Edition, June 9, 2004, Page 1
CONN. AXES PR CONSOLIDATION.
The State of Connecticut's
planned consolidation of its advertising and PR firms has
resulted in a "no award" verdict, following an
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."
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.
DelVecchio & Casey and Lou Hammond Assocs. are the state's
"Notice of No Award" has been sent to bidders,
with no further information regarding the review.
officer Tina Costanzo has not returned calls.
president Lou Hammond noted the review was for in-state
ad and PR work besides tourism, which her firm continues
HOLLERAN MOTORS TO FORD.
Charlie Holleran has joined Ford Motor as VP, chief communications
officer, reporting to CEO Bill Ford.
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
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.
STOPS AT MS&L.
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.
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
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.
H&K TALKS TO DOME.
Dome Communications, the Chicago-based consumer PR firm,
reportedly is in "advanced" acquisition talks
with Hill & Knowlton.
Dome's firm took a hit in January when key client, ConAgra
Foods, designated Ketchum as its first "primary"
agency of record.
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.
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.
did not return a call for comment.
TROY IS PRSA SPOKESPERSON.
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
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.
Edition, June 9, 2004, Page 2
KETCHUM EDGES CLS
IN ANVIL RACE.
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 FairCox Goes Head-to-Head With
Sports TV Networks on Pricing" ) and Merial ("Giving
Vets and Consumers Paws for ThoughtHeartgard 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.
LibraryCheck It Out," won in the "Events/
Observances 7 Or Less DaysGovernment" 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.
AMG HANDLED KARMAZIN's
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.
'WE TRIED TO BURN THROUGH
$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.
ALL IS QUIET AT KMART.
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,
The Journal noted that the company has yet to hold a conference
call for analysts and investors or put up a tent at any
Kmart also turned away non-shareholders at its recent annual
meeting, which was the only opportunity so far to hear from
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
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.
Edition, June 9, 2004, Page 3
REPORTER WON'T DO
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
Fashion people "can be very punitive," said Agins,
who boasted of having broken all of the the top fashion
"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."
GETS NEW EDITOR.
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
VNU owns PG, which is published 18 times per year.
The magazine is headquartered in New York.
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.
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,
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.
CigarWise.com, 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].
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 Mediabuddies.com 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."
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
publicityall 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
jobwhether 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
(Media news continued
on next page)
Edition, June 9, 2004, Page 4
'MEDIA VALUE' OF PR.
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
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
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
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.
Forbes.com will start
offering online readers access to AP Financial News
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.
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 @automobilemag.com.
Resumes can also be mailed to her at 120 E. Liberty, Ann
Arbor, MI 48104.
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 titlesAcuarela (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 InformationSecurity.com Taiwan (a version
of TechTarget's SearchSecurity.com website).
N.Y. DAILY NEWS
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
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.
has stepped down as a reporter for WEWS-TV in Cleveland,
Oh., to become a White House reporter for CNN.
previously outdoor and gear editor at Shape magazine,
has joined Rock and Ice
magazine as senior editor.
formerly features director at Travel + Leisure magazine,
was named culture editor at The
New York Times Magazine.
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."
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.
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.
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.
was named U.S. editor of The
Times of London. Baker, who was an associate editor
of The Financial Times, will stay in Washington,
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 webpronews.com.
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.
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.
noted that three former reporters worked on the website
that the Edelman firm set up for the Lower Manhattan Development
provided a single source of information about downtown in
the wake of 9/11.
firm has also just completed a two-year program for Swiss
Re in its insurance case against World Trade Center leaseholder
also played a key role in this battle, noted Edelman.
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."
which is used to "communicating at audiences through
the prism of the media," must get beyond this, said
need to expand the footprint of what we do and how we are
perceived," he said.
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,
Is Not About Selling
is not about selling, but about building and sustaining
relationships through dialogue, credible sources and relevant
experiences, said the CEO of Edelman.
now hold the "communications reins" through their
access to the internet and other information sources.
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."
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
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.
messages were delivered to the group via rich text e-mail,
direct mail, issue advertising, media placements and special
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.
New Phase Described
new phase will be "a combination of listening, consulting
and classic publicity," he said.
will work at nodes of influence, whether it is employees,
consumers, media, non-governmental organizations, associations,
unions or governments," he said.
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. "
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."
TIGHT PRESS POLICY.
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.
told the nearly 1,500 people at the awards lunch of New
York Women in Communications at the Waldorf-Astoria:
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."
Hearst spokesperson said the remarks were meant to be humorous
and were not part of the formal comments that Black had
prepared for Shriver.
said Shriver either returns press calls or has someone
respond to them.
presentation by Black broke the NY/WICI tradition
of having someone outside the company of the recipient make
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.
has long been a major sponsor of the Matrix Awards.
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.
New York Times
will sponsor the 2005 Matrix luncheon.
UP 10% AND MORE
AS OF JULY 1.
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.
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
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
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 apartmentratings.com 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? PRethics.com 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.