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Internet Edition, Jan. 14, 2004, Page 1

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 America.

The 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.

Ronn 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.

5W 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.

MWW 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.


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 Committee.

"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.


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 guilty.

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.

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.

Internet Edition, Jan. 14, 2004, Page 2

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.

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 post.

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 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.


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 and Lee.

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 comms. staff.

GCI Group had the account before RF took it over.


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."

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 "media relations."

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.

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 with Solomon.

Internet 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," said David.

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 else."


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; [email protected].


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 War.

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 and content.

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, Calif.

"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 Detachment.


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.

Bruce Lipschultz, 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 reporter.

Meaghan Buchan, previously with Lifetime TV, has joined Cosmopolitan as senior articles editor.

Jolene Edgar, formerly beauty editor at Redbook magazine, has joined Lifetime as lifestyle editor, replacing Buchan.

Natasha Spring, 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.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, Jan. 7, 2004, Page 4


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.

New Attack

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 people—all black, Hispanics, or Asian—wanted 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 this month.

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 speaker.

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 Sept. 11.

"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 and people.

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.

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.

William Gloede, 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 issue.

Jan Alexander, a freelance writer, was named features editor at Worth magazine.

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.

Jonathan Epstein, previously with The Wilmington (Del.) News-Journal, has joined The Buffalo (N.Y.) News to cover the banking and insurance news beats.

Timothy Franklin, who had been editor of The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, has replaced William Marimow as editor of The Sun in Baltimore, Md.

Mike Freeman, a sports reporter for The New York Times for 15 years, has joined The Indianapolis Star as a sports columnist.

Internet Edition, Jan. 14, 2004, Page 7

continued from page 1

PR 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.

CPRF 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.

CPRF allowed ad commissions to be counted while such income is not allowed in the O Dwyer rankings. Account lists were not required by CPRF.

Sarbanes-Oxley Cited

The 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.

Kathy 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 firms.

The association of 101 firms will concentrate on promoting its members, she said.

A "multi-dimensional" campaign will position the members as "America's Leading PR Firms."

The eligibility and standards committee of the CPRF is looking at requirements for membership and may make them "more stringent," said Cripps.

CPRF 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.

There will be some advertising but also direct mail and speeches by leaders of CPRF, said Cripps.

Last 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.

Ruder 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.

The Council started collecting data from PR firms in 2000 to bring "clarity and credibility" to the rankings.

CPRF 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 in 2002.

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).

"Imaginativeness is a quintessential quality of the PR executive," writes Cushman.

The book describes scores of promotions by his firm, now called CushmanAmberg Communications.

–Crush International 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 Show."

–Marriott publicized 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.

Firm Kept Independence

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 employees).

Hospitality Magazine once compared the firm's work on Marriott openings to P.T. Barnum.

"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," says Cushman.

Many Adventures Described

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 press.

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.

Internet 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 industry.

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 for credibility.

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 aims.

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 offloaded...

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 needed–in 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, Jan. 29...

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."

--Jack O'Dwyer


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