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Internet Edition, March 28, 2007, Page 1


Nevada’s tourism authority has initiated a review of its six-figure PR account.

Austin, Tex.-based R&R and Carol Infranca and Associates of Reno have recently handled PR work for the Nevada Commission on Tourism, which is also holding a separate review of its advertising account.

PR spending will range from $200-250K per year, depending on appropriations by the Silver State’s legislature. The Commission, which has two PR staffers, wants to award a 20-month contract to begin in October, a term which could stretch to four years with options.

An RFP was issued on March 15 and calls for proposals from PR firms that have been in business for five years. Pitches are due by April 13 and copies of the RFP can be downloaded from the state’s procurement website,


Jim Talent, the former Missouri Senator who lost his seat to Democrat Claire McCaskill in the November election, has joined Fleishman-Hillard as a co-chairman in its government relations unit. He will work at the Omnicom unit’s St. Louis h.q. and in its D.C. office.

F-H CEO Dave Senay, praised Talent’s ability to work across party lines to find “mainstream and bipartisan solutions to critical public policy issues.” He served the “Show Me State” for two decades in the House and Senate.

Talent joins other chairmen in F-H’s government relations practice, including former Rep. Bill Luther (D-MN) and Max Sandlin (D-TX); ex- Bronx Borough President and New York City Democratic mayoral nominee Freddy Ferrer.


David Paine, who founded PainePR in 1986, has tapped president Daryl McCullough as CEO.

The 42-year-old McCullough adds operational, client service and financial duties to his creative responsibilities. He promises to “continue to push the envelope.”
Paine, 50, will continue to play an active role as chairman of the firm, providing long-range planning recommendations and counseling key clients.

That roster includes Toshiba Business Solutions, Procter & Gamble, American Suzuki, and XM Radio.

PainePR has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Boston. It is part of Quebec City-based Cossette Communication Group, which has 1,400 employees in Canada, U.S., U.K. and China.


Technology, healthcare and financial PR/IR were the fastest growing PR specialties in 2006 based on reports of independent firms given to O’Dwyer’s.
Specialty rankings are on pages 4-5.

The number of firms reporting technology fees jumped from 53 for 2005 to 75 for 2006 with many of the biggest firms reporting substantial gains.

The same held true for healthcare (80 firms reporting 2006 figures vs. 60 in 2005) and financial/IR (rising to 61 from 49). Food & beverage PR firms reporting rose to 56 from 47.

There was a 40% jump in the number of specialty rankings received – from 367 to 513 for 2006.

“This indicates to me that PR is increasingly being defined by the special areas of practice,” said publisher Jack O’Dwyer.

“If you want technology, healthcare or travel PR you would go to a firm with a deep background in those areas just as you would go to a lawyer specializing in real estate, copyright, litigation and so on for legal work,” he said.

Edelman, the biggest independent with $324.4M in fees in 2006 (more than triple its closest competitors), led in eight of the 11 categories. It was in second place in agriculture and tech and third place in sports/leisure.


Canada’s National PR has been called in to guide pet food maker and supplier Menu Foods through a lingering crisis and recall connected to tainted dog and cat food in the U.S. and Canada.

The Toronto-based company supplies brands like Iam’s and Nutro as well as store-branded pet foods by Wal-Mart and Safeway.

It has recalled 60 million units but has not been able to pinpoint the cause of at least 16 pet deaths thus far. Tests in New York on March 22 found traces of rat poison in the food blamed for several pet deaths.

Sam Bornstein, a veteran public affairs exec for National in Toronto and formerly of sister firm Cohn & Wolfe/Canada, is handling the Menu Foods account. He did not return a call.

Menu Foods has set up a website with information on the recall and companies that deal with MF are scrambling to warn or reassure customers about the scare. MF president Paul Henderson apologized on March 21 for the scare.

Lawsuits have been filed by at least three owners who have lost pets that ate Menu Foods products.

Internet Edition, March 28, 2007, Page 2


Bell Pottinger PR is working with MWW Group for Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, the investment firm that is in negotiation with Carlyle Group to acquire its Standard Aero Holdings unit in a deal worth $1.5B, according to BPPR chairman David Wilson. He heads the DAE account as BPRP is the company’s lead global agency.

Wilson said MWW’s Rich Tauberman is the “main point of contact” here. MWW, which is owned by Interpublic, represents DAE in North America. It is coordinating outreach with BPPR staffers in London and with DAE’s officials in the United Arab Emirates.

The potential deal for the maker of engines and turbines for jets has drawn attention of Capitol Hill lawmakers in the aftermath of the aborted Dubai Ports World attempt to acquire control of American seaports.

Long Island Congressman Peter King, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Wall Street Journal that the anticipated aviation deal will be the first major test for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. since the DPW acquisition bid.

That government panel must approve the foreign takeover of American assets that are deemed important to national security. King was an ardent opponent of DPW’s acquisition try.


Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal company, has hired Dick Gephardt’s firm to spearhead its drive to defeat efforts by Democrats to put caps on carbon emissions in a bid to combat global warming.

The former House Majority Leader from Missouri will argue instead for increased funding for “clean coal technologies.”

Peabody maintains that investment in clean coal tech will move toward the “ultimate goal of near-zero emissions from coal.”

Mandatory caps without enabling technologies to control emissions, according to Peabody’s social responsibility report, would be “irresponsible, contributing to adverse health impacts and economic harm through the loss of affordable electricity.”

The coal from the St. Louis-based company accounts for 10 percent of the electricity used in the U.S.


Kevin Ota, a bi-coastal technology pro who worked at Hill & Knowlton’s Blanc & Otus unit and Connors Communications, is the new senior VP and New York corporate practice leader at GCI Group.

At B&O, Ota advised TiVo, Hotwire and Rocketcash as well as “old-line” tech powerhouses Motorola and Xerox. While at CC, Ota took on Vonage and Red Roller.

The 17-year PR pro will report to Stephanie Marchesi, New York president of the WPP Group’s operation. Ota also will coordinate activities with Kiersten Zweibaum, executive VP & global practice leader in London.

GCI’s clients include Dell, Genentech, RadioShack, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Merck and Nike.


Interpublic’s Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, 5W Public Relations and Shepardson Stern + Kaminsky are competing for the Audi of America account that is expected to be awarded within a week.

The Volkswagen unit challenged the firms to create a program designed to maintain the “buzz” surrounding the Audi Q7 crossover SUV model that was launched to the international press last February.

Audi also asked for campaign ideas to build awareness and media coverage of the brand with celebrities, VIP’s and influencers in the entertainment industry. Audi has a VIP program for vehicle loans and a chauffeur fleet in Los Angeles. There are mini programs in New York and Miami.

The winning firm is expected to work “seamlessly” with Audi’s eight PR staffers to earn media impressions and to create dynamic events.


The office of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is looking for a PR firm to help craft the city’s message on a local and national level.

Nagin’s office of communications has issued an RFP to find a messaging and media savvy firm that understands the “unique opportunities and challenges” faced by the city.

A willingness to supplement standard retainer fees with pro bono services is a goal for the solicitation, according to the RFP.

Ernie Collins, director of marketing for the city, told O’Dwyer’s that there was no incumbent. He referred a call to the mayor’s communications director, who did not return a call.

New Orleans’ tourism and convention authority is working with Weber Shandwick. The city’s police department is also in the midst of a search for a firm.

Proposals are due by March 30. Collins (ecoll[email protected]) is overseeing the RFP.


Space Adventures, the self-described sole company on Earth to send paying passengers into space, has picked New York shop Susan Magrino Agency to “brand” and handle media for the April 7 launch of Charles Simonyi into space.

The architect of Microsoft’s Word and Excel will be the fifth “tourist” to visit the International Space Station. He will take-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Charles Thalberg, of SMA, told O’Dwyer’s that the PR firm largely noted for its work for Martha Stewart is well-suited to handle the SA account.

“It’s the ultimate luxury vacation,” said Thalberg, in noting that the shop is well-grounded in the high-end travel market. Simonyi’s flight costs in the $20M range.

Eric Anderson, founder of SA, has a plan to send thousands of “astronauts” into space during the next decade, which will make trips more affordable.

The company currently offers a “zero-gravity” experience for $3,500.

Internet Edition, March 28, 2007, Page 3


Andres Martinez resigned as editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times after publisher David Hiller killed an op-ed section guest edited by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer that was slated to run March 25.

The move followed news that Martinez was romantically involved with Hollywood publicist Kelly Mullins. Her firm, 42 West, reps Grazer.

Mullins issued a statement, saying that she never lets her personal relationships interfere with work.

Martinez, who is getting a divorce, said Mullins had no input into the selection of Grazer, producer of “A Beautiful Mind,” as guest editor.

Hiller’s decision to ax the section, “amounts to a vote of no confidence in my continued leadership,” blogged Martinez on the Times' website.


NBC Universal and News Corp. plan to launch a venture this summer to offer a video website based on material from their TV networks and film studios. That operation is squarely aimed at Google’s YouTube unit.

Clips and episodes from shows such as “The Tonight Show,” “Saturday Night Live,” “24” and “The Simpsons” will be available via an embedded customized player on partner websites.

Peter Chernin, president and COO of News Corp., christened the deal a “game changer for Internet video.”

Jeff Zucker, president/CEO of NBCU, said in a statement that consumers will get a "hugely attractive aggregation of a wide range of content, and marketers get a novel way to connect with a large and highly engaged audience.

NBCU and News Corp. have enlisted distribution partners such as Yahoo!, MySpace, AOL and MSN to play their content. Charter advertisers include General Motors, Intel, Cisco and Cadbury Schweppes.

The venture follows Viacom International's decision last week to lodge a $1B copyright infringement suit against YouTube.

People __________________________________

Richard Perez-Pena, a 15-year veteran of the New York Times, is now covering the publishing beat for the paper. He was most recently in the metro section.

Perez-Pena replaces Kit Seelye, who is returning to the political beat.

Tim Ryan, who was VP-circulation & consumer marketing at the Chicago Tribune, is the new president/publisher/CEO of the Baltimore Sun. Both papers are Tribune Co. properties.

Ryan succeeds Rondra Matthews, who has decided to move to Virginia to take care of an aging parent. She assumed the Sun post in October.

Ryan had been VP-circulation & operations at the Sun for five years beginning in 2000. He joined the Tribune in `82. He moved to the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1993 for the top circulation job.

Michael Newman, deputy editorial page editor at the Los Angeles Times, is joining the Washington Post as its online opinion editor.


Crisis pros Eric Dezenhall and John Weber have written a book on damage control to refute the "current dogma of surrender that permeates the PR industry-the template that a capitalist enterprise is a guilty enterprise."

A business can only rise above a crisis if its counselors embrace capitalism as something that "must be defended, not cringingly tolerated."

They equate a well-managed crisis to a tale of redemption. Redemption, write the authors, is anchored in truth and the best vehicle for the truth is a hearty defense.

"The hackneyed chestnuts of conventional PR have not withstood the crucible of our uniquely savage climate," according to "Damage Control: Why Everything You Know About Crisis Management Is Wrong."

The goal of crisis management is often to make a bad situation less bad, according to Dezenhall and Weber, who is president of Dezenhall Resources in Washington, D.C.

"If conventional PR has been disparaged as telling pretty lies, then crisis management should be praised as telling ugly truths," they write.

The executives call crisis management "unpleasant work." There aren't any corporate executives giving each other "high-fives" every time a media attack is averted. You won't find "crisis management academies out there doling out statuettes for bad news averted." Relief is the reward of crisis managers, they note.

Tylenol, Exxon revisited

Dezenhall and Weber review many PR textbook crises. They tackle the "crisis mythology" that grew around Johnson and Johnson's Tylenol affair. The drug giant has been lauded for its "instant" recall of the capsules though it actually took eight days after the first deaths were announced before Tylenol was removed from the market.

In a "quasicomical twist," PR consultants with peripheral (if any) connection to Tylenol sang the praises of J&J's "brilliant" crisis plan in many business forums, thus "repeating the central myth of the instant recall," write Dezenhall and Weber.

The authors, on the other hand, believe Exxon may have been unjustly branded for "handling the worst crisis in corporate history." Though Exxon Valdez was responsible for the biggest oil spill in U.S. history, the company spent $2.2B to clean up the mess and earned a commendation from the U.S. Coast Guard for the effort.

That recovery story never got out. "Instead, what got covered were heart-wrenching pictures of oil-coated birds and dying seals juxtaposed against the failure of a company to swiftly put forth an executive who could express regret and outline the company's game plan," the authors write.

Prince William Sound recovered far faster than Exxon's reputation. The company has acquired a "character crisis," which is when the very moral fiber of the company-not the events surrounding the crisis-comes into question, and Exxon is now an "allegation magnet.”

Crises handled by Martha Stewart, Firestone, Lance Armstrong, Catholic Church, Tyco, Wendy's and Merck are analyzed in Damage Control.

Internet Edition, March 28, 2007, Page 4


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BRIEFS: TVEyes, Fairfield, Conn., has signed Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management for its video monitoring services. ...Vocus’ PRWeb online newswire unit has inked a deal with the Associated Press to distribute releases to media outlets on the AP Datafeatures service. ...PR Newswire photos and images are being displayed on Reuters’ 7,400-square-foot digital billboard in New York’s Times Square. The photos are accompanied by a news release headline and are displayed in 15-second increments. PRN landed the placement deal with Reuters’ TimesSquare² division. Steve Stern, VP of marketing for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, to broadcast PR shop zcommunications, Bethesda, Md., as a senior VP. He was previously VP and GM at LM&O Advertising. Mark Chace, a former radio anchor and reporter, joins as manager of news services. ...Bradley Hunt, executive VP and chief technology officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, to the board of Teletrax, the broadcast monitoring unit of Medialink. ...Shellie Caplan, founder and president of Caplan Associates Executive Search, is slated to be honored as the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s 2007 Star Volunteer at a May 3 luncheon in New York. Caplan has focused on the healthcare sector in a 27-year-search career. She opened CAES 13 years ago. ...Connie Eckard, an independent writer and editor, and Sheri Rosen, manager of employee comms. for Frost Bank, San Antonio, were designated as IABC Fellows, the highest award from the International Association of Business Communicators recognizing leadership, service to IABC and professional work.



Qorvis won the Virginia Lottery, a $19M integrated advertising, PR and interactive communications account. The account follows Qorvis’ acquisition of Sparky’s Garage ad agency in October.

The focus of the campaign is to educate residents of the Old Dominion State that the Lottery has generated more than $3B to help schoolchildren.

Bill Replogle, Qorvis’ managing director and chief mechanic at Sparky’s, has created ad campaigns for Dunkin’ Donuts, GlaxoSmithKline and Harley-Davidson.

Qorvis’ contract runs through March `10. The Lottery, which sells more than $1B in tickets a year, has contributed from $330M to $450M annually to Virginia’s schools since ’01.

Qorvis pitched with a handful of other contractors. Barber Martin Advertising, Richmond, Va., was the incumbent on the account.

Correction: Sloane & Co. is the ninth largest New York firm with $8.6M in fees, up 12.3%, and Makovsky & Co. is the 13th biggest firm in New York with $7.3M in fees, up 27%. Hunter PR is No. 12 in New York with $8.4M in fees. All three firms were omitted from last week’s geographic rankings of PR firms.



Rebecca Smith, director of marketing and communications, Executive Service Corps, to the Mass Technology Leadership Council, Boston, as VP of programs and comms.

Gary Ng, director of IR and corporate comms. for China-based Clear Media Limited, to Lenovo, Research Triangle Park, N.C., as VP of IR. He is based in Hong Kong.

Susan Asher, who has done PR work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to Denmark, Atlanta , as PR director.

Cassie Biscanin, a former Ogilvy PR Worldwide and National Council for Adoption exec, to Vollmer PR, Houston, as an account director.

Alise Mills, founding partner, AGM Consulting, to Veridigm, Los Angeles, gaming software, as VP of corporate communications and a member of its board.


Ben Kincannon to managing director of litigation comms. for Fleishman-Hillard in North America.

Becky Watt Knight to senior VP, GYMR, Washington, D.C. She joined the firm in 2003 after stints at Ogilvy PR and Ketchum. Lauren Musiol was promoted to assistant A/E.

Bill Zucker to Midwest market leader, Burson-Marsteller, Chicago. The six-year B-M veteran continues as a managing director in the firm’s media practice. He heads work for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Deanne Yamamoto to associate director, Ketchum North America, global marketing practice, based in Los Angeles.


New York Area

Lisa Lori Communications, New York/Frederick Wildman and Sons, for PR, marketing and events for its Folonari, Santi and Melini Italian wines.

The Cannon Group, New York/Fuel Outdoor Holdings, outdoor advertising, as AOR for PR. The company previously handled PR in house.


The Simon Group, Sellersville, Pa./Nestec, thermal oxidation and air pollution control systems, for a North American marketing program.

Trevelino/Keller Communications, Atlanta/Modulant, data services and management, for PR.

NewsMark PR, Hollywood, Fla./Jawbone Productions, for launch of the biblical board game Inheritance.


Scott Phillips + Associates, Chicago/Five9 Technologies, information technology management consulting, for PR.


5W PR, Los Angeles/Helinet, aviation services and aerial photography; Twin Spin Music and Jaded Entertainment, music labels; MakeMeHeal, cosmetic surgery and anti-aging website; Babylicious, luxury baby products, and C’Watre, skin care line, all for PR.

WDC Media, Los Angeles/Jerusalem Compass, for PR.

Internet Edition, March 28, 2007, Page 7


Reputation Partners is providing PR counsel to Vonage, the Internet telecom provider locked in a nasty patent squabble with Verizon.

Nick Kalm, president of Chicago-based RP, told O'Dwyer's that his firm is handling corporate and issue-related PR for the Holmdel, N.J.-based company, which is the top provider of VoIP services.

Vonage on March 23 was hit with a federal injunction over its use of technology patented by Verizon, a halt that is delayed while an appeal is heard. The company said it is confident that service to its more than two million customers will not be changed.

A federal district court last week ruled that Vonage violated three Verizon patents and ordered the company to pay $58M and royalties on future revenues.

Vonage posted a $286M loss on revenues of more than $600M for 2006.
Craig Streem, who joined the company last June as senior VP of investor relations following its disappointing IPO, left Vonage this month.

Weber Shandwick continues to handle consumer PR for the company.


Joelle Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher joined Morgan Stanley activist fund manager Hassan Elmasry’s campaign to pressure the New York Times Co. to drop its two-tier stock system, a set-up that gives the Sulzberger family control over the $3.3B company.

Morgan Stanley recommended Joelle Frank’s firm to Elmasry in order to “reduce franchise risk,” according to a front page story in March 21 Wall Street Journal.

[The NYTC, which called in Sard Verbinnen, slapped MS—another pillar of the NYC establishment—when the Sulzberger family pulled its assets from the investment bank.]

London-based Elmasry, 44, has been critical of the Times’ sorry stock performance, acquisition strategy (International Herald Tribune and and plans for a new headquarters.

The Journal reports that Elmasry’s first request in `03 to meet Sulzberger was rebuffed by Catherine Mathis, VP-corporate communications.

After trading a series of letters with Sulzberger (and sending copies to Class A directors), Elmasry got to meet with Sulzberger, Mathis and CEO Janet Robinson last February upon order of the board.

The fund manager wasn’t happy with the outcome of that session and decided to withhold votes for the Times’ director slate at the `06 meeting. That’s when MS suggested hiring JFWBK. A JFWBK staffer said that the firm still represents Morgan Stanley Investment Co.

In January, Elmasry wrote his fifth letter to the Times board to express disappointment that it rejected his shareholder proposals to vote on dropping the dual stock structure. The board invited Elmasry to make a full presentation to it, which he did last month.

The WSJ reported that the NYTC considered going public, but the Sulzberger family has no intention of surrendering the dual stock structure. The paper said Times management faces a tough April 24 annual meeting.


Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications is representing Michael Bianco Inc, the New Bedford-based leather goods company that was raided by hundreds of federal immigration officers on March 6.

The feds rounded up at least 360 MBI employees, and shipped them to Texas for deportation hearings.

MBI owner Francesco Insolia and three managers face federal charges that they knowingly hired illegals.

The Rendon Group’s Boston office, which is headed by Rick Rendon, was brought in to deflect the sweatshop charges.

It shot a six-minute video inside the plant, showing clean and well-lit conditions.
That footage featured images of workers assembling survival gear for U.S. troops headed for Afghanistan and Iraq. (Rendon Group CEO John Rendon is the Pentagon’s “go-to guy,” having managed PA in Afghanistan and Iraq.)

The tape was aired on Boston TV stations WGBH and Fox-25.

The 100-year-old MBI facility is surviving on the strength of $90M-plus Pentagon contracts to make vests and backpacks for the U.S. military.


Tim Schellhardt, who was senior VP/editorial services at Ketchum since `01, has exited that post for a similar one at Edelman.

As senior VP-corporate editorial services, Schellhardt will support the writing needs of Edelman’s corporate clients.

Schellhardt spent more than 30 years as a reporter and bureau chief at the Wall Street Journal before moving into the PR arena.

He was White House correspondent during the Reagan and Carter Administration and bureau chief in Chicago and Pittsburgh.

He will write in Edelman’s Chicago office.


Caplan Communications is handling PR for Linda Lear, the biographer of Rachel Carson, who is credited with launching the modern-day environmental movement.

Lear wrote an introduction to Carson’s first and favorite book, “Under the Sea-Wind” (1941), which has just been re-issued by Penguin Classics.

“The level of freshness that Carson brings to her account of the cycles of seasons and the struggle of each creature for survival makes Sea-Wind in some ways her most successful book,” wrote Lear.

CC also slates a push leading to Earth Day (April 22) for “Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carlson,” which is edited by Peter Matthiessen, and “Silent Spring,” Carson’s 1962 classic that led to the banning of DDT.

Aric Caplan, who heads the Rockville, Md.-based PA and environmental advocacy firm, says the environmental movement holds Carson’s books as “seminal literary works that have altered the course of history.”

Internet Edition, March 28, 2007, Page 8




Damage Control, by former Reagan White House communications staffer Eric Dezenhall and co-author John Weber (both were once at Porter Novelli), is a breath of fresh air in crisis PR (page 2).

It’s realistic, recognizing that a PR firm entering a bad situation cannot work miracles. “We can make a bad situation less bad,” says Dezenhall. Some “irreversible realities” must be faced, he adds.

The firm does not do competitive pitches because it “raises the level of expectations too high,” he says. A “war of promises” takes place.

We’re reminded of the approach Hill & Knowlton used for decades. It interviewed clients rather than the opposite. It would not take a client unless the client had a realistic view of what PR could do.

“All we’re talking about here is good will,” CEO Bert Goss used to say. H&K publicly listed more than 400 clients. Dezenhall says an organization should have a “basic likability” (good will) such as President Reagan had that can carry the day.

The authors dispel myths surrounding Johnson & Johnson’s handling of the 1982 Tylenol murders.

There was no “instant” withdrawal of the product and the product itself was flawed. “Capsules can be pulled apart, used for receptacles for foreign material, and then resealed,” the book says. “A quarter of a century of hindsight may suggest that J&J should have recalled the capsules immediately and ceased their production,” say the authors. Instead, the capsules were not pulled until the next week and only after another near-murder via Tylenols in Oroville, Calif.
J&J, unable to face the truth about its product, blamed the packaging, quickly reintroducing capsules in tamper-resistant containers. This resulted in the murder in 1986 of 23-year-old Diane Elsroth in Yonkers, N.Y., daughter of a State trooper. What saved Tylenol was goodwill built up by J&J’s baby products, say the authors.

J&J, with its PR and advertising might, “ushered in a new wrinkle in crisis management: proselytizing how well the company has handled the crisis itself.” PRSA helped by giving J&J a special Silver Anvil in 1983. J&J was a big advertiser in PRSA publications for many years and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gave $2.6M in 1998 to the “Kids in a Drug Free Society” started by the PRSA Foundation and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Pat Jackson, 1980 PRSA president, got a $200K PR pilot program in 2001. RWJF cancelled the program in mid-2001. PRSA had promised to raise $1M for KIDS but had a loss of $1M in 1999-2000 and failed to raise anything.

All crises are different, having “their own pathologies,” say the authors. The alleged cookie-cutter solution of J&J (pull the product immediately and fix it) not only was not applied by J&J but cannot automatically be used in any crisis, they say.

They’re not generally in favor of apologizing because it could be used in a lawsuit. Critics should be attacked if they’re vulnerable. They note flaws in the media including the use of too many junior reporters by profit-obsessed owners. Much of the younger generation gets its news from comedians on TV like Jay Leno, Bill Maher and Jon Stewart, they note. About the worst thing that can happen to a product is to become a joke on one of these shows. PR people often can’t handle crises because they’re too hooked on “agreeability.” They’re used to “projecting positive images” rather than “making bad situations a little less bad,” say the authors.

The Dezenhall/Weber philosophy should replace that of James Lukaszewski, the crisis guru of PRSA, who conducted 16 seminars and teleseminars for PRSA in the latest six months and has his crises volumes featured on the PRSA website. His antipathy to the media is on the record in many ways (9/20/06 NL). A blurb for his $795 crisis seminar Oct. 12-13, 2006, said: “Gaining a management perspective–the only perspective that matters.” Pat Jackson’s attitude to the press was “duck ‘em and screw ‘em” (told to Morley Safer of CBS-TV).

We’re urging Dezenhall and Weber (or any major PR firm) to help PRSA face its “irreversible realities” such as inaccurate financial reporting; failure to reach college students (9,000 PRSSA members in a college population of 11 million); its moribund APR program; cancellation of the members’ directory without their permission; hefty spending on leader and staff travel and other perks, etc...we don’t see how PRSA, with its anti-democratic practices, can hold its conference in October in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy...PRSA COO Bill Murray describes PRSA’s financials as “excellent” and a PRSA statement on March 19 says they’re “healthy.” They’re not. PRSA was technically insolvent in 2000 because it couldn’t afford to publish its directory.

As of Dec. 31, 2005, it had net assets of about $1 million or one-tenth of its $10M revenues. It admits six months of revenues is the goal. We are deferring about $2M or half of unearned dues which is what PRSA did in 1991 when it had deferred dues of $904,767 on dues of $2.1M. PRSA’s net assets in 1991 (if DD are treated like an asset like PRSA is now doing) were 47% of income which is a lot better than the current 10% of income. In 2005, PRSA only logged $312,000 in DD to cover service owed on its two publications. There was never any announcement that its DD policy had changed. While members got short-changed in 2000, the entire board went to London for four days and travel expenses hit a record $717,748. Also in 1991, the board and outside CPA Ernst & Young decided to pull the “Statement of Functional Expenses” from the audit, robbing the members of 324 spending totals (27 categories under 12 headings). Member outcry brought it back in 1992 but minus nine categories including expenses of the board, districts and staff travel. PRSA told that booking dues as cash is “perfectly acceptable,” which reminds us of Marie Antoinette’s remark to the French people: “Let them eat cake.”

--Jack O'Dwyer


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