Contact O'Dwyer's: 271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471; Fax: 212/683-2750
ODWYERPR.COM > Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter return to main page


Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, June 23, 2004, Page 1

Hill & Knowlton, teamed up with ad/PR shop Runyon Saltzman & Einhorn, has won a $28 million, four-year contract with the California Dept. of Health Services for its program to encourage adults to eat fruits and vegetables.

Called the "California 5 a Day" program, the statewide effort targets Golden state residents from pre-school through adulthood. The agency began the RFP process in January, whittling down the roster of contenders in April.

H&K and RS&E edged two other finalists, according to Susan Pennel of the DHS.

The campaign's long-term goal is the prevention of diseases like heart ailments, obesity and cancer, particularly in minority and low-income people.


Barry French, VP of public affairs and international services at Dell Computer Corp., is slated to take a VP of corporate communications role at United Airlines in July, as the carrier continues plugging along in its turnaround 18 months into bankruptcy.

The federal government turned down United's request for $1.6 billion in loan guarantees last week.

French is slated to join the Chicago-based airline in July, reporting to Rosemary Moore, SVP of corporate and government affairs United said French will handle all aspects of UA's image and reputation, including internal and external comms., crisis management and creative services.

Larry Shushan, who spent more than a decade in Chevron's PR department and was The Gap's first VP-corporate communications, has joined Manning, Selvage & Lee in San Francisco as a senior VP.

He was responsible for Chevron's global communications program connected with its acquisition of Texaco. Shushan also tackled high-profile projects related to Chevron's joint-venture in Kazakhstan and the impact of the Persian Gulf War on its operations.

Brian Bieron, who was a director at Clark & Weinstock, has joined eBay as senior director of government affairs in its Washington, D.C., office.

The Omnicom unit recruited the 12-year Capitol Hill veteran in `01 to handle Microsoft and AT&T.

Bieron will spearhead the eBay's campaign to prevent plans to levy taxes on Internet sales.


Cassidy & Assocs., an Interpublic company, has been hired by Spacecom, the Israel-based company that operates the Amos 1 and Amos 2 satellites, for general PR duties in Washington, D.C.

Spacecom is sitting pretty as demand for satellite transmission to the Middle East has surged in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. Its Amos 2 unit boasts of an extensive "footprint" covering both the Middle East and the east coast of the U.S.

The company is negotiating with the Pentagon and private sector companies to sell communications capacity on Amos 2, which is operating at 75 percent capacity.

Cassidy's Spacecom team includes John Boylan, a veteran of Lockheed Martin and the National Imaging & Mapping Agency; Amos Hochstein, who concentrated on Middle East policy and high-tech export controls as a staffer of the House International Relations Committee; Diane Rinaldo, an ex-aide to Maine Republican Senator Olympic Snowe, and Lee Ramseur, who worked at the Defense Advanced Research Agency.

JPMorgan Chase said it has decided not to spend a projected $25,000 a month on consumer banking PR via Manning, Selvage & Lee, which continues to keep its other JPMorgan Chase business, including private banking, parts of asset management, and online trading (BrownCo).

Bank One, JPMorgan's merger partner, will handle consumer PR in-house, JPMorgan said. Several agencies had pitched the consumer account.


Former IABC president and CEO Elizabeth Allan is suing ex-IABC chair Louis Williams and IABC itself on charges of breach of contract, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Under an agreement, Allan is limiting damages sought from Williams to $1 million.
Initial papers were filed on May 1, 2003 in California Superior Court, San Francisco.
IABC's just-released audit for the 15-months to Dec. 31 revealed a "lawsuit" but gave no details. IABC staffers refused to discuss the reference.

Court records showed a list of 77 filings totaling eight pages, indicating an especially bitter dispute.
(IABC continues on page seven)

Internet Edition, June 23, 2004, Page 2


A PR battle surrounding the June 25th release of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" has taken shape with firms working to portray the film as either enlightening and witty, or overtly biased, partisan and even erroneous.

In one corner, Miramax, which owns the film, has formed a partnership with distributors Lions Gate Films and IFC Films to market Fahrenheit, called Fellowship Adventure Group. That entity has hired Ken Sunshine Consultants for PR, and marketing exec Matthew Cohen to produce all marketing materials for the film.

Separately, Lions Gate has tapped MRC, a Los Angeles-based firm headed by former Fox Searchlight PR exec Michele Robertson. Her credits include campaigns backing "The Full Monty," "Boys Don t Cry" and "Traffic."

Sara Greenberg, VP at Lions Gate, told this NL MRC worked with the film at the Cannes film festival (where it won the Palme D Or, the event's top prize) and is now handling publicity in the U.S.

On the flip side, Russo Marsh & Rogers is handling PR for's campaign asking movie theater owners to shun the movie, a flick that it deems "anti-American."

The website blasts the movie as "nothing more than a political campaign advertisement against the war on terrorism, our troops and President Bush."

Down the road, Bender/Helper Impact reps Lions Gate's home entertainment unit and would likely handle the eventual DVD release, said a source.

Alan Taylor has named Tony Signore (40) CEO/managing partner of the New York-based sports PR firm that bears his name.

The 67-year-old executive told O'Dwyer's that the management transition has been in the making since 1998 when he named six managing partners to run the business.

Taylor said his energy level is at "an all-time high," and he looks forward to providing strategic counseling to clients, and drumming up new business with fellow co-chairman Howard Dolgan, 47.

Signore called the transition "seamless."

He will continue as lead on Alan Taylor Communications MasterCard business. ATC has conducted programs for MasterCard in more than 60 countries.

Taylor said his firm has more than weathered the economic downturn and the impact of 9/11. The firm recorded $8.6 million in `03 fee income, up from $3.8M in `98, the year Taylor put his succession game plan in place. "We are always hiring," he said.

ATC counts Nestle Purina PetCare, Gillette, General Mills, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft Xbox, Diageo and NASCAR as clients.

Taylor noted that ATC recently opened an office in Charlotte for NASCAR because he felt it important to have a presence in the "garage area."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has kicked off a PSA campaign to spotlight the societal contributions of U.S. Muslims in the wake of what the group sees as a rise in "Islamophobic" stereotyping and incidents. The new effort runs alongside a year-long advertising push called "I am an American/I am a Muslim."

The Council attributes the surge in anti-Muslim harassment and violence -- its annual report cited 1,019 incidents, up 70 percent in 2003 -- to "ignorance" and unfamiliarity with the American Muslim community.

Arizona, New York, California and New Jersey saw the largest boosts in incidents, it said.

The PSA campaign, which was produced by West Glen Comms., New York, includes 30- and 60-second spots called "I am an American Muslim," and features Muslims from various ethnic backgrounds, including Hispanics, Europeans and African Americans.

A spokeswoman told O'Dwyer's the campaign was designed within the Council and no outside PR advice was sought.


Ogilvy PR Worldwide is bolstering a PR offensive from online dating service True, which has seen six of its staffers subpoenaed by their ex-employer, the ‘Net dating sector heavyweight owned by Barry Diller's InterActiveCorp.

Diller's company has taken action to get depositions to explore possible disclosure of trade secrets and breach of contract charges from the six employees who bolted for True, which was formerly known as TrueBeginnings.

True has been an Ogilvy client since 2003. hired Mullen this month, its first U.S. firm since 2001, after a competitive review.

True, responding to the subpoenas, has run full-page ads in the June 15 Wall Street Journal and Dallas Morning News. ( is based in Dallas.) The ads, in the form of a letter to Diller, feature a large, bold headline asking "What is Barry Diller Afraid Of?" and charge the media exec with bullying his ex-staffers, while pointing out that one is pregnant.

The letter, signed by True CEO Herb Vest, notes that Diller and InterActiveCorp have "billions of dollars" while "their former employees are struggling to raise families." It also swipes at for tolerating "felons and married people" as members of its site, while pointing out True screens its users.

Vest said his company "doesn t want or need any so-called ‘secrets that believes it has." He said True has reviewed the employees agreements and believes the company has not broken any rules by hiring them.

Paul Koeller, who was VP-global business development in Halliburton's energy services group, has been named VP-investor relations. He succeeds Cedric Burgher, who is upped to treasurer.

Internet Edition, June 23, 2004, Page 3


The media tend to emphasize the "threatening or frightening" aspects when covering health news, according to David Ropeik, who is director of risk communication at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis and a former reporter for WCVB-TV and science columnist for The Boston Globe.

As an example, Ropeik cited an article in The Wall Street Journal headlined "Scientific Data Offer No Proof of Beef Safety," which ran several days after mad cow disease was found in the U.S.

Ropeik said Antonio Regalado, the reporter, spent the first 17 paragraphs of his story reporting about hints that meat from the diseased cows might be a risk for humans.

"Not until the 18th paragraph did he reveal that years of studies, hundreds of them at the height of the mad cow epidemic in the U.K., had overwhelmingly proved that the meat from animals with mad cow disease poses no risk," said Ropeik in a report that he wrote for

"It was a classic example of how the news media handle health stories," he said. "The threatening or frightening aspects of stories get more emphasis within each report.

"Stories about health risks sell," he said. "And reporters—who aren t concerned with corporate profits but are interested in their work getting the widest possible audience—highlight the aspects of their stories that seem particularly frightening. So health coverage tends to dramatize the risks of our behaviors."

As a result, the public are left poorly informed about what is more dangerous and what is less, and poorly informed about what we can and should do to improve one's health, he said.

Trend-watching experts at Meredith Corp., publishers of Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home, Ladies Home Journal and Midwest Living magazines, believe the low-carb craze has 1.5-4 years left in the public eye.

"We expect low-carb to move through with greater speed than the low-fat trend," Diana McMillen, food editor with Midwest Living, told food staffers at The Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate.

In place of low-carb emphasis, Meredith editors expect to see nutritionists talking about obesity and portion sizes, Tommy Simmons, food editor for the Advocate, wrote.

"Hiving" is another trend to watch, according to trend watchers, who say this behavorial style is different from "cocooning," which was isolated.

In "hiving," people are still living at home, but they are including more people in their activities— friends, neighbors, family, which should have an impact on the marketing of new food products.


Amusement Business, a 109-year-old publication, which was published weekly, was relaunched June 15 as an online daily newspaper (amusementbusiness. com), and monthly print magazine.

The new website features spot news, while the monthly print edition will offer more analysis of the industry and an expanded editorial focus on the $60 billion out-of-home entertainment industry.

In addition to its traditional coverage of theme parks and attractions, carnivals and fairs, AB has expanded into coverage of the concert and touring industries, sports, public assembly facilities and theatrical exhibition, as well as related fields such as themed restaurants, resorts and hotels, the cruise industry, experiential marketing and event sponsorship. AB will also include reviews of new attractions and venues.

James Zoltak is editor of the Los Angeles-based publication, which is published by VNU, Netherlands.


Seasoned business editor John Gregerson has joined the monthly Meat Marketing & Technology magazine in Chicago as its new editor.

Gregerson, who assumes his duties on July 15, is replacing former executive editor Daniel Yovich, who left to write a book.

Gregerson, who was managing editor of three food industry publications -- Food Processing, Wellness Foods and Food Creation magazines -- will oversee MM&T's editorial mission to provide in-depth reporting and analysis of the $90 billion+ beef and pork processing industries and the daily news operations of, an online affiliate.

"If you have a scoop, don t call Limbaugh's rep, Tony Knight of Sitrick & Co.," The New York Post said in its gossip page, "Page Six."

The item said a reporter got a tip that Marta and Rush Limbaugh were quietly working out a divorce agreement and called Sitrick, which is the broadcaster's PR firm, to check it out.

After confirming its story, Knight said: "We will put out a release," the paper reported.

Expert product endorsements have a powerful impact on Hispanic mothers when selecting brands for the family, according to "The U.S. Hispanic Mom Market," a new report released by Packaged Facts, a research publisher.

Of Hispanic mothers interviewed for the report, the top three factors considered when choosing a brand include those recommended by their doctor, those that spoke to them as moms, and those that gave back to the community.

Ads for diapers and PSAs were most often cited by those who could recall a message aimed at them specifically.

The New York Post wants to know which magazine staffer sold out his source for $10,000?

The paper said a recently married pop singer/ actress was so furious when her private luncheon hit the glossies, she had one of her people contact the writer and offer him the money for his source.

"The writer collected the cash in a bag," the Post said.


SEPP, a new soccer magazine, which just went on newsstands in Europe, pegs fashion to the upcoming European Cup soccer tournament in Portugal.

The magazine, which is named after German soccer legend Sepp Herberger, is published by Markus Ebner, formerly fashion director at Details magazine in New York, who also publishes the Berlin-based style book Achtung.

If SEPP were published in the U.S., Women's Wear Daily said Ebner's new magazine would probably be cross between baseball's World Series and fashion.

Ebner believes soccer, especially in Europe, has a major influence on fashion trends. "Just look at Calvin Klein using Freddy Ljungberg (the Swedish midfielder) in his underwear advertising," he told WWD, which noted Vanity Fair is making David Beckham its cover boy this month.

SEPP also will be sold in the U.S. at bookstores and kiosks.

Ebner plans to publish the next SEPP in 2006, to coincide with the World Cup in Germany.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, June 23, 2004, Page 4


ESPN will televise this year's hot dog eating contest, elevating the annual PR stunt -- which was started in 1916 by Nathan's , a Coney Island hot dog vendor -- to the top ranks of athletic competition.

"We have clearly passed the NHL in popularity," boasts Richard Shea, who is president of Shea Communications, which has handled the contest since 1997 when his New York-based PR firm got hot dog maker Nathan's Famous, as a client. Shea is also president of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, the governing body of stomach-centric sports, and will be the host of this year's contest.

During the 70s and 80s, the contest was promoted by Max Rosie, a Coney Island publicist, for whom Shea's brother and partner, George, had worked.

The event has been expanded in recent years by Shea Comms. with regional hot dog eating contests in other cities, including Las Vegas and Tokyo. The finals are held on Coney Island on the 4th of July.

The 12-minute contest will start at 12:39 p.m.


Suzanne D Amato, who was fashion news editor at Teen Vogue, has been hired by The Washington Post as deputy editor of "Sunday Source," a weekend section covering lifestyle topics.

Her appointment was made official after she passed her drug test, which is mandatory for all new hires at the Post, according to Sandy Fernandez, who is editor of Sunday Source.

D'Amato replaces Debra Leithauser, who recently moved to the Post's "TV Week" section as editor.

Barnett to Teen Vogue

Jennifer Barnett has joined Teen Vogue as managing editor, a new position. She had previously held the same position at Redbook.

Teen Vogue went monthly in February. No replacement for D'Amato was named.


Two former staffers for Coastal Living magazine have joined Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

Denise Gee was named senior editor of home design, and Paige Porter becomes West Coast editor.

Jim Jelter, previously with Reuters for 20 years, has joined CBS MarketWatch in San Francisco as industrials editor, and Heather Wilson, a recent USC journalism school graduate, was hired for a position on the real-time Flash News Desk.

Anthony Lazarus and Jackie Cohen joined MarketWatch as news editor and data editor, respectively.

Theresa Carey, who writes "The Electronics Investor" column for Barron's, was named editor of the financial industry section of She will continue writing for Barron's.

Jennifer Owens, previously news editor, was promoted to managing editor of Footwear News. Katie Abel moved up to news editor.

Nicolai Ouroussoff, currently at The Los Angeles Times, may be joining The New York Times to succeed Herbert Muschamp as architecture critic.

Jane Berentson, who had been deputy editor of Inc. was named executive editor of Real Simple.

Beckett Sports Collectibles magazine's June number is its last issue.

Catalina Magazine, a national lifestyle magazine for Latina women, headquartered in New York, kicked off its second national "Essence of Latinas" tour on June 15 in New York.

Mental_Floss magazine co-founders and editors, Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur, along with Elizabeth Hunt, have edited Mental_Floss Presents Condensed Knowledge(Harper Resource, $15).

It offers tidbits, such as kudzu is quite tasty in salads, and a "Drink Coke and eat popcorn" study of subliminal advertising was actually a publicity stunt.


Sync magazine, a bimonthly lifestyle publication for 30-year-old men who "want the fun, entertainment and freedom that technology delivers," made its nationwide debut on June 14.

According to publisher Robert Lee, Sync is designed exclusively to take advantage of the growing sector called "Tech-Tainment," which is the convergence of consumer electronics, entertainment, technology and communications.

Tony Romando, Sync editor-in-chief, said the goal of the magazine is to build a "bridge between both stock brokers and nerds and entertain them. Nothing gets guys running their mouths faster than a nice, shiny gadget."

Sync's editorial content will include music, video games, movies, celebrity interviews, cars, sports and the home -- all seen through a technology filter. Info.:

Steven Landsburg, professor of economics at Rochester Univ., who wrote the "Armchair Economist," believes in the power of talk radio.

He said his book, which was published about four years ago, got very little attention despite rave reviews in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune and elsewhere.

So he hired Event Management Services, a Clearwater, Fla.-based PR firm, which almost immediately got him booked on 25 radio programs, mostly call-in shows and many on stations in major markets.

Internet Edition, June 23, 2004, Page 7
Allan, who became president and CEO of IABC in 1995 after working on staff for 17 years, resigned Jan. 15, 2001, after a financial disaster hit the group.

IABC admitted losing about $1 million on an abortive website called "TalkingBusinessNow."

IBM and Nine Dots were principal consultants on the site. Member Shel Holtz, an internet specialist who worked on TBN, was paid $83,330 for the first ten months of 2000. His contract was suspended.

Williams, addressing the American Society of Assn. Executives during its Aug. 17-20, 2002 annual meeting in Denver, said IABC had been caught up in web mania ("it looked like the Second Coming") and tried to create a website "that in hindsight was foolish."

IABC in late 2000 announced a "serious cash flow situation" that caused it to halt staff raises, reduce travel and hiring, delay payments owed to chapters, drop outside PR counsel, and delay publication of the December/January Communication World, its magazine.

It permanently cancelled its annual members directory, WorldBook which ran to 700+ pages.

Allan at that time said that the "fundamental step" of reconciling bank statements had not been done and that IABC learned on Oct. 19, 2000 that it had an unexpected "shortfall against plan of approximately $200,000."

"This happened on my watch and I accept that fact," Allan had said in a letter to chapter presidents upon resigning.

A resignation agreement signed by Allan and IABC promised her two payments of $25,000 each and specified that neither IABC nor any of its agents or officers were to "disparage" her.


Speech Is a Key Element of Suit

Williams, chairman of L.C. Williams & Assocs., Chicago, had become interim president of IABC in January 2001, staying for six months.

Allan, a member of ASAE and a Certified Assn. Executive, is currently executive director of the California Water Environment Assn., Oakland, a group of 7,700 wastewater specialists.

The ASAE speech contained several references to staff errors and omissions that allegedly caused the financial problems although Williams at one point said Allan "shouldn t have been the scapegoat because she was not at fault in all this happening.

The buck stops with the chief staff person and there is no question about that and she said that to the members in her final letter but the point was I didn t want to go after her."

The lengthy analysis of the crisis at IABC contained several criticisms of staff performance and said several employees had been fired. Faulted were staff communications with the 25-member board and members. "What I saw going on was the antithesis of good communications," said Williams.

Board Was Not Informed

"The board knew what people wanted them to know," he said, adding: "They didn t know everything. They didn t know about the problems.

They didn't know about the miscalculation…" (of revenues caused by a reduction in membership).

"They (staff) didn t tell them (directors) about the miscalculation, they just sort of hid it in their reports…they tried to control communications and in controlling communications they failed," he said.
"You can only control communications for just so long and then it explodes."

Allan Says Her Reputation Was Hurt

The suit charges that remarks by Williams broke the separation agreement and were "highly damaging to plaintiff's personal and professional reputation."

They implied, says the suit, that Allan engaged in fiduciary and professional misconduct; engaged in financial mismanagement or impropriety; was incompetent in performing her duties; had been involved in, or orchestrated, a 'cover-up,' and that she engaged in criminal conduct, although it was `nothing that could be proven. "

Williams, says the complaint, spoke "with the advance knowledge, authorization and approval of IABC," which failed to exercise "reasonable care."
Williams remarks, the lawsuit says, were made with "malice, in that hatred or ill will towards plaintiff motivated statements and were the byproduct of a desire to harass and vex plaintiff."

Such statements caused Allan to suffer "bodily injury, specifically emotional distress, including grief, anxiety, humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish, and pain and suffering, as well as lost present and future wages, salary and benefits, and a loss of earning capacity…"

Depositions are now being taken. Settlement conference is set for Oct. 19 and jury trial Nov. 8.


PRSA president Del Galloway says any member, including officers and directors, can comment about candidates to the nominating committee.

Last year, Galloway and 2003 president Reed Byrum told board members they personally would not express their views about candidates. Byrum said this would "avoid conflicts in future governance." However, both Byrum and Galloway did comment about candidates.

Several candidates complained to the ethics board about alleged nomcom irregularities, resulting in a request by the ethics board to the national board for an investigation. The board refused and replaced Chuck Wood and Vivian Hamilton, ethics chair and co-chair, with David Rickey and Gary McCormick.

Sherry Treco-Jones, who headed a board committee that proposed nomcom reforms, resigned in March after her group's reforms were rejected. Deadline for candidate submissions is June 28. Candidates will be posted on the PRSA website July 8. The nomcom meets in Chicago Aug. 6-8.

Internet Edition, June 23, 2004 Page 8



The lawsuit that former IABC CEO Elizabeth Allan has lodged against IABC (page one) puts the spotlight on PR's second biggest organization.

The worst offense of IABC (as well as PRSA) is failure to report financials and important news to members and boards in a timely and candid fashion.

Association reporting standards are far behind those of public companies. Companies report as early as a couple of weeks after the close of a quarter or year. None of the reports is audited.

Associations use the dog-eared excuse that they have to wait months and months for the annual "audit." Detailed quarterly reports are unheard of although needed for groups like IABC and PRSA that have financial ups and downs. Members and prospects have a right to know what's happening.

For instance, IABC's 2003 report was pub-lished in May, five months after yearend. PRSA's came out four months after yearend.

Oddly, PRSA leaders have recently lectured public companies to be "open" and "transparent."

Both the IABC board (25 members) and PRSA board (17) are too big. As board expert Nell Minow has observed, directors tend to check half their I.Q.'s and all of their guts at the door. The bigger the board, the dumber, is the rule.

The speech by ex-acting IABC president Lou Williams to the ASAE said the board was uninformed: "The board knew what people wanted them to know."

We heard the same about the PRSA board several years ago when PRSA reported $1.1 million in deficits in two years. Some directors claimed shock. A communications culture, not an association culture, should dominate IABC and PRSA.

Members, of course, get the shortest shrift. How many PRSA members knew that the staff and board were planning to move h.q. downtown, making a $6 million, 13-year commitment? Very few.

Williams, taking over the top staff IABC job in early 2001, found an enraged membership. Chapters were told that the money national collected for them was not available and might never be. He answered 8,000 e-mails from the 13,000 members, a huge outpouring of concern and dismay. IABC got 250 members to buy lifetime memberships for $1,000 each, raising $250K. Another $250K came from a bank loan.

Numerous questions remain. Who got the $1M that was lost on TalkingBusinessNow, a preposterous scheme that was supposed to be competitive with the major business news websites? IBM, Nine Dots and member Shel Holtz were involved.

Association staffs love big, ineffectual boards. Both IABC and PRSA have let their staffs take too much power. They should never have let any staffer take the title of president and especially not the title of CEO. Allan had both of these as did former PRSA staff head Ray Gaulke. PRSA has since (and for the second time) taken back the title of president from the paid staffer.

Another indicator of too much power at PRSA h.q. is that members are virtually barred from working there. They can't see what goes on in their own Society.

Savvy members would have prevented a lot of abuses, including the 1999 purchase of the complicated iMIS computer system. This $200,000 system took two years for PRSA to operate when it should have taken six months. iMIS was partly to blame for PRSA having inadequate financial information, treasurer Joann Killeen said in a Sept. 21, 2000 letter to leaders.

It also played a part in PRSA failing to publish its 2000 directory of members, because of data conversion glitches. Computer hardware and software cost PRSA $430K in 1999 and about $1M in a six-year period.

IABC and PRSA are so immersed in their own<%0> problems that they fail to exert industry leadership.

Williams, arriving at IABC in January 2001, found policies that were "the antithesis of good communications," he said. Reports to members were "highly sanitized," he noted, adding that it was not then "a time for sanitized outreach, is it?"

IABC, from this reporter's standpoint, is currently almost airtight. Asked the nature of the lawsuit, the court or docket number, it refused to say anything.

PRSA just took nearly a year to hire a new PR director. The 17 directors ducked a possible press conference Jan. 30 (it would have been the first by a board since 1993), when five reporters trooped to h.q. The reporters were not allowed to question the directors, who have taken oaths of silence.

PR needs to pull itself out from the defensive ditch into which it has fallen. Deb Shriver's plea to Hearst execs not to talk to the press (6/9 NL) is advice that is epidemic in PR.

Media trainers, meanwhile, are among the few people in PR urging clients to face reporters in on-camera interviews. But the trainers recently got a black eye when the Columbia Journalism Review accused some of thwarting interviewers by telling subjects to give the same answer no matter what the question; tell long stories that eat up time, and say the issue is "too complex" if stuck for an answer.

We're wondering if the trainers can teach execs to reach out to media before any issue arises. This is how PR used to be practiced: pro-active rather than reactive. Execs who form relationships with reporters will reap numerous benefits as will the reporters, who are storehouses of background info and news. An "embrace the media" campaign, extolling the U.S. press and urging execs to form their own relationships with reporters, is what's needed.

-- Jack O'Dwyer


Copyright © 1998-2020 J.R. O'Dwyer Company, Inc.
271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471