Edition, August 23, 2000, Page 1
FIRMS VIE FOR NIH 5-YEAR PROGRAM
than 350 companies, including PR firms and web designers,
are vying for parts of a $250 million five-year integrated
contract advertised by the National Institutes of Health,
and other communications services will be performed for
all 24 institutes in the NIH. As many as two dozen companies
may be hired. Current deadline for contenders is Sept. 15
but the NIH may extend it. RFPs available from Anthony Revenis
at 301/402-3073 or [email protected].
York Times Digital,
the Internet division of The New York Times Co., named GCI
Group as its PR firm for an estimated $500,000 account.
Also finalists in the review were Burson-Marsteller, Ruder
Finn and MWW Group.
Lisa Carparelli, director of communications for NYT Digital,
said, "We were very impressed by the intelligence,
understanding and passion for New York Times Digital that
GCI brought to the table." Properties
include NYTimes.com, Abuzz.com, boston.com (Boston Globe's
website), NYToday.com, WineToday.com and GolfDigest.com.
Reed Byrum, PRSA board member and nominee for treasurer,
has left EDS Communications, Plano, Texas, following the
sudden death of his wife, the former Diane Coffman.
She had been in PR at EDS and joined Assocs. First Capital
Corp. in Dallas as media relations director last October.
Coffman, who had been married to Byrum less than two months,
died April 22 when an embolism developed after a back operation.
Byrum said he wanted to change his locale. He had previously
worked 13 years in Silicon Valley, Calif... Mario Trombone,
72, and his wife, Ilse, 62, have sold Trombone Assocs.,
New York PR/ad agency, to Dan Starkey, president of Starkey
Marketing, Minneapolis, and Joe D'Alto and Odette Fodor-Gernaert,
who were employees of Trombone. Starkey will merge his firm
into Trombone... Merger Communications, Houston, paid the
SEC $50,000 to settle a lawsuit charging the firm with promoting
10 small dot-coms without revealing Merger's investments
in them. Merger's compensation was linked to stock price
gains. David Drake and Jukka Tolonen, the two owners of
Merger, agreed to pay civil penalties of $10K each... BET
Holdings II, parent of Black Entertainment TV, named
Fleishman-Hillard as its first PR firm in its 20-year history.
F-H will provide programming publicity, trade show support,
community relations, etc.
$39 STOCK PRICE WORRIES SOME
Interpublic's current stock price of $39-$40, off nearly
$20 from its high of $58 last December and about where it
was a year ago, has some of its investors worried.
One stockholder asked on the Aug. 17 Yahoo! bulletin board:
"How about some PR for us! We're down 25% on the year
on mostly good news. How about the spin doctors putting
out some positive info for us investors..." (IPG at
$39 is off 32% for the year while the Standard & Poor's
average is up 2%).
Another message asked, "Race away from impending IPG
termination?" In reply to that, a message said such
"termination" warnings were from the "Maverick
Trader" stock-picking service and are to be ignored.
Also on the message board was the statement that IPG is
"an undervalued giant" and it's "just a matter
of time" before its price goes back up.
Investor Tastes Changed, Say Analysts
Analysts said investors, following the crash of the dot-coms
in April, are looking for undervalued blue chips and have
grown dubious about mergers.
Proposed mergers used to send prices up but now the prices
often go down, noted one analyst, who gave several examples
including the proposed merger of WorldCom and Sprint, which
sent both stocks down. The Government blocked the merger.
Investors are worried about stock dilution and don't always
believe claims that acquisitions are "accretive"
to per-share earnings, an analyst said.
IPG made its biggest acquisition of all this spring (nearly
triple its previous record) in buying NFO Worldwide, a research
firm that itself had grown largely by numerous acquisitions,
IPG on June 27 opened a $750 million line of credit and
has used $409M of this.
University, New York, is looking for a director of communications/PA
via Korn/Ferry (Ann Kern at 212/687-1834)... Commtouch,
outsourced e-mail and messaging services, to Manning, Selvage
& Lee Global Technology. The client's e-mail services
will be offered to destination websites and service providers...
a group of accredited and non-APR members of PRSA
are seeking to open office-holding and voting privileges
to all members. A form relating to this proposed bylaw change
is on the O'Dwyer website: www.odwyerpr.com.
Edition, August 23, 2000, Page 2
GENERATION OF PR PROS SEEN
A new generation of PR pros will replace the fast-talking
`spin doctors, of the 90s, AT&T media
relations professional Burke Stinson told a Mayo Clinic
External Relations Conference that was held Aug. 3 in Rochester,
Stinson, who is retiring in December as senior PR director,
said the 21st century PR pro will need to display three
vital assets: initiative, articulation and accessibility.
Stinson also predicts the end of integrated marketing, which
he said was proposed by folks...who have a loose grip
on how news is gathered, edited and presented.
What PR in this century will require is the hiring
of proven thinkers, tested writers and individuals who are
comfortable in publicon stage, not just behind the
scenes, said Stinson.
Valuable PR people in this century will be versed
in broadcast and online disciplines. These days, we cannot
be afraid of microphones, cameras or keyboards, said
Stinson. In the years ahead, the new generation of
PR people will need to demonstrate more scholarshipfar
more than the PR brokers of the 90s, the marketing
integrators of the 80s and the binder manufacturers
of the 70s, said Stinson.
EDITOR BLASTS DOT-COM PUBLICISTS
Janelle Brown, a senior writer who covers technology for
Salon.com, is fed up with dot-com publicists who pitch her
silly story ideas.
In five years writing about the Net, Ive
seen a lot of ridiculous endeavorslike publicists
who fax over press releases and then request that, if you
dont plan to write about 'Making Merry with Sharis
Berries, you fax back an explanation of why you passed
on that hot story tip, wrote Brown for Salons
tech section under the headline: Dont call us.
Brown cited several examples, such as the time she was invited
to observe the founders of TheMan.com getting the company
logo tattooed on their bodies.
said the silliest pitch came from a publicist for Freeworks,
who suggested that she compose a riff off of the voyeurism
sensation brought on by Survivor and call it
The publicist wrote: With the success of the new TV
show `Survivor and the cutthroat behavior on the island,
Im wondering if youve considered writing an
article on the similarities of what is happening on the
show and the dot-com industry these days? Since the 'market
crash in March, who is going to be a survivor and
who wont is becoming more and more clear as the days
those who would not survive were the young, hip wannabes
and novice and cocky CEOs, the publicist said.
I ignored this silly suggestion, said Brown,
who a few days later got a story idea from a different Freeworks
publicist, entitled Dot-coms in S.F. vs. the valley.
This publicist suggested that she write about the way that
San Francisco dot-coms were competing with dot-coms down
There is a growing tension between the two regions
for dot-com dominance, the publicist wrote.
Though only separated by about 50 miles, the two regions
are thousands of miles apart in the business philosophies
of the new Internet economy.
If you worked for a San Francisco dot-com, she informed
Brown, you were likely young, hip, stylish, 20-something
and your company will spend thousands of VC dollars
in marketing programs often without solid business plans.
If youre from the valley, on the other hand, youre
less of a conformist and are in the job
for the long haul, wanting good work experience and company
success, and, of course, you have more of a chance
at a successful IPO.
Guess where Freeworks is based?, asked Brown,
who said she still has no idea what it is, exactly, that
WESERVEHOMES.COM TO ROSENBERG
an Internet start-up that sells home-related services, has
named The Rosenberg Group for all facets of communications,
according to Ken Hooten, president and co-founder of the
company, which offers home solutions and do-it-your-self
information from national brands including TruGreen-ChemLawn,
Terminix, Merry Maid, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster,
Rescue Rooter, Furniture Media, AmeriSpec and SecurityLink.
George Rosenberg, 55, who was a managing partner at KCSA
PR four years, started his agency in May.
WARSCHAWSKI WINS ADIDAS ACCOUNT
Adidas-Salomon AG, Germany, a major manufacturer of athletic
footwear and sports apparel, has named Baltimore-based Warschawski
PR as its corporate PR agency, replacing Hill and Knowlton.
The contract, which is renewable, runs one year, according
to David Warschawski, who will lead the account team. Services
will include editorial, media relations and some IR.
WPR also recently added STX, a leading manufacturer of lacrosse
equipment and apparel.
LIPPE TAYLOR ACQUIRES SHOP PR
Lippe Taylor Marketing PR has acquired Shop PR, a 10-person
New York-based beauty/fashion firm.
SPR was opened two years ago by Nikki Gersten, following
an eight-year stint as director of global communications
at Estee Lauder.
Maureen Lippe said SPR, which handles Creative Nail Design,
Davies Gate, Piquet Fragrances and Dermalogica, will operate
as an independent unit of LT, and remain at its 17th st.
headquarters, with Gersten at the helm.
Neither Lippe nor Gersten would disclose the purchase price,
but sources estimated it at between $250,000 and $500,000.
Edition, August 23, 2000, Page 3
WEEK PLANS LUXURY SECTION
Business Week is pitching luxury advertisers for a special
fashion and beauty section that will be distributed in its
Dec. 18 issue.
Called "Serious Style," the section will provide
an "upscale environment for showcasing men's and women's
fashion, accessories, grooming products and leisure products,"
according to BW's consumer ad manager, Bruce Kostic.
The lifestyle-oriented section will be produced for BW by
Arena Publishing (930 Fifth ave., New York. 212/472-7400),
which also publishes Scene, a bimonthly movie magazine.
Anne Fell, who is Arena's publisher, plans to name two editors
for the BW section, which will have interviews and profiles
of "stylish top executives, who have distinguished
themselves through their achievements and who have mastered
the art of dressing well."
The section will feature stories on how to select appropriate
attire, gift ideas, personal care and fragrances and strategies
anyone can use to get ahead.
The section will be printed on 60 pound stock to attract
attention and the text will appear on adsections.businessweek.com
with links to the advertisers' websites.
If it proves successful, BW may do more such sections, said
Marcy Medina was named
"Eye" editor for Women's Wear Daily's new
West Coast edition, which debuted Aug. 21. Medina, who is
based in the Los Angeles bureau, will cover the events and
glamour of the entertainment industry.
Horn, who previously covered the film industry
for Premiere, is joining Newsweek Aug. 28
as a senior editor for the "Arts & Entertainment"
section based in Los Angeles.
Sarah Bartlett has resigned
as editor-in-chief of Geraldyne Laybourne's Oxygen Media.
McQuade III, VP, Internet accounts, Mayo Communications,
Los Angeles, and this Newsletter's West Coast correspondent,
will be featured in the Fox Family Channel's series, "Hero,"
this fall. The show will tell how McQuade rescued a man
from a burning car in 1997.
Arvedlund, previously with TheStreet.com, covering
options, hedge funds, and emerging markets, has joined Barron's
to write "The Striking Price," a weekly column,
replacing Michael Santoli, who now writes the mutual funds
Kerstetter, previously at PC Week, joined
Business Week's Silicon Valley bureau in San Mateo,
as computer and high tech senior editor.
The Parsons School of Design and Linda Ellerbee's
company, Lucky Duck Productions, are developing a series
of TV programs featuring interviews with great designers
The series will be taped at Parsons School of Design's fashion
building in New York. Neither the interviewer nor the designers
have been picked.
Ellerbee, who has produced shows for the "Intimate
Portrait" biography series on Lifetime TV, wants to
feature 12 designers and weave in footage and stills, as
well as celebrity interviews on why they wear a particular
designer. She hopes to air the series some time next year.
a website based on Cosmo Girl magazine, which is published
by Hearst Corp., ranked as the number one site for girls
between the ages of 12 and 17, according to a report from
Media Metrix and Juniper Communications titled, "It's
a Woman's World Wide Web."
pulled in a 50.7% share of that market, which represents
5.8% of the total web population, putting it ahead of TeenPeople.com,
Delias.com, Seventeen.com, Gurlmail.com, and Nsync.com.
Atoosa Rubenstein, who is editor-in-chief of Cosmo Girl,
said equal importance is put on the website and the magazine.
The study also showed the 12-to-17 age group grew the fastest
in the past year, by 12% to 4.42 million unique visitors
from 1.95 million.
In the same study, the top five sites for college-age women
were bigwords.com, collegclub.com, uh.edu, delias.com and
The top five sites for woman age 25 to 34 were babygear.com,
pampers.com, walgreens.com, ibaby.com and more.com.
Associated Press is opening a second regional news service
to expand coverage through 12 southern states with a focus
on stories and trends that cross state boundaries.
The AP South Wire is based in Raleigh, N.C., headed by James
William Kronholm was named to succeed Larry Ryckman as editor
of the West Wire, which is based in Helena, Mont. Ryckman
will now oversee both services from Denver.
Style, which received the Council of Fashion Designers
of America special award in 1999 "for putting the spotlight
on fashion and Hollywood," hired Ann Gobel, who was
director of luxury goods and fashion at Worth magazine,
as director of jewelry and watches.
MOVED: Art Garcia, editor and publisher of Media
Mark, which publishes High-Tech Hot Wire, and several other
media newsletters, has moved to P.O. Box 4406, El Dorado
Hills, CA 95762-0018. 916/941-8505.
(Media news continued on next page)
Edition, August 23, 2000, Page 4
GROUP ATTACKS N.Y. PAPER
The Anti-Defamation League's national director, Abraham
Foxman, said Wilbert Tatum of The Amsterdam News<D>
is an anti-Semite for claiming in an editorial that the
Jews have purchased Sen. Joseph Lieberman's spot on the
Tatum, who is black, is both chairman/CEO and publisher
emeritus of the weekly, which covers news of interest to
blacks living in New York. His daughter, Elinor Tatum, is
publisher and editor-in-chief.
Foxman said Tatum's claim that Lieberman was picked as the
Democrat's VP candidate because of financial considerations
is "insidious and an anti-Semetic canard employed by
anti-Semites, racists and conspiracy theorists through the
centuries to bolster their absurd claim of Jewish control.
"His contention that Jews bought the Vice Presidency
shows Bill Tatum for what he is, nothing more than an anti-Semite
the likes of David Duke," said Foxman.
Tatum, in response to reporter's questions about Foxman's
accusations, said Foxman has been a "race-baiter all
"My wife is a Holocaust survivor," said Tatum.
"My daughter is Jewish. I am not, nor have I ever been,
Tatum also responded to Foxman's accusation in the Aug.
17 edition of the Amsterdam News, which reprinted Tatum's
Aug. 10 editorial, entitled "The Democratic-Jewish
Connection," along with a reprint of Foxman's letter
to the editor, dated Aug. 10.
Tatum said "Abraham Foxman, an avowed enemy of all
persons of color in this country and a man especially harmful
to Jews all over the world, has for years been allowed to
run roughshod from his position of power as national director
of the ADL, a once well-respected organization that gave
hope to Jews, as well as persons of color, who were being
abused by those who did not believe in the American system.
"That is no more, alas. Mr. Foxman has gone crazy with
Tatum said the first time he knew of Foxman's letter was
when the paper was called by the Daily News. He said
The New York Post "never called us for comment
on Foxman's scurrilous letter."
"We have come to expect this kind of `dissing' from
Foxman, the New York Post and Daily News and all others
who masquerade as defenders of that which is best for America,"
GROUP WANTS TO HIDE HEADLINES
The American Decency Assn. took a full page ad in The
New York Times on Aug. 7 to criticize supermarkets for
displaying magazines with indecent cover lines at checkout
The ad said the group of parents, grandparents and others
are "fed up with supermarkets displaying, right at
checkout lanes where children wait, magazines with big headlines
about orgasms, sex positions, foreplay, oral sex, etc."
The ad offered several examples of what the ADA considers
offending cover lines from Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Jane,
Redbook and Mademoiselle.
The ad was accompanied by a petition for consumers to fill
out which would be sent to 300 supermarket chains. The ADA
wants supermarkets to conceal the cover lines and display
the magazines in a less trafficked area of the store.
Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi, an ad agency, said
readership would decline by 40% if magazines were removed
from checkout counters.
Bill Johnson, executive director of the ADA, which is based
in Fremont, Mich., said he submitted the ad to several daily
newspapers, which rejected it, and the Times was the first
newspaper to run it.
The Magazine Publishers of America issued a statement that
said: "The MPA believes in the right to freely disseminate
legally protected material."
WANTS LIVELY THESTREET.COM
James Cramer, stockmarket columnist, who is the largest
single stockholder in TheStreet.com, said the financial
news website, which was having money problems, needs to
be more lively.
"We need to think like TV, not print," Cramer
recently advised Tom Clarke, who is president/CEO of the
"If you are to take back that newsroom, you need the
COO to be a producer/director like Roone Arledge" with
people from TV backgrounds to work under him, said Cramer.
Cramer says he wants "people who are all about keeping
the site lively and be an intermediary between ads sales
"They would be assigned specifically to get page views.
That would be their mantra," said Cramer, who has had
a running feud with website editor-in-chief Dave Kansas,
who previously was an editor at The Wall Street Journal.
Cramer complained that information on the site had not been
changed since the prior day.
NAMES A&E WRITER
John Horn joins Newsweek as a senior writer for the
"Arts & Entertainment" section in Los Angeles.
He replaces Corie Brown, who recently went to The Los
Angeles Times as entertainment group editor. Horn will
report to A&E editor Sarah Pettit.
TWO NEW EDITORS JOIN SPIN
Spin, a leading music and youth culture magazine, has
named Regan Solmo as managing editor and Hans Eisenbeis
as senior editor.
Solmo fills a position vacated by DeDe DeMoss.
Eisenbeis, formerly editor-in-chief of the Minn.-based music
magazine Request, will edit music features and oversee technology
and Internet coverage.
Edition, August 23, 2000, Page 7
PAYS $411M FOR UNIDENTIFIED FIRMS
Interpublic, in an Aug. 14 SEC filing, lists 21 acquisitions
for which it paid $411 million in stock and/or cash between
March 31 and June 30.
None of the acquisitions is identified although there is
a breakout of the stock and cash paid. Eleven of the acquisitions
are domestic companies ($402M total) and the rest are foreign.
Some of the payments are for deals made in 1998 and 1999.
Not included in the list is the $500M in stock (and assumption
of debt of $180M) that IPG will be paying for NFO Worldwide,
The biggest deal was on June 27 when an IPG unit bought
100% of a "domestic company" for $108 million
in cash; $63 million in stock upon the effectiveness of
a registration statement, and issued 198,000 shares valued
at $9M that are held back for up to one year to satisfy
any indemnification claim. The deal totaled about $180M.
Second biggest was on June 22 when IPG paid $152M in stock
(IPG's value on the issue date of July 13) in connection
with acquiring 100% of the stock of a "domestic company."
The stock made up 51% of the equity and 86% of the voting
The shareholders of the acquisition got 2,116,592 IPG shares
and 1,483,408 shares went to the owner of the company's
debt of $60.75M.
$21.8M Paid for "Domestic Company"
No. 3 was the payment on June 29 of $15.2M in cash and $6.66M
in stock when a unit of IPG acquired a "domestic company."
Next largest buy, for a "domestic company," was
the payment on June 30 of $14.2M in stock (328,058 shares).
On June 28, a unit of IPG acquired 30% of the "membership
interests" of a "domestic company" for $1.48M
in cash and $5.9M in shares to the company and $800,625
in stock to the company's members (total of $8.2M in stock
Next largest purchase was $3.1M in stock and $1.6M in cash
on June 30 for the assets of a "domestic company"
acquired by a unit of IPG.
A "foreign company" was acquired for $2.39M in
cash and $799,631 in stock.
Other domestic purchases were for $3.65M; $2.4M; $2.02M;
$760,000, and $244,674. Other foreign purchases were for
$2M; $1.1M; $694,530; $526,187; $436,140; $385,500; $281,008;
$236,983, and $123,000.
PR PRO RIPS TIRE RECALL
The Bridgestone/Firestone tire recall was doomed from the
start, according to Richard Nicolazzo, president/CEO of
Nicolazzo & Assocs., Boston.
"Give them credit for doing it voluntarily, but stop
the plaudits there because the way it was done turned into
a PR nightmare that may have damaged the brand for years
to come," said Nicolazzo, who has been a PR practitioner
for more than 25 years.
"Bridgestone should have flown in its chairman and
CEO, Masatoshi Ono, and had him say to the >American
public `We care and we will fix the problem.'
"Instead, the company trotted out an executive VP.
Then the next day in Tokyo, it had a VP address the media
in a hastily called press event. The CEO should have set
the tone and let other executives handle the details. Now,
it's too late." he said.
He also believes Firestone spent too much time talking about
what it believed was the cause of the tire shredding.
USA Today reported Aug. 17 that Ford Motor CEO Jacques
Nasser had taken a "lead role" after stories pointed
to a design problem with the Explorer that caused the SUV
to roll over if a tire fails.
Nasser told the paper that "We feel a responsibility
to be open and to communicate."
Nasser said he was satisfied with Bridgestone's response
to the issue. "I've been in touch with them on an as-needed
basis day to day. There are some 200 people at our companies
in teams working on different aspects of this," said
Rhetoric about "under-inflation," "improper
maintenance," and "hot road conditions" did
little to calm the driving public, said Nicolazzo. "By
emphasizing these points, Firestone was blaming the victim,"
Treads have peeled without warning from Firestone tires-most
of them on Ford Explorers-in hundreds of cases. The tire
failures, which sent the trucks out of control, are cited
in 62 deaths.
"Ultimately, the reason they were recalling the tires
was because there appeared to be a quality control problem.
It would have been better to say `Whatever is wrong, we
will make sure every customer is taken care of,'" said
"Only time will tell how much damage has been done
to Firestone and Ford," said Nicolazzo.
NIRI TO OFFER COURSES AT TWO SCHOOLS
The National Investor Relations Institute/New York has partnered
with two local universities to offer three continuing education
courses for IR professionals this fall.
Illene Angarola, chair of Professional Development for NIRI/NY,
said the courses, which will be taught by IR pros, will
be offered by New York University and Long Island University/C.W.
Mary Beth Kissane, who is senior VP of Abernathy MacGregor
Group, will lead a course on issues in corporate disclosure.
The course will run for 10 weeks on Wednesdays, starting
The husband-and-wife team of Ed Nebb, who is a principal
at BSMG Worldwide, and June Filingeri, president of Comm-Partner,
will teach an eight-week financial relations/IR course on
Wednesdays, starting Sept. 27 until Nov. 22.
Both courses will be held at NYU's midtown location. Information:
Renee Harris at 212/790-3212.
An introductory course on financial PR will be led by Kelly
Leung, who directs the IR division at Gavin Anderson &
Co. The class will be held at LIU on Wednesdays from Sept.
Registration info.: Abby Dress, 516/299-2984.
Edition, August 23, 2000, Page 8
is destroying neighborhood businesses and robbing states
of needed sales tax revenues, say full-page ads in the
New York Times and other papers. The ads see e-shopping
going from $13 billion in 1998 to $108 billion in 2003 or
6% of total retail spending. States, which lost $525M in
taxes alone in 1999, want e-commerce taxed but e-interests
are battling such taxes. Website is www.
turnpoint.org... another full-page ad in major papers
asks supermarkets to mask magazines at checkout counters
that tout features on orgasms, foreplay, etc. Targeted are
Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Glamour, Mademoiselle and
Jane. Campaign is via American Decency Assn., Fremont,
Mich...pickets regularly appear in front of Young & Rubicam's
offices at 285 Madison ave. (a half block from our offices)
charging that Y&R and others are shooting commercials with
non-union talent. They hand out pamphlets headlined: "Destruction
of the Middle Class." The Screen Actors Guild and Amer.
Fed. of Radio & TV Artists are negotiating with the Assn.
of National Advertisers and charge the ANA "walked
away from the bargaining table"...the use of the
"Fortune 500" as the basis for two new publicly traded
mutual funds has raised the ire of MSNBC columnist Christopher
Byron. He said the launching of such funds, particularly
one whose assets are picked "subjectively" by
Fortune writers and editors, makes them "stock touts"
and undermines the credibility of Fortune. The deal was
cut by the Time Warner Fortune Group with State Street Global
stock price, off one-third from its high and stuck at that
level for some weeks, is causing visible concern among
some of its investors. Brokers and analysts say credibility
in growth-via-acquisitions has plummeted with stocks of
both partners going down in recent months. This "game"
is well known on Wall Street. A company can acquire numerous
others, in each case getting the new company to pay all
its bills, write-down assets, etc., and reporting a loss
just before the acquisition. The books are now "teed
up" for profits. Wall Streeter Dick Jenrette blasted
this technique at a NIRI meeting, saying a company could
"write-off" $5 billion, then show growing earnings
over the next three years. But over the four-year period,
the company hasn't made a nickel!...a group of PRSA members
wants to end the 20-year rule of the accrediteds and
is circulating a petition to other members and the board.
The group has studied the bylaws of PRSA and is amazed at
the stranglehold the APRs have on the Society. For instance,
only APRs themselves can petition for a change in the bylaws.
Another alternative, a majority vote of chapter members
present at a special meeting, was called laughably impractical
by one dissident. "We're lucky if we get 50 people
at a meeting" (out of 400+ members), the dissident
said. The APR requirement appears in eight different articles
and sections of the bylaws...the APRs, who have held
sway during the current unprecedented 10-year boom of the
U.S. economy, have done a poor job of growing PRSA.
Membership went from 14,983 in 1990 to 20,000 currently,
a gain of 5,000 or 500 per year. This is not a good record
in a booming economy and when there are an estimated 350,000
in PR according to the U.S. Census Bureau, say the dissidents.
Furthermore, they point out, the APRs have run PRSA into
apparent insolvency in the midst of this boom. PRSA meets
two tests of insolvency: current liabilities exceed current
assets when $1.6 million in dues are properly booked as
deferred income, and PRSA wasn't paying its bills last December
when payables nearly tripled to $880,000. The APRs have
spent more than $2 million in Society funds in the past
ten years subsidizing the creation of 2,633 new APRs. But
the number of active APRs (about 4,000) is about the same
as it was ten years ago instead of being 6,600 because of
people quitting PRSA, retiring, dying, etc. This means,
in effect, the $2M has been wasted...the worst thing,
say the critics, is that PRSA has almost completely ignored
the power of the web as a communications vehicle. The
2000 budget calls for $60,000 to be spent on the web and
$475,000 on APR (including $240K for a new test). PRSA leaders
refuse to make its 200+ Assembly delegates accessible on
the web via an e-mail address that reaches all at once...the
Assembly, which elected David Simon as an "at-large"
rather than a district director, is the only body that
can change that designation. A move by the nominating committee
to do this usurps the power of the Assembly. This body is
a shadow of what it once was. It sat meekly last year when
chair Sam Waltz ruled New Yorker Bob Weintraub out of order
for proposing a financial review committee (which the board
is now creating). Assembly members sit like bumps on a log
while speech after speech is read to them covering well-worn
and outworn topics. Leaders think up make-work, impractical
ploys (like the international initiative) to occupy the
Assembly and keep it from deliberating.