PR PROS GET COVERAGE TIPS
love companies that fail," Ken Yamada, who is senior
editor of Red Herring magazine, told about 500 PR pros at
a May 23 PRSA/Los Angeles chapter meeting in Marina del
"Call me if your company is failing, we'll do a story
on you right away," said Yamada, who has been covering
venture capitalists and start-up companies for six years.
"When the CEO of Barbeque.com called and wanted to
explain why his company was going under we did the story,
and after it was published Barbeque.com had offers from
the VC community," Yamada said.
Later, he told a reporter for O'Dwyer's PR Daily that Red
Herring only gets good story pitches, and he rarely receives
bad news about start-ups.
"I get 50 pitches a day, and we don't have the bandwidth
to look at all of them, and I'm not interested in most of
them," Yamada said.
Want Execs to Be Available
When Red Herring reporters have interest in the story, Yamada
says publicists should remember to make sure an executive
is available, send a financial statement on sales, profits,
losses, any analysts names, testimonials and list the competition.
Yamada said he will do a couple of in-depth stories on people
who catch his eye.
He said the best way to pitch is to send him an E-mail,
and publicists should not be offended if he doesn't call
Network World magazine editor Mark Brownstein said, "It
is still people-to-people, it's a long-term relationship
between you and them."
Brownstein, whose publication covers everything from eMarket
trends to dog food, homes, and cars, gets about 100 E-mail
pitches every day.
"If I see an E-mail from someone I know, I'm more likely
to open it," he said.
If he gets an E-mail with no storyline in the subject box,
it is a good way to not get read, said Brownstein, who noted
the best pitch he got was from a publicist who knew who
he was dealing with, knew why it would be interesting to
him and it was an exclusive.
Need Big Company News
E-Commerce Times editor David Geller gets 150 pitches a
day on the Internet and technology.
"We publish around the clock, weekly, some 15 to 20
news and feature stories daily," said Geller.
"We analyze our readership response, and as one of
the largest news publications on the web our readers are
interested in big name companies.
"You need to make your company newsworthy. When a major
company, like Cisco or Microsoft, makes an announcement,
it is newsworthy," said Geller, who explained that
in order for smaller companies to become newsworthy, PR
needs to be part of the marketing communications, and rely
solely on press releases.
"Advertising provides an advantage," said Geller.
"Keep in mind what stories want. PR needs to be the
tool for name recognition to be attractive to the reader,
PR is the cornerstone, but not alone."
Editor Brooke Wirtschafter of the Silicon Alley Reporter/Digital
Coast Reporter, also prefers E-mail pitches.
"You need to be concerned with what you're pitching,
who we are, what we do to `rise above the din,'" said
"We produce several newsletters on and offline, and
what makes them interesting is the content. There is a plethora
of emerging technology online," she said.
Wirtschafter, who writes a "News Brief" section,
gets her ideas from what people E-mail her, through networking,
and seeing what's online.
"No news releases please, because everyone who can
get online can read them," said Wirtschafter, who also
writes for interactive TV, where she covers online entertainment
trends, and emerging technologies.
Editor Recalls Treachery
"Don't lie to me," said technology reporter P.J.
Huffstutter of The Los Angeles Times.
She recalled an incident with a major Southern California
technology company PR pro, who promised an exclusive story,
and even pitched Huffstutter's angle to the CEO.
"When I asked this person if they had talked to any
other media, reporter or publication, she told me 'No',"
said Huffstutter. "But, when my exclusive story was
published in the Sunday L.A. Times, it also appeared in
The New York Times and it was my angle."
Huffstutter, who was recently transferred from the Orange
County edition of the L.A. Times to covering technology,
offered these quirky tips:
-- "Anyone who faxes their pitch to `Mr. Huffstutter'
will see their stuff land in the trash can.
--"Anyone who calls me `Huffstutter's secretary"
will also get ignored.
--"Don't seed an attachment with an E-mail, unless
I asked for it.
--"Use the subject line to say what it is you are pitching."
Huffstutter urged publicists to establish positive relationships
and trust with reporters at the Times.
"Sorry, it is just the way it is. News never breaks
in the newsroom. I like to visit a company office. I want
to talk to the tech person if it's a tech company, and I
want to talk to the CEO, not the sales person if it's a
corporation," she said.
During a question-and-answer session the panel was asked
if any editor had biases towards working with in-house PR
pros versus agency pros?
Most agreed that PR agencies are more focused in getting
materials such as backgrounders, photos, graphics and lining
up interviews, but all of the panelists agreed it was credibility
of service and delivery on a promise.
About half of the five panelists said there is sometimes
more access to a CEO without an agency.
All agreed PR pros need to watch media coverage, make their
company newsworthy through advertising, PR newswires or
taking advantage of breaking stories.
"If a major virus is creating havoc for big companies,
and you have a client knowledgeable about prevention on
the technology, you'll get coverage," said Huffstutter.
The program was co-sponsored by Newstream.com
and produced by the MWW Group.
JONES AGAINST PROPOSED SEC RULE
Jones & Co. wants the Securities and Exchange Commission
to amend its proposed selective disclosure rule which would
prohibit publicly owned companies from giving information
to handpicked investors and analysts.
G. Skinner, EVP and general counsel of the company that
publishes The Wall Street Journal, Barron's and Dow Jones
Newswires, said the proposed rule would result in "less
informative, less objective and less timely reporting."
critical comments, which were filed as the period for reaction
was ending last month, seek to make the proposed SEC rule
inapplicable to information releases to "bona fide
News, a financial news service, said Dow Jones was arguing
that the proposal "could dry up scoops."
Winkler, Bloomberg's editor-in-chief, said in an interview
with The New York Times: "There isn't a great story
that has come from a handout. Ever."
added: "The best stories come from good old-fashioned
enterprise. I don't understand what the fuss is all about."
PUTS GAG ON JOB OPENINGS
president of the New York Financial Writers' Assn. has asked
this Newsletter to stop publishing news stories about job
openings for financial journalists, which have appeared
in the membership bulletin.
report on the openings appeared in the Newsletter for May
24 on page three.
Bases, president, said the board discussed the matter at
a may 31 meeting and believes O'Dwyer's long running practice
of reporting on selected job openings was "robbing"
members of a benefit.
also said the information was copyrighted and not intended
for the general public.
O'Dwyer, publisher and editor, who is a longtime member
of NYFWA, will comply with the board's request.
Edition, June 7, 2000, Page 3
GET CONDITIONAL SCOOP
Frank, Wikinson, Brimmer, Katcher, a New York-based PR firm
hired by United Airlines and US Airways, offered exclusive
details of the $5 billion merger of the two airlines to
three newspapers on May 23.
The editors at The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post
and The New York Times had to agree not to call any outsiders
for comments or report the merger before midnight. After
that, they were free to run their reports and seek other
All three papers signed on for the exclusive, which eventually
fell apart when The Financial Times website broke the story
about 6:30 p.m.
Jill Dutt, who is the Post's assistant managing editor for
financial news, told Howard Kurtz, who covers media for
the Post, that she agreed to the deal -- without knowing
it involved USAirways and United -- because "it does
a better job for readers to have the story on the first
day than not to have the story."
Glenn Kramon, the Times' business editor told Kurtz that
he agreed to the deal because "it's better than finding
out at 7 at night or midnight and having to scramble."
Paul Steiger, WSJ managing editor, said corporate executives
often ask the Journal not to call anyone when they are about
to launch a takeover attempt.
Steiger said the Journal usually is able to talk news sources
out of these kinds of arrangements. But, "if the news
is big enough, we'd rather give it to our readers with whatever
caveats are appropriate."
Kurtz said the PR firm's effort "underscored the degree
to which corporate executives, like politicians, are increasingly
determined to shape coverage of their exploits."
FWBK principal Joelle Frank had no comment on what the airlines
had in mind.
NEWS IS NOT WORTH THE PRICE
A majority of a cross-section of 300 online consumers are
not willing to pay for their news online, according to a
new Online Credibility survey conducted by InsightExpress,
a Greenwich, Conn.-based online market research service.
The firm surveyed a representative sample of online consumers
and discovered only 13% would be willing to pay for their
news online. More than half (55%), do not believe paying
for online news would be worth it, and the remainder are
The study also showed more than three-quarters of respondents
said news is more credible when appearing in a source that
is both online and offline.
According to the respondents, the most important criteria
when choosing an online news source are having a variety
of topics available (33%), the ability to receive frequently
updated news briefs (30%) and the reputation of the provider
"Online news is more credible if it comes from an established,
traditional source," said Charles Hamlin, president/COO
Other key findings revealed the primary reasons consumers
go online for news: Local news (27%); World news (27%);
National news (25%); Sports news (8%); Business news (5%);
Financial news (5%), and Editorial news (1%).
The Gift List's new Holiday 2000 edition lists editors
of holiday gift guide editorial features.
It includes national and regional magazines, top 250 newspapers,
major wires and news services, and national TV, according
to president Amy Bernhard, who started the guide last year.
Priced at $349, the guide will be shipped to customers in
two waves: Magazines in mid-June, followed by short leads
a few months later.
2950 N. Maiden lane, Altadena, CA 91001-1725; 626/797-8877;
fax: 2801; www.giftlistmedia.com.
Chip Center (www.chipcenter.com)
is a new online trade media source that covers the electronics
industry. Readers primarily consist of electronics engineers,
purchasing agents for electronic components and technical
Chip Center, which has more than 60 editors and contributors,
also supplements staff-written materials with stories from
expert individuals or companies as long as articles are
PR pros should check Chip Center?s web page for more information.
Jack Shandle, who is chief editor, is at 415/284-1474; [email protected],
and executive editor Murray Slovick's number is 732/438-9121;
Matt Gerson, host of "Matt Gerson's Person To
Person," which is heard weekly in 10 major radio markets,
including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, seeks interesting
guests for his program which originates in the Phoenix area.
Guest interviews are often conducted by long distance hook
Major celebrities routinely appear on the show to discuss
their careers, upcoming films, CDs, books, etc.
The show also books authors, politicians, and people from
all walks of life with a public profile and something interesting
The show's publicist, Lee Solters, is handling inquiries
at 323/651-9300; [email protected].
Fortune has added two new contributors whose columns
will begin appearing regularly.
"Health," by Donald D. Hensrud, M.D., of Mayo
Clinic and a pioneer in the field of executive health, will
focus on matters ranging from diet to stress.
"In the Long Run," penned by economist J. Bradford
DeLong, a professor of economics at the Univ. of California/Berkeley,
will look into how the economy and its long-term prospects
Edition, June 7, 2000, Page 4
SHOWS WHAT JOURNALISTS WANT
Print and online journalists want to get news releases containing
photos or graphics.
This was the number one preference of journalists according
to Bennett & Co.'s 11th media survey.
The Orlando-based PR firm's annual survey, which is based
on responses from 100 journalists nationwide, found more
than nine of 10 journalists said they get story package
ideas combining news releases and graphics, and 82% said
they put these packages to use.
Sending news releases with an accompanying website URL where
journalists can download photos is also popular, with 47%
of print journalists saying they would like to get such
Also wanted are: downloadable graphics in JPEG form (unanimous
choice); information sent via e-mail; quick response time
to queries, and a sharp, creative, and credible PR executive,
which beats a canned pitch any day
Bennett & Co. found 70% of those polled said they rely
on getting information from PR firms.
Other media survey findings:
--Four in 10 Internet journalists said news of their companies'
websites is updated at least once a day; 20% said the information
changes 2-4 times a day.
--77% of TV journalists prefer using Beta tapes; almost
seven in 10 said they occasionally use video news releases
in their stories.
--Publicists should send their messages to assignment editors
at TV stations' 62% of them said they call the shots on
who in their organization should get the news.
TO WRITE FOR JAGNOTES.
Molinari, who runs a Washington, D.C.-based firm and also
works for Fleishman-Hillard, will write a weekly column
for JagNotes.com, starting June 14.
Recchia, executive producer of JagNotes News, which is based
in Farmingdale, N.Y., said Molinari will cover the comings
and goings on Capitol Hill and in the White House, with
an eye toward their impact on Wall Street.
Her column, titled, "Capital Know," will be published
each Wednesday at noon (ET), with special reports as merited
by news events.
Joan Biskupic is the
fifth news staffer in the last eight months to leave The
Washington Post for USA Today. Biskupic, who will cover
the U.S. Supreme Court, joins David Lindsey, a national
editor who left in April; Saundra Torry, who writes editorials;
George Hager, an economics writer, and Tom Kenworthy, who
became a Denver correspondent when the Post closed its bureau
CNET Networks, San Francisco, named three executive
editors to its CNET.com
staff: Robert Luhn,
previously editor of Computer Currents, a magazine, joins
as the editor for hardware, software and Internet services;
Rich Castagna, formerly
editor for Window Systems magazine, comes on board as editor
for small business, and David Carnoy,
previously editorial director of etown.com,
joins as the editor for wireless.
Karen Breslau was named
Newsweek's San Francisco bureau chief, and Brad Stone will
become technology correspondent, based in S.F. Breslau replaces
Pat King, who will continue working for the bureau as a
Paul Martin, assistant
managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, was awarded
the Elliott Bell Award by the New York Financial Writers'
Samuel S. Graff, copy
editor of Investment News, has left the paper.
Howard Witt, previously
with The Chicago Tribune, has joined The City Paper, Washington,
D.C., as editor, replacing David
Carr, who is writing for Inside.com.
previously fashion and beauty features editor at Essence,
has joined Teen People as beauty and health director.
Susannah Meadows, previously
at GQ, has joined Newsweek as general editor of the "'Periscope"
Robin Kamen, 38, previously
senior editor at Dash.com, has rejoined Crain's New York
Business as general manager/editor interactive, a new position.
Kamen, a former reporter at The Bergen Record before joining
Crain's in 1992, will oversee Crain's website, at crainsnewyork.com.
Robert Vare, a former
editor at The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and
Rolling Stone, has joined Atlantic Monthly as a senior editor.
Ellen Kunes, 41, has
resigned as editor-in-chief of O: The Oprah Magazine, after
two issues. Kunes denied she was unhappy with the editorial
structure and gave "work-family issues" as the
reason for leaving.
Later, a British men's magazine, which features photos
of half-clad women, has added a dads' section, including
features on baby care.
Dads magazine's first issue goes on newsstands across
the U.S. on June 6.
The mission of dads is to help men in their roles as parents
and professionals, said Eric Garland, editor/CEO.
New York Times Digital, the Internet unit of The
New York Times, will provide information about local entertainment
events to WINS radio..
Edition, June 7, 2000, Page 7
"WAR" TOLD IN WALLS BOOK
"war" between PR pros representing celebrities
and reporters trying to cover the celebs is told by MSNBC
reporter Jeannette Walls in Dish ($25 from Avon Books
At the moment, reporters are losing, having to "grovel"
before publicists to get access to the stars, says Walls,
former Esquire and New York writer.
The hostilities include "blackballing" reporters
from the entire client list of a firm if a reporter should
annoy even one of the stars, and having private investigators
look for "dirt" on anyone who threatens the reputation
of a star.
Writers are also forced to sign contracts that limit the
time in which they can use quotes from an interview and
are forced to use only new photos of stars or face ostracism.
Numerous other controls are placed on use of text and pictures.
PMK PR Is Blasted
Heavy criticism is laid on PMK PR, a unit of Interpublic's
McCann-Erickson. It is headed by Pat Kingsley, 67, former
secretary at Rogers & Cowan who helped found Pickwick
PR in 1971. Kingsley, a native of Gastonia, N.C., dropped
out of Winthrop College, S.C., after two years, says Walls.
a partner is Lois Smith, wife of Gene Smith, ex-New York
Times and now with Utility Spotlight. Kingsley
is in Hollywood and Smith in New York.
PMK's staff of 45 works or worked for 100+ clients such
as Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jodie
Foster, Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, Al Pacino, Goldie Hawn,
Candice Bergen, and Roseanne Arnold, according to Walls.
PMK doesn't publish a client list. There was no immediate
comment from PMK on the book.
reporters, Kingsley was the most feared, most loathed woman
in Hollywood," she writes. The firm has a "demonstrated
willingness to retaliate" against writers who displease
it, she says.
Can Launch an Unknown
The PMK client list is so powerful that the firm can take
a relative unknown and obtain heavy publicity from media
that are afraid to offend PMK, says Walls. An editor for
People mag, which had suffered a steep decline in
cooperation by celebs, tried to organize editors of other
mags (Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, etc.) to fight
against making deals with publicists but the move flopped,
Schwarzenegger is praised for being able to give 60 interviews
in one day "and make each seem like the first"
while Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts are said to be difficult.
(Don't try to write about Cruise and his involvement in
Scientology, advises Walls).
When writer Stephanie Mansfield interviewed Cruise for GQ
magazine, things went smoothly until she told him she talked
to a classmate at Glen Ridge High School in New Jersey who
knew him as Tom Mapother. Mansfield told Walls that Cruise
"went ballistic" and slammed down the phone. Kingsley
called a few minutes later and, Mansfield told Walls, said
Mansfield would be barred from any PMK clients if the interview
with the former classmate was used. Mansfield used it and
was barred, says Walls. Kingsley is quoted as saying she
told Mansfield: "What I did say is that it would be
a long time before I would subject a client to being interviewed
EDITOR SEES BIGGER PR ROLE
Schrage, who is co-director of the MIT Media Lab's eMarkets
initiative, said word of mouth, press coverage and investor
relations are essential to marketplace success.
in the May 29 issue of Adweek, Schrage, who is the magazine's
editor-at-large, said advertising has "slid from unquestioned
dominance to first-among-equals to just another expensive
arrow in the client's marketing power."
said "sophisticated clients are moving away from the
conventional notion that advertising builds brands and toward
a belief that advertising builds brand awareness."
many of our clients, PR really does drive how the brand
gets defined," Pam Alexander of Alexander Ogilvy, a
high tech PR firm, told Schrage.
said the better PR firms often have a stronger understanding
of how value is articulated than the ad agency.
San Francisco managing director Cathy Litzow told Schrage
that her best clients are the ones that integrate advertising
and PR from the beginning.
said she has seen lots of cases where clients rely too much
on advertising to try to build their brand in communities
that don't pay a lot of attention to advertising.
believes PR and news coverage will command - and get - more
of a premium, as brand advertising becomes more of a high-priced
and media coverage become far more important in building
the illusion or reality of credibility," said Schrage.
marketing executives and brand managers in high tech, telecom
or almost any ultra-competitive marketplace, good editorial
coverage matters 10 times more than good advertising,"
harsher words, Schrage said "mediocre coverage now
matters at least 200 times more than mediocre advertising"
because nobody remebers mediocre ads, while there is a "fighting
chance" that the right people will remember a decent
mention in a legitimate publication or video broadcast.
MANNING, MS&L FOUNDER, DIES
Manning, who was a founding partner in Manning, Selvage
& Lee, died May 29 at the age of 90 in Olympia, Wash.
founded Farley Manning Assocs., New York, in 1954, and in
1972, he merged his agency with Selvage & Lee, to form
Manning Selvage & Lee, which was acquired by Benton
is survived by his wife, Jean, and his daughter, Roni-Ruth.
Edition, June 7, 2000, Page 8
is going through "a massive identity crisis" partly
caused by the explosion of media outlets and technology,
says West Coast PR pro and commentator Zhenya Gene Senyak
feels PR people are part of the expanding news media universe
and are "integral to the gathering and dissemination
of news." So do we.
A lot about PR has changed in recent years, says the veteran
PR pro/writer. He's writing a series for www.ClickZ.com.
That made us think, what changes have we noticed?
We can think of one big one. PR people appear to have lost
their expense accounts. In former days, such as the 1970s
and '80s, our calendar was filled with lunches with individual
PR pros or company-sponsored lunches and dinners.
our very early days as a business reporter (six years with
the former New York Journal-American and four with
the Chicago Tribune in New York) PR pros and their
spouses were such close friends that they came to our house
in Brooklyn and knew our children. We visited their houses
and knew theirs.
got doctor and dentist recommendations from PR people. No
favor was too small or large for them to do and we reciprocated
Evenings on the town (theater, opera, ballet, movies, baseball,
football and basketball games, etc.) were common. We socialized
as couples, often getting to know the spouse (usually the
wife) as well as the PR pro. This was the era of Benjamin
Sonnenberg, who built a huge PR business based on parties
in his townhouse near Gramercy Park.
outings, picnics, trips around Manhattan in chartered boats,
cocktail parties and dinner at "21" dotted the
calendar. Companies for decades sponsored events such as
a bus trip to the Army/Navy football game (Caltex) or dinner
and entertainment at the St. Regis (ITT). The PR heads of
30 ad agencies hosted the trade press each month. PR pros
exercised creativity in finding ways to spend time with
reporters. The whole thing came close to being corrupt and
a wave of guilt swept the media in the '70s that washed
a lot of it away.
PR pros in those days had the clear goal of getting as close
to the media as possible. They wanted to be near the
news and info "buzz." Whether they affected stories
was one thing. But at least they knew what was coming. One
of the most sought-after corporate PR execs, known for his
press contacts, demanded a $5,000 a month budget for entertaining
the media (often taking four or five reporters to lunch
at one time) and for the 50 or so publications he read.
Many companies met his and the similar demands of other
PR pros. They basically ran their own businesses and the
corporate wisdom of the time was to let them do it. They
were personages in their own right.
But PR pros now appear to have lost the power of the
purse. The beancounters have arrived and measure every
moment of their day. Two-hour, $100 lunches at 21?"
Fuggedaboutit!" cruise around Manhattan on a summer
night? Ditto. The working PR pro now is often someone who
stays a few years and is easily replaced. While funds for
building individual press relationships have dried up, budgets
many times as big are being spent for PR firm ad campaigns
and winning awards. The aim is to build corporate, not individual,
Speaking of power, columnist Jeannette Walls writes a
chilling story of PR power plays in her new book, Dish,
which covers celebrity PR (page 7). Annoy one client of
a powerful firm and you're barred from all the clients.
We see the same thing in business PR. A reporter who is
"too negative" is banned from all the clients
of a PR firm. A Wall Street analyst who dares recommend
"sell" may find himself or herself blackballed
on Wall Street. What trade or even general news medium will
write searchingly about one of the ten ad/PR conglomerates,
which control more than half of national ad purchases? A
group of PR firms gangs up and decrees that ad commissions
can be counted as part of a "PR" firm's revenues.
The PR people Walls deals with are there mainly to block
press coverage, not obtain it. She is worried about anti-information
power blocks but feels the Internet will end their power.
"Whenever the `legitimate' media swears off gossip,
another medium comes along to fill the void," she says.
The IABC, asked to describe its $1 million new website,
which is on hold because of lack of additional funds, says,
"It's a comprehensive interactive business initiative
that is a fully functional, customizable, on-line business
venture. It will offer services and information focused
on communication to any business professional in search
of solutions and in obtaining business objectives."
There is no story about the new website on IABC's current