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Internet Edition, June 9, 2004, Page 1

The State of Connecticut's planned consolidation of its advertising and PR firms has resulted in a "no award" verdict, following an RFP process.

The Constitution State's procurement services department has not returned calls for comment, but a procurement consulting company, Silver Oak Solutions, advising Connecticut on a wide-reaching purchasing revamp, told O'Dwyer's a contract it had with the state "fell through."

Connecticut's RFP to consolidate its 30 ad and PR firms is worth around $9 million. Forty percent of that work is for tourism, with PR in the mid to high six-figure range.

McLaughlin, DelVecchio & Casey and Lou Hammond Assocs. are the state's main firms.

A "Notice of No Award" has been sent to bidders, with no further information regarding the review.

Procurement officer Tina Costanzo has not returned calls.

LH&A president Lou Hammond noted the review was for in-state ad and PR work besides tourism, which her firm continues to service.

Charlie Holleran has joined Ford Motor as VP, chief communications officer, reporting to CEO Bill Ford.

The 59-year-old executive had headed corporate communications for troubled Computer Assocs. He previously was SVP and chief comm. officer for Coca-Cola, managing director, comms. for PricewaterhouseCoopers; VP, comms. for Digital Equipment Corp.

Holleran, who will oversee public affairs at Ford, is replacing Jim Vella, formerly VP/PA and chief of staff. Vella, who joined Ford in 1988, will now focus his efforts on his expanded role as chief of staff.

Peter Pitts, associate commissioner for external affairs at the Food and Drug Administration, will join Manning Selvage & Lee on June 21 as senior VP-health affairs.

At the FDA, Pitts was responsible for the Office of Public Affairs, Office of the Ombudsman, Office of Special Health Issues, and the Advisory Committee Oversight and Management Staff.

He began his career at Lois Pitts Gershon Adv., and then moved to the marketing department at Cable Health Network. Pitts held a number of creative director/marketing posts at Reader's Digest, McCall's, New York Post, and The Washington Times.

Dome Communications, the Chicago-based consumer PR firm, reportedly is in "advanced" acquisition talks with Hill & Knowlton.

Doug Dome's firm took a hit in January when key client, ConAgra Foods, designated Ketchum as its first "primary" agency of record.

Chicago Tribune columnist Jim Kirk called the acquisition deal a "no-brainer" for H&K since the firm trails Edelman in the city's consumer PR market.

Dome founded his firm in '99. He had been director of communications at Foote Cone & Belding, and for MCI Communications central region prior to that. His firm has about 30 staffers, and counts Sears Roebuck and Bank One as clients.

Dome did not return a call for comment.

Public Relations Society of America has named Janet Troy, a 25-year PR veteran, as its PR director. She will handle media relations and oversee the Society's various advocacy initiatives.

Troy has served as VP-marketing and PR for the New York Board of Trade, and VP-marketing and communications at the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange. She has consumer PR experience earned at stints at Ruder Finn and Rotman, Howard J. Rubenstein and Edelman PR Worldwide.

Cedric Bess remains the Society's PR manager.

Internet Edition, June 9, 2004, Page 2


Ketchum continued its dominance in PRSA's Silver Anvil Award competition by winning five trophies, topping the four won by Carmichael Lynch Spong. Winners were announced June 3 at New York's Equitable Tower.

Ketchum won with Frito-Lay ("Lay's Stax Challenge"), Cingular Wireless ("Be Sensible! Cingular Wireless Helps Teens Manage Driving Distractions"), Wyeth Consumer Healthcare ("Allergy Action Plan"), Cox Comms. ("Make Them Play Fair–Cox Goes Head-to-Head With Sports TV Networks on Pricing" ) and Merial ("Giving Vets and Consumers Paws for Thought–Heartgard Protects Pets and Their Families").

CLS won with Select Comfort ("Catching ZZZs for Charity"), Jenn-Air ("A Stronger Way to Sell Appliances"), White Wave ("Selling More Without Selling Out: Keeping Silk Soymilk Cool") and American Standard ("Declaring a `Plunger-Free World' Launching the Champion Toilet").

Fleishman-Hillard earned three Anvils with NPR ("A Record Gift To NPR: Keeping Good News from Going Bad"), UPS ("UPS Delivers a New Holiday Gift: By Air... By Ground... And By Store") and Council for Biotechnology Information ("Raising Awareness, Nourishing Understanding: 2003 Media Relations Campaign").

Burson-Marsteller and Edelman PR Worldwide, with two apiece, were also multiple Anvil winners.

The "Best of Silver Anvil" went to a PR campaign that nearly doubled the amount of expected visitors to San Jose's newly merged library system.

The effort called "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Library–Check It Out," won in the "Events/ Observances 7 Or Less Days–Government" category.

It was put together by the City of San Jose, San Jose State University, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, McNutt & Co., Russell Leong Design and Right Angle Design.

PRSA president Del Galloway said the campaign underscores the important role that PR plays in shaping public opinion.

The Abernathy MacGregor Group is advising and handling media for Viacom through last week's surprise resignation of Mel Karmazin, the media conglomerate's president and COO, who had signed a three-year contract in early 2004.

Abernathy MacGregor COO/managing director Adam Miller was taking media inquiries about the move.

MTV's chairman and CEO, Tom Freston, and CBS chairman/CEO, Les Moonves, were named co- presidents, co-COOs by the company as Karmazin left.

Karmazin, a 20-year veteran of the company whose battles with CEO Sumner Redstone have been widely reported, said his departure was for "personal and professional reasons."

Redstone, 81, praised Karmazin's work through the CBS-Viacom merger and said he would give up t he CEO reins at the company in the next three years.

$40M A YEAR.'

The Rendon Group signed a secret contract with the Central Intelligence Agency to influence worldwide public opinion against Saddam Hussein in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, according to Francis Brooke, spokesperson for Ahmad Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress.

Brooke, who worked at TRG at the time, claims the CIA guaranteed the firm a ten percent management fee on top of whatever money it spent. "We tried to burn through $40 million a year. It was a very nice job," said Brooke in a profile of Chalabi published in The New Yorker.

TRG planted many stories in the British press that occasionally re-surfaced in the U.S. media. The firm, in fact, was reprimanded because the agency is forbidden to spread domestic propaganda. TRG also created a travelling "atrocity exhibit" to document Hussein's human rights abuses.

Chalabi, who has been accused of feeding false intelligence to the U.S., had his Baghdad headquarters raided by Iraqi police last month. The Defense Dept. also has cut off the INC's monthly $342K stipend.

Chalabi, who counts Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz as key supporters, claims he is a victim of a smear campaign. "It's customary when great events happen that the U.S. punishes its friends and rewards its enemies," he told the magazine.

Kmart, which emerged from Chapter 11 a little more than a year ago, has left investors in the dark about its future direction, according to the Wall Street Journal, June 1.

The Journal noted that the company has yet to hold a conference call for analysts and investors or put up a tent at any dog-and-pony shows.

Kmart also turned away non-shareholders at its recent annual meeting, which was the only opportunity so far to hear from top management.

The Journal credits chairman Eddie Lambert, the hedge fund manager who controls Kmart, for boosting the retailer's stock price 240 percent to above $50 a-share since coming out of bankruptcy.

The paper, however, feels that shareholders need to know whether Lambert has a viable long-term strategy for the retailer, or if he is "going to milk the company for cash."

Callers to Kmart's media relations department are connected to voicemail. A Kmart spokesperson, Bob Ferry, told O Dwyer's the retailer would not comment about the story.

Omnicom is consolidating its San Francisco ad/PR units at the former Chevron Building in a ten-year lease deal worth $28 million. Some agencies will begin to move by yearend. Interpublic also has consolidation plans to its Los Angeles operations. The moves enable the congloms to cut costs.

Internet Edition, June 9, 2004, Page 3


Teri Agins, who has covered fashion and the retail industry news beat for 15 years for The Wall Street Journal, admits she has shied away from writing more exposes out of fear people would "stop talking" to her.

"I could ve over the years exposed all these people's businesses and embarrassed them. I couldn t have done these stories year after year if they had been hatchet jobs. If they were unfair or based on gossip, people would just stop talking to me," Agins, who is nominated to receive this year's Eugenia Sheppard award, which is named after the former fashion journalist and publicist, told Fashion Wire Daily.

Fashion people "can be very punitive," said Agins, who boasted of having broken all of the the top fashion stories.

"There has not been any story where I thought, 'God I wish I had that story, " said Agins, who believes the difference between Women's Wear Daily and the Journal is "that they are advocates for their industry."

PR people would "genuflect" when she covered airlines and other industries for the Journal, and "I would get the CEO immediately," but it can be "a long process" trying to reach top executives at the fashion houses, said Agins.

"The way I put myself on the map was by doing the more provocative stories," she said. The other thing she learned is "I get a lot of my best material from the people who are lower in the organization."


Stephen Dowdell, previously managing editor of Footwear News, has joined Progressive Grocer as editor-in-chief.

For 11 years he worked on Supermarket News , beginning as a reporter and working up to senior editor. He also served in Fairchild's New Media division as editor-in-chief of Fairchild Internet.

VNU owns PG, which is published 18 times per year.

The magazine is headquartered in New York.

Hampton magazine, which bills itself as an upscale magazine geared to the young, affluent-family who spend their summer on the East End of Long Island, made its debut on May 28.

Hampton aims to bring to life the experience of living and raising children on the East End, according to Tami Gross, a former PR pro, who is editor-in-chief/ publisher and a year-round resident of Westhampton.

Robin Dolch, former founder and senior editor of Icon magazine, is executive editor.

Hampton will be published bimonthly, and distributed free at more than 500 locations.
Gross and Dolch can be reached at 917/604-5596.

Grand magazine, which is scheduled to begin publishing in September with 100,000 circulation, hopes to carve an untapped niche out of the "active adult" grandparents, aged 45+.

Recent statistics indicated the average age of people becoming grandparents for the first time is 47 and yet few media in the U.S. have tapped the spending power of today's younger, active grandparent demographic, according to Grand's publisher Christine Crosby, 58, who is a great grandmother and former publisher of several magazines in Florida.

Grand will feature articles about grandparenting and stories about family, health and fitness, travel, leisure, love, technology, end of life issues, entertainment and people.

Slated for national distribution in 2005, Grand will launch in Florida with its first issue.

Robert Strozier, 63, formerly editor for Success magazine and World Magazine, who helped start New Choices, for readers 50+ years old, is editor of Grand, and Michael Candelaria is executive editor.

The magazine is headquartered in St. Petersburg at 4791 Baywood dr. 727/327-9039; fax: 323-9587., a new website based in Los Angeles, covers every aspect of cigar smoking and cigar-related industries.

It also has coverage and articles on different areas of lifestyle including travel, food and beverage, sports, gaming, technology, business and more.

Since its debut in February, more than 1.7 million page impressionas with 147,667 unique visits have been recorded.

Vaagn Arakelyan, publisher, can be reached at 909/624-8343 or [email protected].

Peter Chadlington, founder of Shandwick PR, and now CEO of Huntsworth, a PR and marketing services firm in London, said governments have overstepped the line of credibility by the increasing use of "spin doctors" and media management techniques.

He told that government PR people have become an impediment to getting at the truth about what government is doing and added: "Transparency is vital in this cluttered information age."

Mayo Communications in Canoga Park, Calif., the 2003 winner of "Best Media Placement" award given by PRSA/Los Angeles, promotes its niche with this slogan: "We don't guarantee media placement, we just get it!"

Chester Burger, who became famous for never writing press releases or running PR campaigns, told the Ragan Report that his journalism career had given him a "distaste for publicity—all the junk PR people send to editors."

"I think the important thing (in PR) is what an organization does. Its communications is much less significant," said the now retired 84-year-old pro.

Martha Steger, who has handled publicity for the Virginia Tourism Corp. for 22 years, loves working with the news media.

"It is my privilege to communicate with the news media and simply sell Virginia in any way that helps them to their job—whether it's hard news about the economic impact or tourism," Steger, who is the VTC's PR director, told The Richmond Times Dispatch.

Steger, who will receive the Thomas Jefferson Award for Excellence from the PRSA/Richmond chapter, said hard and soft facts are the PR professional's coin of the realm.

Coburn Aker, managing partner of The Aker Partners in Washington, D.C., advises clients to have information ready to distribute in case an event turns into a crisis.

A new study by his firm found one company provides its PR firm with a "black box" of approved materials and others have a "dark website" ready to go live at the push of a button.

"No time is wasted preparing materials that can be done in advance," said Aker.

The Pittsburgh (Pa.) Tribune-Review has a new feature in which actual PostNet queries from actual journalists are reprinted.

The column was started by staff writer Daved Copeland, who believes the reason reporters use ProfNet, which is owned and run by PR Newswire, is because "most in-the-trench reporters aren't allowed to think for themselves, they rely on `experts who can state their pre-determined opinion for them (don t buy into all this objectivity crap; fairness is the only ideal any human can be held accountable for, that difficult enough as it is)."

Copeland's first entry was from Elisa Cho of Fox News who said she was looking for academic "experts" who can speak about the "liberal bias" at college campuses and/or the dominance of libral professors at colleges.

Copeland was not sure why Cho saw the need to put "experts" and "liberal bias" in quotes. "To me, it suggests she has doubt not only in the experts she's looking for, but the premise of the story," said Copeland, who believes Cho is really looking for someone with a "conservative bent."

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, June 9, 2004, Page 4


Hanser & Assocs. in West Des Moines, Ia., calculates the "media value" of its publicity when evaluating campaigns for its clients.

For example, H&A informed the organizers of the Des Moines Home & Garden Show that it "gained 96 news story placements, generating more than 4.6 million news media impressions."

These placements in Central Iowa media outlets had a media value of nearly $390,000, generating a return on investment of 32:1, the agency said.
Attendance also increased 84% at the show, the agency pointed out.

H&A said a business lunch presentation for Hubble Realty showcasing the findings of an annual commercial real estate market survey was covered by Midwest and local business and trade media, including print, radio and TV.

Other media published stories based upon the news release, resulting in more than 355,000 total news/editorial impressions and total media value exceeding $54,000, the agency said.

Time Out New York, a weekly entertainment magazine, featuring listings and articles about urban night life, is starting a Chicago edition.

Chad Schegal, previously a producer at Tribune Co.'s Metromix website, was named editor of Time Out Chicago.

Ben Silverman , a business columnist for The New York Post , said reporters are more likely to read e-mailed releases when the subject line says it is a press release.

"I have a 'rule set in my Microsoft Outlook that puts any e-mail that contains the term 'press release in a special folder. I look through this folder at least twice each day," he told readers of the PR Fuel website.

The New York Post will begin distributing Parade in its Sunday edition on July 4, pushing the weekly supplement's circulation to over 36 million. will start offering online readers access to AP Financial News this month.

AP's new business news service goes beyond the top stories of the day to include quarterly earnings announcements, executive changes, regulatory actions, acquisitions and new product developments for major companies in a full range of industries.

Automobile magazine has an opening in its Ann Arbor, Mich., office for an assistant editor.

The position involves proofreading, news reporting, and assembling the "In Gear" section.

Amy Skogstrom is accepting resumes at feedback Resumes can also be mailed to her at 120 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Hoy, a Spanish-language daily newspaper, will begin distributing four special interest magazines produced by Megazines Publications.

It will start this summer with Sobre Ruedas , a publication for auto enthusiasts. The magazine will be distributed in Hoy's three editions in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Hoy will also distribute Megazines three other monthly lifestyle titles—Acuarela (women's interests), Onda Joven (teen topics) and Horizontes (science and technology)—over the next year.

TechTarget, a Boston-based tech publishing company, has started TechTarget China (five websites) and Information Security Taiwan (a Taiwanese version of TechTarget's Information Security magazine), and Taiwan (a version of TechTarget's website).


Bob Sapio was elevated to executive editor of The New York Daily News .

Bill Boyle, who was managing editor, was promoted to senior managing editor, succeeding Sapio.

Colleen Curtis, who was features editor of the "Lifestyle" section, was promoted to managing editor/features, and Dick Belsky, who had been managing editor/features, is now managing editor/news.

David Eden, previously editor-in-chief of The Cleveland Free Press, a local alternative weekly, was named managing editor of sister stations WOIO (Ch. 19) and WUAB (Ch. 43) in Cleveland, Oh. He replaces John Bell , who left the CBS-TV affiliate.

Kareen Wynter has stepped down as a reporter for WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Oh., to become a White House reporter for CNN.

Amy Goldhammer, previously outdoor and gear editor at Shape magazine, has joined Rock and Ice magazine as senior editor.

Sheila Glaser, formerly features director at Travel + Leisure magazine, was named culture editor at The New York Times Magazine.

Sridhar Pappu, a writer at Sports Illustrated , is under contract with The Atlantic Monthly to write media and political profiles.

Mia Stokes , who was associate editor at Honey magazine, was hired as beauty editor by Suede.

Joe Cappo , former publisher of Advertising Age , who recently retired from Crain Communications after 25 years with the company, is author of a new book, entitled "The Future of Advertising: New Media, New Clients, New Consumers."

Andrea Nierenberg, consultant, author and weekly columnist for Fortune Small Business Online, presented practical tips for meeting news people/working the room at the May 19 meeting of Women Executives in PR, which was held at Fleishman-Hillard's New York office.

Catherine Edwards, a recent graduate of Princeton University, who is the daughter of Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is joining Vanity Fair on Aug. 1 as a research intern.

John Roland, who is anchor of the 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. newscasts on New York's Channel 5, is leaving WNYW. The 62-year-old newscaster, who used to own Marchello, a restaurant in New York, may open a media consulting firm.

Gerard Baker was named U.S. editor of The Times of London. Baker, who was an associate editor of The Financial Times, will stay in Washington, D.C.

Gary Rivlin, previously a contributing editor at Wired , has joined The New York Times as technology reporter in the San Francisco bureau.

James Meigs , previously executive editor of National Geographic Adventure magazine, is joining Popular Mechanics magazine as editor-in-chief, succeeding Joseph Oldham , who retires in August.

Jay Stowe , 36, who was executive editor of Outside magazine, will assume the top editorial job at Cincinnati magazine in mid-June from Kitty Morgan, who has been editor of the 30,000-circulation monthly for the past six years.

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

Internet Edition, June 9, 2004, Page 7


PR must raise the standards of its communications materials to journalistic levels, Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman PR Worldwide, told PRSA/New York May 27.

"Companies must provide journalism-quality content and communicate directly to audiences, not simply through the filter of the media," he told the awards luncheon of the chapter.

He noted that three former reporters worked on the website that the Edelman firm set up for the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

It provided a single source of information about downtown in the wake of 9/11.

The firm has also just completed a two-year program for Swiss Re in its insurance case against World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein.

Communications also played a key role in this battle, noted Edelman.

He said the PR industry has not made a compelling enough case for itself and has "lost market share to other disciplines, primarily advertising, in the last three years."

PR, which is used to "communicating at audiences through the prism of the media," must get beyond this, said Edelman.

"We need to expand the footprint of what we do and how we are perceived," he said.

He feels the power of traditional, top-down, one-way mass communications (advertising) is waning. Its reach and effectiveness are eroding and companies are searching for an alternative, he said.

PR Is Not About Selling

PR is not about selling, but about building and sustaining relationships through dialogue, credible sources and relevant experiences, said the CEO of Edelman.

Consumers now hold the "communications reins" through their access to the internet and other information sources.

"They tune out any source that doesn t interest them," he continued. "They want information when they want it, and in the form they want it. Communications is now two-way; audiences expect to be heard. They want to be involved, whether it's reality TV or co-creating products."

Companies need to "create an experience that deepens the bond with their customers" and in order to earn trust, they must "provide journalism-quality content and communicate directly to audiences, not simply through the filter of the media."

As an example, he cited the firm's work for Nissan, which involved creating the "Nissan 2000," a group of policy makers, elected officials, academics, community leaders and key media.

Key messages were delivered to the group via rich text e-mail, direct mail, issue advertising, media placements and special events.

The company's "very favorable" rating quadrupled from 11% to 44%, overall familiarity rose from 42% to 51%, and Nissan's status as a major economic contributor grew by nearly one-third, said Edelman.

PR's New Phase Described

PR's new phase will be "a combination of listening, consulting and classic publicity," he said.

"We will work at nodes of influence, whether it is employees, consumers, media, non-governmental organizations, associations, unions or governments," he said.

"We frame the context. We build credibility. We help our clients engage in conversations, where understanding and learning are as much a part of the process as `messaging. "

The changes will take several years to play out, he added. "Advertising isn t about to disappear, but we need to divert money from this cateogry of marketing spending. It is up to us, in every interaction with our clients and our colleagues, to offer consultancy and research as well as execution."


Cathleen Black, president of Hearst Magazines, who presented a Matrix Award April 19 to Debra Shriver, VP and chief communications officer of The Hearst Corp., described Shriver has having a tight policy with the press.

Black told the nearly 1,500 people at the awards lunch of New York Women in Communications at the Waldorf-Astoria:

"We all live by Deb's rules, the first one being, don t talk to the press. If you do, you go to Deb's jail. I ve been there and it's not pretty."

A Hearst spokesperson said the remarks were meant to be humorous and were not part of the formal comments that Black had prepared for Shriver.

He said Shriver either returns press calls or has someone respond to them.

The presentation by Black broke the NY/WICI tradition of having someone outside the company of the recipient make the presentation.

It's better to have someone other than your own employer make nice comments about you, said veteran members. None of the seven other 2004 recipients of Matrixes had presenters from their own organizations.

Hearst has long been a major sponsor of the Matrix Awards.

The 2004 Matrix was "hosted" by Cosmopolitan and CosmoGIRL of Hearst. The company was a "Gold Plus" sponsor in 2001 behind "Platinum" sponsor Johnson & Johnson and "Diamond" sponsor Conde Nast Publications. In 1999 it was one of three "Silver" sponsors, the second-highest category.

The New York Times will sponsor the 2005 Matrix luncheon.


Health insurance costs continue to climb in New York for businesses with two to 50 employees.
Hundreds of PR firms will be hit by the jumps, forcing many to rely more and more on freelancers and part-timers.

Some firms can opt not to pay health costs for those working less than 30 hours a week if the employees are deemed to be part-timers. However, unemployment and other taxes have to be paid.

The Empire Bluecross family rate for firms with employees in New York and other states is $1,819 monthly as of July 1 ($21,828 yearly).

Companies with employees in New York or certain parts of New Jersey but no other states will pay $1,164 monthly or $13,968 yearly.

Oxford's new family rate is $1,391 monthly or $15,833 yearly, up 5%. Rates for singles rose 11% to $448 monthly or $5,376 yearly. Couples without children will pay $897 monthly or $10,764 yearly.
Guardian/Health Net's family rate will be $1,673 monthly or $20,076 yearly and its single rate will be $557 monthly or $6,684 yearly.

Aetna's family rate will be $1,447 monthly or $17,364 yearly. Single rate is $489 monthly ($5,868 yearly). HMOs cite the high cost of drugs.

Internet Edition, June 9, 2004 Page 8



Richard Edelman, in urging PR to raise its materials to "journalistic levels," has put his finger on the key issue facing PR today (page one story).

Too many PR materials are at advertising levels rather than journalistic levels.

They contain plenty of enthusiasm and slogans and show lots of "strategy." But they lack the details and perspective that mark journalism.

PR, in attempting to satisfy its teammates in the ad/marketing dept., is abandoning its role of communicating with the media on the media's terms. Media strategy as well as client strategy should be studied.

Materials aimed directly at target audiences are not going to satisfy journalists or the experts who are often quoted in the media. PR pros who say PR is "more than media relations" have set up a "straw man" to attack. Media are not what is being related to but the experts who populate the media.

Edelman, while urging PR people to use many techniques to get messages across, also believes that obtaining "third party endorsement" is a key goal of PR and that good PR requires making CEOs or other principals available.

The guiding principle of PR has always been that what others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.

Richard Edelman also touched on the phenomenon of the web, noting that consumers want information "when they want it and in the form they want it."

Consumers are not typically going to corporate websites for information but to consumer-oriented sites and blogs that offer personal experiences with products and services.

Anyone searching for an apartment, for instance, can go to for no-holds-barred opinions by tenants. One problem with such sites, including the sites with comments about stocks, is that almost all postings are anonymous. They include positive blurbs from management. It's hard sorting truth from lies when you don t know who's saying what. Also, bloggers often refer others to articles they read in the legit press.

Identification is getting to be a big issue in PR. The SBC/Fleishman-Hillard identity story (5/12 NL), in which F-H employees were given SBC titles including VP-CC, is the tip of an iceberg. The soaring cost of health insurance (page 2) is pushing PR firms to employ more part-timers and outside contractors in order to avoid staggering social costs that can easily top $30,000 a year. Clients wonder how many people at a PR pitch actually work full-time for the agency and how many are part-timers, contractors, or just PR pros hoping to land a job. Can a prospective client reveal confidential plans to such a team? urges clients to interview members of a team one-by-one in private.

The tight communications policy pursued by Hearst's Debra Shriver (page 7) is a story rich in irony. Hearst itself owns 12 newspapers, 18 magazines and 22 TV stations. How would their reporters and writers like to deal with companies like Hearst every day? Shriver's "Don t talk to the press" dictum, obeyed even by boss Cathleen Black, breeds distrust and fear of the press. We initially called Shriver about Myrna Blyth's Spin Sisters, which every media-oriented PR pro should read. Shriver, who got NY/WICI's top award for excellence in PR, dismissed it as "fiction." We were unable to reach her after that by phone, e-mail or snail mail. She is by no means alone in practicing "fortress PR." VP-CC means VP of corporate censorship at many companies. But how much skill does it take to be silent or enforce it?

There's a special irony for us in this story since we spent from 1961-66 at Hearst's former New York Journal-American, then the biggest afternoon paper in the U.S. We learned investigative techniques from financial editor Leslie Gould, the "cop of Wall Street." He fearlessly covered the street's missteps including those by the stock exchanges. We told Hearst people we were once with the company ourselves. We had a picture on our wall of "The Chief," William Randolph Hearst, along with his philosophy. That tidbit failed to melt the icy blast emanating from Hearst h.q.

PR people in the 1960s and 70s not only did not run away from the press, they ran towards it.

Corporate PR execs like Kerryn King of Texaco, Ed Block of AT&T, and Burt Hochman of Lever gave speeches on the issues of the day and provided texts. Agency executives were even more communicative. Hill and Knowlton execs made so many speeches that the texts were compiled into a 125-page volume and distributed. PR pros like George Whipple of Benton & Bowles preached openness and access. He took reporters to lunch with B&B execs and urged them to call the execs anytime. Whipple once had more than 50 reporters and PR people to his home in Carmel, N.Y., for a Saturday night dinner party. Numerous similar PR/press social events dotted the calendar ... with the early retirement of Ketchum's Dave Drobis at 62, Richard Edelman is about the only PR pro, corporate or agency, currently supplying the press with written texts of his speeches.

-- Jack O'Dwyer


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