Contact O'Dwyer's : 271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471; Fax: 212/683-2750
ODWYERPR.COM > Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter return to main page

Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter
Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter
The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Subscribe today

Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, December 20, 2006, Page 1

Happy Holidays to all our readers. The next issue of the newsletter will be Jan. 3. Follow breaking news on


Microsoft has shifted European and Middle East Xbox PR duties from Manning, Selvage & Lee to Edelman. That makes the No. 1 independent the worldwide agency of record for the gaming console.

David Brain, CEO of Edelman/Europe, led the pitch that included Weber Shandwick and Hill & Knowlton. He said the firm is “energized by the challenge ahead.”

The account is valued at $1M. Edelman begins the EMEA Xbox program in January.


Dean Acosta, NASA’s chief spokesperson, plans to step down for a managing director post at Qorvis Communications.

Acosta, who is also deputy assistant administrator for public affairs for the space agency, led NASA PA and communications following the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.

Earlier, Acosta was a TV, radio, and print reporter covering the energy industry during a 12-year journalism career. He moves to D.C.-based Qorvis on Jan. 2.
David Mould, assistant administrator for PA at NASA, will take over as press secretary.


Mary Jo Keating, VP of corporate communications for Northeast Utilities, has been named to replace BNSF Railway Company’s Richard Russack, who is retiring as the company’s top PR executive in April 2007.

Keating has been with NU, the major utility company in New England, since 1995. She is a former corporate communications group director for the Campbell Soup Company and also held key PR posts at Pioneer Hi-Breed International and The DuPont Company.

Russack is stepping down after 15 years with the publicly traded 32,000-mile rail network, which stretches across 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF stands for Burlington Northern Santa Fe and is the merger of several rail lines over its 150-year history.

Keating’s appointment is effective in January, although she joined the company last month.

Taco Bell reached out to WPP Group’s Penn Schoen & Berland for help in its E. coli crisis that sickened nearly 70 customers and forced the shutdown of 90 restaurants in the northeast, 70 of them have re-opened.

PS&B publicized the hiring of Michael Doyle, a director of the well-regarded Center for Food Safety and the University of Georgia, to help pinpoint the E.coli source.


South Carolina’s election commission, which has overseen reform of the state’s voting apparatus over the last few years, has issued an RFP for a firm to assist with a statewide voter education and public communication campaign.

The Palmetto State will get extra attention over the next two years as a key nominating state for the 2008 Presidential election. It has met the requirements of 2002’s sweeping voter reform law, the Help America Vote Act, and implemented statewide electronic voting for the recent election with a few glitches. The goal of the PR effort is to reach a “higher level of service to voters” with easier use, convenience and consistency.

The state wants a firm with public sector experience and a South Carolina office to handle media relations, events, information kits, and some advertising.
The Associated Press noted some precincts in the state were plagued by long lines and technical glitches during the recent November election. S.C. Governor Mark Sanford made national headlines when he was rebuffed because he didn’t have a voter registration card, but he later returned with proper ID and voted.
The resulting contract could stretch from February 2007 to December 2011.

Proposals are due Jan. 17. Norma Hall is procurement officer ([email protected]).


The December issue of The Advertiser, the bi-monthly magazine of the National Assn. of Advertisers, has a five-page feature headlined, “PR Steals the Spotlight,” lauding the input of PR in the marketing mix.

Circulation is 25,000 “senior decision makers” in the 300 companies that are members of the ANA. Virtually all of the biggest advertisers are members.

“As companies grapple with how to reach increasingly distracted consumers, PR is gaining favor with marketers,” writes John Wolfe, New York bureau chief of Advertising Age from 1987-93 and senior director of PA, American Assn. of Advertising Agencies, from 1997-2003.

(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, December 20, 2006, Page 2


Nelson Mandela, the 20th century’s human rights hero, is criticized for serving as spokesperson for the diamond industry by the Dec. 18 The New Republic.

The World Diamond Council maintains that Mandela is speaking on his own to counter bad press from the movie “Blood Diamond.” A Los Angeles Times blog reported that Sitrick & Co. recruited the former African National Congress and President of South Africa.

Mandela wrote a letter to BD director Edward Zwick in which he expressed hope that the “gripping and important real life historical story will not result in the destabilization of African diamond producing countries and ultimately their peoples.”

As President of South Africa, which produces more than $1B worth of diamonds per-year, Mandela became very close to former DeBeers head Harry Oppenheimer, according to TNR.

The magazine agrees that Mandela had every right to protect South Africa’s economic interest at that time. Mandela, however, did not gain his worldwide esteem by promoting economic development in South Africa. Mandela owes his “stature to his decades-long campaign against apartheid, a campaign that appealed to universal values like human rights and freedom.” TNR says Mandela “shilling for the diamond business” is putting their narrow economic interests above universal values.


Andy Sernovitz, CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, will step down from the group when his contract expires at the end of March.

“The most important service a true entrepreneur can provide to his company is to get the hell out of the way when the startup days are over,” he said in a memo to staff and members.

He noted WOMMA is no longer a “startup” and has grown from 10 members to 330 in two years. He said the group has “changed the game” and made ethics topic No. 1 in marketing innovation.

Sernovitz started the Association for Interactive Marketing in the early 1990s, which banded together early ‘Net companies and was eventually sold to the Direct Marketing Assn. in 1999. WOMMA is made up of professional staff and an elected board. Ed Keller, pres. of The Keller Fay Group, New Brunswick, N.J., is pres. of the board. Edelman’s Rick Murray is treasurer.


M Silver Assocs. is creating a ‘pop-up’ store at Manhattan’s Union Square next month for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. The firm says it’s the first-ever destination pop-up.

New Yorkers will be treated to a palm tree-lined venue for 10 days beginning Jan. 10. The store will feature an array of travel info and specially priced vacation packages. Visitors to “coast 954” can go virtual fishing, play golf or get a massage.

New York City is Fort Lauderdale’s No. 1 out-of-state tourism market.


The New York Post reported Dec. 14 that Omnicom fought to keep secret legal filings that allege the ad/PR conglom “arranged several cozy financial deals to help hide losses and meet Wall Street’s profit expectations.”

Those documents claim OMC sold stakes in faltering Internet ventures to firms controlled by CEO John Wren and chief financial officer Randy Weisenburger to “scour its financial results.”

The lawsuit contends that OMC in `02 created a shell called Seneca to “keep other crumbling web investments off its books.”

OMC’s lawyers say the accounting for Seneca was proper and approved by auditors Arthur Andersen and KPMG. An OMC spokesperson refused to comment to the Post.


Anthony Hebron, VP of external communications for Limited Brands, is slated to join scientific R&D organization Battelle as SVP of corporate relations.

Hebron steps down after seven years at Limited, the parent company to retail brands like Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works and Henri Bendel. Prior to that, he held communications posts at Dow Chemical and Kellogg Co.

Battelle, like Limited, is based in Columbus, Ohio. The scientific research entity is a charitable non-profit trust and counts 20,000 employees across 120 locations overseeing $3.7B in research. Among its lab management sites are five U.S. Dept. of Energy laboratories which it manages or co-manages, including the well-known national laboratories at Oak Ridge (Tenn.) and Brookhaven (N.Y.).

Hebron is set to join the non-profit in the new SVP post on Jan. 15.


Kekst & Co. is advising former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Richard Breeden who heads an investment group seeking four seats on Applebee’s staggered board of directors.

Breeden’s group charges “severe performance problems” at Applebee’s because of high overhead cost and wasteful spending. The Overland Park, Kan.-based restaurant chain’s nine-month net tumbled 23 percent to $995M.

In a letter to Applebee’s directors, Breeden says the company’s shares should be trading at more than $50 (vs. $23.82) if it matched the performance of industry-leading Darden Restaurants (home of Red Lobster and Olive Garden).

He believes Applebee’s offers customers an “excellent product” and has a “wonderful network of talented franchise operators.”

Breeden faults the board for “dithering while shareholder value slips farther and farther behind.” That, to Breeden, is “not what the board is paid to do.” Kekst’s Victoria Weld handles the Breeden bid.

Applebee’s management says it will stay the course, delivering near- and long-term value to shareholders.

Internet Edition, December 20, 2006, Page 3


FHM, a beer and babe magazine, is closing after a six-year run due to “difficult trading conditions in the U.S.”

Paul Keenan, CEO of Emap Consumer Media, says he sees no immediate upturn in the U.S. market and could not operate FHM on a profitable basis.

Forty staffers are to be let go, but the U.S. FHM website will continue.
The British FHM is the No. 1 "lad" mag in the U.K.


Granite Broadcasting, owner of 23 TV stations in 11 markets, has filed for Chapter 11 after suffering losses of more than $80M for the first nine months of this year.

CEO Don Cornwell blames the formation of The CW Network for the demise.
Granite's San Francisco and Detroit TV stations lost their WB affiliation with the merger with UPN to form CW. GB failed to line up buyers for the stations.

Cornwell says the rest of GB is “competitive and profitable.” He notes the acquisition of the CBS affiliate in Birmingham now gives the company coverage of 60 percent of the upstate New York market.

The company owns stations in Buffalo and Syracuse.

GB hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 during the first-half of next year.


John Solomon, who led the seven-member investigative team at the Associated Press, is joining the Washington Post in the new year.

He will head up coverage of campaign finance and do “accountability reporting for the federal government and Congress,” according to a Post memo.

Team Solomon scored recent coups with stories about the Dubai Ports deal, and news that President Bush was informed about the potential devastation to New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina before the storm hit.

Solomon began work at AP in ’87. He has served as assistant bureau chief for its D.C. office.


Time Warner has named Gail MacKinnon senior VP-global public policy. She reports to executive VP Carol Melton.

Based in Washington, MacKinnon will handle TW's government, political and public policy initiatives. She also will be responsible for the media combine's outreach to its various trade associations.

MacKinnon is senior VP-government relations at the National Cable and Telecommunications Assn. She joins TW in January.

Before signing on at the NCTA, MacKinnon was VP-government relations at Viacom. She wound up at that post when Viacom took over CBS, where MacKinnon was VP-federal relations.

Earlier she was at Tele-Communications and Turner Broadcasting, which is part of TW.


Maj. Megan McClung, a 34-year-old public affairs officer for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force who oversaw embedded journalists in Iraq, has become one of the highest-ranking female soldiers killed in the war.

McClung was killed on Dec. 6 in Anbar province while supporting combat operations, according to a Pentagon press release of Dec. 11. She was killed by a roadside bomb while escorting journalists, according to news reports. The Associated Press reported that no journalists were seriously injured in the bombing.

Her unit was based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Lawrence Kaplan, a senior editor for the New Republic, remembered McClung on his blog this week. "Whether securing me a seat on a flight that no one else knew existed, scoring an interview for me with a Sunni sheikh in Ramadi, or responding quickly and indulgently to the most inane questions a writer could think to ask, McClung did a difficult job cheerfully and she did it well," he wrote, calling her “one of the finest PAO's in Iraq."


Former Congressional firebrand Tom DeLay has launched Grassroots Action and Information Network in cyberspace to "counter secular progressive pressure groups and radical leftist agendas wherever they appear in the U.S."

The former Majority Leader, who represented Sugar Land, Tex., is using the GAIN blog ( to "break through the liberal mainstream media clutter" and keep "elected officials true to principle."

The "Hammer" wants to establish GAIN chapters in each Congressional district. Those units will give GAIN an "active role in local, state and federal political life by effectively advocating for conservative first principles at every level of government."

DeLay is offering GAIN memberships for $52.

Members will receive “insider political information on the 110th Congress and updates on the ways of combating the plans of the radical left and their associates in the left wing media elite.” They will also enjoy monthly strategy sessions with DeLay who was indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges.

Democrat Nick Lampson won DeLay’s former Congressional seat in the November election.


CBS Corp. is re-launching CBS Records, a unit that will mainly provide original music for its television programming. The goal is to cut spending for music licensing fees. CBS Records was one of the top labels in the `70s and `80s when it was headed by Walter Yetnikoff. It featured stars like Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand. The label was sold to Sony Corp. for $2B in `87. Sony retired the CBS Records name.

The revived CBS Records is to offer music to consumers via Apple Computer's iTunes Stores. It also may release CDs on a case-by-base basis.

The charter “talent” for the new label includes Will Dailey, P.J. Olson and the rock band, Senor Happy.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, December 20, 2006, Page 4

L.A. TIMES PUSHES ‘THE ENVELOPE.’, which is billed as the “ultimate awards site,” has enabled the Los Angeles Times to significantly broaden its coverage of the entertainment business during the past year, according to editor Betsy Sharkey.

That coverage is now more varied and layered, she told the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society on Dec. 4.

The Envelope's purpose, according to promotional materials, is to raise awareness of award contenders, drive box office numbers, boost DVD sales, influence voting considerations of Academy and guild members and target consumers.

The Envelope receives three million visitors during the high season – between November and February. It features interactive photo galleries, video clips of red carpet coverage, celebrity podcasts, blogs and a “Buzzmeter.”

The EPPS panelists prefer emails. “Don’t call me, email works best, because I work out of my home literally blogging all day,” said Elizabeth Snead, contributing editor of The Envelope.

The former fashion editor and entertainment writer for USA Today prefers “10 days advance notice of story pitches,” since she covers three events a night. “I might not get back to you right away, but I do read my emails,” she said.
At The Envelope, Snead writes a daily “Styles and Scenes” blog about awards, parties, stars, styles, secrets and sins. She also writes for the Times' Sunday Calendar section's new “Party Page.”

The LAT re-launched The Envelope to make it “more accessible to our users and the industry,” said its senior producer Joseph Kapsch.

The site is broken down into sections on awards and includes photos, features and anything to do with the awards show in the subsections.

“There is Academy news and breaking news on the site. We've created these multimedia models on each page for photos. We also host podcasts of nominees or anyone associated with the awards show,” said Kapsch.
Kapsch was the former managing editor of, as well as a producer of TV sites at ABC, NBC, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment and Viacom.

A tip: don’t pitch a hodge-podge of clients to The Envelope. “We're looking for a window into the lifestyle of a person so exclusives are given much more consideration,” said Snead.

‘The Envelope’ Contacts
• Betsy Sharkey, editor
[email protected]

• Elizabeth Snead, contributing editor
[email protected]

• Joseph Kapsch
senior producer
[email protected]


Sony admitted it was behind a fake weblog, or flog, touting its PSP game console last week after bloggers traced the site to viral marketing firm Zipatoni.

Following the “outing,” Sony acknowledged the company was behind and added a “clarification” posting admitting the connection, MediaPost reported.

Comments were not allowed online after Sony posted its confession.

Medipost noted a Zipatoni executive posting on the site suggested that Sony shrugged off concerns that the connection would be revealed. “As long as it is funny, we do this stuff all of the time,” the executive wrote, attributing that comment to Sony.


Burt Rutherford, communications director of the Texas Cattle Feeders Assn. in a 21-year career there, has joined BEEF magazine as senior editor.

Rutherford oversees coverage of the U.S. cattle feeding industry for the Prism Business Media title’s 10K readers, based in Amarillo, Tex. The magazine is published 13 times a year.

He started his career as a writer and reporter for the Western Livestock Journal.

At TCFA, he produced the trade group’s weekly newsletter, annual magazine, and handled PR.


Tom Fiedler, who was under fire by Miami's Cuban community, has stepped down as executive editor of the Miami Herald.

He is replaced by Anders Gyllenhall, editor of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Both papers are McClatchy Co. properties.

Fiedler's departure follows the October resignation of Herald publisher Jesus Diaz, who was caught up in the controversy connected with news that journalists of its Spanish-language paper were on the payroll of the U.S. government.

Fiedler, 60, referred to those critics as "Chihuahuas" that were nipping at the Herald's heels. He apologized for that comparison.

Gyllenhall was a Herald reporter, who moved to the News and Observer in Raleigh, before shifting to Minneapolis in ’02.

Briefs ____________________________________

Ancestry Magazine, a genealogy title published by, relaunched as a bimontly with its November/December issue. The magazine claims 50K subscribers in the U.S.

Ronald Pies, a M.D. in psychiatry, has been named editor-in-chief of CMPMEdica’s Psychiatric Times, effective Jan. 1. Pies has been a contributor to the publication since its inception in 1984 and has authored and co-authored articles, book chapters and books.

PT is a monthly tabloid newsmagazine with a circulation of about 39K psychiatric professionals.

Internet Edition, December 20, 2006, Page 5


French/West/Vaughan has re-acquired the Glasure Group, a Tampa, Fla.-based firm headed by founding FWV partner Jack Glasure in 1997.

FWV divested the office in 2000 on an agreement between FWV CEO Rick French and Glasure to sell the office if performance targets were met. Glasure has maintained a “loose” affiliation with FWV since then.

French said growth in Raleigh and New York made acquiring Glasure and its staff an “extremely attractive value proposition.”

Glasure clients include Passport Marine, Fierce-i Films, and American HomeHealth.


Pinnacle Worldwide, an international network of 34 independent firms, recently marked its 30th anniversary at its board of directors meeting in London.

Pinnacle recently named its first president from Europe, Hannemie Stitz of Public Relations Partners in Germany. She is the 20th president of the organization and serves a two-year term.

A handful of firms with offices in six U.S. cities founded Pinnacle in 1976. It has since grown to include 57 offices in 29 countries.

Stitz said expansion during her term will focus on Brazil, Russia, India and China.

BRIEFS: Lipman Hearne, Chicago, won a $51K year-long contract to help develop a marketing plan for the Univ. of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Eight firms pitched for the account. ...Quinn & Co., New York, has a new website at ...Hill & Knowlton said it will launch a “communications mapping” service in early 2007 developed by its ComMetric group. It is to include interpretations of the “relationships, momentum, influence and ‘pass-through’ of ideas” in traditional and social media. Jim Beakey, a veteran of Factiva, Delahaye and Applied Communication, has joined H&K to head the service. He also worked at 2B, a benchmarking company that was partly owned by H&K. ...Steptoe & Johnson, Washington, D.C., has aligned with eight-staffer bi-partisan lobbying shop The Scott Group. TSG was previously associated with Collier Shannon Scott. ...The Ruth Group represents MEDecision, a Wayne, Pa., software company that caters to the healthcare industry. MED went public last week with a $47M IPO. ...Oui 2 PR has added music publicist Jennifer Bandier Diggins and renamed the firm Milestone PR with offices in New York and Los Angeles. Diggins, the daughter of EMI Music Publishing CEO Martin Banier, serves as SVP of urban music and events, effective Jan. 1. She worked with Oui 2 in 1992 for HMV Records and later went on to co-found Diggit Entertainment, representing artists like TLC. ...Integrated Corporate Relations, Westport, Conn., is handling communications for Texas-based wheeled footwear company Heelys, which went public in early December with a blockbuster $135M IPO that surpassed expectations.


New York Area

Latinvox, New York/Pernod Ricard, spirits and wine brands, as Hispanic promotions agency for Stoli Vodka in the New York area.

Reich Communications, New York/Arcanna, branding and package design firm; Future 1st, for launch of child passenger restraint device Angelguard, and Posters Please, for ongoing PR.

M. Young Communications, New York/Rums of Puerto Rico, as AOR for PR in the U.S. The firm said it will work to paint P.R. as the “rum capital of the world” through promotional activities and PR.

MWW Group, East Rutherford, N.J./The Shops at Columbus Circle and The Restaurant & Bar Collection at Time Warner Center, as AOR for PR, including business and consumer media relations.

Ruder Finn, New York/Li-Ning, the “Nike of China” and a key sponsor of the Beijing Olympics, for PR. Li -Ning has already cemented ties with the National Basketball Assn. and a handful of players. It is expected to introduce Shaquille O'Neal's “Shaq” line in China and Taiwan in 2007. Ogilvy PR’s iPR Asia unit took care of that announcement.


360 PR, Boston/, as AOR for PR.

Consortium for Risk Communications, Washington, D.C./Hecla Mining Company, for comms. policy counsel and crisis comms. training for the Idaho based mining company. CRC is made up of Widmeyer Communications and the Center for Risk Communication.

Sawmill Marketing PR, Baltimore/United Displays of America, for a national marketing push.

Vanguard Communications, Washington, D.C./Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, for outreach to the Hispanic community.

Freestyle PR, Alexandria, Va./TraceSecurity, as AOR for PR following project work.

DPR Group, Cary, N.C./Proof-it-Online, proofing and approval services for creative pros, for PR and media outreach to the creative services market.

The Communications Group, Little Rock, Ark./
omniscout, GPS technology, as AOR for PR in North America.

Redwood Consultants, Tampa, Fla./EarthFirst Technologies, alternative fuel technologies, for marketing comms., IR and strategic planning.


Blue Chip Marketing & Comms., Northbrook, Ill./
Sunwin International Neutraceuticals, China, for a U.S. marketing campaign touting its Only Sweet dietary supplement brand.

VSA Partners, Chicago/CME, financial exchange, as agency of record for branding and marketing.

Carmichael Lynch Spong, Minneapolis/The Sherwin-Williams Co., as AOR for its paint stores group’s architectural segments.

Nicholson Kovac, Kansas City, Mo./Norgren Inc., pneumatic motion and fluid control technologies, to develop integrated marketing communications efforts for the company.

Internet Edition, December 20, 2006, Page 6


The Radio Television News Directors Assn.'s First Amendment defense for the airing of unsourced VNRs is taken to task in a Star Tribune (Minneapolis) op-ed by Henry Geller, former general counsel at the Federal Communications Commission, and Diane Farsetta, senior researcher at Center for Media and Democracy.

The duo argues that disclosure is not meant to suppress VNR use, but to "avoid the widespread deception of news audiences." They say Congress and the courts stress that broadcasters-which enjoy free use of the public airwaves-must operate in the public interest.

Geller and Farsetta say disclosure is especially important because economic pressures "placed on TV stations today have effectively transformed VNRS into an essential yet undeclared part of TV newsrooms budgets." At the very least, the public should be informed of disclosure of VNRs so they can "evaluate what's being presented as news."

Farsetta is the author of CMD's two studies that charted the widespread use of VNRs.

The FCC has launched a probe to see if undisclosed VNR broadcasts violate sponsorship identification rules.

The National Assn. of Broadcast Communicators president Kevin Foley responded to the Star Tribune report, charging that Geller and Farsetta "continue to advance the notion that the government should serve as a censor to TV news, irrespective of any First Amendment free speech or free press guarantees."

He noted that the vast majority of VNRs produced by NABC members are on “innocuous topics like the versatility of pancakes.” The FCC rules, according to Foley, "very clearly state that TV and radio stations must disclose the source of any material they receive from an outside source if that content is controversial or political in nature, or if a TV station received payment to air it."

Foley wrote that journalists have been using VNRs since the beginning of TV news because the videos contain value for their viewers. Of the FCC probe of VNRS, Foley concluded that it is "incumbent on the Commission to weigh what the applicable rules are against what Farsetta and Geller wish the rules were."

BRIEFS: Teletrax, Medialink’s digital broadcast tracking service, has added three clients from the direct response advertising sector – media buying agency hawthorne direct, marketer ThermoSpas, and a third unnamed direct response firm. ...Gregg Castano and Pyllis Dantuono have been named co-chief operating officers for Business Wire. Castano is focused on sales strategy and financial analysis, while Dantuono heads global operations, legal issues and editorial policies. ...Nick Peters, former senior exec for Medialink and former producer and writer for Dan Rather and Charles Osgood at CBS News, to On The Scene Productions, Los Angeles, as senior VP of marketing and strategy. ...Executive recruiter K. Russo Associates, Stamford, Conn. marked its 10th anniversary in 2006. Karen Russo’s firm recently kicked off a “recruitment essentials program” with HR managers and is expanding its consulting services to include policy development and rewards strategy.



Rick Cerrone, senior director of media relations for the New York Yankees, to DKC, formerly Dan Klores Communications, New York, as senior VP of its sports division. Cerrone, a former Major League Baseball catcher, was assistant director of PR for MLB’s office of the commissioner and VP of PR for the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise.

Richard Wilson, a former technology and environmental correspondent for CNN, has joined Xethanol Corp., New York, as executive VP of communications and technology affairs. The company develops renewable energy technologies.

Sarah Hughes, PR specialist for the Northeastern Assn. of the Blind, to Shorey PR, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., as an AA/E.

Courtney Guertin, former PR manager for Advertising Ventures, to LIN TV Corp., Providence, R.I., as a PR specialist. She was recently assistant director of comms. for Harrah’s Entertainment’s unsuccesful $12M push this year for an Indian tribe-backed casino in the Ocean State.

Michiko Morales, VP, Stanton Communications, to Global Communicators, Washington, D.C., as senior VP for media relations and new business development. She was formerly senior counselor and director of The Martin Agency/SLAY PR’s Washington, D.C., office.

John Files a veteran journalist from the New York Times and International Herald Tribune, to Powell Tate|Weber Shandwick, Washington, D.C., as a VP for strategic communications and media relations. Jenny Mayfield, photo editor for USA Today, joins as a director for healthcare clients. Kathryn Wilson, recently of BearingPoint, and Margaret Sacks, legislative director for Virginia State Sen. John O’Brien, join as A/Ss. And Heather Cable, prev. of Toplin Assocs., joins PT|WS as an A/E.

Mary Ortega, a former media relations specialist for L.C. Williams & Associates and A/S for S&S PR, to MWW Group, Chicago, as a VP. A 20-year PR veteran, Ortega was previously a personal publicist for the late football great Walter Payton and is the author of Media Relations 101.

Carole Rooney, executive director for law firm Rudloff Wood & Barrows, to Perry Communications Group, Sacramento, Calif., as operations manager.


Catherine Laws and Kelly Williams to senior VPs, William Mills Agency, Atlanta, Ga. Charlyne McWilliams was named A/S.

David Thompson to senior associate and Julia Ehrgood to associate, Carmen Group, D.C.

Mike DeVilling to executive VP, John Bailey & Associates, Troy, Mich. He joined the firm in 2000 and heads work for R.L. Polk & Co., Macy’s North and DuPont Automotive.

Randy Satterfield to director of regulatory, government affairs and communications, American Transmission Co., Pewaukee, Wisc. He joined the company in 2003 as director of comms.

Internet Edition, December 20, 2006, Page 7

BRAND-BUILDING TOOL (Cont’d from page 1)

He is now with MindShare, a worldwide media company that is part of the WPP Group.

Interviewed for the article were Helen Ostrowski, CEO of Porter Novelli and chair of the Council of PR Firms; Anthony Rose, associate director for global beauty external relations, Procter & Gamble; Andy Cooper, principal of CooperKatz & Co., New York, which is PR counsel to the ANA, and Paul Woolmington, founding partner of Naked Communications, New York.

PR Input Sought Earlier

Ostrowski says marketers are now inviting PR pros to take part in planning at a much earlier phase than previously.

Says Wolfe: “Marketers are recognizing PR’s value and contributions as an important brand-building tool.”

An ANA survey earlier this year found that 89% of respondents, when asked to rank the value of several above and below the line marketing disciplines, rated PR either as “very important” (59%) or “important” (30%) to their overall business. This was the highest such ranking given to any discipline, noted Wolfe.

PR “Cuts Through Clutter”

Rose said, "As media inflation proceeds unchecked and marketing noise increases, the credibility that PR and editorial provide cuts through the clutter."

PR is well suited to performing in the "wild west" of the new profusion of media outlets because its practitioners are used to not having control over the message but instead have to rely on “third party endorsers,” said Ostrowski.

PR has “a very broad view of all the audiences that impact an organization and its brands,” said Cooper.

This includes stakeholders beyond consumers such as shareholders, policymakers, and advocacy groups.

PR's job is to find creative ways to make marketing ideas newsworthy and beneficial to the lifestyles of the target audiences, he added.

Woolmington says PR pros bring a “special perspective” to the table because of their direct experience with media. “When you talk to PR pros they have a unique perspective on media because they are media people themselves,” he said.

Rose says there is still room for improvement in the integration of PR and marketing and that “the PR industry itself needs to speak up and defend its own position.” PR is “too siloed,” he said, and there is a need for “holistic brand building” that moves from siloed disciplines.


A roadmap for achieving good PR for corporations and organizations is provided in Reputation Management, a 432-page softcover written by PR professors and practitioners John Doorley and Helio Fred Garcia. Five chapters have been contributed by various PR specialists.

The softcover ($45.00 via Amazon) is published by the Routledge unit of the Taylor & Francis Group, New York and London.

Doorley ([email protected]) headed corporate communications at Merck from 1987-2000 before joining Rutgers University as a full time Communications Dept. faculty member in 2001. He joined New York University in 2004 to help build the curriculum for a new M.S. degree in PR and corporate communications which has enrolled more than 60 students. He is program director.

Garcia, who headed the crisis practice at Clark & Weinstock for more than a decade, has been on the NYU faculty since 1988 and also helped create the new MS program. He heads the Logos Consulting group which specializes in crisis management and communication.

Corporate Reputations are "Real"

The authors contend that although reputation is viewed as something “soft” and “intangible” by many companies, it has real, tangible value that can be measured. Recent scandals involving Enron, Worldcom and other companies show that “reputations can surely be mismanaged,” they say.

RM agrees with the definition of reputation management as put forward by Charles Fombrun, professor emeritus, Stern School of business, NYU, and editor, Corporate Reputation Review: “Reputation is the sum of the images the various constituencies have of an organization.” But Doorley and Garcia also say that “Reputation = Sum of Images = (Performance and Behavior) + Communication. This makes it clear, they say, that performance and behavior, as well as communication, are components of reputation.”

Also cited are Fortune magazine's criteria for measuring corporate reputation: innovativeness, quality of management, employee talent, financial soundness, use of corporate assets, long-term investment value, social responsibility and quality of products/services.

Cautious on Media Relations

A cautious approach is urged in a 33-page chapter on “Media Relations.”

In a section under the headline, “Fear of the Press,” the book says “many media relations people are not very good at their jobs because they are afraid of journalists” and especially afraid of being quoted.

There is “constant scrutiny and criticism” by senior officials of an organization of what is said or not said in the press and they “often react out of all proportion to the slightest problem in a news report,” says RM. A call from the New York Times or “60 Minutes” of CBS “can cause panic or worse,” it notes. PR people worry that their words “may come back to haunt them” and “inertia" also blocks them from contacting reporters,” it adds.

Plumb Reporter's Perspective

Some reporters are better than others about being objective so it is a good idea to figure out in advance what the reporter's perspective is, RM advises.

Beat reporters who become expert in an industry, sometimes developing insights that are “even deeper than a company’s management may have at a given time,” can serve as an early warning system of trouble ahead, says RM. But “they are often seen within a company as having an anti-company agenda,” it adds.

Even when reporters know a company or industry well, it is “still important to limit their access to information and people in a company,” it advises.

“Unrestricted communication to the news media can cause more than just confusion,” it adds. “It can be irresponsible, and sometimes even illegal.”

Internet Edition, December 20, 2006, Page 8




The tragic war in Iraq, and charges that the truth about it is not being told, dominated the news in 2006. The U.S. has to choose between the Shiites and the Sunnis and cannot continue supporting both since this war is now longer than World War II. Since the Shiites outnumber the Sunnis nearly 4-1, the choice is painful but obvious.

The alleged lies about Iraq, dating from years ago, are all being laid at the foot of PR. This war has been “PR’ed” to the hilt, said the New York Times’ Frank Rich, who wrote a book about it.

Tavis Smiley, keynoter at the PRSA national conference, was no doubt referring partly to Iraq when he urged the audience of 2,000+ to “stop the spinning...the mendacity.” The speech was the most accessed story on in November, showing PR pros are concerned about PR’s image.

What is PR? To critics, it’s boundless, mindless enthusiasm in the face of disaster. The Bush Administration is still talking about democracy, freedom, liberty, and “winning” in Iraq despite many indications these goals are unattainable.

Smiley said the public is so fed up with hokum that it craves “sophomoric” reality shows like “American Idol” because “they’re honest.”

The New Yorker (Dec. 8) had a satiric essay about various epidemics including “Spin Control Syndrome” whose symptoms are “increased perkiness” as the victim makes everything in his or her life sound “just terrific.” Wife left you? “She’s spending a good deal of time traveling.” Son in prison? “He’s exploring creative opportunities in a structured environment,” etc.

There were four big media hits on PR during the year: the Smiley speech; the July 13 Rich essay saying PR is synonymous with “sloganeering, marketing, lack of substance,” etc.; Der Spiegel Aug. 7 calling PR the “Master of Deception” that “even assists in staging wars,” and the Washington Post’s Steve Pearlstein who wrote Oct. 27 that he is fed up with green “twenty-somethings” calling him up and not having answers.

He said “globalism” in PR has not resulted in “economies of scale” but “a few bureaucratic behemoths that overcharge and under-perform, driving away their best talent.”

On the positive side, The Economist Jan. 19 said “PR is an increasingly vital marketing tool” especially as traditional ad forms decline in influence. PR is trying to “move up the corporate pecking order” with a “host of new stratagems,” it adds. PR as a “brand-building tool” was lauded in The Advertiser of the Assn. of National Advertisers. The article headlined: “PR Steals the Spotlight.” One problem with marketers is they’re deadly serious, which is opposite to the insouciant, irreverent atmosphere of a newsroom. PR took more of a soft sell, light-hearted approach while marketing is often hard sell and even harsh sell.

As an example of the obsession of business with $$, Hearst CEO Victor Ganzi refused to be interviewed in person by the New York Times for a feature on the new Hearst building, saying, “It doesn’t make the Hearst Corp. another dollar.”

A highly enthusiastic person at PRSA is 2007 president Rhoda Weiss, who says she is known to clients as “the energizer bunny.” She outlined scores of initiatives at the 2006 Assembly including expanding the APR program to specialized APRs in the 19 sections. She is studying for a Ph.D. in “Leadership and Change in the Professions” from ultra-liberal Antioch University whose credo is, “One cannot be a scholar and keep secrets.” Grads “lead organizational change in their professions.” We know of no organization that is more secretive, undemocratic and change-resistant than PRSA.

Educators’ dominance of PRSA was evident at the annual conference where only educators won awards. Debra Miller got the Gold Anvil and Parke Gibson awards; Prof. Melvin Sharpe, Distinguished Service; Prof. Dean Kruckeberg, Jackson, Jackson & Jackson Behavioral Science; Prof. Carol Ann Hackley, Lund Public Service, and Prof. Bruce Berger, Outstanding Educator (no quarrel there).

A major disappointment was SPAM. Despite all efforts to thwart it, SPAM doubled in 2006.

There’s a lot of talk about PR promoting “diversity” but diversity in PR would mean adding men. More than 90% of PR undergrads are women. A New York Times feature headlined “At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust,” portrayed male undergrads as childish (obsessed with video games), unfocused, lazy, unmotivated and cut-ups (e.g., Duke lacrosse team hiring strippers).

Solution: men serve two years in the army before going to college so they have time to “grow up.”

The European culture of secrecy has invaded many industries where leading players sold out to the Europeans (especially ad/PR). “The whole notion of transparency is completely foreign to most European companies,” The Ragan Report was told by a veteran communicator at the Blackbrooke Institute conference in Spain in October. European companies tell employees little and the public, less.

Toni Muzi Falconi, founder, Global Alliance for PR and past president, Italian PR Federation (, said in a paper to the Institute for PR that only a few percent of the three million people in PR worldwide (400,000 in the U.S.) are in PR associations because such groups “are not doing their job” although “some are worse and some are better.”

Such groups, before thinking of their members’ interests, must also think of the audiences of their members, he said.

--Jack O'Dwyer


Copyright © 1998-2020 J.R. O'Dwyer Company, Inc.
271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471