Edition, May 1, 2002, Page 1
B-M REPS 'CHERNOBYL-ON-HUDSON'
handling the public and media uproar over the safety of
New York's Indian Point nuclear plant for the facility's
owner Entergy Corp.
Activist groups and the
media have criticized the safety record of the plant and
its potential vulnerability to an attack by an airplane
in the wake of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center tragedy.
The Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, in its annual review of the nation's 103 reactors
released last month, gave the Indian Point 2 reactor its
lowest performance rating.
Larry Gottlieb, director
of communications for New Orleans-based Entergy, said B-M
was hired "mainly for the Indian Point issues, but
its work now includes handling the overall image of the
Gottlieb, who is based
in the company's new White Plains, N.Y., office, said a
team at B-M is handling PR, media issues, advertising and
web work for Entergy.
Jim Cunningham is B-M's
managing director and head of its power group. He is a former
senior VP-PA for the New York Power Authority.
People within a 50-mile
"peak injury" zone of the site have stepped up
campaigns to shut down the reactors, citing its potential
as a terror target and questioning the feasability of a
federally approved evacuation plan for the area.
The New York Observer
covered the Indian Point debate in an editorial April 15
("Indian Point: A Disaster Awaits") and front
page article headlined "Chernobyl-on-Hudson?".
GIULIANI BUFFS MERRILL'S
Merrill Lynch has hired
former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to counter the threat
posed by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer,
who is mulling filing civil and possible criminal actions
against the firm over alleged conflicts with its research.
Giuliani Partners was
hired by Merrill following a high profile Spitzer press
conference last month in which he released e-mails from
Merrill analysts who doubted the prospects of some of the
stocks touted by the firm.
Giuliani, a former Justice
Dept. prosecutor, met with Spitzer and has provided his
own legal analysis to Merrill. His key pitch is that Merrill
is a good corporate citizen which returned to its World
Financial Center headquarters across the street from the
World Trade Center site, as soon as possible.
H&K DELIVERS PA PITCH
CEO Howard Paster spearheads
a seven-member Hill and Knowlton team that is trying to
salvage Enron Corp. The firm is managing the flow of information
between new management and Capitol Hill.
Paster, the White House
lobbyist for former President Clinton, is assisted on the
account by H&K vice chairman Gary Hymel, who worked
for ex-House Speaker Democrat Tip O'Neill; Paul Clarke,
a staffer in the first Bush Administration, and Brian Hart,
an ex-staffer to Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.
Enron CEO Ken Lay resigned
on Jan. 23, and left the board on Feb. 4. President Jeff
McMahon stepped down on April 19. The Houston company is
headed by interim CEO Stephen Cooper, the managing partner
of Zolfo Cooper.
Harlan Teller, H&K's
global chief client officer, said his firm has a "team
on the ground in Houston" working with Enron's corporate
PR department. The goal is to position a "new Enron
based on its pipeline and electricity assets," he said.
G/HI PICKS UP $400K ANTI-SMOKING
which recently acquired anti-tobacco specialist Nixon Group,
has picked up grassroots no-smoking campaigns in Indiana,
Pennsylvania and South Carolina. The combined work is worth
Miami-based NG handled
the "national truth" campaign, and has worked
with about a dozen states on anti-smoking initiatives during
the past five years. G/HI has run anti-smoking efforts in
IL and GA.
SAPIENZA, EX-WS TECH GURU,
Tony Sapienza, the one-time
Miller/Shandwick Technologies president, has launched Topaz
Partners with Paula Slotkin, who was VP-marketing at Plaut
Consulting. Slotkin said the duo is taking advantage of
the economic downturn to recruit available high-tech PR
talent in the Boston area.
The Lexington-based firm
plans to offer clients a "total partnership" and
"business development mindset." Clients include
Touch International, Vemics, Candeos, The Bay Tower, Mediation
Advantage Services, Angel Strategies, Roving.com,
Ethos Technology and Generics.
Sapienza, who also was
global technology practice leader for Weber Shandwick Worldwide,
has counseled Compaq Computer and Hewlett-Packard.
Edition, May 1, 2002, Page 2
PORTER NOVELLI UNIT STUNS
The Health Insurance
Assn. of America is "stunned" that Goddard Claussen
Porter Novelli has staged a comeback for the "Harry
and Louise" characters in a new campaign that broke
April 24 for CuresNow, an advocacy group that wants to stop
a federal bill to ban stem cell research.
HIAA featured H&L
in a $20 million 1993 campaign that defeated then-First
Lady Hillary Clinton's healthcare reform bill. Their earnest
dinner table chat focused on the specter of a huge bureaucracy
if the Clinton plan was approved.
The same actors are now
fretting that a bill introduced by Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.)
and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) would restrict development of
life-saving cures for Alzheimer's or heart disease if it
HIAA president Donald
Young said the group is "stunned to learn that characters
so closely associated with HIAA are now being used in other
ways without our foreknowledge and without our permission.
In the public mind, Harry and Louise represent the views
of HIAA and the health insurance industry. To co-opt them
for another client and another purpose is at best sleight-of-hand
and at worst identity theft," said his statement.
He noted that it was
HIAA that brought 'Harry & Louise' to national attention
in 1993 and reinforced their role as the public face of
the health insurance industry with additional ads in 2000.
"Given the importance of 'Harry & Louise' to HIAA,
we intend to use every means at our disposal to stop this
misappropriation of our image," he said.
GCPN responds that HIAA
did not trademark the characters, and that the actors were
under contract with HIAA for only two years.
IPG PAYS DOONER $500K
Interpublic paid CEO
John Dooner a $500,000 bonus last year, according to its
proxy statement. The firm lost $505 million in 2001 compared
to earning $420 million in net income for the year earlier
period. IPG revenues slipped 1.3 percent to $6.7B.
The company, which has
announced layoffs of 6,000 staffers, notes that Donner's
2001 bonus was 66.7 percent less than the one he received
The compensation committee, which is headed by former Time
Inc. CEO Reg Brack, "took into consideration Interpublic's
2001 operating results (11.5 percent operating profit margin
on $6.7 billion revenue excluding non-recurring items) which
was a 24.4 percent decline in operating profits compared
of operating performance and the adverse general business
conditions during 2001, the Committee believed, warranted
the payment of a limited bonus," according to the proxy.
Dooner received a base
salary of $1,250,000 last year, up slightly from the $1,155,000
that he earned in 2000.
IPG also paid $40,976
for Dooner's wife's travel expenses.
PM CALLED 'ALBATROSS' FOR
Philip Morris is an "albatross
around the neck of Kraft Foods," Infact representatives
told the food company's co-CEOs at its annual meeting last
week. [PM sold a 16% Kraft stake via an IPO last year.]
"Philip Morris depends
on Kraft for political cover, hiding behind the food subsidiary's
wholesome image even as it drives a global tobacco epidemic
which claims four million lives a year," said Infact's
She called on Kraft co-CEOs
Betsy Holden and Roger Deromedi to help Infact's effort
to end the "Marlboro Man's global rampage." To
Lynn, PM is leveraging its charitable giving and Kraft's
wholesome image to provide PR cover for its tobacco marketing
practices. Infact also is demanding that PM butt out of
public policy debate concerning the sale and regulation
a New York-based firm, handles Infact's PR.
EX-GRAND UNION PR CHIEF GOES
Donald Vaillancourt, 58, who was head of PR for the Grand
Union supermarket chain, was sentenced April 18 to nearly
three years in federal prison and ordered to pay as much
restitution as he can for embezzling more than $2 million
from the now defunct Wayne, N.J.-based company.
According to the charges, Vaillancourt, who was also an
attorney, stole the money through three dummy companies-a
PR firm called Patricia Nabors, and two graphic arts services.
His wife, Dianne Vaillancourt, who created the companies,
billed the firms for services never performed from 1983
until early 2000. Payments went to post office boxes and
a mail drop.
She has also pleaded guilty for her role in the scam,
and is scheduled for sentencing this week.
Vaillancourt's attorney Robert Reed told U.S. District
Judge Alfred Wolin that his client's motive for stealing
was revenge for being excluded from an executive compensation
plan. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Resnik, who called for
the maximum sentence, said Vaillancourt's actions were based
on vengeance and greed so he could enjoy a lifestyle "he
had not earned himself."
Wolin said Vaillancourt's rationale for his crimes "is
not one that is very sympathetic with this court,"
especially for an attorney.
Besides prison time at the Allenwood federal prison in
Pennsylvania, Vaillancourt was ordered to pay $2.5 million
in restitution, although the amount will likely be reduced
to $630,000 as part of a negotiated settlement with the
insurance company that had to cover the loss.
Vaillancourt, a onetime reporter for The Newark Star-Ledger,
was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1985, but will be
disbarred. He is expected to start his sentence in about
Grand Union filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in
October 2000, and has ceased active operations.
Edition, May 1, 2002, Page 3
TO RESTORE TRAVEL FEATURES
Editors from GQ and Men's Journal greeted
102 attendees at the Publicity Club of New York luncheon
April 24 with the news that travel coverage is back in style.
Jim Nelson, who is assistant managing editor of GQ,
said travel coverage, which was dropped after Sept. 11,
has been restored. "We will probably be doing more
travel articles," said Nelson, who also is the magazine's
also disclosed GQ is expanding its automotive coverage.
He said Mark Healy, who is a senior editor, was just assigned
to write features about cars.
Jack Wright, who is executive editor of Men's Journal,
said travel will be expanded to include more coverage of
American-based travel destinations.
Wright, who distributed copies of MJ's new May issue,
which has a cover story on 20 "secret places"
in the U.S., said he would like to get information from
publicists on "new places to visit in America."
The magazine will continue to run articles about exotic
adventure destinations that are located anyplace in the
world, he said.
Dawn Yanek, a senior editor of Stuff, a new magazine
aimed at young adult males, said the upfront sections and
themed issues offer the best placement opportunities.
She looks for information about "offbeat, quirky things"
to use in the sections, which cover a range of areas, including
new products and survey results.
A.J. Jacobs, senior editor of Esquire, urged publicists
to send him samples of "any new gadgets you are promoting."
He likes to get pitches that are presented with an expert.
Nelson stressed the importance of developing relationships
with certain editors. "That way you can call them to
find out what stories they are working on, and if they need
anything," said Nelson.
Wright said publicists should not bother trying to pitch
stories for the "feature well," which are usually
suggested by freelancers. He said publicists stand a better
chance of targeting their pitches to the department editors.
In the case of new products, he advised the publicists to
call the tech editor to make a date to bring the product
to the office for a demonstration.
Jacobs dislikes e-mail and wants to get all information
through the Post Office, while the other three editors said
they preferred e-mail pitches. Only Yanek indicated she
likes to get press kits.
SURVEY: TECH REPORTERS RELY ON PR PROS
Technology reporters get the majority of their ideas from
PR pitches and press releases, according to a survey by
ShowStoppers, the Los Angeles-based firm that produces media
receptions at technology tradeshows.
The survey, which is based on e-mail interviews with 277
technology reporters, also found they prefer to get story
pitches and other information from PR pros by e-mail, not
by phone or fax.
Steve Bass, contributing editor to PC World magazine,
said the survey results are "right on target."
LOCAL A.M. TV
NEWS HAS MORE VIEWERS
toward large and growing audiences for local morning news
programs is evident in large and small market cities across
the U.S., according to a panel of broadcast news professionals
who spoke at a recent U.S. Newswire Workshop that was held
at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C.
The meeting, which attracted nearly 200 PR pros, featured
Elliott Francis and Andrea McCarren, who are co-anchors
of "Good Morning Washington," along with Brie
Rizzo, GMW's producer.
every weekday from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., and also does live
"cut-ins" on the network morning show ("Good
Morning America") until 9 a.m. This same schedule/format
for local morning shows takes in hundreds of markets nationwide.
said audience numbers for local morning news shows, like
GMW, often rival or even exceed the audience for the station's
6 and 11 p.m. news programs.
was unheard of even two years ago, but with the growing
trend toward morning news and the recent changes in viewing
habits post-Sept. 11, morning news now has a major impact
and captures a significant audience," she said.
said research shows viewers want to check first thing in
the morning to see what has happened overnight that might
impact their world.
are involved in the editorial process, along with their
producer, and they welcome pitches for stories related to
the everyday life of viewers at that time of day-commuting,
exercise/health, nutrition, children, school, coffee, sleep,
pets, or gardening, to go along with the hard news of the
post-Sept. 11 trend we have seen in our audience is that
they want to see more good news- particularly in the morning,"
time to call Francis and McCarren is between 9:30 and 11
a.m. Rizzo can be reached after 10:30 p.m.
HARVARD BIZ REVIEW QUITS
has resigned from Harvard Business Review.
who had been editor of the business magazine, was appointed
editor-at-large in early March after acknowledging she had
developed a close relationship with Jack Welch while working
on an interview with the former chairman/CEO of General
In her resignation
statement, Wetlaufer said the continuing distraction over
the controversy could be resolved only by her departure
from the magazine.
news continued on next page)
Edition, May 1, 2002, Page 4
STAR TO EDIT NEW BOSTON GLOBE
Alex Star, 34, formerly editor of Linqua Franca,
which folded last October, is joining The Boston Globe
to start a new "Ideas" section for the Sunday
Ideas, which will debut in September, will replace the
Star said the section will cover "the creation of
ideas and the clash of ideas with unprecedented vigor. It
will be committed to the belief that the hard thinking that
goes on in Boston's excellent institutions of higher education
and elsewhere can be written about with both journalistic
vigor and academic rigor."
BURDON IS HOME EDITOR OF REAL
Jane Burdon has joined Real Simple magazine as
home editor. She was at Martha Living Omnimedia, where she
developed and styled features for the magazine and its extensions.
Burdon replaces Kelly Tagore, who is no longer at the
Cathy Tuhy, who is managing editor, said Burdon's job
is to provide readers with ideas that are "practical
and actionable-and add beauty to their homes as well."
Deborah Kozloff is leaving Us Weekly to become
associate photo editor of RS.
FRIEDMAN TO HOST CURRENT EVENTS
The Discovery Channel and New York Times Television have
agreed to produce a series of documentaries together on
Thomas Friedman, a political columnist for The New
York Times, will host the programs.
The programs, to be broadcast quarterly on the Discovey
Channel beginning in 2003, will feature on-site reporting,
interviews with world leaders and political and social experts,
and commentary from Friedman.
The Times Co. and Discovery Communications Inc. earlier
this month formed a joint venture to co-own and develop
the Discovery Civilization Channel.
LARMER HEADS NEWSWEEK'S NEW
Newsweek has opened a news bureau in Shanghai,
with Brook Larmer as bureau chief and East Asia correspondent.
Larmer, who was previously Hong Kong bureau chief, will
cover Shanghai and oversee coverage in other parts of the
East and southeast Asia, according to Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek
No replacement was named for the Hong Kong bureau.
previously deputy editor of The New York Observer,
was named Sunday editor of The New York Post, succeeding
77, who started and wrote the "Practical Traveler"
column in The New York Times and helped establish
Conde Nast Traveler, where he was founding news editor,
died April 23.
previously executive producer of "This Week with Sam
Donaldson & Cokie Roberts," was named to a new
position, where she will oversee guest appearances.
a former editor of Gotham magazine, has joined Us
Weekly as deputy editor.
a bimonthly magazine, will start publishing in September,
with Sarah Miller, who helped start Rodale's Organic
Style, as editor-in-chief, and Caroline Miller, a former
top editor of Money, as a contributing editor on
The magazine is the brainchild of Don Welsh, who launched
Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel and other magazines.
in San Francisco, is launching a new magazine this fall,
The magazine was created by Fred Davis, a former editor
of PC Magazine, PC Week, and MacUser,
and David Bunnell, who launched PC Magazine, PC
World and Macworld.
Dig_It will be targeted at tech enthusiasts who
are using cutting-edge digital lifestyle products. More
information is available at 415/641-4841.
is a new quarterly magazine that is available to
consumers in Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin and Northwest
The magazine will feature articles about new foods, cookware,
kitchen gadgets, dream kitchens, cookbook and video reviews,
wine, gourmet foods, chefs and restaurants.
Its editorial office is located at 108 S. Main st., Lombard,
IL 60148. 630/930-6001; E-mail: chef@
in September as a bimonthly, before becoming monthly in
Blake Judkins, a Dallas-based publisher, said LI will be
a "New Yorker-style city magazine." Local writers
and experts will cover the "waterfront of life in Lubbock,"
including business, education, agriculture, recreation,
style, culture, social and community affairs.
The magazine's offices are located at 1212 13th st., #201,
Lubbock, TX 79401. 806/790/5680; [email protected],
or [email protected].
which started airing on April 26 on about 200 ABC-TV affiliate
stations, features news stories based on Boston-based WGBH-TV's
science documentary series "Nova."
The producer is ScienCentral, a news and video production
company in New York, which got a $2.2 million grant for
the National Science Foundation to develop the programs.
Edition, May 1, 2002, Page 7
FROM 1995 SLIDE
PR Assn., which will be 50 years old in 2004, has rebounded
from the financial problems that had exhausted its treasury
at the end of 1995.
group, representing 90 different countries, had 231,366
British pounds ($336,000) in cash and bank deposits as of
Dec. 31, 2001, according to an audit by Stapely Benfold,
U.K. Chartered Accountants.
included £129,978 in deferred dues representing services
owed to members over the next year. Retained funds were
dues brought in £129,473 over the past 16 months.
Dai Nippon Printing Co. of Japan contributed £115,299
over the same period. DNP is one of the largest printing
companies in the world with more than 14,000 employees.
The company became a major sponsor of IPRA several years
ago. Nissan had contributed $100,000 in 1990 and 1991 to
help fund the awards program and pay general expenses. NEC
and Voltas of India made $100K contributions in succeeding
which were $294 in 1995, were reduced to about $225 (£160).
Canadian counselor and treasurer in 1995, said cash and
investments had fallen from $336,000 at the end of 1992
to "about zero" at the end of 1995.
h.q. was moved from Geneva to London. (www.ipra.org).
Dinan, president of IPRA, based in Mauritius, off the east
coast of Africa, said that membership had grown 20% in 2001,
the second year in a row of such growth.
HUGHES EXITS WHITE HOUSE
President Bush's communications chief Karen Hughes plans
to leave the White House this summer to return to her home
in Texas. Hughes told reporters last week she's returning
to Austin so she can spend time with her family, but plans
to continue to offer advice to Bush. The President and First
Lady are very supportive of her decision, said Hughes, who
is expected to be replaced in Washington by her deputy,
Dan Bartlett. He was named White House communications director
Hughes was responsible for the White House's communications,
press secretary, media affairs and speechwriting offices.
The former television reporter served as Texas press coordinator
for the 1984 Reagan-Bush campaign. She signed up for President
Bush's campaign for Texas governor in 1994, worked as his
communications director from 1995 to 1999, and then joined
his Presidential campaign.
Bartlett was senior spokesman and the director of rapid
response for the Bush Presidential campaign in Austin. He
worked on both Bush gubernatorial campaigns, and for Bush's
political counselor Karl Rove's consulting firm in Austin
prior to that.
IS WPP REALLY NO. 1?
Interpublic executives are grumbling about the No. 1 ranking
that Ad Age gave to its archrival WPP Group. The
U.K.-based firm recorded $8.165 billion in "worldwide
gross income in 2001 from all marketing-related activities,"
according to the trade publication's April 22 issue. It
said IPG chalked up $7.981B, while Omnicom recorded $7.404B.
Ad Age's numbers differ from those reported by
the companies. The magazine allows agencies to "claim
gross income and billings equal to their ownership percentage,
counter to generally accepted accounting principles. GAAP
allows companies to claim the revenue stream only when ownership
According to the "real financials," IPG had
revenues of $6.726B while WPP had $5.791B. Omnicom stacks
up as the true top dog with revenues of $6.889B.
WPP, ironically, tried to back out of last year's acquisition
of the Tempus Group, a deal which propelled it to the top
of AA's list.
The top three firms, according to AA, "became more
dominant in 2001, claiming a collective 43.7% of the world's
advertising and marketing services gross income of $39.28B,
up nearly six share points from 38% in 2000."
WS PLACES PRODUCTS FOR TRAVEL
Weber Shandwick's travel marketing practice in New York
is partnering with Rogers Cowan/WS to create promotional
tie-ins and product placement opportunities for travel clients.
The Interpublic units plan is called "Destination:
Entertainment Marketing," and features tie-ins and
placements on high profile TV shows, movies and entertainment
The initiative taps into and expands relationships with
the entertainment industry to position destinations and
their entertainment-related attributes, according to Laura
Bachrach, WS/N.Y., who is working with Tracy Thompson of
"We see an increasing need from our clients to integrate
the worlds of entertainment and travel marketing,"
said Rene Mack, president, travel marketing practice. "Our
practice groups are interconnecting to collaborate and provide
clients with enhanced or new services and opportunities."
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is WS's first client to
implement the new program, which includes outreach to entertainment
location managers and producers, fam trips for studio executives,
entertainment sponsorships (premier parties, celebrity charity
events, industry functions, etc.), sitcom and soap opera
vacation placement, catalog shoots and story scripting.
The Bahamas is working with "NYPD Blue" and
"Ally McBeal." Results include placements on this
season's "Judging Army" and "Dawson's Creek,"
and a multimedia promotion with the Fox show, "Grounded
Edition, May 1, 2002, Page 8
reviewed the first quarterly earnings report of Diebold,
North Canton, Ohio, which makes and services ATMs and similar
equipment, and give it a C- for clarity, accuracy and completeness.
This is not just any
earnings report but the report of the employer of Don Eagon,
the new chair of the National Investor Relations Institute.
He recently gave the
IR industry ten standards starting with communicating in
"plain English" and putting "real" earnings
before pro-forma (hypothetical) earnings in releases.
The DBD report puts misleading
earnings figures in the first two sentences; fails to supply
a balance sheet (a few "balance sheet items" are
given); mentions three failed entities (Mosler, MedSelect
and InnoVentry) without any further explanation, and does
not have contacts on the PR Newswire release posted on Yahoo!
A reporter not familiar
with DBD would have a hard time telling what the company
does from its press release and DBD's website.
It says it provides "integrated
self-service delivery systems and services" (which
could mean it sells food and beverages via machines) and
provides "security solutions" (which could mean
it provides guards or sells some kind of drinkable mixture
that makes people feel secure). This is not exactly "a
hot stock." It was $50 four years ago and is $37 now.
the media we looked at said DBD earnings more than tripled,
they were actually down slightly on a comparable basis-from
$29.4M, or 41 cents a share in the 2001 Q1, to $26.5M, or
37 cents, in 2002 Q1.
DBD, via PR Newswire,
said its Q1 net was $26.5M, or 37 cents a share, and compared
it with the previous year's results of $7.5M and 11 cents.
In the next paragraph,
it explained that the 2001 quarter included exceptional
items while the 2002 quarter did not.
Reuters therefore had the misleading headline, "Diebold
Profit Rises." But it pointed out in the first sentence
that DBD "reported higher Q1 profit aided by comparisons
from a year ago, which included several charges."
problem with putting the rosy earnings first and explaining
it later is that many media will just report the
first figures. This is exactly what was done for DBD by
the Canton Repository, the local daily. It said Q1
net was $26.5M and compared it with 2001 Q1's $7.4M. There
was no mention at all of the relevant figure of $29.4M.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported the tripling
of net income first and later pointed out the more accurate
DBD's release on the
web should have linked the Mosler, MedSelect and InnoVentry
mentions to more details. There was a link to the DBD logo.
issue raised by the DBD release is what influence, if any,
IR people have on the earnings releases of their companies.
Eleven of the 14 companies represented on the NIRI board
put the much-maligned pro forma earnings first in their
Q4 2001 releases...BellSouth
(whose IR director Nancy Humphries is on the NIRI board),
made the "five dumbest" list of TheStreet.com's
George Mannes last week. He said BLS, intending to post
a recording of its April 19 conference call, instead posted
on its website a private conversation between two BLS staffers
deciding what analysts would get on the call. Analyst John
Hodulik of UBS Warburg kept getting pushed to the end of
the line and never got to ask any questions. One analyst
told Mannes that many big companies practice the same sort
of triage, favoring certain analysts. If questions were
taken on a random basis, "there would be more probing
questions asked rather than analysts congratulating companies
on the quarter," wrote Mannes...the
"family reasons" cited by White House communications
chief Karen Hughes for her sudden departure strike us as
bogus. She scripted much of what President Bush has
been saying and his popularity has been dropping. An ardent
supporter of Bush, she was known for her policies of tight
secrecy. Super-loyal is just what PR people should not be.
They're supposed to be in touch with the outside world and
sock the truth to their clients...flat-fee
PR wire services have been getting publicity lately,
Internet Wire pointing out that for $325 it satisfies disclosure
requirements. PrimeZone has a similar national wire for
$325. PR Newswire and Business Wire, which charge by the
word, have been asked to discuss this challenge but have
continues to duck the question raised by its full-page newspaper
ads that proclaim opposition to "obfuscation."
We found the recent earnings report of the WPP Group (headed
by Martin Sorrell, one of the signers of the NASDAQ pledge)
to be anything but clear. The problem has now been given
to Bethany Sherman, former chief of client services of Middleberg
Euro RSCG, who has joined NASDAQ as VP-CC. WPP is also refusing
to explain further the 12.8% dip in PR revenues in Q1...in
an historic first, Omnicom said it will allow reporters
to ask questions at its conference call April 30.
WPP Group does not even let reporters listen in on its calls.
Interpublic lets them listen but not ask questions. OMC
barred reporters from its annual meeting unless they were
stockholders. IPG recently started giving advance notice
of conference calls to reporters. OMC has not done this