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Internet Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 1


Weber Shandwick has sliced 24 staffers from its Bloomington, Minn., office. That's a "deep" but necessary cut, according to David Mona, the office's CEO.

He said the firm is now adequately staffed to meet the level of business that is projected for the first-quarter of next year.

The idea was to lay off as many employees as possible in one fell swoop rather than laying people off in dribs and drabs, he said. WSW/Minneapolis, which has 143 employees, trimmed nine and ten workers in two other cutbacks during the past 12 months.

WSW recently received some bad news when it was dropped in a review by the Minnesota Dept. of Health anti-smoking campaign targeted at youth.


Equals Three Comms. signed a three-year, $4.2 million contract with The National Institute of Mental Health for national PR campaigns to reduce the prevalence and impact of mental disorders in the U.S.

A "few other firms" pitched the account, said Barbara Hummell, SVP-PR for ETC, who handled the NIMH business when she was at Porter Novelli.

ETC also landed a one-year, $200,000 pact to handle PR for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Porter Novelli had the account.


American Classic Voyages is using Edelman PR Worldwide for PR related to its bankruptcy filing.

Hollis Rafkin-Sax, Edelman Financial general manager, handles the account. She is assisted by executive VP Richard Mahony and John Dillard, sr. A/S.

Edelman is handling PR aimed at ACV's vendors, employees, lenders, shareholders and the media.


Brian Gross, 42, has been named the first director of communications at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Chairman Harvey Pitt created the position because he felt the need to better coordinate the SEC's messages to its various constituencies.

Gross has spent 19 years as an aide on Capitol Hill. Most recently, he was deputy Republic staff director and counsel to the Senate Banking Committee.

Pitt also has selected Michael Robinson, 37, as director of the SEC's Office of Public Affairs, Policy Evaluation, and Research. Robinson has done communications stints at Mobil Corp. and Nasdaq.


The Council of PR Firms has cut its 2002 dues 20 percent in recognition of hard times in the PR field. It will use the same formula to calculate dues: 0.65 percent of a firm's U.S. 2001 revenues. Council president Jack Bergen will then chop that dues figure by 20 percent.

The group has cut the minimum dues level from $2,500 to $2,000. The cap remains at $50,000.

Bergen, despite the dues cut, promises a full plate of 2002 offerings from the Council.

The Council's board at its Nov. 15 meeting elected Fleishman-Hillard CEO John Graham as chair and Golin/Harris chief Rich Jernstedt as vice chair.


Cognos Co. has picked The Horn Group, San Francisco, to handle its $360K PR budget, Isabelle Des Chenes, senior PR manager/analyst relations at the Ottawa-based "enterprise business intelligence solutions" company, told this NL.

The company launched its review after its former PR firm, San Francisco-based Niehaus Ryan Wong, shut down its New York office in a cost-saving move.

"I consulted the 'O'Dwyer Directory of PR Firms' to develop a list of high-tech firms with under 200 employees," Des Chenes said.

Her short-list included NRW, Schwartz Comms., FitzGerald Comms., Phase II Strategies and THG.
THG's Braintree, Mass., office handles the Cognos account. Mara Bartucca manages that office.


New Hampshire has tapped Hillsborough-based Louis Karno and Co. for a two-year contract to promote the state as a year-round tourism spot. That pact is centered on an 18-month media relations campaign targeting the travel media.

Lauri Klefos, director of the state's Division of Travel and Tourism Development, said the campaign is the state's first agency-led push.

The Bin Laden Group, one of the world's largest construction companies, owned by Saudi Arabia's Bin Laden family, is looking for a firm to handle international PR and respond to numerous requests from the world's media, according to The Guardian of London. Hullin Metz & Co. handles media relations for the family in the U.S. BLG held three meetings with London-based WMC Comms., according to David Wynne-Morgan, WMC chairman.

Internet Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 2


PR Society of America, as part of a drive for new members, is waiving the $65 initiation fee for "readers" of PR Week and has changed its bylaws to allow the jobless to join as long as they had a qualified PR post within the previous five years.

"There are PR professionals who need the PRSA resources such as networking and career assistance more than ever," said a message from PRSA h.q. on its "Leaderserve" e-mail network.

PRSA chapters are also waiving the $65 initiation fee to new members coming in via its chapters. These offers are good until Dec. 31.

New members coming in through other routes would still have to pay the initiation fee, said Libby Roberge, PR director of PRSA.

The offer to waive the $65 initiation fee was bound into the Oct. 22 issue of PR Week.

The enclosed PRSA membership application had the notation "PRWK2001" on it to indicate it came from the magazine.

Roberge said the same deal is available to other PR publications although none of the other publications are participating in it.

PR Week came to PRSA with the offer, she said.

PRSA's membership is currently 19,746 but this includes three months of expired memberships. Members are not taken off the rolls until three months after the expiration of their memberships. The renewal rate has been running around 70% during 2001, executive VP Catherine Bolton has said.

Pisinski Blasted Initial Help to PRW

PRW, a sister publication of PR Week, London, was brought to America in late 1998 by the Haymarket Group, London. John Beardsley, 1995 president of PRSA, and Ray Gaulke, COO of PRSA in 1998, went to London twice to urge PRW to enter the U.S. market.

Steve Pisinski, treasurer of PRSA in 1998 and its president-elect, in 1998 blasted the endorsement of PRW by PRSA.

"This assistance to PR Week was neither board initiated nor board approved," he said, adding: "PRSA should not be in the position of favoring or appearing to favor any PR industry publication."

Joann Killeen, 2001 PRSA president and then board secretary, agreed that the board should have had the chance to discuss the endorsement.

The late Patrick Jackson, former PRSA president, said PRW should not be allowed to use the mailing list of PRSA as announced.


Burger King CEO John Dasburg took out a full-page ad in the Nov. 20 USA Today to thank Weber Shandwick Worldwide for its PR work on behalf of the fast food chain's "Courageous Americans" campaign to honor Sept. 11 rescue workers.

He singled out Gail Heimann, president of WSW's global consumer marketing practice, Julie Harkavy and Dolores Machuca-Ruiz for praise. Dasburg also acknowledges the work of Richard Avedon who photographed the rescue workers who are profiled in BK's Courageous Americans ad campaign.

BK's 8,500 restaurants were designated as official Red Cross donation centers. The chain also sold American flag decals to raise money for the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund.


Interpublic's Cassidy and Assocs. is lobbying for some federal funds for the $70 million Muhammad Ali Center, aimed at promoting "respect, hope, and understanding" to be built in the former heavyweight champion's birth city of Louisville, Ky. The proposed four-story "museum" on the Ohio River waterfront is currently in the planning and fund raising stages with a goal of breaking ground in the first half of 2002.

While serving as a museum for Ali's career and life, its broader mission is "to preserve and share the legacy and ideals" of Ali, and to "promote respect, hope and understanding" and "inspire adults and children everywhere to be as great as they can be."
Cassidy's Mary Kate Johnson, Greg Gill, and Chris Lamond handle the account.

New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani called on Ali, a devout Muslim, in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. The three-time champ accepted the Mayor's request and, donning an "FDNY" cap, offered his words and prayers in defense of his adopted religion: "Islam means peace, and I couldn't just sit home and see Muslims be blamed for these problems," he said in the wake of dozens of reports of bias attacks in the New York area against Muslims.

"Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams - they all have different names, but they all contain water," Ali told the rescue workers. "Just as religions do - they all contain truths."

Attacks Highlight Center's Need

The Sept. 11 attacks highlight the need for the Center, its spokesperson told this NL. "People are looking to Ali as an example of real Muslim, someone who actually follows the faith, not someone who misuses the faith, as the hijackers did," said Sue Carls, communications director for the Center.

It is Ali's enduring legacy and image that can buoy the project. "He is an amazing man, and his life has been about the themes of the times," Carls said when asked about Ali's continued popularity.

"From the time he emerged as a symbol of pride for Black Americans, because he believed in himself and told people how great he was, through the Vietnam War when he established the rights of conscientious objectors, to now, when he spends so much of his time helping others, Ali has been a symbol of change."

Ali also serves as a spokesperson for the National Parkinson Foundation and is a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Internet Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 3


The latest Gallup poll shows the vast majority of Americans approve of the way top Bush Administration officials and the major governmental institutions are handling the war on terrorism, but a majority of Americans disapprove of the news media's performance by a 54% to 43% margin.

Low ratings for the media appear fairly consistently across the many demographic subgroups of the public, implying a widespread consensus on the issue, said David Moore, a reporter for the Gallup News Service.

"A review of other polling data suggests the low rating may be related to the anthrax scare, when many people said the news media overreacted, and to the general confrontational role that the news media play in a democracy," said Moore.

Gallup's Nov. 8-11 poll found 89% of all Americans approving of the way President George W. Bush is handling the war, and 87% approving of Secretary of State Colin Powell's performance.

In general, Americans appear to be quite willing to support governmental restriction of news coverage.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,005 adults nationwide, aged 18+.


A new study shows celebrity and lifestyle stories have dropped from a fourth of all stories on network TV news to only an occasional mention, but the amount of time the networks' morning news shows devoted to selling or promoting products has not changed significantly.

The study, which examined both the evening newscasts and the morning news shows during the weeks of June 18-22 and 25-29 and the weeks of Oct. 15-19 and 22-26, found eight in 10 stories concerned government, national or international affairs.

Researchers plan to follow up in the coming months to see if any of the changes last.

The study for the Project for Excellence in Journalism was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.


Chris Cramer, chairman of Newscoverage Unlimited, said donations are needed for an initiative that will help journalists, who have witnessed horror while reporting the news, overcome post-traumatic stress disorders.

"The psychological impact of newsgathering is real as a broken bone or a bullet wound," said Cramer, who is president of CNN International.

"In the months to come, some newspeople will be at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or substance abuse. With the right help, most newspapers can recover from these invisible wounds and continue to provide quality reporting," he said.

Donations can be sent to Newscoverage Unlimited, 116 Consumer sq. 199, Plattsburgh, NY 12901.


The Chicago Tribune has discontinued "The Inc." column, a local gossip column that has appeared in the paper for 20 years.

The column was killed following a Nov. 14 report that Stephen Zucker, an agent for pro atheltes and local media figures, had filed a libel lawsuit against the Tribune Co. and Ellen Warren, who was an Inc. columnist.

Warren has been named a senior correspondent, and Terry Armour, who was the other Inc. columnist, will cover entertainment and celebrities in the Tribune's "Tempo" section.

The Economist predicts the end of the recession in 2002. Barring more terrorist attacks or a protracted and ineffective war, the American economy will bounce back by the end of 2002 with a classic "V" shaped recession: a fast slowdown followed by a fast recovery, the magazine said in a special annual publication, called "The World in 2002."

Last year, the weekly predicted that Afghanistan would be the most miserable place to be a citizen in 2001.

Sandhills, the Lincoln, Neb.-based publisher of the Smart Computing family of publications, is starting a new monthly title designed for technical experts, called Computer Power User.

CPU will feature opinion columns and product reviews. Editor Samit Choudhuri heads up the editorial team at 402/479-2132.

Steven Pybrum, author of "Money and Marriage-Making It Work Together," was given the 2001 IRWIN award by the Southern California Book Publicists Assn., for having the longest sustained publicity campaign.

The book has been the subject matter of 75 TV interviews and 300 radio interviews since it was first published in 1996.


Colin Myler, formerly the editor of The London Sunday Mirror, is joining The New York Post as managing editor.

Nicholas Kristof is stepping down as Sunday editor of The New York Times to write a twice-weekly column for the paper's op-ed page. He will write about the fight against terrorism, the paper said.

Richard Christiansen, who has covered the world of arts for The Chicago Tribune for the past 20 years, is retiring as chief critic in March.

Michael Phillips, chief theater critic of The Los Angeles Times since 1999, will become the Tribune's chief theater critic, and Chris Jones, a longtime freelance critic for the Tribune, will join the staff on Jan. 1 as a arts/entertainment writer and critic.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 4


Trying to pitch a non-terrorist, human interest, product or corporate story these days remains a challenge, unless it's about providing relief to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Judy Dugan, deputy editorial page editor for the Los Angeles Times, told a PRSA/On The Scene Productions gathering of PR professionals.

"[The terrorism attacks] will be fluid for a long time," Dugan said. "There is so much we haven't looked at, a lot to talk about as this thing stays quiet."

Dugan said that stories related to the attacks will recede as long as things "stay cool," but if any action occurs, she added, stories may swing back in that direction.

The LA Times has four sections for editorial pitches: editorials, letters-to-the-editor, op-eds and cartoons.

"All of these units operate semi-autonomously," Dugan said. With letters, "it's a matter of not drowning." The Times' cartoonist, Michael Ramirez, does entertain pitches, said Dugan.

Do's and Don'ts of Op-ed

Dugan said the Times receives thousands of letters every day and that a staffer is obligated to read at least the first line of every letter that comes in.

She provided a list of do's and don'ts for op-eds:

· The best letters are about 250 words long.

· They respond directly to something that recently appeared in the paper.

· Include the original article along with the letter, or mention the headline, date and the page on which it appeared.

· The letters staff pays close attention to commonalities in the subject lines of e-mails, shared language, and anything else that suggests an organized effort to appear in the paper.

The editor said it is always better to send one stand-alone piece.

"The goal is to find people with direct expertise to explain what's happening in the world," she said.

Dugan also noted that longtime op-ed editor Bob Berger was retiring. The paper is currently searching for a successor.

Wants Think-tank People

Dugan said the Times is always looking for good "think-tank people," but with world events the way they are, there is not much room for entry.

She said failing to place an op-ed does not mean a PR pro should give up. "You may find greater success at a more local paper," she suggested.

PR pros should only bring one issue to the board table, said Dugan. An issue must be "big and occurrence-related."


The Philadelphia Tribune, which was founded in 1884 and claims to be the oldest continuously operating newspaper for African-Americans, is starting a Sunday edition on Nov. 25. The Tribune already publishes on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Kevin Richardson, who was news editor, was named Sunday editor. The paper, which is at 520 S. 16th st., expects to hire eight reporters and a news editor for full- and part-time work.

The paper will be features-oriented, focusing on profiles and enterprise pieces. It will also have breaking news.

The new edition, which will have a print run of 50,000, will compete against The Philadelphia Sunday Sun, whose editor, J. Whyatt Mondesire, is the local NAACP president.

Kristin Zhivago, editor of Marketing Technology, based in Jamestown, R.I., says the most important element on e-mailed press releases is the "subject line."

Cute, flippant or sarcastic subject lines, such as one saying "I can't believe this" or "This is ridiculous" will associate the sender with a poor attitude every time, said Zhivago, who gets hundreds of e-mails from PR people every month.

"The best subject lines are very specific," said Zhivago. "For example, if you are sending a press release, say so, or at least make it obvious: `News Release: New marketing tools from ABC.'

"Or even better, let the subject line communicate that it's a news release, without having to use up precious subject line space by typing the words 'news release' or 'press release'," said Zhivago.

She believes the strongest PR subject lines "just say 'who did what': 'Unica joins Peoplesoft' or 'WorldWide, Inc. changes name to Small World, Inc.'"

Vanguarde Media, publisher of Heart & Soul and Honey magazines for African-American women, will relaunch Code, which it acquired from Larry Flynt Publications, as a fashion magazine aimed at black males 18-34.

Code, which will be relaunched in fall of 2002, will be published 10 times in 2003.

Savoy, a dual-audience lifestyle magazine started nine months ago by VM, will be repositioned in February to target men 25-34.

Savoy will increase its circulation rate base 50% to 300,000, and expand fashion and luxury goods coverage.

CNBC is replacing "Rivera Live" with a business news program, hosted by Tyler Mathisen, who will also be named CNBC's Washington, D.C., bureau chief, a new position.

The new program will focus on budgetary politics, the Federal Reserve and the Afghanistan war, reflecting the network's new focus on general news.

Pamela Thomas-Graham, who recently took over as CEO of CNBC, said business people want more information from Washington and more information from the war zone.

Internet Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 7


America's war on terror "won't be won over the airwaves," it will be won on the streets of the Arab world, Jack Leslie, Weber Shandwick Worldwide chairman, told the House Committee on International Relations.

The U.S. needs to recruit and train credible people "on the ground"--such as clerics, youth groups, sports heroes and teachers--to deliver America's message that it is not waging a war against Islam.

One central message that should be made is that this nation "went to war against Christian fundamentalists to protect Muslim minorities in places like Bosnia and Kosovo."

Leslie acknowledged that the U.S. is an effective government-to-government communicator, but feels it fails when it comes to communicating the values held by America.

That shortcoming has been exacerbated with the end of the Cold War and America's cutback in public diplomacy.

The WSW exec attributes the "deep-seated hatred" of the U.S. among Muslims to poverty, political repression and the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli dispute and "America's involvement in these situations whether real or perceived."

The only acceptable form of political expression in most Muslim countries, said Leslie, is to be "anti-American or anti-Israel."

Put Terrorists in Box

America needs to make the case that Osama bin Laden and terror groups haven't just hijacked airplanes, they are trying to hijack Islam.

The U.S. shouldn't be shy about launching a negative PR campaign in order to put the "terrorists in a box."

For instance, while Muslim culture stresses family values, the U.S. should play up the fact that bin Laden is "estranged from his family and ostracized from his tribe."

Leslie told the committee that America must encourage a dialog among Muslims "about what are acceptable beliefs and behavior for Islam."

He noted that America will "never convince radical Islamic fundamentalists of the benefits of a pluralistic society." But "we can carefully target those whose opinions are soft, those who are undecided or conflicted.

"It should be possible to persuade people who are searching for answers that the path these radical elements have chosen is not only incompatible with the teachings of the Koran, but antithetical to the kind of future most people want to live," said Leslie.


Louisiana-Pacific has backed away from its plan to shut down its internal PR department, according to Ward Hubbell, VP-corporate affairs.

"The plan was for me to set up my own firm, and sign a long-term contract and outsource" communications services to L-P, Hubbell told this NL.

That plan has been put on hold because there is a "critical need for communications" during this difficult economy," he added.

The Portland, Ore.-based forest products company reported a nine-month loss of $101 million on $1.8 billion in revenues.

CEO Mark Suwyn announced last month plans to cut 160 mid to high-level corporate jobs by the end of the year. He also canceled executive bonuses, installed a wage freeze and plans to sell assets in an effort to cut annual overhead by $30 million.

Hubbell joined L-P in 1997. Previously, he was at International Paper and E. Bruce Harrison Co.


It's business as usual, Associated Press entertainment reporter David Germain told about three dozen PR pros at an entertainment media breakfast at the Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, Calif.

Enough time has passed since the terror attacks. Many parts of operations at the AP have gotten back to a resemblance of business as usual," he said.

Being extra sensitive in your pitches is no longer an issue, says USA Today's Scott Bowles. "Given the success of 'Monsters Inc.' and 'Harry Potter,' it seems as if much of the country is getting back to normal, and so are the sections of USA Today," said Bowles.

He said PR pros won't have as much trouble pitching the "Life" section of USA Today or "Sports," but if you are calling the "Business" or "News," "you would still be hard-pressed to pitch something that is not war related."

Trend Pitches Are Tops

If a PR pro represents an actor or product, try to see the trends in the industry that might fit your client. "Something that we are always looking for," Bowles said. "If you say my client is part of a hot trend in the industry, instead of just pitching a movie or actor, I'm interested."

Bowles warned that most of the decisions come out of Washington, D.C., so there may be "a disconnect" on story placement.

E-mail is the best method to pitch Bowles. "I always welcome e-mail pitches, and we don't get as many e-mail pitches as you would think. Just send it or fax it over. It will always be read," he said. "Overload us," he added.

"We rely on our newspaper member demands, and we're beefing up entertainment because of the Internet," explained Germain. "So I'm the opposite on pitches. Don't overload us, we're overloaded already. There are some newspapers which have no entertainment reporters, so they rely on us."

Prepare Your Client for Interviews

"On an off-the-record, please advise clients that we like to question them, and we like to go as far as we can. Talk to your client on what is on or off the record and what he can say," said Bowles.

Internet Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 8



Company layoffs, which are so pleasing to security analysts because they boost profits in the short term, can have serious side effects such as loss of business connected to the fired employees and higher rate of departure among remaining staff.

The InsightExpress research firm found that 62% of executives who have cut staff said the layoffs would decrease customer loyalty and encourage customers to seek other suppliers.

It also found that 59% of the execs are worried that the layoffs "will encourage remaining employees to look for new jobs."

What makes this item juicy is that it comes from a unit of the Interpublic Group of Cos., which has laid off 6,000 of its 60,000 employees.

InsightExpress is a unit of NFO WorldGroup, Greenwich, Conn., which is owned 100% by IPG. The press release from InsightExpress says it is "affiliated" with IPG and NFO.

IPG on Nov. 13 told analysts that it would continue to cut costs in 2002 and that even if revenues were flat in 2002 it would still be able to report a 15% increase in profits.

This so cheered analysts that IPG's stock popped five points the next day to the mid-$20 s (although still far from its high of $58 two years ago). The analysts also like the fact that IPG is taking the "big bath" by lumping $592 million in costs in one quarter, thus "teeing up" the profit ball for future quarters.

IPG's research arm has raised a serious question for IPG and others who chop staff because the savings quickly hit the bottom line. At what point do the staff cuts affect the services the company can provide? At what point do customers start to follow fired employees to their new jobs and at what point do remaining employees start to feel insecure enough to seek new jobs?

The major street level "healthscare" ad campaign of the American Dental Assn. (11/21 NL editorial) about mouth cancer may be biting off more than it can chew.

There was a big brouhaha in 1998 when the American Medical Assn. endorsed a raft of Sunbeam products for which it was to be paid millions over a five-year period.

Too many doctors beefed about the commercial involvement and the AMA withdrew from the deal, paying Sunbeam $9.9 million in penalties. Five AMA staffers lost their jobs including the head of staff.

The ADA deal differs in many respects. The product involved (a biopsy testing device made by Oralscan Laboratories, Suffern, N.Y.), is not mentioned in the ads, which are being run in outdoor media in 11 big cities.

Oralscan is not paying the ADA anything for its "Seal of Acceptance," which has been granted to some 1,300 other dental products. About 30% of these are sold to consumers.

Oralscan is paying for the campaign, which appears to be in the $2 million+ range (ADA won t supply the ad budget).

But the ads will no doubt send many people to their dentists who will examine them and perhaps test them with the product sold by Oralscan ("See your dentist. Testing is now painless," says ad copy). The public is not being told the incidence of this form of cancer—30,000 new cases in a population of 281 million or one per 9,360 people. Older people who smoke and drink are at greater risk.

A healthscare ad that does provide some information as to risk was run for "abdominal aortic aneurysms," also known as "AAA," in the Nov. 26 Newsweek. One of the headlines warned that "sudden death can result" from a burst aorta and "most of the time there are no symptoms." Only 20% of rupture victims live, copy adds.

That's enough to scare anyone. But the ad, dominated by a picture of comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who had this condition, notes that men over 50 who smoke are eight times as likely to have the problem. There are said to be "as many as 750,000 Americans with undiagnosed AAAs." This sounds like a lot but it s still about one-third of one percent of the total population of 281M.

Here's an issue for the National Investor Relations Institute.

The Nov. 26 Business Week, picking up a theme of BW in recent months, complains in a cover story that "Not since the 1930s has the quality of corporate earnings been such an issue—and so difficult for investors to determine." Even the most sophisticated financial minds can t figure out what a company actually earns, says BW, blasting the use of "core earnings," "pro forma earnings," "adjusted earnings" and "EBITDA" (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). Robert Elliott, former chief, American Institute of CPAs, said "Investors are facing a Tower of Babel."

NIRI and Financial Executives Int'l put out a statement in April that pro forma results should conform to GAAP (accounting rules) but this is far short of what s needed, namely that "real" earnings should be presented first in a press release. Balance sheets are often lacking or never sent.

NIRI does not supply its directory of nearly 5,000 members to the press, which would make it easy for reporters to contact IR pros. Cost is not an issue since NIRI s cash/investments are $4.1 million (up 67% from 2000). It made $1.4M on its conference.
-- Jack O'Dwyer


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