Edition, November 8, 2000, Page 1
PR WINS $5.4M HCFA PACT
Ogilvy PR Worldwide has won a $5.4 million contract from
the Health Care Financing Admin.
Tom Beall, managing director of Ogilvy's global health &
medical practice, said the firm is to expand HCFA's outreach
so the people it serves can make more informed decisions
about healthcare. He said Ketchum and GCI Group also were
awarded HCFA business.
Ogilvy is to develop media and marketing campaigns for Medicare,
Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
The contract is for one year with four additional option
years. The overall package is worth more than $30 million.
Ogilvy's team members on the account include J. Walter Thompson
Specialized Communications, Seniors Research Group, Aspen
Systems Corp., Sutton Social Marketing and Jing Xing Technologies.
LANDS $300K VERITEL ACCOUNT
Ruder Finn/Chicago has added Veritel Corp., which markets
voice verification technology and software, as a client.
The business is worth $300,000.
Howard Solomon, RF/Chicago managing director, calls Veritel
"one of the hottest emerging technology companies in
Casy Jones, who is RF's business-to-business/ e-commerce
practice manager, heads the account.
consolidated its $1.8 billion ad account at Omnicom. The
move represents a $140 million annual revenue loss for True
North...Deen + Black, Sacramento, has signed $6.8M
in state PR contracts, including a $6.1M piece of work for
CalTeach, a California State University program to recruit
teachers to the state's K-12 public schools. It is D&B's
largest contract win...David Fluhrer, VP-PR at Medscape,
to Avis Group Holding as VP-corporate comms., reporting
to the pres., corp. and business affairs. Bill Heyman did
the search. Fluhrer had also been VP of comms. at Olsten
Corp., five years...Alta-Vista, a leading Internet
search engine, has consolidated its account at GCI Group's
San Francisco office. GCI president Bob Feldman said AltaVista
is the "type of first class client" that the firm
wants on its roster...Phase Two Strategies picked
up SRI International as a client. Business Week called SRI
"the soul of Silicon Valley."
B-M GRABS $2.5M SONY BIZ
Burson-Marsteller has won the $2.5 million Sony Electronics
account, beating out Ogilvy PR Worldwide for the business,
according to Brian Levine, VP-corporate communications at
"We liked Burson's professionalism, media relations
capability and its enthusiasm" to service the account,
Tracey Pontarelli will head the Sony account from B-M's
New York office. She said the other team will be based in
B-M will handle Sony's home entertainment, personal audio
and computer lines.
Interpublic's Mindstorm, which had the businesss but did
not pitch, will continue as PR firm for Sony's computer
NAMED CEO OF EDELMAN'S PR21
Gus Weill, chairman of Burson-Marsteller's Corporate/Financial
Practice for the past four years, has returned to Daniel
J. Edelman Inc. as President/CEO of its PR21 unit. He succeeds
Will Sullivan who left six months ago.
Weill headed Edelman PR Worldwide's PA unit in New York
before jumping to B-M.
He said the opportunity to run his own shop-just like his
father- was one that was too good to pass up. Gus Sr. has
operated the Weill Agency, a political consulting firm in
Baton Rouge, for 42 years.
Interscience's Chataway joins in Europe
Mark Chataway, one of the founders of Interscience, has
joined Edelman's health unit as its chair Europe, a new
Nancy Turett, president & global director of Edelman
Health, praised Chataway as one of the "original thinkers"
in the healthcare business.
Prior to starting Interscience, which is now a unit of Bcom3,
in 1993, Chataway was a managing director of Hill and Knowlton's
IABC KILLS PRINTED DIRECTORY
International Assn. of Business Communicators has decided
not to publish a print version of its World Book
membership directory next year.
It will offer an electronic-only interactive version of
the 2001 directory, which will be accessible to registered
members. The 2000 WB had 735 pages.
The move is expected to save IABC $150,000 a year, though
the group maintains that cost was not a factor in killing
the printed book.
Edition, November 8, 2000, Page 2
AD COLUMNIST DELUGED BY PR
An eyeball-level avalanche of PR materials descends on New
York Times ad columnist Stuart Elliott and his assistant
each day, a capacity crowd of 175 was told at a PRSA/New
York breakfast Nov. 2.
Elliott, speaking at the Sky Club atop the Met Life building,
said the new "24-7" pace of ad/PR news keeps him
so busy that he never has time for luncheon interviews,
often stays past 6 p.m. at night, and usually doesn't get
to read the Times itself until 10 p.m. at night or later.
If he does pick someone for a story, he said, he is apt
to be smothered with materials, updates, and "backing
and forthing until I rue the day that I ever agreed to do
Elliott faulted PR for not providing enough middle management
PR people who can train the recruits. He said he and his
assistant "make an endless number of calls to get the
basic information that you know we need."
He gets about 100 e-mails a day and many of them have attachments.
One had seven attachments and each one of them had about
Noting that he tries to be as accommodating as possible,
answering his own phone when able and answering his own
e-mails, Elliott said he sometimes thinks that "people
take advantage of this."
He urged the PR audience, "Don't put obstacles in our
way; take them out of our way."
"Feeding Frenzy" of Mergers in Ad/PR
Noting there has been a "feeding frenzy" of mergers
and acquisitions in advertising and PR, he said, "This
has not always been for the best." Some of the companies
are "dressed up" for the sale and some of the
sellers seem mainly worried about their stock and options,
Some of his fellow journalists, he noted, like to brag about
how many PR people they hung up on or otherwise blew off.
"This shows the insecurity of journalists," he
added. "There's a lot of tension on both sides,"
In a putdown on the hype and hardsell of advertising and
PR, Elliott noted that PR and ad campaigns drew a lot of
people to websites but there was little there of interest
to them, resulting in the folding of many dot-com companies.
"The websites got the wrong people to go there or the
right people went there and found nothing," he said.
In response to a question by PRSA president and COO Ray
Gaulke, Elliott said he only covers major news about PR
because his editors feel the industry is something that
should be left to the PR trades.
Doesn't Like Gimmicks
He doesn't like press kits that "burp and belch"
or promoters dressed up as animals. "You're not allowed
upstairs, you're barely allowed in the lobby," he said.
He was "flabbergasted" when someone recently sent
him a videocassette along with a 13-inch TV set on which
to view it. When he complained, the sender told him to give
it to a charity.
He also heard the same gift was sent to a half-dozen other
The way to get into his column, he said, is to read it and
send materials that help him with his stories. "Leave
voicemail messages that are no longer than my voicemail
message," he advised.
BIOTECH INDUSTRY NEEDS BETTER PR
The biotechnology industry must do a better job of winning
the public's confidence, says veteran PR counselor Christopher
Klose, who for the past 10 years had been VP-comms., American
Crop Protection Assn. He was deeply involved with emerging
Klose, who is now with John Adams Assocs., Wash., D.C.,
mapped out a PR plan to help the biotech industry in the
Oct. 31 Washington Post.
Citing a recent front page Post story-"Frankenfish'
or Tomorrow's Dinner?," Klose said the story illustrated
"how much society has to gain from biotechnology and
also just how much this valuable new food production tool
is being put at risk by the biotechnology industry's business-as-usual
He believes the biotech industry has failed to win the public
over because "those in the industry typically begrudge
the public such involvement in `their' issues. When it comes
to science, they know best.
"This sincere but misguided attitude makes it very
difficult for industry to relate to the public, as a visit
to the Council for Biotechnology Information website (whybiotech.com)
Klose said the site, which is funded by most of the world's
leading biotech research and development companies, fails
to accomplish its mission, which is to convince the public
of biotech's many benefits.
"But after a nationwide recall of taco shells, and
a shutdown of Kellogg cereal production over 'escaped' biotech
corn, something more than routine reassurance is called
for," said Klose.
The benefits of biotechnology can be fully realized only
if the public has confidence in the process of its invention,
approval and use, he said.
LAUNCHES IR CHANNEL
Bloomberg has launched the "Investor Relations Channel,"
a new service that allows direct distribution of information
to the institutional and retail community.
"The Investor Relations Channel will provide a means
to assist companies in meeting their responsibilities under
the [SEC's] new Regulation FD. It will allow companies to
disclose information to the public," said Emilia Fazzalari,
manager of news business development for transaction data
The information and data that will be available on the channel
will include earnings statements, estimates and guidelines,
multimedia management presentations, company news and profile
information, Bloomberg analytics, press releases and SEC
The channel is available on the Bloomberg Professional Service
Edition, November 8, 2000, Page 3
BELONGS IN J-SCHOOLS
Journalism professors are against including PR courses in
the communications curricula because PR people are "evil
defenders of corporate power and enemies of journalism,"
writes a Pennsylvania college professor in the October issue
of Quill, which is published for members of the Society
of Professional Journalists.
"As a former journalist and PR professional who now
teaches both PR and media courses to undergraduate students
studying communication, I've always felt there is a tremendous
overlap between journalism and PR curricula," wrote
Anthony Peyronel, assistant professor and undergraduate
program coordinator at Edinboro University.
"Indeed, the study of PR is as ethically grounded as
the study of journalism. Students of PR are taught that
the practice of PR is based on communicating honest information
and dealing fairly with a variety of publics," writes
Peyronel. "In case study after case study, organizations
that deal openly and honestly with negative situations demonstrate
that ethical behavior is at the very root of effective PR."
PR Takes High Road
"Despite occasional ethical lapses and the tendency
of some PR practitioners to allow `spin' to cloud one's
definition of truth, I would argue that the ethical `high
road' is the path most often taken by PR professionals,"
"And isn't it an advantage for students of journalism
to be exposed to persuasive communications techniques so
that, as working journalists, they are better prepared to
sort between hard facts and phony rhetoric?" he asks.
"As for the characterization of PR professionals as
tools of the rich and powerful, on the contrary, I find
that most of our graduates seek entry-level employment with
social service agencies and other nonprofit organizations,"
"To me, this PR versus journalism debate was best summed
up by a Columbia Journalism Review study conducted some
two decades ago. The study found that half of one day's
news stories in The Wall Street Journal had originated with
a press release written by a PR professional and that 90%
of the day's news stories could be traced to an idea that
was proposed by a PR source.
"Frederick Taylor, then the Journal's executive editor,
expressed no embarrassment at the influence that PR people
had on news coverage at the paper. Rather, he said, the
study merely proved that journalists and PR pros both play
important-albeit different- roles in getting accurate information
to the public."
RETURNS TO 'HAPPY CHAT.'
Chicago's WBBM has switched "The 10 O'Clock News"
back to a more traditional "happy chat" evening
When it made its debut in February, station executives believed
they could boost the station's local news audience by offering
a no-frills program that featured longer pieces and more
Sensational crime reports and segments on the latest diet
fad with the happy chat of a standard, male-female anchor
team were replaced by reports on complicated subjects like
predatory loan practices.
National and international stories were featured more prominently.
The reports were delivered by a lone anchorwoman, Carol
Marin, on a new, somewhat mutted and dark set. Despite an
immediate and brief rise in the ratings, the program started
to drop off.
During the July sweeps, the program's overall audience was
about 20 percent smaller than that of the program it replaced.
Starting Oct. 31, Marin is being replaced by a male-female
anchor team. They will report the news from a brighter,
more traditional-looking setting.
Walter DeHaven, the WBBM VP and general manager, said the
program will not become sensational and would seek a middle
ground. DeHaven believes the program failed because it was
RADIO ADDS GENERAL NEWS
WBBR-AM, a New York-based all-news radio station, changed
its format as of Oct. 30 from business to general news.
The change means more local, national and international
news will air on the station, which is owned by Bloomberg,
the financial information company.
The move puts WBBR in competition with two other AM all-news
stations, WCBS and WINS, which are ranked No. 8 and No.
13, respectively, in New York, according to the latest annual
figures from the Arbitron Co. WBBR does not rank among the
In the last few months, WBBR, which operates from studios
at Bloomberg's headquarters at 499 Park ave., has hired
several reporters away from other stations.
TO BUY ABOUT.COM
Primedia, a publisher of several magazines including New
York and Seventeen, is buying About Inc., online media company,
for $690 million in stock.
About is one of the few companies in the Internet sector
to deliver an upbeat outlook during its recent earnings
report. The company's website-About.com-consists
of more than 700 media niches and 700 topic-specific Guide
Sites, and some 10,000 associated experts.
The sites cover about 50,000 subjects with over one million
links to the best sources on the 'Net.
Each site has a professional guide who is an expert in the
field. The site, which is free, generates revenue through
advertising. It relies on click through percentages to determine
success rates, as opposed to streaming banner ads.
news continued on next page)
Edition, November 8, 2000, Page 4
EBay Inc., the San Jose-based online auction site,
is shutting down EBay, its monthly magazine after the December
The magazine, which focused on general Internet developments,
collecting and eBay's website, had a circulation of about
EBay is currently negotiating to launch a TV show that will
spotlight the auction site, which had 18.9 million registered
users as of Sept. 30.
Profile magazine, which has been published on an
every-other-week basis since it was launched in April, is
moving to a weekly schedule.
The magazine has built an estimated circulation of 2.2 million
through distribution in more than 450 small market daily
and weekly newspapers in the eastern half of the U.S.
By the end of the year, publisher Dan Hammond, who is based
in Nashville, predicts circulation will reach six million;
by 2005, 15 million.
Each issue features recipes, a hometown and a hometown hero
in each of the three regions where the magazine is currently
published-Midwest, Southwest and Northeast.
Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times,
New York Daily News, The Los Angeles Times and Chicago
Tribune were among the top 20 papers showing slight
gains in daily circulation, according to figures released
by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Overall, average daily circulation fell about 0.5% and Sunday
circulation fell about 0.7%, as of the six-month reporting
period ended Sept. 30.
By category, newspapers with circulation over 500,000 showed
a slight decline, while those in the 250,000-499,999 range
were up, according to an analysis by the Newspaper Assn.
of America. The biggest drop was reported by papers with
circulations under 50,000.
has taken an equity interest in Space.com,
the Internet media company started by Lou Dobbs, the former
CNN Financial News anchor.
Gannett is contributing cash to the struggling venture,
which laid off 20% of its staff in September.
Space.com will take over Gannett's Space News newspapers
and its Space Online Website.
Co., Chicago, has agreed to sell Times Mirror Magazines
to Time Inc. for $475 million in cash. The consumer titles
and custom publications, which are read by more than 55
million people each month, include Field & Stream,
Popular Science, Golf Magazine, Outdoor Life, Today's Homeowner
and Ski Magazine.
Intertec Publishing has acquired six magazines and an
Internet site from Adams Business Media, Maynard, Mass.
The titles, which are from Adams Meeting Group, are: Corporate
Meetings & Incentives, Association Meetings, Medical
Meetings, Insurance Conference Planner, Technology Meetings,
Religious Conference Manager and Meetingsnet.com.
is going daily with "Global Agenda," a new service,
exclusive to the website and distinct from the weekly Economist
Positioned as the daily Economist, Global Agenda will provide
rolling coverage and analysis on six to eight business and
political topics each day.
Edition, November 8, 2000, Page 7
NEW CODE CALLED `WEAK.'
The new PRSA ethics code appears to be "weak"
and to "lower" the ethical bar for members, the
PRSA Assembly was told Oct. 21.
Alison Karam, president-elect of the Connecticut Valley
chapter, APR coach, and a 20-year PR veteran, said she polled
17 members of the chapter on the new vs. the old code.
The members, who had 263 years in total experience and included
10 APRs, favored the old code by a two-to-one margin, she
The new code, created by a nine-member ethics board headed
by Seattle counselor Bob Frause, replaces a 17-article code
that was initiated in 1950. It had undergone several revisions,
the latest in 1988.
Karam, a public communications officer with the town of
West Hartford, said the old code was a "strong code
that set high expectations."
She likes the fact that PRSA is no longer in the enforcement
business but said the statement of professional values "seemed
The language was "many times slanted towards someone
in an agency situation and I felt that the bar was being
lowered in terms of the standards we hold ourselves to,"
Had "Strong Negative Feelings"
Karam's "strong negative feelings" led her to
seek the opinions of other chapter members.
She said they liked the old code because it "sets higher
standards for ethical conduct," is "detailed and
comprehensive," and "leaves little to personal
interpretation to PR practitioners prone to cutting corners."
The new code, she continued, is "oversimplified"
and "leaves too much up to personal interpretation."
She likes its "emphasis on education."
Frause said the old code was not enforceable and had become
"a joke" and "an embarrassment" to the
Society. Attempts to enforce it were met with threats of
expensive lawsuits, he added. With the new code, "we
become educators, not policemen," he said.
Patrick Jackson, 1980 president, told the Assembly his experience
with code enforcement was that "a lot of people spent
a ton of money on lawyers to avoid being thrown out."
In the new code, members pledge responsible advocacy; honesty;
expertise; independent counsel; loyalty to those represented,
and fairness in dealing with clients, employers, competitors,
peers, vendors, the media and the public. "We respect
all opinions and support the right of free expression,"
The new code dismantles the system of judicial panels that
used to try the accused and drops the requirement that members
report unethical behavior by fellow members and that they
appear as witnesses against them.
SHIFT OF SIMON WAS "WRONG."
The PRSA nominating committee's shift of David Simon from
"open" board member to "district" member
was "wrong" and "arbitrary," San Diego
counselor Ken Ulrich told the PRSA Assembly in Chicago.
Nominating chair Mary Cusick disagreed, saying "everybody's
from someplace" and that the committee just let Simon
represent the district where he is already based.
Ulrich said that if Simon's switch is left unchallenged
it could impact all of the ten districts in the years ahead.
Simon, a Los Angeles counselor, was elected in 1999 to a
two-year term starting in 2000 as one of the two "open"
directors on the board (each of the other ten seats being
assigned to a district).
The nominating committee this year re-designated him as
the Western district director to succeed Ralph Kam. This
blocked Jeff Julin from running for Western district director.
He was defeated for "open" director. Julin has
unsuccessfully sought to be on the board four times.
Shifting Simon "over-rode" what the Assembly did
last year, said Ulrich.
Cusick Says Change Bylaws
Cusick said the bylaws do not distinguish between "open"
and "district" directors and the Assembly will
have to change the bylaws if it wishes to do so. She said
no one's representation was changed and that the nominating
committee did not "tinker" with what the Assembly
had done, as charged by Ulrich.
She said Simon "happens to be from Western" so
that Western is not a "mandated seat because a person
on your board is already representing Western because they're
from there no matter how they came to be in that."
Ulrich later said a "close analogy" would be a
Senator who serves a whole state suddenly being named a
Representative for a specific district.
Concluded: Ulrich: "I would only submit that this Assembly
was the body that last year elected David Simon to an open
seat, not a mandated seat which he now occupies."
PRSA/N.Y. ELECTS NEW OFFICERS
Robert Weintraub and Michael Rinaldo were elected to the
two top positions for PRSA/New York. Weintraub, a PR consultant,
will be president for 2001, and Rinaldo, who is a SVP/healthcare
group director at Fleishman-Hillard, will be president-elect.
Other new officers elected to the executive committee were:
VP-programs-AT&T's Ellen LaNicca-Albanese; Treasurer-consultant
George Rosenberg, and Secretary-Don Bates, of Media Distribution
Edition, November 8, 2000, Page 8
new PRSA code is a disappointment to some members, who feel
it's "weaker." It is.
new code, after a preamble, starts out with "Advocacy"
as the first of six "core values" of members and
"the PR profession." In other words, PRSA is saying
it is setting the moral tone for the entire PR profession.
"Advocacy," by the way, is not a word that appears
anywhere in the previous code, much less as the first word.
The old code emphasized the "dual obligations"
of PR pros to the client and the "democratic process."
We interpret the new emphasis on advocacy as a triumph for
the integrated marketers who see PR as another sales technique.
The new code puts the PR pro firmly on the client's team
rather than serving as a bridge to the press and public,
providing facts good, bad and indifferent about employers.
main problem with the new as well as the old code is that
it only applies to individuals whereas almost all PR
people practice corporately whether in companies or agencies.
The top 50 PR operations employed 22,000 people in 1999,
accounting for the great bulk of those in the counseling
business. The employees pitch accounts, service them and
win awards all in the name of the corporation. Only a few
employees of the giant PR operations may be in PRSA and
they may not be in a position to dictate corporate policy.
Under the old code, an agency could do practically anything
and escape the wrath of the PRSA ethics board unless the
fingerprints of a PRSA member could be found on the case
most glaring recent example of this involved Duffey Communications
of Atlanta, which was accused by the Exterior Insulation
Finish Systems industry (EIFS) in 1997 of doing "pro
bono" work for dissatisfied EIFS homeowners while at
the same time having undisclosed or insufficiently disclosed
brick interests as a client. The published account list
of DC at that time did not show any such clients. Lee Duffey
was secretary of PRSA and in line to be chair.
Charges that a front group was being used were covered extensively
in this NL, the Birmingham News, and Walls &
No public discussion of this ever emerged from the PRSA
ethics board because it only deals with individuals. The
ethics board, by failing to take any public notice of a
well-publicized case involving a national board member,
had forfeited the right to go after anyone in the future.
Lawyers would just pull up the EIFS/Duffey matter and ask
why this was also not prosecuted.
A similar case just hit the front page of the New York Times.
It noted on Oct. 5 that Elizabeth Helms of Folsom, Calif.,
billed as a consumer activist representing three "grassroots"
groups, testified to a Senate panel that pharmacies are
partly to blame for high drug prices. But the audience did
not know she also works for a PR firm with drug industry
clients, said the Times. Here was a public case that the
ethics board could explore although its habit is only to
speak abstractly and avoid mentioning real cases. The front
group issue remains as one of the hottest of the day in
for the ethics board setting the standards for the entire
PR world, we think it should look to PRSA's own house first.
PRSA's copying and selling thousands of pages of authors'
articles without their permission was certainly unethical
as was the false and misleading financial reports that PRSA
has given to its members for years. Switching David Simon
from "open" to "district" director (page
7) was wrong as was the interference of a majority of the
PRSA board with the officially nominated slate this year.
Skipping an issue of the 800-page Blue Book that members
paid for is also wrong especially in view of the nearly
$2 million lavished on APR in the past ten years, board
meetings at resorts, etc.
Stuart Elliott talk to PRSA/New York (pg. 2) is a wake-up
call to PR people and the clients that are footing the
bill. Elliott's ad column is a key media outlet since it's
read throughout the U.S. and is aimed at consumers as well
as the ad/PR industry.
Elliott and his assistant, who know more about the actual
practice of PR than any team in America, are bombarded by
a deluge of hard-sell pitches that often leave out the basic
facts. They have to make "endless calls" to get
the facts "you know we need," he said. Once a
story idea is accepted, the agency and client, with boundless
enthusiasm for the product, are apt to assault him with
materials including numerous revisions until he is sorry
he ever spoke to them. "Don't put obstacles in our
way, take them out of our way," pleaded Elliott. He
also faulted PR for putting too many juniors on press relations...the
PRSA code mentioned above was obviously written without
any input from the press because the No. 1 request of
the press is access to CEOs and other client executives.
It should be junked and replaced with a new code co-authored
by reporters such as Stuart Elliott...the excuse long
given by the PRSA ethics board that it can't criticize anyone
publicly because it might get sued is a cop-out. The
publicity that would be generated by someone suing PRSA
on an ethics matter would be ruinous to the litigant. All
details of the case would become public record.