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Internet Edition, October 4, 2006, Page 1


Lincoln Group has won a competitive review to handle PR and strategic communications for the U.S.-led military force in Iraq.

The two-year contract is valued at more than $6M, although contracting documents indicated that additional efforts could be “ordered” from Washington, D.C.-based Lincoln up to $20M. Contracting officials in Baghdad told O’Dwyer’s that The Rendon Group had previously handled the work covered in the new pact. TRG declined to comment on whether it had pitched for the account. A list of “interested parties” in the contract did not show Lincoln, Rendon or any other PR firms known to work with the Pentagon.

An RFP with a quick, two-week turnaround time was issued in September. It cited the emboldened insurgency bent on civil war as a key obstacle to the U.S. force’s military and communications mission in Iraq.

Among the tasks outlined for the Lincoln Group, the military wants the firm to put together a unit of 12-18 communicators to support military PR efforts in Iraq and throughout the Middle East from media training to pitching stories and providing content for government-backed news sites.

Lincoln was criticized late last year for allegedly paying to plant stories in the Iraqi media, sparking a crisis for the firm and the PR industry as a whole. The firm has said it needed to do a better job of explaining its work and brought in a veteran PR executive last year to help with those efforts.


Doug Dome, who sold his Chicago-based food PR shop to Hill & Knowlton, has left that firm for the chief creative officer slot at Carmichael Lynch Spong. He will focus on lifestyle marketing and communicating to ethnic groups, women, youth, gays and mature adults.

Dome will work from the Chicago office of the Minneapolis-headquartered shop. He exits the president/U.S. creative director of Dome HK, successor to Dome Communications, which was founded in `97.


The American Assn. of Advertising Agencies, tipping its cap to the power of PR, has hired GolinHarris for an image campaign.

The industry has been wrestling with its future in the wake of technological and media breakthroughs that have put the survival of the 30-second TV commercial in jeopardy. This NL was told that 4A’s head Burtch Drake doesn’t talk to reporters.


Medialink has sold its public affairs news dissemination unit U.S. Newswire to PR Newswire in a deal worth up to $23M.

That includes a $19M price and earnout potential up to $4M.

The Washington, D.C.-based newswire was set up in 1986 and bought by Medialink in 1999. It handles mainly public affairs, politics, and non-profit news release distribution.

With the sale, Medialink president and CEO Larry Moskowitz said it will focus on continued development of its Teletrax video tracking system and pursue Internet-based video opportunities.

PR Newswire has handled political and policy news in the past, but the company said the acquisition was intended to augment those efforts.

Dave Armon, chief operating officer of PR Newswire, said his company is committed to building up USN and providing additional technology and product innovation expertise for its customers.

The acquisition is the fourth major deal for a newswire service this year.

In April, CCNMatthews acquired Market Wire for about $30M.

The Nasdaq stock market moved to acquire Los Angeles-based PrimeZone in June.

In August, Vocus acquired online newswire and search engine optimization company PRWeb for $28M.


Paul Feldman, lead negotiator for the aviation safety pact between the U.S. and Europe, has joined APCO Worldwide as a director in its Brussels office.

He also hammered out aircraft noise dispute between U.S. and the European Union.

APCO’s global transportation unit is headed by Jane Garvey, who once headed the FAA.


Quicker and better access to clients and a halt to pressure on the “front office” to kill or change stories are among the things on a reporter’s wish list, an ethics discussion at the Oklahoma City chapter of PRSA was told Sept. 20.

A chapter poll of its members found 46% of the 69 respondents say they “have been asked by an employer or client to misrepresent, cover up, exaggerate, or withhold information from the media.”

(continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, October 4, 2006, Page 2


Halliburton’s KBR engineering and services unit has launched a strike against the documentary, “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers,” that filmmaker Robert Greenwald plans to release nationally during “Patriotism over Profit Screening Week” set for Oct. 8-14.

The movie, which slams Halliburton for allegedly ripping off U.S. taxpayers by overcharging for its services, premiered in Los Angeles on Sept. 4 and in New York on Sept. 6.

Halliburton posted a statement on its website, claiming the movie is “nothing more than a theory in search of a conspiracy.”

The company claims it provided Greenwald’s production company, Brave New Film, factual information about its work in Iraq, but BNF “chose not to include this information because the facts did not support their thesis for the film.”

The statement also notes that Halliburton executives have not seen the movie in its “entirety.”

BNF tried to interview Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar for the film.

It sent four emails and made four phone calls to Cathy Mann, Halliburton’s director of communications, attempting to arrange a meeting.

She did not respond to any of those contacts, according to BNF. Melissa Norcross, KBR PR supervisor, did return an email to say that Lesar was not available for an interview.

This NL emailed Mann, asking why she did not respond to BNF. She referred the NL to Halliburton’s statement. Norcross could be reached about whether any Halliburton or KBR execs have viewed the movie.

Former Halliburton employees talked to the producers of the film.

Henry Bunting, an ex- KBR procurement manager, said since KBR worked on a “cost-plus basis” there was no incentive to save money. He said: “I wouldn’t run a local lawn service on the business practices that Halliburton has.”

Ken Sunshine Consultants in New York is promoting the movie.


Barbour Griffith & Rogers is working for Serbia through Jan. `09 under a contract that pays a monthly fee of $60K. Expenses are capped at five percent of the retainer.

The Interpublic unit provides “strategic counsel and tactical planning on foreign policy issues, according to the contract.

The pact is signed by Serbia’s Minister for International Economic Relations, Milan Parivodic.

Serbia’s image has been battered by reports that it has been less than enthusiastic in its cooperation with the United Nations probe into war crimes committed during the Balkans conflict of the `90s.

Serbia is eager to follow Romania and Bulgaria into the European Union.

On the military front, NATO is scheduled to open a “liaison office” within Serbia’s Ministry of Defense this month.


Clark & Weinstock has received $180K during the first-half of `06 from the Net Neutrality Coalition, which describes itself as an “informal coalition.”

That group is funded by the likes of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, eBay, IAC and Yahoo. Its aim is legislation barring telecom network companies such as AT&T and Verizon from prioritizing their Internet offerings while setting up “toll booths” for other content providers.

C&W’s team includes former Republican Rep. Vin Weber, Ed Kutler (staffer for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich), Niles Godes (ex-chief of staff for North Dakota Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan), Erik Hotmire (former special assistant to President Bush and ex-communications director for USA Freedom Corps.) and Julie Carr, (former senior policy officer to Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania).

Public Strategies Washington is repping the big telecoms and their “Hands off the Internet” group, which says it is against government regulation of the Net


Greenpeace has launched its “iToxic” campaign to pressure Apple Computer to “go green” by cutting the level of toxic chemicals in its computers.

The group has posted a spoof of Apple’s hit “PC vs. Mac guy” ad. It refers to them as “cousins under the skin” since they carry the same amounts of deadly toxins within. The Greenpeace spoof carries another image: a Chinese baby who is identified as a victim of Apple’s pollution.

Apple’s computers, according to Greenpeace, are full of polyvinyl chloride plastic and brominated flame retardants.

When the computers are dismantled for parts in China and India, workers and the environment become exposed to dangerous chemicals, says the environmental group.

It urges Apple to “go organic” by ridding Macs of toxins and adopting strong recycling programs.


Pilgrim’s Pride, the nation’s No. 2 chicken producer, has launched a $1B hostile bid for Gold Kist, the No. 3 marketer of the birds. (Tyson Foods is the top chicken company).

PP, which is using Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher to quarterback the takeover effort, publicly announced the offer on Aug. 18.

GK, according to a Sept. 28 letter written by PP chairman Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim, has not provided his company requested financial information.

He believes the only alternative is to take the $20 a-share offer directly to GK shareholders. The PP offer is a premium of more than 50 percent to what GK shares were trading for in August.

GK’s response to shareholders is to sit tight. The company promises to review PP’s offer at its Oct. 12 board meeting.

It uses Brunswick Group (Steve Lipin) as its media contact.

Internet Edition, October 4, 2006, Page 3


Diebold Election Systems, the touch-screen voting machine maker, is pushing back against a Rolling Stone article by Robert Kennedy Jr. slamming electronic voting technology.

Mark Radke, DES' director of marketing, issued a terse statement about Kennedy's "error-riddled" piece and released a letter to RS editors signed by DES president David Byrd.

Radke said that Kennedy did not contact the company about the story, which he said features Diebold as its "primary target." Radke noted that Kennedy's article draws on the claims of a former DES employee - presented as a whistleblower and key source for the story - who was fired at the request of Georgia's Secretary of State. He said Diebold is calling on RS editors to review critical facts and disavow the "shoddy reporting" by Kennedy.

Byrd, in his letter to RS editors, offers a point-by-point rebuttal of several claims made by the whistleblower.

RS has not yet returned a call about Diebold's rebuttal.


Former Harvard Univ. President Larry Summers is writing a monthly column for the Financial Times. The column is also slated to be published in the Los Angeles Times and available for syndication.

A well-regarded economist, Summers was President Clinton's last treasury secretary and headed Harvard from 2001-06.

He left the Ivy League institution after taking criticism for suggesting there are more men than women in science and engineering because of innate intelligence differences.


Viacom's MTV Networks is paying $175M for Harmonix, the Cambridge, MA-based maker of music video games.

Harmonix is noted for its "Guitar Hero" product developed for Sony's PlayStation 2. The console allows any player to sound like a rock star.

New Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman says Harmonix is "precisely the type of transaction that will help us aggressively grow our digital business."

Harmonix, when the deal closes during the fourth quarter, will be folded into MTV Networks' Music and Logo Enterprises unit that is headed by Jeff Yapp.


News Corp., publisher of the New York Post, has acquired two newspaper companies in Brooklyn and Queens that publish a collection of 28 papers.

The Courier-Life group has Bay News, Brooklyn Heights Courier and Caribbean Life among its offerings that are read by about 200K people in Brooklyn.

TimesLedger publishes Astoria Times and Glen Oaks Ledger and 14 other papers. Circulation is put in the 50K range.

The acquisitions are designed to extend News Corp.’s reach in New York City behind Manhattan, where the Post has strength.

News Corp. paid more than $15M for its new papers.


Los Angeles PR firm Agnes Huff Communications Group is serving as PR counsel to the Santa Barbara News-Press as employees of the troubled paper have voted to unionize.

The paper has had its hands full on the PR front lately. Ahead of the unionizing vote, it accused the Teamsters union of planting a threatening message on a local blog.

The post urged the boycott of the paper's advertisers, the disruption of its online presence through hacking, and urging home subscribers to cancel.

Agnes Huff said the posting was reminiscent of "union corporate campaigns and are used when attempting to improperly force a company to give in to union demands."

The paper staffs about 50 newsroom employees following a string of resignations of more than a dozen editors and writers.

Some staffers have accused the paper's owner and co-publisher of interfering with news coverage.
On Sept. 27, newsroom employees (about 50 of the paper's total 206 staff) voted to authorize the Graphic Communications Council of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters as their bargaining agent.

A statement issued by the paper through Huff following the vote said it is not convinced that its employees were "afforded a fair election free from coercion." The paper said it will consider all its options.

Briefs __________________

MechMuse Audio Magazine has launched as a free podcast featuring serialized novels, columns, interviews and short stories related to the sci-fi and fantasy genres. Info:

Clear Channel Radio renewed talk show host Sean Hannity's contract for another three years on 80 of its stations, keeping the conservative commentator on its airwaves through 2010.

Hannity claims the second-largest radio audience in the country, reaching an estimated 15M people across 500 stations in the afternoon time slot. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Conference Board has changed the name of Across the Board magazine to The Conference Board Review.

The idea is to better align the mag with the "prestige and reputation of The Conference Board," according to Joan Dargery, executive VP of the New York-based group of top executives.

A redesign accompanies the new name.

AtB was launched in ’76. A.J. Vogl has edited it since ’89.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, October 4, 2006, Page 4


The relationship between publicists and the press has changed in recent years, said a September 20 Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) panel of magazine editors at Dillon's Lounge in New York.

Online magazine content and the advent of blogs have created an information vacuum, leaving the press in a race to accommodate today's newsroom demands.

PR pros should use this void to their advantage when supplying materials for a story.

"I have to ask more from the publicist now," said Laura Brounstein, entertainment editor at Ladies Home Journal. "There's a lot more bells and whistles on our website than there is in our magazine."

Brounstein, a former staff member at Seventeen magazine, said she's seen this evolution firsthand. Not only has web-based technology created an increased demand for more news coverage, but it's given publicists new ways of pitching the press. The result has left editors working overtime to sift through the informational deluge.

"The main difference is that things are a lot more automated now. When I was working at Seventeen, things like fast-blasting was just starting. Now it's common."

Molly Fahner, associate entertainment editor at Cosmopolitan, said this has placed a demand for different types of stories too. Editors must increase their sphere of coverage if they want to stay on top of news and the latest trends.

"Blogging has really affected us. Now, besides reading every magazine, I read all the blogs in addition to that," she said.

Because of the overabundance of information, Chris Kensler, executive editor at Life & Style Weekly, said he appreciates an officious publicist. An email pitch, followed by a follow-up phone call or two, is preferred in his office.

"I appreciate pushy publicists, I really do," he said. "For no other reason than there's just so much stuff coming in."

News sells, not pics

While the need for more story input may sound like a win-win for the PR industry, the panel was unanimous in their claims that quality still trumps quantity. PR pros still need a good product to stick out in the morass. In essence, the rules may have changed, but the game hasn't.

"You still need to have good news content," Kensler said. "Some people think a nice celebrity pic will do it, but news sells the cover."

Lisa Chambers, features director at TV Guide, said one method that works particularly well is to allow flexibility in your pitch so that editors can use it for something else.

"If your pitch isn't working, if there's any way you can repitch it into a different context, we can work with it," she said. "There was one time, we were being pitched to run a feature on a TV show that was on a cable network - it was a popular show but it just didn't get the numbers. We didn't go for it but the publicist kept coming back and repitching it. We ended up packaging the show into a larger story about TV shows that dealt with a common theme. It was a really good story."

The panel said PR pros also maintain an upper hand in their relationship with the entertainment press because they are often easier to deal with than personal or studio publicists. Because scandal is often the center of celebrity news, personal or studio publicists often have a habit of being tight-lipped.

"It's easier for them to keep their account by saying 'no,'" Chambers said.

Kensler, who has also worked for celebrity magazines such as Star and OK, said "personal publicists hate us" at his current magazine.

"You know that scandal is going on in their lives – that's why you read the magazine," Fahner added. "But we try not to piss anybody off."

Brounstein said she appreciates the PR's industry's "role as advocates for us" by pitching stories that major television or movies studios may not want the public to see.

All panelists said email is the preferred route for receiving pitches. Check for their addresses. The EPPS panel was moderated by Mediaweek editor Lisa Granatstein.


Media outlets need to ease up on rivalries and better collaborate on information during a disaster like Hurricane Katrina, according to a report on communications during Katrina by the Washington, D.C., think tank Aspen Institute.

Among the recommendations of the report, written by George Washington Univ. associate professor of media and public affairs Albert May, was fostering partnerships between business competitors and media outlets. May wrote that spontaneous collaborative efforts among commercial rivals and different media platforms proved valuable during Katrina, but more coordination and planning is needed for both.

Both media and government, May said, need to pursue better strategies for identifying "teachable moments" during a crisis – times when messages of personal preparedness are likely to penetrate public attention. The report stressed such action was particularly important for reaching out to minority and disadvantaged groups.

May's report was culled from interviews, data, and a conference hosted by AI in May that hosted representatives from entities like FEMA, CNN, Yahoo, the Radio Television News Directors Assn. and The Weather Channel.

The report noted that the Katrina disaster environment created a new cadre of fledgling crisis communicators, or "first informers," who came to challenge the traditional gatekeepers of the press and government. AI also pointed out that the presence of such citizen communicators exacerbated the pre-existing problem of sorting out "truth amidst chaos."

AI is headed by former Time magazine managing editor and CNN president/CEO Walter Isaacson.

Internet Edition, October 4, 2006, Page 5


GreenTarget Global Group, Chicago, has acquired London PR firm GJRPR, adding a European capability to GT, which has four U.S. offices.

The combine reunites GT chairman/CEO Dan Reid with GJR founder Tim Jackaman as both worked at Weber Shandwick. GT picks up GJR’s staff of 12.

Jackaman, who serves as chairman of GT’s European operations, set up GJR earlier this year and earlier founded Square Mile, a shop acquired by WS’ acquisition of BSMG in 2000.

GT has offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, in addition to its Windy City base.


Ackermann PR, Knoxville, Tenn., has set up a real estate unit focused on developers in that sector.

The firm has won a good chunk of business in the sector ahead of the formalization of the practice, the firm said, stressing it remains a “generalist PR and marketing” shop. It also noted that Tennessee is growing in popularity as a locale for second homes.

Its real estate services include assistance with packaging plans and proposals for the investment community and regulatory bodies, marketing strategies, marketplace positioning and differentiation, media relations and Internet marketing, among other services.

Real estate clients include Tennessee National, Hidden Springs Resort, and Griffits Mill.


Fleishman-Hillard has acquired a majority interest in Moscow PR firm ECG PR turning it into Fleishman-Hillard Moscow. The outpost staffs nine.

F-H president Dave Senay said an integration of global economics in Russia is occuring as a new generation of companies looks to global markets. He said the office will also service foreign companies looking to do business in the region.

BRIEFS: Christensen IR, which has offices in New York and Hong Kong, is assisting with communications efforts for Chinese medical device maker Mindray Medical International Limited’s $276M IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. ...919 Marketing, Holly Springs, N.C., has marked its 10th anniversary. ...Pierce Mattie, a beauty, fashion and home furnishings firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles, has opened an Atlanta office. Info: ...Richard Nicolazzo, who has run his Boston-based firm for 31 years, is blogging on strategic communications and crisis management. His thoughts are at: ...Jeff Rutherford, a seven-year veteran of Trylon SMR, has left to start his own firm, Jeff Rutherford Media Realtions. He is affiliated with Kansas City PR firm INK, Inc., ...Lutto & Associates, Richmond, Va., has opened an office in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, near San Antonio. Kim Herndon, a 14-year veteran of the firm, runs the outpost. ...Perception Inc., Gaithersburgh, Md., has revamped


New York Area

Gale Group, New York/Honora Pearls, for PR, including media relations, gift opportunities and TV placement. The firm will also handle a new store launch and 60th anniversary in New York this fall.

Kwittken & Co., New York/ROO Group, online video syndication network, for trade and national PR supporting its B2B and consumer offerings.

Spring, O’Brien, New York/Punta Mita, Mexico Pacific Coast resort, for PR following a review that included six finalists – Edelman, PR Co., Sheila Donnelly & Associates, Fourth Wall Media, and incumbent Andria Mitsakos PR. The firm is charged with positioning the luxury resort as an alternative to Hawaii and the Caribbean for the affluent.


Brodeur, Boston/The 41st Parameter, covert fraud detection and prevention in the online space, as AOR for PR, including strategic counsel, media and analyst relations, executive recognition, and other communications.

Tier One Partners, Boston/Clear Point Metrics; Click4Care; Constellation Management; Connex International; CX2 Global; Kaz; Lehigh Technologies; PlumChoise Online PC Services, and Veson Nautical Corp.

Pan Communications, Andover, Md./iTKO, automated service oriented architecture solutions, for media relations, blogging work, speaking engagements, and award submissions; Genuitec, Eclipse software development tools, for PR in the development community, and Aperture, enterprise software for managing data centers, for CEO visibility and media relations.


HealthInfo Direct, Schaumburg, Ill./Branded Pharmaceutical Association, to design and produce membership promotions.

Ruder Finn, Chicago/Monster Media, alternative advertising services, for PR to boost recognition among advertisers. Its products include plasma TVs in high traffic areas and advertising and sports arenas and stadiums.


Antarra Communications, Garden Grove, Calif./
Ares Digital, maker of My Guide branded personal navigation (GPS) products, as AOR for marketing communications, including strategic counsel, media relations and product branding.

Pollack PR Marketing Group, Century City, Calif./
Cake Boxx, cargo containers, for launch of company and a new container aimed at greater security.

Ruder Finn, San Francisco, Calif./Mitsubishi Motors North America, as AOR for the U.S., following a review. Fleishman-Hillard’s Strat@comm unit had the account. RF/West (L.A. and San Francisco) and New York handle the account.

Mayo Communications, Los Angeles/Margaret Wendt, paranormal expert; Carla Bate, actress; Brent Lovell and Timothy Woodward, actors; and A.J. Wells and Aron Cowen, musicians, all for entertainment PR and media relations.

Internet Edition, October 4, 2006, Page 6


Burson-Marsteller was honored by the National Capital Chapter of PRSA for its "Color of Money" campaign informing the public about changes in the $10 bill and its anti-counterfeiting and security features. B-M worked on behalf of the U.S. Treasury, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Secret Service.

"Thoth is the chapter's signature event and celebrates innovation within the public relations industry and showcases the Washington area's talent," said Tracy Schario, president of the the NCC and director of media relations at The George Washington University.

More than 250 attended the event at the National Press Club.

Crosby Communications, Ogilvy PR Worldwide and Ketchum topped all entrants, each picking up three Thoth awards.

Some of the category winners were: Community Relations -- Lockheed Martin and David Grossman & Assocs.; Public Service -- Department of Defense and Susan Davis Int'l.; Public Affairs -- State of Connecticut, Ketchum and the Washington Group; Crisis Comms. -- Mississippi Dept. of Health and Widmeyer Comms.; Financial/IR - RCN Corp.; Brand Management -- Denny's and Stanton Comms.; Media Relations -- Target, the American Red Cross with Imre Comms.


Communications measurement company Carma International has partnered with Middle East media monitoring company Pan Arab Research Centre in Dubai, UAE, to serve what Carma said is a “growing area of interest” for clients.

PARC has offices in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar, in addition to its UAE base. The 30-year-old company is a member of Gallup International and has 450 full-time staffers.

Carma noted that PARC provides original stories as they appear, as opposed to translations or abstracts.

In regard to the Middle East, Carma president Mike Carberry noted most clients have questions about what they should be monitoring and how they can locate the right coverage.

Medialink’s Teletrax monitoring service has signed motorsport organization A1GP for its services. A1GP, which produces the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, will use Teletrax to detect and report on global broadcasts of its Grand Prix events

AWARDS: PRACO PR Advertising, Colorado Springs, Colo., won the Golden Spur Award for the best PR campaign in southern Colorado from PRSA/Colorado. It won the Gold Spur for a marketing communications effort for Cricket Communications’ cell phone service. ...Anne Klein & Associates, Marlton, N.J., won a Gold Jasper Award from the Jersey Shore PR and Advertising Assn. The firm won in the corporate identity category for its “Many Hands. One Heart.” campaign for Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries.



Suzanne Beckmann, account team leader for Robert Marston Corporate Communications, to Hill & Knowlton, New York, as an A/S focused on corporate media relations for tech and financial services clients. Ann Mangold joins the firm’s corporate group as a senior A/E on tech, entertainment, fund-raising campaigns, and professional services clients. She was previously with High Water Group.

Amy Martini, executive VP in Porter Novelli’s life sciences unit, to WeissComm Partners, New York, as EVP heading its corporate and IR practice. Also, Andrea Campbell, senior IR analyst, CV Therapeutics, Geoff Curtis, public affairs manager at Abbott Laboratories, Brian Rein, former Bloomberg reporter, and Katherine Stueland, head of PA for TAP Pharmaceutical Products, all join as associates.

Quin Hillyer, editorial writer for the Mobile Register and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, to Qorvis Communications, Washington, D.C., as a managing director. He was formerly press secretary for Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.). Eric Alvarez, a reporter and anchor for CBS stations in California, also joins as an MD. Kathleen Corcoran, director of PR and publications, Volunteers of America, joins as a director.

Kelly Hennessy, PR manager, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, to Pure Communications, Wilmington, N.C., as a senior account director.

Steve Blow, a veteran of Continental Automotive Systems, AlliedSignal Automotive, and a handful of Detroit-area marcom firms, to Eisbrenner PR, Troy, Mich., as an A/S. Melissa Kliethermes, who handled PR for Walker Racing and Della Penna Motorsports, joins as an A/E handling automotive and tech accounts.

Sonja Bultynck, communications director for Ernst & Young’s global automotive practice, to AutoPR, Rochester, Mich., as an account manager. She has held posts with DaimlerChrysler and the Society of Automotive Engineers-Detroit Section.

Rachel Gutierrez, senior A/E MediaReach PR, to Kohnstamm Communications, St. Paul, Minn., as an A/E focused on consumer and B2B accounts.

Lynda Swaney, former marketing director for Cox Business Services and American Healthcare Services, to SouthernLINC Wireless, Atlanta, as communications manager.

Jerry Davies, director of communications, Personal Insurance Federation of California, to Farmers Insurance Group, Los Angeles, as director of media relations. Davis was an anchor and reporter at TV stations in Miami and Des Moines. He later became press secretary and director of research and consumer education for the Florida Insurance Commission.


Jeff Carr to VP of new business, KempGoldberg, Portland, Me. Also, Holly Wolf to PR manager.

Elisabeth Feldman to senior VP, TBC PR, Baltimore. She opened the firm’s New York office in 1999. Also, Beth Burkhardt, who joined the firm in 1989, to senior VP.

Internet Edition, October 4, 2006, Page 7

PR, MEDIA WISH LISTS (Continued from page 1)

Columnist Steve Lackmeyer of The Oklahoman, said “one of the biggest problems in the local PR community” is members who go to the paper’s ownership or top executives to get stories changed.

“It’s unethical, it’s wrong and too many in this town are doing it,” said Lackmeyer, whose statewide paper is the biggest in the state with readership of 420,000 daily. “It gets me angry and it gets my bosses angry,” he said.

PR pros “might succeed at this but there are long term consequences” that are negative, he said. He spoke of choices “being made daily” in this regard.

He said he was “under orders” from financial editor Clytie Bunyan to make this and other points to the PR people.

PRSA Celebrates ‘Ethics Month’

The session, arranged by ethics chair Debbie Anglin in observation of “Ethics Month” at PRSA, was recorded and the tape was supplied to the press.

Lackmeyer was chosen as a panelist because he has been known to criticize PR, said Anglin, who heads Anglin PR.

The other panelist was Prof. Mark Hanebutt of the University of Central Oklahoma, who teaches news writing, ethics and law courses (he is a lawyer).

Anglin said PR pros are “between a rock and a hard place” because some clients think PR firms control the press.

Clients Are ‘Scared’

A member of the audience said, “Our clients are just dead scared of the media. They don’t answer the phone or they just say no comment because they’re so afraid of saying the wrong thing and being misinterpreted.”

Lackmeyer agreed there is “merit” to being afraid because there are “bad reporters” as well as good.

Hanebutt said the answer is to build trusting relationships with good reporters “who will give you a fair shake.”

He stressed the need for PR pros and their clients to be readily available to reporters who are under deadline pressure.

“Don’t tell me the CEO is out of town—get him on his cell phone, get him on his corporate jet, I don’t care,” he said. He believes PR pros should be available at night (including 2 a.m.) as well as during the day and on the weekends and that office, home, cell phones and fax numbers should be supplied.

Most journalists see PR people as “the enemy” but reporters couldn’t do their jobs without them, he said.

Too Much String-Pulling

One of the “biggest problems,” he said, is that too many people who know executives at the paper approach the “front office” of the paper in attempts to block or influence a story.

Lackmeyer went on at length about what he called the “control freak” institutional PR person who he said would even kill a positive story if it did not involve what was being said in a press release that day.

“Things are just locked down at this place and I will do everything I can to avoid going to that institution,” he said.


EAW Group CEO John Aycoth testified Sept. 25 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that he is the victim of a smear campaign launched by Gambian government officials who are trying to destroy his reputation by alleging that he had an affair with that country’s First Lady.

The firm is suing Gambia in an effort to recoup $500K in PR fees plus interest from `02 that it claims is owed to it.

Aycoth told the Court every time he visited Zeinab Suma Jammeh in her Washington hotel suite she was surrounded by her entourage and body guard.

He denies any sexual relationship with the wife of President Yahya Jammeh.

Aycoth said James Bojang, Gambia’s former Ambassador to the U.S., tipped him off about the smear campaign. That effort is geared to killing his relationship with Gambia’s leader.

Aycoth has also said that he has received death threats because of the legal squabble.


Ashton Partners, the IR/corporate communications shop, is repping CSK Auto Corp., which announced Sept. 28 that its COO Martin Fraser, 51, and Don Watson, 49, are no longer with the company following an internal audit that uncovered accounting irregularities at the auto parts chain.

CEO Maynard Jenkins, 63, also said he is stepping down once a successor has been found.

He is “extremely disappointed by the results of the investigation” and vowed to work with the board to implement the policies and procedures to assure that the issues identified by the investigation do not recur,” said Jenkins in a statement.

CSK said it will restate financials as far back as `01. It owns 1,288 Checker Auto Parts, Schuck’s Auto Supply, Kragen Auto Parts and Murray’s Discount Auto Stores in 22 stores in 22 states.

Elizabeth Saunders and Chris Hodges founded Ashton in `97. They are veterans of Thomson Financial Services.


Dawn Martin becomes president of SeaWeb on Dec. 1, succeeding Vikki Spruill who is exiting to become the head of The Ocean Conservancy.

Martin is executive director of the non-profit communications organization that crafts social marketing campaigns to promote healthy oceans. She joined the group in `04.

Martin is a veteran of the Clinton Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency, rising to the associated deputy administrator.

She also was COO at Oceana and headed the Washington, D.C., office of the American Oceans Campaign.

Seaweb is a `95 outgrowth of the Pew Charitable Trust’s environment group. Spruill, a former Ruder Finn executive, was hired as its first chief.

Fenton Communications does PR for SeaWeb.

Internet Edition, October 4, 2006, Page 8




Reportorial anger surfaced at the ethics seminar put on by PRSA/Oklahoma City (page one).

This was no lofty, academic discussion of ethical principles but a down-and-dirty airing of the day-to-day friction that exists between PR and the press.

“One of the biggest problems” faced by Oklahoman columnist Steve Lackmeyer and other staffers is PR pros and others going to the “front office” and “the owners” to get stories placed, altered or killed.

Both he and his bosses are “angry,” he said.

What happens at local newspapers is that the publisher is often on the board of the local hospital, United Way, Red Cross, Chamber of Commerce, etc. He or she is usually a member of the local business club and/or country club and rubs elbows with the heads of all the local institutions and businesses which are potential or actual advertisers.

The city editor may also be caught up in “boosterism” which was captured in Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. He wrote about Sauk Centre, Minn., where he lived. Fellow citizens ostracized him when the book came out but changed their tune when tourist dollars started flowing.

Sometimes the city editor is actively involved in all sorts of business and charitable causes. At our first job at the Bridgeport (Conn.) Post, one of the three biggest papers in the state, the city editor was grand marshal of the July 4 P.T. Barnum parade and up to his ears in civic life. Reporters soon learned what were the “sacred cows.” A reporter who challenged one was summarily fired, a lesson to the others.

So it’s only natural that a community leader would put in a call to one of the owners or the business side if a story is brewing about one of the local institutions. PR pros who want to be ethical should advise against this practice which has long term negative effects on all involved, as Lackmeyer said. The interlocking nature of civic leadership is one reason why working for a non-profit may not be the best training for product PR. Obtaining publicity for the United Way, Red Cross, local hospital, etc., is not hard when the publisher of the paper is on the board of these institutions.

Lackmeyer and the other panelist, Prof. Mark Hanebutt of the University of Central Oklahoma (former reporter and editor at The Orlando Sentinel), had plenty of gripes and so did PR pros.

Lackmeyer was put out by the “control freak” at a certain institution who can’t stand anything but the day’s “message” going out. This type is common in PR these days since so many PR pros report to “marketing.” The byword in marketing/advertising is “consistency.”

Anything else is anathema.

He’s also fed up with PR pros “shopping” an article from dept. to dept. at the paper without telling each that the story has already been rejected. Hanebutt, a lawyer as well as a journalist, wants immediate access to news sources on a 24/7 basis.

A member of the audience, meanwhile, wailed that “Our clients are just dead scared of the media—they don’t answer the phone or just say ‘no comment’...”

A recent study by the University of Chicago says companies would rather face some sort of government action than investigative reporters (

Build trusting relationships with good reporters, advises Hanebutt. But we don’t see that happening too much in this era of tight budgets and fear that PR is the prime suspect when “leaks” occur. For instance, in the Hewlett-Packard case, PR staffer Michael Moeller was one of those spied upon.

Modern technology can help solve these problems. Reporters should be sworn not to use any quotes without first e-mailing them back to the subject and any PR person involved. The big fear is that quotes will be taken out of context and wrongful impressions made. All facts should be checked with PR before publishing. The finished story, as soon as it goes on the web, should be sent to the interviewee and PR counsel. Web stories can be changed instantly and should provide opportunity for a rebuttal or reader comment. These practices might get journalists more of the access they crave and would help get PR pros “off the hook.” Reporters must accept the marketing nature of PR.

The PRSA Foundation spent we don’t know how many tens of thousands of dollars last year on a survey conducted by Harris Interactive that—oddly—asked 1,015 consumers, 150 Congressional staffers and 150 business execs what they think of PR and the press. The audiences that should have been interviewed were reporters and PR people. Their gripes should have been catalogued and ways of ironing out these causes of friction discussed. Instead of PRSA leaders seeking ways to improve PR/press relations, we see PRSA instructors preaching distrust of the media...the PRSA board and ethics board advisory Sept. 20 warned members against using “front groups” for PR. The problem with urging individuals to do something is that PR pros practice under the protection of a corporation and a veil of secrecy. The corporation and not the individual is responsible. PR pros are not required by PRSA to say for whom they are working. Account lists may be “confidential.” PR pros are also members of integrated teams that include marketing, sales, financial, legal and the CEO’s office. PR is far from the only voice. PRSA is misleading its members about staff costs for the annual conference (they are nearly $2 million and not $100,000, say former officers who have seen the figures). But not one individual is responsible for this inaccuracy including the president, president-elect or treasurer. Only PRSA as a nonprofit corporation is responsible. An accounting firm, as opposed to an individual CPA, signs the PRSA audit. PRSA staff payroll was $4.5M in 2005 and past leaders say about half the staff works about half the year on current and future annual conferences, which are planned five years in advance.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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