Edition, Jan. 14, 2004, Page 1
5W, MWW WIN
ISRAELI TOURISM WORK.
5W PR and The MWW
Group have emerged from a field of 15 firms for a $2 million
annual PR contract to promote tourism to Israel in North
5W/MWW joint pitch edged two finalists, including Ruder
Finn, for the account. New York-based Geoffrey Weill Assocs.
had the account but declined the invitation to pitch.
Torossian, president of New York-based 5W and a former MWW
VP who has worked with Israel s Ministry of Tourism for
several years, told this NL the three-year assignment will
reach out to Christians and Jews at the grassroots level
and beyond to promote tourism to the Jewish state. Creative
work and media outreach are also covered under the pact.
represents the Zionist Organization of America and the Christian
Coalition, ties which played well with the Ministry of Tourism,
Torossian said. Torossion has close ties to the country
s Likud government, and 5W was hired last April to rescind
a travel warning the State Dept. put on Israel, the West
Bank and Gaza Strip before the Iraq invasion.
president Michael Kempner cited his strong relationship
with Torossian while the latter was at MWW as a good fit
for the account. He said the firms will build off of the
"very strong population" in the U.S. that takes
trips to Israel.
MOLINARI PA CHIEF.
Susan Molinari, who once was a high ranking woman member
in Congress, will now head Ketchum s public affairs unit
in addition to continuing to serve as chairman of the firm
s lobbying arm, The Washington Group.
The former Staten Island/Brooklyn representative served
in Congress from 1990-97 and went on to co-anchor "CBS
News Saturday Morning," where she conducted on-air
interviews of national and international newsmakers.
Molinari was a member of the Bush-Cheney Transition Advisory
"Susan is the ideal person to take on this role,"
said a statement from Ketchum s CEO Raymond Kotcher. "She
possesses a rare combination of real world experience in
national politics and media, as well as superb business
leadership and management skills."
Chet Burchett, president
and CEO, Burson-Marsteller USA, based in New York,
is leaving the firm. He joined in 1998 from Edelman PR Worldwide
where he was EVP and GM/Chicago.
O&M EXECS CHARGED
The U.S. has indicted Ogilvy and Mather executives for participating
in an "extensive scheme to defraud the U.S. Government
by falsely and fraudulently inflating the labor costs that
Ogilvy incurred" in its anti-drug media campaign.
The court papers filed in the U.S. District Court (Southern
District of New York) name Thomas Early, O&M s CFO,
and Shona Seifert, who was executive group director and
project director of the ad agency s contract with the Office
of National Drug Control Policy, as defendants. The documents
also refer to two co-conspirators, who were not named as
defendants. One worked as O&M's government contracts
manager, while the other had media duties.
Early resigned from O&M on Jan. 7 after pleading not
guilty in court. Seifert, who is now president of Omnicom
s TBWA/Chiat/Day s office in New York, also pleaded not
The cost of the five-year media campaign was $684M. The
Government claims it was bilked by O&M from May `99
to April `00.
Fred Hoar, 77, a Silicon
Valley high-tech PR legend who worked at seminal technology
companies Apple Computer and Genentech, died Jan. 2 after
a three-year bout with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
The high-tech pro did PR stints at Raychem and Genentech
before moving to the agency side. He joined Miller Technologies
as senior VP in `89 and Hoar spent a dozen years as head
of Miller/Shandwick Technologies western division.
COUNCIL SHUTS DOWN
The Council of PR Firms, which three years ago sent ranking
forms to 5,000 PR firms in a move to become the dominant
source of PR counseling industry statistics, will not collect
any such data this year.
It may withdraw permanently from its move to rank non-member
firms as well as members.
Louis Capozzi, chairman and CEO of Manning, Selvage &
Lee, part of Publicis, is 2004 chairman of the Council.
Last year the Council supplied rankings for 212 PR firms
that were carried by PR Week. story
continues on page 7.
Edition, Jan. 14, 2004, Page 2
SWAYSLAND EXITS BRODEUR.
Brodeur Worldwide has eliminated its president post as Janet
Swaysland exits the Omnicom unit after three years in that
role overseeing its operations.
In addition to chairman John Brodeur and CEO Andy Coville
(nee Carney), executive VPs Ray Thomas and Jerry Johnson,
and senior VPs Terresa Christenson and Steve Marchant will
cover Swaysland's duties.
Swaysland, president since 2000, will stay on at Brodeur
in the near future as a consultant.
HUMPHREY LEADS MINN.
Hubert "Skip" Humphrey, senior VP of Tunheim Partners
and former Attorney General of Minnesota, has been tapped
to be president of AARP/Minnesota.
Humphrey s assistant said the 61-year-old former AG would
remain with the firm through his term at AARP, which cannot
exceed six years.
Humphrey, who lost a three-way race for governor in 1998
to Jesse Ventura, will serve as spokesman and address issues
like high drug costs in the state for the unpaid post. He
was vetted by state and other AARP officials for the volunteer
He handles public affairs work at TP, which split from
GCI Group last year when president Kathy Tunheim repurchased
the firm from Grey Global Group.
VISA GETS CSR HELP FROM
Visa International has given its $1M PR account to Burson-Marsteller
s London office. GCI Group had the account for a number
of years, but decided not to pitch the business.
Gavin Grant, who chairs B-M s European PA practice, will
head the Visa account. His team is supported by staffers
in New York and San Francisco. Grant also heads B-M s corporate
social responsibility unit. He made his CSR mark serving
as global corporate PA director at The Body Shop. Body Shop
launched its first environmental campaign in 1986, a "Save
the Whales" venture with Greenpeace.
VF TAPS N.C. ROOTS
FOR PR ACCOUNT.
French/West/Vaughan has beaten incumbent Ruder Finn and
some other firms for $5 billion apparel maker VF Corporation
s PR account.
Billings are believed to be in the six-figure range.
Greensboro, N.C.-based VF, with 2003 sales of $5 billion+,
manufactures brands like Wrangler, The North Face, Nautica
FWV president Rick French, who heads the account, told
O Dwyer s his Raleigh-based firm will soon open a New York
office to coordinate with VF s IR operations and corporate
GCI Group had the account before RF took it over.
HARRISON GUITAR SUIT.
Rubenstein Assocs. has entered a flap between George Harrison
s estate and a Staten Island doctor who is accused of coercing
the now-deceased Beatle into signing a guitar and leaking
information to the press about his illness, prior to his
death in 2001.
Harrison's estate has sued Dr. Gilbert Lederman in Brooklyn
federal court for $10 million for allegedly forcing Harrison,
who was bedridden with cancer at the time, to sign a guitar
for the doctor s son despite the musician s objections.
The estate also charges Lederman with disclosing information
about the guitarist s battle with cancer to the press.
Lederman was one of the last cancer specialists to treat
Harrison and has been director of Staten Island Hospital
s radiation oncology unit.
Rubenstein is handling inquiries for Lederman and his attorney,
Wayne Roth, and has issued a statement refuting the charges.
Lederman has offered to donate the guitar to charity and
has said through the firm that the allegations are "meritless."
FEW NEW APRs CREATED
Twelve new accredited members of PR Society of America were
created in the second half of 2003, when a new multiple-choice
exam was instituted.
Last year a total of 411 new APRs were created using the
previous exam which consisted of a test of PR knowledge
in the morning and a lengthy essay in the afternoon.
A group of 125 PR people took the new exam in the first
half of 2003 as part of a beta test.
PRSA said 180 applicants were approved to take the $275
exam in the second half of 2003 and 75 of these completed
the "Readiness Review." This involved being interviewed
by three APR members of a local chapter and submitting materials
created by the candidate. This review establishes that the
candidate has the skills of someone in PR five years.
Seventeen then took the test on a computer at a Prometric
testing center and 12 (71%) passed it.
The biggest portion of the test (30%) is on research, planning,
implementing and evaluating programs. Five percent is on
Neither Nancy Wood, 2003 APR chair, nor Carol Scott, 2004
chair, could be reached for comment.
PRSA spent $250,000 and three years creating the new APR
procedure. APR members of PRSA have declined from 35% in
the 1970s to 20% at present.
RF EMERGES FOR EFOORA.
Ruder Finn has edged another finalist from an initial field
of "large agencies" for Efoora, a Midwest biotechnology
company that has developed rapid tests for HIV, Mad Cow
and Chronic Wasting Disease.
Three of the Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based company s products
are expected to be okayed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
and the Dept. of Agriculture within six months, according
to Howard Solomon, executive VP for Ruder Finn in Chicago.
He told this NL the account will be based in Chicago with
help from the firm s Los Angeles office. Kathy Vincent,
VP at RF/LA and a healthcare specialist, co-heads the work
Edition, Jan. 14, 2004, Page 3
Greg David, editor of Crain's New York Business,
has established rules for determining what stories get covered
by the weekly paper.
David said reporters are told to "seek out stories
with tension and conflict, to stress what is expected to
happen (forward spin), to emphasize two or three themes
in each piece and to concentrate on the people involved
in the story."
He also pointed out no story is based on an interview with
one person, even the CEO of a company.
"We stress anecdotes, especially to begin stories,
'nut graphs (which tell what the story is), and `but graphs
(which tell the other side)," he informed readers in
his Jan. 5 column.
"We take a point of view, which means it is up to
the reporter to come to a conclusion about what is most
important in each article. This is different from traditional
journalism, in which all views are given equal space, but
virtually all business publications do the same because
it s the best way to get to the heart of an issue,"
While story ideas are accepted from anyone, PR people succeed
more than others only because they know how to interest
a reporter in a story, he said.
The best way to get a story in the paper is to pitch a
reporter rather than an editor. "The advertising and
marketing staff has nothing to do with editorial content,"
said David, who stressed the paper s goal is to provide
news and information that readers "don t get anywhere
TRIPS ARE POPULAR.
Kalin Thomas, founder of See The World Productions in Lilburn,
Ga., said multicultural tours and cruise trips to the Antarctica
are two of the hottest areas in travel.
Thomas, who previously produced and reported for CNN's
weekly travel show, said visiting places that have history
and culture related to one s own ethnic background are popular.
"The African-American travel market is an exploding
niche in the travel industry," Thomas told iCD Media,
the Alpharetta, Ga.-based interactive CD producer.
Thomas, who produces, reports, and writes travel and lifestyle
stories for print, Internet and TV, said the best time for
publicists to to pitch her is in the morning, including
weekends. Though she will take calls anytime, she prefers
first contact be made by e-mail.
She is at 4805 Lawrenceville hwy., #116-274, 30047. 404/863-8182;
OFFICER EDITS IRAQI
U.S. Army Major John Padgett, who is in charge of the public
health team for the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion in Baghdad,
has become the new editor of the Iraqi Journal of Medicine,
which has not pub-lished within Iraq since the first Gulf
The new journal offers a compilation of recently published
medical information from all over the world, reviewed and
summarized by the Iraqi ministry of health and then passed
to Padgett, who edits the material for language, relevancy
Padgett, who also writes a column for the Journal, said
the next issue will contain some articles written by Iraqis.
"We are striving for relevancy, and we re encouraging
Iraqi physicians to solicit articles," said Padgett,
who is also an educator at Samuel Merritt College in Oakland,
"Although we want to offer new information to the
Iraqis and stimulate their thought processes, we also want
to make the information relevant. The only people who can
really do this are the Iraqis," Padgett told Sgt. Mark
Rickert, a reporter with the 372nd Mobile Public Affairs
MAG FOR OVER-30
SINGLES TO LAUNCH.
The first issue of Segue will be published this April with
100,000 copies at newsstands and bookstores across the U.S.
Kimberly Toms, a divorced 34-year-old, is publisher of
Segue, which will be based in Buffalo, N.Y. Toms had been
a publicist for actors and musicians before moving to the
Buffalo area last year.
The magazine aims to be a social, fashion and lifestyle
guide for affluent single adults between 30 and 55-years-old.
It will have articles on fashion, furnishings, food, cigars,
music, sports, cars and electronic gadgets.
33, a freelance technology writer and publicist who was
published in USA Today, The New York Times,
Smart Money and Red Herring, was found dead
from a neck injury on Jan. 3 on a ski slope in Aspen, Colo.
Newsday has made these
new assignments on its business news desk:
Cynthia Ohms named assistant business editor, overseeing
the Sunday "Money and Careers" section; Errol
Cockfield assigned to cover New York commercial real estate
and development news, and
Lauren Weber, previously with Reuters, named a business
previously with Lifetime TV, has joined Cosmopolitan
as senior articles editor.
formerly beauty editor at Redbook magazine, has joined
Lifetime as lifestyle editor, replacing Buchan.
who recently stepped down as director of business development
for the International Assn. of Business Communicators, will
continue as executive editor of its Communication World.
news continued on next page)
Edition, Jan. 7, 2004, Page 4
PHILLY MAG LAUNCHES
SERIES ON RACE.
Philadelphia Magazine has kicked off a year-long
series on race relations in Philadelphia, called the "Tale
of Two Cities."
University of Pennsylvania professor Michael Eric Dyson
will be a contributor to the series, along with Larry Platt,
who is editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine.
Platt said the series was prompted by the divergent way
Philadelphians reacted to the bugging of the Mayor s office
and the recent election.
Platt can be reached at 215/656-3509.
Meanwhile, PR pro Bruce Crawley has accused The Philadelphia
Inquirer of running a series of stories and columns
that "focused negatively on African-American business."
Crawley, who is chairman of the Philadelphia African-American
Chamber of Commerce and president and CEO of Crawley Haskins
Sloan PR & Adv., said the "`profiling of black
businesses has done much to discredit the efforts and reputations
of the more than 9,000, good black-owned businesses in the
city of Philadelphia..."
Crawley has been leading a boycott against The Philadelphia
Daily News since Sept. 2002 for publishing a story about
41 peopleall black, Hispanics, or Asianwanted
on murder charges by the Philadelphia police department.
The Inquirer and Daily News are owned by Knight Ridder.
His report says there "also has been a great deal
written by the Inquirer about political contributions made
by black business owners over the past eight weeks. Yet,
there has been virtually no focus on the contribution patterns
of the city s 25 largest law firms and 25 largest construction
companies and virtually no attempt to tie these practices
to previous mayors."
Backyard Living Magazine, a bimonthly, will be launched
Each issue will offer advice about gardening, landscaping
and outdoor entertaining, as well as projects readers can
build in a weekend. The magazine also offers outdoor cooking
recipes and party ideas.
Backyard Living will be published in Greendale, Wisc.,
by Taste of Home publisher Reiman Publications, which
is a part of The Reader s Digest Assn.
Jerry Wiebel is editor of the bimonthly.
Sync, a magazine for digitally obsessed young people
looking for camera phones, high definition TVs and iPods,
will be launched by Ziff Davis Media in June with a rate
base of 200,000.
Overseas Press Club Foundation will hold its annual scholarship
luncheon on Jan. 23 at the Yale Club in New York, where
Mark Whitaker, Newsweek editor, will be the keynote
Dow Jones has signed a 16-year lease to keep The Wall
Street Journal at 1 World Financial Center.
The lease covers 150,000 square feet, which is about half
the space the Journal and other DJ properties occupied before
"American Test Kitchen" will return this month
for its fourth season on public TV stations.
The program, which will air on 39 stations in the top 25
markets across the country, is shot in the test kitchens
of Cook's Illustrated magazine, which is located
in Brookline Village, Mass., and hosted by Chris Kimball,
editor and publisher of the magazine.
Editors and test cooks develop recipes, taste ingredients,
test equipment, and perform culinary science experiments
on the show.
Deborah Broide, a Montclair, N.J.-based PR pro, who handles
publicity for the program, said PR pitches are not wanted.
All product placement pitches are rejected, she said.
"The Ed Shultz Show," a Fargo, N.D.-based radio
talk show, is being syndicated by Jones Radio Networks in
association with Democracy Radio.
"There is a conservative mantra on talk radio in this
country. We want to tell the other side of the story,"
said Shultz, a veteran broadcaster in North Dakota and the
Midwest, who is known for his views on American life, politics
The national show, which debuted Jan. 5, will air Mondays
through Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. (EST).
Sirius Satellite Radio, which provides commercial-free music
and sports entertainment to cars and homes, ended 2003 with
261,061 subscribers, up from approximately 30,000 subscribers
at the end of 2002.
TAYLOR TO EDIT SPECIAL
Joy Taylor was promoted to editor-in-chief of Better
Homes and Gardens special interest publications.
She will oversee editorial content of the Family Food Collections
s 11 titles this year, including Kids Parties, Simply Perfect
Grilling, Simply Perfect Italian, 100 Best Chicken Recipes,
Christmas Cookies and Holiday Appetizers.
Taylor, who has been at Meredith for 25 years, has been
executive editor of the Family Food Collection since 2002.
former editor of Cable World and Mediaweek
magazine, was named editor of The Connected Guide To
The Digital Home, a new consumer magazine published
by Primedia. The magazine, which will replace Audio Video
Interiors, will begin publishing with a March/April
a freelance writer, was named features editor at Worth
Steven Van Zandt,
who recently went on a 15-month tour with Bruce Springsteen
s E Street Band, of which he is a founding member, has joined
Sirius Satellite Radio programming staff as creative advisor.
His syndicated program "Underground Garage," will
debut on Sirius later this year. He ll also produce and
host other shows.
previously with The Wilmington (Del.) News-Journal,
has joined The Buffalo (N.Y.) News to cover the banking
and insurance news beats.
who had been editor of The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel,
has replaced William Marimow as editor of The Sun
in Baltimore, Md.
a sports reporter for The New York Times for 15 years,
has joined The Indianapolis Star as a sports columnist.
Edition, Jan. 14, 2004, Page 7
from page 1
Week said it will do its own rankings this year.
The O Dwyer Co. will continue to collect its own information.
It did not accept the Council rankings because they were
based solely on statements by the CFOs or presidents of
the PR firms.
audited a small percentage of the entries.
O Dwyer rankings require top pages of income tax returns;
W-3 forms showing payroll total; fulltime employees attested
to by CPAs; size of office space leased; list of accounts
handled, and other materials.
allowed ad commissions to be counted while such income is
not allowed in the O Dwyer rankings. Account lists were
not required by CPRF.
eight advertising/PR conglomerates that own more than 50
PR operations, including about 17 of the 25 largest as of
2001, do not allow these units to provide figures to the
press. They say there is a possibility the Sarbanes-Oxley
Act of 2002 could be violated. That Act was passed to encourage
more disclosure by companies. Jail terms and fines can be
imposed for distribution of false or misleading information.
Cripps, Council president, said that while no forms are
being sent out this year, she could not say with certainty
that the CPRF will never again collect fee income data of
association of 101 firms will concentrate on promoting its
members, she said.
"multi-dimensional" campaign will position the
members as "America's Leading PR Firms."
eligibility and standards committee of the CPRF is looking
at requirements for membership and may make them "more
stringent," said Cripps.
will now function more like the American Assn. of Advertising
Agencies, which promotes its members and has requirements
for capitalization, credit ratings and other benchmarks
for its members.
will be some advertising but also direct mail and speeches
by leaders of CPRF, said Cripps.
year, the Council published an alphabetical list of the
212 firms it ranked with the 2002 numbers that were supplied
along with the ad agency units with their 2001 figures.
Finn, protesting this policy, dropped out of the CPRF. Its
dues were about $40,000. Also an issue, said RF, was that
agencies several times its size only paid $50,000 in dues
because of a cap on the dues at $50K. Members pay 0.65%
of their U.S. fees up to that maximum.
Council started collecting data from PR firms in 2000 to
bring "clarity and credibility" to the rankings.
added five members in 2003 and lost 12 for a new total of
101. It had 126 members in 2000. Dues income was $988,193
TELLS OF MANY STUNTS.
Aaron Cushman, who once got traffic stopped for ten minutes
on Chicago s Michigan ave. at noon so tennis could be played,
and who helped Marriott open 65 hotels with all sorts of
hoopla, describes these and other exploits in his autobiography,
A Passion for Winning ($21.95, Lighthouse).
is a quintessential quality of the PR executive," writes
The book describes scores
of promotions by his firm, now called CushmanAmberg Communications.
got a boost in sales when Cushman arranged for the Denver
Broncos defensive unit to be nicknamed, "The Orange
Crush." Tens of thousands of fans wore orange shirts
with the logo of the soft drink on it.
Keebler Cookie Co.
got what Cushman said "has been recognized as the most
creative press kit of its day"a two-foot high
"Magic Oven" containing samples of a new cookie.
It got press worth $3 million including "CBS Morning
the opening of three hotels in one day by flying a "large
brass band and a bevy of beautiful girls" to Kansas
City, Denver and Newport Beach, Calif.
Cushman, who founded his
firm in 1952, kept its independence when others were selling
out to advertising conglomerates. He sold it to Thomas Amberg,
president. Other top executives include Chris Short and
Steve Knipstein, senior VPs.
Except for after-office
hours, a live person answers the phone. The firm continues
to substantiate its numbers ($3.1 million in fees and 20
once compared the firm's work on Marriott openings to
"Barnum was the super
PR man of his day and got more publicity for less money
than anyone in the world," writes Cushman.
Cushman s favorite clients
were those who relished dealing with the press. This included
baseball showman Bill Veeck, an owner of the Chicago White
Sox. Veeck invented the "exploding scoreboard,"
put names on the backs of players, and had special nights
for cab drivers, teachers, etc.
Veeck would greet reporters
individually "and hold court around a big circular
table" with reporters "shooting questions at him,"
The autobiography covers
an attempted mob infusion in which Cushman would get plenty
of clients if he would only let a certain person work for
no salary at the firm; the attempted purchase by Hill &
Knowlton, and Mexican officials demanding a kickback on
tourism PR which was foiled when Cushman reported the incident
to the tourism head.
A chapter on "16
Ways to Achieve Positive Media Relations" advises responding
quickly to queries; being brief and accurate, and telling
clients not to "hide" in the face of negative
An avid tennis player
and golfer, Cushman said he spent lots of time with clients
and the press playing both sports. He and his wife, Doris,
entertained reporters and their spouses on many occasions,
he recalled. But such "socializing" dried up about
20 years ago.
Increased security at
media as well as concern over reporters
being improperly wined and dined has greatly reduced such
activity, he said.
Edition, Jan. 14, 2004 Page 8
The withdrawal of
the Council of PR Firms from the job of ranking PR firms
(page one) is a major development for the PR counseling
CPRF, funded mostly by the six ad conglomerates, had no
business doing what was a job for PR media such as this
NL, PR Week and PR News.
It didn't try to collect easily available documents such
as the top pages of income tax returns and W-3s. It relied
solely on statements by CFOs. It promised to audit less
than 5% of returns as a safety measure. Given all the scandals
perpetrated by financial types, this was not a prescription
CPRF further muddied the numbers by allowing ad commissions.
The conglomerates added to the confusion by merging PR units
together to form mega-agencies that were not truly unified.
CPRF now says it will behave more like the 4As of advertising,
promoting its members as "America s Leading PR Firms."
We think "America s Leading PR Firms" are those
that put up their numbers each year, good or bad; who provide
lists of their PR pros and lists of the accounts, and who
talk to the press and advise their clients to do the same.
The flag that should be carried for PR is truth-telling.
Clients can tell the truth and also pursue their promotional
America's leading PR firms will be those who draw a sharp
distinction between advertising and PR.
Stan Sauerhaft, who
spent many years at Burson- Marsteller and Hill & Knowlton,
has authored a novel dealing with the PR industry in which
one character says ad people communicate through "buying
space and time. We (PR pros) communicate through earning
space and time."
Aaron Cushman has described the traditional practice of
PR in his autobiography (page 7). It s based on creativity,
imagination and full integration with the media. He would
never dream of ducking a press call. We would take issue
with a couple of points in the book. His definition of PR
is that it "influences behavior." This puts PR
at cross purposes with reporters who want to inform readers
and are not out to make them act in a certain way. Cushman
tells of one client who broke off an interview because the
reporter asked the age of the client. "You should know
my age!" said the client.
Cushman took the client s side, saying reporters must learn
to speak more diplomatically. Some questions can only be
asked in a blunt way. Too many PR pros today have spent
too little time with newspeople and are shocked at the candid,
even brutal way reporters talk. PR pros must learn "news-speak"
if they are to influence reporters.
The big news over the weekend was the creation of 1,000
jobs in December nationwide when the prediction was for
130,000. Joblessness is the No. 1 issue in PR these days.
The New York Times used to run 70-90 ads for PR posts
each Sunday but for all of 2003 it only carried 8-10. Some
well-known PR firms have an "eat what you kill"
policy for PR pros needing jobs. They ll give the pro a
desk and let him or her say they re an employee or "of
counsel" to the famous firm. The pro must split fees
with the PR firm. If not enough fees come in, the pro is
PR pros were long
famous for their "way with words"their ability
to create a catchy phrase. The New Yorker Jan. 12
profiled Broadway press agent Gene Weber, who was described
by Walter Winchell as "the finest writer of one-liners
since Will Rogers." Weber, who created the Super Bowl
"Football Widows" party, told the mag he has one
simple rule: "Make things happen." Re-emphasis
on PR s creativity is neededin summing up an issue
in a few choice words, in creating news-making events for
clients, and in creating ways for PR pros and newspeople
to get together without compromising either side. If the
CEO is going to be present, the press will come out...
The PRSA national
board, which meets every January in New York, this
year will host the PR press at a luncheon at h.q. on Friday,
Jan. 30. The office was deemed unfit for a board meeting
last year but repairs have been completed and h.q. is just
fine now, says 2004 president Del Galloway. We re hoping
to meet some of the board members individually on Thursday,
The tiny amount (12)
of new APRs created by PRSA in the second half of 2003 (page
2 story) puts the focus on problems with the new
APR format. Candidates are having trouble coming up with
the "materials" needed for the "Readiness
Review" that precedes any test taking. Previously,
an oral exam was given after the candidate took the written
exam. It s no wonder that "materials" are hard
to produce. PR pros mostly practice in a corporate setting,
working with fellow staffers and supervisors; the client;
the client's ad agency; lawyers at the PR firm and client;
marketing executives, financial people, etc. PR pros can
point to little that is just their own. PRSA s Silver Anvils,
recognizing this, go only to companies and PR firms and
never to individuals (though individuals habitually claim
they have "won" Anvils).
Another problem is that passing the test proves you have
the skills of someone in PR five years (you are now a "certified
junior"). Also, questions on "media relations"
make up only 5% of the test. There are no questions about
the existence of this NL, PR Week or PR News, which a savvy
PR pro should know about. PRSA does not acknowledge the
existence of such publications in its "PR Body of Knowledge."