Edition, Nov. 26, 2003, Page 1
OGILVY WINS $5M
HONG KONG DISNEYLAND.
Ogilvy PR Worldwide has picked up the Hong Kong Disneyland
account to help it "connect with consumers" and
"build a strong brand," said Matthew Anderson,
who heads the WPP Group's Asia/Pacific operations from Hong
Kong. Ogilvy and sister ad shop Ogilvy & Mather, won
the account in a pitch against Grey Global Group and Publicis
Groupe s Fallon Worldwide and Leo Burnett units.
$1.8 billion park, which will open by 2006, is a joint venture
between Walt Disney Co. and the Government of Hong Kong.
Disney is negotiating with Chinese government officials
about opening another park in Shanghai in time for the 2010
WorldExpo planned for China s biggest city, which already
boasts a Universal Studios theme park.
is assisted by Leslie Llewellyn on the Disney business.
The firm also has offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
ESKEW EXITS WHITE HOUSE.
Tucker Eskew, a top communications deputy to President Bush
and director of the Office of Global Communications, has
resigned, effective Dec. 7, to set up a Washington, D.C.-based
Eskew, who initially served as director of the White House
Office of Media Affairs in 2000 and was a spokesman for
the Bush-Cheney campaign, was the President s liaison to
the British government for wartime communications following
the Sept. 11 attacks. He later returned to D.C. to set up
the OGC with Karen Hughes, under executive order from the
President and with the mission to counter propaganda and
push a pro-American message overseas.
LARSEN JOINS MERCK.
Anita Larsen, who was VP-North American corporate communications
for Vivendi Universal, has joined Merck & Co. as senior
director of media relations. She reports to John Wainwright,
VP-PA, at the pharmaceutical giant s Whitehouse Station,
Larsen had been VP-corporate communications at Seagram,
which sold its entertainment assets to the French-based
Vivendi. Prior to that, Larsen held various posts at Texaco
including director of media and broadcast services, assistant
to the VP-U.S. PA & government affairs, director of
editorial services and director of communications services.
Heyman Assocs. (Lisa Ryan and Mariela Orochena) handled
the search for Merck.
HILTON TURNS TO KLORES.
Party girl Paris Hilton has hired Dan Klores Communications,
New York, in the wake of a sex-tape scandal and subsequent
$10 million slander lawsuit against her family.
The firm was brought in as footage of Hilton and ex-boyfriend
Rick Solomon in an explicit home movie became ubiquitous
on the Internet, sparking Solomon to sue the hotel heiress,
her $300 million family and their publicist, Siri Garber
of Platform PR, for slander after he said they positioned
Hilton as a victim in the film. Solomon especially singled
out Garber s statements, which suggested Hilton was intoxicated
and taken advantage of by Solomon.
Hilton's parents contacted DKC and Garber is no longer
working for her.
The media firestorm comes as Hilton is set to co-star in
a reality series on Fox called "The Simple Life,"
slated to premiere in two parts on Dec. 2-3.
All of Hilton's media appearances scheduled to promote
the show have been cancelled. Hilton was to appear on Dave
Letterman s "Late Show" on Nov. 26, a booking
that was made weeks ago.
Letterman, during his Nov. 20 program, encouraged Hilton
to reconsider. "You come on this show, by god, we ll
make you a hero," he joked.
DKC was called in to help Lizzie Grubman deal with the
fallout from her Hamptons SUV hit-and-run two years ago
and last month stepped in for longtime client Sean "P.
Diddy" Combs when allegations his clothing label used
sweatshop labor surfaced.
TOO MUCH TECH IRKS GOLIN.
Over-use of technology to avoid personal interaction, failure
of CEOs to communicate enough, companies stonewalling the
press when bad news breaks, and the need for PR pros to
accept PR s "limited" ability to persuade were
the major themes of Al Golin's address Nov. 20 to the Institute
"Today's PR professional should be humble enough to
realize that the power to persuade is very limited,"
he told a record audience of 230 PR pros and guests in delivering
the annual "Distinguished Lecture" of the Institute
at the Union League Club in New York.
"Success in the 21st century comes from reading the
public mind, not manipulating it," he said.
The more realistic goal today is for PR pros to position
products or services so they are "in sync with what
people are going to do anyway," he added.
Golin said people are more willing to use e-mail than to
set up face-to-face meetings or talk on the phone.
"It s rare to witness the pitched, emotional battles
that used to take place routinely not so many years ago,"
"Back then, people used to argue, fight, and make
upat least they d usually make upand the relationships
grew stronger over time. Although people didn t always like
their bosses or fellow employees, they generally trusted
them because of the emotional openness that defined relationships."
"Trust or Consequences" was the title of the
Golin address, which he noted is also the title of the book
he recently authored.
He called on CEOs to pay more attention to communications,
saying "The great CEOs I've known over the years put
a top priority on communications, and not that many boards
give this trait as much weight as they should."
Referring to the scandals that have wracked the business
world in the past few years, Golin said, "Business
is no less ethical today than it was 20, 50, or 100 years
ago." Business leaders have not suddenly become "amoral
or immoral," he feels.
What's new, he said, is the greater role being played by
"watchdogs" in government, media and consumer
"We've gone from three TV networks to
dozens of cable stations and millions of websites...companies
can't get away with unethical or questionable actions..."
Golin said he admired Jack Welch, former CEO of General
Electric, for admitting he was wrong in taking the retirement
package GE gave him.
Welch, according to Golin, told Public TV news anchor Charlie
Rose that, "I should have come out immediately with
the press when all the media jumped on my so-called excesses
in my GE retirement package."
Details of the package broke as a result of Welch s divorce.
Welch told Rose that much bad press could have been avoided
if he hadn t ducked the media for many weeks.
Said Golin: "In our businsss, all of us have been
preaching this to clients and companiesand this 'CEO
of the century had to learn his lesson the hard way."
Less than half of the American public (46%) thinks that
CEOs are doing enough to restore trust in business, said
Golin in referring to research done by his firm.
A finding last year by Golin/Harris was that 69% of Americans
say they don t know whom to trust anymore. Mistrust of business
has fallen by 40% over the past year, according to a "very
This is in spite of the improved economy and stock market,
Edition, Nov. 26, 2003, Page 2
FOR GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN.
Qorvis Communications paid Cambridge Assocs., a public policy
firm in Charleston, W. Va., to obtain letters from "opinion
makers" in support of Saudi Arabia, according to CA
s just-filed Justice Department registration statement.
The goal, according to Qorvis field team members Steve
Shur and Dharma Dill, was to "prop-up the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia with select members of Congress, refute bad
information being disseminated about the Saudis and set
the record straight about U.S./Saudi relations."
The idea was to generate 10 letters to selected West Virginia
representatives from "friends/acquaintances, local
elected officials, party leaders, financial contributors,
business leaders and community leaders."
Qorvis provided "message points," but recommended
that "letters must be unique in language and on the
individuals business or organizational stationery."
Bob Gould, chairman of CA, was to solicit letters for Sen.
Robert Byrd to encourage him to urge Congress to support
the Saudi peace plan in the Middle East.
CA received $8,200 for gathering the letters.
Shur and Dill are no longer with Qorvis.
HICKS MERGES SHOP WITH
Bruce Hicks, who served as VP-corporate communications at
Texas Air Corp. during the 1980s, has merged his crisis
management shop, Darcy Comms. in Houston, with The Alliant
Group in Austin.
TAC was the vehicle used by the legendary Frank Lorenzo
to capitalize on airline deregulation to acquire Continental
Airlines, New York Air, Frontier Airlines and Eastern Air
Lines. He ultimately was ruled unfit to run then-bankrupt
Eastern, and the Dept. of Transportation vetoed his bid
to launch another airline, Friendship Air.
Hicks founded Darcy in 1989. He has handled American Airlines,
American Express Travel Related Services Co., Mexico City
Tourism, Midway Airlines, and Olympic skating champion Tara
Hicks becomes senior director/general manager of TAG's
Houston operations. The firm also has offices in Dallas,
San Antonio, Kansas City and New York.
DAN EDELMAN AT PR
MEETING AT U.N.
Daniel Edelman, founder and chairman of Edelman PR Worldwide,
and Shashi Tharoor, Under- Secretary-General for communications
of the United Nations, are among speakers at the Dec. 4-5
seminar of the International Section of PRSA at the U.N.
The seminar aims at being a step toward restarting constructive
global dialogue, said Virgil Scudder, chair of the meeting
and head of the media training firm in his name.
Speakers also include John McWethy, ABC News correspondent,
and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post. Attendance
is limited to 100 who must register with PRSA by Nov. 26.
JUDGE OKAYS GA
CHAPTER 11 FEES.
Gavin Anderson & Co. can provide PR help to bankrupt
energy company NorthWestern Corp. for up to $35K-a-month,
a federal judge has ruled. The energy company made the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court request to "maintain its public image
as a viable business" as it reorganizes under chapter
11 and sells off lagging subsidiaries.
NorthWestern, the parent of NorthWestern Energy, a natural
gas and electricity provider in the mid- and northwest,
filed for bankruptcy protection in September facing $2 billion
GA, an Omnicom unit, was brought in earlier this year as
the company tried to avoid a bankruptcy filing and worked
last month as NorthWestern auctioned off its telecommunications
ON MESA TAKEOVER BID.
The Brunswick Group s New York office has been brought in
to handle PR work for Mesa Air Group as the regional carrier
launches a $512 million takeover bid for Atlantic Coast
Brunswick associate Lauren Sambrotto told this NL the firm
was brought in at the outset of Mesa s bid last month and
is handling communications work surrounding the move. Partners
Steve Lipin and Tim Payne head that effort.
Following Mesa s takeover bid, ACA unveiled a name change
to Independence Air and plans to launch a low-cost carrier
next year out of Dulles International Airport in Washington,
D.C. Baltimore-based GKV Comms. is handling ads and PR for
Mesa, which operates America West Express and has operating
agreements with United Airlines, U.S Airways, and Frontier,
wants to keep ACA's role in operating United Express, a
pact which ACA would end if it goes ahead as its own carrier.
United backs Mesa s takeover effort, although ACA s board
has said it will fight the move.
Mesa has also brought in in-house PR support with the hire
of Sharon Goddin as senior director of corp. comms., employee
rels. and recruitment. She left US Airways this month, where
she was director of in-flight services and HR for the MidAtlantic
region. Benet Wilson left the top PR post at Mesa last year.
FOR MEDICARE STAND.
AARP s members message board burned with rage last week
after the group and its executive director/CEO, Bill Novelli,
announced support for the Republican s new Medicare bill.
Although supporters of the proposed bill say it is designed
to help seniors pay for their prescription drugs, some AARP
members believe it may be the first step in the privatization
and dismantling of the senior health insurance program.
Novelli, co-founder of Porter-Novelli, has dismissed membership
outrage at his alliance with the GOP.
"There's not going to be a revolt within AARP. There
s going to be a problem if Congress fails to pass this legislation,"
Edition, Nov. 26, 2003, Page 3
MAGAZINE FOR LARGE-SIZE
Grace magazine, a fashion and lifestyle magazine
for women who wear size 12 and up, is closing down after
publishing seven issues.
Ceslie Armstrong, who has been editor of Grace since it
was started in May 2002, said it was forced to shut down
because its main investor, a Bahamas-based hedge fund, called
Seibels Technology Fund, pulled out. STF had invested about
$4 million in the venture.
The eighth issue, which had already been completed, will
not be printed, said Armstrong, who was executive editor
of Mode, another magazine aimed at large women that
closed down in the fall of 2001.
Grace had reached a circulation of over 200,000 with its
D.C. POST BROADENS
The Washington Post has added a new arts and leisure
section to its website, washingtonpost.com.
The new section brings all of the site's national and local
cultural reporting into one location.
In other changes, news and features are now easier to find,
and links to the site s most popular transactional sectionsjobs,
cars and real estatecan now be found at the top of
nearly every page.
Christopher Schroeder, CEO/publisher, said the new section
and other changes are in response to feedback from audience
WEBSITE IS AIMED
AT YOUNG ADULTS.
The Orlando Sentinel, a daily newspaper, is starting
a new entertainment website, targeting 18 to 34-year-olds
in Central Florida.
OrlandoCityBeat.com will provide reports on local music,
nightlife, movies, restaurants, pop culture, and a dating
service. A dedicated staff will produce the site under the
direction of Alicia Murray.
The Sentinel is owned by The Tribune Co.
Xtreme Video Magazine in San Francisco will ship
its first issue to newsstands all around the country on
CMP Media Digital Video Group, which publishes DV magazine,
said the new quarterly magazine will be geared toward professionals
and thrill seekers with an avid desire to shoot video and
photos of their adventures.
It will cover everything from skateboarding, surfing and
motorcross to mountain climbing and deep-sea exploration.
Featured stories and photo essays will take readers behind
the scenes to reveal the secrets of capturing the action
on video and in photos.
Each issue also will have information about new video-
and photo-related action sports gear and reviews of recent
Dominick Milano, ed.-in-chief, is at 415/947-6270.
PARTY PHOTOG'S BOOK
Patrick McMullan, whose party event photos appear regularly
in New York Magazine, has a new book out, "so80s:
A Photographic Diary of a Decade."
The collection of photos brings back "the exclusive
world of glamour and glitz as it was experienced by the
era s greatest fashion, music, and art icons that mixed
uptown elitism with downtown eccentricity in New York s
nightlife," says his publicist Ryan Urcia at Workhouse
McMullan, who operates a photo studio, also is a contributing
editor of Vanity Fair, British Elle, and Men's
Health. He hosts a segment on the Women's Entertainment
Network's show, "Full Frontal Fashion."
PR PRO COVERS TRAVEL
C. Paul Luongo, a Boston-based PR pro, warns travelers to
be careful when booking trips with operators in this month's
issue of TravelSmart, which is a monthly consumer
newsletter and a client.
Luongo said thousands of travelers were left stranded this
fall when Miami-based Far & Wide filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection. F&W was the parent company of
16 tour operators, including two of the country s largestGrand
European Tours and Central Holidays.
"It is turning out to be the largest tour operator
failure in recent U.S. history," reports Luongo, who
pointed out that several other tour operators, including
Globus and Cosmos, helped about 1,000 travelers by adding
them to existing trips for free or discounting forthcoming
"But not everyone was rescued," said Luongo,
who completes his report by telling readers the key ways
they can protect their travel purchase plus the pros/cons
of travel insurance.
The 28-year-old newsletter is published by Dunnan Communications,
in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Nancy Dunnan is editor and publisher.
PHILA. PEGS PITCH TO
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. is pursuing
its share of the $54.1 billion gay and lesbian travel market
with a three-year ad/PR campaign focusing on U.S. and Canadian
Meryl Levitz, GPTMC president/CEO, said "we are proud
to officially `come out as a gay-friendly destination."
The Altus Group, Philadelphia, has developed the ad message:
"Get your history straight and your nightlife gay."
GPTMC's in-house PR department, headed by Paula Butler,
has created "gay-friendly" press materials, which
will be posted online and sent to media in the U.S. and
The PR effort also includes an expansion of the gay photo
library, press trips during the city's gay events and "Philadelphia
Road Shows" in Canada to promote gay-friendly Philadelphia
to Canadian media.
PRESS RELEASE TIPS.
Daryl Toor, who has worked in PR for more than 20 years,
and is founder of Atlanta-based Attention, offered these
five publicity tips in his weekly LocalTechWire.com column
about marketing and communications:
1. Never pitch"The biggest PR mistake, which
people make when they write their press releases, is to
write it like a sales letter. Instead of pitching 101 benefits
of buying your latest product, tell the editors in plain
English why their audience will be interested in your story."
2. Make it newsworthy"Examine your story from
all possible angles. Which angle would make a juicy story
that appeals to your targeted audience?"
3. Short and sweet but complete"Write your press
release in less than 10 short paragraphspreferably
under one page. Be sure to include basic information such
as the what and why, and provide full contact info such
as phone and e-mail."
4. Mind your language"Avoid technical jargon
and flowery words. Poorly written press releases are rarely
5. Spice it up"Spice up your press release with
an exciting headline that grabs the editor s attention.
Include interesting quotes from relevant people to liven
up your press release."
PR PRO KNOWS REPORTERS
Jeff Battcher, who was recently promoted to senior director
of media relations at BellSouth in Atlanta, knows the home
phone numbers of all the reporters who cover BellSouth at
the top 10 or 15 media outlets in the country.
"You have to know how to get a hold of someone if
you see something incorrect in a story on a Sunday afternoon,"
Battcher told Ben Silverman, who writes an online column
called "PR Fuel" for eReleases.com, an online
distributor of news releases, and also covers the telecommunications
news beat for The New York Post.
Battcher said the most essential part of his job is making
sure he has relationships with the media.
He said about 80% of his time is spent dealing with reporters
from the national media.
news continued on next page)
Edition, Nov. 26, 2003, Page 4
previously editor of the now defunct Maximum Golf,
was named editor of Men's Journal, replacing Bob
Wallace, who becomes editor of Wenner Books.
50, previously business editor of The New York Times,
was named associate managing editor for career development.
His replacement has not been named.
46, previously at The Baltimore Sun for 17 years,
has joined The San Francisco Chronicle as deputy
who created "60 Minutes," was appointed executive
producer of CBS News. Jeff Fager was named executive producer
of "60 Minutes," and Josh Howard succeeds Fager
as executive producer of "60 Minutes II."
has returned as host of "The Rush Limbaugh Show,"
after a five-week absence, during which he completed a residential
treatment program for addiction to painkillers.
G. Brown, who
resigned on Nov. 15 as a music writer for The Denver
Post, has a new position as the morning drive air personality,
from 6 to 9 a.m. on KCUV radio.
executive editor of The World and I magazine, was
named editor-in-chief of UPI's worldwide editorial operations.
who was UPI s chief international correspondent, was appointed
editor of UPI s English-language operation.
Jon Titus, former
editor of EDN and Test & Measurement World
magazine, has joined ECNmagazine in Morris Plains, N.J.,
as senior technical editor.
83, who started writing gardening columns for The New
York Post in 1978, died Nov. 8.
NCM (New California Media) will publish a national ethnic
media directory, which will provide access to about
2,000 ethnic media outlets in the U.S., covering print,
radio, TV and online formats.
NCM, a group of 600 media organizations, was founded in
1996 by the non-profit Pacific News Service.
The directory, which will be sponsored by the Boeing Co.
and funded by the Walter Katz Foundation, can be ordered
at NCM: 415/503-4170.
Olympus camera will
be the title sponsor of the biannual fashion week
in New York's Bryant Park. Beginning with the Fall 2004
Collections, scheduled for Feb. 6-13, 20 New York shows
will be known as Olympus Fashion Week.
The shows are handled by 7th on Sixth Inc., which is owned
by IMG, a lifestyle and sports marketing and magazine firm.
Fern Mallis is executive director of 7th on Sixth.
Ford Motor Co. has
ordered worldwide employees, except for PA staffers,
to cancel company-paid magazine and newspaper subscriptions
by Nov. 30 as a cost-cutting measure.
A Ford spokesman estimated the global PA department holds
a couple of hundred subscriptions.
The American Assn.
of Advertising Agencies, the Assn. of National Advertisers,
and the Direct Marketing Assn. had an open letter published
in Roll Call urging Congress to pass anti-spam legislation.
which was started in 2000 by the Publishing Group of America,
in Franklin, Tenn., is currently delivered to 5.7 million
households by newspapers in small to mid-size markets.
The magazine, which ranked fifth on Advertising Age s top
10 magazine ad revenue growth list for 2003, was found to
account for one in six shopping trips to Wal-Mart.
AP has five regional editions featuring good news about
life in America s hometowns. Editorial content includes
"Hometown Heroes," a regional calendar of events,
recipes and national stories about elebrities with hometown
ties, health trends, and entertainment and current issues.
Beliefnet.com, a religion
website, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy
in Oct. 2002, won the Online News Assn.'s top journalism
award in the category of independent websites with over
200,000 unique visitors.
Roughly one million "unique visitors" go to Beliefnet
s site each month and 3.8 million people also subscribe
to Beliefnet s free e-mail newsletter.
Beliefnet also publishes books and assists ABC News with
its religion reporting.
Edition, Nov. 26, 2003, Page 7
PRSA HIKING SECTION
The PRSA Assembly
in New Orleans Oct. 25 voted on keeping dues at $225 per
member but delegates were not told of nor allowed to vote
on dues hikes in 14 of the 18 sections. The increases of
$15 each for 5,750 of the 6,580 section members would raise
One motive for the
jump, some members theorize, is to employ more staffers
to fill the 22,000 sq. ft. h.q. PRSA hopes to occupy downtown.
are about 14,500 sq. ft. and a sizable chunk of this was
rented out in 2002 for $81K.
The biggest section
is the Health Academy with about 863 members. Its dues goes
from $45 to $60.
The corporate section
has 740; Counselors Academy, 540; PA, 690; travel/tourism,
536; association, 416; Educators Academy, 336, and technology,
Dues are highest
for the Counselors Academy. They remain unchanged at $180.
Most of the other sections are getting their dues raised
PRSA national board
members said they did not vote on the increases, which were
presented as a fait accompli. Several section chairs also
said their input was not sought. Members of the sections
had no voice in the increases.
The Assembly was
told that servicing the manysections will require the hiring
of an additional staffer.
OF HARD TIMES.
Alicia Nieva-Woodgate, San Francisco PR pro, told the Nov.
24 Time she has been "barely scraping by"
as a freelancer for the past two years.
Formerly she was a "six-figure"
executive at a PR firm she would not identify.
She told Time reporter
Laura Locke, whom she had previously known, that "I
live in constant fear." She said she often has to juggle
as many as six freelance projects at a time besides taking
"survival jobs" such as handing out Pepsi samples
at a Wal-Mart.
by this NL, said she has not been able to afford an HMO.
One price quoted to her was $1,200 monthly.
She said there appear
to be PR jobs at the low end of the scale (pros with 3-5
years of experience) and at the VP level. Firms will take
someone with 20 years as opposed to someone with 10 years
but will pay the salary of a 10-year veteran if they can
get away with it, she said.
Her advice to jobseekers
is to be a "good writer."
Time estimated that one in four workers is now doing contract
work or taking part-time jobs even though many would prefer
Many cannot afford health
insurance, which has skyrocketed in cost in the past couple
Working Today, a nonprofit
freelance group in New York, offers health insurance to
individuals at $287 monthly; $857 if married with a child,
Lou Capozzi, chairman/CEO
of Manning, Selvage & Lee, named chairman of
the Council of PR Firms. He succeeds Rich Jernstedt of Golin/Harris.
Edition, Nov. 26, 2003, Page 8
are still making 80 cents for every dollar paid to men,
just like they did 20 years ago, says a study by the General
The gap occurs even when
other factors are considered such as race, industry, marital
status or job tenure.
The GAO also noted women
average 1,675 hours of work yearly vs. 2,147 for men. Whereas
men were out of the labor force an average of one week,
women were out three weeks.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.),
who asked the GAO to do the study, said "Men get an
annual bonus just for being men."
most PR college classes now consist of 20 or so women and
perhaps one or two men, and 85% of new members of
PRSA are women, this subject is an important one for the
A relevant article on
the subject was the "Managing Your Careeer" column
Nov. 4 by Wall Street Journal reporter Joann Lublin.
She quoted Carnegie Mellon
economics professor Linda Babcock as saying that men are
as likely as women to
bargain over starting pay. This amounts to a half-million
dollar penalty for women over a career lasting till age
Lublin attended a workshop
that helps women to hone their negotiating skills by acting
out sessions with their bosses. Simmons School of Mgmt.
professor Barbara Kolb, who conducted it, says women often
don t do enough research into industry pay scales, duties
of other workers, etc.
Armed with more facts, they d do better at getting raises
or at least more perks such as the company paying for schooling
for a child or themselves.
of confrontation also hurts women, says Babcock. One woman
student told Babcock: "I don t want to be confrontational."
Another told her, "We re taught to go along to get
along." Lublin wrote that women "don t want to
PR field often involves "train wreck" confrontations
of opinions in which one side is out to obliterate
the other. Confrontations cannot be avoided if opinions
are to be expressed on many subjects. We wondered a couple
of years ago why neither Women Executives in PR nor its
affiliated Foundation wouldn t put out a release calling
on nursing homes to ensure residents had their own cell
phones, secure mail boxes and working hearing aids since
WEPR founder Denny Griswold had none of these in the last
five years of her life. Was it a disinclination to have
a confrontation with nursing homes?
"stealth" hiking of dues of 5,750 members of 14
sections of PRSA (page 7) is yet more evidence of
staff domination of the Society and the lack of adequate
governance in the Society.
Desperately needed are
at least two substantial non-member directors to halt this
abuse of power by an inner clique. The three directors who
showed any opposition to the ruling seven-member "Southern
wing" on the board have now been bounced from it (Art
Stevens, Phil Ryan and Jeff Seideman). No one is left that
we can see who would protest the board s role as a rubber
The board, for instance,
was never asked to approve the $86,250 hike in section dues.
The sections were not asked nor was the planning committee
headed by Galloway. The Assembly, which allegedly has the
sole power to set dues, was not even told about it, much
less given the opportunity to vote on it.
hike is part of the agenda of certain leaders and the staff
which earnestly covet a 22,000 sq. ft. office in
downtown (far away from the New York PR/press community)
loaded with plush furniture probably left by a failed dot-com.
The 50 staffers couldn t even occupy the 14,500 sq. ft.
at 33 Irving place since rent totaling $81,000 was received
for part of it in 2002.
However, they have been
warned it s now or never for a move (the window for getting
9/11 goodies closes Dec. 31, 2004). They must trash 33 Irving
and get out of the lease somehow or remain there until 2009.
Section members tell us staffers keep track of all calls
and work done in order to build a case for more staffers
on the sections. The rationale is that 22,000 sq. ft. are
needed to handle the greatly expanded sections, which will
be turned into revenue-producing "mini-PRSAs."
after Counselor Academy dues skyrocketed to $180
in the mid-1990s (triple most of the other sections), membership
plunged from about 1,000 to 540. Attendance at the 2003
spring conference was a paltry 126 vs. 350+ in the mid-1990s.
PRSA also plans to have
a big classroom at the new h.q. for seminars and meetings.
But desk-to-desk commuting downtown will easily be 45 minutes
each way. The "incredible" benefits being touted
for moving downtown are just thatincredible. They
are being exaggerated just like the flaws at 33 Irving.
The big benefit is said
to be a $3,500 grant per employee or $175,000 for PRSA s
50 employees. However, these federal "attraction"
grants only totaled $80 million and were available on a
"first-come, first serve" basis. After more than
two years of being available, there may be little or no
funds left. The other benefits are inconsequential or involve
the availability of loans for which PRSA should have no