Edition, Sept. 1, 2004, Page 1
RIETZ, FULLER TARGET EDWARDS.
Ken Rietz is taking
a leave of absence from the Burson-Marsteller COO slot to
help guide the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's ad assault on
John Edwards trial lawyer background. He is joined by Craig
Fuller, a former top executive at B-M, Philip Morris and
Hill & Knowlton.
will help run The November Fund, a "527" group
which has collected $500K in seed money from the Chamber
to get started.
before joining Burson in 1989, was deputy chairman and political
director of the Republican National
voice mail at B-M's Washington, D.C., office says he has
taken a leave from the firm and referred this NL to a Virginia
phone number. He has not yet been reached.
was ex-chief of staff to the first President Bush.
He was vice chair at B-M, senior VP-corporate communications
at Philip Morris and CEO of Hill & Knowlton USA.
Fund wants to raise $10M to run spots in swing states that
show lawsuits as a detriment to the economy, while playing
up Edwards ties to the sector which made him a millionaire.
U.S. STEEL TAPS OIL
U.S. Steel has brought in Chuck Rice, an oil industry PR
veteran, as general manager of public affairs in a realignment
that has its current PA head focusing on corporate governance
Rice was director of corporate communications and public
affairs for Marathon Ashland Petroleum in Findlay, Ohio.
(U.S. Steel acquired Marathon Oil in `82, and spun it off
Earlier, he headed corporate comms. for Ashland Petroleum
Co. in Kentucky, prior to the `98 creation of a joint refining,
marketing and transportation venture merger with Marathon
Craig Mallick, who held the PA post at U.S. Steel, is moving
over to handle corporate governance and related legal responsibilities
at the Pittsburgh-based No. 1 integrated steelmaker.
Anne Isenhower, VP
and seven-year veteran of Fleishman-Hillard, departs
for the national director of media relations post at the
American Cancer Society in Atlanta, following a search.
Her past non-profit experience includes the Atlanta Committee
for the Olympic Games and the Atlanta History Center.
GCI HANDLES GOP'S MEDIA.
GCI Group is handling on-site media services for the Republican
National Convention in New York this week. More than 10,000
reporters are expected to cover the event.
A six-member GCI team headed by Ray Kerins, managing director/media
relations, has been manning the New York City Host Committee
Press Desk on the second floor of the Farley Post Office
Building, which is across the street from the Madison Square
Garden site of the confab.
Kerins told O Dwyer's that his firm is proud to have picked
up such a prestigious account, which he said was landed
because of GCI's 24/7 media orientation.
Kevin Sheekey is president of the NYC Host Committee. He
is special advisor to NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and handled
government relations and public affairs at Bloomberg LP
prior to that.
LOCKHART ADVISES KERRY.
Joe Lockhart, who was President Clinton's press secretary
during the impeachment hearings, is advising Sen. John Kerry.
He is a partner at The Glover Park Group, which is headed
by Carter Eskew, who was Vice President Al Gore's chief
strategist during his presidential run.
Prior to joining the White House, Lockhart was EVP at Bozell
Sawyer Miller, advising Microsoft and Coca-Cola. Eskew ran
Bozell-Eskew PA office in Washington, D.C. Lockhart could
not be reached.
DOMINO'S NARROWS PR
Domino's has just narrowed the search to handle its $500K
PR budget to three finalists, Tim McIntyre, VP-corporate
communications of the pizza chain, told O Dwyer's . "Each
has been given an assignment to launch a new product,"
he said. "The trio will be invited to Domino's headquarters
in early October to give a 90-minute presentation to `wow'
us," added McIntyre. The winner will cinch the account
only after McIntyre visits its offices for a "culture
check." He said it's important to "mesh"
with the PR firm.
Domino's began its search after Robbie Vorhaus decided
to close his shop in July. Vorhaus, he said, helped draw
up a list of 25 PR firms capable of handling the account.
Eight were asked to submit credentials and seven did so,
said McIntyre. The PR executive would not name the three
finalists because he said two of them aren t going to get
Edition, Sept. 1, 2004, Page 2
NPS AIMS TO
The Chesapeake Bay's parks, historic communities and other
sites of interest have outlined a marketing strategy and
issued an RFP for a firm to help carry out a three-part
communications plan highlighting the region.
Those entities, under the guidance of the National Park
Service and their own collective, called the Chesapeake
Bay Gateways Network, want to increase awareness of the
region's sites and its watershed among media and visitors.
Roselyn Sessoms, contracting officer for the National Park
Service, told O Dwyer's the Network is essentially part
of the NPS and all of its members are public-sector groups
or sites. She pegged the ballpark budget for the first six
months at under $100K.
The CBGN, which is collecting pitches through Sept. 8,
has earmarked a six-month contract for marketing communications
work with bi-yearly renewals stretching to five years. That
work includes media relations with non-travel publications,
in addition to coordinating with Maryland and Virginia tourism
staffers for travel media, as well as developing internal
communications materials for the Network.
The Park Service coordinates CBGN, which is a partnership
system of 140 sites like national parks, aquariums and museums,
Sessoms is at 215/597-0056.
WENDY'S KICKS OFF
SEARCH FOR CMO.
Don Calhoun, executive VP and chief marketing officer for
Wendy's International, plans to move into semi-retirement,
the fast food chain said Aug. 24.
The company, which franchises 6,535 restaurants in the
U.S., has kicked off a national search to fill the role
and Calhoun will stay in his current post until a replacement
is found. Search firm Russell Reynolds is handling that
Calhoun is in his 26th year with Wendy's.
FLORIDA'S OPEN FOR BUSINESS.
The Zimmerman Agency, a Tallahassee-based marcom firm, is
helping the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau alert
the media and travelers that the Gulf Coast city is open
for business and unscathed by Hurricane Charley.
The firm is telling reporters that the city and its Keys,
which are 50 miles north of where the hurricane made landfall
in Punta Gorda on Aug. 13, emerged in "excellent"
shape and actually began hosting residents and some tourists
the same weekend the storm hit.
In the aftermath of Charley, the state's tourism entity,
Visit Florida, relied on its 15-member PR committee through
the crisis. "I had my team of professionals standing
with me shoulder to shoulder from day one," noted Vanessa
Walter, the tourism bureau's director of PR.
She praised their work, pointing out the entity does occasionally
hire outside firms, but added "you can t put out an
RFP when a crisis hits."
PepsiCo is paying for an initial printing of 200,000 copies
of a "World Citizens Guide" to be given to American
students studying overseas next September in a bid to give
them more of a global mindset, Keith Reinhard, chairman
of DDB Worldwide, told a Congressional panel on Aug. 23.
Reinhard, who also is president of Business for Diplomatic
Action, said the U.S. image overseas is bad partly because
Americans are perceived as loud, insensitive and arrogant.
(He also cited U.S. foreign policy, globalization and the
pervasiveness of American pop culture as other reasons.)
The WCG, said Reinhard, is "not a travel guide for
young Americans, rather it's a compendium of insights that
arouse their interest in the world and move them further
toward a global mindset."
Reinhard believes the private sector is better tailored
to promote America's image in the Middle East because the
"U.S. government is simply not a credible messenger."
BDA, he said, is not about making ads or "selling"
America, it's about actions.
The ad executive is sickened "that the decline in
the reputation of America, brand that I love, has
reached the point that it has now become fashionable, in
many if not most regions of the world, to dump on the United
States of America."
OREGON WOOS JAPANESE.
Oregon's tourism commission is collecting proposals from
PR firms for an estimated $120K, two-year campaign to woo
travelers from Japan.
The state agency issued an RFP in late July for the media
relations intensive work and is collecting proposals through
Billie Rathbun-Moser, travel trade marketing manager for
the commission, told O Dwyer's the state wants a firm with
a presence in Japan.
Northwest Airlines launch of non-stop air service from
Narita, Japan, to Portland has sparked the need for a pro-active,
targeted PR effort, the commission notes, adding it wants
to create "synergies" with the airlines strategies
and projects as part of the work.
Golin/Harris Tokyo office has worked for Northwest recently
Primary contact with the OTC will be in Salem, Oregon.
The Beaver State also has a representative in Tokyo and
its firm would work closely with both entities, according
to the RFP.
The commission foresees a cost reimbursement contract of
$60K per year through June 2006, with two option years through
Finalists are slated to be narrowed down by Sept. 17 and
flown out to Oregon for a final presentation, with a trip
to Japan also being considered by the OTC, which wants to
have a firm selected by November.
Edition, Sept. 1, 2004, Page 3
MORE DEFENSE LAWYERS
Defense lawyers, who used to believe "the best media
coverage is no media coverage," are increasingly finding
this is no longer an option, according to Steven Alschuler,
who is president of Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, a New
York-based PR firm, which handles PR for the New York State
"PR is not just a strategy for the plaintiffs bar,"
Alschuler wrote in his July/August column in State Bar
News, a newsletter published for members of the NYSBA.
"Many savvy defense attorneys have learned to navigate
the media landscape to their clients benefit," he said.
Some attorneys, especially in criminal cases, still advise
clients not to comment because they believe the trial is
of paramount importance and any benefit derived from media
coverage is dwarfed by the risk posed by doing interviews
with reporters, he said.
"That is certainly a valid point of view and most
experienced PR practitioners understand that, in a litigation
situation, any PR strategy should be guided by members of
the legal team and conducted in a way that is consistent
with and supportive of the overall legal strategy,"
"However, lawyers who are experienced in dealing with
the media realize there are ways to integrate a media relations
strategy into the process without posing unnecessary risks
to their clients," said Alschuler, who offered these
suggestions for minimizing risks:
Attorneys should do interviews instead of allowing
reporters to interview the client directly.
Give prepared statements to the media instead of agreeing
to spontaneous interviews.
When holding a press conference, it is okay to make
statements and decline to answer questions.
Wired News will no longer give the word "internet"
upper case status, except when it is part of a company name
or organization. It will continue to capitalize `Web' when
part of World Wide Web.
Rumbo de Houston has been launched as a full-color,
tabloid-size, Spanish-language newspaper, aimed at Hispanic
men and women between the ages of 21 and 54.
The new paper is published by Meximerica Media, which recently
launched Rumbo de San Antonio.
The Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC 10 have formed
a partnership to provide viewers and readers with expanded
weather and sports news. The Inquirer team will also appear
as guest contributors on "10!", NBC's local lifestyle/entertainment
LEHRER LISTS HIS
LAWS OF JOURNALISM.
Jim Lehrer, longtime host of "The News Hour with Jim
Lehrer," outlined his personal guidelines for practicing
Virgil Scudder obtained a copy of the guidelines from Lehrer
and permission to reprint them in the Scudder Media Report,
a newsletter for clients of the media training firm, which
recently moved to 299 Broadway after 13 years at 103 5th
ave. in New York.
Here are Lehrer's laws, which Scudder would like to see
"posted in every newsroom":
1. Do nothing that I cannot defend.
2. Cover, write, and present every story with the care I
would want if the story were about me.
3. Assume there is at least one other side or version to
4. Assume the viewer is smart and caring and as good a person
as I am.
5. Assume the same about all people on whom I report.
6. Assume personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate
turn in a story mandates otherwise.
7. Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight
news reporting and clearly label it as such.
8. Do not use anonymous sources/blind quotes except on rare
occasions. No one should ever be allowed to attack another
9. I am not in the entertainment business.
Nextpert News, New York, which creates trends segments for
TV, will create and produce two-minute reality-based programs
for morning news and entertainment newscasts.
Called "Genius On A Shoestring," the program
will focus each week on two teams of marketers, who will
compete on how well they can create buzz for a new innovation.
The winners of the season of segments get their own business.
David Post, who is executive producer, said each segment
will feature a new innovation and showcase guerilla marketing
strategies"that's the news hook." The teamsthe
competition and their strokes of genius and the vote"that's
the reality TV part."
Nextpert, which was founded by Post, Katleen de Monchy,
and the late Jay Chiat, will offer the series to stations
and national shows on a market-exclusive-to-time-period
Post can be reached at [email protected].
BayCouples.com, an alternative lifestyle website, is starting
a weekly online magazine, called LifestyleVoice.com.
Elizabeth Andrews, editor of the San Francisco-based magazine,
said, "This is a great opportunity for the swinging
community to address real issues and share the excitement
of the lifestyle."
"Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed is Shipping
American Jobs Overseas" (Warner Business Books, $19.95),
by Lou Dobbs, of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight."
(Media news continued
on next page)
Edition, Sept. 1, 2004, Page 4
NEW EDITOR HOPES
TO REVIVE RED HERRING.
Joel Dreyfuss was named editor-in-chief of Red Herring's
website, newsletters, and the magazine to be started later
Dreyfuss said he was "excited to have an opportunity
to help revive" Red Herring, which has covered the
technology industry since it was founded in 1993.
He joins the Mountain View, Calif.-based publisher from
Bloomberg Markets in New York, where he has been a senior
writer covering technology for three years.
Dreyfuss also has been a technology columnist for Fortune,
editor-in-chief of Information Week, editor of PC
Magazine, New York bureau chief of USA Today,
and executive editor of Black Enterprise.
ASIAN-AMERICAN TV STATION
ImaginAsian, a 24-hour Asian American TV network, premiered
Aug. 30 in six cities.
The channel, which will reach five million households in
Las Vegas, Ventura, Calif., Denver, Atlanta, Seattle and
Minneapolis, will provide pan-Asian coverage, offering series
from South Korea, anime and drama from Japan, classic kung-fu,
a Chinese reality dating show, plus Vietnamese, Cambodian,
and Indian programming.
All will have English subtitles and hosts and announcements
in between programs will be in English.
'YOUR TOTAL HEALTH'
DEBUTS SEPT. 25.
"Your Total Health," NBC Universal's new weekend
half-hour medical news propram, which will debut the weekend
of Sept. 25, has been cleared in more than 90% of the U.S.,
including the NBC owned and operated stations.
Every program will include space for local stations to
insert their own medical segments, customized market by
NBC News Productions will produce the show and NBC News
and "Dateline" correspondent Hoda Kotb will host
it. Sharon Scott is the executive producer.
David Agus, an oncologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,
Los Angeles, is the show's medical consultant.
PAULEY HOSTS NEW
DAYTIME TALK SHOW.
"The Jane Pauley Show," a new talk show, started
airing Aug. 30 on TV stations in 148 of the 150 top markets,
according to NBC, which is syndicating the daytime program.
Pauley, a former news anchor, who announced last year she
was quitting "Dateline NBC" to pursue other opportunities,
will host the program, which is broadcast from a studio
in Rockefeller Center in New York.
The first month's topics include a talk with a design psychologist,
an expert to help people eliminate credit card debt, a segment
on cleaning up clutter, a "lunch hour makeover"
and an exploration of why so many people are overweight.
Michael Weisman is executive producer of the show.
VETERAN IT JOURNALIST
HIRED BY ADT.
Michael Alexander was named editor-in-chief of Application
Development Trends, a trade publication targeting corporate
Alexander, who has 22 years of IT journalism experience,
was previously executive editor at the Yankee Group. He
also has been editor-at-large for Internet Week,
editor-in-chief of Info Security News, senior editor
at Computerworld and senior editor VARBusiness.
He will direct all editorial efforts at ADT, including
the print publication, e-newsletters and website.
ADT, which has 57,000 print subscribers, 118,000 newsletter
subscribers and 120,000 unique monthly website visitors,
is published by 101 communications, based in Framingham,
NEW EDITOR NAMED
AT THIS OLD HOUSE.
J. Scott Omelianuk will take over as editor of This Old
House magazine on Sept. 7, replacing David Sloan.
Omelianuk is the former executive editor of Esquire,
an editor at GQ, and has written several books on
style. He was recently a consultant to Meredith Corp. on
the redesign of Country Home magazine.
HAS NEW BUSINESS ED.
Cosmo Macero Jr., 37, a columnist at The Boston Herald,
was promoted to business editor, replacing Ted Bunker, who
Herald editorial director Ken Chandler said he is confident
that Macero will "make the section a must-read in Boston's
Macero, who is a weekly contributor to the Fox 25 Morning
News, will continue to write a regular column for the business
TWIN CITIES NEWS ANCHOR
OWNS PR FIRM.
Cyndy Brucato, who owns Brucato and Halliday, a PR firm,
has been hired as the lead news anchor for ABC's Minneapolis-St.
Paul affiliate, KSTP-TV.
Although she continues to own the agency, Brucato told
a reporter for City Pages, an area news website,
she is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of
the agency, and if a story about a client suggests a conflict
of interest, she will disclose the relationship to viewers.
The firm has handled PR for the Minnesota House Republican
Caucus, Brown & Williamson, Eli Lilly, and Koch Industries.
Brucato has previously been press secretary to former Republican
Gov. Arne Carlson, and communications director for Republican
Norm Coleman's successful U.S. Senate campaign.
She will remain chair and citizen member of the Minnesota
Board of Judicial Standards.
NOONAN LEAVES JOURNAL
TO REJOIN GOP.
Peggy Noonan, a contributing editor of The Wall Street
Journal for the past four years, is taking three months
unpaid leave to volunteer as an unpaid advisor to the Republican
Party in terms of strategy, approach, message and issues
in the Presidential election.
"With the decline of the Democratic Party I have become
convinced there is a greater chance we will win the war
if the Republican Party wins the election," she told
readers in her last column.
LOFT MAGAZINE HIRES
Alberto Chehebar was named editor of Loft, a men's
lifestyle magazine for Hispanics.
Celeste Fraser Delgado was named managing editor of the
magazine's U.S. Hispanic edition, which is based in Miami
Chehebar, 35, who replaces Juan Rendon, was previously
co-owner of the boutique women's wear line Soye. Fraser
Delgado had been covering Latin music industry for the Miami
Loft, which was started in 2001, has a circulation
of 80,000 in the U.S., with an additional circulation of
25,000 copies of special editions in Mexico, 10,000 in Colombia,
and 10,000 in Venezuela.
Isaac Lee is editor-in-chief of Zoom Media Group, publisher
of Loft and Poder Magazine.
Mark Yost, who
covered the auto industry for the Dow Jones Newswires for
10 years, has joined The St. Paul Pioneer Press as
an editorial writer.
was appointed managing editor of Avenue magazine in New
previously editor of TV Guide, is joining The
New York Times as TV critic after Labor Day, and
Charles Isherwood, formerly at Variety, was named
45, presently Washington editor of The New York Times,
was promoted to associate managing editor for news. He will
move to New York in January.
was named telecom reporter at Forbes.com.
has joined In Touch Weekly as articles editor.
Iris Sutcliffe was
appointed managing editor of Budget Living magazine.
previously fashion feature editor at Women's Wear Daily,
has joined Star magazine as features editor.
Jim Kelly, managing
editor of Time magazine, will give the keynote address
at The Folio: Show, which will be held Nov. 15-17 at The
Hilton in New York.
has resigned as host of "Food Talk," a food show
that airs at 11 a.m. on WOR-AM in New York.
a former spokesman for The New York Daily News, has
created a TV drama, called "City News," which
is based on a metropolitan tabloid newspaper.
Steve Coll is
stepping down as managing editor of The Washington Post
to spend more time as a writer.
previously The Associated Press chief of bureau in Jackson,
Miss., was appointed bureau chief for Iowa, based in Des
Moines, succeeding Kristi Crew, who left to become assistant
managing editor of Better Homes and Gardens.
Edition, Sept. 1, 2004, Page 7
NEW PR DIR.
DIDN'T KNOW PRSA.
Janet Troy, who was hired as PR director of PR Society of
America in June, almost a year after the previous PR director
left, told the Bergen (N.J.) Record she had hardly
heard of the Society before it approached her for a job.
"I was flabbergasted
that this organization with all these offerings existed
and I was clueless to it," she told reporter Teresa
McAleavy of the Record July 27.
said Troy, "they need more visibility and I m here
to help fix that."
She is not currently a
member of PRSA but intends to join.
Troy was previously with
the New York Board of Trade; the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa
Exchange; Ruder Finn; Rubenstein Assocs., and Edelman PR
She gave this definition
of PR to the Record:
"PR is really communicating. Making groups of people
understand each other better and, in the process, maybe
learn things that help things change for the better. Problems
get solved when people understand each other."
Asked if PR isn t "marketing,
too?" she said:
"There's a lot of marketing in it, certainly. But PRSA
is a professional society, so we re here to support the
membership in ways they tell us so that they re better able
to serve their customers."
She also said there is
more to PR than people think. Publicity stunts such as walking
elephants through the Lincoln Tunnel to publicize a circus
are a small part of PR, she said.
Troy said she will be focusing on three themes diversity,
professional development and advocacy.
DEADLINE SET BY SEC.
Public companies that have important news will have four
days to file the appropriate form at the Securities &
Exchange Commission, warns Tim Gould, director of IR services
for SNL Financial.
"Companies must file
an 8-K for expanded disclosure items within four business
days of a triggering event," he said.
Among the new such events
are signing of a material definitive agreement; going into
bankruptcy or receivership; completing an acquisition or
disposition of assets (if the amount exceeds 10% of total
assets and the transaction is not made in the ordinary course
of business), and results of operations and financial conditions.
such as letters of intent to merge don t have to be disclosed
even if a non-material portion of the letter is binding.
Officer Changes Reportable
Also reportable within
the four-day time span are the departure and election of
directors and principal officers.
A material charge for
impairment to an asset is required even if the impairment
decision is too recent to be quantified.
or increase of a direct financial obligation under an "off-balance
sheet" arrangement must be reported within the new
Evaluate Materiality Quickly
The new rules "put
the burden on public companies to establish a new disclosure
process so they can quickly evaluate the materiality of
the new disclosure items," said Gould.
Companies may even want
to consider creating a sub-group of the disclosure committee
made up of mid-level managers most likely to have knowledge
of reportable events in each key area, he added.
Members of the new group
might be a financial analyst, treasury staff members, controller,
and managers who know about material contracts.
One person must be responsible
for gathering the information and filing an 8-K on a timely
Outside advisers, such
as auditors, might be involved in the process, Gould advises.
Failure to comply with
the new "real time" disclosure rules could adversely
affect officer certifications required under Section 302
of Sarbanes-Oxley, he adds.
More information is available
WW COUNTS ON RUDER FINN.
Weight Watchers relied on Ruder Finn to introduce its new
"Core Plan" that organizes foods, including carbohydrates,
Dieters can now choose
to eat from various groups without the need to count "points."
The new plan lists foods
from fruits/vegetables, grains/starches, lean meats, fish,
poultry and eggs and dairy products to ensure all nutritional
requirements are met.
WW will continue its "Flex
Plan," which is based on the Points Weight-Loss System.
The company says it tested
both plans on 10,000 people earlier this year and found
that each deliver a healthy rate of weight loss.
WW has been battling the low-carb food trend.
The number of people attending
WW meetings in North America dipped to 8.3 million from
9.7 million in the second-quarter. Meetings generate 70
percent of overall revenues.
AD/PR EXEC, DIES.
Milton Dolinger, 82, who was a railroad company ad/PR professional
for more than 30 years, died Aug. 13 in Strongville, Ohio.
Dolinger, a native of
Scranton, Pa., joined United Press International after World
War II as Cleveland bureau manager. In 1953, he joined the
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Co. as manager of the news
division. He was later named director of ad/PR for the Chessie
System. In 1980, he was promoted to VP-ad/PR after CS merged
with Seaboard Coast Line to form CSX Corp. He retired in
1987 from CSX.
Dolinger, who was a frontline
correspondent with the Army, recently gave $500,000 to Penn
State Univ., his alma mater, to use for fellowships.
Edition, Sept. 1, 2004 Page 8
The PR counseling
industry has what might be called a "visibility"
Many major PR firms and their leaders are effectively "invisible."
PR counseling vets have asked us, "Where are the Benjamin
Sonnenbergs, the Bob Grays, the John Hills, the John Scanlons
of the current era?
Probably most PR pros working today never heard of Sonnenberg
but the book written about him by New York Times
reporter Isadore Barmash (Always Live Better Than Your
Clients) is one of the five best ever written about
It tells the lifestyle of one of the great party-givers
and PR power brokers of the 1950s and 1960s.
His 37-room mansion on Gramercy Park was the scene of almost
nightly soirees attended by notables from business, theater,
the media and finance.
Leaders of these fields enjoyed rubbing elbows with each
other and Sonnenberg picked up lots of clients in the process.
Working and socializing almost non-stop seven days a week,
he wove his life into the fabric of his clients personal
lives. He tried to be the first person they saw in the morning
and the last they saw at night. Do a favor for the spouse
or child of a client and you ll never lose the account,
A lavish tipper, Sonnenberg could get the best seats at
restaurants, shows, ballgames, etc., for his blue-chip clients.
A genuine "character," Sonnenberg affected the
clothing and speech of an Edwardian dandy including top
hat, formal dress and cane. Used copies of Barmash's book
are available from Amazon for as low as $1.05. Readers give
it five stars.
A similar figure for
many years in Washington, D.C., was Bob Gray, who headed
the most powerful PR firm there. His contacts spanned the
political, social, business and entertainment spectrum.
His position as campaign head for President Reagan helped
his status. He was also known for his skill at mixing leaders
of many walks of life and showing them a good time. We went
to one of Gray's parties in New York attended also by "Happy"
Rockefeller, Cliff Robertson, Dina Merrill (then Robertson's
wife), "Tish" Baldrige, Jeanne Kirkpatrick and
a dozen other celebs. The Power House, a bio of Gray
by Susan Trento, is also one of the five best books in PR
literature (80 cents and up from Amazon).
While we never went
to any of Sonnenberg's parties (he died in 1968,
the year this NL was founded), we did enjoy many an event
presided over by numerous New York PR figures including
Ed Stanton of Manning, Selvage & Lee; David Finn of
Ruder Finn; Peter Gummer of Shandwick; Paul Alvarez, Ketchum;
George Hammond and Bob Wood, Carl Byoir; John Graham, Fleishman-Hillard;
Henry Rogers, Rogers & Cowan; Jack Porter and Bill Novelli;
Jonathan Reinhart, Ogilvy; Robert Dilenschneider; Dan Edelman;
Dick Weiner; Jean Schoonover and Barbara Hunter; Herb Rowland;
Al Golin; Morry Rotman and Kal Druck; Tom Eidson, Loet Velmans,
Bill Durbin and Bert Goss of Hill & Knowlton; Alan Bell
of Bell & Stanton; Phil & Bob Dorf, and Mitch Kozikowski
of Creamer Dickson Basford, to name some.
These were (and some
still are) public personalities, some of them writing books
(Rogers and Wood) but almost all of them giving speeches
and commenting on the issues of the day.
They were definitely not "suits," but practicing
PR people who also happened to head agencies. They were
not only generous in spirit but in spending bucks on entertainment.
Their public personalities helped to build the PR counseling
That this approach is far from dead was illustrated by
the 3,000 people including many notables who turned out
June 7 to help Howard Rubenstein celebrate his 50th anniversary
in PR. How many other New York PR firms would throw a dinner
party for 3,000? Even buying a lunch is given careful scrutiny.
There were no holiday parties of any of the PR groups in
New York (PRSA/NY, Publicity Club, etc.) this past year-end
because the big firms would not provide support.
Exacerbating the visibility
problem is the ban on releasing any statistics that the
ad conglomerates have imposed on their nearly 50
PR units. This makes it hard for them to publicize themselves
and their individual practice areas. They can t claim to
be No. 1, No. 5 or whatever in healthcare, travel, etc.
What accounts for this stinginess in providing data and
dough? Is it the need to send profits to the parent? Is
it the advertising culture being imposed on PR? These are
issues that need discussing.
A major issue for PR
firms and many businesses is the high cost of health
The cost (upwards of $20,000 a year in New York for a family
plan) is a factor in the job slump, said a front page New
York Times story Aug. 19. An Aug. 29 story told how
companies are coping: simply dropping insurance for workers,
hiring only young singles, hiring part-timers, raising the
deductible to $1,000, etc.
An editorial by Paul Krugman headlined "America's
Failing Health" said a single-payer system like other
industrialized countries have cannot be proposed in the
U.S. because "the interest groups are too powerful,
and the anti-government propaganda of the right too well
established in public opinion." Some home-based counselors
who have lost their jobs are linking with those in similar
positions to form "virtual PR firms."