Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 1
WEBER SHANDWICK CUTS 24
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 GETS MENTAL HEALTH
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.
EDELMAN SAILS WITH ACV
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.
GROSS, ROBINSON GET SLOTS
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
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.
CPRF CUTS DUES
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 GOES WITH HORN
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
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.
N.H. TOURISM TO LOUIS KARNO
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,
Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 2
PRSA WAIVES FEE; WELCOMES
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
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.
Blasted Initial Help to 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.
treasurer of PRSA in 1998 and its president-elect, in 1998
blasted the endorsement of PRW by PRSA.
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."
2001 PRSA president and then board secretary, agreed that
the board should have had the chance to discuss the endorsement.
Patrick Jackson, former PRSA president, said PRW
should not be allowed to use the mailing list of PRSA as
BURGER KING TIPS CAP TO WSW
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.
CASSIDY RAISES FUNDS FOR ALI
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
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.
Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 3
POLL: MANY DISAPPROVE
OF WAR COVERAGE
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.
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.
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
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.
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+.
TV NETWORKS SHIFT TO HARD
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
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.
DONATIONS SOUGHT FOR JOURNALISTS
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
"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.
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.
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
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
The book has been the subject matter of 75 TV interviews
and 300 radio interviews since it was first published in
formerly the editor of The London Sunday Mirror,
is joining The New York Post as managing editor.
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
who has covered the world of arts for The Chicago Tribune
for the past 20 years, is retiring as chief critic in March.
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
news continued on next page)
Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 4
LA TIMES HAS PITCH OPPORTUNITIES
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.
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
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.
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
PR pros should only bring
one issue to the board table, said Dugan. An issue must
be "big and occurrence-related."
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
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.
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.'"
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.
Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 7
TAKE PR WAR TO
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
acceptable form of political expression in most Muslim countries,
said Leslie, is to be "anti-American or anti-Israel."
needs to make the case that Osama bin Laden and terror groups
haven't just hijacked airplanes, they are trying to hijack
shouldn't be shy about launching a negative PR campaign
in order to put the "terrorists in a box."
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."
the committee that America must encourage a dialog among
Muslims "about what are acceptable beliefs and behavior
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.
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.
L-P DROPS PLAN TO CLOSE PR
Louisiana-Pacific has backed away from its plan to shut
down its internal PR department, according to Ward Hubbell,
"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,"
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.
BACK TO BUSINESS FOR ENTERTAINMENT
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,
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."
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
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,"
"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."
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.
Edition, November 28, 2001, Page 8
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
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?
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
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 cancer30,000 new cases in a population
of 281 million or one per 9,360 people. Older people who
smoke and drink are at greater risk.
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
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 issueand
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