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Internet Edition, Sept. 1, 2004, Page 1

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.

They will help run The November Fund, a "527" group which has collected $500K in seed money from the Chamber to get started.

Rietz, before joining Burson in 1989, was deputy chairman and political director of the Republican National Committee.

His 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.

Fuller 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.

The 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 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 issues.

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 in `02.)

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 Oil Co.

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 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.

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 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 the business.

Internet Edition, Sept. 1, 2004, Page 2


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, called "gateways."

Sessoms is at 215/597-0056.


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 task.

Calhoun is in his 26th year with Wendy's.

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'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 Sept. 2.

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 in Japan.

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 2008.

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.

Internet Edition, Sept. 1, 2004, Page 3


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 Bar Assn.

"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," he said.

"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 program.


Jim Lehrer, longtime host of "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer," outlined his personal guidelines for practicing journalism.

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 every story.
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 anonymously.
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 teams—the 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 basis.
Post can be reached at [email protected]., an alternative lifestyle website, is starting a weekly online magazine, called

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."

JUST PUBLISHED: "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)

Internet Edition, Sept. 1, 2004, Page 4


Joel Dreyfuss was named editor-in-chief of Red Herring's website, newsletters, and the magazine to be started later this year.

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.


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," 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 market.

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.


"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.


Michael Alexander was named editor-in-chief of Application Development Trends, a trade publication targeting corporate application managers.

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, Mass.


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.


Cosmo Macero Jr., 37, a columnist at The Boston Herald, was promoted to business editor, replacing Ted Bunker, who resigned.

Herald editorial director Ken Chandler said he is confident that Macero will "make the section a must-read in Boston's boardrooms."

Macero, who is a weekly contributor to the Fox 25 Morning News, will continue to write a regular column for the business section.


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.


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.


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 Beach, Fla.

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 New Times.

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.

Matthew Malady was appointed managing editor of Avenue magazine in New York.

Steve Reddicliffe, 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 theater critic.

Richard Berke, 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.

David Ewalt was named telecom reporter at

Michelle Lee has joined In Touch Weekly as articles editor.

Iris Sutcliffe was appointed managing editor of Budget Living magazine.

Allegra Hatch, 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.

Arthur Schwartz has resigned as host of "Food Talk," a food show that airs at 11 a.m. on WOR-AM in New York.

Ken Frydman, 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.

Frank Fisher, 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.

Internet Edition, Sept. 1, 2004, Page 7


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.

"Obviously," 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 Worldwide.

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.

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.

Non-binding agreements such as letters of intent to merge don t have to be disclosed even if a non-material portion of the letter is binding.

Director, 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.

Creation, acceleration or increase of a direct financial obligation under an "off-balance sheet" arrangement must be reported within the new deadline.

Must 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 basis.

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 from


Weight Watchers relied on Ruder Finn to introduce its new "Core Plan" that organizes foods, including carbohydrates, by groups.

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.


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.

Internet Edition, Sept. 1, 2004 Page 8



The PR counseling industry has what might be called a "visibility" problem.

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 PR.

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, he advised.

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 industry.

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 insurance.

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."

-- Jack O'Dwyer


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