Edition, January 22, 2003, Page 1
H&K TAPPED BY SAUDI ARAMCO
Saudi Aramco, the world's
biggest oil company, has turned to Hill & Knowlton to
devise its communications strategy. Neil Dhillon, director
of H&K's PA practice, is among Washington, D.C., staffers
handling the business.
The scope of H&K's
engagement is said to be "indefinite," subject
to termination by either party.
H&K is to be paid
based on the hourly rates of staffers.
Saudi Aramco, which has
54,000 employees of which 85 percent are Saudis, traces
its roots to 1933 when Saudi Arabia granted a drilling concession
to Chevron. Mobil and Texaco joined Chevron as owners, until
the Saudi Government bought them out in 1980. H&K's
communications counsel comes as fear spreads of a big spike
in energy prices triggered by the impending U.S. invasion
H&K, last April, signed
a $77K a-month contract to offer "core communications"
to Saudi Basic Industries, the largest non-energy combine
in the Middle East. Its 16,000 employees market chemicals,
plastics and fertilizers in more than 100 countries.
India Software Biz
H&K edged Waggener
Edstrom for the under $1 million account to promote India's
Nine firms pitched the
business, Michael Gordon, H&K's technology practice
director, told this NL.
H&K's New York, Washington,
D.C., and London offices will provide a mix of high-tech
PR and public affairs services to India's National Assn.
of Software and Service Cos., the group representing more
than 850 software and e-commerce companies.
The Indian software market
has grown from $150 million in 1992 to $5.7 billion in 2000,
according to India's Embassy.
BoA's WYNNE GOES TO EDELMAN
Bank of America veteran Bob Wynne has been named executive
VP and deputy general manager of Edelman PR Worldwide's
San Francisco office, which counts Charles Schwab, Gap and
Kaiser Permanente among clients.
He headed communications for BoA's global investment bank,
mortgage, credit card and technology units. Wynne is credited
for launching the bank's domestic partners benefits program
and promoting its merger with NationsBank.
Edelman has 30 staffers in San Francisco. Nicole Russell
heads the office.
IPG TO UNLOAD NFO
Interpublic has put NFO WorldGroup, which it acquired April
2000 for $500 million in stock and the assumption of $175
million in NFO debt, on the auction block.
The company is using Goldman Sachs to "explore strategic
options" for the Greenwich, Conn.-based operation that
bills itself as the "largest custom market research
organization in North America."
IPG added NFO to its services offerings with the idea of
gathering information about customers through web-based
Analysts say IPG will be hard-pressed to recover its investment
in NFO due to the depressed conditions in the ad business.
Bill Warmington of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey says the pending
sale will lower IPG's 2003 earnings-per-share by a penny
or two. He believes the deal "helps address the near-term
liquidity issues facing IPG, but further underscores their
IPG, which restated $181 million in earnings last year,
also announced that lenders have agreed to extend the deadline
for payments of various credit lines from Jan. 15 to Feb.
10. That agreement is "subject to restrictions on dividend
actions and cash acquisitions," noted Warmington.
STATE DEPT. WINDS DOWN MUSLIM
The State Dept. has suspended its ad campaign extolling
Muslim life in the U.S., barely a month after propaganda
czar Charlotte Beers pitched "paid media" as the
best way to influence the Islamic World.
The State Dept.'s ad campaign - created in conjunction
with the Council on American Muslims - was largely ridiculed
by some foreign governments. State-owned TV stations in
Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon banned the spots from the airwaves
on the grounds that they were messages from the U.S. Government.
The State Dept. spent about $5 million to place the "Shared
Values" campaign in Pakistan, Kuwait, Indonesia and
Malaysia. Richard Boucher, a State Dept. spokesperson, said
the campaign was intended to run through Ramadan, and was
"completed successfully on schedule." He said
other aspects of the Shared Values program, such as town
hall meetings and speakers tours, will be carried out.
Interpublic's McCann-Erickson created the ads. Sister firm
Weber Shandwick provided PR support.
Edition, January 22, 2003, Page 2
BUY AN SUV, SUPPORT A TERRORIST
is handling syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington's "Detroit
Project" campaign designed to depict sport utility
vehicle owners as supporters of terrorism due to U.S. reliance
on Middle East oil. The Washington, D.C.-based PR firm last
year handled the "What Would Jesus Drive" attack
on SUVs as contributors to global warming.
Huffington's goal is to
"mount a citizens' ad campaign aimed at getting people
to stop driving SUVs and other gas-guzzling vehicles, and
jolting our leaders into taking action," according
to the group's website. [Congress is considering raising
fuel economy standards for SUVs, a move opposed by the Coalition
for Vehicle Choice, a group coordinated by another D.C.
PR firm, Strat@comm.
Diane Steed, the Strat@comm
principal who directs the CVC has not been reached. She
is the former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The columnist's organization
is looking for donations needed to place two ads.
Huffington said the idea
for DP came after she watched for the "umpteenth time"
those "outrageous drug war ads the Bush Administration
has flooded the airwaves with." Those Ogilvy &
Mather spots link drug use with financing terrorism.
She decided to "turn
the tables and adopt the same tactics the Administration
was using in the drug war to point out the much more credible
link between driving SUVs and our national security."
Huffington wants to "win
the hearts and minds and change the driving habits of American
consumers by asking them to connect the dots and think about
the effect energy wastefulness is having not just on the
environment, but on our foreign policy."
The DP ads broke Jan.
12 in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Washington. The
campaign has received coverage in The New York Times, Wall
Street Journal and on NBC.
IMMERGUT, GORSUCH JOIN GCI
Steven Immergut, who has represented Johnson & Johnson,
Bayer, Allergan and Roche, has signed on at GCI Group as
group VP for its healthcare unit.
AnnaMaria DeSalva, the Bristol Myers Squibb veteran who
heads the healthcare practice, cited Immergut's work with
major brands, and the fact that he has lived in Latin America--which
she considers key in managing global accounts--as reasons
for his hire. Immergut had worked three years in Hill and
Knowlton's New York and Santiago, Chile, offices. He also
has been posted in Bolivia and Mexico.
Ketchum's Kristen Gorsuch is another new hire at GCI Healthcare.
She handled accounts, such as Genentech, Medtronic and IBM
Life Sciences, and led the Omnicom unit's biotechnology
'AMERICA IS BEING REDISCOVERED,'
"America is being rediscovered" in the aftermath
of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Rene Mack, president of
the travel marketing division of Weber Shandwick told the
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce's annual
economic summit on Jan. 8.
People are traveling, but vacations are short and spontaneous,
he said to the crowd of 250.
Travelers also are staying in the country, taking along
family in search of a variety of activities.
Mack, whose firm does work for the chamber, believes the
area could do more to promote its variety, according to
The Island Packet, which covered his speech. Hilton Head
(S.C.) "needs to overcome the misperception that it
(offers) just one thing" such as golf, he said.
Mack cited these travel trends since Sept. 11:
--Domestic air revenue passenger miles have fallen 7.3%,
while auto travel rose three percent during the first half
Travelers now are willing to drive to destinations up to
12 hours away.
--Business travel is down nine percent, while leisure travel
has climbed two percent last year, with a three percent
boosth expected in 2003.
--U.S. consumers took eight percent more "in region"
trips during the first half of 2002.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief economist Martin Regalia,
who spoke spoke to the group, said the national economy
is poised to emerge rebound late this year.
PR PROS WITH 'NOSE FOR NEWS'
The best PR pros are the ones who read a lot, conduct research,
and follow the news extensively.
This was the message from reporters speaking at a National
Press Club program titled "PR Pros & Reporters:
Friends, Enemies or a Symbiotic Relationship," in Washington,
D.C., on Jan.13.
The reporters stressed how important it s for PR people
pitching them to read their stories and know their beats.
Andrew Alexander, bureau chief for Cox News, said, "PR
people who do their homework are invaluable."
Kevin Merida, reporter and editor for The Washington
Post, said, "Know the places you are pitching.
Know the departments. Know what the difference is between
a business story, a metro story, a style story, and a news
story. You have to be prepared."
Merida expects to be pitched. "We are in a public
interest business," he said. However, he is turned
off by random, anonymous pitches when he is "one of
1,500 people getting pitched."
Said Merida: "It's not going to appeal to journalists
if it's a mass marketing thing."
Clarence Page, columnist for the Chicago Tribune,
told the PR pros that they are where the news is happening.
"You can make our job easier when you help us find
good stories," he said.
The Titan Network,
Atlanta, has picked up the Fris Vodka Skandia account. CEO
TOny DeMartino reports the consumer and trade PR program
for the Denmark-made premium vodka is in the "high
Edition, January 22, 2003, Page 3
ATTEND WEEKLY PARTIES
eagerly seek to get invitations to the Wednesday night DJ
parties at the Mercer Hotel, in New York's Soho district.
parties, which feature top editors as DJs, were started
earlier this year by Bridget Harrington and Nathan Ellis,
who are co-owners of the Syndicate, a new PR firm that specializes
in handling PR for fashion, media and entertainment clients.
A slew of
top editors have been DJs, including Emil Wilbekin, editor
of Vibe; Sia Michel, editor of Spin; Marvin
Jarrett, editor of Nylon; Kristina Stewart, executive
editor of Harper's Bazaar, and Alix Browne, senior
editor of GQ.
Sarah Edwards, the London-based twins who are editor and
publisher of Introducing magazine, which has recently
started selling in Barnes & Noble bookstores, were scheduled
to make their DJ debut Jan. 22, and Dana Brown, who is the
"Vanities" editor at Vanity Fair, will
be the guest DJ in February.
which are promoted via e-mail and require an invitation
to attend, attract "a media-centric crowd" of
anywhere between 25 to 100 people said Harrington, who noted
the core of the crowd usually consists of several journalists
who are colleagues and friends of the guest editor, celebrities,
and publicists who are invited by her PR firm.
event serves as a casual and fun networking atmosphere for
the city's fashion and lifestyle media," said Harrington,
who worked at Nadine Johnson PR before taking a job as the
marketing director of the Soho Grand Hotel. "The party
is a great way for our young company to promote itself and
strengthen relationships with important editors," said
Harrington, whose firm is located at 302 5th ave.
and Ellis began holding DJ parties at the Soho Grand Hotel
as a way to generate buzz on the hotel's lounge. The event
was moved to the submercer when she left the hotel to start
a PR firm. She also changed the name of the events from
"Spin" to "The Subversion."
have gotten mentions in The New York Post, Women's
Wear Daily, Italian Vogue, and Fashion TV.
PRINT MEDIA BALK OVER
outlets have gone on record in opposing the New York Stock
Exchange's proposed disclosure rules for analysts.
NYSE's proposed rule, analysts would be required to disclose
any ties they have to companies they discuss with reporters.
Such ties include investment-banking work the firm does
for the companyor the analysts or ownership of any company
media's objections are centered on a part of the proposal
that would make analysts decline future interviews with
publications that do not publish the disclaimers.
the rule as impinging on their First Amendment rights.
York Times and Fortune said the rule will reduce
the flow of information to investors. Dow Jones, which owns
The Wall Street Journal, said the proposed rule would
"result in less or less-informed coverage."
The National Assn. of Securities Dealers last month dropped
this rule from its proposal. "We got too much into
the area of trying to regulate the media," said Howard
Schloss, a spokesman for NASD.
have told USA Today they might be willing to modify
the rules, which have applied to broadcast outlets since
July, with analysts disclosing any potential conflicts in
public comment period on the proposed rules, which must
be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, began
SLATE EDITOR MAY JOIN N.Y.
Jodi Kantor, 27, who is New York editor of Slate.com,
has emerged as a leading candidate to become editor of the
Sunday "Arts & Leisure" section of The
New York Times.
Kantor would report to Steven Erlanger, who was named cultural
news editor in October by Howell Raines, executive editor,
who has given top priority to reinvigorating the paper's
entertainment and arts coverage.
Raines told The New York Observer he wants the section
to "break stories that our competitors have no choice
but to follow...stories that are of such compelling interest
that no smart reader who has the option will skip over them."
Raines said "We want to be the first on writing the
story of the movie industry in its full amplitude -that
is to say, artistically, financially and in terms of global
He also wants to improve the section's coverage of youth
RELIGION REPORTERS WANT POPE,
The leader of the world's largest denomination, a world
evangelist, and a fallen Cardinal top the list of the most
sought-after interviews by religion reporters for 2003.
According to the results of the DeMoss Group Poll of Most
Desired Religion Interviews, Pope John Paul II, evangelist
Billy Graham, and Bernard Cardinal Law are the three individuals
religion reporters would most like to interview this year.
The Atlanta-based PR firm's poll was distributed to more
than 650 religion reporters from mainstream print, radio,
TV, and electronic media outlets.
Three political figures were also named among those whom
the reporters most want to interview this year. They are
Osama bin Laden, President George W. Bush, and former President
will make its debut next week as a fashion magazine
for teenage girls.
Conde Nast will publish the magazine six times this year
and 10 times in 2004.
Amy Astley, former beauty director of Vogue, who
is editor of TV, said the magazine will feature articles
about fashion, beauty and style.
Ad rates are based on a guaranteed circulation of 450,000.
Bloomberg Personal Finance,
which was started in early 1996 by Bloomberg L.P., will
he February number is the last issue. The closing will
displace 40 staffers.
Reuters said more
than 225,000 financial professionals, including 80,000
in the U.S., and 100,000 in Europe, have been registered
for its new instant messaging service, Reuters Messaging.
The Next American
will make its debut in February, will focus on the
future of cities and their suburbs.
The quarterly magazine was started by Adam Gordon, 23,
a specialist on affordable housing for the non-profit Baltimore
Partnership, and Seth Brown, who is a manager for The Hudson
Cos., a Brooklyn-based for-profit developer of low income
and market rate housing.
Gordon is editor in chief and Brown is publisher.
Each issue will be centered around a single theme, but
also include articles on eduction, the environment and other
The advisory board includes Paul Goldberger, architecture
critic of The New Yorker, and Alexander Garvin, a Yale professor
and vicepresident of the agency overseeing the redevelopment
of New York's World Trade Center site.
Time Inc. is testing
a new home and lifestyle magazine for women called
Dee Nolan, the former editor of the British edition of
InStyle, is in charge of the magazine. Kate Betts,
the former editor of Harper's Bazaar, is assisting
Nolan on the project.
Bloomberg TV was awarded
a new license to distribute its English-language
finance news and information channel on the Chinese government-run
direct-to-home satellite TV platform.
CNN, which just dropped
two weekend business shows-"Pinnacle" and
"Business Unusual"-is expected to feature more
live coverage on Saturdays and Sundays.
That could mean roundtable discussion instead of packages
and live programming instead of taped shows, accoring to
The Atlanta Journal-Constition.
Despite the live strategy, CNN is sticking with two weekend
shows-"People in The News," produced in conjunction
with People magazine, and "CNN Presents,"
which features in-depth documentaries.
A new Gallup poll
shows 22% of those surveyed said they get their news
every day from talk radio programs.
The percentage is double what it was four years ago, according
to the Gallup Poll's Tuesday Briefing.
The survey also found nearly twice as many Republicans
as Democrats listed talk radio as their news sources, 29%
news continued on next page)
Edition, January 22, 2003, Page 4
N.Y. TIMES OUTLAWS
PR WORK BY STAFFERS
The New York Times'
revised Code of Conduct, which was issued last week,
prohibits news staffers from doing PR work.
The new ethics policy also forbids all staff members from
having a financial interest in an entity that they cover
regularly, as a reporter or as an editor.
"It is an inherent conflict for a Times staff member
to perform PR work, paid or unpaid," the paper's new
ethical rules state.
Specifically, the rules say staff members may not advise
individuals or organizations "how to deal successfully
with the news media (though they may of course explain the
paper's normal workings and steer outsiders to the appropriate
Participation in PR workshops and surveys are also banned
under the rules.
The rule says news staffers "should not take part
in PR workshops that charge admission or imply privileged
access to Times people, or participate in surveys asking
their opinion of an organization's press relations or public
In addition, members of the news staff are forbidden to
serve as ghost writers and co-authors for individuals who
figure in coverage they provide, edit, package or supervise,
or undertake such assignments for organizations that espouse
They may offer help to institutions such as their child's
school, a small museum, a community charity or their house
Speaking engagements are permitted as long as "the
appearance could not reasonably create an actual or apparent
conflict of interest or undermine public trust in the paper's
"Staff members should be especially sensitive to the
appearance of partiality when they address groups that might
figure in coverage they provide, edit, package or supervise
to the sponsoring group," the code states.
Staffers may not accept invitations to speak before a single
company or an industry assembly unless the Times decides
the appearance is useful and will not damage the newspaper's
reputation for impartiality.
The Times said staffers may accept speaking fees, honorariums,
expense reimbursement and free transportation only from
educational or other nonprofit groups for which lobbying
and political activity are not a major focus.
If the speaking fee exceeds $2,500, the staff member must
inform the associate managing editor.
XINHUA TO BUY ASIAN NEWS OPERATION
The Xinhua Financial Network, a news service based in Hong
Kong and partly controlled by the Chinese government, is
buying a majority stake in the Asian financial news operations
of Agence France-Presse.
Xinhua Financial will take over news bureaus in Hong Kong,
South Korea, Singapore and eight other Asian countries operated
by AFX News, the global financial news arm of Agence France-Presse,
which get a minority stake in Xinhua Financial.
XFN is a unit of Xinhua News Agency, the official press
outlet of the Chinese government.
XFN, which was established in 2000 in Hong Kong to provide
coverage of China's markets and companies, also recently
formed Xinhua PR Newswire, a $4 million venture with PR
Newswire, to distribute Chinese corporate PR releases throughout
Last March, Xinhua Financial acquired Digi- Stock Korea
Ltd., a financial information provider and the South Korean
agent for Standard & Poor's Market Services and AFX
Jim Lovel, who
covers the marketing beat for The Atlanta Business Chronicle,
tells iCD Media's "Media Pro" column that new
developments in the PR field, especially crisis management
and the changing role of PR as a marketing tool, are fodder
for his weekly column.
"Never make a story sound better than it really is,"
said Lovel, who prefers to be pitched or contacted by e-mail
at [email protected].
who has been a reporter for 40 years, says the style of
PR has degenerated over the years.
"It used to be a game of relationships. Now it's a
game of broadcasting e-mails. It's just spam and cute, young
girls making phone calls to see if you got the spam that
you just deleted," Tharp, a business reporter for The
New York Post, told Ben Silverman, who writes the "PR
Fuel" column for eReleases.com.
Tharp said PR people need to give story ideas to a reporter
and build a relationship.
a reporter for The Mobile (Ala.) Register, won the
2002 John Oakes Award for distinguished environmental journalism
for his "Mercury Taints Seafood" series. He is
the son of Howell Raines, executive editor of The New
previously senior interior design editor for Traditional
Home magazine, was named editor-in-chief of Better Homes
and Gardens Special Interest Publications.
M.D., previously with WebMD, has joined NewsRx, in
Atlanta, as senior medical editor.
Also joining NewsRx as senior medical writer is Kathleen
Kite-Powell, formerly with the Centers for Disease Control
& Prevention and Hoffmann-LaRoche.
was named editor of The Economist's annual publication,
The World In, replacing Dudley Fishburn, who stepped
down after 13 years.
magazine has named Susan
Lapinski as executive editor, and Jolie Solomon as
47, was promoted to editor-in-chief of Woman's Day
special interest publications.
was promoted to assistant news director at WOR-AM, in New
Edition, January 22, 2003, Page 7
PR/IR EXECS "BRAINSTORM"
Hundreds of ideas for
restoring trust in companies and the stock market were threshed
over by some 60 PR/IR leaders Jan. 14 in Madison, N.J.
PR was proposed as the
"catalyst" for winning support throughout a company.
CEOs and boards of directors were also given lots of responsibility.
Participants said corporate leaders are needed to set examples
of good behavior that the rest of corporate business can
The credibility crisis
in corporate America has been touched off by the scandals
at Enron, Worldcom and Global Crossing as well as the dot-com
These have helped trim $7.3 trillion off the stock market
since March 2000, it was noted by Louis Thompson, paid president
of the National Investor Relations Institute.
Also present at the "PR
Coalition 2003 Summit" at Fairleigh Dickinson University
were the elected head of NIRI, Don Eagon of Diebold, and
the elected heads of PRSA and IABC,
Reed Byrum and Annette
Catherine Bolton, COO of PRSA, and Julie Freeman, paid president
of IABC, were also present.
Besides the "big
three" PR/IR groups, there were representatives from
the PA Council; International PR Assn.; PRSA Counselors
Academy; Arthur Page Society; Institute for PR; Women Executives
in PR and its Foundation; Council of PR Firms (mostly funded
by the biggest PR firms), and the Council of Communication
It was undoubtedly the
largest gathering ever of leaders of the major communications
James Murphy, immediate
past president of Page, was chair of the meeting.
Although PR Seminar (about
150 blue chip corporate PR executives) was not represented
in name, eight of the nine Page Society members listed in
the program are also members of PRS.
While ethical corporate
behavior was urged by some, others pointed out that CEOs
had to see the effect of this on the "bottom line."
But one participant said it was wrong to connect ethical
behavior to profit considerations.
Another dilemma was encountered
on the "transparency" or corporate disclosure
Participants warned that a company cannot go public with
all the facts about itself until it has been cleansed of
any improper behavior.
Companies must "clean
up their acts" before going public, said one participant.
PR people saw themselves
as playing a "strategic" role in rebuilding corporate
trust, acting as a "champion" of good practices,
"building bridges" and being "facilitators."
These suggestions were
made in a session on "transparency" in the morning.
Byrum and Thompson agreed
that both PR and IR must play a role in increasing transparency.
ADVERTISING IS NOT DEAD,
SAYS 4As CEO
O. Burtch Drake, president/CEO
of the American Assn. of Advertising Agencies, said the
claims made in two recent books on the ad business are "sensational-bordering
Writing in the Jan. 13
issue of Advertising Age, Drake said the books-Sergio
Zyman's "The End of Advertising as We Know It,"
and "The Fall of Advertising and Rise of PR,"
by Al and Laura Ries- give an untrue picture of how most
ad agencies operate today.
"I readily admit
that the authors, well-known marketing theorists and heads
of their own marketing consultancies, make some solid points,"
writes Drake. "But upon close reading it's evident
that the books' titles are considerably more inflammatory
and negative about advertising and ad agencies than the
"Putting all drama
and personal business agendas aside, the fact is we're not
about to witness the 'end' or `fall' of anything,"
He believes the "fundamental
flaw" in both booksis the authors depict an outdated
model of how agencies work. "At worst they fall back
on exaggerated, inaccurate industry stereotypes," said
Drake, who particularly disagrees with the Rieses' statement
that the "goal of advertising is not to make the product
famous but to make the advertising famous."
Al Ries told this NL he
believes the ad industry is "rolling out its heavy
guns" because it is worried, and the idea is making
progress with their customers and prospects, companies that
B-M HELPS $100M DIABETES
Aventis Pharmaceuticals has selected Burson-Marsteller
to support its $100 million global ad/PR launch of Lantus,
a diabetes drug. Havas' Euro RSCG Worldwide handles the
ad campaign, a job it won following pitches against Omnicom's
TBWA Worldwide, Interpublic's McCann-Erickson, WPP Group's
Young & Rubicam and Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide.
B-M has been handling a national educational campaign by
the American Assn. of Diabetic Educators to encourage people
to get checked for diabetes. Aventis is bankrolling that
drive aimed at the estimated 16 million people with the
disease that is the No. 6 killer in the U.S. The company
has already introduced Lantus in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.
Ame Wadler is chair of B-M's U.S. health group.
NEEDHAM NAMED TO TIME INC.
John Needham has been named to the senior VP-public affairs
post at Time Inc., a new position at the magazine unit of
AOL Time Warner.
The 45-year-old executive, who is responsible for media,
opinion leader, government, customer and industry association
outreach, reports to Ann Moore, CEO of Time Inc.
Edition, January 22, 2003, Page 8
The "Summit" meeting
of leaders of no less than 19 PR/IR groups
is a good thing for both PR and IR if the good intentions
of the participants are translated into action.
leaders of the groups worked hard all day in coming up with
ideas and then subjecting them to an editing process.
accept the fact that without support from their CEOs and
boards of directors not much is going to be accomplished.
James Murphy of Accenture
and the other organizers of the meeting are to be applauded
for making it completely open to the press for note-taking
as well as photographs.
type of "transparency" would warm the heart of
onetime AT&T PR head Arthur Page,
for whom the Page Society is named.
The Page group was active
in putting together this program
which was chaired by Murphy, a member of Page and PR
eight of the nine Page representatives at the meeting are
also members of PRS, we would say that PRS was represented
at the meeting as much as any of the other groups.
underscore corporate America's commitment to openness, the
private PRS should open its 2003 meeting to the press.
The 175 or so members of PRS are almost all from blue chip
can't logically urge openness for their companies without
practicing it themselves.
The Summit stressed that
CEO and board of directors cooperation is needed
in any move to restore trust.
are not going to have credibility if they continue to pay
themselves 500-600 times what their average employees are
to Business Week of Oct. 7, 2002, "The most
egregious failing of U.S. boards is allowing astronomical
pay for head honchos."
said boards at one time were loaded with directors looking
for clients for their companies or themselves.
selfishness is supposed to stop under the new Sarbanes-Oxley
corporate governance law but it's too early to see whether
that will happen.
There are signs of competition
between PR people and IR people.
Lou Thompson, CEO of NIRI, sees a major role for IR in communicating
with the public and communicating financials to boards of
directors. PRSA president Reed Byrum told the January
PR Tactics of PRSA that "about 75% of U.S. companies
have simply failed to provide the public with accurate,
adequate profiles of their financial health. These are basic
informational offerings-balance sheets, income statements
and cash flow statements. Too many IR personnel have tried
to bamboozle shareholders with pro forma earnings statements."
We agree with Byrum that
and even the traditional balance sheets, statements of cash
flow, etc., are a mess from a communications standpoint.
Balance sheets hide more than they reveal and cash flows
statements are almost impossible for a layperson to read.
financial reports should be done with the general public
in mind. Each item should be explained in plain English
somewhere in the report.
reports are addressed only to the "board of directors,"
ignoring the needs of everyone else. As we know, boards
of directors are hardly the friends of investors or members
user-hostile attitude, which permeates Wall Street, must
go. If NIRI won't help do it, others must spring into action.
The popular pro forma compilation called EBITDA (earnings
before interest, taxes and depreciation) really stands for
"Earnings Before I Tricked the Dumb Auditors,"
notes Fortune editorial director Geoffrey Colvin.
Both credit rating
agencies (Standard & Poor's, Moody's) and
"governance rating agencies" were mentioned in
the 12/12/02 NIRI/PAC seminar in Washington, D.C. (1/2/03
NL). Standard & Poor's also does governance rating along
with about 15 others.
Some of the governance
raters charge fees to the companies they rate. Remarks by
panelists Hank Boerner and Amy Goodman pertained to the
governance rating services such as "The Center for
Financial Research and Analysis" and the "Investors
Responsibility Research Center."
Goodman called for
improvement in the disclosure practices of some of the services.
Nell Minow of thecorporate
a lawyer, is the daughter of former FTC chairman Newton
famously said many years ago: "TV is a vast wasteland."
PR was defined as
"inducing the public or a certain segment of the market
to have a good understanding of and positive feeling about
a business, person or institution" (from 94-page report
on advertising and PR by Bear, Stearns in early January).
IABC, on an unaudited
basis, had a loss of $6,575
for the year ended Sept. 30, 2002, according to the IABC
website. As of October 31, 2002, IABC had 13,123 members
including 1,130 students.
instruments that block TV commercials,
are increasingly putting ad messages in show content. Latest
wrinkle (1/10 New York Times) is a variety
show planned for this summer in which products of Pepsi
and Nokia will be part of comedy routines or visible as