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Internet Edition, Sep. 7, 2005, Page 1

Verisign, the Silicon Valley-based digital security and e-commerce technology company, expects to complete a review for its PR account within two weeks, according to Brian O'Shaughnessy, director of corporate communications.

The company tapped Applied Communications after its last review four years ago. Applied was acquired by Next Fifteen Communications Group in a $2 million deal in 2003 and Applied was folded into Bite Communications, which is the incumbent in the current Verisign review.

At the time, Verisign was one of Applied’s top four clients in a roster that included Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and Veritas.

Weber Shandwick, Bite and Hill & Knowlton are believed to be finalists from an initial field of seven firms, according to sources familiar with the review. O'Shaughnessy declined to comment on finalists.

Verisign, which had sales of $1.1B last year, has undergone changes since its last review and branched out through acquisitions into telecommunications, Internet and data security, and e-commerce services from its initial business of registering domain names.

Los Angeles wants to stem the shortage of nurses in the 4,000-square mile area of the city and surrounding county and encourage people to enter the field via a media and PR campaign.

The county estimates there are 1,200 vacant nursing jobs at its hospitals and healthcare facilities.

It wants to highlight incentives like training programs, scholarship and tuition deferment programs and relocation assistance as part of the overall effort to attract more nurses and buck a national trend of professionals leaving the stressful and demanding field.

The county’s Department of Health Services expects to award a three-year contract, with two option years and an annual budget cap of $800K for research and implementation of the PR campaign.

The work includes editorial placements, radio and TV talk shows, press releases, PSAs and some advertising.

Firms must have a local office at the time a contract would begin in Southern California, although not necessarily within Los Angeles County.

Proposals are due Sept. 23. Maria Agosto of the L.A. County Health Services Administration's contracts and grants division is contract administrator for the solicitation process.

Embassy Suites has reserved a block of rooms at its South Shady Grove Road unit in Memphis for executives of five PR firms who will pitch the $500K-$1M account on Thursday and Friday.

Invites went to Paul Wood (Ketchum), Rene Mack (Weber Shandwick), Gail Moaney (Ruder Finn), Ronn Torossian (5W PR), and Cathleen Johnson (Edelman).

John Lee, VP marketing/communications, will preside over the festivities. He has not been reached.

Embassy is offering rooms at $134 a night for the PR execs and a hotel shuttle lift from the airport. The South Shady Grove Road hotel is about 10 minutes from the chain's corporate headquarters.

Embassy Suites, which has more than 175 properties, is a unit of Hilton Hotels Corp. Fifteen PR firms are said to have vied for the account.

The National Hockey League, hobbled by a lengthy standoff between players and ownership that canceled the 2004 season, has finalized its marketing communications team ahead of the league’s re-launch in September.

Tackling PR are Los Angeles-based firms CarryOn Communication and Rogers & Cowan.

Bernadette Mansur, group VP for comms. for the NHL, told O’Dwyer’s the league conducted an extensive agency review and considered two tenets critical for PR: ability to reach the entertainment sector and experience with non-traditional outlets like weblogs and chat rooms.

The NHL plans to unveil the comprehensive advertising and PR campaign on Sept. 21 that will run through the 2005-06 season. The regular season begins Oct. 5.

Mansur declined to provide a budget figure but called the undertaking significant. She has a six-person PR staff in New York after lockout-induced layoffs.

New York-based advertising agency Conductor and Omnicom's PHD are handling ad-related duties.

CarryOn CEO Kevin Grangier sees the NHL as capable of bouncing back from a year's worth of bad press with a solid outreach effort: “Make no bones about that, we are working with a strong brand,” he said.

R&C is charged with spearheading the league’s entertainment PR push, Mansur said, including efforts to get the NHL and players into Hollywood movies.

Interpublic has lost Bank of America's $600M marcom account to Omnicom. The shift is a blow to troubled IPG and saw its CEO Michael Roth working to defend the account. Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris and MWW Group are among IPG's PR units that have worked for BoA.

Internet Edition, Sep. 7, 2005, Page 2

Weber Merritt Strategies has emerged from an RFP process to handle PR for the Pentagon Memorial Fund, the private fundraising group aiming to build an $18M memorial to victims of the 9/11 attacks adjacent to the Department of Defense headquarters.

The non-profit, which has raised about $8M so far and was started by families of the victims of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, will receive exposure during the Pentagon’s “America Supports You Freedom Walk” on Sept. 11.

That event has been criticized by anti-war activists and sparked a minor controversy for the Washington Post after the paper initially agreed to sponsor the event.

The Pentagon says the Walk is in part intended to raise awareness of the Memorial Fund, while remembering the 9/11 attacks and renewing America’s “commitment to freedom.”

Jerry Mullens, senior VP at WMS, said the firm beat a handful of finalists after twelve firms responded to an RFP for the work. He said the assignment is not pro bono, but he declined to discuss the budget.

WMS is promoting a live eBay auction beginning Sept. 6 that includes passes for the Indy 500 and lunch at Zola's Restaurant with a former CIA and FBI director.

WMS is a unit of Omnicom's Clark & Weinstock.

Liza Burnett, a senior VP for Dan Klores Communications, is slated to leave the firm to head PR for The Weinstein Co., the New York-based film production company headed by Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein.

Burnett, a six-year veteran of DKC and a key player in its film PR unit, will join the Weinsteins on Sept. 12 and head domestic publicity for the company and its Dimension Films unit.

Miramax PR exec Dani Weinstein has been named senior VP of publicity for TWC's film's slate and the company said it expects to tap an executive to lead PR for the Dimension unit's films “very shortly.”

Burnett, who is based in New York, praised her six years with DKC and said she “learned from the best” with founder Dan Klores.

Prior to DKC, she was marketing and PR manager for the Tavern on the Green and Russian Tea Room, and earlier was a publicist for Planet Hollywood. She began her career as an assistant to the EVP of marketing at ABC.

Recent production and acquisition agreements for the Weinsteins include “Decameron,” “Young Hannibal” and “Last Legion.”

The Weinstein brothers split from Miramax and Disney in a contentious breakup that officially ends Sept. 30, when they relinquish the co-chair reins at Miramax.

Greg Dvorken, a corporate PR exec for KPMG and Sony Electronics, has moved on to head FitzGerald Communications' New York office as senior VP/GM. Dvorken, who had been running his own shop, Greg Dvorken Communications, in New Jersey, was director of corporate PR for accounting giant KPMG at the outset of its troubles with the U.S. government.

APCO Worldwide has turned to a former media advisor for the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to head the firm's foray into the Jewish State in Tel Aviv.

Gad Ben-Ari was a press secretary and advisor to Rabin from 1992-1994. The prime minister, who was assassinated by an Israeli extremist in 1995, tapped Ben-Ari for a post with Israel's largest and oldest fundraising organization, Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal. He eventually became international director, his most recent post before APCO.

At APCO, Ben-Ari takes the title of managing director.

APCO’s Tel Aviv outpost will key on Israel's high-tech and science sectors with an eye on international expansion and attracting foreign investments, according to APCO president/CEO Margery Kraus. Ben-Ari singled out China and the Far East as particular markets of interest to Israeli companies.

Brad Staples, who heads APCO's Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, said the move into Israel is part of a plan to consolidate the firm’s presence in the eastern Mediterranean region while expanding across the rest of the EMEA region. It is the firm's first office in the Middle East.

APCO marked its 20th year in 2004 with a management buyout from Grey Global Group.

Euro RSCG Magnet has taken over as Atkins Nutritionals’ main PR firm.

The low-carb dynamo has been in a recent slump and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, in part because of waning interest in carb-cutting diets.

Magnet’s recently unveiled PopWorx marketing unit is working with Atkins. That practice handles work including viral marketing, gaming, blogosphere communications and product placements.

The firm said it is slated to take on two “top secret” assignments for Atkins beginning early in September.

Atkins acquired Williams Whittle Rothstein PR in 2004 and put president Richard Rothstein at the helm of corporate communications for the company.

WWR had handled PR for Atkins for six years at that point and Rothstein continues as VP/cc.

Lazaro Benitez, who managed media relations for New York’s 2012 Olympic bid, has moved on to NASCAR's New York office to head the auto racing titan's outreach to the media in the Eastern region.

Benitez, as manager of East regional media outreach, reports to Jim Hunter, VP of corporate communications for NASCAR, which is short for National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing.

Hunter noted that Benitez gives NASCAR a full-time presence in the “largest media market.”

At NYC2012, Benitez was a primary spokesman for the city's push to host the Games, a bid which was eliminated in early July after a stadium project fell apart. London eventually edged Paris as the host city.

Benitez was previously a public affairs coordinator for TD Waterhouse.

Internet Edition, Sep. 7, 2005, Page 3

Media attention to Hurricane Katrina made it a whole lot more difficult than usual for PR pros to get coverage.

Book publicist Susan Schwartzman said the hurricane has preempted all the news media, and monopolized producers’ time all over the country.

“`If you don’t have anyone from New Orleans, I can’t talk to you,’” she was told by National Public Radio producers when she tried booking an author for an interview.

Peter Himler, president of the Publicity Club of N.Y., said the “fearsome lady not only consumed the Gulf, the city of New Orleans, and the states of Alabama and Mississippi for starters, but she consumed any space left in the country’s news hole available for non-hurricane stories.”

PR Depends on the Weather

“In PR, so much depends of the day’s weather,” said Himler, who sees an upside. “KPMG is certainly happy at the likely short-lived media attention its half-billion dollar fine will receive,” or “how about Al Sharpton’s many detractors who no doubt gloated at the submarining of the Rev. Al’s best-laid publicity plan in Crawford, Tex.,” said Himler.

News coverage, particularly on TV, has become a major part of how huge events like Katrina are experienced.

Fox News had nearly 3.4 million viewers in prime time Monday night, according to statistics from Nielsen Media Research. About 2.6 million tuned in to CNN, while two million watched the Weather Channel.

Local Media Shutdown

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which was forced to shut down, has begun appearing in paper-and-ink form again.

The paper is also posting updates on its website, as is The Sun Herald in Gulfport, Miss. It is not known when people would have the electricity to read the papers online.

The public is largely relying on battery-operated radios to get news from a few radio stations that have resumed broadcasting, such as KHEV-FM, Clear Channel’s Gospel station in New Orleans, which is simulcasting coverage from WWL-TV, Belo’s CBS affiliate in New Orleans, has managed to stay on the air after moving its operations to Baton Rouge.

Most of the other TV station owners have no idea when they will be able to get local stations up and running over-the-air because assessing the damage is near to impossible, according to Mediaweek.

Bloggers Are Sources

Bloggers are mobilizing to provide much-needed information and relief aid in the wake of Katrina, and a few on-the-scene and remote bloggers are emerging as sources of information in an area where electricity, Internet connections and telephone communications were severely compromised.

The top Katrina-related news sources cited by bloggers, according to Intelliseek, include:, Yahoo! News, MSNBC, Washington Post, BBC News, New York Times, Fox News,, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald.

Several lesser-known but hurricane-specific blogs have emerged since Katrina slammed ashore last weekend. On-the-scene and remote blogs providing information about Katrina and the relief effort include: Irish Trojan Blog by Brendan Troy of South Bend, Ind.; Metroblogging New Orleans by nine N.O.-area residents; Eyes on Katrina from the Biloxi Sun Herald, and Ernie the Attorney blog written from Louisiana State Univ. (See “Katrina” on page 7)


Janet Babin, a host and political news reporter at WCPN-FM in Cleveland for the last five years, has joined “Marketplace,” the money and business show from American Public Media. Babin will run the “Marketplace” Innovations desk from WUNC at the Univ. of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Elizabeth Blackshire, 38, was named deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe’s “Personal Journal” section, based in Brussels.

Alison Rogers is stepping down as real estate editor of the New York Post to write a syndicated column, which will be available at later this month.

Jennifer Schuessler, who took over in Jan. 2004 as editor of the Boston Globe’s “Ideas” section, is joining the New York Times as a staff editor at the Sunday “Book Review” section.

Wen Stephenson, who joined the Globe in March, 2004, will replace Schuessler.

Jeannie Kim, previously a freelancer, was named deputy features editor at Redbook.

Deborah Way, editor of Indianapolis Monthly, is joining O, the Oprah Magazine, as features editor.

Suzanne Daley, the education editor of the New York Times, was appointed the paper’s next national editor, replacing Jim Roberts.


Tribune Media Services will syndicate the Variety Entertainment News Service, which will offer news stories, features, profiles, analysis, columns, box office reports, photos and reviews to print and online papers.

Bridal Guide magazine and Wilhelmina Models has signed JC Penney as sponsor of the first bridal cover model search. The grand prize winner will appear on the cover of the Nov./Dec. 2006 issue of Bridal Guide.

Stars & Stripes, a daily newspaper for military people stationed overseas, is starting a weekly U.S. edition for distribution by papers located near military bases.

Technology Review is cutting back publication of the print edition from 11 times a year to six, and making the Internet a more important news venue.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, Sep. 7, 2005, Page 4

The publisher of Nature magazine has retained Ruder Finn to provide content and design for 14 two-page features to be published in the weekly magazine, which is read by 680,000 scientists, and in monthly research and review journals.

Kathy Bloomgarden, co-CEO of Ruder Finn and founder of Ruder Finn HealthCare, said the firm’s editorial and design groups are “working together to provide visually stimulating and balanced, informative pieces” for Nature Publishing Group’s display advertising group.

The “Product Focus” section presents the latest life science technology, with a balanced overview of specific product areas each month.

Ruder Finn will support diverse topics in the life sciences, such as, microscopy, cell counting and imaging, polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and scientific software.

“The Product Focus section is a great way for researchers to stay abreast of the latest technology and for manufacturers to present their products and services to the public,” said John Michael, global head of NPG display advertising.

NPG is a division of Macmillan Publishers. Nature is NPG’s flagship title. Other publications include Nature Reviews Cancer, Nature Medicine, Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine, and a range of academic journals, including society-owned publications.

NPG has offices in New York, London, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, Tokyo, Paris, Munich and Basingstoke.

Burson-Marsteller’s recent survey ranked these as the five “Most Valued Podiums” for CEOs and C-suite executives:

MVPs for CEOs: (1) World Economic Forum; (2) Business Roundtable; (3) Detroit Economic Club; (4) Fortune, and (5) Business Week.

MVPs for C- Suite: World Economic Forum; (2) Forbes; (3) The Economist; (4) Business Week, (5, tied) CERA Week; CIO Magazine, and Fortune.
When asked how many invitations CEOs got in an average week to speak at conferences, senior corporate communications officers report an average of 3.4 CEO invitations per week or 175 per year.

More than 600 responses were submitted.


Essence magazine’s new editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray is putting more emphasis on coverage of fitness, relationships, personal finance and entrepreneurship.

She is also exploring special newsstand issues that are focused on health, beauty and hair.

Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine is looking for pitches on 1,000-word first-person honeymoon stories.

Annette Burden, editor-in-chief of the Carpinteria, Calif.-based DW&H, which is a part of World Publications, based in Winter Park, Fla., told Media Kitty, the online travel site for journalists, that she is interested in mainstream locations in the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Mexico but may consider other destinations if the story elements are universal enough (“we’re service oriented”).

Pitches and clips should be mailed to Burden at DW&H, 5267 Carpintera ave., Carpinteria, Calif. 93013. She can be reached by phone at 805/745-7114; fax: 745-7102.

USA Today Live, the TV arm of USA Today, will begin producing segments and programs based on the paper’s editorial content.

The first program, which starts airing on HDNet in Oct., is “Debate,” featuring newsmakers and celebrities who represent opposite sides of topics and engage in lively discussion. Lauren Ashburn, managing editor and anchor for USA Today Live, will host and moderate the panel, which will have reporters and editors from USA Today.

Program topics include abortion, stem-cell research and the death penalty. The topics will be chosen from the editorial pages of USA Today.

Sea Island Magazine will make its debut in Nov. 2005 with a quarterly schedule for 2006 under the editorship of Jim Brosseau, who was senior editor at Town & Country, as well as various posts at Ladies’ Home Journal, USA Today, and Conde Nast Traveler.

Published by Redwood Custom Communications in Toronto, the luxury lifestyle magazine will be placed in rooms at the upscale Sea Island resort in Georgia, and mailed to select Sea Island clientele.


CBS News is starting its own blog, Public Eye, to discuss how news is covered by the network.

Vaughn Ververs, formerly editor of The Hotline, a Washington, D.C.-based political blog, who will write the reports, will monitor other blogs, e-mails and viewer calls to report on disputes over CBS News stories before they become big issues.

He believes Public Eye will be an important step in helping large news organizations mend damaged reputations. “What we’ll try to do is pick out the things that we think are important, that are legitimate, and shine a spotlight on them,” he told the Associated Press.

WealthTV, a new network based in San Diego, is showing only programs with positive content, and 10 minutes per hour of commercials compared to as many as 17 minutes on other channels.

Robert Herring Sr., who owns the network, believes viewers want to watch shows with positive family values.

“TV today is bombarding the viewer with scandals, husbands killing pregnant wives, the intimate details of celebrities, and what is being described as emotional pornography,” said Herring, who is not a member of any organized religion, or trying to further a political agenda, according to Dean Harris, who handles PR for Herring Broadcasting, and can be reached at 858/270-6900.

Internet Edition, Sep. 7, 2005, Page 5

Zeno Group, one of the first firms to start a practice focused on marketing to women, is producing a second “Marketing-to-Moms” Conference Sept. 20 in Chicago.

Bridget Brennan, who heads Zeno’s consumer unit and put together its Speaking Female practice, is one of six panelists slated for the event, including Jeff Davidoff, director of marketing for Whirlpool and Brad Santeler, director of media services for Kimberly Clark.

Zeno says its research found that women are responsible for 83 precent of all consumer purchases, a figure which tops 90 percent in some catergories like home furnishings and vacations.

The conference will be open to the public at no charge and is slated for the University of Chicago Gleacher Center from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Space can be reserved by contacting Jam Stewart ([email protected]).

Maria Bailey, author of newly released Trillion Dollar Moms, will moderate the panel.

Lilian Sackman Chiu, a 17-year PR and marketing veteran from Florida, has set up Berushka Media in Miami to cover what she sees as a small niche in the PR market for clients that can’t pony up big bucks for press releases and marketing.

“Our typical client is the small to mid-size firm that is either not ready to hire marketing staff or has marketing staff already too over-burdened to generate publicity for their own recent work,” she said.

Berushka, which means “ladybug” in Czech, has a pricing structure that allows clients to log on to its website and purchase press releases or marketing materials with a credit card. That transaction is followed up by the firm with a phone call and a meeting with the client.; 305/338-2407.

New York-based G.S. Schwartz & Co. has put together a program to offer free PR counsel to small, local non-profits.

Firm president Jerry Schwartz said the PRo Bono program will cater to groups that show a clear need, lack of funds and agency staffs’ personal involvement in a cause.

Schwartz said his firm will provide staff time and cover out-of-pocket expenses for three months per group for one organization at a time.

The first two non-profits will be Angel Flight, a group of 1,200 volunteer pilots focused on healthcare transportation, and New York SCORES, a school development and literacy program for so-called at-risk students.

BRIEFS: Michael A. Burns & Associates has relocated to larger offices at 3333 Lee Parkway, #450, Dallas, TX. Eisbrenner PR, Troy, Mich., was named one of “60 Cool Places to Work” in Michigan by Crain’s Detroit Business and the Grand Rapids Business Journal... SheaHedges Group has moved to a larger space at 7900 Westpark Drive, #T410, McLean, Va. 22102. Phones are unchanged.


New York Area

Chandler Chicco Agency, New York/Global Alliance
for TB Drug Development, non-profit drug developer, as agency of record for PR to support a series of clinical trials to begin this year. An international PR effort will be coordinated through CCA’s Washington, D.C., office.

Trylon Communications, New York/M3 Media, for
trade, business and consumer media relations for the newly launched TV programming company focused on citizen journalism.

5W PR, New York/Bradley and Montgomery, ad
agency; Access Retail Entertainment, point of purchase advertising; TestQuest, private education services; Oxford Media Corp., digital video technologies; iSkoot, Internet phone company, and Stacy Blackman, business school admissions counselor.

Thomas PR, Huntington Station, N.Y./See me Sign, as agency of record for PR for its Sign-a-Lot educational DVD series teaching sign language to children without impaired hearing.


MWW Group, East Rutherford, N.J./XanGo, dietary
supplement beverage maker, to spearhead a strategic communications campaign.

Elias/Savion Advertising, Pittsburgh/CombineNet, software, as agency of record for work including media relations, creative design, advertising and e-businessstrategy.


Robert Smith & Associates, Chicago/, plastic surgery educational
website, for PR.

Mountain West

Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Denver/Abacus, formerly
DoubleClick Data Solutions, to re-introduce the brand and its capabilities.

GroundFloor Media, Boulder, Colo./James Avery,
Texas-based jeweler, and Umbria, market research, for national PR.

Connect PR, Provo, Utah/Antenna Software; ASG;
Linux Networkx; MontaVista Software; RadioTime and VersionOne, all as AOR for PR.


Michael & Partners, Austin, Tex./Terax Energy, gas exploration and production company focused on Texas, for public and investor relations.


Walt & Co., Santa Clara, Calif./Kerio Technologies,
messaging servers and firewalls, and Promise
Technologies, data storage technologies.

Edelman, Los Angeles/MedCom USA, healthcare and financial transaction technology, for PR. Edelman’s New York and San Francisco offices will assist.

Rogers & Associates, Los Angeles/The Los Angeles Auto Show, as AOR for the event, which has changed its date from early January to mid-November beginning in 2006. The Show will actually be held twice in ’06 with the ’07 show held in December ’06. The show was changed to distance the event from the Detroit auto show and the holiday season.

Internet Edition, Sep. 7, 2005, Page 6

U.S. Newswire and blogger Peter Daou are collaborating on NewsUnfiltered, a weblog that will include content from USN’s public interest press release feed.

Daou, who saw his blog aggregator Daou Report acquired by Salon earlier this year, said the blogosphere thrives on “fresh, unfiltered material that is in the pre-publication stage.”

USN disseminates releases from polticians, PACs, associations and other groups interested in public issues and politics. The company is a unit of Medialink.

The Pentagon is looking for a firm or event management company to handle all aspects of its annual Worldwide Public Affairs Symposium slated for March 5-11, 2006 in the Washington, D.C., area.

The Army expects 500 attendees and needs registration, class assignment and scheduling services, along with administrative and audio-visual support for 30+ seminars. The contractor will handle all coordination with a hotel and be responsible for all payments, along with other services like setting up a website.

Hotel proposals are due to Office of the Chief of Public Affairs by Sept. 30.

Maura Fitch of Army Public Affairs is primary contact at [email protected].

BurellesLuce in Livingston, N.J., will include Nielsen/NetRatings, which are similar to print circulation figures, on all press clippings retrieved from Internet sources.

The company notes that some shops incorrectly use print circulation figures from a website’s accompanying publication, rather than ‘Net-based figures.

Sarah Shepard, VP at IR firm ROI Group Associates, has joined Business Wire as a senior account manager in New York. She was previously with KCSA Worldwide.

Vocus has opened a sales office in Reston, Va. The company, which has filed to go public, said the new outpost in northern Virginia will support its “rapidly growing” direct sales organization.

Vocus has added the Virginia Association of Realtors as a client for its PR software.

A public database of media contacts, including phone and e-mail, is at

The site is affiliated with, which allows users to modify and add information to listings.

UPCOMING: EurekAlert! Seminar, Oct. 14, “Communicating Science & Health News Across the Media Spectrum,” 8:00 a.m., National Press Club, Washington, D.C. Spectrum Science Comms. is a sponsor of the event, which will offer the opportunity to hear from reporters representing print, online and broadcast outlets from the U.S. and abroad. Cost: $35/EurekAlert! subscribers, $60/non-subscribers. Info: 202/326-6716.



Jennifer Furey, scientific communications executive for Abbot Laboratories and a former healthcare PR pro for Edelman, to MWW Group, Chicago, as an A/S in the firm’s nutritional and functional foods practice. MWW/Chicago has picked up a PR account for RD Foods to handle PR for the company and its cholesterol-lowering, high-fiber cookies. Creative services, scientific research marketing and counsel are included.

Rina Saleh, PR director for Fortune Promoseven-Weber Shandwick based in Abu Dhabi, to 160over90, Philadelphia, as PR director for the New York-based marcom firm. Saleh previously ran Blush PR in New York focused on fashion and beauty clients.

Michael Vallebuona, a veteran of the Associated Press, Clear Channel Radio and Clay Marketing and PR, to Witeck-Combs Communications, Washington, D.C. He was recently with KM Communications.

Karin Wallestad, previously director of media relations at the American Public Health Association and a senior A/E for Fenton Communications, to Spitfire Strategies, Washington, D.C., as director of strategic planning. Mary Dwight, associate for policy consulting shop Heidepriem and Mager, to Spitfire, Washington, D.C., as a VP. At H&M, Dwight, a registered lobbyist, worked with Planned Parenthood of New York City and the National Assn. of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She brings along the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as a client. Spitfire has also added Colleen Chapman, national manager of policy for the American Cancer Soc., also joins as a VP.

Chuck Hester, VP, Estey-Hoover Advertising and PR, to Koroberi, Chapel Hill, N.C., as director of PR.

Robert Byrd, president of Atlanta-based Hayslett
Group, to Wells Real Estate Funds, Atlanta, as VP of
corporate communications.

Karen Chamberlin, account director, Walt Disney
Parks & Resorts’ Yellow Shoes Creative Group, to
Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, Orlando, Fla., as VP, group director for clients including Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts and the Mazatlan Hotel Assn. Also, the firm has named Soozi Eichler, a marketing veteran for Magic 107.7 FM and Billie Heller & Co., as an A/S. Myriah Hampton, writer for Caribbean Travel & Life, has joined as an A/E.

Nancy Hood, VP for GCI Group’s Atlanta office, to The Integer Group, Des Moines, Iowa, as VP, director of PR. She was formerly senior counselor for Gibbs & Soell PR. Integer is owned by Omnicom.

Susan Schneider, former VP for Lesnik PR, to
GreenHouse, Chicago, as VP of PR. She has been an independent PR consultant for the last 12 years for clients like Kraft’s Boca Foods brand and CarMax. The hire marks the marketing and advertising firm’s addition of a PR practice.

Jodi Krohmer, corporate communications manager, Nicor Inc., to DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP, as its first U.S. director of internal communications, based in Chicago. She was previously director of marketing and PR for the Rockford Area Council of 100.

Internet Edition, Sep. 7, 2005, Page 7

Al-Arabiya, the Arab-language satellite news network launched in 2003 to compete with Al-Jazeera, has nabbed its competitor's manager of communications and media relations, Jihad Ali Ballout.

The Dubai-based station announced the defection of Ballout, who became director of comms., on Aug. 29.

Ballout, who was educated in America, was formerly a reporter for Iraq's state-run newspaper and a representative for Philip Morris in the Middle East. He has been the media face of the controversial Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network through the Iraq invasion, often having to explain the network’s decision to air footage construed by critics to be anti-American or beneficial to terrorist endeavors.

Ballout defended Al-Jazeera's exclusive airing of footage of American POWs in Iraq in 2003, a move which led to a ban of the network by the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ and strong criticism by the U.S. government.

Ballout, in a typical response about the network, told the BBC in June ’03: “Al Jazeera did not create what's happening, they are just reporting it.”

Al-Arabiya has also taken its share of heat, especially in ’03 when it aired an audio tape of Saddam Hussein before he was captured. The interim Iraqi government, saying the tape could incite insurgent violence, banned the network from operating in Iraq until it agreed to follow the country's laws. President Bush and Condoleezza Rice were interviewed on Al-Arabiya to soften the impact of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Terry Clarke, former head of Boston PR heavyweight Clarke & Co., which hit hard times and went under last year, has been fired by RDW Group – which hired Clarke and some of his staff – in a move that has drawn bad blood between him and RDW ‘s chairman.

Clarke has filed suit in Suffolk Superior Court for wrongful termination to the tune of $750K, according to the Boston Globe. RDW chairman Mike Doyle has countered that Clarke was fired for “myriad good reasons, including his dishonesty,” charges Clarke says are a “fabrication,” “puzzling and slanderous,” according to Post columnist Steve Bailey.

Clarke & Co. staffed 33 PR professionals in 2001 with billings over $4M. But in ’02 the firm entered what Clarke called a “period of transition,” when it merged with Jackson & Co. and in ‘04 it went out of business.

RDW came along and hired Clarke and 14 staffers last year, according to the Globe. Clarke was handed a five-year contract with RDW in 2004.

The Michigan Propane Gas Association is looking for outside PR help to advise and coordinate its consumer education and PR efforts promoting the gas, which powers everything from school buses to heaters.

MPGA’s funding, dependent on state rebates doled out through the National PERC, has soared from $60K in 1999 to $1M this year. The group wants its PR counsel to work with the MPGA committee on a long-term consumer education and marketing plan, research and to recommend contractors for the work.

(cont'd from page 3)
The ex-mayor of a destroyed City of New Orleans has called for a relief effort “of 9/11 proportions” and President Bush has named his father and former President Clinton to lead fundraising efforts for the thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina, which has ravaged the Gulf Coast of the U.S.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency last week was looking for immediate help from experienced public information officers in dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane in both Washington, D.C., and in the field in the Gulf region.

The need for PIOs was filled late last week.

Former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial said on Sept. 1 that a relief effort “of 9/11 proportions” will be needed for the area to recover from the natural disaster as hundreds, possibly thousands, are feared dead and billions of dollars worth of damage has been inflicted.

“Indescribable destruction” was what an employee of Atlanta-based broadcast PR company KEF Media found on arrival in Biloxi, Miss., in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Kevin Foley, president of KEF, told O’Dwyer’s that the company had taken several calls by TV news outlets requesting the services of its satellite truck – which is normally used for satellite media tours on the East Coast – to cover the hurricane.

KEF's Tom Reynolds went to Biloxi for Fox News and operated the truck nonstop through Tuesday until he ran out of gas [gas prices have soared well above $5/gallon in the region]. He was able to refuel in Montgomery, Ala., and was slated to return to New Orleans last weekend to uplink Geraldo Rivera’s show on the Fox network. Fox's Sunday coverage saw the news network's highest viewer total – over 2.3M – of 2005.

Art Wiese, VP of corporate comms. for Entergy in New Orleans, had this to say: “This is the crisis communications challenge of a lifetime – and that's said by someone who worked on the worldwide collapse of oil prices in 1986, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, the invasion of Kuwait and subsequent Persian Gulf War in 1990-91, various cancer scares involving gasoline in the mid-1990s ... 9/11 and the attempt to force our New York nuclear plants to close in 2001-4 and three previous hurricanes.”

Charles Pizzo, former chair of IABC and a PR consultant based in New Orleans, said he and his family evacuated early. Both of his family's homes have been lost and he reports it is impossible to reach cell or land phone lines in the area. Pizzo has relocated to a Fort Worth, Tex., hotel and is welcoming PR work (contact info is at

The Marketing Research Assn., which was slated to hold its fall meeting in New Orleans Nov. 2-4, was told by the Hyatt Regency Hotel that it could not honor any group contracts in the Big Easy until after Nov. 15. The MRA has moved the meeting to the Hyatt/Las Vegas and set up a Researcher-to-Researcher relief assistance message board ( which has already drawn dozens of comments.

One satellite operations manager told Foley he thinks his network has only begun to tell the tragic story of the natural disaster.

Internet Edition, Sep. 7, 2005 Page 8




The KPMG false tax shelter case, which has thus far resulted in criminal charges against eight partners (although not the firm itself, which would probably be destroyed by such charges), is a study in stonewalling and intransigence.

KPMG took on the federal government itself, refusing for years to turn over documents as ordered and dodging questions when summoned before Congress.

One senator, noted a New York Times story Aug. 28, got fed up with “evasive”answers by a KPMG executive and finally said, “Try an honest answer.”

Almost no one from KPMG would talk to the NYT on the record for the story, which detailed the “war” KPMG conducted against the government.

The accounting firm viewed itself “as above reproach,” said criminal law professor Peter Henning of Wayne State University Law School, one of the few people to be quoted by name in the investigative piece.

“It chose to fight,” said the NYT article by Lynnley Browning, “fiercely resisting questions from the IRS and Justice Dept.” about its 10,000-employee tax unit that in one case dodged $1.4 billion in taxes by shifting funds from one entity to another.

Confusing the IRS with blinding complexity and making it do a lot of extra work (hoping the federal workers wouldn’t do it) was the defense mechanism KPMG chose.

Among those not talking to the NYT was KPMG global director of communications George Ledwith, who once was an executive at the former Carl Byoir & Assocs.

“He declined to respond to any questions,” said the story.

Whether Ledwith had anything to do with forming the stonewalling strategy or whether he just went along with it cannot be determined. In any case, he obviously did not quit the firm.

Despite the massive stonewalling, in which KPMG ignored “dozens of summonses” from the IRS (while other big firms like Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers settled tax evasion charges) the firm was undone by “anonymous informants” who outed the tax schemes to the IRS.

The NYT noted near the start of the story that KPMG was “not alone” in trying to befuddle the federal government.

“Nearly every big and midsize accounting firm created `tax products that usually involved complex swap transactions to create losses on secretly erase...taxable income,” said the story.

Not only is KPMG paying a $456 million settlement and suffering a blow to its corporate image, its 1,524 partners must each pay an average of $300,000 over the next six months because the firm was self-insured. The partners average $600K in salary.

The firm also faces many lawsuits from clients who used the tax-dodging devices. The IRS wants some $2.5 billion in lost taxes.

Media were on to the tax avoidance schemes by the big CPA firms in the late 1990s but the firms ignored the stories. It would have been far cheaper and less painful if they had paid attention to the media instead of waiting for government action.

Forbes, for instance, ran a cover story on the schemes of Deloitte & Touche in early 1999 that included reproductions of sales letters of D&T. The firm promised to relieve companies of all or some of their tax burdens and in return wanted a percentage of the savings.

CPAs told us it is highly unethical for a CPA firm to want a “cut” of anything.

D&T at that time was the CPA firm for PRSA. It either quit or was fired in 2001. Sobel & Co., Livingston, N.J., took over with the 2002 fiscal year.

Given the credibility crisis at both big and medium-sized CPA firms, it’s odd that PRSA president Judith Phair should cite Sobel and Deloitte & Touche as the moral arbiter of what PRSA puts in its financial statements (Aug. 31 NL).

Phair said the two auditing firms approved of PRSA having no deferred dues account whatsoever (except a small amount for PRSA’s two publications) and that therefore having a minuscule DD account is acceptable. It may be acceptable but it’s not the best or the right thing to do in PRSA’s case. PRSA in 1991 had $900K in DD but only $310K in 2004.

Treasurer and president-elect candidate Rhoda Weiss, in a July 25 leader teleconference, told how PRSA’s financials compared to those of 42 other groups in a study by the American Society of Assn. Executives. She did not describe the statistics on “deferred revenue” which showed other groups have an average of 15.3% of annual revenues in this category, while PRSA only has 2.8% ($310K in deferred dues on income of $10.9M).

Weiss mistakenly said PRSA’s administrative expenses are only 22% while those of other associations average 34%. She cited the administrative average for trade associations (34.6%) while the correct comparison was with individual membership organizations (the next column over in the study), where the average is 18.7%, which is lower than PRSA’s administrative costs.

Sources say PRSA is shopping for a new CPA firm and will end its relationship with Sobel after the 2005 audit. PRSA said it is continuing with Sobel for the 2005 audit and will not comment further.

Renita Coleman and Lee Wilkins, journalism professors who studied the “ethical reasoning” of ad people, have prepared several “ethical dilemmas” for posting on so that PR pros can test their “ethical I.Q.s” in solving problems that have no easy solution and no clear ethical answer.

Conflicting “goods” are involved in the dilemmas and respondents will have to chose courses of action that may help one party while short-changing another party. Advertising people, when given a series of ethical dilemmas, were found to favor solutions that were financially favorable to themselves or their clients.

– Jack O'Dwyer


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