Edition, May 2, 2001, Page 1
ISSUES $10M RFP FOR PR/ADV.
Georgia's Dept. of Industry, Trade and Tourism has issued
an RFP worth up to $10 million for advertising/PR designed
to promote economic development and lure vacationers to
J. Walter Thompson and Hill and Knowlton are currently mopping
up work on the account, according to Robert Morris, communications
director for GDITT.
The contract, he said, must be re-bid under state law. It
is for one year, but may be renewed for another four years.
Interested firms must have at least three years of experience
in travel/trade communications, and be willing to commit
at least 12 staffers to the account.
GDITT wants to raise awareness among corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs
and minority companies about the state's favorable business
The agency also sees Georgia as a potential film mecca.
It wants bidders to craft an outreach program to Los Angeles
and New York-based entertainment decision-makers.
The RFP deadline is May 14. Pete Penny is the contracting
GETS EPILEPSY FOUNDATION
The Epilepsy Foundation of America has selected Ogilvy PR
Worldwide to handle PR for National Epilepsy Month in November,
according to Peter Van Haverbeke, PR director at the non-profit
"I also invited Fleishman-Hillard and Porter Novelli
to submit proposals," he told this NL.
Ogilvy won the account because it went beyond what Van Haverbeke
required during the presentation.
It did "a lot of legwork" and provided more detailed
information than its competitors, he said.
Van Haverbeke said Brynn Barnett heads the Ogilvy team,
which will create a campaign aimed at teens.
Ogilvy will craft a campaign aimed at the overall teen population
to encourage understanding and acceptance of their contemporaries
Corp. has hired John Shelk from the American Gaming
Assn. for a top government affairs position in Washington,
D.C. Korn/Ferry International did the search...EAW Group,
Washington, D.C., picked up a $200,000 pact to attract investors
from the U.K., Taiwan and South Africa to Gambia. It already
has a $500,000 pact to lure U.S. companies to Gambia.
C&W SAYS GOOD-BYE TO CHICAGO
Cohn & Wolfe closed its Chicago office effective April
30, according to Jim Kaplove, the firm's chief financial
He said C&W will discuss "future opportunities"
with office heads Ann Adams and Stu Wilson.
The firm plans to service Chicago clients, such as Lifeway
Foods and various Lipton brands, from other C&W offices.
It will complete that transition in May.
Kaplove went to Chicago on April 24 to personally tell staffers
about the shutdown. He met one-on-one with each of the 11
CEO Steve Aiello sent a memo to the rest of C&W on April
26 to inform them of "my unfortunate task" of
The move was necessary to "position the company during
these difficult times."
He thanked the Chicago staffers for their "hard work
and best efforts on behalf of our clients and Cohn &
C&W had $1.6 million in 1999 fees, and ranked No. 27
Hill and Knowlton and Fleishman-Hillard also have cut staff
in the city.
DAIMLERCHRYSLER'S McTAVISH TO KMART
DaimlerChrysler's Lori McTavish, 40, will join Kmart Corp.
on May 3 as VP-communications.
She had been the automaker's senior manager/ corporate media
relations, North America.
McTavish began her PR career at Chrysler Canada, where she
handled special events and employee communications.
Moving to Chrysler Corp., McTavish handled marketing PR
operations for the Jeep/Eagle division, and was in charge
of putting out corporate news.
At Kmart, she will be responsible for internal/external
PR, community affairs, and public policy.
She will report to David Rots, chief administrative officer.
Brent Willis, who re-launched Kmart's legendary "Blue
Light Special" marketing program last month, has resigned
his post for personal reasons.
Hakensen, 17-year veteran of Padilla Speer Beardsley,
joins client NCS Pearson, Minneapolis, as VP of PR. Hakensen,
42, had been a senior VP and head of PSB's media relations
Edition, May 2, 2001, Page 2
RULE RAPPED AT SEC MEETING
The Securities and Exchange Commission got negative feedback
about its six-month-old Regulation Fair Disclosure rule
at a meeting it held last week in New York that was attended
by about 300 corporate executives, lawyers and analysts.
"Chief among complaints from company finance officers
is that they don't know what information should be considered
`material' to investors," according to David Callaway,
who covered the meeting for CBS MarketWatch.com.
Callaway said the debate over what is material could go
on for years.
The recent bear market has added to the confusion at companies
about what should be disclosed knowing that all the news
was bad news, usually in the form of an earnings warning.
"So companies have talked less," said Callaway.
"But when they have talked, it's been bad news, crushing
their shares and making them shy about talking again."
The one positive thing that has come out of the regulation
is the "explosion in the webcasting of conference calls,"
said Callaway, who cited figures tallied by BestCall.com
that show the number of webcast conference calls last quarter
rose to 4,300 from 1,300.
A few companies, notably Motorola and Raytheon, are being
investigated by the SEC for privately briefing analysts
on their performances. The SEC said at the meeting that
it does not intend to make scapegoats out of anybody just
for misunderstanding the rule.
"That is a mistake," said Callaway. "To back
off now and water down the regulation by saying there won't
be much enforcement to go with it is as big a mistake as
it would be to rescind the ruling after only six months."
GAG LAID-OFF WORKERS
Dan Fost, who covers media for The San Francisco Chronicle,
said disparagement severance clauses have thwarted his reporting
several times on layoffs at media firms.
"In its most odious incarnation, companies are laying
off people-and then forcing them to sign `non-disparagement
clauses' to collect their severance checks," wrote
Even media companies, which rely on their reporters to get
information, are not allowing their laid- off employees
to speak out, he added.
"I've tried to talk to quite a few laid-off journalists,
and the answer is often the same: They'd love to talk, but
they don't want to risk their severance. Many of them won't
even talk off the record," he wrote.
Fost cites several companies, including Inside. com, BabyCenter.com,
Health magazine, and Cnet Networks.
"After all, the hypocrisy of a media company trampling
on its employees' free speech rights usually makes for stories
worse than anything the former workers would have said,"
REPORTERS BARRED FROM YAHOO MEETING
Reporters were barred from Yahoo! Inc.'s annual shareholders'
meeting on April 27 in a Santa Clara hotel ballroom.
Reporters who don't own stock in the company had to listen
over the Internet.
Yahoo spokeswoman Nicki Dugan told Bill Bergstein of The
Associated Press the rule has been in place for the company's
entire five-year history as a public company.
"We feel that this is a legal function intended for
our stockholders," Dugan told the AP reporter.
Bergstein said other high-tech companies, such as Cisco
Systems, Sun Microsytems, Intel, and Apple Computer, let
reporters in to cover annual meetings.
Bergstein said even companies that sometimes face PR nightmares
let reporters in to watch management field questions from
FORMS CUSTOM PUBLISHING GROUP
WPP Group, which owns Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton
and several other PR and advertising firms, has a 50% interest
with Forbes magazine in a new custom-magazine publishing
The new venture, called Custom Media Group, will handle
editorial, design, production, distrbution and other jobs
for companies in the U.S. and abroad.
It will handle magazines, newsletters, annual reports and
websites. The Custom Media group will operate separately
from Forbes Custom Communications Ptrs., which publishes
magazines for Fidelity Investments, IBM, and Northwestern
TIMES HIRES NEW PR STAFFER
Toby Usnik has joined The New York Times Co. as director
of PR. He will report to Catherine Mathis, VP of corporate
Usnik had previously been director of global communications
for Razorfish and also held a PR position at American Express.
He holds a B.A. in history and French from Hampden-Sydney
College, an M.S. from the Univ. of Pennsylvania in university
administration, and a master's of philosophy from Columbia
Christine Mohan, who had been senior manager of PR at N.Y.
Times Digital, was given an expanded role in the corporate
communications department with the same title.
Previously, Mohan was the marketing director at Abuzz, which
was acquired by NYT Co. in July 1999 to become part of N.Y.
Mohan, who will report to Usnik, will continue to handle
PR for NYTD.
DEATH: Ben G. Wright, 89, who retired in 1976
as publisher of This Week magazine, died April 10.
Wright, who served as a U.S. Air Force spokesman during
World War II, joined American Airlines after he was discharged,
as its PR director. He joined the syndicated Sunday newspaper
magazine, which stopped publishing in 1979, in 1959.
Edition, May 2, 2001, Page 3
WILL MAKE RELEASES PRINTABLE
Aspen Business Development, an Atlanta-based PR firm run
by former technology editor Doug Kilarski, is offering to
edit for free the headline, dateline, and introductory paragraph
of news release drafts received from organizations that
don't have a PR firm.
The firm will accept and edit one news release per month.
The releases will be edited according to Associated Press
"It is our experience that with or without agency representation,
many news releases are `trashed' for improper style, over
statement of value, and wordiness," said Kilarksi.
"Most executives would be amazed at how little time
an editor has to make the nay or yea decision to include
an announcement in the next issue, e.g., approximately three
Kilarski said executives at his firm have held the positions
of contributing editor, technical editor, and editor-in-chief
at several technology publications. Kilarski was the first
tech editor for Computer Shopper<D> magazine. 770/972-4117.
SEEKS OP-ED PIECES
Op-Ed pieces will be considered for publication on Crain's
website, located at www.crainsny.com.
Robin Kamen, who is editor of the site, said the pieces
must be less than 300 words in length and must tackle a
New York-specific topic.
Submit pieces by e-mail to [email protected].
The website will also launch an online database of companies
that are new to New York.
Each month, one firm, which is less than three years old,
will be profiled.
To be included in the database, e-mail [email protected]
with the following information: company name, address, phone
and website; CEO name; the date the company was founded;
the industry in which the company does business; a 50-word
description of what the company does; the number of employees;
estimated 2001 revenues, and a company contact.
SITE OFFERS ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS
Environmental Defense and the National Wildlife Federation
have launched a non-commercial website that delivers zipcode
specific news and advice about the environment for every
community in the U.S.
The site-called www.formyworld.com-offers
customized "Neighborhood Reports" on four topics:
pollution, nature, recycling and gardening.
ForMyWorld is organized into seven content channels including
"Buying Green," which provides information about
the most environmentally friendly products; "Great
Outdoors," which shows local birds, mammals and other
wildlife and where to find them, and "Close to Home,"
which gives recipes and other household environmental tips.
Joyce Newman is editor-in-chief of the site, which is funded
by the Packard Foundation, Surdna Foundation, as well as
Editorial offices are located at Environmental Defense,
275 Park ave. South, New York, NY 10010. 212/505-0606.
ADDS HOME IMPROVEMENT COL.
has added a weekly column to cover home improvement, safety,
consumer protection and real estate.
"The Money Pit," which will appear every Thursday,
is written by Tom Kraeutler and Mary Barreta, who currently
host a syndicated radio program of the same name.
ALLAN REPLACES ANTUNES AT N.Y. POST
Col Allan, 47, who is editor-in-chief of The Sydney Telegraph
in Australia, is coming to New York to be editor-in-chief
of The New York Post.
Allan, who started his career at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
in 1978, is replacing Xana Antunes, 36, who joined the Post
in 1995 as deputy business editor.
MONEYCENTRAL, CNBC.COM MERGE
Microsoft Corp. and NBC have agreed to merge the MSN MoneyCentral.com
new personal finance site-which is expected to launch this
summer and be reached at cnbc.com or moneycentral.msn.com-will
have a reach of approximately 16 million unique monthly
Throughout the daily broadcast, CNB TV will send its viewers
to the joint site for in-depth commentary, investing news
and personal finance tools.
CNBCMoneyCentral will operate from Microsoft's offices,
with the editorial team split between Fort Lee, N.J., and
TO END NEWS COVERAGE
Mike Causey is leaving PlanetGov.com
next month. He has been writing a "Federal forum"
column five days a week for the site.
The site, which will stay online, is closing its news unit.
It had planned to run about 200 news stories daily about
the federal government.
Causey, 61, who joined PlanetGov last May when the site
was started, had been The Washington Post's "Federal
Diary" columnist for 30 years.
privately held Chantilly, Va., company's information technology
business, which sells network engineering services and technology
products, is profitable.
DCity magazine, a fashion and entertainment magazine
with a free/paid circulation of about 30,000, has stopped
publishing its monthly print edition.
The publisher will continue to operate its Internet magazine
The print version, started in June 1999, was distributed
free to some hotels and restaurants and for a fee to subscribers.
news continued on next page)
Edition, May 2, 2001, Page 4
BOOKERS PITCH PUBLICISTS
Ted Saad, executive producer of Gotham TV, put the word
out at the Publicity Club of N.Y.'s luncheon April 26 that
he is interested in booking guests who are smart, witty
Gotham TV is a one-hour weekly show that explores all aspects
of New York and the tri-state area. It is a co-venture with
New York Magazine and Cablevision. Saad, who runs
his own production firm, said Gotham TV introduces the people
and places that make "New York the great metropolis
The show, which has several segments, covers parties, the
gallery scene, theater, film, publishing events and more.
Covers New Yorkers
"Gotham TV celebrates the people of New York -cultured,
savvy, snooty, creative, issue-taking, money-making, living-on-the-edge,
good, bad, rich, poor, proud-to-be-in-your-face New Yorkers,"
Saad told the nearly 100 attendees at the meeting.
Saad said he is looking for stories for the following segments:
"A New York Life," "Who's Making It,"
"Magnificent Obsessions," "The In Crowd,"
"My Neighborhood," and "Pleasure Island."
Pitches should include the following: Summary of idea, contact
information, and press release, if available. He only wants
to get the information by e-mail at [email protected].
"All of our stories are evergreen. We are not news,
so we are not able to film stories that are timely in nature,"
said Saad, whose company, Saad and Moss Entertainment, is
located at 307 W. 38th st., 10018.
Oxygen Needs a Lift
Lesley Mulgrave, who is talent booker for "Pure Oxygen"
on the Oxygen Cable Network, New York, said the network,
which is in the process of revamping its program line-up,
"welcomes ideas" from publicists.
She provided information on the following programs:
-"Pure Oxygen"-Live magazine talk show that airs
Mondays-Thursdays from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Pitch: Leigh Seldin, assignment editor, [email protected].
-"Laura Pedersen's Your Money & Your Life"
-Talk/informational show. Type of guests include celebrities,
business people, and financial managers.
Pitch: Lesley Mallgrave, 212/651-5247, or Lori Farber, 651-5289.
-"She Commerce"-Shopping advice show. Type of
guest: People with products, designers, celebrities.
Pitch: Julie van Dale, 651-5053; or Mallgrave.
-"Daily Remix"-Music entertainment show. Airs:
Mon.-Thurs. 7:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Type of guest: Musicians all
Pitch: Meredith Cohen, 651-5931.
-"Custom Concert"-Music performance specials,
premiers July 17. Type of guests: Well-known music acts,
Pitch: Cohen or Mallgrave.
-"Oxygen Sports"-Live and taped sports events/profiles.
Airs: Sat./Sun. at 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Types of guest: female
Pitch: Stacey Blagovich, 651-5021.
-"I've Got A Secret"-Show featuring real people
with a secret unuusal occupation or feat. Will begin taping
new season in late June in Los Angeles.
Maryam Ayromlou, who is senior producer for MSNBC primetime
programs, said breaking news is a high priority.
When it is news, call central booking, and when it is a
feature story, pitch the planning department, said Ayromlou.
She urged publicists to familiarize themselves with the
show so they pitch only ideas that are in line with what
is being covered at the moment.
If they are unable to get through to one of the top three
producers, Ayromlou said "junior" bookers are
Alla Lora is the senior producer in the central booking
department. Cyndi Antoniak and Robin Touval are Lora's deputy
The main number to the booking department is 201/583-5151;
Be an Early Bird
Philip O'Brien, who is managing editor of WNBC-TV News,
which covers news in the tri-state area, rattled off a list
of do's and don'ts for pitching.
His main point was to pitch only breaking news to the assignment
desk. "This is the nerve center at the TV station,"
said O'Brien, who pointed out that a good time to pitch
news to the assignment editor is between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
every day before the producers and reporters arrive for
work and are given their assignments. "Calling at 8:55
a.m. won't work," and, he added, "everything goes
crazy at 4:55 p.m."
O'Brien said publicists should be ready to provide the visual
elements when they make a pitch.
Don't pitch him feature stories, and he never uses a taped
MARKOFF TO TAKE LEAVE FROM TIMES
John Markoff, who covers high technology news for The
New York Times, will start a six-month leave this month
to write a book about the history of the personal computer.
His book, which will be published by Penguin, will focus
on the years from 1961 to 1976.
Markoff, who is based in the paper's San Francisco bureau,
is interested in getting the oral histories of people who
worked with Doug Engelbart, whom he called "the Moses
of modern computing."
Edition, May 2, 2001, Page 7
REPORTS LOSS; STOCK DIPS
The Interpublic Group of Cos., parent of PR firms with $700
million+ in fees, lost $38.3 million, or 12 cents a share
in the first quarter, vs. a profit of $42.9M, or 14 cents,
in the same 2000 quarter.
The stock closed at $33.96 April 27, off $2.35 and near
its 52-week low of $32. It had reached $58 in December,
1999, just before its $680M purchase of NFO Worldwide was
The IPG press release headlined an 11% gain in operating
revenues and gains of 6% in both revenue and organic growth.
Net of $65.3 million was claimed although IPG pointed out
this did not include $160M in certain charges. Only at the
end of the seventh page in its release is the dollar amount
of the loss provided as part of a page of tables.
The pre-tax charges included $160M for declines in investments
including the bankrupt MarchFirst and $36M for restructuring
of Lowe Lintas.
CEO John Dooner said the agency is facing a "tough
market" and is holding down costs. IPG's acquisition
of True North for $2.1B is "progressing well"
and should be completed soon, he said. IPG owns Weber/Shandwick
and Golin/Harris and will pick up BSMG with the purchase
Stock Taking Big Hit
IPG's stock has taken its first big downturn since 1985,
according to a chart in its financial report.
The chart shows a near straight-line increase in cumulative
total return since 1985 until December, 1999, when it went
into a tailspin of about $20 a share (one-third of its price
of $58) from which it has yet to recover. This has clipped
about $6 billion in stock valuation from its previous $17B
IPG's debt rose 52% in 2000 to $1.9B.
In has paid $2.9B through the end of 2000 for 210 acquisitions
of ad agencies, PR firms, marketing and graphics firms and
other businesses (77 in 2000, 56 in 1999, and 77 in 1998).
The $2.9B is more than half of total revenues of $5.6B in
2000. Only a few of the names of the companies are known
to the public. IPG refuses to identify the rest.
Thirty-seven insiders have proposed the sale of 491,027
IPG shares worth $20M since Jan. 1. Insiders have made no
purchases during this period.
EXXON REPELS LOCAL REPORTER
Steve Blow, columnist for the Dallas Morning News,
last week wrote of his unsuccessful efforts to start a relationship
with the PR unit of Exxon Mobil, the world's biggest company
with $232 billion in sales. Its h.q. are outside of Dallas.
Blow had trouble finding the h.q. because Exxon "isn't
much on signs." He described the h.q. as a "low,
dark building" atop a hill on State Highway 11 that
looks "cold and spooky." A guard stopped him at
the gate since he didn't have an appointment.
Back at the office, he called PR and got "a perky PR
type named Cynthia Langlands." He explained he just
wanted to make a friendly visit but she said media do not
normally come to h.q. He called her again but she did not
return the call.
Undeterred, he thought up some "serious" topics
such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the current legal
battle between Exxon and Kellogg's. Both use tigers in their
Langlands read him a prepared statement that said consumers
would not confuse the Exxon tiger with Kellogg's "Tony
Blow, noting that Boeing might be moving to Dallas, wrote:
"I sure hope Boeing's more fun."
Exxon's ad account has long been at the McCann-Erickson
unit of Interpublic.
WOMEN DOMINATE PR, SAYS USA TODAY
"Women dominate PR...is that good?" asked a headline
in the April 25 USA Today.
The article by Rick Hampson quoted Burson-Marsteller founder
Harold Burson as saying that PR is in danger of being regarded
as "a woman's job."
Burson said clients want input from a group of people who
are balanced by gender.
Women make up two-thirds of B-M's staff and three-quarters
of new employees are women.
Burson is pictured with his six-member "executive team."
All of them are women.
Sharon VanSickle of KVO PR, Portland, Ore., is quoted as
saying many PR firms also have large proportions of women
and "that's not healthy."
Chris Boehlke of Phase Two Strategies, San Francisco, said
women excel in PR because they are more verbal, expressive
and nurturing than men, which fits naturally with PR."
Burson, Daniel Edelman of Edelman PR Worldwide, and Al Golin
of Golin/Harris International discussed the topic at PRSA's
conference last year. They agreed that more men are needed
Burson said salaries might have to be raised in order to
attract men. USA Today quoted a Harper's Bazaar article
on "dot.com gold diggers" that said some women
are seeking husbands via PR jobs.
COMPANIES "LIVING WITH" FD-PINCUS
Despite some gripes, most companies haven't clammed up under
the new SEC rules calling for fair disclosure to the public
as well as analysts, said IR veteran Ted Pincus.
More than a fourth of companies have overreacted and seriously
curtailed their flow of investor communications but others
are "successfully managing expectations through broadscale,
high-frequency updates on their current outlook," said
Pincus, CEO of the Financial Relations Board unit of BSMG
Worldwide. He addressed faculty and lawyers at Northwestern
University Law School.
He advised companies that "improved transparency"
is not only legally safer but the key to higher price/earnings
multiples. Companies should define their "investment
appeals" and disseminate them broadly, he said. Obsession
with earnings-per-share should be replaced with emphasis
on cash flow. He advises "mass teleconferences"
for press and analysts within an hour after any important
Edition, May 2, 2001, Page 8
was quite a week in financial reporting.
First we had Interpublic announcing quarterly net income
of $65 million
before "impairment charges" caused by bad investments
and costs of merging two of its ad agencies.
In other words, IPG lost $38M in the quarter!
Its release via PR Newswire headlined: "IPG Announces
an 11% Gain in Operating Income."
Were the IPG execs in charge of the Mets, here's how they
would describe a game: "Mets score 11 runs vs. Dodgers...15
hits is high for week...Dodgers held scoreless in three
innings" (etc.). At the end of the release, in a column
of stats, we would learn the Mets lost 12 to 11. What disturbs
us is that media used the IPG spin and headlined such things
as "IPG's Q1 Earnings Flat" (Reuters) and "IPG
Posts Flat Profit Growth" (CBS MarketWatch). Only in
the fourth graph does CBS point out that "including
investment losses and other charges, IPG actually lost $38.3M."
IPG and some other companies have cajoled the media into
stressing whatever it is the companies want to stress as
opposed to the actual earnings, which should come first,
just like the score of a baseball game. Yahoo, reporting
on IPG, speaks of "normalized" earnings (excluding
the special charges), a new atrocity in financial reporting.
Also, we object to IPG characterizing its merger costs as
something extraordinary when it has acquired 210 companies
in just the past three years and is now digesting True North
for $2.1 billion.
The IPG sleight-of-hand with numbers is also visible in
a glossy booklet it put out with its proxy statement
and financial report to stockholders. The booklet looks
like an annual report but is not because it has only one
page (the first) with financials. The page is titled "Financial
Highlights." Revenue is given correctly at $5.6 billion
but net income and earnings per share carry asterisks. A
footnote explains that the claimed net of $473K includes
$116K in merger and non-recurring transaction costs. Per
share net is given as $1.51 for 2000 and $1.24 for 1999.
The actual per share net figures ($1.15 and $1.07) are not
provided. We applaud IPG for showing that debt climbed 52%
to $1.9 billion. Otherwise, the page, including three of
four charts, is relentlessly upbeat and lacks key figures.
The first page in the Omnicom annual report is also upbeat.
OMC deducts $63M from its earnings because the profit came
from sale of shares of Razorfish, the dot-com whose stock
plummeted from $56 to 31 cents (rebounding to 87 cents).
Stockholder suits have charged improper insider trading.
We don't know whether OMC will be named. OMC is to be praised
for not deducting the costs of its numerous mergers but
it fails to state on this page that its long-term debt soared
3.85 times from $263M to $1.015B.
Given this track record with financial reporting, it's
no wonder we're not accepting any of the revenue claims
for the PR units owned by the big three. WPP and OMC are
both claiming $800+M in PR fees and IPG is claiming $700M+.
None of the claims is backed by a CPA statement, payroll
total, CPA-attested staff total or any documents whatever.
The PR units count as PR anything they do. Hill and Knowlton
and Burson-Marsteller, owned by WPP, refuse to supply account
lists. Several other firms owned by the big three supplied
The attempted takeover of the PR rankings by WPP, OMC and
IPG is a close cousin to what has happened in Russia
with the state's takeover of Vladimir Gusinsky's publications
and TV network. The state did not like his coverage, especially
his criticism of the Chechen war. "This is an issue
of who will run the state," an unnamed Kremlin official
told the New York Times. Similarly, U.S. security
analysts, bowing to economic pressure by companies and their
investment banks, are now 99% positive (or at least neutral)
in their appraisal of stocks...the National Investor
Relations Institute and Financial Executives Int'l last
week came out with guidelines for earnings statements but
they mainly concern "pro forma" statements (such
as showing what financials of two merged companies would
have looked like in a previous quarter). What's really needed
are standards that will make companies report their true
earnings or losses first. Also, balance sheets should always
be supplied with earnings and revenue statements. Many companies
already do this. Both IPG and OMC distribute earnings statements
without balance sheets, which, a CPA told us, is like a
newspaper reporting scores of ball games but not the won/lost
records and league standings of the teams. NIRI, oddly,
has no standards for earnings statements.
The cold-as-ice PR posture adopted by the world's biggest
company, Exxon Mobil, is a bad example for other companies
and the PR profession. Come to think of it, Exxon is a longtime
client of Interpublic, as is Coca-Cola, which also has tight
policies towards the press (2/2/00 NL)...the Arthur Page
Society last week said news releases are going directly
into wire services, public websites and bulletin boards
without much checking and that members should be careful
of what they put out. This is good advice but better advice
would be for members to be available when the press calls
to check facts. The Page group won't give out a list of
its members. Reporters calling companies encounter voice
mail and unknowledgeable junior staffers.