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Internet Edition, Feb. 18, 2004, Page 1

The Abernathy MacGregor Group is advising Comcast on media strategy and handling press calls following the cable giant's unsolicited $66 billion takeover offer of The Walt Disney Co.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, would pay for the deal with about $54 billion in stock and assume about $12 billion of Disney's debt.

Adam Miller, COO and managing director at AMG, and Brian Faw, senior VP, are handling press calls and heading the work.

The Havas unit also advised Comcast during its successful $58 billion takeover of AT&T Broadband in 2001.

Disney CEO Michael Eisner has been fending off an attempted boardroom coup led by Roy Disney (represented by Sitrick & Co.) in recent months.


Iraq's Ministry of Housing and Construction has hired The Livingston Group to educate its chief about U.S. policies regarding the rebuilding of his country.

The firm of former Louisiana Republican Congressman Bob Livingston will squire Baqir Jabor to Capitol Hill and arrange meetings with business officials. Jabor is based at Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters in Baghdad.

TLG is the firm that famously hired Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, the Iraqi lawyer who aided the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, in July.

The firm helped promote al-Rehaief's book, "Because Every Life is Precious," that was published in October. It ranks 55,705 on

The Food and Drug Administration plans to hire a PR firm to help it celebrate its 100th anniversary on June 30, 2006.

It is looking for a campaign based on the "Protecting and Advancing America's Health" theme. The PR firm is to use the campaign to celebrate the FDA's accomplishments and further its "mission to promote and protect the public health for future generations."

Partnerships with industry, faith-based groups and community organizations are also to be highlighted.
The FDA notes that it plays a role in 25 percent of consumer expenditures.


The National Assn. of Social Workers has awarded its more than $1M PR account to Crosby Marketing Communications, Lahne Curry, a spokesperson at the Washington-based group, told O Dwyer's. "We interviewed finalists Fleishman-Hillard and ECI Communications for the work, but picked Crosby due to its mix of research, planning and strategy," she said.

Curry said 10 firms, including APCO Worldwide and Boscobel Communications, responded to its RFP. NASW wanted a combination of big and small firms to consider for the job.

CMC's mission is to educate the public about the ways the profession betters society. Social workers, according to Raymond Crosby, are currently "undervalued, underappreciated and underpaid."

The Annapolis-based firm is to conduct focus groups and poll the public about the perceptions of social work. It will launch a PR campaign next year, timed to the 50th anniversary of NASW. The group has more than 150,000 members. Nearly 600,000 people hold degrees in social work.

Tim Scerba has left Edelman PR Worldwide and returned to Hill & Knowlton as general manager for Mexico. He had been running the independent PR firm's Latin American region, counseling clients MasterCard, UPS and Samsung from his office in Miami.

Scerba was executive VP/Mexico for H&K, and responsible for technology in Latin America. He now reports to Antonio Tamayo, president of H&K/Mexico, who also becomes practice chair of the healthcare group.

In a release, Juan Cappello, head of H&K/Latin America, said Mexico merits a president and GM because it is one of the firm's strongest offices.

Scerba also was with H&K/L.A., Rogers & Cowan, and Burson-Marsteller in New York.

The Financial Relations Board has named Robert Leahy EVP and general manager of the Chicago-based firm's New York office. Donni Case, FRB president, had been managing the Big Apple outpost.

Leahy, who has more than 25 years of PR experience, was director of corporate marketing and communications at Friedman Billings Ramsey Group, the independent investment banking firm. Earlier, he was SVP at the National Assn. of Securities Dealers.

Internet Edition, Feb. 18, 2004, Page 2


The State Dept.'s outreach to the Arab and Muslim world is hampered by the lack of skilled PR and media relations people, according to Harold Pachios, a key commissioner on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.

"Since international public opinion does have the power to interfere with our foreign policy objectives, the process of pitching stories to the global press must be coordinated and communicated by skilled PR people who serve and have access to the President and key Administrative officials," according to Pachios Congressional testimony on Feb. 10.

He rapped the "apparatus" of public diplomacy at the State Dept. It has proved "inadequate, especially in the Arab and Muslim world."

Pachios said: "The solutions for running a coordinated and agile communications campaign are not yet robust." While he said the State Dept. has dedicated diplomats, it lacks a "cohesive core of devoted messengers" within the foreign and civil service.

According to Pachios: "To really communicate our messages, we need the means to spread our ideas and policies throughout the globe from one source through dedicated teams of communicators skilled in media relations and local languages and equipped with modern PR tools."

Tough Media Filter

Pachios lauded the creation of Arab-language Radio Sawa and the new Middle East TV Network, Alhurra, to be launched this month. These stations, to Pachios, help "offer accurate, balanced, and comprehensive news and information programming with high-quality production values."

The goal of this U.S.-financed media is to "broaden the viewers perspectives, enabling them to think for themselves and inspiring them to make better decisions."

The Commission was established in 1948 to provide oversight on the U.S. Government's efforts to influence foreign publics.

David Henderson, former senior VP at Edelman in Washington, D.C., has taken up an SVP for strategic communications post at the National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, Md.

Henderson is charged with developing a strategic communications plan and raising the profile of the non-profit council, which is a private sector organization and oversees national and local 4-H programs and its national convention center.

He previously headed advertising and corporate communications for Gulfstream Aerospace and continues as managing director of his own practice, Henderson Strategic Comms. His past PR work helped the BBC solidify its relationships in D.C. immediately after the 9/11 attacks and promoted the cause of 12 Kuwaitis detained at Guantanamo Bay by the U.S.

Henderson is also founder and CEO of, a webzine for Baby Boomers.

Global Market Solutions, which is based in Washington, D.C., is rallying to the side of beleaguered Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide as rebels have rampaged in more than 10 cities, killing 42 people in their bid to seize power.

The United Nations on Feb. 10 warned of an impending humanitarian crisis, and urged both sides to end the violence. The State Dept., on Feb. 9, condemned the violence, blaming it on armed thugs on both sides. The U.S. is backing the efforts of the Organization of American States, Caribbean Community and the Roman Catholic Church to negotiate a peaceful end to the crisis.

GMS has promoted Aristide's willingness to talk with the rebels and commitment to democracy. Aristide has made it plain that he plans to complete his second term in office that ends in `06. Opposition leaders say Aristide must go.

Aristide was Haiti's first democratically elected president in `90. He was ousted by the military in `91, and restored to power following the U.S. invasion in `94.


Racepoint Group is promoting Nanotech 2004, which is billed as the world's largest nanotechnology conference and trade show.

Marijean Lauzier's firm is to promote the conference to the mainstream media and drum up investments for the molecular science sector. She expects the U.S. Government's plan to invest $3.7 billion in nanotech during the next four years to spur interest in the field. Lauzier says her job is to promote nanotech's "remarkable potential to drive the next wave of innovation."

The conference takes place in Boston from March 7-11. It is sponsored by The Nano Science & Technology Institute in Cambridge.

Lauzier is the former president & COO of Weber Shandwick, and CEO of The Weber Group. She has counseled IBM, Microsoft, and General Motors.


Iraq has captured the attention of Charlie Black, chairman of Burson-Marsteller's BKSH & Assocs. lobbying wing. Black, a key Republican operative, plans to set up shop in Baghdad.

He told the Feb. 16/23 New Yorker that he is excited about the opportunities connected with the reconstruction of Iraq, but is perplexed about how to go about winning business.

Black said some days decisions are made at the Pentagon, while on other days decisions are made in Baghdad. He joked that Halliburton is the only company making money in Iraq.

Black advised Presidents Reagan and Bush I. He served as spokesperson for the Republican National Committee and worked on George W. Bush's presidential campaign.

Internet Edition, Feb. 18, 2004, Page 3


Specialty Food Magazine has started a new feature entitled "Research Spotlight," which provides information about emerging food trends.

Ron Tanner, editor of SFM, said the new feature will "communicate the numbers behind the trends and give statistical-based insight about a product category, vital to the specialty food industry."

The information will be provided by Mintel International, a U.K.-based company that publishes 120 category reports annually on subjects ranging from cookies to kosher foods. Food manufacturers and mass market retailers rely on Mintel's data and insight to provide guidance for their marketing teams.

Mintel also maintains an information service called GNPD, which stands for Global New Products Database. The company employs hundreds of shoppers worldwide, who go into stores and identify new products.

Research Spotlight made its debut in the January/ February issue with a column about cookie trends compiled by managing editor Denise Purcell.

Her report showed, for example, that 61% of all households buy chocolate chip cookies, almost three times more than the next closest flavor; tropical fruit flavors are coming on strong; cookies are being developed to help improve one's complexion, and store-prepared cookies represent 14% of all cookie sales.

Tanner said the magazine will cap off its research initiative by publishing a "State of the Specialty Food Industry" report in April.

He said no publication within specialty foods has ever attempted to quantify the specialty food industry.

Tanner can reached at [email protected].

Fortune Small Business has started a new feature built around a single individual.

The recurring feature, called "Free Agent," will be written by Ed Welles, a contributing writer.

Dan Goodgame, managing editor, said Welles lives in the Boston area, as do FSB executive editor Josh Hyatt, who heads the Boston bureau; editor-at-large David Whitford, and contributor Patricia Gray.
Goodgame said "they take full advantage of Boston's top business professors and venture capital investors, who provide tips for fresh small business stories all over the country."

Snitch, a weekly crime newspaper which is published in Louisville, Ky., will make its debut in Columbia,'s .C., in April.

Rights to publish the locally-edited paper were acquired by Jerry Adams and Jim Shine, co-founders of Vigilante Press, who plan to start regional editions of Snitch throughout South Carolina.

Adams is a former reporter for The State in Columbia and for WIS-TV as well as PR director for South Carolina's Dept. of Social Services from 1994 to 2003.

He said Snitch will cover serious local and national crime stories and issues, and also will "keep an eye out for the absurd."

Shine spent 20 years as a senior executive in criminal justice and social services, and was first deputy commissioner for the New York City Dept. of Corrections.

Russ Maney, a spokesman for Snitch, said negotiations are taking place with other entrepreneurs to start Snitch newspapers in other markets. Maney can be reached at 502/779-3085.

Fuel Cell Management, based in Akron, has turned to McKinney Advertising & PR in Cleveland for help in expanding the magazine's circulation and building awareness of this alternative energy source.

The magazine, which was launched last summer, reports on commercial and technical breakthroughs in the development of fuel cell systems and related products. It will also address the challenges associated with development and implementation of an emerging technology.

Dave Dalton is publisher and editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 330/375-9450.

Chief Executive, based in Montvale, N.J., has introduced a new look, which is aimed at "communicating a sense of urgency and authoritativeness," said Bill Holstein, who is editor-in-chief.

The magazine is read by 170,000 CEOs and top management executives, acccording to a study by Erdos & Morgan.

Holstein would like to hear from readers about what's on their minds. [email protected].

CigarWise, a new online magazine (www.cigar, which made its debut on Feb. 5, will cover every aspect of cigar smoking and cigar related industries. Editor C.I. McCalla can be pitched at 90

Trucks, a magazine published by Tens Magazines in Corona, Calif., made its debut this month as a newsstand-only publication.

The new publication will not only feature a variety of the trucks from The Enthusiast Network of automotive websites, but also review, test and give insight to the products that millions of truck enthusiasts are interested in the most.

Kathryn Wakeford is handling PR inquiries at 909/371-8361.

"Black Enterprise Report," a syndicated weekly half-hour series that airs nationally on cable TV's superstation WGN and on select broadcast stations, provides minority business coverage, investment tips, career guidance, personal finance advice, entrepreneur profiles and stock market updates.
Andrew Wadium, media relations manager for Earl Graves Publishing, is handling program inquiries at 212/886-9598.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, Feb. 18, 2004, Page 4


Fashion Wire Daily, a syndicated news service, has added several new columns since Maya Singer, who was previously a freelance writer, joined FWD about a month ago as managing editor to oversee news and feature assignments.

The new columns, which include "Wired Life," "Unwired," and "WiredWest," cover a variety of topics from East and West Coast society and culture, to lifestyle, beauty and travel.

Chip Cordelli, a Williamsburg, N.Y.-based writer, covers lifestyle products and services for Wired Life. Paula Conway, a freelance travel writer, writes Unwired, which focuses of lifestyle, leisure and travel topics. Jenny Peters and Liz Snead, who are both based in Los Angeles, are writing and editing WiredWest, a daily column coveing the happenings of Hollywood and celebrities.

Singer is located in New York at 27 W. 24th st., 11th flr. 212/792-8282 ext. 45; fax: 892-3700.


Single copies of the 2004 "MDS Pocket Media Guide" are available free to U.S.-based PR pros.
MDS spokesman Don Bates said the 31st annual guide lists names, addresses and phone numbers of some 700 U.S. print and broadcast media outlets, as well as web addresses for national news sites, online PR publications and online media.

To get the 36-page palm-size guide, practitioners must complete and return the electronic request form on the MDS website (

Jon Spayde and Karen Olson were named co-editors of Utne. They replace editorial director Jay Walljasper, who was named executive editor of the Dutch-based Ode Magazine.

Spayde and Olson have been working as writers at Utne for 12 years.

The bimonthly magazine, which is based in Minneapolis, has a paid circulation of 225,000.

It specializes in covering the environment, economy, international relations and pop culture.

Editors read nearly 2,000 magazines, books, alternative weeklies, newsletters, and e-zines to find articles of interest to reprint.

Caroline Miller will be replaced as editor-in-chief of New York magazine by Adam Moss, who is a former editor of The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and currently an assistant managing editor, overseeing the "Book Review," the Magazine, and the "Style" and "Design" sections.

Matthew Rose, who was covering media news for The Wall Street Journal, was named Page One editor.

Theresa Masek, previously a senior editor, is now executive editor of TravelAge West in Los Angeles.

Andrew Curry, who was an associate editor at U.S. News & World Report, has joined the Smithsonian magazine as a general editor.

Alexis Barnes was named managing editor of Kitchen & Bath Business magazine.

Gerald Boyd, former metropolitan editor of The New York Times, who was dismissed in the Jayson Blair scandal, will write a syndicated media analysis column for Universal Press Syndicate.

Susan Crandell is resigning in April as editor-in-chief of More magazine.

Michael Lewittes was named executive news editor of Star magazine.

Rick Lazio, a former Long Island congressman, who unsuccessfully challenged Hillary Clinton in the 2000 U.S. Senate race in New York, has signed on with retired Fox News Channel VP Ian Rae to develop media projects. Lazio, who will remain as CEO of the Financial Services Forum, wants to become a media personality and commentator on business and political issues.

John Donnelly, editor of King Publishing's Defense Week, was elected chairman of the National Press Club board of governors. The Washington, D.C.-based press club is comprised of nearly 4,000 journalists and PR professionals and others.

Reporters for U.S. News & World Report are contributing news to the White House Bulletin, a daily news service on politics and policy, which is read by government and business leaders.

The Factiva Media Visibility Index is tracking media mentions of the Democratic presidential candidates. During the week ending Feb. 8, the candidates received:

John Kerry—2,410 media mentions; Howard Dean —2,007; John Edwards—1,576; Wesley Clark— 1,483; Al Sharpton—688, and Dennis Kucinich—560 media mentions.

Hill and Knowlton handles PR for Factiva, which is owned by Dow Jones and Reuters.

National Geographic Kids will raise its guaranteed circulation rate base from 900,000 to 1.2 million starting with its March 2004 issue.

The new rate base marks a 71% increase in 16 months, when the magazine, which is aimed at six-to 14-year-olds, was relaunched with a guaranteed rate base of 700,000.

Internet Edition, Feb. 18, 2004, Page 7

Sitrick and Co. is handling communications and advising Tower Records parent, MTS Inc., through Chapter 11 and a ‘fast track reorganization plan set up to keep its music stores and e-tail website operating.

The company last week, via Sitrick, reassured customers, vendors and employees of continuing operation and payments. MTS said its plan will be completed in 45-60 days.

MTS long-term debt and lease obligations have climbed to $441 million, a figure which the company hopes to slash by $80 million under its restructuring plan. It had sales of $983 million in 2002, but has lost ground in recent years to retailers like Wal-Mart and closed several stores. MTS announced plans last year to sell Tower after it couldn't pay part of $110 million for bonds sold in 1998.

There are 93 retail Tower stores, down from 170+ in the 1990s, according to The Associated Press, which credited Tower with creating the modern music megastore.


Robert Smith, a Chicago-based list broker, has made a direct offer to pay PR firms to tell him about unsuccessful pitches made by their agency to potential clients.

In a letter sent to PR firms last week, Smith made an offer to pay up to $5 per prospect name. In order to qualify, Smith said prospects must have seen the agency's presentation or requested information from the agency within the last three months.

Smith plans to continue running small display and classified ads in business publications, including Forbes, Crain's , Entrepreneur, Inc. and Investors Business Daily, to generate leads to prospective PR clients.

"This is the first time I have gone directly to PR firms and asked them to sell me client prospects," he told this NL. "It's a great way for PR people to make money from prospects who don't become clients."

Smith had previously worked as a collector in child custody cases and as a media mention tracker at Bacon's before opening Robert Smith & Assocs. in 1998. His firm also compiles and sells lists of students enrolled in journalism schools.

He groups his lists into different classifications for pricing purposes. For example, a list of 100 PR prospects with budgets of at least six figures costs $250, he said.

Smith can be reached at 815/963-1497

Fred Yager, former VP of media relations at Merrill Lynch, has stepped away from his World News & Information Network video PR firm for a senior VP post in the American Stock Exchange's corporate communications department.

Yager was previously president of ML's global broadcast services division for seven years and before that a reporter for The Associated Press, Fox and CBS News.

PR Society of America, in a move to boost new member sign-ups, has suspended its $65 initiation membership fee for February and March.

New members also get a $20 gift certificate that can be used towards educational courses or for items in the new PRSA Store.

"We have a great deal of churn" (among members), president Del Galloway told a leadership call on Feb. 3.

He called for "significant progress in membership retention, particularly at the chapter level."

PRSA added 5,903 new members in 2002 but 5,769 left for a renewal rate of 70.5%. In the previous year, 5,324 joined while 5,273 left.

The totals for 2002-2001 were 11,227 new members and 11,042 departures. Total membership as of Dec. 31, 2002 was 19,755.

Everyone Is Responsible

PRSA director Tom Vitelli, of Intermountain Health Care, Salt Lake City, who is membership chair, told the teleconference that membership is "everyone's responsibility and not just that of the membership chair or the committee."

Members, he said, should focus on "bonding" with new members "who are most at risk of dropping out."

Membership total has been flat for the past couple of years, he noted, adding PRSA has "done well" considering the economic conditions. The goal for this year is to cut the attrition rate by 2% and add 1% in new members for a net gain of 600.

Rob Levy, who joined PRSA as chief professional development officer and assistant executive director in June, said he is planning "master classes" of 400-500 people at the conference in New York Oct. 24-26.

He said the "double sessions" would run for three hours and would feature "industry leaders" who can fill a room and command attention. A "hot topic" or "pseudo celebrity," or a panel would be provided, he said.

Co-chairs are Kathy Lewton and Grace Leong and honorary chair is Howard Rubenstein.

Writing Seminar Is in Las Vegas

Levy, who has 15 years of experience in e-learning, was previously senior product acquisitions manager for e-learning at McGraw-Hill Lifetime Learning.

One of his seminars is on "Writing That Sells... Products, Services, Ideas," which will take place Feb. 27 in Las Vegas and April 30 in Washington, D.C.

Instructor for the writing seminars is Ann Wylie, who heads her own consulting firm in Kansas City. Cost is $465 for members and $565 for non-members.

Asked whether Las Vegas is the best place for a writing seminar in view of all the distractions there, Cedric Bess, interim press contact at PRSA, responded that "courses are offered all over the country to attract all of our members." It's expected that 24-30 will register for the Las Vegas seminar.

Internet Edition, Feb. 18, 2004 Page 8



PRSA's enlarging of the Society's diversity efforts to include gays and lesbians (2/11 NL) opens it up to static from members who work at religious groups as well as members who belong to faiths that bar homosexual behavior.

Members at Catholic and other religious groups that we called said their groups have anti-discrimination policies that include any discrimination based on age, gender, religious beliefs, ethnicity, color of skin, etc.

But such groups do not want to put their stamp of approval on behavior that they consider sinful. They have strong stands against gay marriage, an issue that has wracked the legislature of Massachusetts in recent days.

Reed Byrum, 2003 president of PRSA, told a meeting with the press Jan. 30 that only 3% of U.S. Episcopalians have left the Church over the issue of a gay priest becoming a Bishop.

Typing in "Episcopal Church Gay" on Google opens up a vast array of stories on this subject including one that says 12 of the 107 U.S. Episcopal dioceses, representing about 10% of the 2.3. million members, have formed "The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes" which opposes the election of the gay bishop.

The Network is not "leaving" the Church because to do so would mean loss of property.

The worldwide Anglican Communion with 77 million members worldwide, is deeply split on this issue. A new report by Richard Harris, Bishop of Oxford, and others, say Christians must remember that "real people really do have homosexual and bisexual desires."

Del Galloway, 2003 president, says corporate PR departments and PR firms must become more diversified.

Since 85% of those coming into PR these days are women and many PR departments have all-women staffs, we think the way to diversify such departments would be to seek male employees. Galloway says that is a campaign for some future board of PRSA.

The President of a mid-sized New York PR firm said that he almost always hires a woman because their qualifications are far superior to the lone male who shows up once in a while. A campaign aimed at attracting the best male students to PR is needed to restore a semblance of gender balance to the field...

Bob Henkel, one of the top executives of Carl Byoir & Assocs., which was once one of the two biggest PR firms in the U.S., says the firm collected a minimum annual fee of $60,000 from large clients and billed all expenses, including the salaries of employees, at the net cost each month. This accounting practice led to the sale of Byoir for just under $4 million when it had $11 million in total income. The biggest account was Honeywell with 27 Byoir staffers, all billed to the client at their exact salaries. Current practice is to multiply the salaries of those on an account by three or more times and have no overall retainer. "This was the best possible bargain for clients." says Henkel. Other Byoir executives have recalled that "making profits" was far down on the list of what executives and staffers were interested in...

"Mold Queen" Melinda Ballard, former New York PR executive who once worked at Ruder Finn, has helped spawn an industry of between 10,000 and 20,000 mold-removal companies, according to the Feb. 12 Wall Street Journal. Ballard and her husband and son were victims of diseases caused by molds in their home outside of Austin, Tex. The Lund Group, New Canaan, Conn., helped Ballard to get national publicity to bring attention to her lawsuit. There are now a "flood of mold claims," according to the WSJ. The Indoor Air Quality Assn. offers a mold-cleaning training program. Ballard continues to seek relief via the courts...

The Great Bubble and Its Undoing covers the dot-com crash and blames the financial press for "covering up" many of the emerging scandals. Written by Roger Lowenstein, it questions whether anything has changed. The engine that drove the stock market, says Lowenstein, was the awarding of options that made price-per-share so important. Income, some of it non-existent, was booked early while expenses were deferred and loans were taken but not put on the balance sheet. Bipartisan pressure prevented the public watchdogs like the SEC from doing their job, he claims...

Bull! A History of the Boom, 1982-1999, by Maggie Mahar, details the help that the press gave the hypsters...

The State Dept. has 1,200 "public diplomacy officers" whose job it is to boost the image of the U.S. abroad, reported the Feb. 16 Time mag. This is down from 2,500 it had in this position in 1991...

The Foundation of the Overseas Press Club will award twelve $2,000 scholarships in 2004 to deserving journalism students. PR and press groups also offer "scholarships" in the low thousands. We ponder if these just shouldn't be called "collegiate pin money" since a year of college these days costs $20,000 and more except at live-at-home community colleges and state schools...

Drawing attention to the low cost of international phone calls is a current ad being run by PennyTalk which says it can handle calls anywhere in the world for two cents a minute. The connect fee is 49 cents. Charge for U.S. calls is one cent a minute. The company is running full-page ads in the major magazines ( Cheap telephone rates open up the U.S. to competition by PR pros from around the world.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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