Edition, August 30, 2000, Page 1
SUCCEEDED B-M ON FIRESTONE
Fleishman-Hillard succeeded Burson-Marsteller as Bridgestone/Firestone's
agency of record in July, before the tire recall crisis
Ford, whose Ford Explorer is a big user of the faulty tires,
is a major client of B-M.
Dave Senay, general manager of F-H, St. Louis, >said
B/F and Ford are working hard to get the defective tires
off the road. F-H was named for a wide variety of tasks
including the tire recall crisis, said Senay.
A survey by Automotive News found that the handling
of the recall is damaging the reputations of both B/F and
Ford. Nearly half of those polled described Ford's level
of honesty as fair or poor.
Although Ford got better grades than B/F for honesty, helpfulness
and speed of response to the crisis, the images of both
companies have been tarnished, said the publication.
Half of those polled said they would be "less likely"
to buy a vehicle that has B/F tires and 25% of those intending
to buy a sports utility vehicle said they would shun the
Ford Takes Hit
"Ford is taking almost as big a hit as B/F," said
Rik Kinney, senior VP of Dohring Co., research firm.
Anne Doyle, Ford spokesperson, said the Dohring survey was
based on immediate impressions.
Ford's own research, she said, based on focus group interviews
on the effectiveness of the company's tire recall ad campaign,
showed one-third of the participants were impressed with
Ford's response and 25% said they are more likely to consider
a Ford for their next automotive purchase based on how Ford
handled the recall. Ford appears to be distancing itself
from B/F, portraying itself as an open, customer-responsive
in a "shelf" filing, asked the SEC for permission
to raise up to $500 million via debt securities that
could be sold from time to time. The funds would be used
for debt repayment, stock repurchases, possible acquisitions,
and general purposes. IPG on June 27 also opened a $750
million line of credit via lending institutions. It has
already used $409M. IPG's stock at $38 is off 34% this year...
Excite@Home, San Francisco, named Text 100 for a
projected $500K in fees. Others pitching included Ruder
Finn and Porter Novelli. Edelman PR Worldwide responded
to the RFP but withdrew because of conflicts.
SELL AT OMC AND IPG
Insiders at Omnicom have sold $47.9 million of OMC's stock
since last September while buying $4.7M. Insiders at Interpublic
since Dec. 31 have sold $44.8M of IPG stock and bought $15.5M.
OMC's stock is trading around $81 or $26 below its high
in a rising stock market while IPG is around $38, having
lost a third of its value since late 1999.
Current messages on the Yahoo! bulletin boards for each
stock ask questions such as, "Any news on OMC?"
and "Can anybody offer an intelligent explanation of
why this (IPG) continues to drop at such a serious rate?"
There have been no responses from corporate officers. Neither
OMC nor IPG has an on-staff PR or IR person.
OMC's Reinhard Sold $21.7M
Keith Reinhard, chairman of the DDB Worldwide unit of OMC
and an OMC director, has sold $21.7M of OMC stock since
last Sept. 8. He sold 84,000 shares April 28 for $7.6M and
on Oct. 29, 1999, exercised 100,000 options at $12.11 a
share and sold them at $82.78 for net proceeds of $7,067,000.
Allen Rosenshine, chairman and CEO of the BBDO Worldwide
unit, has sold $15.9M of stock. Included were options exercised
at $8.77 a share for 60,000 shares and sold in 30,000 lots
at $88.75 (June 2) and $92.50 (March 21) and options exercised
for 50,000 shares at $5.88 sold in lots of 25,000 shares
at $87.81 (Oct. 29) and $92.50 (Nov.22).
Chairman Bruce Crawford sold 24,000 shares worth $2.269M
in late March.
Dennis Hewitt, treasurer, sold stock worth $851,899. On
March 31 he acquired 6,315 shares from OMC at 50 cents a
share for a paper gain of $588,084 at the price that day
IPG Insider Sells 200,000 Shares
Biggest single IPG transaction was the sale of 200,000 shares
by "shareholder" John M. Connors Jr. Feb. 16 for
$9.2M. "Shareholder" Richard J. Gillespie sold
100,000 shares June 20 for $4.75M.
Phil Geier, who will retire as CEO of IPG at the end of
the year, registered last week to sell 190,000 shares worth
$7.3M at the current price of $38. Geier on Feb. 24 surrendered
51,531 exercised shares worth $2,127,200 on that day and
acquired 100,000 shares the same day by exercising options
at $7.44 a share.The paper gain on those shares was $3,468,501
at the Feb. 24 stock price of $42.13.
Edition, August 30, 2000, Page 2
KILLED IN SUBWAY FALL
Peter Seligman, 30, a partner at Dan Klores Assocs., New
York, was killed Aug. 18 in a subway accident.
Seligman, who represented several sports and entertainment
celebrities, including Mike Tyson and Jay Leno, was on a
crowded subway platform at 8:30 a.m. with his fiancée,
Sara Sinek, who is a manager of PR at Scholastic, a children's
publisher, on their way to the City Clerk's office to get
their marriage license. A few moments before the train pulled
into the Brooklyn Bridge station, Sinek told police that
Seligman, who felt ill, had stepped out to the small platform
between the subway cars to get some air.
Seligman apparently fainted, and as Sinek grabbed for him,
he tumbled down between two subway cars to the tracks. He
fell onto the electrified third rail and was electrocuted.
The New York Post assigned six reporters to gather
information about his death, and the paper gave a full page
of coverage in its Saturday edition. The paper described
Seligman as a "PR whiz."
Seligman had joined DKA eight years ago, shortly after graduating
from the Univ. of Wisconsin. In 1997, Klores made Seligman
LARRY TAVCAR DIES
Lawrence Tavcar, 64, a longtime senior corporate communications
executive, died Aug. 24 at Greenwich Hospital in Stamford,
Conn., following a lengthy prostate cancer illness.
Tavcar, who retired two years ago, was a native of Cleveland
and a graduate of the Ohio University school of journalism.
During his PR career, he held positions with the New York
Stock Exchange, CIT Financial Corp. and Paramount Communications.
He also had been a senior VP of the Carl Byoir agency.
Tavcar, who was senior director, corporate communications
at Paramount (formerly Gulf +Western), spent six years at
the company. He played an instrumental communications role
during the company's restructuring. Paramount was acquired
by Viacom in 1994.
From 1978 to 1984, Tavcar was manager of the account groups
at Byoir that handled such clients as ADP, American Can,
Borg Warner, Firestone, Honeywell and Steelcase. He also
headed Byoir's business-to-business group for two years
after serving as its executive VP.
Tavcar was a member of the boards of the Westchester/Fairfield
chapters of PRSA and NIRI, and a past president of PRSA/New
York and NIRI/New York.
He is survived by his wife, Denise; two sons, Bret, of Stamford,
and Erik of Arlington, Va.; four sisters, and a brother,
all of Cleveland.
A ceremony celebrating Tavcar's life will be scheduled shortly.
In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested that a gift
in Tavcar's memory be sent to CAP CURE For Prostate Cancer,
1250 Fourth st., #360, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
OMNICOM IS PART OWNER OF FIVE SITES
Omnicom Group's Internet investment unit, Communicate, has
taken part ownership of Healthology, an online provider
of original, physician-generated medical and health information
via streaming media.
The company, whose ad/PR agencies handle pharmaceutical
companies, also has part ownership of four other healthcare-related
Internet companies. They are Caresoft, which runs the DailyApple.com,
a consumer website; eMedicine.com and WorldMedicalLeaders.com,
which hosts medical lectures online for physicians, and
eResearchTechnology, a clinical-trial site where drug companies
can track tests of new medications.
Thomas Harrison, Omnicom's chairman/CEO of Diversified Agency
Services, said the investment is a "key step in our
unique E-health strategy. By adding Healthology to our E-health
portfolio, we continue to demonstrate our belief that the
highest quality of original content offers significant marketing
opportunities for our clients."
The five healthcare sites will be used by Omnicom to pave
the way for its pharmaceutical clients which are eager to
reach doctors and consumers on the web without alienating
them, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal said Omnicom is also planning to develop a database
of the visitors to help the drug companies better target
consumers and physicians.
FOUNDATION SELLS COWS
The PRSA Foundation is selling miniature paper cows for
$500 each for a "Cows on PR-ade" fund-raising
event to be held at the PR World Congress, which is scheduled
for Oct. 22-24 in Chicago.
PR firms, corporations and individuals have been invited
to purchase and decorate the 18-inch cows for <%0>display
at the meeting. Celebrity judges will pick the best decorated
cows to auction off.
The event is the kick-off to a major fundraising PR campaign
for the Foundation, which hopes to raise more than $2.5
million over the next three years, according to Ron Culp,
senior VP of PR and government affairs at Sears, Roebuck,
who is president-elect of the PRSA Foundation.
David Grossman & Assocs. is handling orders for the
cows at 847/332-2273.
National Public Radio has apologized for airing an interview
with CBS Corp.'s senior VP of communications about the "Survivor"
finale that aired on the CBS-TV network.
NPR's "Morning Edition" did an on-air interview
with Fortune columnist and author Stanley Bing, after
seeing his book, What Would Machiavelli Do, which
deals with office politics.
What NPR's producer did not know is Bing's name at CBS is
Gil Schwartz. In the radio interview, Schwartz said the
CBS show "has most, definitely proven that it is, in
fact, the mean that inherit the earth." Schwartz later
acknowledged he should have made his role at CBS known to
the NPR reporter.
Edition, August 30, 2000, Page 3
LANDS FRONT PAGE PHOTO
BSMG Worldwide landed a front-page color publicity photo
of the four finalists in the "Survivor" TV show
in the Aug. 23 edition of The New York Daily News.
The same photo also ran in The New York Post, as
a four-column photo in black-and-white on page 3.
The News gave BSMG credit for the photo, which was shot
by the PR firm's sister ad agency, Bozell, for the "milk
mustache" ad. The News cropped out the "Got Milk?"
ad slogan, but the Post's editor left it in.
Bozell did not know who the final survivor would be and
had to wait to release the "winner's" ad for publication
immediately after the show on Aug. 23. The four cast members
were photographed, together and separately, on a beach in
Malibu on Aug. 18. A full page ad of the winning survivor
appeared in the media Aug. 24.
Among the PR tactics used by General Motors to launch the
new Pontiac Aztek SUV was to get a product placement on
CBS TV's "Survivor" as part of a special program
called "Aztek Adventurers," which was managed
by Manning, Selvage & Lee.
The winning survivor, Richard Hatch, who runs his own corporate
training firm in Newport, R.I., was awarded an Aztec as
a prize. Several other advertisers on Survivor, including
Bud Light, Ericsson cell phone, and Dr. Scholl's footpads,
had their products used in the episodes.
Bozell has assigned three staffers to spot newsmakers who
can be booked for the specially made "milk mustache"
ad that has been dubbed its "moments" campaign.
The first "moments" ad featured President Clinton
and Sen. Bob Dole. The ad ran on the eve of the 1996 presidential
election, and it led to 189 print news stories and 36 TV
reports, accounting for 107 million viewer-readers, according
Last January's Super Bowl "milk mustache" ads
consisted of opposing quarterbacks during the big game,
and was followed by the winning quarterback's ad. BSMG calculates
this commercial was seen by 29 million viewers or readers,
based on circulation and ratings information.
DAILY NEWS TO START FREE PAPER
Brian Moss, who is Sunday editor of The New York Daily
News, was named editor of The Daily News Express,
a new free distribution evening paper that will focus on
business and late-breaking general news.
Bronx bureau chief Bob Kappstatter was named deputy editor
of the paper, which will have a staff of 12 reporters when
it starts Sept. 12.
The 40-page paper-20 pages editorial and 20 pages of ads-will
be given out free by street hawkers at 75 transportation
points in New York and downtown Brooklyn Mondays through
The Express, which will have an initial press run
of 75,000, will be designed as a quick read.
Modern Times, a Stockholm-based publisher, started
its first U.S. daily, called the Metro, in Philadelphia
Currently, about 100,000 copies of the paper are distributed
free at Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
stations, and aboard trains, buses and trolleys.
The tabloid-size paper, which features brief local, national
and international news plus reports on business, sports,
TV and features, is designed to be read in less than 25
Modern Times said it would start Metro papers in other U.S.
cities with mass transit systems (NL, 2/23/00).
Dan Rottenberg, 58, was named editor of Family
Business, a national quarterly magazine published in
Philadelphia. He replaces Howard Muson, who is retiring
after nine years. Barbara Spector was named managing editor.
Stephen Weeks was promoted to editor of VegasGolfer,
a bimonthly magazine covering all aspects of golf in Las
Vegas. The magazine, published by Greenspun Media Group,
is based in Henderson, Nev.
Fred Fishkin, who is known for his daily "Boot
Camp" reports on technology for WCBS-AM, is joining
Bloomberg Radio's reformatted nationally syndicated morning
show, now called "Bloomberg on the Money."
Fishkin's 90-second report, to be called "Bloomberg
Boot Camp," replaces "TechLine" in the morning
lineup. A longer version will be broadcast on "Bloomberg
on the Weekend," the new weekend magazine program.
Sarah Mahoney, previously editor of Fitness
magazine and former executive editor of Parents,
was named editor of Ladies' Home Journal. She took
over July 31.
Robert Clow, formerly a senior writer at Institutional
Investor, has joined The New York Post to cover mergers
and acquisitions and the stock market.
Nicole Beland has replaced Daryl Chen as features
editor at Mademoiselle.
Billy Sims, previously managing editor, was promoted
to executive editor of Cooking Light, replacing Nathalie
Dearing, who retired.
Bruce Kelley, who had been executive editor of Health
Magazine, has joined San Francisco magazine as editor-in-chief,
replacing Dale Eastman.
Eric Moskowitz, a senior writer for Money
magazine, has joined Red Herring to cover technology
stocks and investing.
(Media news continued on next page)
Edition, August 30, 2000, Page 4
OF FOUR TOP EDITORS LEAVE PRW
Larry Dobrow, Matthew Boyle and Thom Weidlich, the three
top editors of PR Week/U.S. under editor-in-chief
Adam Leyland, are leaving the publication.
News editor Dobrow, a lawyer, said he is leaving to "explore
other opportunities" and the practice of law may be
one of them.
Boyle, analysis editor and with the paper since its start
in November 1998, is joining Fortune magazine in
September as a reporter.
He was previously with Simba Information, Stamford, Conn.,
as a writer. The company, which was previously owned by
Cowles Media and is now part of Primedia, covers computers
and other fields.
Weidlich, features editor, joined PRW a year ago from Direct
magazine. He said he will freelance.
Variety will test market a new monthly magazine,
called eV, that will cover show business, technology and
first issue will be polybagged with the Sept. 21 editions
of Daily and Weekly Variety subscriptions.
Michael Speier, who is editor of eV, is based in Variety's
Los Angeles office at 323/965-5366.
Chatt-Time, a magazine for African-American girls
between the ages of seven through 13, made its debut with
an April-May issue.
Vivian Birts, who is owner/publisher of the Atlanta-based
magazine, said Chatt-Time is the first print medium to target
that age group. She plans to publish six issues a year,
and to place it in libraries and black-owned bookstores
throughout the nation.
The magazine will have back-to-the-basics information on
etiquette, health and beauty, positive role models, crafts
and recipes, according to Deborah Heard, editor. PO Box
10797, 30310. 404/766-7491.
Motor News Media, a newspaper-only content provider,
has entered into a partnership with Racing Information Systems,
an exclusive online service to provide weekly coverage of
Besides coverage of all NASCAR touring series, RIS will
provide coverage of Formula One, Indy, Le Mans, rally, drag
racing, motorcycle and Sprint car on a weekly basis under
the Race Final banner. The features will be delivered
via MNM's subscription-only website.
RIS, based in Redondo Beach, Calif., has been providing
auto and motorcycle racing content on CompuServe exclusively
since 1979 and on the web since 1996. Michael Hollander
is editor of RIS.
MNM, based in Urbandale, Ia., currently has more than 80
newspaper subscribers in 27 states and Canada with a combined
circulation of nearly 3.5 million readers. Kenneth Chester
Jr. is president.
The Wall Street Journal Sunday, a four-page
section which is distributed weekly by 19 metropolitan newspapers,
has a new "website of the week" feature taken
from Barron's<D> magazine.
The Journal claimed in an Aug. 21 house ad that ads in the
section are read by six million+ people.
David Crook is editor and Larry Rout is senior editor of
WSJS. 212/416-2000; sunday@wsj-com.
The New York Times will launch a twice-weekly
"Style & Entertaining" section on Nov. 5.
The section is under the direction of Amy Spind-ler, who
is editor of the "Style" section, and will be
edited by William Norwich.
The section will combine fashion, home and food in one package.
Norwich, who is also entertaining editor of The New York
Times Sunday Magazine, will no longer write for House
& Garden, where he also drew caricatures for the
"Polite Society" back page.
The Talk America Radio Networks, Canton, Mass., each
week broadcasts seven talk shows focusing on the world of
personal computers, E-commerce and the Internet.
The programs are: (all times are Eastern)
-"Computers Daze" with Guy Kemp (Mon.-Fri., 10
-"Megs & Modems" with John Rody (Saturday,
-"PC Talk" with Lloyd Kruckeberg and John Dowling
(Saturday, 9-11 a.m. and Sunday, 3-5 p.m.);
-"Net Profits" with Jim Wischner (Sat., 6-8 pm);
-"Log on USA" with Jaclyn Easton (Sunday., 7-8
-"Online Shopping Report" (Sunday, 6-7 p.m.).
Star, president of Talk America, said more and more stations
are carrying these programs, and listeners are tuning in
to hear experts discuss the newest products, and to ask
TA has nearly 450 radio station affiliates in all 50 states
and Canada, and it also produces the WorldWeb News Network.
All shows are broadcast simultaneously on the Internet at
talkamerica.com. 781/828-4546; fax: 3822.
Talk America also produces "Duke & The Doctor,"
a weekly program co-hosted by Dr. Jan McBarron, and her
husband, natural foods expert Joseph "Duke" Liberatore,
who promote vitamins and herbs for disease treatment and
The show airs every weekday from 10-11 a.m. on some 150
"Bloomberg Politically Speaking" debuted
July 22 and is broadcast in the New York tri-state area
on 1130 AM on Saturdays at 3, 7, & 11 a.m. and 3, 7,
& 11 p.m., and on the web at www.bloomberg.com.
The show features interviews, discussions, and a wrap-up
of the political week and examines the impact of political
events on the stock markets.
The hosts are Paul Alexander, a political columnist for
Bloomberg News, and John Batchelor, a political novelist
and a Republican historian.
Edition, August 30, 2000, Page 7
'SPIN' AND MORE 'PR' URGED
Businesses that treat their communications strategies as
an exercise in "spin" risk substantial damage
to their reputations and their relationships with customers
and investors, says David Hakensen, who is SVP at Padilla
Speer Beardsley in Minneapolis.
"By handling communications as a `win-lose' adversarial
process, or by distorting facts with unrealistic or absurd
interpretations, companies erode their credibility,"
Hakensen wrote in an article that ran Aug. 14 in the Minneapolis
Hakensen said spin is no longer a Washington, D.C., phenomenon.
"From debates over local policy to corporate crisis
management, the characteristics of spin are spilling over
into all forms of public discourse," said Hakensen.
For example, Hakensen said "tobacco executives still
try to argue with a straight face that they don't believe
smoking causes cancer; Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, tried
to make sifting through Microsoft's garbage seem like a
patriotic duty, and as far as we know, O.J. is still trying
to track down the real killer."
The downside is that one believes them, he said.
"Every company is entitled to aggressive advocacy,"
said Hakensen. "But building a positive public image
means thinking beyond the company's perspective and understanding
how its programs and policies will be perceived externally.
Communication is not just about talking, but about listening,
too. Spin usually is a one-way street."
Hakensen said the alternative to spin is "PR."
"Experienced PR practitioners, whether they are from
inside a company or from outside agencies, know that a superior
corporate communications program is based on certain principles:
honesty, accuracy, candor, creativity and humor."
Hakensen said when Schwan's faced negative publicity surrounding
contaminated products, the company told the truth and took
steps to make the problems right.
that experience with Coca-Cola's recent debacle in Europe,
when the company's failure to acknowledge contamination
problems left it with a PR black eye," said Hakensen,
who noted the company's mishandling of the European crisis
was cited as a contributing factor in the resignation of
Douglas Ivestor as Coke's chairman.
"The lesson is that people are very forgiving of mistakes
but extremely harsh in judging dishonesty or deception,"
said Hakensen. "That's why spin is so inappropriate
as a corporate communications tool."
MASTER PUTS DOWN HIS CRAFT
David Gergen, editor-at-large for U.S. News & World
Report and a regular analyst on "The News Hour with
Jim Lehrer," laments the ascendance of spin and media
manipulation in his new book, "Eyewitness to Power:
The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton" (382 pages,
Simon & Schuster, $26).
Gergen, who helped institute "spin patrol" during
the Reagan Adminsitration, using leaks, damage control and
sound bites to package and promote that administration's
policies, said "One of my deepest regrets in public
life is a feeling that I have contributed to this deterioration.
has spun out of control and we need to put it back in its
box," said Gergen, who also helped the Clinton White
House rebuild its public image.
LIEBERMAN GETS $ FROM DRUG COS.
Some of Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman's most reliable
contributors have worked in the pharmaceutical and insurance
Lieberman, who according to Connecticut law is allowed to
campaign to keep his Senate seat, while also running as
the Vice Presidential nominee, has raised $91,150 from the
His wife, Hadassah, was once director of policy planning
and communications for Pfizer, and also worked on health-related
issues for APCO Worldwide in Washington, D.C. She was working
out of her home as a women's health consultant before her
husband was named to the Democratic ticket.
The Center for Responsive Politics said Lieberman has collected
more money from the insurance industry-$197,419-than any
Chis Lehane, who is Vice President Al Gore's press secretary,
played down the importance of those contributions and Lieberman's
efforts on behalf of both industries.
Meanwhile, Gore criticized Gov. George Bush as a man who
has embraced the interests of corporations.
In a speech delivered August 19, Gore placed Bush on the
side of pharmaceutical companies that he said gouge the
elderly with high drug prices, and insurance company "bean
counters" who overrule doctors."They're for the
powerful, we're for the people," said Gore.
FINES HOUSTON IR FIRM
Merger Communications, a Houston-based IR firm representing
small-cap dot-com clients, has paid the Securities and Exchange
Commission $50,000 to settle a lawsuit charging the firm
with promoting 10 small publicly traded technology companies
without making disclosure of its investment in the companies.
Drake and Jukka Tolonen, the two owners of Merger, also
agreed to pay civil penalties of $10,000 each. The two were
accused of promoting several small firms without disclosing
that Merger owned stock in them and was being paid in stock
by its clients. Under terms of the settlement, Merger neither
admitted nor denied the accusations.
SEC had accused Merger of sending press releases over the
Internet in which it cast its clients in an extremely favorable
light without revealing that Merger "analysts"
would benefit financially from a steep increase in the stock
prices of its clients. The amount of shares Merger received
in compensation was linked to the share price increase created
by Merger's promotional efforts.
Edition, August 30, 2000, Page 8
Chemical has fired 40 employees in Texas for sending e-mails
that had sexual or other offensive terms in them. The
company also dropped 50 people at its Midland, Mich., h.q.
earlier this year after a similar investigation. Xerox,
Stamford, Conn., fired 40 employees last year for looking
at porno on the web. Companies now have software that monitors
employee e-mails. Meanwhile, salty language is common on
bulletin boards for public stocks. Name-calling and four-letter
words abound. Movies are laced with what used to be called
"foul" language. Popular music uses such language
and TV sitcoms are loaded with sex. Maybe the corporate
bluenoses are out of touch with the popular culture... journalists
are discussing PR people, announcing job changes, talking
about issues, etc., on MediaNews.org. It was founded
by journalist Jim Romensko. PR people come in for some blows.
One posting was: "Flacks are like spouses; half the
time, they just want to be heard"... whackaflack.com
lets players turn press releases into paper airplanes
that are then aimed at "pushy PR flacks and overzealous
young A/Es huffing breathlessly over Useless.com."
The game, which uses names of real PR firms such as B-M,
H&K, Ketchum, Brodeur, Edelman, etc., was invented by
e-tractions and its Boston PR firm, Stirling & Hager,
to show the client's game products. West Coast writer Zhenya
Gene Senyak feels the game "demeans both media and
PR people"... The Collapse and Revival of American
Community, by Robert Putnam, argues that Americans are
participating less in their organizations. Putnam made the
same point in 1995 with Bowling Alone<D> but came
under heavy attack by association interests which claimed
the number of groups zoomed from 10,299 in 1968 to 22,901
in 1997. But Putnam says that many of these groups are lobbying
and direct-mail operations with no membership duties except
writing a check. "Most Americans," he says, "no
longer spend much time in community organizations-we have
stopped doing committee work, stopped serving as officers
and stopped going to meetings"... the real story
of the Aug. 2 talk of 2001 PRSA chair Kathy Lewton to the
Westchester/Fairfield chapter is who didn't attend.
Only 12 of the 90+ chapter members came to hear their new
national leader. The other 35 people present were non-members.
The chapter publicizes meetings to about 300 including members
of five to seven similar groups like IABC, NIRI, Fairfield
County PR Assn., etc. Twenty-four were sole practitioners
or employees of small PR firms. At least a dozen were from
local non-profits and associations including three from
the local YMCA. Oxford Health Plans ($4 billion+) and Terex
($2.7B heavy equipment company) were the biggest companies
represented. Otherwise there was an almost complete absence
of client companies, small or large. Corporate PR pros have
mostly departed PRSA for NIRI, PR Seminar, Arthur Page,
the Wisemen, etc. The chance that some of the 35 non-members
who went to the lunch (paying $30 instead of $25) will join
PRSA are slim to none. They're already in groups that are
often much cheaper than PRSA's $215 dues (2001) and $75
initiation fee. They can attend PRSA's functions for $5
extra... only three accredited PRSA members signed the
petition to have APR removed as a prerequisite for holding
office, COO Ray Gaulke told one of the signers. One
of these withdrew the signature, he also reported. This
has discouraged those who want an end to mandatory APR for
office-holding. They feel the rule has not only made PRSA
an undemocratic organization but has made it into a welfare
state for the tiny group of APR die-hards. But the "decouplers"
shouldn't be discouraged. The petition to decouple was only
floated a week before the Aug. 21 deadline.
year-long PR campaign in support of decoupling is needed.
The facts that will come out are that the current subsidy
to make a new APR is $2,004 and the loss on the program
over ten years is $2,005,760. Each member is paying $23.75
of his or her dues this year to the APR welfare recipients
who have a tight grip on the governance of PRSA. As for
"Universal APR," not one of the 80 international
PR groups has joined this PRSA-led initiative. The attempt
to sell the APR exam at $385 to non-members has flopped.
Only 16 of the more than 7,000 members in eight other U.S.
groups that are part of UAPR took the spring exam. Major
culprits in this madness are the handful of naive, mostly
youthful PR people who take the exam, believing they are
going to get some kind of edge over fellow PR pros. With
PRSA having 116 chapters, this is usually one or two per
chapter with many chapters fielding no candidates. Non-APR
chapter leaders should urge a boycott of the exam. If no
one showed up, that would send an unmistakable message to
national PRSA leaders. We think something like this is already
The Association for Women in Communications - Annual
Professional Conference. Sept. 13-16th at the Austin,
Tex., Marriott at the Capitol, 701 East 11th st. Reservation
is required, 410/544-7442. A schedule of events and registration
form is available at www.womcom.org. $495 members. Contact:
AWC HQ, 1244 Richie Highway, #6 Arnold, MD 21012-1887 or