Edition, February 7, 2001, Page 1
CHECKS IN WITH BSMG
Marriott International has consolidated its estimated $1
million U.S. account at BSMG Worldwide.
Roger Conner, VP-communications at Marriott, said the chain
had used a "handful of national agencies."
He noted that Marriott will continue working with a "cluster"
of regional firms, plus specialized talent, such as Rogers
& Cowan for product placement.
BSMG started work for Marriott's Renaissance Hotels unit
in 1997. "That was a $12,000 project," said Rene
Mack, who heads BSMG's travel group.
BSMG is now responsible for Marriott Hotels, Resorts, Suites
and Conference Centers; Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill
Suites, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites brands.
The firm also will promote Marriott's 75th anniversary,
and its role as official hotel of the 2002 Salt Lake City
Mack and Wendy Lussier, managing director at BSMG, handle
Marriott, which is one of the firm's biggest travel accounts.
F-L TAPS SV FOR CITADEL DEAL
Incepta's Sard Verbinnen unit is advising Forstmann-Little
on its $1 billion acquisition of Citadel Communications,
owner of more than 200 radio stations, according to George
F-L has received good press for its decision to buy CC despite
the soft advertising market.
Tom Bell, former Burson-Marsteller and Young & Rubicam
CEO, is special limited partner at F-L. He's known Ted Forstmann
from his days at Gulfstream Aerospace, which was an F-L
investment. Bell was Gulfstream's vice chairman.
Lake, the veteran Washington, D.C., PR counselor, was
among those pardoned by President Clinton. He was convicted
in 1998 for making illegal campaign contributions to the
brother of then- Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy. Lake is
now president of Policy Impact Comms., a Republican lobbying
firm...Al Rankin was named senior VP/chief comms.
officer at USAA. He headed corporate comms. at Marriott
for 15 years, and joins from Columbia Energy Group...Catherine
Fisher is senior VP-CC at Revlon. She was at Tommy Hilfiger
as its senior VP/global comms....Ken Rabin, who had
headed Burson-Marsteller's U.S. and global healthcare practice,
is now at Ruder Finn as a strategic counselor.
NAMED PRSA PRESIDENT
PR Society of America has promoted Catherine A. Bolton to
president and COO of the Society.
Bolton, who joined last September as chief PR officer, was
named acting president and COO in December when Ray Gaulke,
who had those titles, became a consultant to PRSA, its Foundation,
and Kids in a Drug-Free Society. Bolton, who will now be
paid at the annual rate of $215,000, said that interviews
are being held for a director of media relations.
Kathy Lewton, chair and CEO of PRSA, said that unaudited
financials of the Society will be released in mid-February.
Lewton said that Bolton had the "ideal career profile:
senior-level experience as a PR executive and a wealth of
association management expertise."
Bolton, she further said, "has moved with speed and
sensitivity to address many needed changes since she was
appointed acting president/COO in December. She is reorganizing
the staff to more closely align it with key Society needs
and priorities and to develop functional budgets with a
strong budget/spending control system."
WAS TIGHT WITH $$, AFFIDAVIT SAYS
& Wolfe withheld bonus pay, delayed salary hikes, was
slow in paying expenses and withheld information about bonus
pay goals, according to a sworn affidavit Jan. 10 by Anthony
DeMartino, former CEO of the Atlanta office of C&W.
and other employees of the office, who have set up The Titan
Network, have been sued in two courts by C&W and C&W's
parent, Young & Rubicam, owned by WPP Group. The C&W
suit is in Fulton County Superior Court, Georgia, and the
Y&R suit is in the Court of Chancery, Delaware.
seek to enjoin DeMartino and Titan from soliciting or working
for current or potential clients of C&W; from hiring
any employee of C&W, and from using confidential information
of C&W and its clients. Charges include breach of proprietary
information and non-compete agreements; unfair competition,
and intentional interference with existing contractual relations.
his affidavit, in which he denies the charges, DeMartino
said C&W "routinely dealt with me in a manner which
I believe was fundamentally unfair."
said C&W regularly withheld expense reim-
on page 7)
Edition, February 7, 2001, Page 2
CEO HAS BEEF ABOUT IMAGE
McDonald's Corp.'s chairman/CEO Jack Greenberg said his
company is being unfairly portrayed by critics as a symbol
"I think you're right that McDonald's is oftentimes
the poster child for anti-globalization sentiment,"
Greenberg said in response to a question at the World Economic
Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
"In fact it is absurd. We are probably the least likely
company that should be selected for such a target ... We
are an amalgamation of small businesses owned and operated
in the local country," he said.
Anti-globalization protestors regularly target McDonald's
restaurants. At last year's Davos forum, some 2,000 anti-free
trade demonstrators broke shop windows and smashed car windows
at a McDonald's restaurant.
The singling out of McDonald's was "a question of publicity,"
"I hate to be so cynical but some in the business of
attacking globalization have said privately that they know
that picketing or breaking windows at McDonald's is not
appropriate given how we run our business, but that's the
only way to get their picture in The New York Times,"
Greenberg spoke during a panel discussion on relations between
grassroots groups and business that also included Monsanto,
a biotechnology company that has been the center of controversy
over genetically modified crops.
Hendrik Verfaillie, who is Monsanto's CEO, said his company
had changed its attitude towards critics.
"What we did two or three years ago is certainly not
what I would recommend to be the best approach. We basically
didn't listen. We tried to convince the opponents or the
activists that we were right and they were wrong, that they
should listen to us and that they basically should shut
up. We learned that that doesn't work.
"If NGOs, industry and governmental institutions could
combine their resources and energy, there is nothing that
we could not achieve," he said.
BOWL VIEWERS RATE COMMERCIALS
Football fans in Canton, Ohio, picked Anheuser-Busch's "Whassup?"
commercials as their favorite Super Bowl game commercial,
according to the findings of an online poll conducted by
Innis Maggiore Group.
Levi Strauss made the top of the least favorite list with
its "jeans donor" ads, which feature a medical
team and an emergency delivery of replacement jeans, the
Canton-based ad/PR firm said.
David Maggiore, president/CEO of IMG, said the findings
show "We like humor in our ads in Canton, but not when
it involves sensitive subjects."
The average price of a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl
has been reported at $2.3 million to reach 130 million viewers,
up from $2.2M for 120M viewers last year.
PRODUCT PLUGS MAY REPLACE ADS
Product placements may make 30- and 60-second spot TV commercials
a thing of the past.
A panel of advertisers told attendees at the annual NATPE
conference that was held late January in Las Vegas that
product placement and even scripts paid for by major advertisers
are becoming the norm in the movie and TV business.
"In the future, you probably won't know where the commercial
stops and the programs begin," said Bob Kuperman, who
is president of TBWA, a New York-based ad agency.
"What we now talk about in terms of commercial advertising,
what we call interruptive messaging, is probably going to
be, in the future, the least efficient way to build a relationship
with consumers," said Kuperman, who was on the NATPE
panel, "When the Advertiser Turns Producer." Also
included on the panel were Chris Gagen of Coca-Cola, Robert
Reisenberg, Universal McCann, and Kaki Hinton, Warner-Lambert.
WINS 'BEST OF SHOW' FOR TRAVEL
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Assn. Int'l, Washington,
D.C., has awarded Patrice Tanaka & Co., New York, the
Edward L. Bernays Award for the most outstanding entry in
the Golden Bell PR Awards contest.
The "Best of Show" award, which was presented
during the 2000 HSMAI Travel Industry Awards Night Dinner,
held on Jan. 23 in New York, was for the firm's "Women
on Their Way" program that it created for Wyndham Hotels
This year's contest attracted 1,800+ entries from 52 countries
and destinations around the world.
FISHER, KRAUSS JOIN STREAMPIPE
Burson-Marsteller veterans Joe Fisher and Kurt Krauss have
joined Streampipe.com, the Alexandria, Va.-based Internet
broadcasting company. Fisher becomes CEO, while Krauss will
Fisher was B-M/USA CEO. He was replaced by Chet Burchett
in October. Krauss, a former Booz-Allen & Hamilton consultant,
was B-M's CFO and a board member of Streampipe.
O. Winston Link, 86, a commercial photographer who
started his career at Carl Byoir & Assocs. in 1937,
died Jan. 30. As a freelancer, Link took photos for PR firms,
ad agencies, newspapers, and fashion houses...Charles
Crisman, 85, who had been a business reporter and PR
consultant, died Jan. 19. He began his career in 1938 as
a stringer for The Associated Press and later was
a reporter for The New York Times and The
Wall Street Journal. He later worked as a PR executive
for New York Life Insurance Co. and Reynolds Metals Co...Patrick
Lynch, 85, a former turf writer, who was VP of PR for
the New York Racing Assn., which he joined in 1967 as PR
manager, died Jan. 15.
Edition, February 7, 2001, Page 3
HAVE CEO PITCH STORIES
Robert La Franco, who writes for Red Herring magazine,
said the CEO, rather than a publicist, should pitch stories
about the company to a reporter.
La Franco, who spoke at a Jan. 30 meeting in Beverly Hills
that was attended by some 200 sales, marketing, and PR executives
and Internet representatives, said some reporters are "automatically
turned off" when they are pitched by a publicist.
The journalist, who is Red Herring's Los Angeles bureau
chief and top entertainment writer, said reporters are impressed
when the CEO or VP calls and says, "I've been reading
your stuff, and I founded this company, and this is what
we do. I would be very interested in talking to you."
He said the CEO technique can't be used on every journalist.
"You have to pick and choose. Read their publications,
know what the journalist reports on and then you can say,
`Oh that journalist gets it.' That is more successful than
having some hot shot PR firm send out mass market PR pitches
to everyone, and they end up getting" tossed, said
La Franco said he deletes 20 to 30 e-mail pitches a day
that he gets from publicists after he reads subject lines
like "innovative technology," and "fantastic
company." "Everyone has a fantastic company, but
how?" he asked.
Readers have begun to lose interest in failure stories about
Internet companies. "Back then [last year] failure
stories were good, but today they're old hat," said
He said he is looking to do stories about companies that
are providing solutions to the problems of the Internet.
"They could be bandwidth problems, routing problems,
and alternative solutions to distribution of information
and media," said La Franco.
While it is still possible to get interesting, entrepreneurial
stories in Red Herring, these entrepreneurs must
be "evolutionaries, not revolutionaries, who are fighting
the tide of corporate America," he said.
PREZ SAYS NETWORK TOO 'SLICK.'
Reese Schonfeld, the first president of CNN, writes in his
new book, Me and Ted Against the World: The Unauthorized
Story of the Founding of CNN (HarperCollins, $25), that
he believes "slick" news coverage is the reason
the network's ratings have steadily declined.
He calls CNN "sluggish and constipated" as well
as "old and fat."
Schonfeld, who left CNN in 1982, two years after the Atlanta-based
network was up and running, said Ted Turner originally wanted
a rotating block of half-hour newscasts, devoted to news,
sports, business and "women's news." He convinced
Turner to go for "fluid news."
"The idea was we would show viewers a skelton, the
framework on which everything would hang, and they could
watch us do the hanging. We wanted to expose the entire
news-making process," he writes.
"I don't think viewers like slick" coverage, writes
Schonfeld. "If you say we have a reporter moving now
and he'll give it to you when he gets there, there is a
reason for them to keep watching."
OFFERS PITCH TIPS
Mike Maslanka, an attorney with Clark, West, Keller, Butler
& Ellis, in Dallas, said reporters "like to use
sources who give them a 'sum-up' quote," which puts
the story into perspective, and analogies.
When he was interviewed on the granting of summary judgment
in the Paula Jones case, his comment was that case ultimately
showed that "you can't roll around in the mud without
getting some of it on you, that's a lesson both sides learned."
Maslanka said the reporter used it as the closer for her
Another time he was quoted in a New York Times article
about how harassment suits are often paired with retaliation
His comment was that these paired suits are an "iceberg
[the Titanic movie was big at the time], with the most dangerous
part waiting underwater."
His follow-up comment was these claims resonate with juries
because people intuitively believe that employers have it
in for employees "who rock the boat."
Maslanka, who is editor of Texas Employment Law Letter,
also advised readers of the Newsletter Industry Monitor
to speak to reporters like they write their newsletters-"short,
punchy, humorous, user-friendly, and to the point. You'll
ensure a steady stream of media calls and visits."
The Chicago Tribune has assigned Mary Umberger,
who was writing for the Saturday "New Houses"
section, to cover the real estate beat and write the weekly
"Home" column. She replaces Steve Kerch.
WLVI-TV, Boston, has promoted Christopher Roach to
executive producer of "Boston's WB in the Morning"
from weekday producer of "The Ten O'Clock News,"
replacing Allison Hunter, who elected to become a fulltime
CNNfn will be transformed to "CNN Money"
later this year.
The channel's programming following the close of stock market
trading will be revitalized to focus on breaking financial
news and enhanced coverage of personal finance and small
It will include both a TV channel and website that are designed
to work together to enable consumers to easily understand
and address all aspects of their financial lives, a CNN
news continued on next page)
Edition, February 7, 2001, Page 4
HIRES NINE JOURNALISTS
The addition of nine editors, writers and reporters at Fortune
were announced by managing editor John Huey.
-Jason Tanz, 26, who was freelancing for Fortune
and other publications, has joined as an editor on the magazine's
-Shelly Neumeier, 35, previously at CNBC in Singapore, where
she was a news editor, has joined as an editor to produce
the "On the Job" section.
-Jim Rohwer, 52, a contributing writer since 1997, is now
a senior writer based in Hong Kong.
-Deborah Franklin, 43, formerly with Health magazine,
has joined as a senior writer in Fortune's San Francisco
office, focusing on science and health coverage.
-John Simons, 35, has joined Fortune's Washington,
D.C., bureau, to write about technology and general business
issues. He had been a Markle Fellow at the New America Foundation,
where he wrote about Internet-related policy and legal matters,
and he was a technology policy reporter for The Wall
Street Journal from 1997-2000, and covered the Internet
beat for U.S. News & World Report.
-Fred Vogelstein, 38, previously at USN&WR, joins
as a tech beat writer based in the San Francisco office.
The three new reporters are: Paola Hjelt, previously with
banks and other businesses in Sweden, Switzerland and Brazil;
Lisa Munoz, formerly the Queens beat reporter for Newsday,
and Ellen Florian, formerly an assistant editor at Newsweek,
specializing in graphics for international and business
GUTMAN JOINS NEWSWEEK'S D.C. BUREAU
Roy Gutman has been named diplomatic correspondent in the
Newsweek Washington, D.C., bureau, headed by Dan
Gutman, who joined the magazine on Feb. 5, came from Newsday,
where he covered foreign af fairs from Washington and was
a foreign correspondent.
Prior to Newsday, he was Belgrade bureau chief and a reporter
in Central Europe for Reuters.
Gutman's reports from Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early 1990s
included the first documented accounts of Serb-run concentration
camps, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the
George Polk Award and Selden Ring Award.
Brant to White House
Martha Brant has been named White House correspondent. Most
recently, Brant spent a year and a half covering George
W. Bush's presidential campaign, during which Bush nicknamed
her first "Newsweek Jogger Girl," followed
by "Martita" when he learned her name.
In 1999, Brant was a national correspondent. She was the
Mexico City bureau chief from December 1996 through December
1998 and a Washington correspondent before that. She joined
Newsweek as a summer intern in June 1993 and was
promoted to reporter in 1994.
Additional changes in the D.C. bureau include:
-Debra Rosenberg, formerly White House correspondent, becomes
a national correspondent based in Washington. She will report
on social trends around the country as well as other national
-Washington correspondent Bill Turque will now cover Congress.
Turque spent the past year following Al Gore's campaign,
and published Inventing Al Gore, a biography of the
former Vice President.
-After a year spent working on Newsweek's special
election issue, associate editor Adam Rogers joins the Washington
bureau to cover science and technology. He will report on
the area's burgeoning high-tech corridor.
-Trent Gegax, who also worked on the special election issue,
joins the bureau as a correspondent, covering national affairs,
the White House, and breaking news around the country.
BEAUPRE NAMED M.E. OF SCRANTON TIMES
Lawrence Beaupre has been named managing editor of The
Scranton (Pa.) Times and The Tribune, where he
has been interim M.E. for the past three months.
Beaupre, 56, who was editor of The Cincinnati Enquirer
from 1992 to 1998, is suing Gannett, which owns the paper.
Beaupre says top Gannett officers allegedly made him a scapegoat
for problems with the Enquirer's 1998 stories questioning
Chiquita Brands International's business practices in Central
In June 1998, the Enquirer renounced the stories,
fired the lead reporter, apologized to Chiquita on its front
page and agreed to pay the banana company $14 million in
an out-of-court settlement.
Gannett says the lawsuit is "full of inaccuracies."
RUSSIN NAMED MULTIMEDIA EDITOR
Joseph Russin was named assistant managing editor of a new
multimedia desk at The Los Angeles Times, where he
will oversee content sharing between the Times, its website,
Tribune Co. newspapers, and broadcast stations, including
KTLA-TV in Los Angeles.
Russin had been supervising producer on the Fox TV show
"America's Most Wanted" and senior producer of
the PBS series about the media, "Inside Story."
He also helped train people to operate an independent TV
network in Bosnia while working as a consultant to the U.S.
Information Agency. He is a former education editor and
correspondent for Newsweek and managing editor of
The Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune.
Edition, February 7, 2001, Page 7
LAWSUIT VS. EX-EMPLOYEES (cont'd)
-bursements totaling "hundreds and sometimes thousands
of dollars"; withheld approved raises for employees
for up to 60 days; withheld "for extended periods of
time" bonus pay due to executive Michael Gavenchak,
and did not give DeMartino information on his bonus goals
for 2000 until the year was nearly over "despite my
DeMartino claims C&W still owes him $1,000 for expenses.
He says it was "highly stressful" working for
C&W because he and other employees were treated in an
Harassment Is Claimed
The DeMartino affidavit says the office had its "best
financial year in 2000" but that C&W CFO Jim Kaplove
"constantly harassed me regarding our production."
Kaplove, he said, phoned him in early December and "without
so much as a greeting, commenced our conversation by yelling
into the phone 'Your numbers suck!'"
Kaplove, according to DeMartino, made "derisive comments"
about senior managers in the office and regularly threatened
Kaplove said "Kill that fat f___" on a "number
of occasions," in referring to one member of the team,
said DeMartino. "Several times, Kaplove pressed me
to terminate a female employee, making extremely rude references
to her anatomy in the process," said DeMartino. "On
other occasions," he continued, "he offended and
angered me by making ethnic slurs in the presence of employees
of the Atlanta office."
Kaplove Denies Charges
Kaplove said the personal charges made by DeMartino are
"without merit, were gratuitously made, and they do
not appear to be even relevant to the proceeding in which
they were filed."
Since DeMartino's charges "were leveled to a large
degree at me, personally, and since they have now been published
beyond the confines of the legal proceeding in which they
were filed, I am undertaking a thorough evaluation of my
legal options," said a written statement by Kaplove.
C&W says it found Titan's business plan on C&W's
computers and that as early as Nov. 30, 2000 the plan indicated
12 employees of C&W were to be employed by Titan.
The employees, besides DeMartino and Gavenchak, were said
to be Matthew Coleman, Jay Ariano, Karen Wilcox, Chris White,
Jen Ahner, Ginger Morris, Ashley Feldhaus, Angie Trantham,
Shelly Pierce, and Diana Garza. Videotaped depositions of
the first eight names on the list are set for March.
C&W said the plan contained confidential financial information
including revenues and earnings for 1998, 1999 and 2000.
DeMartino is accused of soliciting C&W clients on behalf
of Titan while still employed by C&W.
DeMartino asked the court to declare C&W's employment
non-compete/confidentiality statement "overbroad and
unreasonable." He denies ever agreeing to the non-compete
contract and did "not misappropriate or destroy C&W
documents such as the alleged form non-compete/confidentiality
statements which C&W claims were signed" by him,
Gavenchak and Coleman.
Both sides refused to provide any of the legal papers but
this NL obtained them from the court. C&W is represented
by Rogers & Hardin, Atlanta. Davis & Gilbert, New
York (law firm for parent WPP Group) is listed as "of
counsel." DeMartino and the other former C&W employees
are represented by Alston & Bird, Atlanta.
TAKE ANOTHER HIT
Security analysts were blasted in a segment on "60
Minutes II" Jan. 30 that charged they were profiting
by recommending stocks in which they had a personal interest.
"I don't know how some of these analysts live with
themselves," former Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette
analyst Tom Brown told the show.
New York Daily News financial columnist Peter Siris
wrote Jan. 30 that "Perhaps the analysts should be
labeled, 'company-paid spin doctor.'"
These were the fourth and fifth attacks on the credibility
of analysts in less than two months. The others were in
USA Today Dec. 21; "20/20," Dec. 22, and
the New York Times, Dec. 31 (1/10/01 NL).
The Securities Industry Assn., which represents about 700
brokerage houses, would not comment directly on the articles
nor on the conflict-of-interest charges that are being made.
Dan Michaelis, assistant VP, CC, said the SIA is performing
its role of "educating the investing public."
He suggested a call to the New York Society of Security
Analysts. That group has also declined specific comment
on the stories.
"Many investors don't realize that some high-profile
analysts and their firms stood to make a fortune on stocks
they recommended," said "60 Minutes II" correspondent
Scott Pelley. Highlighted was the glut of "buy"
and "hold" recommendations. The program found
only 29 "sells" among 8,000 current stock recommendations.
Analyst Couldn't 'Look in the Mirror'
Brown, an analyst for seven years for DLJ, said he and other
analysts were told their job was to make the stocks they
represented look good. The show noted that brokers make
70% of their profits from investment banking. "They
are really cheerleaders," Brown said.
He said he was fired because the banks he criticized stopped
doing business with DLJ. The brokerage told Pelley Brown
was dropped because of "inability to operate effectively
within a team infrastructure."
SEC chairman Arthur Levitt told "60 Minutes II":
"There's got to be much greater disclosure of the kinds
of conflicts that are part of today's market." Brokers
were criticized not only for recommending stocks but for
setting "target prices" that may be far above
the current price.
Edition, February 7, 2001, Page 8
legal battle going on in Atlanta over the defection of a
dozen employees of ad agency-owned Cohn & Wolfe (page
one) pits local managers and creatives against New York-based
The sworn testimony of former office head Anthony DeMartino
that New York h.q. was hassling him about revenues and profit
margins and was holding up payment of bonuses, pay raises
and expenses rang a bell with us.
We can personally attest that the PR units of ad giants
are very slow payers. Payments do come in-after several
months. We doubt we are being singled out for slow pay.
Financial writer Chris Byron has written that ad agencies
seems to operate on the principle, "Honest, guy, the
check's in the mail."
The PR units of ad agencies have become manic about profits
and growth. Employees say their shops are "numbers
driven." They must account for every quarter hour of
the day and are constantly hounded about "margins."
The principals of PR firms that sold out got rich but now
the working PR pros must not only earn their own salaries
but must send a sizable profit to the parent in New York.
Firms that sold to Shandwick in the late 1980s told us they
were "Slobumized" by Shandwick's David Slobum,
who set "25/25/25" goals for each office (25%
growth, 25% profits, and 25 days on receivables).
seems more than coincidental that two breakaway PR firms
have been launched in Atlanta. A local resident said
there is a strong "Atlanta for Atlantans" feeling.
Eight staffers quit Manning, Selvage & Lee/Atlanta in
1995 and were hit with a lawsuit similar to the two that
C&W has lodged against DeMartino et al.
Former office head Joseph Ledlie said in a sworn affidavit
that the office provided between $600-$700K in profits in
the two previous years but he only got $8,000-$10,000 in
bonuses. Ledlie said he and fellow employees were not getting
their fair share. The suit was settled out of court in 1997.
the owner of C&W, is no stranger in court. It waged
a suit against breakaway ad agency Lord Einstein O'Neill
& Partners that the Wall Street Journal said
was "one of the most contentious battles the ad industry
has seen" (10/9/89 WSJ). It pitted "stubborn creative
types" against Martin Sorrell of WPP, a "brilliant
and determined financial man," said the WSJ. LEOP,
accused of breaching fiduciary duty and stealing clients,
ended up paying $7 million to WPP (half paid by Young &
Rubicam, which backed LEOP; WPP had sought $40M).
WPP's Hill and Knowlton unit sued healthcare PR pros
who left in 1992 to form Interscience. It was settled
out of court in January 1993. WPP won a $750K settlement
from Interpublic in 1996 after accusing IPG of hiring
WPP employees when IPG had agreed in writing not to do so.
Sorrell in 1993 filed a writ in High Court of Justice,
London, charging Crain Communications, Advertising
Age editor Fred Danzig, and reporter Gary Levin with
libeling him in an article headlined, "WPP Starts to
Feel Financial Crunch." Damages and an injunction to
stop them from publishing "similar words" were
sought. There were no further stories on this.
such as C&W's are a warning to any other PR pros thinking
of quitting their firms. They must be very careful about
what they say and do in the period before their resignations.
The suits add to the climate of fear and distrust that currently
envelopes the PR counseling field.
PR recruiter told us that the PR pros he sees are "frightened
out of their wits" about contacts with the press. Agency
heads fear the wrong thing might get into print. Having
a friend in the press is seen as fraternizing with "the
enemy." We know that PR firm events at which reporters
and PR A/Es can mingle are almost non-existent now. Nor
do we hear of reporters being invited to firms for "brown-bag"
lunches (which used to be a favorite technique). The current
mass-production mode is to have A/Es telemarket to editors
all day and not leave the office.
This mass-marketing, profit-driven form of "PR"
creates an opportunity for the individual PR pro who has
built a trusting relationship with important media.
Security analysts continue to be pummeled by the media
for their apparent loss of objectivity (page 7). "60
Minutes II" did about ten minutes on this and Daily
News columnist Peter Siris, a former analyst, said analysts
are "like the political operatives who serve as spin
doctors for politicians" except that political operatives
are identified. The New York Society of Security Analysts
is mute on the subject and the Securities Industry Assn.,
representing the firms, has put out the weakest of statements,
saying its duty is to "educate the investing public."
Further attacks are no doubt due because the media and the
SEC want companies to talk directly to the public in understandable
English and numbers. The IR-to-analyst-to-public route for
information has proven to be untrustworthy. Too many hands
with too many agendas are involved...also in the Daily
News on the same page was a story about PR firms suing
dot-coms that haven't paid their bills. "You had
a lot of unqualified PR firms charging a lot of money and
overpromising services to delusional entrepreneurs,"
said Jason Calacanis of Silicon Alley Reporter.