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Internet Edition, August 23, 2006, Page 1


California’s aggressive embrace of solar energy has led to a $4.5M public education RFP to urge Golden State residents and builders to build and buy homes that utilize power from the sun.

An ambitious multi-billion program spearheaded by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to encourage the development and use of solar energy in the Golden State was okayed by the state’s Public Utilities Commission in January.

That nod created a $2.8 billion, 10-year incentive program administered by California Energy Commission, which has issued the lucrative PR RFP.

The state wants a firm to develop social marketing programs, PR, advertising, and a wide-reaching education effort targeting public and private entities like home builders, trade groups, financial institutions and chambers of commerce across the state.

The initial contract runs for two years and also includes two option years at $1.5M per year.

Proposals are due by Sept. 14 with the goal of hammering out a contract by January 2007.

Peg Bergmann is contract officer for the CEC ([email protected]; 916/654-7093).


Waggener Edstrom is preparing to pull the plug on its work for Connexion by Boeing, the doomed in-flight Internet service that never caught enough traction for the airplane maker.

WaggEd has worked on the account for three and a half years.

“We have appreciated the opportunity to support the innovation and passion of the company and its individuals,” Erica Beyer, northwest region GM for the firm said. “We recognize that every day businesses must make hard decisions to be responsible to employees, shareholders and customers, and we wish Boeing success with future endeavors.”

Boeing said last week that it was nixing the service because of a lack of demand. Despite strong interest in surveys of airline travelers, actual use of the service – which cost about $10 for an hour or $27 for a full flight – never met the lofty expectations of a predicted $70 billion in-flight Internet market.

Boeing said it will continue the service for several months before an “orderly phase out.”

The company expects a pre-tax charge of up to $320M in the second half of 2006.

Rival Airbus is planning a similar service through a joint venture with SITA.


The federal bureaucracy that runs Medicare and Medicaid has tapped four firms as its primary contractors for PR and communications over the next five years.

Following an eight-month review, incumbents Ketchum and Ogilvy PR Worldwide remain on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid roster.

Weber Shandwick expands on its current duties and Porter Novelli has been added to the mix.

Under government procurement rules, CMS will choose from the four firms as projects and campaigns arise over the course of the primary year and four option years covered by the new contracts. The combined pacts have a ceiling of $300M.

Ketchum, Ogilvy, GCI Group and Academy for Educational Development had previously been the major PR contractors for the CMS. PN is a newcomer to the federal agency’s PR roster.

Weber Shandwick was one of four firms to win part of a research and communications RFP in October 2005 with the federal entity.

The new quartet will be called on to handle a swath of communications efforts, including earned media and press relations, Internet communications, grassroots outreach, press conferences, monitoring, marketing materials and paid media, among other tasks. That could include an overhaul of federal entity’s image as well.


The Israeli Ministry of Tourism has brought back its former PR firm, New York-based Geoffrey Weill Associates, following a six-month review that began before the latest round of violence in the region.

The MoT said it has not utilized outside PR assistance in the U.S. since 2004. Its last firm was 5W PR.

Weill declined to defend the account after being one of 15 firms invited to pitch during the last review in 2004, which resulted in a $2M a year pact that went to 5W PR and MWW Group.

In announcing the return of the account, Weill referenced the Israeli-Hezbollah ceasefire and noted: “We are starting work formally on a day that is full of optimism, so let’s hope it’s a good omen.”

GCI Group is supporting Dell in its costly recall of 4.1 million laptop batteries made by Sony, the largest product pull-back ever in the consumer electronics sector. Sony and Dell plan to split the cost of the recall - estimated from $200M-$400M – which was initiated because some of the batteries in the laptops burst into flames. GCI is Dell’s agency of record.

Internet Edition, August 23, 2006, Page 2


Edelman has placed Bob Angus, CEO of its May acquisition, A&R Partners, at the helm of a new technology leadership team for the firm.

Angus will now serve as director of U.S. technology and president of the A&R Edelman unit, as well as chair of a new unit that includes Edelman managing directors in London (Jonathan Hargreaves) and Southeast Asia (Bob Grove).

Pam Pollace, the former Intel pro, has left her Edelman post as global tech chair to serve as communications director for the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, a San Francisco-based entity focused on doling out grants for environmental and scientific causes.

Angus, a co-founder of A&R Partners, has been in PR 25 years and is based in San Mateo, Calif. Grove heads Southeast Asian tech operations from his base in Singapore.

Hargreaves, in the U.K., has been heading global communications for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and currently leads the Orange account at both group and U.K. level for Edelman.

The firm says more than 250 staffers work in its tech practice on clients like Canon, Samsung and Microsoft. The firm claimed 1,848 total employees across all disciplines in 2005, while A&R staffed about 100 at the time of the acquisition.


WPP reported a nearly 13 percent rise in revenue for the first six months of 2006, compared with the same period last year. Including currency movements, overall revenue rose 16% to $5.12 billion.

The No. 2 ad/PR holding company is bullish on PR and public affairs, noting the fields continue to show significant improvement over last year, following a strong year in 2005.

“It seems that the public relations and public affairs businesses, in particular, are benefiting from the growth of new technologies, where editorial publicity is very effective and probably more effective than paid for publicity,” the company said in releasing its financials. “Social networking, in particular, is offering a new form of word-of-mouth ‘advertising,’ that is very effective. These new technologies are probably boosting the growth rates of [PR and PA].”

PR and PA revenues rose 11.6 percent for the first half, compared with advertising and media investment management, which rose 10.7 percent.

Acquires Dewey Square Group

Moving on the growth it sees in PA and following its acquisition earlier this month of Public Strategies, WPP also announced that it has agreed to acquire DSG Strategies, a Washington, D.C. public affairs firm focused on grassroots advocacy, coalition building, communications and strategic marketing which was formerly known as Dewey Square Group.

DSG was set up in 1993 and based in Washington The firm has five other U.S. offices and employs 53 people. WPP said DSG’s unaudited revenues for 2005 were $12.5M with gross assets of $2.9M at the date of acquisition.


Financial columnist Christopher Byron of the New York Post took Omnicom and CEO John Wren to the woodshed Aug. 14 for a stock-buyback program which he says borders on “outright stock manipulation” and for Wren's refusal to deal with the press.

Byron received no help from OMC PR staffer Patricia Sloan who directed him to the OMC website and demanded that he send any questions by e-mail. None were answered.

Concluded the article: “And they call this company skilled at media relations? Go figure.”

The buyback program, which has reduced OMC's outstanding shares from 187 million to 170 million with analysts predicting another ten million in buybacks, has added $3 billion+ to OMC’s “once pristine balance sheet,” said Byron.

He notes the stock was $107 at the end of 1999 and only $86 as of the close Aug. 11 in spite of the program.

Stock prices can be boosted by buybacks but if the program is “aggressive enough, the company could actually suffer, which clearly seems to have been the case with the OMC program,” says Byron.

He criticizes CEO John Wren for avoidance of press interviews, noting that Wren has only given three in the past four years which included two with a “friendly trade magazine.” AdWeek interviewed Wren twice but no financial topics were discussed. Wren stressed in both interviews that the 1,500 properties of OMC are coordinating closely with each other.

OMC Ducks New York

Byron also notes that Wren has taken the annual meeting out of New York four years in a row.

Wren previously worked at the defunct Arthur Andersen accounting firm.

Stocks of rivals like WPP, Interpublic, Havas and Publicis have also fallen from their turn of the century highs, says Byron. The conglomerates have banned all their PR and ad agencies from releasing any statistics about billing and employment for the past four years. The debt of the four largest conglomerates is about $12B.

Byron is especially concerned about OMC borrowing money to buy back stock.

This included a recent loan of nearly $1 billion which was plowed into OMC stock.

OMC in 1999 “took its first hesitant steps into the bog of financial razzle-dazzle from which few companies ever return,” said Byron, who notes OMC spent $958 million on buybacks in the first half of 2006 alone.

He reprises the 2002 dust-up of OMC with the Wall Street Journal when a story about alleged accounting irregularities cut OMC stock in half to below $40.

“OMC tried to contain the damage by unleashing a corporate flack to smear the article as a tissue of inaccuracies and improper innuendos, then calling a teleconference at which only friendly Wall Street analysts were permitted to ask questions,” writes Byron.

He says the story was “completely accurate and fairly balanced, and OMC eventually abandoned its spin effort without pointing to a single error or distortion or asking the WSJ to publish any corrections.”

Sloan was formerly New York editor of Ad Age.

Internet Edition, August 23, 2006, Page 3


David Blum, a veteran magazine editor and writer, has been named editor-in-chief of the Village Voice.

Blum’s appointment follows the short-lived tenure of Erik Wemple, the former Washington City Paper editor who was tapped in early June as the fourth editor in seven months at the Voice.

Blum began his career as an urban affairs reporter for the Wall Street Journal in 1979 and has written for New York magazine, Esquire, and the New York Times Magazine. He left the Journal for Esquire in 1983 and was at New York from ’85-92. He wrote for the Times Magazine from ’95-00 and has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s journalism school since 2002. Since ’02, he has been a TV critic for the New York Sun.

The Queens native officially starts at the Voice on Sept. 12.

“I believe in the limitless possibilities of weeklies, and in the power of narrative journalism to change the way people think and feel,” Blum said in a statement.


Time magazine said it will shift its on-sale day from Monday to Friday as part of a plan to “reformulate” the magazine and its website,, starting in January 2007.

The magazine noted the move marks a return to its original on-sale day established by founder Henry Luce in 1923.

Managing editor Richard Stengel, who joined in June, said the move will allow the magazine and website to offer content “continuously and seamlessly.”

Company research showed that pre-weekend delivery allows readers to spend more time with the magazine, which will hit newsstands on Friday with most subscribers receiving the publication by Saturday. It has not yet set the day of the week when the magazine will be printed.


A former Harvard student plans to launch a new bi-monthly magazine dubbed the “Vanity Fair for Harvard” with the backing of David Bradley, owner of the Atlantic Monthly.

The new publication, called 02138 after the school’s Cambridge, MA, zip code, is aimed to build a base from Harvard graduates with the anticipation of reaching beyond that narrow demographic. Bom Kim, a 2000 graduate of the Ivy League school who worked as a reporter-researcher at The New Republic, is a founder with Daniel Loss, who worked with Kim at The New Republic. Loss is a Harvard Law School grad (’04).

Meredith Kopit, former associate publisher of the Atlantic, is publisher of the new title, while Caroline Miller, former editor of New York and Seventeen, is editorial director.

The Rosen Group is promoting the magazine’s October debut with events in New york, Boston and Washington, D.C.

Initial circulation is planned at 50,000 alumni. An estimated 320K people list Harvard on their resumes, according to the new publication.


Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff paints a grim picture of the New York Times in the September issue of the magazine.

Headlined “Panic on 43rd Street,” the article lays much of the blame for the NYT Company’s low stock ($21.64 today vs. $52 in 2002) on publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger, who controls not only the business side but the editorial side of the paper.

Sulzberger has “consolidated executive, shareholder and editorial power – subverting the traditional autonomy of the Times newsroom,” writes Wolff. He calls executive editor Bill Keller “probably the weakest editor in the history of the paper.”

Sulzberger is said to be “attention-seeking, immature” and “verbally feckless.”

The NYT, “famously impersonal, suddenly has a flamboyant, hard-to-control, easy-to-dislike face,” Wolff adds.

The paper is controlled by about 50 family members who own the voting “B” shares while the “A” shares, which greatly outnumber the “B” shares, are held by the public.

Wolff calls the board “a passive and lackluster bunch” that only had one “corporate star,” IBM’s former CEO Lou Gerstner, who resigned several years ago.

Some holders of the “A” shares, including Morgan Stanley Asset Mgmt., with 5% of the shares, have publicly criticized the governance of the NYT.

Such charges question the “integrity” of the NYT itself, says Wolff, who notes that two “big scandals” have hurt the credibility of the paper.

One complaint is the “increasing” pay package of Sulzberger, which reached $3.2 million in 2005.

Building ‘Precursor to Calamity’

The article shows the new $850M h.q. of the NYT on 42nd St. A headline says, “The Times is also doing that one thing that is a classic precursor to calamity. It’s building a fabulous new corporate headquarters.”

While the NYT has 1.1M daily circulation, only 260K of this is now in the five boroughs, the rest being spread across the country. Both the New York Post and Daily News have circulations of more than 600K. The Sunday NYT has a circulation of 1.7M.

While the paper has created the “richest website of any newspaper in the world,” the “depth and efficiency” of the site are “undermining the paper itself,” says Wolff.

He criticizes the NYT's purchase of for $410 million, saying the site "may actually establish the baseline for the lowest level of information available on the web...a multi-million-page mishmash of superficial, often out-of-date, dumb, frequently wrong info bits.”

The NYT website generates 40 million users monthly and 489 million page views, but MySpace has 50 million monthly users and generated 29 billion page views, Wolff says.

He feels the Sulzberger family is “most touchy” about “bad press.”

Calls to Catherine Mathis, VP of corporate communications of the NYT, were not returned.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, August 23, 2006, Page 4


CBS said “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” slated to debut on Sept. 5, will be the first network evening news broadcast to be simulcast live on the Internet.

Couric said the move is an example of how the program plans to use its website to complement the broadcast.

Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media, pointed to the network’s successful simulcast of the “March Madness” college basketball tournament earlier this year and said there is a “huge appetite for real time content on the Internet.”

The broadcast will be advertiser-supported.

The program also plans to produce a blog called “Couric & Co.” and a daily on-demand web feature with extended interviews of people in the news by Couric called “Eye to Eye.”


Fenton Communications’ Washington, D.C., office is lining up former military and national security personnel who are critical of U.S. policy on Iraq for media interviews.

The work is on behalf of client Win Without War, an umbrella organization encompassing dozens of groups like the Sierra Club, NAACP, Pax Christi USA and the National Organization for Women.

Fenton set up a conference call for reporters on Aug. 16 with Gen. Joseph Hoar (USMC Ret.), who headed the U.S. Central Command before retiring in 1994; Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (U.S. Army Ret.), who fought in Korea and Vietnam and retired in 1981, and former National Security Council member Morton Halperin, who served in the Clinton, Nixon and Johnson administrations. Halperin's son, Mark, heads ABC News' political unit.

The three released an open letter to President Bush yesterday signed by 21 colleagues calling for a change in U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran. They argue that a “hard line” is not working.

Fenton also works for the liberal advocacy group

Briefs ______________________

The top business cliché in major U.S. media from January through July was “at the end of the day,” according to an analysis by Factiva. That hackneyed expression was mentioned 12,640 times. “In the black” was a distant second at 4,876 mentions, the Dow Jones unit reported. “In the Red” rang in at 4,628 mentions, and “level playing field” and “time and again” were just under 3,000.

Black Enterprise magazine plans to launch a half-hour nationally syndicated TV show in late September.

Ed Gordon, a prominent black journalist formerly with CBS and NBC, is slated to host the series, “Our World with Black Enterprise.”

He now heads a production company, Gordon Media Group.

The International Fur Trade Federation kicked off three worldwide campaigns via Vogue, Elle and Wallpaper this month.

The effort, which pushes a different aspect of fur in each publication, aims to position fur as the choice of “strong, stylish women with a sense of individuality.”

Creative Marketing Plus, a New York-based marketing communications firm, is promoting the effort.

VNU Business Media has relaunched the American Artist website, The site covers art and art materials with content from American Artist, Watercolor, Drawing and Workshop magazines. has revamped its website in an overhaul the publication calls its most significant upgrade since 2000. The magazine worked with MetaDesign Inc. in changing its look and adding features like live chats, user reviews, and customization.

NBC Universal has tapped custom publisher Pace Communications to produce a magazine section promoting NBC’s fall lineup of TV programs. The section will appear in Pace’s in-flight magazines for United, Delta and U.S. Airways.

People ____________________

Glenn Coleman, deputy editor of Popular Science, has been named editor of Crain Communications’ FinancialWeek.

Coleman, former assistant managing editor of Money, was previously with Crain in 1990, serving as features editor of Crain’s Chicago Business. Before joining Money in 1999, he launched InvestmentNews, a weekly newspaper published by Crain.

Conde Nast has ousted Vanity Fair publisher Alan Katz in favor of Edward Menicheschi, president of WWD Media Worldwide, the parent to Women’s Wear Daily and Footwear News.

Menicheschi has headed WWD since 2001 after serving as president of, a talent search website for the entertainment industry. He was formerly associate publisher and executive editor of Vogue and earlier worked on advertising and retail programs for GQ.

Stephanie Johnston, editor-in-chief of the American Bar Association’s Student Lawyer magazine, has been named EIC of Public Works. The 66K-circulation magazine, published by Hanley Wood, covers public works departments at the municipal, county and state government level. Johnston was previously associate publisher and EIC of Construction Equipment Distribution.

Sen. John McCain, retired cyclist Lance Armstrong, Bob Buford of mega-church fame, and stay-at-home mom and political activist Mary Shull are the latest to sign on to, the online community headed by former Associated Press political writer Ron Fournier and a slate of other political and Internet players.

Internet Edition, August 23, 2006, Page 5


Trevelino/Keller Communications Group, Atlanta, has dispatched VP Kira Perdue to set up a Charleston, S.C., office for the firm.

T/K, which focuses on technology, niche B2B and consumer lifestyle accounts, is no stranger to the area. It helped launch the Charlotte-based biometric payment company BioPay in 2005 and has handled local efforts for Planet Smoothie and Velocity Sports Performance in the state.

Co-founder Genna Keller has also been active with the Carolina’s annual tech initiative Innoventure.


Citigate Sard Verbinnen is handling Delta and Pine Land Company's communications with the press as the cotton seed producer has agreed to be acquired by genetically modified seed giant Monsanto.

The two companies have fostered an on-again off-again relationship over the last decade.

The latest $1.5 billion cash deal must clear D&PLC shareholder approval and earn an antitrust nod. A similar merger between the two companies, valued at $1.3B, fell apart in 1999 after a two-year probe by the Justice Dept. raised antitrust concerns. Delta sued Monsanto for $1B in 2000 following the collapse of that deal for allegedly not making "commercially reasonable efforts" to respond to investigators. That litigation was pursued up to the merger announcement on Aug. 15.

In 2004, Monsanto moved to sever all ties the two companies had forged, accusing Delta of not paying royalties on Monsanto seed. CSV worked on behalf of Delta during that dust-up as well.

Delta, which also breeds soybean seeds and dates back to 1886, is based in Scott, Miss.

BRIEFS: Extra Strength Marketing Communications, has won an $89K contract with the Colorado Dept. of Natural Resources for an ad/PR effort highlighting wildlife management and the importance of hunting and fishing in Colorado to non-sportsmen. ...Premier Management Group, which handles celebrity endorsements, embedded content and sponsorships from its base in Cary, N.C., has moved to acquire sports consulting firm Wisse, Hollmann & Co., a partially owned affiliate of Raleigh-based French/West/Vaughan. WH&C will be merged with Premier and the combined entity will become a close affiliate of FWV, the PR firm said. Jay Wisse, founder of WH&C, takes the role of SVP of strategic marketing for PMG and manages a four-person team “embedded” with FWV. ...The Lippin Group, Los Angeles, has set up a unit, Brand to Hollywood, to link corporate brands with entertainment industry events and celebrities. ... The City of El Centro, Calif., has issued an RFP for a firm to assist the city with PR and media relations. Ruben Duran (760/337-4540), city manager, is point of contact. ...Hermanoff & Associates, Farmington Hills, Mich., has completed a redesign of its website,, via Motor City Interactive.


New York Area

Abelson Group, New York/RawFlow, streaming video and audio technology, as AOR for PR in North America.

Green Target Global Group, New York/RDM, real estate technology and consulting services, for media relations, events, marketing and PR. EVP and GM Rob Shapiro heads the account.

Middleton & Gendron, New York/Hong Kong Tourism Board, for AOR for PR in the U.S. Yvonne Middleton, chairman, and SVP Sue Dorn head the work.

Nourie PR, New York/Black Diamond Partners, IT advisory firm for private equity firms, for financial communications and industry trade media relations following a competitive review with four other firms.

5W PR, New York/Mega Media Group, Russian media and entertainment company, for PR and IR.

Novita Issue Communications, Trenton, N.J./ Healthcare Institute of N.J.; Fraternal Order of Police; Community Associations Institute, and Ethical Corporation.


Widmeyer Communications and the Center for Risk Communication, Washington, D.C./Mississippi Dept. of Health, to plan a response strategy and public information effort for a potential pandemic flu outbreak. The two firms, which work together as the Consortium for Risk and Crisis Communications, previously worked with the MDH in 2005 on an emergency preparedness effort just before the disastrous hurricane season that year.

Pure Communications, Wilmington, N.C./Acusphere, pharmaceuticals; PTC Therapeutics, biotechnology, and Zylera Pharmaceuticals.

rbb PR, Miami, Fla./National Parkinson Foundation, for strategic counsel and media relations.

Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, Orlando/ All Star Vacation Homes, for PR.

BrandGuy, Palm Beach/The Deltennium Group, leadership and governance consulting, and Event Radio, which broadcasts to attendees of large events via FM radio, both for marketing and PR.


Olson, Minneapolis/Hickory Farms, specialty foods, for media relations and guerilla marketing.

Scheibel Halaska, Milwaukee/D-M-E Company, mold technologies for the plastics industry, for PR and adv.


CTA PR, Louisville, Colo./Barb Bashor, realtor, for corporate branding and PR.

Porter Novelli, San Jose, Calif./Freedom from Hunger, global non-profit, for support of its “Reach for Three Million” plan and malaria initiative, as well as the organization’s 60th anniversary this year. PN is working on a pro-bono basis.

Morgan Marketing & PR, Irvine, Calif./Mimi’s Cafe, bistro, for media relations and PR.

CarryOn Communication, Los Angeles/Fun Web Products, for PR support of its Smiley Central brand and product launch of a new offering called “Zwinky.”

Internet Edition, August 23, 2006, Page 6


The Federal Communications Commission, at the behest of chairman Kevin Martin, has sent letters of inquiry to the owners of 77 TV stations singled out by a watchdog group's report on unsourced video news releases.

The FCC is asking the stations' 42 owners if VNRs were properly labeled before being broadcast. The Commission warned stations last year that they could be fined $32,500 per violation if the source of prepackaged news was not identified upon airing.

"What the FCC is going to find is that TV stations are doing what the FCC requires," said Dan Johnson, president of DWJ Television in Ridgewood, N.J., and a former TV news producer in New York and Chicago.

The Center for Media and Democracy unveiled a study in April claiming 77 stations ran VNRs without attribution. The investigation found that VNR producers properly labeled the material's source, but that ID was stripped before being aired. The group has called for continuous on-air disclosure of any video material not shot by news staff.

Response planned

Members of the broadcast PR sector have carefully monitored the latest scrutiny of VNRs and held meetings about the issue. That group – referred to as "the VNR consortium" by one executive – is putting together a response and possible campaign to be released after Labor Day.

To date, much of the criticism since the CMD report has focused on poor disclosure practices in newsrooms. Only a handful of stations out of more than a hundred studied by the CMD were found to have aired VNR packages in their entirety.

"Shoddy practices make it difficult for viewers to tell the difference between news and propaganda," FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said.


Wal-Mart supplanted IBM in the No. 3 slot of Delahaye’s quarterly gauge of companies getting a PR boost from media coverage as Microsoft and Disney remained in the top two slots.

Citigroup and Goldman Sachs both benefitted from an improved tone in financial coverage landing at fourth and sixth on the Delahaye Media Index. The companies were sixth and eigth during the first quarter.

ExxonMobil, which fell to No. 21 in the last index on the backlash against huge oil profits, rose five slots to No. 16. GM climbed from the bottom of the index to No. 27 and Ford climbed 63 spots to No. 36 on news coverage focused more on recovery and buyouts than declining fiscal health in the auto industry.

BRIEFS: Mark Haefeli Productions, New York, produced an electronic press kit for Sony BMG’s release of DMX’ new album “Year of the Dog ... Again.” ...Pam McConathy, senior VP for Pierpont Communications, was elected president of International Assn. of Business Communicators’ Houston chapter. The chapter counts 250 members. member chapter since 1983.



Nicholas Ashooh, VP of corporate communications for American Electric Power, plans to join New York-based insurance and financial services giant American International Group in September as senior VP of communications.

The appointment concludes a six-month search by the company, which manages more than $843 billion in assets.

The top PR post has essentially been vacant since the December departure of Steve Rautenberg for New York Life. The company called John Wooster (1989-01) out of retirement to fill the post on an interim basis.

Ashooh, 52, has been with Columbus, Ohio-based AEP since 2000, following an eight-year stint as VP of public affairs and corporate comms. for Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. in Syracuse, N.Y.

At AIG, he reports directly to president/CEO Martin Sullivan and heads PR, branding, advertising, publications and employee communications, along with the firm’s 30-member communications unit. Sullivan in February reached a $1.6B settlement with the SEC over fraud charges. The company officially cut ties with embattled CEO Maurice Greenberg later that month.

Earlier, Ashooh held top PR posts at Paramount Communications, formerly Gulf and Western Industries and acquired by Viacom in 1994, and Public Service of New Hampshire.

Pat Hemlepp, director of corporate media relations for American Electric Power, said plans for a successor to Ashooh have not yet developed as he submitted his resignation on Aug. 15.

Richard Marshall, senior client partner for Korn/Ferry, headed the search for AIG.


Livia Marotta, director of corporate and brand communications for TAG Heuer in the U.S. and Canada, to Luxottica Group S.p.A., New York, as senior director of PR for North America, a new post. She was previously managing director of consumer marketing for Hill & Knowlton and director of global communications for Movado Group.

Melissa Salmanowitz, a former PR executive for Media Matters for America and Burson-Marsteller, has joined M+R Strategic Services in Washington, D.C., as a senior consultant in its comms. unit. She was deputy director for comms. for MMfA, joining the organization at its outset in 2004.

Julie Mathis, who managed accounts like Hewlett-Packard, Radio Disney and VeriSign at Hill & Knowlton, has joined CarryOn Communication in Los Angeles as a VP and practice leader for its consumer technology and interactive units. She manages new and ongoing communication assignments from key client Symantec. Mathis was previously at Manning, Selvage & Lee and Fleishman-Hillard.

Mark Pogharian, VP of North America Equity Research for Deutsche Bank, to The Hershey Co., Hershey, Pa., as director of investor relations. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank in 2005, Pogharian worked at Kraft Foods as senior manager of IR.

Internet Edition, August 23, 2006, Page 7


Journalism professors Lee Wilkins and Renita Coleman, who conducted in-person 60- to 90-minute interviews in recent months with 129 PR pros at PR firms from throughout the U.S., found they scored high in terms of ethical awareness.

The PR people were given the “Issues Defining Test” which has been taken by more than 30,000 professionals over the past 30 years.

The test confronts subjects with a choice between two “goods” or two “evils.”

Ad people were asked in previous research by Wilkins and Coleman whether they would take a multi-million dollar beer account even though they were against alcohol consumption.

Since most ad subjects answered yes to this and similar questions, they were ranked 16th from the top in ethical awareness.

The only groups lower than ad people were business graduates (No. 17), high school students, prison inmates and junior high students.

PR Pros Sixth in Ethical Sense

PR pros ranked sixth in ethical reasoning behind seminarians and philosophers, medical students, practicing physicians, journalists, and dental students.

Lower than them were nurses (No. 7), graduate students, undergraduate students, accounting students, veterinary students and Navy enlisted men.

At the bottom, ranking 15-19, were business professionals, business students, high school students, prison inmates and junior high students.

Seminarians/philosophers had a “P”or ethical reasoning score of 65.1 while PR pros registered 46.2 and prison inmates, 23.7.

“P” reflects the “relative importance the person gave to principled considerations.”

Coleman, a Ph.D. at the University of Texas-Austin, described the results of the study to the 2006 conference of the Assn. for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in San Francisco Aug. 2-5.

She and Wilkins, a Ph.D. at the University of Missouri, used as their database the 400 PR firms listed on

A random sample of 5% of the firms was used. They then visited firms in cities such as New York, District of Columbia, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago and Seattle.

Page Funded Research

Funding the research was a $10,000 grant from the Arthur W. Page Center located at Pennsylvania State University. Lawrence G. Foster, Penn State alumnus and retired corporate VP for PR, Johnson & Johnson, provided a gift to the Center.

Cooperating PR pros were mostly interviewed during lunch, with the two professors supplying sandwiches or pizza.

Eleven of the exams were tossed because the takers “highly rated too many meaningless statements” or for other “inconsistencies.” Left were 118 test results. Eleven respondents were PRSA members.

PR pros were found to do better on ethical dilemmas that concerned PR than those that did not.


Southwest Windpower, Flagstaff, Ariz., whose Skystream 3.7 “backyard” system was featured on the Aug. 6 CBS Evening News and in last week’s Wall Street Journal, is interviewing PR firms.

VP and co-founder Andy Kruse is involved in the search. Kruse and New Jersey homeowner Carl Baldino were interviewed by CBS.

The Aug. 15 WSJ story: “A Novel Way to Reduce Home Energy Bills,” noted “smaller, quieter wind turbines reduce reliance on the power grid but cost and aesthetics are issues.”

A typical turbine costs $8,500 to $11,000 installed.


Atlanta-based Cookerly PR has fended off three firms in a review for the Clean Air Campaign, a Georgia public-private non-profit focused on air pollution.

Cookerly has inked a one-year contract with two option years and has handled the account for six years. PR budget is in the mid-six-figure range.

The 10-year-old campaign coordinates information efforts for employers, schools, and the public to curb vehicle usage and, in turn, emissions.

Federal funding and local companies like Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines and UPS support the effort.


Miami-Dade County, ground zero in the contentious 2000 presidential election recount, has issued an RFP for media consulting and PR as it prepares for upcoming primary and general elections.

The short-term effort – which bills at about $10K a month – calls for experience in handling media relations for election departments in Florida, knowledge of the state’s election processes and its voting system. Educating the public about how and where to vote, absentee ballots, early voting, and identification required at polling places are all part of the planned effort.

Miami-Dade is home to more than 2.2M people.

The county wants to have a firm in place by August 30. Primary elections in the state are Sept. 5.


Sloane & Co. is helping Tivo declare victory in a legal battle with EchoStar Communications, the satellite TV provider that markets a service similar to Tivo's flagship digital video recorder.

TiVo said on Aug. 18 that a U.S. District Court judge in Texas issued an injunction for EchoStar to stop selling competing products that infringe on TiVo's patents within 30 days. Judge David Folson also ordered EchoStar to pay nearly $90M in damages and interest, building on a similar ruling in April in Texas.

Sloane & Co., headed by Elliot Sloane, has been handling corporate, financial and IR work for TiVo for about a year. Sloane, who is handling media relations for the court verdict, told O’Dwyer’s that he had worked with TiVo CEO Tom Rogers when Rogers was the top executive at Primedia several years ago.

EchoStar said it would appeal the Texas court rulings and continue its “vigorous defense.”

Internet Edition, August 23, 2006, Page 8




Omnicom’s massive share buyback program, covered in this NL Aug. 9, was the subject of a full page feature Aug. 14 by New York Post financial columnist Christopher Byron (page 2).

Byron noted that “publicity shy” CEO John Wren has given only three interviews in four years. Wren himself said he rejected advice from his PR firms after the June 12, 2002 Wall Street Journal piece on OMC’s accounting practices cut the stock in half.

OMC kept quiet and “stuck to its knitting” and the stock recovered to the $80s. However, it has remained in the $80s for years in spite of 17 million shares being removed from the float and analysts predicting 10M more will follow.

An e-mail posted on the OMC bulletin board Aug. 18 at asked: “Billions for share buybacks buys stockholders nothing. Why?”

There will be no answer from OMC which has given new meaning to the word “silent.” All Byron got from OMC PR staffer Patricia Sloan was instructions to read the SEC filings.

OMC’s dodging of press questions is bad for PR since the company is the biggest owner of PR firms. Its units such as Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, Porter Novelli and Brodeur have about $1 billion in fees. The definition of PR, according to Wren, is “duck the press.” Wren refused to talk to the New York Times when Timothy O’Brien did a Feb. 16, 2005 (Sunday) feature headlined “Spinning Frenzy: PR’s Bad Press.” The Ketchum/Armstrong Williams/Dept. of Education scandal touched off the article.

With no PR organization out there presenting a positive view of PR, “PR’s Bad Press” has continued unabated. The NYT’s Frank Rich on July16 described PR as “empty gestures,” lack of “substance,” publicity stunts, propagandizing, press avoidance, marketing and “sloganeering.” Der Spiegel, German weekly, called PR pros “Masters of Deception” in a lengthy feature Aug. 7. A Harris Interactive/PRSA Foundation poll released Nov. 10, 2005 found that 83% of 1,015 respondents believe PR is “just another tool that companies can use to market their products or state their positions on certain issues.” And 79% believe PR pros “are only interested in disseminating information that helps their clients to make money.” In other words, PR is a selfish activity of organizations that lacks redeeming public service qualities. PRSA buried these important findings about PR by mixing them up with findings about the media and attitudes towards PR of Congressional staffers and business executives.

The positive take on PR is that it represents the public to organizations, answers press questions, and performs ombudsman and educational roles rather than just a sales role. PR can help provide full details about a subject so that public understanding is increased. PRSA is the group that is supposed to be putting out this message and leading by example. Rhoda Weiss, in seeking the nomination for president-elect last year, said that PRSA is to be “the voice of PR” and that PRSA is to be “the first source media turns to for expertise.”

Those were hollow words. PRSA is almost completely tongue-tied.

President Cheryl Procter-Rogers, the only PRSA officer allowed to speak to the press, has made no public appearances this year (not counting three visits to chapters) and has been unreachable by this NL since March 20. Advocacy chair Mike Cherenson is similarly absent from public view. The background of Weiss reveals almost no interest in press relations but rather an obsession with “leadership.” “Leader” and “leadership” are mentioned 23 times in an autobiographical essay by her in the Sept./Oct. 2005 Health Progress magazine of the Catholic Health Assn. Weiss is a consultant with the St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii. We have yet to find any substantiation of a claim she made in Bulldog Reporter that she is “Acting CEO of a Statewide Health Organization.” She is studying for a “Ph.D. in Leadership and Change in the Professions” at Antioch University, a program with a tuition of $18,600 over a 4-5 year period. PR professors at other colleges said they know of no such program at any other institution and said Antioch is noted for its unusual programs.

With PR under such withering attacks, the field does not need another PRSA president who can’t stand the public limelight. Weiss should withdraw from president-elect for the good of the industry. One reason for this is we can’t expect any of the other PR or IR groups to carry the flag for what is right about PR/IR. The Council of PR Firms is mostly funded by tight-lipped OMC and the other four equally silent conglomerates. It can’t campaign for openness and dialog. The Arthur W. Page Society and PR Seminar (many corporate PR execs belong to both) are not accustomed to public debate. IABC traditionally avoids statements on controversial issues. The National Investor Relations Institute does not address the general public. The fact that reporters are barred from the quarterly teleconferences of public companies is o.k. by NIRI.

Arthur Sulzberger, in managing both the business and editorial sides of the New York Times, has not only broken tradition but is doing a bad job of both, says Michael Wolff in the September Vanity Fair (page 3 of NL). The paper is compromising its “integrity,” writes Wolff, by violating the principles of fair “governance.” The holders of the small number of “B” shares (50 family members) have the power to elect a majority of the directors. The disenfranchised “A” holders are in open revolt, he notes, and are waging a “press campaign” against the “B” holders. A question we have that relates to the integrity of the NYT is why has it never covered the finances of OMC when the Wall Street Journal and New York Post have done so? Is this interference with the editorial side by the business side?

--Jack O'Dwyer


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