Edition, July 21, 2004, Page 1
PN UPDATES FOOD PYRAMID.
The U.S. Dept. of
Agriculture's Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service unit
has selected Porter Novelli to revise its Food Guide Pyramid
PR firms responded to the RFP. PN edged Fleishman-Hillard
and Hill & Knowlton for the account that is worth $1.6
million for the initial "task order."
Palmer, chief contracts officer, told O Dwyer's that more
USDA money may flow PN's way as additional task orders may
be assigned to the firm through July 6, '07.
is charged with developing a new food guidance system to
help today's carb-conscious and obesity-aware consumers
make healthy eating decisions. The updated Pyramid is due
developed the Pyramid in `91 to represent the principles
of balance, variety and moderation. The PR firm claims the
Pyramid is one of the most recognizable symbols in the U.S.
Gould, general manager of PN's Washington, D.C., office,
called the new food guidance account a "landmark"
OLD NAVY SHOPS PR ACCOUNT.
Old Navy has put its PR account up for review because the
San Francisco unit of the Gap Inc. wants to take a fresh
look at its communications efforts, Dan Orsborn, senior
partner at Select Resources International, told O'Dwyer's.
Orsborn, who heads the review, said much has changed since
DeVries PR won the Old Navy account in `99. The retailer,
which opened its first stores in `94, now has more than
Orsborn gave DeVries good marks for PR, and expects the
Interpublic unit to defend the account.
He would not give the size of the Old Navy budget, other
than to say that it represents a "significant"
chunk of money and will be national in scope for the firm
that promises to deliver "break-through" communications.
Madeline deVries has yet to be reached.
Orsborn is at 310/453-9200.
WPP TAKES PEAK
AT GREY'S BOOKS.
WPP Group's Martin Sorrell has asked Merrill Lynch to do
due diligence on the books of Grey Global Group. JP Morgan
and Goldman Sachs are Grey's investment bankers.
The move comes as Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy pulled
out of the acquisition sweepstakes of the New York-based
Levy told Le Figaro that Publicis could well afford
the $1.3 billion price tag on GGG, but such a deal did not
make strategic sense. "Deals should not be made just
to move up the world rankings," he said. Levy added
that he is happy that Publicis is a solid No. 4, well above
Levy, a personal friend of GGG CEO Ed Meyer, said he had
been interested in doing a deal for GGG prior to his firm's
acquisition of Bcom3. The Frenchman said he would take a
look at pieces of GGG in the event that it decides to auction
off its businesses.
C&W FLIES WITH SPIRIT.
Cohn & Wolfe has edged six competitors to handle PR
for Spirit Airlines, the Ft. Lauderdale-based low-fare airline
which is the country's No. 14 carrier.
Bennett & Co., based in Altamonte Springs, Fla., had
the account and Edelman was a finalist against C&W.
Liz Beck, senior VP and managing director of C&W's
consumer practice, heads the account, based in New York.
The firm noted key team members as Robert Downling, senior
VP and MD of the firm's corporate group, and SVP Jeremy
Spirit, which flies to 16 cities and is privately held,
sold $450M worth of tickets last year.
C&W is charged with helping the carrier attract both
leisure and business fares and with kicking off a national
media relations campaign.
In a statement, Spirit's senior director of marketing and
communications, Lynne Koreman, touted C&W's branding
and creative experience, as well as its corporate work.
Edition, July 21, 2004, Page 2
FROM CONTRACT CONTROVERSY.
Fleishman-Hillard was blasted in a lengthy Los Angeles
Times article July 15 with overbilling allegations by
seven former Los Angeles staffers over its controversial
work for the city's Department of Water and Power.
A day after the piece ran -- the firm put Doug Dowie, who
headed the Los Angeles office at the time in question --
on paid leave until an internal investigation of the overbilling
charges is concluded.
The firm is under investigation by county and federal authorities
after an audit questioned bills and "pay-to-play"
charges surfaced because of F-H's ties to the city's mayor,
The Los Angeles Daily News reported July 16 that
city attorney Rocky Delgadillo will file a suit claiming
F-H defrauded the city. The attorney's inquiry found what
"appears to be far more than sloppy billing,"
according to a spokesman. "It appears to be outright
fraud against the ratepayers."
Richard Kline, F-H western region president, said the firm
is telling employees and the press that it does not accept
or condone the type of behavior alleged in the reports.
"We take these allegations seriously and are investigating
them," he told O'Dwyer's.
Diana Greenwood, daughter of former L.A. Times editor
Noel Greenwood and a year-long F-H staffer on the DWP account
in '99, told the Times practices like submitting false time
sheets were "wrong, unethical and done on a regular
basis" at F-H.
F-H, which has hired a libel lawyer, said the charges go
against company policy and are now being investigated. If
there is wrongdoing, Kline said, "aggressive, appropriate
steps will be taken."
KURDS WANT TO BE LEFT
The Kurdish Democratic Party has retained Barbour Griffith
& Rogers as its lobbyist to ensure that Iraqi Kurdistan
maintains its autonomy from Baghdad in the new Iraq Government.
The four million Kurdsprotected by U.S. and British
fighter jetshave enjoyed self-rule from Saddam Hussein's
regime since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
The Kurds, who comprise 20 percent of Iraq's 25 million
population, fear they will lose their quasi-independence
if democracy comes to Iraq. The Shiites account for 60 percent
of Iraq's people.
The KDP also wants the return of oil-rich Kirkuk --which
Saddam Hussein had "Arabized" as the capital of
the region -- to Kurdistan. The city lies just outside the
boundary of Kurdistan.
"This issue is a time bomb," Massoud Barzani,
leader of the KDP, told the Washington Post July
The KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan field an army
of 70,000 fighters, which is twice the amount of the planned
BG&R chairman Ed Rogers, who was deputy assistant to
the first President Bush, is KDP's chief lobbyist. He is
assisted by Keith Schuette, a founder of the International
VORHAUS SHUTTERS PR
Robbie Vorhaus, founder and president of New York-based
Vorhaus & Co., has shut down the firm as a PR agency,
resigned its consumer accounts and is changing the business
model to a virtual consulting company.
"It got to the point where it wasn t fun anymore,"
he told O'Dwyer's, citing several reasons for the move,
including spending more time with his young children and
the industry climate of the last few years. "People
like Lou Capozzi [of MS&L], Margie Booth [M Booth &
Assocs.], Amy Binder [RF Binder & Partners] and Ray
Kotcher [Ketchum], to name a few, come from PR and are born
to do this. I came out of working for Dan Rather."
Vorhaus added he has resigned from the Council of PR Firms.
"We ve been at the lowest levels of people since I
started the firm fifteen years ago," he said. "We
had the dot-com boom, Y2K, the dot-com crash and 9/11, all
in the last ten years, and the business hasn't really recovered
... After everyone got over the initial shock, I think they
understood, for the most part, why I made this decision
to transition the agency."
The firm's staff of about 20 was alerted to the move two
months ago. He said a few staffers will remain aboard on
a contract basis as the company works on various consulting
Clients of the firm included Domino's (which has put out
an RFP for the work), Lipton, Russell Stover, and Unilever's
Vorhaus said he is in talks with CNN to make more appearances,
is working on a book and producing a movie.
"I began to feel like I was living someone else's
life," he said. "People ask me, Do you feel
badly now that you didn t sell to a larger agency and work
for them when you had the chance? It's clear to me, that
[kind of] life was and is not for me."
E.U. FOOD CAMPAIGN.
M Booth & Assocs. has landed a three-year, six-figure
pact to promote gourmet food and beverage brands from European
Union countries in the U.S.
The E.U.-backed campaign, funded by a consortium of trade
groups from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, is the first
of its kind to band together brands from different countries
to be promoted by category, rather than individually, said
Joan Bloom, co-director of M Booth's lifestyle and travel
Wines (Spain), cheeses (Portugal), olives and olive oils
(France), meat products (Italy), pasta and desserts, and
vegetables/specialty products are the six culinary categories
39 participating companies fall into for the campaign.
Bloom told O'Dwyer's M Booth beat out three or four finalists
in a review, after being recommended for the project. Madrid-based
marketing consultancy Arum is co-ordinating the multi-year
campaign on the European side.
Bloom heads with account with Joan Brower, also co-director
of the lifestyle unit.
Edition, July 21, 2004, Page 3
NETWORK TO FEATURE
A new TV network aimed at the coveted 18-24 age demographic,
whose disposable income is estimated at more than $200 billion
annually, will make its debut on U.S., U.K. and Canadian
college campuses this September.
The U Network (TUN), which features programming from student
artists, will provide a variety of shows ranging from drama,
comedy, music, art and politics. It will also feature the
first national collegiate news show.
The network already has a commitment from 100+ campuses
representing over 11 million viewers, and additional contracts
are being signed daily.
"We will quickly become the minor league to the entertainment
industry," says TUN founder/CEO Shane Walker. "Film
festivals don t give student artists the exposure they deserve.
The U Network will bring this untapped talent to the industry,
the public and to the students peers worldwide," he
told O'Dwyer's .
He said about half of TUN's in-house programming will be
co-produced with college students majoring in film or TV.
The other half of the network's shows are produced completely
by college students.
"Our programming is free to all colleges and universities
and is of the highest standards and quality," said
Walker. "In every focus group we held, the students
were extremely dissatisfied with the options they had for
TV programming. We intend to change that," he said.
Walker said TUN is receiving work from students all over
the world. "You name it; they are producing it -- short
films, feature films, digital animation, documentaries,
experimental, music videos, dance and even cutting-edge
theater," he said.
The network, a privately held corporation, will air on
college channels that reach the university and most surrounding
The complete slate of programs is available on the network's
TUN will hold a news conference in September in Washington,
D.C., to unveil more plans and programming.
Aside from its Muncie, Ind., headquarters, it has a Washington,
D.C., bureau in Leesburg, Va., and is opening production
studios in Orlando, Fla., and a European office in London.
PR for TUN is handled by Phil Kent and Dave Scott, who
run 815 Communications, Atlanta.
TAKE BUYOUT OFFER.
About 45 employees in the operations and editorial department
have accepted voluntary buyout offers at Newsday,
according to publisher Ray Jansen.
The cutback includes 17 editorial staffers, including Fred
Bruning, a feature writer; Leslie Davis, foreign editor;
Bob Fresco, reporter; Dave Behrens, "Part II"
features writer; Phineas Fiske, editorial writer, and Bill
Zimmerman, editor of the "Student Briefing" page.
The Long Island, N.Y.-based daily newspaper, which is owned
by The Tribune Co., Chicago, recently put its top circulation
executive, Robert Brennan, on administrative leave after
it was revealed the paper's circulation had been overstated.
Newsday employs about 3,000 full- and part-timers.
NEWS SITES TO TOUT
MEDICAL TRIAL SLOTS.
Thompson Corp. and websites for the Washington Post
and Newsweek are collaborating on a web-based advertorial
section focused on medical research and clinical trials.
The so-called Clinical Trials Center will be hosted on
washingtonpost.com and newsweek.msnbc.com, and is billed
as a site for those interested in participating in trials.
The companies point out that lack of volunteers remains
the single largest obstacle to bringing new therapies to
market. They believe a combination of advertorials and a
targeted ad campaign on both news sites will attract participants.
Three sponsored subsections include FAQ, "Recruiting
This Week," and a customized, state-by-state paid listing
of trials from Thompson's CenterWatch.
Ogilvy PR Worldwide last month aligned more closely with
London-based WPP Group sister firm Shire Health Group to
set up a unit to attract trial participants for companies.
Your Diet, a special
issue published by People magazine, which recently
went on newsstands, may be published four times next year
by Time Inc. as a standalone magazine if reader response
Elizabeth Sporkin, People's assistant managing editor for
special issues, is editor of YD, which has articles about
dieting and weight loss.
The Kansas City Kansan's
new publisher and editor, Kim Sexton, made a promise to
use every resource available at the newspaper to "create
an intense interest in the products and services" that
both advertisers and non-advertisers provide in the Greater
Kansas City area.
"The power of the press can help business if wisely
used," said Sexton, who pledged to do what "I
can with my pen to help."
Sexton ([email protected]) is interested in getting
ideas for making things better in the area.
Jason Pontin, 37, former editor of Red Herring and
The Acumen Journal, was named editor-in-chief of
Technology Review, the emerging technologies magazine
published by Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
He succeeds Robert Buderi, who becomes editor-at-large.
(Media news continued
on next page)
Edition, July 21, 2004, Page 4
WSJ WANTS 'DECISION
The Wall Street Journal wants to speak to "decision
makers," Atlanta bureau chief Doug Blackmon told 250
at a joint meeting of the Georgia chapter of PRSA and the
Atlanta Press Club June 29.
Blackmon said the WSJ wants to deal with those who can
speak substantially on a topic.
He urged the PR people present not to be afraid of the
WSJ, saying it does a number of "softball" profiles
of companies and executives that pose no threat to the subjects.
He said that sometimes a company may still be smarting
from a negative story by a news medium and then avoids this
medium for too long a time.
Blackmon said that while other factors may be involved,
the chief factor is bound to be money.
He cautioned PR pros not to pretend they know things when
Glen Jackson, principal of Jackson Spalding, told how his
firm handled PR on a salmonella outbreak at a Golden Corral
The program included a press tour of the kitchen before
customers arrived. Restaurant executive Charles Winston
explained what had been done while the restaurant was closed.
Dana Tofig, education editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
said company leaders may be in control of situations although
they often think the media may control a story.
He advised honesty, knowing deadlines and knowing the different
needs of TV.
More attention should be given to newspapers in a crisis,
he advised, because they have the resources and space to
do more coverage.
Counselor Lee Echols said assessing the situation accurately
is the most important task in dealing with a crisis. Honesty,
speed and solution are the three basic elements of a crisis
plan, he added.
Tim Donahue, senior counselor of Porter Novelli, talked
about the firm's work for Delta Air Lines.
Crisis plans are worthless unless they have been tested,
he said. The CEO must be visible and available in a crisis,
The panelists advised companies not to run in the case
of a crisis. Agency people should not allow themselves to
be used as "pawns" by clients who don't want to
tell the truth, was other advice that was given.
PAPERS SANCTIONED BY
The Chicago Sun-Times, Newsday and Hoy
have been censured and sanctioned by the Audit Bureau of
Circulations for "fraudulent" circumvention of
the organization's bylaws.
As a result, the papers are subject to more frequent audits
over the next two years -- every six months, rather than
annually -- and the publications figures will be excluded
from ABC's influential reports of "top-line" circulation
claims for one year.
The papers are also required to submit a plan of action
for correcting their practices.
The ABC's board issued a statement saying the group and
industry "do not tolerate rules circumvention, to say
nothing of fraud."
Newsday and Hoy are published by Tribune Co. and the Sun-Times
is put out by Hollinger International. The publications
said last month that their circulation figures were intentionally
inflated and their parent companies face lawsuits from advertisers.
Advertising Age reported July 12 that Ziff Davis
Media overstated paid circulation for PC Magazine
in 2002 and 2003. ZD says it follows reporting rules "to
REPORTER PAY HIKES
Newspaper industry salaries have continued an upward trend
in 2004, although not at the pace of 2003, according to
the annual Newspaper Industry Compensation Survey. In data
compiled from 502 daily papers, the survey, administered
by the Inland Press Assn., found entry level reporters salaries
increased 2.1 percent from the year before (the jump was
6.8 percent from 2002-03), while experienced writers saw
a 2.8 percent hike and 2.9 percent jump in total compensation.
That's compared with 7.1% last year.
Since 1995, experienced reporters have seen annual increases
on average of 3.86 percent. Managing editors reaped a 5.8
percent boost in total pay.
Graphic artists at papers took the biggest hit in 2004,
with a 5.7 percent decline from 2003, while national ad
sales reps enjoyed a 9.1 percent boost.
Consumer confusion runs rampant in the technology sector,
with terms like DVR, WiFi and megapixels leaving buyers
at a loss for explanations. A new study by The Yankee Group
and Parade magazine found, for example, while 16
percent of consumers think they own a digital video recorder,
or DVR, only four percent actually do.
Seventy-one percent say they could explain a DVR to a friend,
but only 36 percent say they could explain a TiVo, which
is a DVR.
Parade GM Lamar Graham, a former technology columnist for
the magazine, sees Americans having a ton of choices without
information on those options, a problem he calls "digital
Plasma TVs and computers topped consumers wish lists, followed
by HDTV, digital cameras and DVD players.
The New York Festivals 2005 International TV Programming
& Promotion Awards Competition is taking entries (domestic
deadline is July 30; international deadline is Sept. 17,
The awards recognize the "World's Best Work"
in news, documentaries, infomercials, promotion spots, music
videos and more. Info.: www.newyorkfestivals.com.
Edition, July 21, 2004, Page 7
The Whoopi Goldberg/Slim-Fast dust-up was the talk of the
Entertainment Publicists Professional Society-PR Newswire
sponsored summer mixer in Los Angeles on July 15. Here is
a sampling of comments:
"I think celebrities
should be commenting on political issues if they feel strongly
about it, however, if they have any endorsement deals that
could be at risk as a result of them speaking up, then they
may want to think twice," said Rita Tateel, president
of Celebrity Source.
figures comment on celebrities, why can t celebrities talk
about politicians?" asked publicist Lauren Rosenberg.
"That's what makes this country great. Everyone has
people, they have a voice and they can say whatever they
want to say," said president Scott Pansky, of EPPS.
"They obviously have their own image they have to consider
when they decide to speak about an issue."
"I think it's
good only if they re informed," said Bobby Mardis,
Fat Chance Films."If they re not informed about the
issues, I think it's bad, because it may influence their
audience who don t really know the issues, but they like
"We have a celebrity
who is currently the governor of California. We had a celebrity
who was president. The only time people seem to be aggravated
is when liberal celebrities voice their opinions,"
said Eileen Salmas, Media Distribution Services.
"I think too much
attention is paid to the issue," said Rachel Parker,
manager-media relations, Market Wire LA. "Anyone who
has spent their life in the public eye has the right to
use that influence if they choose to."
should be allowed to comment on political issues, because
they re individuals just like anyone else and they re entitled
to an opinion," said Lisa Holt, Business Wire, Los
STAFFERS TARGETED IN SUIT.
The lawsuit of Elizabeth Allan, former CEO of the International
Assn. of Business Communicators, against IABC and former
interim president Louis C. Williams and his firm, also names
20 "John Doe" defendants whose actual names are
as yet unstated.
At least some of them
appear to be IABC employees since the suit says the John
Does "heard" words that were "slanderous"
and that were spoken "both within and outside the workplace
The entire lawsuit, including
the texts of nearly 80 filings since May 1, 2003, is accessible
on the website of the San Francisco Superior Court at www.sftc.org.
IABC has issued no press
release on this lawsuit.
David Kistle, SVP, Padilla
Speer Beardsley, and chair of IABC, could not be reached
for comment. Julie Freeman, president/CEO of IABC, and Heidi
Upton, PR manager, said IABC's law firm of Bragg & Dziesinski,
has ordered silence on the matter.
The Amelia Island Tourist Board has awarded its estimated
$800K ad/PR account to Virginia Beach-based BCF, Regina
Duncan, president of the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee
Chamber of Commerce, told O'Dwyer's . She said BCF beat
incumbent St. John & Partners, Zimmerman Agency, and
Jacksonville-based PR counselor Robin Shephard. Six of the
29 agencies that submitted their qualifications were asked
Duncan said BCF's budget
is based on 65 percent of hotel bed tax revenues, which
amounted to $1.3 million last year. "We hope to get
a bigger promotion budget this year," said Duncan.
Amelia Island is a barrier
island off the coast of northeast Florida that was settled
by the French in 1562 and developed by the Spanish. It boasts
of 13 miles of beaches, 40-ft. sand dunes, golf, tennis,
fishing, sailing and a Victorian seaport village.
BCF is to pitch Amelia
Island as a year-round destination for leisure travellers
and for group business meetings. The firm's travel experience
includes work for Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors
Bureau, Pocono Mountains and U.S. Virgin Islands.
EDELMAN NAMES LYNCH
Lee Lynch, who was deputy practice leader of Hill &
Knowlton's health policy group, has moved to Edelman PR
Worldwide to head its just-created health ally development
unit. She is based in Washington, D.C., and reports to Peter
Segall, general manager of the health policy and PA practice.
Lynch, before joining
H&K in `02, was VP in Ogilvy PR's health & medical
HARVARD ON PR.
Harvard University is relying on Kekst & Co. to press
its PR case against the No. 4 Russian energy company, which
the school claims is bilking shareholders of dividend payouts.
The university says it
is owed nearly $4 million in dividends from JSC Surgutneftegaz
(Surgut). The university has invested $130M in Surgut's
American Depositary Receipts representing preferred shares.
Harvard has filed a complaint
with the American Arbitration Assn. on behalf of holders
of Surgut's preferred shares. It charges that Surgut has
shortchanged preferred shareholders $400M in dividends over
the past six years.
Surgut management, alleges
Harvard, denies preferred shareholders 80 percent of their
rightful dividends because it claims that it would be an
inefficient use of capital due to its shaky financial condition.
Its executives brush off
Harvard's charges, recommending that its officials are misinformed
about Surgut's dividend policies.
The New York Times,
on July 3, called the Harvard/Surgut face-off an important
test case of the rights of minority shareholders in Russian
Kekst's Todd Fogarty and
Kimberly Kriger represent Harvard.
Edition, July 21, 2004 Page 8
The lawsuit promised
against Fleishman-Hillard on grounds that it falsely
billed the L.A. Dept. of Water & Power (page 2) will
focus a lot of attention on the practices of PR firms.
Somebody is lying in this case and a courtroom is the place
to determine who the liars are.
F-H exec Richard Kline quotes unnamed staffers as saying
the charges of false billing are "unfounded and untrue."
Meanwhile, former staffer Diana Greenwood insists they
are true and at least eight other as yet unnamed present
or former F-H employees back her up.
A code of silence permeates the business world because
anyone who speaks out can usually kiss their careers goodbye.
However, songbirds did come out of the nest at Enron, Worldcom
and other companies with great effect. A few songbirds spelled
doom for Arthur Andersen, which had 70,000 employees.
PR firms that get too much notoriety risk their futures.
For instance, Hill & Knowlton, the pinnacle of PR counseling
for decades, took on too many of the wrong accounts in the
1980s and suffered for it.
These included the Bank of Credit & Commerce, nicknamed
the "Bank of Crooks & Criminals"; "Citizens
for a Free Kuwait" (99% funded by the Government of
Kuwait); Scientologists, and the Catholic Bishops Council
(for an anti-abortion drive that infuriated many of H&K's
employees and made the firm the target of pro-choice groups).
If you want to understand
what's going on here, look not to F-H but to its parent,
OMC and the other conglomerates are manic about max hours
being billed out to clients.
F-H execs have got to "make their numbers" or
face severe consequences.
The PR portions of the congloms are their worst- performing
elements, according to their SEC filings.
Former employees of F-H told the Los Angeles Times
there was "intense pressure" to fill out time
sheets to the max allowed by the DWP even if all the hours
had not been used.
PR units of Shandwick used to complain they had been "Slobomized,"
meaning Tony Slobom, CFO based in London, visited them and
gave them the 25-25-25 drill (25% growth each year, 25%
profits and 25 days on receivables). It was a punishing
pace that caused many of the firms execs simply to quit.
Their units were then merged with others until the 35 PR
firms purchased by Shandwick had been crushed to about three
(in spite of promises to keep all their names, staffs and
OMC, despite more
than 40 quarters in a row of higher revenues and profits,
is $69 a share or nearly $40 lower than its $107 high of
No doubt OMC puts enormous pressure on its PR units to produce
profits which it desperately needs.
OMC depends heavily on acquisitions to meet its own profit
and revenue goals. It usually spends $800M+ yearly on such
purchases although it cut back to $472M last year.
But its debt is now $2.61B (debt to equity ratio of .72)
and $2.3B of that is in contingent convertible (CoCo) bonds
whose underlying shares may have to be counted in per-share
Bloomberg specifically mentions General Motors and OMC
as two companies with high CoCo bond debt.
The obsession with
counting "hours" is something that amuses veteran
Before the dominance of "beancounters" at PR
firms, the principal measurement was results.
"PR is best measured by the month," one said.
"You have a monthly budget and you must get a certain
number of placements, set up a certain number of events,
write speeches, get photos published, etc., and the client
is happy." Rough time sheets were kept for internal
purposes only to guard against too much time on one account.
"We were hired for our 'flashes of genius and our
'creative sparks, not for piling up hours on researching
media lists or planning an event," said one veteran.
"We didn t need to compile lists of editors because
they were our friends that we had cultivated over the years
.. .we served as 'story brokers' for reporters, calling
them only when we had a good story," said another veteran.
The emphasis on hours-counting
as the basis for billing has led PR away from the
creativity that can catapult a client to national or local
prominence for a comparatively low price and towards work
that is more readily measured by time.
The lawsuit involving
IABC, former paid president Lou Williams and ex-CEO Elizabeth
Allan (page 7) is similar to
the Fleishman-Hillard imbroglio in that a courtroom is where
the truth about highly secretive doings may finally come
out. IABC has abused the faith and trust of its members
by hiding this lawsuit from them. The secretive, association-dominated
culture of IABC must go. The culture of secrecy helped cause
the $1 million loss on its failed TalkingBusinessNow website
that is the root of the lawsuit. IABC members should read
about this suit on the San Francisco Superior Court site
(sftc.org, case No. 419976).
The's .F. Court is a leader in making its proceedings
open to the public via the web at no charge.
It's O.K. for IABC to demand that leaders and members not
talk about this suit. But it should also urge them to read
all about it. The courts of America are meant to be open
to the public.