Edition, January 30, 2002, Page 1
EDGES EDELMAN, RF FOR FACTIVA
Hill and Knowlton will position Factiva, the Dow Jones/Reuters
web-based news and information service, as more than just
a "gee whiz" technology powerhouse, according
to Vince Hulbert, deputy director of the firm's corporate/financial
practice in New York.
Patricia Bridges, VP-global PR at Factiva, said she considered
seven firms for the mid six-figure account. She liked H&K
because of its "experience in repositioning other companies,
team approach, global reach and excellent presentation skills."
Ruder Finn and incumbent Edelman PR Worldwide were the other
H&K will largely operate in the U.S. and the U.K. but
Bridges said the firm may also handle projects in other
countries. Factiva publishes information in 22 languages.
Hulbert said Factiva has received a "lot of credit
for its technology in trade publications." The idea
now is to "spur a dialog with the business media about
the value of Factiva's information."
Eight H&K staffers will work with Hulbert on the account,
including Ted Graham, the firm's chief knowledge officer
in Toronto, and Sarah Arnott, senior account director in
DKC NAMES AD EXEC AS COO
New York-based Dan Klores Communications has hired Luana
Floccuzio as COO. She had headed local and New York marketing
and advertising teams for NW Ayer & Partners since 1999.
DKC president Dan Klores said Floccuzio will focus on
"strategic communications and marketing integration"
for consumer brand and corporate clients.
Floccuzio, who was previously a director on General Motors'
corporate ad and marketing unit, began her career with GM
in 1980 as an engineering intern.
Seattle, which recently acquired the 123 branches of Dime
Bancorp in the New York area, named Andrew Edson & Assocs.
for PR in partnership with Manning, Selvage & Lee. WM
has $242 billion in assets and is the largest U.S. mortgage
company. Also competing were KCSA PR, Geduldig & Ferguson
and Margeotes Fertitta... Qorvis
Comms. picked up The Advisory Board Co., a for-profit
healthcare think tank, for IR duties. TABC chairman David
Bradley owns the National Journal and Atlantic
VINES, LIEBLER JOIN STRAT@COMM
Jason Vines and Arthur "Bud" Liebler, VP-communications
at Ford Motor and DaimlerChrysler, respectively, have been
hired by Washington, D.C.-based Strat@comm. They join Bruce
MacDonald, who was VP-communications at General Motors and
Saturn, in Strat@comm's Detroit office.
Vines was Ford's point man during the Firestone crisis.
Liebler helped create the corporate folk hero image of Chrysler's
former CEO Lee Iacocca.
Strat@comm founder Jeff Conley said both Vines and Liebler
managed their companies through "good times and bad."
He noted that Strat@comm is the first PR firm to bring
the expertise of the Big Three automakers "under one
U.S. STEEL RETAINS EX-CLINTON
U.S. Steel has hired The Glover Park Group's Joe Lockhart
to help spearhead its aggressive $3 million lobbying campaign
to push for a $12 billion federal bailout of employee retirement
benefits and up to 40 percent tariffs on imports, which
would raise the price of every auto and refrigerator sold
in the U.S., according to The New York Times.
USS CEO Tom Usher warns that if the industry does not get
relief, it will have to eliminate up to 60,000 steelworker
Lockhart was President Clinton's press secretary and a
former senior VP at Robinson Lerer Sawyer Miller.
The Emergency Committee for American Trade, a coalition
of steel users, opposes increases on tariffs.
OGILVY BECOMES PLAYER IN JAPAN
Ogilvy PR Worldwide has acquired a big stake in PRAP Japan,
the country's biggest international PR firm, Matthew Anderson,
Ogilvy's Asia Pacific president, told this NL. He said the
firm has more than 200 employees and fees in excess of $15
PRAP is noted for consumer PR, media relations and crisis
expertise. It has a "good balance" between domestic
and international clients, noted Anderson. "Most global
PR firms operating in Japan get only scraps of business
from Japanese companies," he said. Sony, Hitachi, Mikimoto
and department store operator Takashimaya rely on PRAP for
PR. British Airways, General Electric Medical, Levi Strauss,
Nike and Pfizer also use PRAP.
Edition, January 30, 2002, Page 2
WILL INTERVIEW CPA FIRMS
PR Society of America said it will interview CPA firms,
including smaller and medium-sized firms, once Deloitte
& Touche completes its current audit around April.
D&T, which was paid $55,000 in 2000 and $54,000 the
year before, has been PRSA's auditors since 1992, when it
replaced Ernst & Young.
Indications are that the Society will avoid a "Big
Five" accounting firm in choosing a new CPA. D&T
will be allowed to bid on the new contract.
PRSA members have been complaining for many years about
the late financial reports provided by D&T but Society
leaders have said the accounting firm was busy with its
blue chip customers in the spring and gave PRSA a lower
rate as long as the Society did not mind waiting for the
The National IR Institute, whose year also ends Dec. 31,
uses a local Washington, D.C., area firm which has the audit
ready in February each year.
PRSA members usually get the financial results of the previous
year in mid-summer, after they have been reviewed by the
board and finance committee.
Members Had Been Misled
There's no indication of dissatisfaction with D&T but
it's also true that members had been misled about the 2000
Leaders had predicted a profit of $3,000 for 2000 but this
turned into a loss of $678,893.
John Colletti, a Certified Management Accountant, joined
the staff in 2000 after working on a project basis at PRSA.
He was with Resources Connection, a spin-off of D&T.
With Colletti working on "cleaning up the books,"
it was discovered that PRSA had not been paying the proper
taxes on advertising and other income.
D&T is also the CPA for the International Assn. of Business
The Dec. 14, 1999 Forbes rapped D&T in a cover
story entitled, "Tax Shelter Hustlers."
The first paragraph of the nine-page expose reprinted a
D&T pitch letter to companies promising to eliminate
federal and state income taxes for up to five years with
D&T getting 30% of the savings.
Forbes said hugely complex tax shelters that skirt illegality
are being created by the big accounting firms. It takes
years for the SEC and other government bodies to figure
out the complex tax-avoidance schemes, the story said. If
caught, the offending companies merely pay the taxes they
should have so they don't have much to lose in pursuing
such schemes, said the magazine.
BELLSOUTH DOWNPLAYS EARNINGS
The Jan. 22 BellSouth Q4 "earnings" report headlines
a gain in data revenues, DSL customers and broadband coverage
and partially reports the actual per share earnings in the
second paragraph of the release.
The actual earnings for the quarter are not reported until
the end of the ninth paragraph or 60 lines into the release.
BLS earnings fell 29% to $792 million, or 42 cents a share,
from $1.12 billion, or 59 cents.
The BLS release, via PR Newswire, reports "normalized"
earnings of 63 cents in the quarter vs. 59 cents in the
year earlier quarter.
Subhead on the release says data revenues grew 25%; DSL
customers reach 620,500, and broadband coverage reaches
70% of households.
Reuters reported BellSouth's earnings as a 29 percent
Nancy Humphries, VP-IR of BLS and a national board member
of the National Investor Relations Institute, could not
be reached for comment.
Jeff Battcher, director of corporate communications of
BLS, said he didn't think the company was "misrepresenting
its earnings at all."
He said "They're clean, forthright and understandable."
Douglas Parrillo, PR counsel to NIRI, when asked about
the BLS earnings report, said NIRI does not comment on reports
by individual companies.
Ten of the 14 companies represented on the NIRI national
board did not report actual earnings in the third quarter
in the opening sentence of their earnings releases.
The NIRI booklet, "Standards of Practice for IR,"
says that companies should be committed to "full, fair,
and consistent disclosure" and should "maintain
realistic investor expectations..."
Like Pro Forma Reporting
Fifty-seven percent of 233 NIRI companies said they used
the controversial pro forma earnings in their third-quarter
news releases, according to a survey conducted by the group.
The Securities and Exchange Commission warned investors
in December to display a "healthy skepticism"
toward pro forma numbers.
Seventy-five percent of members that use pro forma numbers
told NIRI that they included a narrative in the news release
to detail how those numbers differ from generally accepted
The terms used to identify other-than-GAAP measures include
"including, excluding, includes, excludes (used by
32.3 percent of respondents), "pro forma" (12.5
percent), "EBITDA, EBDADT, pro forma EBITDA (11.3 percent),
"before, after" (8.9 percent), "operations,
operating" (8.9 percent), "continuing" (7.7
percent), and "cash basis, cash EPS, cash flow,"
Other terms include: "noncash," "recurring,
nonrecurring," "core," "special,"
"extraordinary," "funds from operations,"
"discontinued," "normalized," "actual,"
"benefited from" and "underlying."
Of 90 companies surveyed that had market capitalizations
over $1.5 billion, 78 percent of those used pro forma numbers,
while only 44 percent of companies under $1.5 billion used
pro forma figures.
Edition, January 30, 2002, Page 3
LOVES PR RELATIONSHIPS
Peg Tyre, general editor of Newsweek, said publicists'
best hope for getting a cover story is by having a "long-term
relationship" with a writer or editor.
Tyre, who was one of three weekly news editors to speak
at a Publicity Club of New York luncheon on Jan. 23, got
a jump on Valentine's Day by urging publicists to start
a long-term affair with a news staffer.
Lisa Kovitz, a Burson-Marsteller media relations executive
who moderated the panel, has a long-term relationship with
Tyre. Kovitz said in her introduction that they have known
each other since they were classmates in high school.
Tyre suggested sending handwritten, one-paragraph pitch
notes on a regular basis as a way to cultivate the relationship
over a period of time. "Think long term," she
"They may not read them all, but it doesn't matter.
You want to develop a moment that can be shared, and it
happens constantly in a long-term relationship with publicists,"
said Tyre, who added that a great line to use on journalists
is to start off a note by saying: 'Hey, that was a great
story you wrote about so and so.'"
Tyre prefers to get regular mail and doesn't open computer
labeled envelopes. She also stressed the importance of publicists
knowing "rudimentary facts" about their clients.
Tyre said Newsweek is undergoing changes in design, and
is adding a new department, called "Focus," filled
with more soft news items of interest.
"It will open up opportunities for quick hits,"
said Tyre, who advised the publicists to check the bylines
appearing on the items in Focus and to "hammer them"
The "Periscope" department, which will remain,
will become "much newsier," she added.
Jack Curry, executive editor of USA Weekend, a Sunday
supplement distributed by 580 newspapers, is willing to
listen to publicists who offer a story that is different
from what anyone else has done.
"Be creative," said Curry, whose challenge is
to publish stories that are "different, better, and
more special than what our papers can do."
He cited two recent examples. One was an anniversary article
on Curious George, which he said was made different because
the publicist provided some exclusive pictures. The other
example was a cover story on the late race car driver Dale
Earnhardt. What made this story special was it was written
in the first person by Earnhardt's son.
Curry is also interested in discussing alliances with associations
and corporations for coverage of events, and contest ideas.
USA Weekend's many contributing editors are "not
directly pitchable." Curry told the publicists to get
in touch with him, and he will pass the information along
to the writer. He can be reached by phone (703/854-4519);
fax (854-2122) or e-mail ([email protected]).
Philip Elmer-DeWitt, science editor of Time magazine,
told the publicists he prefers to get e-mail inquiries and
pitches. He gives the information to the appropriate staff
reporter for follow up.
GCN Management will
start publishing six times a year as a special section
within the regular editions of Government Computer News
on Feb. 18.
The section, which will be edited for an audience of top-level
government executives and policy decision-makers, will provide
analysis of the challenges of managing information technology
in the public sector.
Kevin McCaney, who is assistant managing editor/features,
is overseeing the new section. McCaney can be reached at
the publication's editorial offices in Silver Spring, Md.,
Potomac Tech Journal,
which was launched in January 2000, got its first
formal feedback from readers in the form of a subscriber
study conducted by Readex, an independent research company.
The study shows 46% of respondents identified the weekly
paper as their primary source of local technology news.
The Washington Post tied with "multiple sources"
at 20% each.
PTJ was the first startup paper within American City Business
Journals, which publishes the Washington Business Journal
and 40 other business papers across the country.
Two new ACBJ papers, Dallas-Fort Worth Tech Biz and
Front Range Tech Biz in Denver, have followed in
Bernard Dagenais is editor of PTJ, which is located in Arlington,
Va. "If something happens that is truly important to
a local technology company, we want to hear about it,"
said Dagenais, who can be reached at [email protected].
health editor, Emma Marlin, is the primary contact
for all medical, health and fitness-related issues and news
items. She can be reached at 212/649-3455.
magazine, published by Manhasset, N.Y.-based CMP
Media, will publish a new section, called "BuzzCut,"
in the Feb. 18 issue.
The section will feature analysis of the most important
current industry events, according to Doug Barney, editor-in-chief
of NC, who said BuzzCut will "tear through the hype
and hyperbole, and bring readers the straight story, uncensored
magazine's publishing frequency will drop from 50
to 46 issues this year. The magazine, which is published
by Primedia, will publish three "double issues"
this summer, instead of two.
continued on next page)
Edition, January 30, 2002, Page 4
FINANCIAL WRITERS IN THE RED IN 2001
The New York Financial Writers' Assn.'s year-end financial
report reveals the association has $376,610 in the bank,
but its expenses last year rose to $328,962, resulting in
an overall net ordinary income loss of $28,802.
Members of the NYFWA got copies of the report, which covers
a period from Feb. 1, 2001 through Jan. 22, 2002, at the
annual meeting on Jan. 23.
One long-time member said it was the first time the association
has showed an itemized breakdown of income and expenses.
The NYFWA was founded in 1938.
The report shows the association's primary source of income
is the Financial Follies, an annual event that grossed $223,045
in ticket sales and $24,450 in program ad revenue in 2001.
The Follies also accounted for NYFWA's largest single expense,
totaling $203,921, with the Marriott Marquis hotel, where
the dinner and show were held, getting $125,535. Fees for
the orchestra were $17,825, while the music director and
pianist got $14,500 and $4,899, respectively.
Other sources of income were derived by ticket sales to
the Spring Dinner ($38,092), and membership dues ($10,560).
Interest income from savings and checking accounts totaled
The report indicates the association's new general manager,
Jane Reilly, was paid $28,034, while the accountant's fees
A new slate of officers and directors were elected at the
Gene Smith of Utility Spotlight magazine, who was
elected president, said his top priority is to increase
membership and to get more committee volunteers.
Currently, the association has 317 members, which includes
228 active members, 43 associates, 40 life members and six
Last year, 42 new members joined, and 38 dropped out.
FINE LIVING WILL LAUNCH IN
Scripps Networks, which is owned by The E.W. Scripps Co.,
has created a magazine, TV network and website under the
name of Fine Living.
The TV network and website (fineliving.com)
will be launched on March 17. The network will reach more
than five million subscribers in a distribution pack with
Time Warner Cable.
The first issue of the monthly lifestyle magazine will
be distributed to 1.3 million homes on Feb. 22.
Fine Living's programming categories will include segments
on travel destinations, transportation, nutrition, adventure,
design and architecture.
The magazine's content will complement both the network's
programs and its website.
Scripps also operates Home & Garden TV Network, the
DIY Network and the Food Network.
Stephanie Eno is program director for the TV show, and
Maggie Simmons is editor-in-chief of the magazine.
Eno is based in Knoxville, Tenn., at 865/694-2700, and
Simmons is located in New York at 22 W. 19th st.; 212/675-6699.
BLOOMBERG PLEDGES MORE OPENNESS
Michael Bloomberg, the new mayor of New York, told a group
of black and Hispanic journalists he wants to make his administration
more open and accessible.
"I would rather err on the side of openness,"
Bloomberg told the journalists, who were invited to a breakfast
at Gracie Mansion last week, where he will not be staying.
"We should allow people to say what they want to, not
stop them from voicing their views," said Bloomberg,
who founded Bloomberg financial news information service.
The new mayor plans to invite other ethnic groups to meet
with him and to keep an open door policy, in contrast to
the previous administration, headed by Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
"I plan to meet once a month with different presses,
particularly the smaller ones who rarely get an opportunity
to ask questions when the major media are present."
The Reader's Digest
Assn., and its custom publishing partner McMurry
Publishing, have signed a five-year deal with Ritz-Carlton
Hotel Co. to publish its quarterly lifestyle magazine.
Stephanie Platt, who is VP of communications for Ritz-Carlton,
which is headquartered in Atlanta, is editor-in-chief of
the 50,000 circulation quarterly.
Pan American Airways
has retained BBL Communications, an ad agency in Portsmouth,
N.H., to relaunch Clipper magazine. BBL will publish the
magazine on a bimonthly basis, launching its first edition
in April 2002.
Pan Am, which is also headquartered in Portsmouth, operates
scheduled 727 service out of Portsmouth to eight cities.
magazine has suspended publication, effective with
the February issue, currently on newsstands.
Today has moved into its new all-glass headquarters
in Tysons Corner, Va. The new address is 7950 Jones Branch
dr...New York 1
has moved its New York offices to 75 Ninth ave., 6th floor.
was named the first chair in business and financial journalism
at the Univ. of Missouri's School of Journalism in Columbia,
Mo. Steffens had been executive editor of The San Francisco
Examiner before becoming a media consultant.
Edition, January 30, 2002, Page 7
ACTIVISTS UNDER ATTACK
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and The Center
for Science in the Public Interest are initial targets of
an ad campaign launched by the Center for Consumer Freedom
to strike back at proponents of the "nanny state."
by the restaurant and food industry, the Center wants to
out "food cops, healthcare enforcers, vegetarian activists
and meddling bureaucrats" who use the media to issue
dire warnings about health risks involved with either eating
or drinking. It charges those groups with conspiring to
restrict the public's food and beverage choices via "intimidation,
taxation and misinformation."
is an outgrowth of the Guest Choice Network. Mike Burita,
communications director at the Center, told this NL his
group wants to counter the "new left movement"
propaganda that is reaching "deep into communities
the Center also follows the money trail of the nanny state.
Its activistcash.com site monitors activities and cash received
by more than 50 groups. The site tracks donations made to
activist groups by more than 750 foundations. The goal,
according to the site, is to dig up the dirt of the activist
cash machine. Profiles of individual activists and favorite
protests of celebrities are also listed.
NCAA OPPOSES ATHLETE UNIONIZATION
A move by the United Steelworkers Union to organize football
and basketball players at major colleges was discussed Jan.
22 in New York by William Kirwan, chair of the National
Collegiate Athletic Assn.
Kirwan expressed strong opposition to the "pay for
play" proposal, saying it is against the spirit of
College sports take in $3.6 billion but cost $4.6B, said
Kirwan. Profits from football and basketball help pay for
as many as 18 other sports for men and women in college,
he told about ten reporters at a luncheon in the "21
Club" hosted by The Dilenschneider Group.
The steelworkers union has joined with current and former
football players at the University of California/LA to organize
the Collegiate Athletes Coalition.
They note the increase in TV money raised by college football
and basketball, that some coaches are making $1 million
a year, and that the NCAA has a poor record in court in
defending its control of college sports.
Football and basketball players-while they receive free
tuition, room and board-train and play at least 20 hours
a week and many of them train throughout the year, say the
They make enormous profits for name schools but only a handful
of the athletes ever make it to professional teams, says
the USU. In 47 colleges, not a single one of the black athletes
graduated from his or her school.
Graduation rates of Division I student-athletes is slightly
higher than those of non-athletes (58% vs. 56%).
Kirwan, who is president of Ohio State University, said
unionizing college athletes "would be the end of college
athletics as we know it....unions have no place in the university
He said he is concentrating on improving the academic
performances of student athletes.
CATAN MAKES PITCH FOR RAGGEDY
Catan Comms. has mounted a publicity campaign to get Raggedy
Ann, the 86-year-old doll, inducted into the National Toy
Hall of Fame, Salem, Ore.
United Media, one of the world's largest licensing companies,
retained the New Jersey-based PR firm, which had handled
the successful publicity campaign for Pets.com's Sock Puppet.
PR counselor Wayne Catan said one of the first charges
was to gain exposure for Raggedy Ann's induction into the
Toy Hall of Fame. "We got press in USA Today,
CNN, New York Post, Boston Globe, Fox News
and the Associated Press, so it was an auspicious beginning,"
"The campaign was created to get Raggedy Ann fans
to sign a petition that will help push her into the Hall
this year," he said. More than 8,000 supporters have
signed a petition on the Internet at www.raggedyann-museum.org.
The inductees will be announced on March 27.
SNAPPLE DENIES OSAMA CONNECTION
Snapple, which claims its drinks are made with the 'best
stuff on Earth,' is the target of rumors that it is connected
with Osama bin Laden.
That's not so, Jack Belsito, CEO of the Snapple Beverage
Group, tells visitors to the company's website. Snapple
"never had any direct or indirect relationship with
Osama bin Laden," says a letter from Belsito.
Furthermore, he stresses that Snapple has never had any
contact with bin Laden's "network of terrorists or
any other terrorist group." The letter's purpose is
to "combat inaccurate rumors" in the aftermath
of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. They claimed that Snapple
was either owned by or associated with bin Laden.
Belsito notes that Snapple "has a zero-tolerance
policy for any group or individual who persists in trafficking
rumors of this kind for personal or professional gain."
He thanks "members of the media who were responsible
enough to uncover and correct the libelous rumors about
To Belsito: "Accurate reporting, especially during
times like these, is critically important if Americans are
to resume their normal everyday lives."
Snapple is a unit of Cadbury-Schweppes.
The company at one time used a Saudi Arabian distributor
that was partly owned by The Saudi Binladin Group, which
is the multi-billion dollar entity that is owned by Osama's
Edition, January 30, 2002, Page 8
high life style of Philip G. Potter, identified as a security
analyst at Morgan Stanley, was described in the Oct.
20, 1997 New York Times.
He said he was an "uber-consumer,"
who bought $800 suits and had a $3,500 watch.
The next day he was fired.
An unidentified spokesman
at Morgan confirmed the firing was related to the article.
Morgan's Code of Conduct, the press noted, says: "You
should not be identified as a Morgan Stanley employee or
use the firm's name in any way without first clearing it
with corporate communications."
similar item appeared in the March 22, 1989 O'Dwyer NL.
Johnny Thompson, VP-PR for Pillsbury, told reporters, "It
ain't over 'til it's over," in discussing Grand Met's
raid on Pillsbury.
He thought it was an
But a Pillsbury lawyer
bawled him out, saying, "We are not going to let this
company go down the tubes because some stupid IR hack can't
keep his mouth shut." Thompson resigned his job.
Jack Morris, VP-IR for
Pillsbury, said a lawyer from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher
& Flom threatened "to jail me if I speak again."
Morris also resigned.
no doubt a rigid silence is being enforced in the PR/IR
community. The recent 5 to 10-year history is marked
by a near absence of public speeches by PR/IR executives
and is in contrast to the 1970s and '80s, when PR execs
frequently released speech texts. The most speeches, by
far, were made by Hill & Knowlton people including Loet
Velmans, Tom Eidson, Richard Cheney, Robert Dilenschneider
and many mid-level staffers. A 228-page collection
of the speeches and monographs was published in 1976. H&K,
in this manner, exercised PR leadership. Burson-Marsteller's
do not know of a single published speech by the top H&K
executives, Howard Paster and Tom Hoog, in the past
ten years. We asked someone at H&K to check this out
but haven't heard back. Paster was President Clinton's top
lobbyist and Hoog had his own lobbying firm. There is no
one fully dedicated to "house" PR at H&K nor
at any of the big PR firms. Except for an occasional speech
by David Drobis
of Ketchum or Richard
Edelman, the firms are silent. Only two written speeches
have come from the last three PRSA presidents, Kathy
Pisinski, and Sam
Waltz. Board members are permanently silenced.
accounts for this eerie silence in the field of "communications?"
"Lawyers!" was the common response of PR academics,
journalists, and PR execs we talked to.
A journalist said that
once an industry becomes owned by public companies, all
communications are cut to the bone. This happened in the
newspaper industry, he noted. Interpublic, Omnicom and WPP,
the three biggest owners of PR, have no one on staff to
take questions from reporters or chat with. An agency PR
exec said all the PR CEOs care about today is the bottom
line since, "if they don't make their numbers, they're
out." IPG, OMC and WPP have a lot they don't want to
talk about. With its recent borrowing of $500 million (it
must pay back $650M), IPG's debt of $3.1 billion is approaching
double its stockholders' equity of $1.8B. Its credit rating
has been downgraded.
factor is the "one voice" philosophy. Members
let their associations and coalitions of associations do
their talking. The big PR firms have banded together in
the Council of PR Firms and act through that.
With all the stories
about false reporting and non-reporting of finances by Enron
and its former CPA firm, Arthur Andersen, this would seem
to be the chance for PR/IR industry trade groups to show
good practices. Enron employed six PRSA members and two
NIRI members. But IABC,
whose year endedlast Sept. 30, is sitting on its numbers
until sometime in February when its board meets. PRSA,
backing away from previous quarterly reports, is making
members wait until April or May for 2001 numbers. By then,
the figures will be too old to be meaningful. Members need
current bank balances, receivables, payables, etc., since
leaders at both PRSA and IABC have misled members about
finances in the recent past. NIRI
directors continue to put out confusing "earnings"
reports for their companies. BellSouth (NIRI director Nancy
Humphries is VP-IR) downplayed a 29% Q4 earnings drop by
headlining gains in data revenues. Although NIRI has numerous
"professional development" courses, we don't think
IR is a true profession. Nowhere in NIRI literature is there
a statement that members serve the public interest first
(the definition of a profession that is in our Unabridged
Webster's Dictionary (3,000 pages). There's a lot about
serving IR, clients, investors, potential investors, etc.
NIRI is highly protective of members' interests, refusing
to provide its members directory to the press (PRSA will
give 200 of its new directory to leading media). NIRI says
it is not a law-making body. But rule-makers such as the
SEC and FASB take years to do anything. FASB has been working
on one rule for 20 years, Business Week (1/24) noted.
NIRI could urge members to put the real earnings first in
a release and announce immediately all insider trades of
their employers. No amount of laws will unbutton the lips
of tight-lipped companies.