Edition, May 26, 2004, Page 1
JERNSTEDT JOINS F-H.
Rich Jernstedt, the
former CEO of Golin Harris International, has joined Fleishman-Hillard's
Chicago office as executive VP/senior partner.
a perfect time in my career to make a move," he told
O Dwyer's . The F-H post provides "an opportunity to
be challenged, to learn and to grow," he added. Jernstedt,
who leaves GHI as its chairman, said he has a "tremendous
respect for F-H's culture, and a high regard for its people."
Fred Cook is CEO of GHI, an Interpublic entity.
57-year-old Jernstedt will handle new business development,
special projects and provide consumer marketing counsel.
He will work closely with Jack Modzelewski, F-H's president
for client relations, t<%-3>o cement ties with the
Omnicom unit's biggest clients. That group includes Visa,
which has just shifted its account from GHI to F-H.
spent 26 years at GHI, following a five-year stint at Container
Corp. of America and three years as a public affairs office
in the U.S. Navy.
F-H CEO John Graham, 67, has just celebrated 30 years at
the helm of the St. Louis-based firm.
BKSH ROLLS TOP GUNS
Yukos Oil, the embattled Russian energy giant that locked
horns with President Vladimir Putin, has hired Burson-Marsteller's
BKSH & Assocs. lobbying unit, to keep Washington abreast
of political, legal and business developments.
CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who financed political opposition
parties to Putin and had plans to run for the presidency,
was arrested at gunpoint in October, charged with embezzlement.
That arrest triggered the collapse of plans to merge Yukos,
which is Russia's No. 1 energy giant, with No. 3, Sibneft.
BKSH has assigned an eight-member team of its top-drawer
lobbyists to make the case for Yukos.
Charlie Black (advisor to both Presidents Bush) spearheads
the team that includes president Scott Pastrick (former
Democratic National Committee treasurer), vice chairman
M.B. Oglesby (deputy chief of staff to President Ronald
Reagan), managing director Gardner Peckham (staffer to former
House Speaker Newt Gingrich) and directors Paul Brown (aide
to ex- Majority Leader Tom Daschle), Katherine Friess (aide
to former Sen. Larry Pressler) and Jeffrey Weiss (member
of the Bush/Cheney transition team).
HHS USED ILLEGAL'
The Dept. of Health and Human Services controversial "Karen
Ryan Reporting" VNRs promoting a new Medicare drug
plan have been ruled illegal by Congress investigative arm.
The General Accounting Office, in a report on the issue,
cited two federal laws which forbid public funds from being
used for "publicity or propaganda purposes" and
spending in excess of appropriations.
Ketchum was tapped to handle the campaign and subcontracted
the VNR work to Washington, D.C.-based Home Front Comms.
Ketchum referred a call about the report to HHS. The agency
told O'Dwyer's in March the spots were properly sourced.
Nearly 50 local and mid-market stations aired the Medicare
SLUTSKY SLIDES TO OGILVY.
Weber Shandwick's Eric Slutsky has joined Ogilvy PR Worldwide's
consumer marketing group as an executive VP.
At WS, Slutsky handled Unilever brands (Skippy, Ragu, Carb
Options and its laundry products line-up), Sirius Satellite
Radio, General Motors and Lycos. Slutsky also spent seven
years at Edelman PR Worldwide as a VP, working on Microsoft
and Hasbro Toys.
The 2004 Edition of
O Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms, which lists thousands of
firms in the U.S. and abroad, is now at the printer.
The Directory includes rankings of firms by size, specialty
and location; articles on how to hire a PR firm, and a cross-client
index, the only one of its kind, which allows you to quickly
check which firm is working on an account. $175 from O'Dwyer's
IPG EXECS RAPPED
BUT SAY `ON TARGET.'
took it on the chin from a half dozen stockholders at the
annual meeting May 18 in New York. Its stock has gone from
$57 to $14. Management weathered the storm and insisted
that the company is stabilized and on target to meet goals
in the next 24-36 months. IPG owns Weber Shandwick, Golin/Harris
and other PR units. (continued
Edition, May 26, 2004, Page 2
DELTA SHUFFLES EXECS.
Struggling Atlanta-based carrier Delta Air Lines has shuffled
its upper management ranks, including the announcement that
senior VP of corporate communications Tom Slocum will retire
Dan Lewis, managing director/CC, takes over for Slocum
and reports to Greg Riggs, senior VP and general counsel,
who becomes chief corporate affairs officer overseeing lobbying
and public affairs at the No. 3 U.S. airline.
Also, the company's chief marketing officer, Vicki Escarra,
was named EVP and chief customer service officer, and Paul
Matsen, senior VP, international and alliances, was named
The company has lost close to $3 billion over the last
three years, according to reports, and has slashed 16,000
employees from its payroll. Delta warned in a recent SEC
filing that it may have to file for Chapter 11 protection.
C&W ESCORTS IRAQ'S
Clark & Weinstock is showing the Iraqi Governing Council's
U.S. Ambassador-designate the ropes in Washington, D.C.
Consultant Juleanna Glover is helping Rend Al-Rahim on
"messaging" and planning overall strategy for
meetings with Administration officials, Members of Congress
and staffers, reporters and other persons of importance,
according to C&W's federal filing.
She joined C&W in `02 after serving as Vice President
Dick Cheney's press secretary. Glover handled media for
former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani during his aborted run
for the Senate against Hillary Clinton. She also was a senior
policy advisor to then-Senator now Attorney General John
C&W is to advise Al-Rahim on how to communicate on
issues, such as military affairs, foreign policy, trade
and appropriations. Glover hosted a reception at the Park
Hyatt Hotel last month to mark the one-year anniversary
of the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Paul Wolfowitz, deputy
secretary of defense and a key proponent of the Iraqi invasion,
was among the guests.
C&W, an Omnicom unit, is working on a pro-bono basis
for the IGC.
MWW DISCOVERS SILVER
Interpublic's MWW Group has acquired The Silver Co. in Seattle,
and has changed the name of its MWW/Savitt office in the
city to MWW Group. That move reflects the exit of Kathy
Savitt, who had headed the office since '95 and left for
Amazon.com in November.
Bob Silver is now general manager of MWW's Seattle branch.
His firm counts American Seafoods Corp., Mercury Online
Solutions and Mackay Restaurant Group as clients.
Silver was an editor and reporter for more than a dozen
years, for such papers as The Seattle Times, and
BANDAR SAYS NOT
ALL AMERICANS ARE BAD.
Prince Bandar cautioned the Saudi media not to generalize
that all Americans are sadistic torturers like the U.S.
prison guards that abused Iraqis.
The Kingdom's Ambassador to the U.S. urged reporters "not
to make the same mistake of generalization that was made
by the U.S. media and certain American politicians when
it became clear that 15 out of the 19 criminals who carried
out the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were Saudis," according
to a statement distributed by Qorvis Communications.
"Accusations were leveled against all Saudis who were
labeled as terrorists; accusations that are untrue and unacceptable.
This is why we should condemn only those who committed these
horrendous acts against Iraqi prisoners, and make clear
that they do not represent the majority of the U.S. military,
and certainly not the American people and their morality."
The Prince also condemned the killers who beheaded Nicolas
Berg as deviants, and un-Muslim: "It is not out of
character for them to commit acts that violate the teachings
of Islam, a noble religion that deplores such acts."
OAK RIDGE NUKE PR PACT
Laine Communications, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based PR firm,
has amassed close to $800,000 in contracts since Nov. 2000
for various services at Oak Ridge's nuclear weapons plant,
according to The Oak Ridger, which also obtained
documents outlining various PR-related strategies, including
offering specific journalists certain stories.
One federal official said LC has multiple tasks and contracts
with BWXT Y-12, which manages the Y-12 National Security
Complex for the National Nuclear Security Administration.
"These activities are paid for through NNSA programmatic
resources," Steven Wyatt, a spokesman for the NNSA's
Oak Ridge office, was quoted by the paper as saying. "The
value of the contracts from Nov. 2000 to date is $782,619.25.
Of this amount, $525,785 has been costed [spent]."
According to Wyatt, the purpose of Laine's work is to help
BWXT Y-12 deal with staffing shortages in the plant's public
affairs department and to provide communications support
One PR report advised Dennis Ruddy, president of BWXT Y-12,
not to take a "no comment" stance on controversial
or negative stories"a practice he continues to
follow," the paper said.
SPERRY NAVIGATES PR
FOR ALASKA AIR.
Sam Sperry, a former Seattle Post-Intelligencer editor who
has worked in public affairs for several years in that city,
has moved to Alaska Airlines as director of corporate communications.
Sperry, 63, exits Seattle PR/PA firm Gogerty Stark Marriott,
where he worked before and after serving as executive policy
director for Gov. Gary Locke and VP of community affairs
for the Seattle Mariners baseball franchise.
Edition, May 26, 2004, Page 3
FOR HELPING CONVICT.
Martin Tankleff, who says he was wrongly imprisoned for
murdering his parents, is getting his hearing thanks in
part to the nationwide media coverage that Soury Communications
in New York helped to generate on his behalf.
It was disclosed on May 12 by Suffolk County, N.Y., District
Attorney Thomas Spota that he was formally dropping his
opposition to a hearing for the prisoner after a new witness
agreed to testify without immunity.
"It looks as if he's getting a hearing. I m very excited
about it," said PR pro Lonnie Soury.
Soury thanked the media, especially The New York Times
and CBS News, for giving the case so much publicity.
He had been recruited by a private detective to help win
a new trial for Tankleff, who is serving a 50 years to life
sentence for the 1988 murders.
Tankleff, who insists he is innocent, was convicted in
1990, based on a statement extracted from him by James McCready,
a now-retired Suffolk County homicide detective, who admitted
to tricking Tankleff into confessing.
Soury said Jay Salpeter, a retired NYPD homicide detective
who runs his own private detective agency, contacted Soury
last summer with a request to handle publicity for Tankleff's
appeal, which is based on a new witness, whom Salpeter found.
Soury agreed to handle Tankleff's PR on a pro bono basis.
One of the first pitches made by Soury was to Bruce Lambert,
who is The New York Times Long Island bureau chief. Lambert
wrote a long piece that ran last October in the paper's
Long Island edition, followed up by a detailed piece that
appeared in the April 4 edition, which also ran in the paper's
On April 7, CBS "48 Hours" aired an hour-long
segment on Tankleff's case.
Both stories have spurred inquiries from other media outlets
and reporters from around the country.
Tankleff must show newly discovered evidence would have
resulted in a different verdict or that it establishes his
actual innocence before the judge can set aside the conviction
after the hearing.
NEW MAG PROMOTES
Healthy Family, based in Portland, Me., is a new
national magazine focused on promoting a healthy lifestyle
for parents and children.
The magazine's premiere May/June issue went on newsstands
around the country earlier this month, with about 220,000
copies being circulated.
Richard Bulman, who worked in sales at Spy and helped
start 7 Days, a now-defunct paper about New York
lifestyles, started HF, which is published by Navigator
Publishing. Navigator also publishes Ocean Navigator,
Professional Mariner and Smart Homeowner magazines.
Bulman also helped create a video product called Kideo,
which allows children to become characters in their favorite
A news release said HF's target audience is "well-educated,
married women who have children in their home and take a
proactive interest in family, health and wellness issues."
These target households have an average income of $78,000.
"We're responding to a social movement driven largely
by families who embrace a healthier lifestyle and who hold
a tremendous amount of economic power," Bulman said
in the release. "To the consumer, we intend to become
the gold standard of information for managing that lifestyle."
Christie Matheson, who is editor-in-chief, works out of
Navigator Publishing, which is located at 58 Fore st. in
TWO REPORTERS HIRED
AT L.A. TIMES/D.C.
Walter Roche Jr. and Mark Mazzeti have joined the Washington,
D.C., bureau of The Los Angeles Times.
Roche was a reporter at The Baltimore Sun for the
past eight years, and Mazzeti, who will cover the Pentagon,
was a senior editor at U.S. News & World Report,
where he covered national security and defense.
previously with Duke Communications and editor-in-chief
of both SQL Server Magazine and Windows NT/2000
Magazine (which became Windows & .Net Magazine),
has joined Penton IT Media's Windows Group in Loveland,
Colo., as group editorial director.
currently deputy editor of Business 2.0, was named
managing editor of Money magazine, succeeding Bob
Safian, who will become an executive editor of Time
54, who covered five Olympics and the NBA for The Associated
Press, died May 15 while playing tennis near his home in
who has been acting managing editor for Offshore
magazine, was promoted to editor-in-chief of PennWell Corp.'s
56, senior editor of The Irish Echo, a weekly newspaper
based in New York, died May 14. Holland, who lived in Brooklyn,
N.Y., wrote several books on the conflict between Irish
Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.
69, a former publicist who wrote a weekly travel column
for The Salt Lake City Deseret News, died May 16.
43, executive editor of DM News, died May 3.
(Media news continued on next page)
Edition, May 26, 2004, Page 4
BUS RIDERS TO GET
THEIR OWN MAGAZINE.
Passengers of a bus line that shuttles New Yorkers back
and forth to the Hampton beaches during the summer will
get a free weekly magazine called The Hampton Jitney.
Onboard Publishing, a company co-owned by Duke Thrush and
Gary Demirjian, who is a friend of the co-owner of the bus
company, will distribute 25,000 copies a week of THJ from
Memorial Day to Labor Day and then go monthly until December.
The publishers believe the magazine will offer advertisers
a chance to reach a captive audience of wealthy bus riders,
who flock each Friday afternoon during the summer to the
beach towns on the east end of Long Island. The trip usually
takes more than two hours depending on traffic.
Topics that relate to the Hamptons lifestyle will be covered
in the magazine. "Our mission is to deliver a superior
publication offering entertaining articles related to the
communities the Hampton Jitney serves," said Demirjian,
who also is editor.
More than 30 contributors have been lined up to write for
the magazine. The lead story for the first issue will feature
Alec Baldwin interviewing Alan Alda.
Other regular features will include: Health Guide, Tee
Tee for golf courses, sports and active lifestyles, arts
and culture interviews, around town openings, home and landscape
designs, chef's recipes, cinema and high finance.
Merry Clark, a former freelance writer and food critic,
who has written for several publications including New
York Magazine, and at one time ran her own editorial
consulting service, is managing editor.
Demirjian said Clark will work out of the magazine's New
York office, which is located at 1 University pl. 212/982-9685.
Thrush also has an office in his home in Eastport, N.Y.,
that staffers may use. 631/325-2330.
Publicists can also get more information on the magazine's
website at gdtpublications.com.
Futbol Mundial, a
New York-based sports magazine, is increasing its
frequency to monthly starting with next month's issue.
Launched during World Cup 2002, the magazine is the only
national Spanish-language sports title boasting an audited
circulation that exceeds one million copies and 2.4 million
It is distributed in the top 10 U.S. Hispanic markets through
audited newspapers, subscriptions and in-stadium Major League
soccer events during the season.
FM is published by Sensacion Marketing Creatives.
The New Cleveland Press
made its debut as a
free, 12-page broadsheet newspaper, printed in an
oversized font to appeal to readers 50 and older.
Randy Nyerges, 43, who is publisher and editor, said the
paper is "one man's dream, one man's dollar" in
the lead editorial.
The Press will appear weekly, but Nyerges hopes to go daily
at some point.
The original Cleveland Press, published by Scripps-Howard,
folded in 1982.
Two former reporters
for The Wall Street Journal, Kevin Salwen
and Anita Sharpe, want to begin publishing a national business
magazine called Worthwhile
Salwen and Sharpe, who will be co-editors, are trying to
raise $5 million to get their Atlanta-based magazine off
Their goal is to create a business magazine that attracts
as many women as men.
an Atlanta-based government affairs firm, plans to
start a magazine called James,
named after Georgia's founder James Ogelthorpe.
The magazine, which will be sent to politicians and business
leaders in the state, will offer an insider's view of state
politics plus edgy business stories, according to Matt Towery,
who is chairman of IA.
Towery, a former state legislator and candidate for lieutenant
governor, will use funds generated from IA's recent sale
of its government bids business.
Larry Walker, a retired state legislator, and former U.S.
Rep. Bob Barr will write columns.
'MARTHA STEWART LIVING
"Martha Stewart Living," a syndicated TV show
hosted by Stewart, will go on hiatus at the end of September.
Stewart, who resigned as chairman/CEO of Martha Stewart
Living Omnimedia last June, was convicted of lying about
why she sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems stock in 2001.
She is expected to be sentenced June 17, and faces 10 months
to 16 months in prison.
Martha Stewart Living will continue production of "Petkeeping
With Marc Morrone" and step up development of special
and new programming such as "Everyday Food."
GAY WEDDING GUIDE.
Absolut Vodka has created and published a wedding guide
to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples celebrate
their commitment ceremonies.
The 12-page, four-color planner features advice from various
experts, including Michael Killingsworth, managing editor
of Weddingsbells magazine, and Joan Garry, executive
director of GLAAD, whose website lists the names of local
papers that run LGBT announcements in the commitment sections.
The guide is being distributed in Out Magazine's
June issue, which hit newsstands on May 18, and in select
weeklies in Massachusetts and California.
Julia Hyde, an independent PR writing consultant, said a
press release with a headline that summarizes a story in
10 words or less is one of the best ways for publicists
to impress reporters, and increase their chances of publication.
Her "15 ways to make a press release stand out from
the crowd" were recently published on webpronews.com.
REPORTER TAKES HELM
AT MEDIA TRAINING CENTER.
Eileen O'Connor, a former CNN and ABC News correspondent,
producer and bureau chief, will become president of the
International Center for Journalists on June 28.
She succeeds David Anable, who is retiring from the Washington,
D.C.-based media training center.
Since leaving CNN in 2001, she has worked as a media trainer
and consultant in Washington while completing a law degree
at Georgetown Univ.
James Hoge, editor of Foreign Affairs magazine,
is board chairman of ICJ Foundation, which conducts hundreds
of training programs for some 15,000 journalists in more
than 170 countries.
MORE TRAVELERS USE
ONLINE TRAVEL AGENCIES.
Online travel agencies have replaced brick-and-mortar travel
agencies as travelers top source for getting travel planning
USA Today said 27% of the 661 respondents in a survey conducted
in April by comScore listed online travel agency when asked
where do you begin planning travel?
The second most popular place were search engines (19%),
followed by offline travel agencies (14%); newspaper travel
sections (12%); airline, hotel or car rental sites (11%),
and destination/travel information site (8%).
WASHINGTON POST BUYS
EL TIEMPO LATINO.
The Washington Post Co. is acquiring El Tiempo Latino, an
Arlington, Va.-based newsweekly, from Farragut Media Group.
The Spanish-language paper, which has a circulation of
34,000, is distributed free at shops in Washington's Hispanic
community, at Metro stations and in selected Giant Food
and 7-Eleven stories in the metropolitan area.
El Tiempo is one of about 24 weekly Spanish-language newspapers
in the Washington area, whose Hispanic population currently
numbers about 447,000, according to 2000 census figures.
One daily paper, three TV statiions, eight AM and FM radio
stations, a cable network and various websites also serve
the Spanish-speaking community.
Editorial operation will remain unchanged at El Tiempo,
which was named the Best Hispanic Weekly in the U.S. by
the National Assn. of Hispanic Publications.
Edition, May 26, 2004, Page 7
In contrast, arch-rival Omnicom moved its annual meeting
from New York last year after a Wall Street Journal
story June 12, 2002 knocked its stock from around $80 to
the mid-$30s. It held
the meeting in the gymnasium of its Chiat Day unit in Los
Angeles in 2003.
Continuing to avoid New
York, CEO John Wren scheduled this years meeting in Atlanta
Stockholders blasted the
potential $32 million severance package that resigned CEO
John Dooner got and the more than $41 million in bonuses
given to nearly 4,000 IPG employees. IPG employs 44,000
down from 62,000 several years ago.
Stockholder Bob Saunders
said Dooner was like Dick Grasso, ousted New York Stock
Exchange CEO who has been asked to return much of his $189M
severance package. Dooner should also return some of the
money, Saunders said.
Stockholder William Martin
asked how Bell could justify a $1M bonus to himself when
there was no organic growth in either 2003 or Q1 of 2004.
Such growth is the only thing that matters, said Saunders,
who sold two companies to IPG.
the opening remarks by Bell to voice their complaints. One
referred to those of us stupid enough not to bail out of
Bell had to point out
that the time for stockholder comments was later in the
One stockholder said that
the booking of $181M in non-existent revenues, causing a
restatement of five years of earnings and touching off lawsuits
and an SEC probe, had dealt a body blow
to the company.
The 70-minute meeting
was at the Museum of TV & Radio, 25 W. 52nd st., a switch
from its usual location in the Equitable building auditorium.
As evidence of the excellence
of the work of IPG units, Bell noted that the campaign for
MasterCard, which has the tagline, For everything else,
there's MasterCard, brought in $5 billion in added revenues
for a $1 billion ad investment.
Bell said the CEO of the
company has publicly said that the work of IPG's McCann-Erickson
turned his business around and reversed a 10-year share
decline. The results are just staggering, said Bell.
The Bank of America team
was given the Philip H. Geier Award for unwavering devotion
and relentless pursuit of the clients best interests.
Sixteen IPG companies
completed 2,600+ projects for the Bank. Formerly, the bank
used more than 500 marketing agencies.
The Geier Award, named
after the retired CEO, was started to emphasize that IPG
is the most client-centric organization in this industry,
One of the appointments
of IPG last year was a chief collaboration officer to promote
collaborative, business-building activity. A bonus plan
spurs such activity.
IN BIG PR FIRMS
The 12 biggest PR firms, based on their ranking in 2001,
employed 17,406 people and had 617 members of PRSA in that
The just-published 2004
Blue Book of members of PRSA shows that these same firms
now have 316 PRSA members, a decline of nearly 50%.
Citing the Sarbanes-Oxley
Act, the conglomerates that own ten of the firms stopped
them as of 2002 from providing any employment or fee income
figures. Only Edelman PR Worldwide and Ruder Finn, independents,
continue to report figures.
CPRF DIPS TO 93 MEMBERS
FROM 126 HIGH
The Council of PR
Firms, founded in 1999 mostly with funds of big ad agency-owned
firms that contribute $50,000 each in yearly dues, currently
has 93 members, down from a high of 126 in 2000.
Nine members withdrew,
four after being acquired, while three have joined--Wragg
& Casas PR, Cubitt Jacobs & Prosek, and rbb PR.
Leaving were Duffey Communications,
Middleton & Gendron, Cohn & Wolfe, Guthrie/Mayes
PR, and The Londre Group.
Leaving due to acquisitions
or mergers were Applied Comms. (BITE), Euro RSCG Middleberg
(Euro RSCG Magnet merger), FischerHealth (part of Porter
Novelli), and Nichol & Co. (merged with CKPR).
180 AT COUNSELORS
The spring conference
of the Counselors Academy of PRSA drew 180 people to Orlando
May 16-18 including 150 counselors.
This was a jump from last
years total of 126 at the meeting in Vancouver but far below
the 350 and more than attended the meeting in the 1990s.
Counselors blamed the
recession as well as competition from the Council of PR
Firms. Only three of the biggest firms were represented-Manning,
Selvage & Lee, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, and Golin/Harris
International. Some counselors noted that a day has been
shaved off the meeting, possibly causing lower attendance.
It now ends on Tuesday night rather than continuing into
The two speakers from
the outside were Nikki Stone, acrobatic ski jumper who gave
an inspirational talk, recounting her recovery from a spinal
injury, and Jim Kouzes, author of The Leadership Challenge,
who talked about the qualities needed for leadership.
Edition, May 26, 2004 Page 8
The removal of SBC
titles from Fleishman-Hillard staffers (page one)
is a good development.
But the fact that there was such a practice tells a lot
about the current state of agency PR.
PR firms in recent years have moved closer to an ad agency
type of relationship with clients.
Client/ad agency goals are about as identical as things
can get. Unbridled enthusiasm for client goals coupled with
strict confidentiality define the ad agency business.
The business is tight-lipped and insular. The Big Five
ad conglomerates (WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic, Havas, Publicis)
virtually never hold press conferences. There is no one
at any of these units who will sit down with a reporter
to discuss their finances.
Purchase of about 50 PR operations, including almost all
of the major ones, by the Big Five has accelerated the trend
for PR firms to behave like ad agencies.
PR counselors once saw themselves as the "bridge"
between client and press, representing both interests.
This became even more important to reporters as the term
"PR" all but disappeared from corporations and
along with it the corporate press relations function.
PR people at many companies decided it was too dangerous
to deal with the press and off-loaded this function to the
The breezy corporate PR type who would chat with reporters
almost without limit disappeared.
In place of this type came the corporate VP with a title
such as VP of Global Strategic Communications and Marketing
Strategy. Getting through to this personage was like running
the gauntlet that faces air travelers these days. Reporters
who lost their "friend at court" at companies
are now experiencing the same thing with PR firms.
PR's retreat from dealing
with its one natural audience, the press, has been costly
in terms of PR jobs. Many corporate PR depts. (now
almost universally called "communications") are
a small fraction of what they used to be if they exist at
Job loss has also been heavy in the counseling industry.
While the 50 PR units of the ad congloms no longer reveal
any statistics, the 2004 Blue Book of members of
PRSA gives some indication.
Weber Shandwick, which claimed the No. 1 spot with nearly
3,000 employees in 2001, had 110 members of PRSA that year
but only has 39 now.
Parent Interpublic has said that overall employment plunged
to 43,000 from 62,000.
Burson-Marsteller had 27 employees who were PRSA members
in 2001 and 20 in 2004: Fleishman-Hillard, 70/47; Ketchum,
79/22; Porter Novelli, 64/32; Brodeur, 7/1; Hill & Knowlton,
52/33; Manning, Selvage & Lee, 28/22; GCI, 21/7, and
We don't think Sarbanes-Oxley
forbids firms from giving out headcounts.
The four OMC units (F-H, Ketchum, PN and Brodeur) had 220
PRSA members in 2001 and 102 members in 2004. OMC is carrying
$5.88 billion in goodwill on its books, up from $4.85B a
year earlier, and says in its 2003 annual report that there
has been "no impairment" in its investments.
How OMC's goodwill went up about $1B when it only spent
$472M for acquisitions is a mystery. Its total debt rose
to $2.59B. Longterm debt rose 33% to $2.33B. OMC's revenues
for 2003 were $8.6B. The company's annual meeting seems
to have left New York for good. It was in Los Angeles last
year and will be in Atlanta this year on Tuesday, May 25.
An indication that
PR has distaste for its own name is the recent release
from Public Relations Society of America in which "communications"
is favored as the term for what Los Angeles city departments
need (vs. "public relations").
PRSA president Del Galloway, commenting after L.A. Mayor
James Hahn put a stop to all outside PR contracts, says
that ending "communications programs that help educate,
inform and assist citizens is no more sensible than ending
all city contracts with advertising, law or accounting firms."
Most companies and thousands of government bodies and nonprofit
groups work with "PR agencies" to create "communications
programs," he further said. "Communications programs"
and "communications efforts" are mentioned six
times in the release where "PR" would do just
as well were it not for PR's apparent bad reputation.
Retreating from the term causes lots of problems.
PRSA should be leading the fight to restore luster to it.
The first step would be starting a PR department at PRSA
itself staffed by five or more PR veterans, setting an example
The inability of PR
organizations to get involved in judging a specific ethical
situation was apparent in the question about F-H
employees having titles at client SBC. Refusing to address
the rightness or wrongness of this were the Council of PR
Firms, PRSA and its ethics board and Counselors Academy,
and the Arthur Page Society. The only unequivocal statement
came out of the North American Assn. of Independent PR Agencies...
PRSA is again not deferring enough dues income (page 7).
Its only out is that it will not under any circumstances
return any funds paid as dues. Otherwise it meets all the
requirements for deferring about half its dues income.