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, July 14, 2004, Page 1

Bob Zito, who was chief spokesperson for former New York Stock Exchange chairman Dick Grasso, joins Bristol-Myers Squibb July 21 as VP-corp. affairs.

Grasso resigned his post in the wake of the storm of controversy connected to his $200 million compensation package.

John Thain, who succeeded Grasso in January, has named ex-U.S. propaganda chief Margaret Tutwiler as NYSE executive VP, communications and government relations. She began July 12.

Zito joined the Big Board in `87 as its advertising and communications director, but left three years later for a PR post at Sony Corp. of America. He exited Sony as VP-communications in ' 94 to return to the stock exchange.

Zito also worked at CN Comms. and Hill & Knowlton, and was earlier an assistant sports editor.

Interpublic Group of Cos. has agreed to pay $49 million to the British Racing Drivers Club in a deal that allows the ad/PR conglom to terminate its lease obligations at the Silverstone auto racing track.

CEO David Bell said the pact puts IPG in a position to exit the motor sports arena by the end of 2004.
IPG, which has already paid BRDC $24.5 million, has the right to opt out of the lease by Sept. 30 with payment of the balance.

Bell referred to IPG's stake in the racing game as an "ill-fated foray into venue ownership."

The BRDC deal, said Bell's statement, "represents further progress in our effort to turn around Interpublic."

Larry Burton, who was VP-external affairs at BP America, becomes executive director of the Business Roundtable on Sept. 1. He succeeds Patricia Engman, who is retiring after 17 years at the association.

Burton will be responsible for the group's overall public policy efforts, and will coordinate the work of its task forces dealing with issues such as corporate governance, international trade, civil justice and homeland security. He joined BP in `87 after serving on the staffs of Alaska Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens. BP has extensive holdings in that state.

Porter Novelli handles PR for the Business Roundtable, an association of more than 150 CEOs representing companies with a combined $4 trillion in annual revenues and 10 million workers.

Cheryl Procter-Rogers, north central corporate affairs director, Home Box Office, Rosemont, Ill., is opposing Maria Russell, PR professor at Syracuse University, for president-elect of PRSA. Procter-Rogers is a PRSA director and Russell is treasurer.

The past three presidents-elect -- Judith Phair, Del Galloway and Reed Byrum -- were unopposed.
Art Stevens, 2003 secretary who unsuccessfully ran for treasurer, is seeking to be a director-at-large.

He would be the only New Yorker on the board.

Jeffrey Julin, MGA Comms., Denver, and Tom Vitelli, Intermountain Health Care, Salt Lake City, are running for secretary. Rhoda Weiss, secretary, is unopposed for treasurer. Counselor John Deveney, New Orleans, is unopposed for's .W. director.

Gary McCormick, who replaced Sherry Treco-Jones in March, is opposed for's .E. director by Randolph Baker, exec. director, Shelby County Schools Found., Memphis. McCormick is also running for at-large director. Other candidates for two at-large director posts are counselors Mary Barber of Anchorage and Dennis Gaschen of Orange, Calif., and Gerard Corbett, of Hitachi America, Brisbane, Calif.

Kathleen Lewton, SVP/healthcare at Hill & Knowlton since January, left to consult from her home in Stamford, Conn. She is co-chair, 2004 PRSA national conference in New York.


A survey that drew replies from 321 Canadian journalists found that about two-thirds are "satisfied" or even happy with the work of PR pros.
But the survey, conducted May 11-21 by Porter Novelli Canada and Canada NewsWire, found that about a third of the journalists gave PR people "unsatisfactory" or even "failing" grades on a number of counts. The replies came from e-mail questionnaires that were sent to 3,400 journalists.
(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, July 14, 2004, Page 2


The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority has tapped Edelman and Maya Comms. to improve its relations with its customers and elected officials after the entity was found to have withheld information regarding elevated levels of lead in Washington, D.C., drinking water.

The $100K pact with Edelman's D.C. office runs through September. The firm is to advise the Authority on communicating technical issues surrounding its operations in the wake of an Environmental Protection Agency report in June that said the utility broke the law when it withheld test results and public information regarding lead in the water. Thousands of homes in the district were found to have elevated levels of lead in 2003 WASA tests according to the EPA, which charged WASA with sending out vague information to the public, or in some cases, providing no information at all.

WASA has inked an agreement with the EPA to replace lead lines, without fines or other penalties.

Jerry Johnson, GM for the Authority, said PR firms were brought in for expert advice, rather than relying on a "cook book" or "postage stamp" approach with regard to communicating with the public.

Maya Comms. specializes in outreach to the Latino sector.

Hill & Knowlton has named Rory Davenport, a veteran of Fleishman-Hillard and Edelman PR Worldwide, senior VP and director of its Washington, D.C., PA practice. Davenport handled political and international PR at F-H, while he focused on development of grassroots political campaigns at Edelman.

Gene Reineke, H&K COO/USA, praised Davenport's ability to devise PA programs to enhance a company's bottom line. Reineke, in a statement, said Davenport fits his concept of the "ideal PA counselor."

Davenport, who replaces Neil Dhillon at H&K, has conducted PR efforts in Russia, Pakistan, U.K., Germany, Canada, Finland and France.

Liz Weinmann, a former executive VP-consumer marketing at Golin Harris/International and group manager of Ketchum's food practice, is now at Dittus Communications responsible for its food, agriculture and nutrition policy practice.

She will handle issues management, PA and consumer education initiatives for the likes of American Council for Fitness and Nutrition, International Dairy Foods Assn., Pernod Ricard USA and Swedish Match.

Gloria Dittus, in a statement, praised Weinmann's leadership and strong analytical, strategic and operational skills.

Weinmann has counseled the American Frozen Food Institute, National Yogurt Assn., Idaho Potato Commission, USDA-funded Beef and Dairy Promotion Boards and the Peanut Advisory Board in her 25-year career. She also worked at Creamer Dickson Basford.

The Hastings Group is helping emergency service workers fight a proposal by Nextel Communications to gain access to a high-band wireless spectrum as a fix for conflict issues between firefighters and the company's wireless customers.

The "First Response Coalition," which held its first press event last month with THG and whose financial backers have not been identified, contends that a plan Nextel has proposed to the Federal Communications Commission does not solve certain issues plaguing emergency service communications and amounts to Nextel gaining access to the new frequency at a fraction of its cost.

Nextel public affairs officer Tim O'Regan told O'Dwyer's his company's proposal was developed over two years in working closely with the public safety community. "We believe it is the most proactive solution to radio interference at 800MHz," he said in reference to the frequency on which Nextel and first responders are currently operating.

O'Regan noted Nextel's "Consensus Plan," as it is commonly called, has earned the backing from emergency service groups like the International Assn. of Fire Chiefs, Nat l Sheriffs Assn., the Major City Chiefs Assn. and the Assn. of Public Safety Communications Officials.

The company also reportedly has the backing of FCC chairman Michael Powell, according to the trade publication RCR Wireless News.

The new coalition has proposed its own plan, which would require the government to auction the 1.9 GHz spectrum which Nextel wants to take over, a sale which the coalition says could earn the government over $5 billion. The coalition contends that Nextel's proposal has the company offering $700 million to help with the transition for emergency service workers communications, a fund whose administrator Nextel would have veto power over.


Rachel Schwartz, who has 20 years of PR and recruitment experience, has joined Roberts Management International as senior VP, and will launch its corporate comms., PR and marketing search practice.

She spent the past decade at Arnold Huberman Assocs., developing expertise in the PA, media, corporate, financial, consumer, entertainment and lifestyle categories. Schwartz has worked for clients such as Time Warner, the NBA Kraft and Office Depot.

Prior to Huberman, she was at Cohn & Wolfe, Rubenstein Assocs. and Dan Klores Communications.

RMI bills itself as the premier retained executive search firm serving the human capital management industry. Schwartz can be reached at 203/544-2227.

Howard Rubenstein denies that Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., was the source for the July 6 New York Post "exclusive" that John Kerry had chosen Dick Gephardt as his running mate. A Post staffer leaked that tasty tidbit to the New York Times.

Internet Edition, July 14, 2004, Page 3


Google News is a great place for pitching news to the press, according to Greg Jarboe, president/co-founder of SEO-PR, which specializes in promoting websites.

Jarboe told the biggest challenge for PR people is writing a press release that is "one of the 30 most relevant articles out of the three million in the Google News index for a specific search term or phrase."

He said it is important to decide on a keyword phrase that ties in to the product or service being promoted and that people actually search for.

"Place this phrase into your press release headline and repeat it around three times within the body of your press release," said Jarboe, who also made these other suggrestions:

—"Unless the proper name of your product or service is already well-known, emphasize its generic description rather than its name.

—"Likewise, substitute keyword phrases for pronouns like `it or `its to increase their overall frequency in the release.

—"Include a subhead, which in turn includes your keyword phrase, if your release goes on for more than three paragraphs.

—"Post your release at your own website on its own page, linked from your home page, in addition to submitting it to your favorite press release distribution service."


Richard Botto, publisher/CEO of Razor magazine, has assumed the role of editor-in-chief, replacing Craig Knight, who left.

Allison Young, previously managing editor, was promoted to executive editor and creative director.

She is the former lifestyles editor at Oxygen Magazine.

Razor's main editorial offices will be moved from Toronto to the company's headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz., with additional staff based at a new editorial bureau to be opened ater this summer in New York.

Razor -- which was launched in Nov. 2000 as a magazine for upwardly mobile, educated men in their 20s and 30s -- is published 10 times a year. Its current rate base is 210,000.


Trump World is being restarted this September by Donald Trump as a bimonthly vanity magazine for people who want to live a luxurious way of life.
The magazine will also feature informaton about

"The Apprentice," a reality TV show hosted by Trump, which returns in September for a second season.

Trump's syndicated radio program will also make its debut this fall on 400 stations.

Michael Jacobson is editor/publisher of TW, which has been tested twice with clients in Trump's hotels.

The Travel Industry Assn. of America will hold next year's International Pow Wow in New York on May 3-7.

More than 250 journalists from 45 countries usually attend the annual show.

Cristyne Nicholas, president/CEO of NYC & Company, which is the city's official tourism marketing organization, said Pow Wow will allow New York City to "shine a spotlight" on the new visitor services, cultural attractions, entertainment and hotels to tour operators.

PR pro Eric Dezenhall's new mystery novel, Shakedown Beach, which just went on sale in bookstores, follows in the same vein as his previous two novels -- Money Wanders and Jackie Disaster -- which took aim at the politics of election spin, scandal and sex, with Atlantic City as a backdrop.

His new book is about a New Jersey governor with more to hide than tell. One of the main characters is Jonah Eastman, a political strategist who "knows only one thing can save the congenitally deceitful governor: A whopping heartfelt lie," writes Dezenhall, a former White House communications aide, who is president of Nichols-Dezenhall Comms. Management Group in Washington, D.C.


Keith Girard, former editor-in-chief of Billboard, and Samantha Chang, a former senior editor in charge of legal affairs for the magazine, have sued the parent company VNU, the publication's publisher John Kilcullen, and executive editor Ken Schalger, claiming harassment and defamation.

In the complaint, which was filed in New York Supreme Court, Girard claims Kilcullen forced the staff to tailor coverage to please advertisers. The suit also claims employees spread false rumors of an affair between Girard and Chang, who were dismissed by Billboard in late May. Girard and Chang are seeking $30 million in damages.

The suit states Kilcullen routinely intervened in editorial matters to ensure articles or cartoons did not irk Billboard advertisers—despite telling Girard at the time of his hiring in 2003 that he would have complete control over the editorial side of the publication.

In a memo to Girard from Kilcullen, which is excerpted in the complaint, Kilcullen said: "I want you to avoid writing provocative headlines or employing photos and cartoons that are not in the best interest of (Billboard Information Group) ...I need to review and approve front cover headlines and photos, cartoons and editorials." According to the complaint, Kilcullen believed Girard went too far in a story about Warner Music, which negatively affected relations between Warner and Billboard.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, July 14, 2004, Page 4


The key to getting coverage of pro bono activities is to use a more direct and personal approach to members of the media instead of using a press release, according to Steven Alschuler, president of Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, New York.

"The reporters, columnists, editors and TV and radio producers who are interested in these stories usually are different people than the ones who cover business or political issues or breaking news stories," Alschuler said in his column for State Bar News, a publication for the New York State Bar Assn.

"Think about the activity you are involved in. Who are you helping? Why is it important? How has it changed or improved people's lives?," he advised the lawyers.

"Focus on the recipients of your assistance, the challenges they have faced and why their story might be interesting to the public," wrote Alschuler.

He also advised them to contact only those reporters or columnists whom they have identified as interested in human-interest stories.

"When you see the byline of a reporter who seems to cover stories that are similar to the one you re involved in, make a note of it," he said.

"Reporters are usually very accessible by phone or e-mail and very receptive to hearing about interesting subjects."

He said clients should be told before approaching the media with a story.

Ken Cogburn, 53, previously business editor for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, was named editor of The Orlando Business Journal.

Janet Weaver, 41, who was dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., was named managing editor of The Tampa Tribune.

Jim Lovell, who covered the media and marketing beats for The Atlanta Business Chronicle, has joined Adweek as Southeast bureau chief.

Ben Silverman, who wrote a business column for The New York Post, has left to become a contributing editor for as well as a publicist for the independent advisory service.

Internet Edition, July 14, 2004, Page 7

(cont'd from 1)
Asked to list mistakes by PR people, the respondents (141 reporters, 138 editors, 15 publishers and 27 producers) blew off steam with 41 critical remarks which are printed in the study. The biggest complaint was that PR pros block access to news sources.

"Instead of training executives to deal with the press, they (PR pros) allow or encourage senior management to hide behind their corporate spokespeople," said one editor.

Another complained about PR people "blocking access to managers who really know what they are talking about." Several talked of a "contemptuous attitude" toward the press adopted by businesspeople and PR people.

Said one: "Businesspeople often adopt a superior, arrogant tone when dealing with journalists. They don t seem to understand that we re more likely to be sympathetic to someone who speaks to us respectfully and returns calls promptly."

Another said "Businesspeople treat the media with a fair bit of contempt" while a third complained about "condescending attitudes," "evasive replies," and "showing frustration and anger when confronted by a rude and aggressive reporter."

Two-Thirds Give Good Marks

The journalists were asked to grade the work of PR people and businesspeople on five levels: A for exceptional, B for very good, C for satisfactory, D for unsatisfactory and F for fail.

On the question of, "Overall, how well do businesses meet the needs of journalists in providing useful and accurate information?", the answers were A, 1%; B, 13%; C, 54%; D, 28%, and F, 4%. The answers indicate 68% of journalists are at least satisfied in this regard.

On "How honest are company spokespeople with the media?" the results were A, 2%; B, 15%; C, 46%; D, 29%, and F, 8%.

Respondents said the overall quality of press releases was satisfactory (44%) or good (16%). Giving them a D were 28% while 12% gave them an F.

By an overwhelming margin (87%), they say they prefer getting releases by e-mail with 23% preferring a link to the company website. Only 6% want faxes, 3%, newswire delivery, 3%, mail, and 1%, phone. (The survey was handled through e-mail.)

Nearly half (46%) say businesses do not "respect their deadlines."

Mark Nusca, director of editorial at PN/Canada, said, "The level of mistrust between the media and Canadian businesses is high and something we should be thinking more about." He was formerly a journalist with the Globe and Mail and National Post.

Journalists Air Gripes

The survey contains 41 unattributed quotes from journalists who were asked for "mistakes company spokespeople make most often in dealing with the media."

Among them: "They make the assumption that we are obligated to write about them, cover their event, if they tell us about it."

"No sense of deadlines of paper. No access to contacts identified on press releases. No sense of what kind of stories the paper is interested in."
"Taking too long to return calls..."

"They don t know the issues or they are very vague."

"Avoiding questions. It seems many executives are under the assumption the reporter is out to get them. In reality, most of us are only trying to understand the story better and to cover all the angles."

"The worst thing a company rep can do is to set up an adversarial relationship with the media. Once this has been established, intentionally or by accident, it is very hard to restore trust."

"Making it too difficult to find contact information on company websites ... websites are often not updated."

"Ignoring us, hoping we ll go away."

The study is at: journalist/results.htm.

The International Assn. of Business Communicators has launched a multi-pronged defense against the defamation, breach of contract and other charges leveled against it and former interim president Louis C. Williams by Elizabeth Allan, president and CEO of the group from 1995-2001.

IABC says Allan's own conduct was the "sole and proximate cause" of the financial problems that beset the group; that remarks in a speech by Williams about the problems at IABC were "true"; that the statute of limitations bars any action by Allan, and that Allan had waived her rights to sue.
IABC has imposed an information blackout on the lawsuit, which dates back to May 1, 2003. A third amended complaint was filed by Allan June 24, 2004.

The group has issued no press release on the suit and no discussion of it has appeared on "MemberSpeak," the chat room on the IABC website where members discuss any and all subjects.

David Kistle, who is SVP of research and measurement at Padilla Speer Beardsley, Minneapolis, and chair of IABC, was traveling and could not be reached for this latest story on the suit.

Julie Freeman, president/CEO of IABC, and Heidi Upton, PR manager, said the group's law firm, Bragg & Dziesinski, has told everyone connected with IABC not to say anything related to the suit.
B&D filed the answer to the Allan suit on Jan. 21, 2004. [Papers are just now being obtained because the first mention of a "lawsuit" was in the IABC audit for 2003 that was distributed in June.]
The suit springs from a speech Williams gave to a session of the American Society of Association Executives Aug. 20, 2002 in Denver on "Crisis Communications."

He told how IABC had lost $1 million on a $5 million budget in 2000 mostly because of a planned website called "TalkingBusinessNow" that he called "foolish" and "a pipedream."

Allan, via her law firm of Collins, Toschi & Doyle, Oakland, charged that IABC and anyone related to it promised not to make any negative comments about her as part of her separation agreement and that the Williams speech broke this agreement.
IABC failed to exercise "reasonable care" in supervising Williams, her complaint says.

Omnicom, General Motors and hundreds of other companies face lower earnings per share because of tightened accounting rules on so-called "zero bonds" (which pay no interest).

OMC sold $2.3 billion in contingent convertible (CoCo) bonds between February 2001 and June 2003.

The OMC bonds were a "pure play" in that investors expected no interest but thought that OMC's stock price would rise and they could convert at a profit.

But OMC has now dipped to the $70 level, which is 37 points below its high of $107 in late 2001. It has been in the $80's in recent months.

Lehman Brothers estimates that counting the shares that back up the CoCo bonds could take 11% off the per-share profit of OMC.

Analyst Dan Popowics of Fifth Third Asset Mgmt. told Bloomberg that investors are viewing the situation as "serious" although it "really doesn t change the economics of the company."

Some analysts expressed concern about the possibility of shareholders "putting" (demanding their money back) some of the $892 million in OMC CoCo bonds at the end of this month.

They estimate that OMC will pay $5-$10 per bond as a "sweetener" to stop such demands.

OMC's debt is $2.61 billion and it carries $5.9 billion in "goodwill" on its books, representing the difference between the price paid for acquisitions and the book value of those acquisitions.

The tightened rule has been proposed by a task force of the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Internet Edition, July 14, 2004 Page 8



The Porter Novelli survey of journalists opinions of PR (page one) is an important one although flawed by the 10% response rate (321 out of 3,400).

PN researchers feel that the one-third rate of dissatisfaction is high.

If one-third of patients were unhappy with their doctors or one-third of clients were unhappy with their law firms that would be quite a story.

The dissatisfaction rate among journalists could be even higher since 90% didn t bother to reply. To validate its survey, PN would have to get replies from 321 journalists who did not respond.

What intrigued us was the journalists who beefed about being blocked from interviewing CEOs and other news sources; being treated with "contempt," and having their motives impugned (journalists are out to "get us").

Journalists said businesspeople were "adopting a superior, arrogant tone" with them.

The pompous, humorless, unyielding PR pro is a common type in the U.S. This person may not know much about the subject at hand but he or she has plenty of power–you are never going to get near their bosses or clients without their permission.

PN and no doubt many others are concerned about this widening gap between PR and the press.
We recommend that PR pros host three or four reporters from different media at lunches where everything and anything can be discussed. This was a common technique when PR pros thought of themselves as a "bridge" between clients and the press rather than as a barrier. It's an "ice-breaker" (a simile the Canadians will appreciate).

The Allan vs. IABC and Williams lawsuit (page 7) gets curiouser and curiouser.

Ex-CEO Elizabeth Allan is suing not only IABC and Louis Williams and his firm, but 20 as yet unnamed IABC staffers. It's a big gamble because Allan would have to pay not only her own legal costs if she loses, but those of IABC. She might have to pay the costs of everyone she sues.

The culprit here is the "non-board" of IABC.

A study of IABC by the American Society of Assn. Executives in 1980 found that the IABC board was a fiction. "The true role of the board is delegated entirely to the executive director with a provision for only general supervision," said ASAE, which called on the board to perform its role. IABC gave the 87-page survey to members and the press.

It's obvious the "non-board" tradition continued at IABC since Allan had the titles of president/CEO and so does current paid staffer Julie Freeman.

One look at the current IABC board tells a lot.
Three of the 24 directors are in South Africa where IABC has only 95 members. Three are in Virginia where it has 319 members. Six (25%) of the directors are from outside North America although only about 10% of members are there. Three (12%) are from Canada although about a quarter of the 11,790 members are Canadian (2,831).

IABC directors listed on its website are only identified by name and address. Who knows who they are? Most importantly, none are from San Francisco where they could keep an eye on h.q. The older, wiser American Assn. of Adv. Agencies has ten directors in its hometown of New York.

The same holds true for PRSA. None of the current 17 directors is from New York.
The same ASAE team that visited IABC (Carl Hauber, Wayne Campbell and Dallas Whaley) also analyzed PRSA. But unlike IABC, PRSA wouldn t let anyone but the board see it. Pat Jackson, 1980 president, knocked the methodology and conclusions of the report.

No doubt it rapped PRSA for having a "virtual" board just like IABC. Also, the ASAE knocked IABC's accreditation program, saying most groups were against such programs because they provided an "implied warranty" and could make IABC "liable for the acts of those it certifies."

APR-worshiping PRSA did not want to hear this.
So PRSA snuffed the survey, a habit it has. In 1999 it snuffed the Fellows survey showing virtually no interest among recruiters in APR. In the same year it wouldn t print the $150K PRSA/Rockefeller "credibility" survey showing PR pros near the bottom but journalists near the top. Phil Lesly's 1992 study for the "Task Force on the Stature of PR" was deep-sixed because it doubted the value of APR. More recently a 2002 survey of members attitudes wasn t published and a study of the ethnicity of members was shelved. In the same vein, members have yet to see pictures of their handsome new h.q. on the PRSA website.

A blue-ribbon panel of senior members of IABC is need to report who got the $1M that was spent on the abortive website. Did IBM get most of it? IABC needs to restore its credibility with members and non-members ... we're glad to see Cheryl Procter-Rogers opposing Maria Russell for PRSA president-elect. Russell was on the 1999 board that censored the Fellows and Rockefeller studies mentioned above. That same board boycotted this NL for entire 1999 on the ground that we were taking up too much staff time asking questions (about the two studies and other matters). Russell also got a boatload of publicity in the 2003 members directory for being "senior counsel" to nine boards and committees. That post has been eliminated, raising questions of why it was created.

-- Jack O'Dwyer


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