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Internet Edition, February 28, 2007, Page 1


Ketchum and Brunswick Group are helping ConAgra deal with the salmonella crisis that has led to the recall of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter, Chris Kircher, VP-corporate affairs, told O’Dwyer’s.

Those shops are aiding the extensive in-house crisis capabilities that the Omaha-based $11.5B food giant already had in place, added Kircher who has been swamped with media calls.

Kircher’s deputy, Stephanie Childs, director-communications, also has been fielding media inquiries. He noted that Childs is a veteran of the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

ConAgra CEO Gary Rodkin apologized to consumers on Feb. 22 after the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the presence of salmonella in jars of peanut butter.

“We are truly sorry for any harm that our peanut butter products may have caused,” he said. Rodkin added that the company is “committed to taking all reasonable steps to remedy the situation.”

ConAgra voluntarily recalled peanut butter made at its Georgia plant on Feb. 14 after federal regulators linked the product to a salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 300 people in 40 states since August.

The CDC test results found salmonella-tainted peanut butter in New York, Oklahoma and Iowa.

A Pennsylvania family has filed a negligence and wrongful death suit against ConAgra on Feb. 22, charging that a 76-year-old woman died after eating ConAgra’s peanut butter. ConAgra has estimated that the recall would result in a quarterly charge of $50 million to $60 million.


Elinore White, who was deputy director of Manning, Selvage & Lee’s healthcare practice, has shifted to GCI Group as SVP and deputy health director.

She has more than 25 years of experience, handling therapeutic areas such as cardiovascular, central nervous system, nutrition and oncology.

At MS&L, White repped two of its biggest health assignments. She worked on Ambien, the sleep aid, and Aricept, an Alzheimer’s drug.

White also held a top health post at Ruder Finn. She was responsible for worldwide media efforts for Femara, the breast cancer drug, and Novartis’ Gleevec.

Previously, White was director of PR at the New England Dairy Board, and had PR positions at Boston University’s Sargent College of Allied Health Professions.


Nancy Humphries has resigned the presidency/CEO post at National Investor Relations Institute after a seven-month stint.

She is replaced on an interim basis by Linda Kelleher, 54.

Kelleher is upped from NIRI’s senior VP/professional development & executive director of the Senior Roundtable posts. She is a 24-year NIRI staffer.

Humphries, 56, joined NIRI in July. The former BellSouth VP-IR had succeeded Lou Thompson, who stepped down after a 24-year run.

Humphries left NIRI to “pursue other interests.” With the promotion, Kelleher joins NIRI’s board.


Sofitel Hotels & Resorts, which has 200 properties in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, and The Greenbrier, which is undergoing a $50 million renovation, named Lou Hammond & Assocs., New York, for PR after competitive reviews.

Hammond will handle corporate-wide re-branding with responsibility for marketing communications, product segmentation, and obtaining partnerships for the 200 properties.

Sofitel, the premium brand of Accord Hotels, is noted for its use of French art and creating a “distinct sense of place” for each hotel.

The Greenbrier is located in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. It is reopening in early spring after a $50 million renovation that includes improved guestrooms and a new gourmet restaurant with a noted chef. The Greenbrier was founded in 1778.


Richard Pombo, the former Republican head of the House Natural Resources Committee who lost a bid for re-election last November, has joined the Sacramento office of Pac/West Communications as a senior partner.

Steve Ding, Pombo’s House chief of staff, joined Oregon-based Pac/West as a VP earlier this month to head its new office in California’s capital.

Pombo, 45, served seven terms in the House representing California’s 11th district. He took the Resources Committee reins in 2003.

He had an ally in Pac/West in his efforts to revamp the Endangered Species Act, open the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve for oil exploration, and supporting President Bush’s “Healthy Forests” plan.

The firm has a $3M contract with Alaska to push oil drilling in ANWR, according to the Contra Costa Times.

Internet Edition, February 28, 2007, Page 2


JetBlue Airways entered the second week of media and consumer turbulence with a shored up PR defense in the form of a customer bill of rights.

The discount airline carrier and past media darling is looking to right its ship after a winter storm in the northeast created a ripple of delays, more than a thousand flight cancellations, and stranded some passengers on tarmacs for up to 11 hours. News reports have included a steady stream of irate passengers swearing off JetBlue, and overtime and cancellations could cost the company up to $30M, by Morgan Stanley’s estimates.

A spokesman for the Forest Hills, N.Y.-based company told O’Dwyer’s that JetBlue does not utilize outside PR counsel.

Its corporate PR unit Feb. 20 unveiled a customer bill of rights laying out new policies for vouchers based on the amount of time passengers are delayed. For example, a customer who experiences a one- or two-hour delay on arrival gets a $100 voucher for a future flight. The document promises customers will be notified of delays, cancellations and diversions and will deplane passengers if delays hit five hours.

“This was a big wake-up call for JetBlue,” said founder and CEO David Neeleman, in a statement. He said the “silver lining” is that the airline would emerge stronger and better prepared to serve customers.

The airline said it will also create a customer advisory council and revamp internal operations and communications.

More than 100,000 JetBlue customers have been affected by the crisis.


A bill to create a public awareness program to educate the public on the value of health insurance and options for coverage in the state of Texas has paved the way for a possible RFP.

The state’s Dept. of Insurance has issued a request for information to hear from firms about potential strategies for a statewide education push through March 6.
The RFI is a result of the Texas legislature’s passage of Bill 261 in 2005, which authorized the Dept. of Insurance to develop and implement a public information campaign.

Texas estimates about 25 percent of its population lacks health coverage, the highest rate in the U.S.

The state entity wants to know about costs, approaches, and methods to boost the Texas Health Options website and highlight options for coverage in the Lone Star State.

The state said the RFI has been issued to survey the industry and obtain guidance which would be used in preparation of an RFP.

Jim Hurley, director of the insurance department’s public information office ([email protected]), is taking questions.

Rowland memorial is set. A memorial service for Herbert Rowland, founder of The Rowland Co., who died Feb. 8, will take place March 6 at 4 p.m. at the Metropolitan Club, 1 E. 60th st., New York.


Merck has pulled its lobbying push to get state legislatures to pass laws requiring pre-teen girls to be vaccinated against cervical cancer. The turnaround follows an angry backlash from some parents and religious groups.

Merck admitted that lobbying to promote sale of its Gardasil vaccine, which provides protection against two strains of human papillomavirus, has backfired.

Richard Haupt, executive director for medical affairs in Merck’s vaccine unit, told the New York Times that the drive to require mandatory vaccination of sixth-grade girls has been counterproductive. That’s the message that he received from public health and medical officials.

Haupt said Merck’s school lobbying campaign has distracted the company from its goal of educating as many people as possible about the risk of HPV, which is transmitted sexually. The company launched a national ad campaign for Gardasil in November to empower women to “want to become (or help their daughters want to become) ‘one less’ person who will battle cervical cancer.”

At least 20 states are considering mandatory inoculation of females starting at age 11. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has issued an executive order requiring vaccination.

Merck is among the financial backers of the Women in Government group, which has been pushing for mandatory vaccination.

Gardasil is a key part of Merck’s comeback plan. The required three-dose regimen costs $360.

Merck is eying a rich Gardasil revenue stream to offset the loss of drugs that are coming off patent, and the staggering legal cost stemming from Vioxx.


Marcy Simon, who headed Weber Shandwick’s WCTV broadcast PR unit, has taken on a senior advisor role with Ogilvy PR Worldwide.

Simon had been serving as a senior advisor to former President Bill Clinton on his Clinton Global Initiative, a WS client.

Ogilvy noted Simon’s experience working with CEOs from Microsoft, Sony and Boeing. Ogilvy CEO Marcia Silverman said Simon would be an “asset” for the firm’s entire network.

Simon said Ogilvy has the “best team and resources in the industry.”


The Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq has officially opened a D.C. lobbying office, which is headed by Qubad Talabany.

His goal is to mobilize grassroots support for Kurdish interests. That includes establishing a Kurdish Congressional Caucus and a Kurdish-American business council to promote investment in Kurdistan. He also is to promote Kurdish educational and cultural links with the U.S. Talabany is the son of Iraq’s President, and former senior foreign relations officer for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. He is a frequent speaker on CNN, BBC and Fox News.

Internet Edition, February 28, 2007, Page 3


U.S. policy is causing it to miss the "exploding Middle East capital markets," Walid el-Gabry, news editor of the enterprise desk of Dow Jones Newswires, told 75 members of PRSA/New York on Feb. 8 at a meeting at Burson-Marsteller.

El-Gabry, who is president of the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists' Assn., said the U.K. is moving into this market and is "doing a brisk secondary market in Arab Bonds."

The journalist, who started his career with a Turkish newspaper, said Middle East newspapers carry far more international news than U.S. papers.

He noted a recent study showed the foreign affairs content of Arab newspapers is 36% while such content in U.S. papers is 11%.

Al Jazeera Now in English

Abderrahim Foukara, bureau chief and managing director of Al Jazeera, Washington, D.C., said that like many Middle Eastern journalists, he got his initial experience working for the British Broadcasting Corp.

Al Jazeera recently launched an English edition and its biggest challenge now, said Foukara, is obtaining pickup by U.S. cable operators.

Talal Alhaj, bureau chief of Al Arabiya, Washington, D.C., which is developing an English language capability, said Arab media have evolved from being "official tools for governments" to holding governments accountable.

The question that he is often asked, he said, is whether "one can be a good journalist and patriotic at the same time?"

Much attention was focused on Al Jazeera after it aired the tapes of Osama Bin Laden in 2001, he noted.

Arab Parents Afraid of U.S.

Aleta Wenger, assistant secretary of the University Office of International Affairs, Yale University, said parents in Arab countries are afraid to send their children to the U.S. because there might be "distraction, discrimination, harassment and worse."

Wenger, who served in Qatar and Bahrain as a Public Affairs officer before her retirement, said Yale wants to attract qualified students from Arab countries.

She told the PR audience that Arabs "love stories" and that a "personal touch" should be used. Accuracy is also very important, she said.

Many Arab journalists have no formal education as journalists and more and more are women, she said. Arab columnists are important, she added. "The Arab media have their own Tom Friedmans."

‘Circling the Wagons’

Asked if there is a "clash of Western and Arab civilizations," Wenger said there isn't but the current state of U.S.-Arab relations means that fewer Arabs will know what the U.S. and its people are really like. Islamic families are "circling the wagons," she said.

Alhaj said more must be done to educate the Arab world about the U.S.

John Paluszek, senior counsel to Ketchum, moderated the panel and James Wycoff, editorial director of PRSA/New York, provided coverage.


Viacom has ironed out a commercial licensing deal with Joost, which bills itself as the first broadcast-quality Internet TV service. The move follows breakdown of talks between Viacom and Google, owner of YouTube.

Viacom will provide Joost with programming from its MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures units. Those properties include "Beavis & Butthead," "Laguna Beach" and "Real World."

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman called Joost a "key partner in the launch of the next-generation in broadband video technology."

Joost boasts of a "piracy-proof Internet platform that enables premium interactive video experiences while guaranteeing copyright protection for content owners and creators."

Joost is currently in the testing phase, and is expected to be fully up and running by June 30. The Viacom programming will be free to consumers. Viacom expects to make money by sharing ad revenues with Joost.


Companies that did not score well on Fortune's annual "America's Most Admired Companies" list did better on Wall Street than those with good reputations, according to a study called "Stocks of Admired Companies and Despised Ones."

The survey tracked companies on the magazine's list from `83 to `06. Splitting each list in the middle, the survey found that lower-ranked companies, or the "despised," portfolio posted a 17.8 percent return, compared to a 15.4 percent return by the "admired."

The study was written by Santa Clara University professor Meir Statman, University of Michigan's Deniz Anginer, and Fisher Investments CEO Kenneth Fisher. They believe investors in most admired companies are penalized by an aura of positive feelings.

For instance: "A $10,000 Rolex watch and a $50 Timex watch have approximately the same utilitarian qualities, both show the time. But Rolex buyers are willing to pay an extra $9,950 over the price of the Timex because of the ‘affect’ of the Rolex, consisting of prestige and perhaps beauty, is more positive than that of a Timex," wrote the authors.

They continue: "Affect pays a similar role in the behavior asset-pricing model. Investors in stocks of admired companies receive some of their rewards in the form of returns and some in the form of affect, while investors in stocks of despised companies receive their rewards in returns only."

The study, according to Matthew Boyle of Fortune, serves as a reminder to Corporate America "that all that glitters isn't stock market gold."

The study is online at

Lisa Hackett, a marketing consultant for the Latino cable network mun2, has been named VP of marketing. She serves as the lead for brand strategy and management and oversees advertising and merchandise.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, February 28, 2007, Page 4


The Interactive Advertising Bureau had hired Mike Zaneis to open the Washington, D.C., office of the trade group for the online ad industry.

Zaneis was executive director of technology and e-commerce for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

At the IAB, he is to oversee regulatory matters, legislative affairs and handle policy initiatives.

Randy Rothenberg, president of the IAB, says his industry is seeking to strike the "right balance" between consumer protection and a consumer's free online access to information and entertainment.

The new public policy office will help the IAB "continue to build a world-class media that has the highest level of transparency and accountability," according to Rothenberg, who was ad columnist for the New York Times and a Booz Allen Hamilton consultant.

At the Chamber since `81, Zaneis handled consumer privacy, data security, e-commerce and intellectual property matters.

The IAB has more than 300 members that sell 85 percent of online advertising in the U.S.


The American Heart Assn. and healthcare publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins have teamed to produce a new consumer magazine for heart patients, their families, and caregivers.

The quarterly magazine, Heart Insight, debuted in late February and was distributed to 10K cardiologists and other healthcare providers' offices. Subscriptions are free by filling out a form at

"Heart Insight may look like other health and nutrition magazines, but it has something the others don't have and that is the full resources and credibility of the American Heart Association," said Patrick O'Gara, M.D., editorial board chair and director of clinical cardiology at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston.

Ruth Papazian is the magazine's editor.

BRIEFS ____________________________

The Los Angeles Times unveiled a revamped print and online ( travel section on Feb. 25 to better integrate and upgrade its content, the first of what it says will be several new product launches.

The paper said the new travel pages place a premium on enhanced photography, outdoor and adventure travel, and online features. readers can share feedback on hotels and restaurants and interact on a message board.

In print, new columns cover Las Vegas and dealing with travel dilemmas.

Investor's Business Daily launched a free online forum for access to its editorials and cartoons at An archive is searchable and users can sign up for a free daily newsletter.

"On the Left" and "On the Right" columns are featured daily from syndicated writers and guest commentators are routinely published. The following day's content is published at 8 p.m.

Warner Brothers Domestic Distribution will air a cable TV version of celebrity/gossip website TMZ in the fall. The company has cut deals with Sinclair Broadcasting, Tribune, Cox, Clear Channel and Media General.

WBDD chief Ken Werner calls the TMZ project an “integrated, multiplatform content and marketing play.”

Time Warner is the owner of WBDD and TMZ.

Time Warner's HBO unit is going to produce films, series and specials in a venture with American Girl. The initial project will be a live-action theatrical film based on the AG historical character Kit Kittredge. She is a spirited nine-year-old growing up during the Great Depression and one of AG’s seven characters.

CBS is contributing to a $7M investment in Electric Sheep, which develops 3-D properties for the virtual world. CBS Interactive president Quincy Smith said virtual worlds "represent next generation communication platforms."

CBS and ES have already collaborated on projects for "Two and a Half Men" and the Super Bowl pre-game show. AOL, MTV and Reuters have worked with ES.

Google is negotiating deals with Dow Jones, Sony and Conde Nast to syndicate their video content.

The videos appear inside Google ad boxes, according to a report in the Feb. 26 New York Times. Ads run during or after a viewer has clicked on the content. Revenue is shared by Google and its media partner.

The ads are part of Google’s effort to “gain traction with consumer goods companies who spend billions on brand advertising,” reports the Times.

Sarah Chubb, president of CondeNet, the digital unit of Conde Nast, told the Times though her company would prefer consumers to go directly to her site, a Google relationship is a way to “find people that we haven’t found in other ways.”

XM Satellite Radio, which last week announced a merger plan with rival Sirius, posted a $257M loss for the fourth-quarter of `06. That was down slightly from the $268M deficit suffered for the year earlier period.

The Washington, D.C.-based company added 1.7M subscribers in `06 for a total of 7.6M customers.

Hugh Panero, CEO of the company, called `06 a "pivotal year," and feels the company is heading in the right direction. He noted that XM's marketing costs are down while revenue is up. The company's full-year revenue rose 67 percent to $933M.


CanWest Global Communications has acquired a majority stake in The New Republic, the 93-year old political/cultural weekly.

The Canadian media combine plans to redesign TNR, and publish every two weeks on heavier stock paper with more photos/graphics.

The first issue of the spruced up TNR will appear March 19. A re-launched website is slated for mid-April.

Internet Edition, February 28, 2007, Page 5


Merck & Co. paid Cornerstone Government Affairs $120K in `06 to promote increased funding for the National Immunization Program.

Richard Haupt, executive VP in Merck's vaccine unit, reaffirmed the company's lobbying effort for increased vaccine funding, while announcing the end of the state-by-state push for the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil.

The NIP's 317 Program is a key lobbying area for Cornerstone. Merck is a member of the "317 Coalition," which advocates for immunization of children, adolescents and adults without the means to pay for vaccines.

Mark Mioduski and Amy Sounders are Merck's lobbyists at Cornerstone. Mioduski served as a budget analyst in the Dept. of Interior and was a staffer on the House Appropriations Committee's panel on labor, health, human services and education.

Ray Kerins, Merck's spokesperson, could not be reached for comment about Cornerstone's work.

Edelman has aligned with five-year-old London sports communications consultancy Vero ahead of the 2012 Olympic games.

Vero CEO Mike Lee helped London land the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as director of communications and public affairs for the city’s bid.

The deal makes Vero an exclusive affiliate of Edelman, which noted the Olympics and the re-opening of Wembley Stadium raise the city’s importance in the multi-billion dollar global sports sector.

BRIEFS: Financial Dynamics assisted Moscow tech company Sitronics with its $352M early February IPO, London’s largest tech IPO in the last five years, according to reports. ...The Global Consulting Group has opened a Moscow office, its 11th wholly owned outpost. The office handles IR and corporate communications work for existing Russian clients, which the firm has serviced from the U.S. and Europe. Info: ...Two firms have developed an event to assist alumni of Connecticut College who are business owners. Burke & Co. and branding firm CO-OP, both owned by CC alumni, have produced the CC Entrepreneurs Forum – NYC, a March 7 event featuring panelists and CC graduates who run businesses. Jim Moran, founder of CO-OP, will host and moderate the forum. ...double E communications, New York, has opened an office on the west side of Los Angeles. Melissa Kojan, who has been with the firm since 2005, heads the outpost. ...Joseph Honick, president of GMA International, Bainbridge Island, Wash., has been appointed to the executive advisory committee for the William Simon Graduate School of Business at the Univ. of Rochester. ...Greenough Communications has moved a few blocks to 9 Harcourt Street in Boston. Info: ...Allen & Caron, New York, has aligned with Italy-based IR shop Polytems/Hir to cooperate as partner agencies. A&C opened a London office in 2002. Polytems claims to be Italy’s first financial marcom agency.


New York Area

KCSA Worldwide, New York/CongiFit, for a North American PR campaign to boost its MindFit and DriveFit program suites.

Morris + King Company, New York/The Ritz-Carlton Club, San Francisco, fractional residence, a renewal of its AOR duties; Freewebs, website hosting; Stardoll, online fashion community, and Natrona Furniture, modern furniture showcase in New York, all as AOR.

Travers Collins & Co., Buffalo, N.Y./BSC Development Group, Manchester, England-based developer, for ongoing PR counsel as it plans an $80M renovation of the Stateler Towers and $360M development of the Buffalo City Tower.


Maya Advertising & Communications, Washington, D.C./The Johns Hopkins Univ. Center for Communication Programs, for a mass media campaign to inform Hispanics about the need for annual eye exams.

French/West/Vaughan, Raleigh, N.C./Cardiac Wellness Supplements, for national media relations focused on its Wellcor brand of nutritional supplements.

Chernoff Newman, Columbia, S.C./South Carolina Dept. of Agriculture, for an integrated re-branding campaign, including PR and advertising, for the state’s agricultural products.


Standing Partnership, St. Louis/XPLANE, business consulting, for PR and media relations support. SP is part of the Worldcom PR Group, which will assist with the account in Europe.

ZLRignition, Des Moines, Iowa/Downtown Community Alliance, to develop a comms. and branding campaign for Des Moines’ downtown.

Marx Layne & Co., Farmington Hills, Mich./, strength training products and services, as AOR.


Mobility PR, Lake Oswego, Ore./Citizen Image, agency that represents amateur photo and video content producers to editorial outlets, for PR.

The Bohle Company, Los Angeles/Eastman Kodak Co., for PR for the fifth anniversary of the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

JMPR, Woodland Hills, Calif./National Limousine Assn., for media relations and “brand expansion.” THe non-profit is based in New Jersey.

Fleishman-Hillard, San Diego/The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, as AOR for PR following a competitive review. F-H is charged with re-introducing the Las Vegas resort.

Kern Communications, San Diego/Striker VIP, Las Vegas luxury concierge and event services, as AOR for national and regional PR.


Financial Dynamics, London/ARC International, subsystems and processors for semiconductor industry, for financial PR.

Internet Edition, February 28, 2007, Page 6


Cymfony, a media monitoring and analytics company which tracks both traditional and social media, has been acquired by advertising research giant TNS Media Intelligence.

Cymfony has a customer base in the PR and marketing sectors and will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the advertising-focused TNS. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Steven Fredericks, president and CEO of TNS Media Intelligence, told O’Dwyer’s that the company had looked at building an analytics unit or acquiring one over the last year before deciding to approach Cymfony. He cited three criteria for that choice. First, he said Cymfony uses both proprietary technology and human intervention. Second, he cited Cymfony’s monitoring of both traditional/mainstream media and digital media noting that while digital media is growing fast, it still only represents 10-12 percent of the ad spend. Lastly, he noted Cymfony’s management team for its sophistication and maturity in the sector.

TNSMI was focused solely on reporting advertising data. The Cymfony acquisition adds an analysis capability to its offerings.

Andrew Bernstein, Cymfony’s CEO, said the company weighed whether to agree to the TNS acquisition or wait a few years before deciding that TNS’ assets made it a good fit. He said the company had been approached by another player in the PR space but didn’t see it as a good fit. Bernstein played up PR’s embrace of social media as a boon to Cymfony’s business. “User-generated content has given PR a whole new leg to stand on,” said Bernstein.

Cymfony was founded in 1996 and will remain at its Watertown, Mass., base.
TNSMI was formed in 2000 by the acquisition of Competitive Media Reporting, itself a combine of several media and advertising research companies dating back to 1926. TNS claims 16K clients across 23 countries.


Doug MacKinnon, a Washington, D.C., PR consultant who was director of communications for former Sen. Bob Dole, has written a political novel about a shadow team of Americans who specialize in toppling foreign governments.

“America’s Last Days” centers on a conservative militia, The 1776 Command, that is considering treason to topple the U.S. government to “save the nation from itself.”

MacKinnon has earned praise across the aisle from James Carville and Dee Dee Myers. Tom Brokaw called it “‘7 Days in May’ for the Internet generation,” a reference to the book and movie that had military leaders plotting to overthrow the president.

MacKinnon previously held PR posts at Verner Liipfert and Barbour, Griffith & Rogers in D.C. He also spent three years at the Pentagon, serving as special assistant for policy and communications in the office of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.

He was also a writer for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.



Scott Beaudoin, VP for Cone, to DeVries PR, New York, as a senior in its consumer division. He handles Crest Whitestrips, Thermacare and Vicks. Beaudoin was previously director of consumer and technology media relations at Mullen.

Gary Davidson, special assistant to the president and communications specialist for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, to Sawchuk, Brown Associates, Albany, as a VP in its energy practice.

Nicole Hanks, program administrator, Animal Protective Foundation, to Eric Mower and Associates, Albany, as an A/E in its public affairs group. She previously handled communications and policy analysis for state assembly environmental committee chair Thomas DiNapoli, who is now state comptroller.

Hilary Hanson McKean and Robyn Freedman, co-founders of consulting firm Element Six, rejoin Ketchum, Atlanta, as senior VPs. McKean, who also takes on the role of director of strategy for Ketchum South, and Freedman, who is director creativity and strategic planning, left Ketchum in 2004 to set up ES.

Janet Stacey, who headed her own healthcare marketing and PR firm in Austin, to Padilla Speer Beardsley, Minneapolis, as VP of its healthcare and medical practice unit. She was formerly director of strategic marketing and PR for Zimmer Inc.


David Srere and Howard Belk to co-presidents, Siegel+Gale, New York. They continue as chief strategic office and chief creative officer, respectively.

Libby Wilson to group leader, The Vandiver Group, St. Louis. She joined the firm in 2004. Laura Varndell, who jonied in 2006 from London, was upped to senior team leader.

Sarah Lawton to VP, GolinHarris, Houston. She has worked on the firm’s Texas Instruments business since joining in 2004.

Elena Guarneri, Mathew Hocken and Will Andrews to senior consultants, Blueprint Partners, Brussels.


Maggie O’Neill to senior director for Peppercom, New York. She has been with the firm since 2001. Ann Barlow, who relocated from New York to San Francisco in 2005, was promoted to president of its west coast operations.

Hannah Coan, EVP, director of client services; Sergio Rogina, executive VP, managing director, and Hayley Soffer, senior VP and healthcare practice director, to the management team of Publicis Consultants|PR, New York. CEO Ann Moravick heads the group, which includes Steve Bryant, president of PCPR’s Seattle office, and Sheri Smith, predent of its Dallas outpost.

Harris Shepard, president of his own Los Angeles firm, has been named to the dean’s advisory board for Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business.

Internet Edition, February 28, 2007, Page 7


Dilbert, the syndicated comic strip about office life that reaches an estimated 150 million readers a week, has been lampooning PR in a series of recent strips.

In the recent series on PR, the Machiavellian character of Dogbert is hired to handle PR for the company featured in the strip. Dogbert tells the press that the company's products are deadly and are being recalled in an apparent (and untrue) effort to get press. In one segment, Dogbert takes a reporter out for drinks and tells her, "I expect you to publish my press release and act like you wrote it."

Another has the Dogbert character telling the company boss that his PR campaign has "grossly over-inflated" the company's stock price. "Now you can use your stock to buy companies that actually make money," the PR character quips. "After you manage those companies into the toilet, give me a jingle."

Dilbert appears in 2,500 newspapers worldwide through United Feature Syndicate.

This NL sent an email to Scott Adams, who created and pens the strip, asking for his response and inspiration for the recent series on PR. He blogs at


The “Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy” Jan. 9-10 won acceptances by 98 of the 150 PR and association executives who were invited.

Andrea McDaniel, deputy director of private sector outreach, has said that a further report of the results of the meeting will be made public.

A preliminary report was issued based on recommendations by "teams" of the attendees. The group was split into smaller groups and given assignments by State Dept. officials.

One recommendation was that companies and organizations name a "corporate officer responsible for public diplomacy."

Another was that PR depts. help in building "relationships of trust and respect" by creating "a corps of private sector 'foreign service officers' made up of academics and business people with specialized expertise who could work abroad on short term assignments."

About 20 PR groups were represented or invited under the umbrella name of "Public Relations Coalition." James Murphy of Accenture was chair of the meeting. List of 98 attendees is on

Accident Befalls Weiss

Several attendees reported to this website that PRSA chair Rhoda Weiss slipped on the stairs of the Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, while leaving a cocktail party at around 7:30 p.m.

Attendees said it was lightly snowing at the time and that a large number of steep stairs are in front of the building. Weiss was seen being carried away by uniformed members of the Secret Service. The next day, she was seen in a wheelchair with her leg in a cast. She did not attend any of the sessions on Thursday.

Weiss has refused to comment on what happened. Comment could not be obtained from PRSA PR staffers Janet Troy and Cedric Bess nor president/COO William Murray. Murray and Troy were present at the PR Summit.

Murphy said he had no first hand knowledge of the accident but said he had heard Weiss fell on the steps of the building and injured her leg. She did not attend the next day's session, he said.

Among those present at the meeting were Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of the State for Public Diplomacy; Dina Powell, Deputy Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, and Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed the group at lunch Jan. 10.

A further report of about 30 pages on the meeting is to be issued in the next week or two, said Murphy.


MMG Mardiks will handle the Memorial Day opening of the “Shuttle Launch Experience” attraction at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, which is outside Orlando, Fla.

The $60M motion-based system is designed by NASA as the “only true to life simulation of a shuttle launch.” It is the anchor of the Complex’s 10-year makeover to update the “gateway to mankind’s greatest adventure.” DNC Parks and Resorts has operated the Complex since `95.

Chuck Mardiks’ firm also reps Colorado Tourism, San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, Regent Luxury Group, Hertz Corp. and Midwest Airlines.


Ron Jury, who was communications director for Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, died Feb. 18 after a battle with cancer. He was 56.

Rendell, in a statement, praised Jury as a skilled communicator and “one of the most decent human beings that I’ve ever met.”

Jury joined the Rendell Administration in July `05. In the decade prior to his move to Harrisburg, Jury was in New York City.

He worked as VP-PA and communications director for the Empire State Development Corp. and at Burson-Marsteller as PA director.

From `95 to `99, Jury was director of corporate PR and communications for Lockheed Martin IMS.


White and Partners has picked up Luray Caverns, one of eastern America’s biggest caves and a U.S. Natural Landmark. The goal is to position LC as the “crown jewel” of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

John Shaffer, VP-marketing at LC, says W&P got the business based on the strength of its work for its “Meet Virginia” campaign and for the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team.

LC were discovered in 1878, and features the world’s only Stalacpipe Organ. LC’s cathedral sized rooms have towering stone columns that reach 10 stories high.

More than a half million people visit the caverns each year.

Internet Edition, February 28, 2007, Page 8




The Dilbert column mocking PR counselors (page 7) is a crisis for PR. Comment should be forthcoming from the Council of PR Firms, PRSA, and its Counselors Academy headed by Roy Vaughn of Katcher Vaughn & Bailey PR, Nashville.

Similar recent attacks on PR include those in the New York Times (Frank Rich, 7/13/06 depicting PR as press-avoiding and lacking in substance, and Tim O’Brien’s “Spinning Frenzy” piece 2/13/05); Der Spiegel (8/7/2006 “Masters of Deception”), and Financial Times (corporate stonewalling, 2/20/06).

Dilbert’s column reaches 150 million in 65 countries via 19 languages. He writes about office life and attracts a business audience. In Dilbert’s view, PR people make up stories to get ink, ply reporters with drinks and boss them around, and have the power to “grossly inflate” a stock price. The PR counselor urges his client to be bold like Richard Branson, head of the $7.2B Virgin empire. “Do something in a way that has never been done before,” he advises.

The message that PR needs to put out is that there are abuses but “real” PR stands for openness, responsiveness to the press, and accuracy in financial reporting—a force for the education of the public and not its manipulation. The group that should be doing this, the 22,000-member PRSA, practices none of the above. Its PR is in meltdown.

Chair Rhoda Weiss on Feb. 22 announced she was available to the press to comment on the JetBlue air terminal snafu that took place in the previous week. Her initial advice was that every organization must have “an adequate crisis plan.”

Where is the crisis plan at PRSA? The Dilbert strip that ran last week was a crisis but PR manager Cedric Bess was on vacation Thursday and Friday and not returning until Tuesday of this week. In the week before, VP-PR Janet Troy was off the entire week “with no access to e-mail.” We think that the two PR staffers taking vacations like this in the first five weeks of president Bill Murray’s new job at PRSA is a sign of contempt for Murray. Since he lacks PR experience, he is especially in need of it at the beginning of his reign.

Troy and Bess carry out numerous forms of stonewalling and information blockage not only of us but members (currently, they won’t release the chapter speaking schedule of Weiss). At the 2006 Assembly, when we walked up the aisle to take a picture of the board as had been allowed in previous Assemblies, Troy ran after us and made us leave the sacred Assembly area. This impressed leadership but at what cost to her professional reputation?

We believe Troy and Bess went to leaders in 2004 and said that if they were to continue to do this dirty work they wanted more money. Media relations salaries/fringes soared 87% to $244,158 in 2005, up $113,402. The cost of this practice, which includes a lot of stonewalling, went from $35,846 in 2000 to $360,860 in 2005 (not counting about $60K in administration). Included in the sum is $34,481 for “marketing” when in the three previous years “marketing” in media relations averaged $4,500. We would like to know what “marketing” is and also why $43,113 in “professional fees” was spent on “media relations.” Slashed, meanwhile, were APR, from $566,454 in 2000 to $152,159 in 2005 and ethics, from $104,108 in 2000 to $6,741 in 2005.

Both Troy and Bess were particularly exposed to the press in 2006 because CEO Cheryl Procter-Rogers stopped talking to us on any subject after 3/20/06. Weiss is following the same policy. Two previous PR directors of PRSA quit suddenly, we believe, because they were fed up with doing PR dirty work and feared for their reputations. Steve Erickson quit in 1996 just before the annual conference and Richard George quit in 1999 just before that year’s conference. They ditched PRSA when they were most needed, as if in revenge. Libby Roberge was hired for PR in 2001 and quit in 2003 after having a baby. She was the best in our view, distributing 150 copies of the members’ directory to the press, providing us with chapter member counts, renewal rate of members, new and lapsed member totals, etc. Troy, hired in 2004 and not a member of PRSA, told the Bergen Record 7/27/04 she was “clueless” about PRSA and “flabbergasted” that such an organization existed. Bess, a 1999 college graduate, has spent almost his entire career at PRSA. Murray, whose salary at the MPA in 2004 was $387,105, is learning about PRSA but actually he had months to know its problems. He should not have joined without promises from leadership that it would hire a CPA, end APR-only leadership, report financials timely and accurately, provide Assembly transcripts to members, end the BurrellesLuce ad exclusive on the PRSSA website (BL says it does not want an exclusive), open membership to students at any college, end the silencing of directors, etc....the resignation of Nancy Humphries as president of the National Investor Relations Institute after seven months (page one) is an indication of change going on at NIRI. Some leaders want IR people to be closer to the overall PR community and financial press. There has been great concentration on Wall Street and numbers in recent years when critics have been saying that intangibles greatly impact stock prices. The February Harvard Business Review said that 70-80% of a stock price depends on factors like brand equity, corporate reputation, intellectual capital, etc...with elected leaders of PRSA being mostly silent in recent years, counselor James Lukaszewski has emerged as the most visible and quoted PRSA leader. He is featured in 16 seminars and webinars of PRSA in the six months to March 31 and is a member of the Ethics Board. He told the Canadian Broadcast Corp. Radio series on “A Century of Spin” that truth is “15% facts and 85% perception.” Every person has a different perception of truth, he said, and the PR person’s job is to “lay out as best he can the facts of the matter from the perspective he is representing.”

--Jack O'Dwyer


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