The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Edition, Jan. 5, 2005, Page 1
DELAHAYE FOR $8M.
Medialink has sold
its Delahaye research unit, which it acquired in `99, to
Sweden's Observer AB for $8 million.
Larry Moskowitz plans to earmark the pretax $5 million gain
to fuel growth of Medialink's TeletraxT (television tracking
and asset media management service) and its core marketing
services. TeletraxT has contracts with ABC, BBC, and Buena
$9 million in sales accounts for 20 percent of Medialink's
overall revenues. The research operation broke even in `04.
Norwalk, Conn.-based unit has offices in Portsmouth, N.H.;
Washington, D.C., and London.
employs 100 staffers who track news media coverage and measure
the value of PR programs.
is the parent company of Bacon's Information Inc.
ARAB BANK AMID ALLEGATIONS
The Dilenschneider Group is representing Arab Bank, the
$24 billion Jordan-based entity that was sued in December
in Brooklyn federal court for allegedly bankrolling Palestinian
The suit charges that AB served as "paymaster"
to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade
and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It alleges
that AB's New York office was central to the fundraising
activity. The civil action was filed under The Alien Tort
Claims Act of 1789 and the Antiterrorism Act of 1990.
Reid Gearhart, of TDG, is heading the account, and has
posted a release on PR Newswire in which AB's law firm,
Winston & Strawn, calls the allegations "entirely
Gearhart told O'Dwyer's that "I can t have that conversation
right now," when asked how TDG got involved with AB.
Anthony Zehnder, head
of global communications for Lehman Bros., has taken an
executive VP post at Conseco to head corporate communications
for the $1.5 billion insurance giant, which caters to low-income
customers and seniors.
Carmel, Ind.-based Conseco emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection last year, the third largest filing in U.S. history.
Sitrick and Co. helped the company with PR through bankruptcy.
ALASKA WANTS PR
TO FIGHT CHILD ABUSE.
Alaska is looking for PR help to continue a recent decline
in cases of child abuse and neglect in the state, which
has one of the country's worst rates of such abuse. The
state's Dept. of Health and Social Services wants to contract
with a firm for two years to run a $600K social marketing
campaign to fight various types of abuse.
The DHSS says it wants a firm to channel social marketing
pushes like Florida's "Truth" anti-smoking campaign
or North Carolina's "Click It or Ticket" work
promoting seat belt use.
The DHSS Office of Children's Services will oversee the
account and wants to award a contract by the end of January.
Proposals are due Jan. 7.
Elizabeth Clement (elizabeth_clement@health. state.ak.us)
is contracting officer.
PR FIRMS FOR MUSEUM.
The U.S. Army is seeking a "small business" class
PR firm to create a "community engagement plan"
for the National Museum of the Army in Virginia, scheduled
to open in the spring of 2009.
Up to $6M could be spent, according to an RFP by the Defense
Contracting Command (Harry Lloyd Harting at [email protected]).
A one-year contract with four option years will be awarded.
Robert McEwen, former
president/CEO, Burson-Marsteller/Midwest, and former
head of the Detroit office of Weber Shandwick Worldwide,
joined The Dilenschneider Group as principal and managing
Howard Penn Hudson,
93, publisher of PR Quarterly, now in its 50th year,
and Hudson's Washington News Media Contacts Directory, died
in his home in Rhinebeck, N.Y., Jan. 1. He founded the Newsletter
Assn. of New York (now Newsletter & Electronic Publishers
Assn.) in 1969.
Edition, Jan. 5, 2005, Page 2
PR HELPS WITH DISASTER
The massive natural disaster and human tragedy in South
Asia last week has put many relief groups and companies
into crisis mode.
As the death toll soared past 137,000 people, one group,
the Center for International Disaster Information, relied
on Hill & Knowlton to get the message out that monetary
donations were the best way for people to help with relief
H&K/D.C. is coordinating PR and contacting media for
CIDI, a U.S.-backed agency, in the wake of the Bay of Bengal
earthquake and tsunamis.
H&K VP Kristina Boehk told O'Dwyer's the firm actually
began PR work for CIDI a few months ago.
Meanwhile, companies like Pfizer and Kaiser Permanente
put word out that they were offering drugs, doctors and
much-needed cash to the relief effort.
Some firms used the opportunity to get clients in the media,
offering up water purification experts, policy wonks, business
execs to talk about the economic impact, and even retired
military brass, among others.
Ruder Finn has been working on behalf of Odorscreen, a
gel compound designed to offset the stench of dead bodies.
The company has donated thousands of its products.
B-M GUIDES WESTERN
FOR YUKOS OIL.
Burson-Marsteller is advising and fielding global media
inquiries for Russia's Yukos oil company as the country
auctioned the company's largest unit in a controversial
move on Dec. 19.
Mike Lake, managing director for B-M in Dallas, has served
as Yukos spokesman in the U.S. through bankruptcy hearings
in Houston and the auction in Moscow. Lake told O'Dwyer's
the firm's primary job over the last year has been to maintain
Yukos relationships and provide information to Western media.
B-M was venting the ire of Yukos management toward the
auction of its Yoganskneftegas unit to an unknown Russian
entity viewed suspiciously by some analysts and media. The
U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston issued an injunction against
participants in the auction leading to the withdrawal of
the favored bidder, Russia's natural gas monopoly Gazprom.
B-M's BKSH unit represents Yukos in D.C.
PENTAGON BEAMS NEWS
Troops in the U.S., Iraq and around the world are getting
their news from the Pentagon as the Defense Department has
gone live with its own 24-hour network, The Pentagon Channel.
The venture, initially only for troops abroad and within
the Pentagon, was expanded in a drive to boost the military's
internal communications apparatus with $6M appropriated
by Congress this year.
One-minute news updates, half-hour programs on issues that
affect troops like health, education and money, PSA-type
spots, and dispatches from the military's installations
around the globe are featured on the new network.
The Pentagon has said news networks often don't air information
that can be important to the troops, like specifics on rotations
and health issues, and the network is billed as part of
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's overhaul and expansion
of the military's public affairs unit. Pentagon press briefings
are aired in their entirety on the network.
QORVIS AFFIRMS PB INVESTMENT.
Qorvis Communications has affirmed D.C. lobbying powerhouse
Patton Boggs will remain an investor in the PR firm, despite
reports of internal strife at PB over the two firms work
for Saudi Arabia.
"Patton Boggs is a minority investor in Qorvis and
there are no plans to change or divest its relationship,"
Qorvis director Scott Warner told O'Dwyer's.
Patton Boggs managing partner Stuart Pape declined to comment
on whether PB is considering pulling out its stake in Qorvis,
but confirmed to this NL the relationship continues to exist.
The firm's stake in Qorvis which sources place at
10-15 percent has been the subject of some ire at
the lobbying firm triggered by the Saudi account.
Qorvis offices were raided by FBI agents last month armed
with a search warrant and grand-jury subpoenas, part of
an investigation of possible violations of the Foreign Agents
Registration Act and a radio ad campaign apparently run
by the Saudis and Qorvis.
TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND
The Trust for Public Land has tapped Ruder Finn/Switzer
as PR firm for media relations, speakers bureau duties and
"thought leadership" responsibilities. Jessica
Switzer heads the account with Lisa Duszak, senior A/S.
TPL, which was established in `72, specializes in conservation
real estate to protect land as parks, greenways, community
gardens and wilderness. The group has protected 1.9 million
acres across the U.S.
Will Rogers, TPL president, says land conservation is a
high priority for Americans as evidenced by the $3.3 billion
in ballot measures approved during the elections to create
parks and open space.
A Grey Global Group shareholder has filed a lawsuit seeking
to block the $1.5 billion merger of his company into WPP
David Shaev charges the deal is unfair because Grey CEO
Ed Meyer would receive an $86.9 million payout if the acquisition
closed in 2004, or a $54.5 million windfall if the sale
closes in `05. Those fees reduce the monies that other public
shareholders would receive, according to the suit.
EU regulators have delayed the Grey/WPP deal.
Susan Walton, who was
director of corporate communications at Boise-Cascade,
has taken the same title at Harley-Davidson. She reports
to Kathleen Lawler, VP-comms. at the Milwaukee-based motorcycle
maker. Heyman Assocs. did the search.
Edition, Jan. 5, 2005, Page 3
Interior design and decoration magazines increased 202%
from 47 titles in 1994 to 142 titles in 2004, making it
the fastest growing magazine category, according to the
new edition of the Standard Periodical Directory, published
by Oxbridge Communications in New York.
Magazines about lifestyle, weddings and dogs were also
on the rise over the last 10 years.
Specifically, the magazine categories that showed major
growth from 1994 to 2004, were:
Lifestyle: 169% growth, from 80 titles in 1994, to
215 titles in 2004.
Weddings: 143% growth, from 37 titles to 90.
Dogs: up 136%, from 36 titles to 85.
Family: 110% growth, from 78 titles to 164.
Golf: up 102%, from 63 titles in 1994, to 127 titles
Magazines with a declining number of publications included
house organs, general interest titles, TV & video titles,
and environment and ecology titles.
The categories with the largest number of magazines for
2004 are: Religion & Theology (583); Travel (541); Regional
Interest (528); College Student (478); Automotive (365);
Music & Music Trades (306), and Sports & Sporting
Deborah Striplin is editorial director of the directory,
which lists 4,207 new titles and almost 40,000 updated listings.
Mediamark Research's new study of the readership of 230
magazines ranks The Atlantic Monthly as the top publication
for reaching "influentials," with about 60% of
its audience made up of these activists and trendsetters.
Other publications that did well were The New Yorker,
Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal,
and the Smithsonian.
The Saturday Evening Post also has a strong appeal
TV news coverage of
Hispanics was more favorable in 2003, but America's
largest and fastest-growing minority remains mostly ignored,
according to an annual report prepared for the National
Assn. of Hispanic Journalists.
More than 16,000 stories that were on the nightly newscasts
of ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN were examined.
A total of 131 stories, or 0.82%, were about Hispanics,
compared with 120, or 0.65%, in 2002. Of 639 hours of news,
four hours, or 0.63%, were for Hispanic stories, the study
Hispanics make up nearly 14% of the U.S. population.
CNN had the most Hispanic coverage with 47 stories that
added up to nearly 90 minutes, followed by CBS with 30 stories
or slightly more than 48 minutes in Hispanic coverage.
previously managing editor of Caribbean Travel &
Life magazine, has joined The Cincinnati Enquirer
as arts and entertainment editor.
previously Glamour's deputy editor, was named executive
editor at Redbook.
previously a senior associate editor at Child magazine,
is a new senior editor at Budget Travel magazine.
who founded mediabistro.com, and Jon
Fine, media reporter for Advertising Age,
were married Dec. 5.
is starting a new regular section called "Entertainment
Extra," which will feature web-exclusive content devoted
to the arts and entertainment worlds, reports senior editor
One of the highlights of the section will be "David
Ansen's Movie Club," which will pick a film every month.
Ansen will write about the reasons for his selection and
then moderate a live, on-line discussion about it.
Other regular features will include lists of the top grossing
movies, top-rated TV shows, best selling books, music CDs
Town & Country
magazine's beauty section has been expanded and moved
closer to the front of the book. The publisher hopes the
expanded section will attract more ad dollars from beauty
Art & Antiques has unveiled several new editorial sections
in its January issue.
Publisher Jay Perkins said the magazine's editorial team
is focused on "infusing the publication with a new
passion for delivering insider market information, the hot
sales at auctions that influence trends and intriguing,
insightful city guides for the collector on the go, presented
in the most artful and entertaining way."
The editorial team has been expanded with new posts and
full-time writers in the New York office.
Among the new people are Brook Mason, who was appointed
chief correspondent; David Masello, who was named New York
editor, and Edward Gomez, the former Time magazine cultural
correspondent and former series editor for Metropolitan
Barbara Tapp is editor-in-chief and Patti Verbanas is managing
editor of the monthly magazine. Tapp is at 9 E. 40th st.,
New York, NY 10016; 212/686-2102.
a columnist for USA Today, is joining the faculty
at North Carolina A&T State Univ. to establish the Institute
of Advanced Journalism Studies, which is being created to
stem the loss of black journalists.
magazine and CBS News "The Early Show"
are starting a new series of on-air segments called "Reaching
The monthly segments will feature More editor-in-chief
Peggy Northrop and The Early Show anchor Rene Syler. They
will discuss lifestyle issues facing women over 40, which
is the More's target audience.
Also included in the segments will be features from the
current issue of the magazine such as reader profiles and
articles on health, fashion, parenting and relationshiops.
Michael Bass and Victor Neufeld are senior executive producer
and senior producer, respectively, for The Early Show.
American Banker has
expanded and enhanced its Retail Delivery Special Report
increasing its frequency to 10 times a year and adding
The new RDSP will be inserted in selected issue of the
daily American Banker. The first issue will bear a January
cover date; subsequent issues will follow in March, April,
May, June, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov and Dec.
The reports will focus on such topics as branch innovation,
small business marketing, and other topics pertaining to
retail financial services.
David Longobardi, editor in chief of AB, will oversee the
(Media news continued
on next page)
Edition, Jan. 5, 2005, Page 4
EDITORS PICK TOP FOOD
The death of Julia Child, the award-winning cook who started
the TV chef trend back in the 60s, topped the list
of food-related news stories in 2004, according to a survey
of 1,300 food editors by Hunter PR in New York.
Obesity, which was ranked No. 1 in last year's survey,
slipped to No. 3 behind the low carb trend, which held the
No. 2 spot for a second year in a row.
The PR firm pointed out that obesity issues this year focused
around who is most to blame for burgeoning waistlines, can
the trend be reversed, and how can consumers prevent children
from becoming the next generation of fat Americans.
Closely related, the buzz surrounding the documentary film,
"Super Size Me," took the No. 4 spot.
Morgan Spulock's movie showcased his experience of eating
only McDonald's food for one month and the damage that high
fat diets can do to the body.
In doing so, he turned the spotlight on food marketing practices,
in general, the agency said.
Revisiting the famed food pyramid claimed the No. 5 spot.
The forthcoming new guidelines (which may no longer be in
the shape of a pyramid) will most likely advise consumers
to eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and non-fat
or low-fat milk products, while limiting carbohydrates and
salt, Hunter said.
Mad Cow Disease, which reared its head in the U.S. for
the first time, captured the No. 6 spot.
The No. 7 spot was occupied by the debate over whether
obesity will become the leading cause of preventable death
in the U.S. In March, the Journal of American Medical Assn
. published a study from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention that claimed more Americans will soon be
dying from obesity than from smoking.
The widely publicized finding was contradicted on Nov.
23 by The Wall Street Journal, which reported major statistical
errors in the CDC's report.
Shortage Is No. 8
The produce shortage, caused by Florida's hurricane season,
was No. 8 on the list of top stories.
As contrast to the survey's No. 2 result, the No. 9 story
of the year is the decline in popularity of the Atkins diet
during the second half of the year.
While most experts say Atkins will be a force to reckon
with for years to come, they believe the craze has reached
its zenith and will decline slowly over time, according
to Hunter PR.
"Cheeseburger Bill" rounded out the list at No.
Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in March, the
bill prohibits obesity lawsuits against the food industry,
protecting producers and sellers of food and non-alcoholic
Nearly two-thirds of the food editors believe individual
consumers are most responsible for the nation's obesity
problems, not the food manufacturers or providers.
ELSEN REJOINS N.Y. TIMES.
Jon Elsen, the business editor at The New York Post, has
rejoined The New York Times as media and marketing
editor, overseeing media, advertising, retailing and consumer
products coverage for the business section.
Elsen joined the Post as its media and telecommunications
reporter in 1997, became deputy business editor in May 1999
and business editor in Jan. 2000.
Before that he was editor of Merger & Acquisitions
Report, a newsletter of Investment Dealer's Digest.
He also was a project editor for TimesFax, a condensed
version of The New York Times faxed overseas, and a copy
editor at various Times departments from Jan. 1991 to Jan.
Elsen succeeds Jacques Steinberg, who earlier was assigned
to cover the entertainment beat for the Times.
Over 266,000 articles dating back to Time's
first issue in March 1923 are now available free to subscribers
of the magazine's website (www.timearchive.com).
USA Today has expanded
its book coverage from one to two days a week (Tuesdays
and Thursdays) under book editor Carol Memmott, who was
given this year's "AAP Honors" award by the Association
of American Publishers.
Memmott's strategy is to keep reviews short, in favor of
trend stories and publishing stories, and to be newsy.
based in Wellington, Fla., will make its newsstand debut
this Spring with an initial rate base of 400,000.
The quarterly will target the well-heeled sports socialite
or enthusiast 25-49+ years old, who goes to sporting events
and related charity functions.
The magazine will feature seasonal highlights of women's
luxury sporting events, including polo and equestrian events,
golf, tennis, and premium international sports.
It will also have athlete interviews, information on sporting
trends, fashion, sporting goods, travel information, and
upcoming events. [email protected].
in New York will publish a new quarterly business intelligence
magazine, Business Intelligence Review, in April.
The magazine will be designed as a single source of information
for non-technical managers engaged in business intelligence,
focusing on the use of technology to make organizations
more effective and responsive.
Jim Ericson, previously an editorial director and senior
news editor at Line56 Media and managing editor at MSNBC,
was hired as editor-in-chief of BIR.
Brian Cronin is handling PR inquiries about BIR at 212/803-8358.
plans to increase significantly its editorial capabilities
in 2005, including an expansion of its video output and
the start of several new content areas and services.
Dan Bigman, 34, previously with the NYTimes. com, where
he spent six years, most recently as associate editor, and
previously as business editor and producer, was hired as
managing editor to oversee the day-to-day editorial operations
of the site.
Miami Herald publisher
Alberto Ibarguen believes daily newspapers will eventually
come in two formats.
One edition will consist of in-depth articles for for older,
more sophisticated readers, and costing about $2.00.
The other will be a tabloid-size free paper for those who
want news in a lighter vein.
"My absolute belief is that the future of communicating
information will get done electronically," said Ibarguen,
who spokes at a recent media conference in New York.
Herald Media in Boston,
which publishes The Boston Herald, has acquired Women's
Business Boston from Vicki Donlan, who founded the 25,000
controlled circulation monthly paper, which is devoted to
professional women in the business world, in 1998. She will
remain as publisher.
Edition, Jan. 5, 2005, Page 7
EFFORT PAYS OFF FOR X PRIZE.
A nine-month PR effort by a Los Angeles PR firm helped propel
a relatively obscure aeronautics competition to the front
pages of global publications, including the coveted cover
of Time magazine.
Angeles-based CarryOn Comms. was brought on in March to
handle PR and "build credibility" for the X Prize
Competition, a $10M face-off among aeronautics contestants
to get a plane into space and build the "space tourism"
the winning plane backed by billionaire Microsoft co-founder
Paul Allen and later Virgin's Richard Branson
hit suborbital space twice after taking off from the Mojave
Desert during the competition and took the $10M Ansari X
It was named Time's Invention of the Year for 2004 and featured
on its cover on Nov. 29.
PRO IN APPRENTICE' BID.
NBC's hit reality show "The Apprentice" will include
a PR professional, Tara Dowdell, among its cast of 18 for
the first time as the show kicks off its third season this
month. Dowdell, a 28-year-old New Jersey native, is senior
manager of government and community relations at the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The new season of "The
Apprentice," which has contestants vying for a job
with Donald Trump, pits two teams of nine in competition.
The first, dubbed "book smarts," includes professionals
with higher education degrees, and the second, "street
smarts," includes contestants who are said to lean
more on practical experience than an institutional education.
Dowdell is part of the latter group.
ASSN. YULE PARTIES
Fewer than 150 people showed up for the two Yule parties
in New York that were held by chapters of three national
PR groups NIRI, IABC and WEPR, whose combined memberships
Both parties were held on the same night (Dec. 9) at neighborhood
grills in Manhattan.
About 90 members and guests
went to NIRI's party in the Iguana Cafe at Broadway and
Women Executives in PR and IABC's New York chapter held
a combined "Holiday Party." Marie Raperto of The
Cantor Concern helped bring the two groups together for
the first time.
Some 55 people paid a
$60 fee in advance to attend the joint IABC/WEPR get-together
at Connolly's Pub and Restaurant on 121 W. 45th st.
Judy Jones, director of employee comms. at The New York
Times, is president of IABC/N.Y.
Other local PR groups,
including PRSA/N.Y., the Publicity Club of N.Y., and the
Black PR Society, did not hold holiday parties last year,
and several PR suppliers, whose gala parties in swanky hotels
and restaurants had usually attracted hundreds of PR pros
in past years, were not held in 2004.
FEARS BIASED JURY.
Fleishman-Hillard, believing it can t get a fair shake in
the Los Angeles courts, wants the city to try its fraud
case in Ventura County.
F-H lawyers filed a motion
with Los Angeles Superior Court requesting a change of venue
because of extensive media coverage depicting the St. Louis-based
PR firm as an outsider firm that "ripped off"
the locals through overbilling, according to the Los
Richard Kline, F-H's west
coast regional president, says the firm wants any potential
trial to proceed in a "fair and neutral forum."
L.A. Mayor James Hahn
and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo oppose moving the trial
from the City of Angels.
ARE TOP PR GAFFES.
Poor handling of revelations of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib
prison in Iraq by the Dept. of Defense was the year's biggest
PR blunder and cost the U.S. credibility around the world,
according to Fineman PR's annual list of the top 10 PR gaffes.
The San Francisco-based
firm put the National Basketball Assn. at No. 2 for its
brawling Pacers and Pistons, and Dan Rather's questionable
"60 Minutes II" piece on President Bush's National
Guard service was considered the third worst gaffe of 2004.
Retailer Target's decision
to ban Salvation Army bell ringers for the holidays rang
in at No. 4 on Fineman's list after the company was ripped
nationally in the media.
Material Ranks on Gaffe List
Networks CBS and ABC were
hit for salacious material on their airwaves. CBS Super
Bowl fiasco with Janet Jackson's "expose" and
ABC's plug for "Desperate Housewives" during "Monday
Night Football" earned them Nos. 5 and 6 on the list.
Other PR slips noted by
Fineman included HP CEO Carly Fiorina's "God-given
right" outsourcing comment (No. 7); Major League Baseball's
ongoing steroid woes (8); Cablevision firing Marv Albert
for no good reason (9), and Northwest Airlines giving passenger
information to the government and later denying it (10).
HOUSE TO FIRE.
The Connecticut house of longtime corporate and agency PR
professional John Budd burnt to the ground Dec. 9 while
he and his wife, Rusty, were in their New York City apartment
at 30 Beekman place.
Budd, who was given the
Gold Anvil of PRSA in 1988, put out a four-page newsletter
on the disaster with pictures. He said almost nothing was
even recognizable and the only thing salvaged was Rusty's
car, although its windows were broken.
He was vice chairman of
Carl Byoir & Assocs. from 1988-91 when it was a major
He is the author of several
books including Street Smart PR.
Internet Edition, Jan.
5, 2005 Page 8
New magazine tracker
Samir Husni will list about 950 new mags launched
in 2004, an indication of the voracious appetite of Americans
for information (and entertainment).
The same number of mags were introduced the year before.
The meaning for PR pros is that there are hundreds of new
outlets for their materials. Some of these mags are sex-related
and may not be suitable for many products.
prof at the University of Mississippi, told MIN (Media
Industry Newsletter) that the new mags are aiming at
"mass" markets now that the TV audience has been
fractured into hundreds of parts.
Major publishers dominate the new mag arena.
"Mass," however, now means circulation of about
500,000 rather than millions.
Time Inc. spawned
six new magsAll of You (women's service
monthly partnered with Wal-Mart), Cottage Living,
Find, Life (in its third reincarnation a newspaper
supplement like Parade), Your Diet, and Suede
All of You is placed at the top of 34 notable mag launches
in 2004 followed by Best of Life, men's health monthly from
Rodale; Boost, auto-related annual from Hachette Filipacchi;
Breathe, yoga bimonthly from HF; Cargo, ten issues a year
from Conde Nast; Chow, bimonthly from Instant Comma; Conceive,
quarterly about pregnancy from IC, and For Me, women's service
monthly from HF.
Samir Husni's Guide to New Magazines will be published
Healthcare, shopping and self-improvement are hot topics
with the public, based on the above.
Media are doing a good job covering these subjects.
But they re falling down in the public affairs arena, according
to some critics.
New Yorker Danny Schechter,
who is marketing a film called "WMD (Weapons of Mass
Deception)," feels major media have sold out
to many of the very institutions they re supposed to be
According to his count, only six of the 800 so-called experts
appearing on cable TV news shows were against the invasion
of Iraq. Some shows openly supported the war under slogans
such as "Operation Iraqi Freedom."
"Timidity" characterizes the "dwindling
outlets that still attempt to practice journalism,"
he told New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges
Dec. 29. Said Schechter: "American media are doing
more to undermine democracy than support it."
Schechter, whose film has aired in nine cities but not
New York, was a producer at ABC's "20/20" for
eight years. He quit in 1988 when he said "news was
replaced by infotainment."
More criticism of the
media came from the Dec. 2 New England Medical Journal
which bemoans the fact that "the media have become
the primary source of health education and medical information."
It likes this in a way since media "certainly can
get a message out quickly" about a new vaccine or problem
with a drug.
But it thinks that health-obsessed media (such as Time,
Newsweek, and the New York Times Mag, that
depend heavily on drug ads) sometimes "oversell, overscare
and oversimplify" matters.
Patients come to doctors offices "with news articles
and internet printouts in hand," says the Journal.
It would like to see the media do more follow-up stories
instead of focusing on what's new.
The Journal is conscious that its articles get wide play.
Some 450 original articles are generated each month based
on Journal stories and more than 1,000 "secondary"
reports are based on releases from wire services.
issues that demand the attention of PR groups in
2005 include the murders and detention of journalists in
numerous countries (e.g., Philippines); the threatened jailing
of NYT reporter Judith Miller and Time mag's Matthew Cooper
in the case involving the revelation of a CIA agent's name,
and the use of the media by the U.S. Government to spread
lies that may help the military. Disinformation was used
in advance of the recent attack on Fallujah.
A new "medium" that is getting a lot of attention
are "blogs," interactive websites created by individuals.
Technorati says there are five million blogs and 15,000
are added daily. Favorite topic for online journals is sex.
Subject was covered in the Dec. 19, 2004 NYT mag. Business
groups are now setting up seminars to explore the impact
of blogs and their use for commercial purposes.
The 26,000-member Assn.
of Fundraising Professionals is ratcheting up its ethical
code, barring members as of Jan. 1 from taking commissions
on revenueproducing activities.
Under pressure from fundraisers who felt they would work
harder if they got a cut of funds raised from selling sponsorships
and ads (vs. soliciting charitable gifts), the group had
been allowing payment of commissions on ad and sponsorship
sales. But IEG Sponsorship Report Dec. 13 said it became
hard to distinguish one type of income from the other and
the AFP closed this loophole after seven years.
It quoted one fundraiser as saying all funds raised should
go only to the organization.