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Internet Edition, April 11, 2007, Page 1


Vocus, which went public in a $45M IPO in late 2005, has filed for a follow-on public offering of company and shareholder-controlled stock that could reap $22M for the company.

Vocus, a PR software and services company, is selling more than 1.2M shares, while shareholders, who stand to gain more than $33M in the offering, are offering up more than 1.8M shares. Total value of the offering is pegged at more than $59M.

Company executives, directors and “affiliated entities” controlled about 38 percent of outstanding stock as of the end of 2006.

That number could drop to between 23-25 percent after the latest offering.

The Lanham, Md.-based company said proceeds would be used for “general corporate purposes” like working capital and expenditures, but it didn’t commit to any specifics. Vocus said money could go also toward its growth strategy or acquisitions.

Revenues for 2006 were $40.3M, up from $28M in 2005. Its operating loss shrunk from $4.8M in `05 to $1.1M. Vocus bought PRWeb for $28M last year.
Vocus’ stock traded at $9 on going public in 2005 and now trades in the $19 range.


Quinn Gillespie has a $1.3M contract to represent the Serbian section of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an outgrowth of the Balkan War known as “Republika Srpska.”

The firm of Jack Quinn (ex-counsel to President Clinton and chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore) and Ed Gillespie (ex-Republican National Committee chairman), reports to Milorad Dodik, PM of RS.

He made news Feb. 28 by expressing his government’s “deepest regret for the crimes committed against non-Serbs during the recent war in Bosnia.”

That came two days after the International Court of Justice cleared Serbia of genocide connected with the massacre of Bosnian Muslims, but criticized the country for failing to prevent the carnage.

Dodik’s statement “condemned all persons who took part in the crimes” including the Bosnian Serb forces that slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. City officials in Srebrenica are seeking separation from RS, a move opposed by Dodik.

QG is to oversee RS’ outreach to the U.S. Congress, Executive Branch, United Nations, European Union and High Court.

The firm’s $106K monthly retainer does not cover fees of up to $16.6K.


Edelman has acquired a majority stake in Karyo Communications, a Vancouver shop that has 25 staffers.

Karyo Edelman will run under its current management of Patti Schom-Moffatt and Paul Welsh.

The deal provides the No. 1 independent firm a platform for its global sports practice in anticipation of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Charles Fremes heads Edelman Canada, which has offices in Toronto and Montreal.


Sard Verbinnen & Co. is serving as outside PR counsel for New Century Financial Corp., a high-risk mortgage lender that filed for bankruptcy protection on April 2 and laid off 3,200 employees.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company, which is already facing securities and Justice Dept. investigations, filed for Chapter 11 in federal court in Delaware and is working to sell off its assets. The layoffs represent more than 50 percent of its total workforce.

The “sub-prime” or “non-prime” sector backs loans for consumers deemed too risky for many lenders. A housing market slump is squeezing interest rates up on the adjustable mortgages sub-prime lenders offer.

Sard Verbinnen execs in New York and San Francisco are working for New Century.

New Century backed $56.1 billion in loans in 2005.


Christine Walton, who has held PR posts with UBS and Merrill Lynch over the last nine years, has been named VP of PR for professional services company Marsh & McLennan Cos.

M&MC posts about $12 billion in annual revenues providing services like insurance, human resource consulting, and investment management.

Walton, who directs MMC’s global communications strategy, is based in New York and reports to senior VP and CMO James Speros working closely with the company’s media and public relations units.

Edie Fraser, founder and former CEO of Diversity Best Practices, has joined Diversified Search Ray & Berndtson, a major executive search firm based in Philadelphia, as co-chair of its diversity executive search practice, based in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.

Fraser, who has been active in public affairs in Washington, D.C., for decades, is the founder of Business Woman's Network and Best Practices in Corporate Communications.

Internet Edition, April 11, 2007, Page 2
Firms in the top 10
  Firm 2006
Net Fees
Empl. %
Taylor, New York
Qorvis Comms, D.C.
Edelman, New York
Schwartz Comms., Waltham, MA
Waggener Edstrom, Bellevue WA
APCO Worldwide, D.C.
Firms ranked 11 through 25
5W Public Relations, NY
Integrated Corp. Relations, CT
S&S PR, Chicago
Capstrat, Raleigh
M Booth & Assocs., New York
Cooney/Waters Group, NY
Padilla Speer Beardsley, MN
RFBinder Partners, New York
French/West/Vaughan, Raleigh
Regan Communications, Boston
Firms ranked 25 through 50
Healthstar, New York
Coyne PR, Parsippany, NJ
Cerrell Assocs., Los Angeles
Imre Communications, MD
Cubitt Jacobs & Prosek, NY
Davies, Santa Barbara, CA
Kaplow Communications, NY
Makovsky & Co., NY
Airfoil, Detroit
Vollmer PR, Houston
Rasky Baerlein, Boston
Hunter PR, NY
Ashton Partners, Chicago
Linden Alschuler & Kaplan
Bender/Helper Impact, LA
Firms ranked 50 through 100
Lewis PR, San Francisco
v-Fluence Inter. PR, San Diego
Ron Sachs Comms., Tallahassee
Wragg & Casas PR, Miami
Comms. Strategies, Madison, NJ
Development Counsellors, NY
Spring O'Brien & Co., New York
Pierpont Comms., Houston
Walek & Assocs., New York
Hope-Beckham, Atlanta
Merritt Group, Reston, VA
The Vandiver Group, St. Louis
Maloney & Fox, New York
Clifford PR, New York
Hager Sharp, D.C.
Bliss, Gouverneur & Assocs., NY
Jackson Spalding, Atlanta
Dorland PR, Philadelphia
PainePR, Los Angeles
Vox Medica Healthcare, Phila.
Crosby Marketing Comms, MD
The Zimmerman Agency, FL
Charleston/Orwig, Hartland, WI
Travers, Collins & Co., Buffalo
Off Madison Ave., Tempe, AZ
M/C/C, Dallas
Levenson & Brinker PR, Dallas
Luckie Strategic PR, Birmingham


Apple Computer has told 70 environmental groups that support the Computer TakeBack Campaign that its directors will unanimously reject two shareholder proposals at the upcoming annual meeting regarding more aggressive recycling of computers and phasing out toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing process.

That puts former Vice President, global warming champion, Oscar winner and current Apple director Al Gore in a tight fix.

The groups, including Greenpeace, Consumers Union, Friends of the Earth, Physicians for Social Responsibility, National Environmental Trust and Institute for a Sustainable Future, sent a letter to Gore on March 21 asking him as a "global environmental leader to keep Steve Jobs [Apple CEO] and Apple from making a serious mistake."

Apple trails competitors such as Dell, which has set ambitious goals for eliminating toxic components from its machines and Hewlett Packard on the environmental front.

The groups want to work with Gore to implement “common sense solutions to toxic pollution that will also make Apple the undisputed leader of environmentally sound products in the electronics industry.”

They want Gore to support the shareholder resolutions as a “first step toward making an industry leader in greening its products and processes.”

The green groups report no new word from Gore. He did meet privately with Computer TakeBake reps last spring.

Greenpeace International, on April 3, ranked Apple last among 14 electronics makers on the environmental friendly front. “While Apple is famous for innovation, it would be a shame to see Apple become infamous for polluting the environment,” said GI.

Greenpeace has ruffled Apple's feathers with its "Green My Apple" website that aims to raise awareness of the Cupertino, Cal.-based company's poor environmental performance.


Veronica Meter joined the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce as VP-government affairs on April 9. She took over for Christina Dugan, who is launching her own political consulting business.

Meter has headed PR for the U.S. Government Printing Office since `03.
She kept GPO's constituencies updated on efforts to position as a lean digital publishing and distribution organization.

GPO makes government documents available free to consumers online and via a partnership with 1,250 libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program.

Meter served as a Las Vegas TV executive prior to joining GPO.

She was executive producer at One TV, news producer at KLAS-TV, and producer/host at KLVX-TV. She also was news and public affairs director for Telemundo's Channel 39.

The Chamber represents 7,000 businesses that employ more than 200,000.
The GPO has not yet named a replacement for Meter.

Internet Edition, April 11, 2007, Page 3

MSNBC REBRANDS. has launched a marketing campaign to spotlight its full range of news and entertainment features.

The print ads carry the tagline, "A Fuller Spectrum of News," to inform consumers that the site is more than a spot news organization.

The push also will play up the site's alliances with NBC, Washington Post and its Newsweek magazine property.

SS+K is handling the $4M campaign for, which is owned by NBC Universal and Microsoft.


Jeff Greenfield, political correspondent at CNN for the past nine years, is moving to CBS News. He starts contributing to Katie Couric's newscast and other programs on May 1.

Sean McManus, president of CBS News & Sports, said Greenfield's hire is part of the network's plan to add more "depth and expertise" as it gears up for the `08 Presidential sweepstakes.

Greenfield worked at ABC News for fourteen years before joining CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.


John Seigenthaler has left his slot as weekend anchor of "NBC Nightly News" after the General Electric unit failed to renew his contract due to budget cutbacks.

The 11-year NBC News vet held the weekend anchor spot for nine years. He reported from Nashville and Seattle prior to that. He announced his departure on April 1 after thanking NBC and listeners for their loyalty. NBC wants an anchor who will do other duties at either the network or at its MSNBC cable unit.


The State Dept. issued a press release on March 27 to laud two Sunni and two Shia Iraqis who in the "act of courage and bravery allowed their faces to be broadcast" on its Independent Radio & Television Network in Diyala. Their message was one of "hope, peace, reconciliation and nonsectarianism."

The recently launched IR&TN is aimed at "terrorists who are operating in Diyala Province, literally miles from the location of the radio/TV station." Its market coverage includes hotspots such as Fallujah and Baghdad. There are 11M Iraqis living in the region.

The State Dept.'s "Global Outreach Team" is behind the IR&TN launch. The Go Team, according to the release, "helps ensure that public diplomacy (engaging, informing, and influencing key international audiences) is practiced in harmony with public affairs (outreach to Americans) and traditional diplomacy to advance U.S. interests and security and to provide the moral basis for U.S. leadership in the world."

The GO Team promises upcoming stories on Iraqi health/nutrition, national constitution and an "inside look" of the workings of the Diyala provincial council.


The National Assn. of Broadcasters and Consumers Union plan to issue formal notices with the Federal Communication Commission over the next few weeks to oppose the proposed merger between the two satellite radio companies, XM and Sirius.

The opposition will claim the merger amounts to a "government bailout of two-money losing ventures that paid hundreds of dollars for big-name talent," according to the Washington Post.

NAB president David Rehr plans to use the FCC’s own analysis of satellite competition to argue against the deal. That FCC study found that the current "duopoly of XM and Sirius do not compete with radio, iPods or any other audio sources in the satellite radio market."

The merger partners contend that there is intense competition from a broad "audio entertainment" market in which many of the individual components did not exist when the FCC approved licensing of satellite radio a decade ago.

The FCC analysis, according to Rehr, is a "dramatic blow to XM/Sirius' presumption of a broader market and still more evidence that XM and Sirius compete ferociously against each other in the market for nationwide multichannel mobile audio services and no one else."


Discovery Communications is rebranding its Discovery Home Channel in’ `08 as an environmental channel as part of its "PlanetGreen" program.

CEO David Zaslav says the channel will initially be available in 50M households here and there are plans to expand overseas.

DC plans to carry other environmental programs on its other channels to reinforce its position as the "green" network.

An initial project will be "Ten Ways to Save the Planet' which is penciled in for the second-half of next year. DC's Silver Spring, Md., headquarters is going carbon neutral to reflect the PlanetGreen push.

People __________________________

Dennis Rice, who handled publicity for Walt Disney Co. films and its Pixar Studios unit, has shifted to United Artists. He is in charge of worldwide marketing and publicity for UA, which is headed by Tom Cruise and his producer, Paula Wagner.
Rice, who was senior VP at Disney’s Buena Vista Pictures marketing unit, promoted the two “Pirates of the Caribbean” films and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

The unrelated Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien are being dropped as CNN’s “American Morning” anchors because the show’s ratings have not kept up with programming in the other dayparts, according to CNN president Jonathan Klein.
John Roberts, who joined CNN from CBS last year, and Kiran Chetry, a former Fox News Channel veteran, are replacing the duo that had been together since ’05.
The O’Briens remain special correspondents.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, April 11, 2007, Page 4


Gossip columnists have some advice for publicists looking to grab the ultimate celebrity scoop: get out more.

"I'm always asking people: where's the story?" said Patrick Huguenin, writer for the Daily News' Rush & Molloy column. "We get product pitches all the time, but if you tell me that you just saw someone get smacked at the Marquee Club, I'm listening."

Some of the biggest names in celebrity gossip met for a March 28 panel at the International Cinematographers Guild in New York City, hosted by the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society.

Jennifer Birn, society writer for OK! Magazine, said relationships between publicists and news staffs are often forged on favors. Publicists who will go out on a limb for the press are usually the first to see their ideas become stories.

"If you hear something from someone in the industry, or if you see something when you're out with your friends and you tell me about it, I won't forget it," Birn said. "Even if you don't have the greatest product, I'll work something in as a favor to you if you help me out."

Scandal Makes Good Gossip

So, what makes good gossip? Scandal, of course.

Celebrity sightings at a new nightclub are always important, but celebrities caught doing or saying something shocking is the stuff gossip news is made of. Where that celebrity registers on the A-list hierarchy is also important, as is the verifiability of the claim: Huguenin said all major gossip publications are "extensibly versed in defamation" and all items are legally vetted before going to press. Photos are also a plus for gossip: readers like pictures, and getting a snapshot of a sighting – or better yet, a celebrity doing something crazy – greatly increases the chances of a story going to print.

Unfortunately, there's often a large gap between what publicists see as a good news item (re: their clients' products), and what actually makes for "good news." David Caplan, deputy NY bureau chief for Star Magazine, advised publicists to be creative in this process and to tailor pitches to fit the larger picture. Pitching your client's clothing or beverage company to the gossip pages is fine if you have a photo of a celebrity wearing it or drinking it at a private party. Of course, there has to be a news hook to this item as well. Caplan suggested adding anything anecdotal, like an overheard conversation where the celebrity voiced his/her opinion about a fellow celebrity or a current event.

"You have to be cognizant of where the story is going," Caplan said. "Give it a hook. That's the nature of what we do and that's how we sell it. Not giving it that hook shows you're not giving us any effort."

In this vein, creating celebrity news might look easy. However, many publicists fail when getting their foot in the gossip pages primarily because they don't understand the proper protocol for how a scoop should be presented. Besides the need to tailor a product to a celebrity incident, understanding the pitching format is also essential.

Kenya Hunt, style & entertainment editor for Metro New York, said the key to good pitch delivery lies in the subject line of an email. Unclear subjects or rambling bodies of text make their way straight to the delete box.

"Keep it short and to-the-point," she said. "To me, it's all about subject lines."

Birn agreed, and offered this helpful equation for PR pros when writing subject lines: Person, event, date and time. "Keep it simple. Those are the things I look for in a story," she said.

"We get hit with emails all day," said Huguenin. "But we see an email that says 'Lindsay Lohan has herpes' and all of a sudden everyone responds."

Caplan may be an anomaly in the field, as he claimed he reads all his email.

He said, however, that he gets turned off when publicists get too "cutesy" or try to imitate gossip editorial lingo in their pitches. All four panelists said they prefer email pitches from publicists.

Finally, Caplan said the relationship between press and publicists is built on a foundation of trust – and all it takes is one instance to make or break this relationship.

"When you give me the same pitch that you gave to the person next to me, we know about it. I think that's cookie-cutter and it really reflects on the quality of where it's coming from," he said. "I've seen the exact quotes that PR people have given me run in other papers. It happens more than you think. All it takes is one incident like that to ruin a relationship – I know it may sound hard to believe, but we're all very gossipy."

Contacts: Jennifer Birn, society writer, OK! Magazine, [email protected]; David Caplan, dep. N.Y. bureau chief, Star Magazine,
[email protected]; Patrick Huguenin, writer, Daily News' Rush & Molloy phuguenin@edit.; Kenya Hunt, style & entertainment editor, Metro New York, [email protected]


The Newseum, which will open near Capitol Hill in October, has naming rights available to a gallery dedicated to radio and another one for the Internet. The minimum sponsorship level is set at $5M.

Cox Communications recently made a splash, spending $6M for the gallery on the First Amendment and the reopening ceremonies. General Electric's NBC News and News Corp. also have signed up as sponsors.

Jack Hurley, deputy director/senior VP-broadcasting at Newseum, told Broadcasting & Cable, that the Newseum will chart the history of journalism-"warts and all."

The Newseum was previously located in Arlington, Va.. It closed five years ago with the plan to move to D.C.

Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism is closer to getting a new student center thanks to a gift from Dan Edelman, who graduated there in '41. The school will honor the PR pioneer by naming the space outside the center's café the "Daniel J. Edelman Plaza."

Internet Edition, April 11, 2007, Page 5


Michael Rubin, who was VP-government relations at Qwest Communications, has joined Don Meyer, ex-senior VP at Hill & Knowlton's D.C. office, to open Rubin Meyer PA. The firm offers issues management, media relations and strategic counsel to clients in the nation's capital.

Meyer told O'Dwyer's that the firm debuts with several clients in the defense, telecom and publishing businesses. He would not name them.

RM, he said, promises "hands-on, independently minded PR services."

Rubin also served VP-government relations at U.S. Telecom Assn. as an aide to Kansas Senator and Republican presidential hopeful Sam Brownback.

Meyer held a Defense Dept. communications post, and helped plot strategy in the wake of the 9/11 Pentagon attack. Info:

The Marino Organization, New York, said it helped a well-known Big Apple coffee shop return from the brink, when it was closed on March 6 for minor health violations.

The Coffee Shop, which has been featured in HBO’s “Sex in the City,” was one of 100 city eateries to be shuttered in the wake of a crackdown following the infamous rat video that circulated on the Internet and other mass media.

TMO went to work as the coffee shop was re-inspected, and put together plans for if it passed or failed; it passed. The firm said much of the coverage of the cafe portrayed it as an undeserving victim of a reactionary city Health Department.

News of celebrity sightings at the shop were reported as early as the weekend following its re-inspection.

The Coffee Shop rewarded Marino’s work with a long-term contract.

BRIEFS: PRx, San Jose, had net fees of $1,365,951, up 14% for 2006. It is the fourth largest ranked firm in San Jose and had $574,072 in environmental/PA fees; $464,332 in healthcare; $200,648 in entertainment, and $139,997 in financial. ...Bob Dilenschneider will address Fairchester Communications Council's Spring Forum on April 18 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Norwalk, Conn. The former Hill & Knowlton CEO will talk about how tech developments have changed the rules of power in the 21st Century. That's the crux of his book, "Power and Influence: The Rules Have Changed," to be published in August. Noted crisis guru Jim Lukaszewski will moderate the event. Jane Genova plans live blog coverage. Cost is $50 for non-members. Ed Bloch has details at (203) 227-4920 or [email protected] . ...Trone, High Point, N.C., has unveiled a new unit, RLF Communications, dedicated to issue and communications campaigns. Monty Hagler, a managing partner for the firm, heads the new division, which starts up with Flordia-based financial services company CNL, Missouri manufacturer Leggett & Platt, and U.K.-based Gloster Furniture as clients. Three Trone staffers support Hagler.


New York Area

Lippert/Heilshorn & Associates, New York/PDI Inc.; Industrial Enterprises of America; Perio-Imaging; EntreMed; Ramtron International Corp., and NaviSite. The firm’s Los Angeles office picked up Ligand Pharmaceuticals; Avanir Pharmaceuticals; Delcath Systems, and Majesco Entertainment.

Maloney & Fox, New York/eMusic, music download site, for consumer and music-industry media relations and to help launch new products later this year. The firm also picked up Pure Depth, a 3-D technology company, for media relations, conference outreach and other PR.

Ruder Finn, New York/Manhattan Software, workplace management system platforms, as AOR.

Steven Style Group, New York/Cold Tree Press, independent self-publishing house, as AOR for marketing communications, including targeted publicity and PR to build up the brand.

Workhouse Publicity, New York/Budget Travel, as AOR for PR.

HJMT Communications, Westbury, N.Y./NYC Firefighters, for fifth annual charity golf outing supporting scholarships for the children of firefighters.


CGPR, Peterborough, N.H./Eastern Mountain Sports, outdoor retailer, as AOR for PR.

Levick Strategic Communications, Washington, D.C./Eversheds, law firms, for a publicity campaign to support a new business model; River Ranch Fresh Foods, to inform consumers that the FDA has approved its Popeye brand spinach; Special Olympics, for global PR for the summer 2007 Olympics in China; National Volunteer Firefighters Council, for PR, and Stew Leonard’s, supermarket chain, to design and implement a crisis plan.

North Bridge Communications, Washington, D.C./, to introduce a new legislative wiki to lawmakers, lobbyists, trade assns., advocacy groups, and others, following a competitive bid.

Hauser Group, Atlanta/EarthLink’s municipal networks business unit, for launch of the company’s citywide Wi-Fi networks in market areas across the U.S.


The Firm PR and Marketing, Las Vegas/IntelliBED, sleep products, for PR and marketing.

5W PR, Los Angeles/Fannie Mae Foundation’s Help the Homeless Walkathon, for event support.

JS2 Communications, Los Angeles/SunMilk, reduced fat dairy milk, as AOR for marketing.

LM PR, Los Angeles/The Starside Co., Hollywood security company, for PR.

mPRm, Los Angeles/The British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles; Elektrofilm Digital Studios, and Good, a multimedia content company.

Somerville Associates, Los Angeles/Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club (Redondo Beach), and Paradise Point Resort & Spa (San Diego), for media relations and PR targeting leisure and business travelers, as well as meeting professionals.

Internet Edition, April 11, 2007, Page 6


Chaloner Associates, an executive search firm focused on marketing communications with offices in Boston and Toronto, has opened a New York outpost in midtown Manhattan.

VP Amy Lafond, associate Kassie Wilner, and project manager Jenn Marcottee make up the firm’s Big Apple team.

CA has been retained by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to search for a VP of comms. Lafond and Ted Chaloner are leading the search. Info: [email protected].


PRSA/N.Y. has aligned with the American Red Cross’s Greater New York chapter to provide PR help with the organization’s disaster work.

“The Red Cross needs communicators among its ranks,” said Mike Virgintino, director of comms. and media relations for the American Red Cross/GNY.

The PRSA chapter is looking for volunteers for the program, called the Power of Two, to serve as disaster PA personnel, media spokespersons, comms. strategists and writers.

An orientation session has been scheduled for June 6 at 6 p.m. Info is at

“We will be assisting the Red Cross as the organization deals with crises and media inquiries, plus volunteers can earn credits toward maintaining their accreditation by PRSA,” said Barbara Burns, PRSA/N.Y. president.

Volunteers will be trained by the Red Cross and provided with resources and support if called to respond.


Medialink posted a $383K, 1.2% increase in revenues for 2006, compared to year-end results for 2005. The company also closed strong with a 7.1% increase for the fourth quarter in 2006 over Q4 2005.

The broadcast PR giant reported revenues of $31.7M for the year ended December 31, 2006, including a 35.8% boost in its Teletrax monitoring unit. That gain, $717K, offset a $334K drop in traditional media comms. services, the company said.

Operating loss narrowed in 2006 to $6.3M from $6.9M in 2005. The sale of U.S. Newswire represented a $4.5M gain for the company.

Cash reserves total $17M.

The African-American PR Collective will launch a series of seminars on May 19 in New York with “The Write Stuff: PR for Book Publishing,” a panel discussion at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences offices at 156 W. 56th St.
Panelists include Tara Brown, VP of sales, marketing and publicity for Hilton Publishing; Gilda Squire, director of publicity for Amistad Imprint/Harper Collins Publishers, and Linda Duggins, director of multicultural publicity at Hachette Book Group, USA.

The group said it is looking to fill in a gap in the networking potential among African-American PR and media specialists. Info:; 212/765-7910.



Virginia Bader, account manager in Porter Novelli’s D.C. health and social marketing practice, to GYMR, Washington, D.C., as a VP with oversight of professional assn., non-profit and industry clients. She was previously VP of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington. Amy Levey, comms. coordinator for The Justice Project, joins GYMR as an A/S. She was previously comms. manager at the American Psychiatric Assn.

Adrienne Ford, PAO for the Associated Builders and Contractors, to the Marketing Research Assn., Washington, D.C., as PR manager.

Victoria Bello, former director at Bozell Sawyer Miller PR who recently ran her own firm, The VB Group, to Beckerman PR, Bedminster, N.J., as a VP.

Shannon Baker, A/E, Skutski & Oltmanns, to WordWrite Communications, Wexford, Pa., as a senior A/E. Earlier, she was a feature writer for Flathead Living in Whitefish, Mont.

Winter Prosapio, a 20-year PR and marketing veteran, was named comms. director for the Texas Credit Union League, a trade group.

Phil Carpenter, VP of marketing, Simply Hired, to Allison & Partners, San Francisco, as GM of the office. He was previously VP of corporate marketing for SideStep.


Ronny Lancaster to senior VP, federal gov’t relations and public affairs, Assurant, New York. He succeeds Edwin Harper, who is stepping down to a part-time role. Lancaster, 55, joined the insurance company in 2005.

Topper Ray to chief communications officer, Blank Rome LLP. Based in the firm’s Philadelphia office, Ray also continues to serve as a principal with its Washington, D.C.-based unit Blank Rome Government Relations. He joined BRGR in 2003 as a founding Principal and served as director of communications and PR for Blank Rome.

Laura Braam, Jennifer Brantley, Mandy Cawood, Alice Chapman, Andrew Maraniss, Courtenay Rossi to VPs, McNeely Pigott & Fox PR, Nashville, Tenn. All were senior A/Ss.

Rebecca Eckhart and Rachel Goldberg to A/Es, Laughlin/Constable, Chicago.

David Bouffard to VP, PR, Sterling Jewelers, Akron, Ohio. Sterling is the parent to the Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry brands.

Bridget Palitz to VP, The McRae Agency, San Diego. She joined in 1994 and manages the San Diego office.


Kassy Perry, president and CEO of Perry Communications Group, Sacramento, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sacramento PR Assn.’s annual CAPPIE Awards on March 29. Her firm also nabbed three gold awards.

Tina Wells, CEO of Buzz Marketing Group, Voorhees, N.J., has been named to the board of By Kids for Kids, a closely held licensing company focused on fostering creativity and entrepreneurism in children.

Internet Edition, April 11, 2007, Page 7


The Council of PR Firms, which has seen membership slide from a high of 132 in August 2001 to 102 currently, said that as a result of "strategic planning" it is “re-evaluating the importance of all advertising.”

CPRF was nine years old on March 26. Attempts to reach chair Marcia Silverman, CEO of Ogilvy PR Worldwide, for comment on the state of CPRF and its current goals, were unsuccessful. Ogilvy is part of the WPP Group.

Abigail Carr of Bliss, Gouverneur & Assocs., New York, treasurer of CPRF, said “ad expenses have been cut back for 2007 and the budget for 2008-2009 will not be developed until later in the year.”

The executive committee of CPRF (three representatives from conglomerate-owned PR firms and two independents), is looking to “balance our many strategic priorities,” she said.

Other executive committee members are Ray Kotcher of the Ketchum unit of Omnicom; Helen Ostrowski of the Porter Novelli unit of Omnicom and Joel Curran of CKPR, an independent firm.

CPRF for more than four years has run a monthly ad in PR Week/U.S. at an estimated cost of $3,000 each. These ads will continue to run for the rest of 2007. Total cost over the four years would be approximately $140,000.

Advertising elsewhere has been sparse. There was one ad in the ANA Advertiser in 2006 and one ad in O'Dwyer’s PR Report in 2006 (the only ad CPRF has run in the O’Dwyer monthly in nine years). Half page ads costing $750 were run in O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms in 2003, 2004 and 2006 and a full page ad costing $1,000 in 2005.

Eleven CPRF members cooperated on a special 20-page section in Advertising Age Jan. 24, 2005 that cost $160,000. Copy was mostly written by Paul Holmes of The Holmes Report. CPRF noted this was not a CPRF project but something the 11 firms did on their own and outside of the Council. CPRF was given a free one-page ad in the section.

Revenues of CPRF are approximately $1 million yearly with the majority of the funds coming from the large members who pay .065% of their U.S. fees to a limit of $40,000 (previously $50,000).

Founded in 1998

CPRF was founded on March 26, 1998 when David Drobis, CEO of Ketchum, announced in a release that "Leaders of major PR firms today agreed to form the first U.S. PR trade association and to begin recruiting members."

There were 38 members in the founding group including 13 of the 15 largest PR firms.

A principal aim was to involve executives of the biggest firms, whose participation in the Counselors Academy of PRSA had declined over the years. Academy and PRSA leadership turned down requests for PRSA to start a group comprised of firms rather than individuals. PRSA decided to hold to its tradition of representing individuals rather than corporate entities.

“Leadership of the U.S. PR business has long been absent from helping to guide the industry and profession forward," said Drobis, who headed the steering committee to study a trade association of PR firms. Initial name was, "The Assn. of PR Firms." Drobis retired from the PR industry at the end of 2003.

The Council's Code of Ethics said clients of members would be advised to be "transparent and willing to engage in debate and discussion."

Eighteen executives of PR firms were named to the founding board.

The initial meeting was June 30.

"The APRF will represent the leadership of the PR business and advocate on its behalf...we can set industry standards while building the structure and influence of U.S. public relations," said Drobis.

100 Members Sought in First Year

An initial goal was to sign up 100 members in the first year. A peak of 132 members was reached in August 2001. A slide began after 9/11 with more than 50 of the firms on the 2001 list departing from the Council for one reason or other by 2007.

The two biggest independent PR firms, Edelman and Ruder Finn, quit in the past several years.

Others leaving included Cohn & Wolfe and GCI Group, both part of WPP. Two other WPP firms remain–Burson-Marsteller and Hill & Knowlton.

Other major firms departing included Schwartz Communications, Zeno Group of Edelman, Access PR, RFBinder Partners, KCSA Worldwide, and Stanton Crenshaw Communications.

CPRF aimed at signing up the biggest firms but today only 11 of the top 25 on the O'Dwyer ranking are members and only 21 of the top 50.

Taylor, Other Major Firms Joined

Major firms joining since 2001 included Taylor, Gibbs & Soell, Cubitt Jacobs & Prosek, Standing Partnership, Imre Communications, FD, Trylon SMR, and Widmeyer Communications. Mergers cost CPRF at least a half dozen members including BSMG, Weber PR Worldwide and Shandwick, which all became part of Weber Shandwick; Creamer Dickson Basford, which became part of Havas; FitzGerald Communications, acquired by Omnicom; Nichol & Co., acquired by CKP; Patrice Tanaka, which became part of CRT/Tanaka and Rowland, merged into Publicis.

Departing Members

Members on the 2001 list that are not on the current list, including some that may either be closed or inactive, include Applied Communications; Arnold PR; Ballard, Cairns & Associates; Collaborative Communications; Creative Response Concepts; Cunningham PR; Donnellon PR; Duffey Communications; Epley Associates; Franco PR; Geduldig & Ferguson; Goff & Howard; GPC Int’l; Guthrie/Mayes; Hawthorn Group; Headline Group; Kratz & Jensen; LaForce & Stevens; Marenghi & Associates; Massey-Persons-Brinati; Metzger Associates; Middleberg/Euro RSCG; Middleton & Gendron; Niehaus Ryan Wong; Phase Two Strategies; Presence; ProMarch Agency; Skutski & Oltmanns; Southard Communications; Spector & Associates; Sterling Hager; Strat@Comm; Stratis PR; Strother Communications; Sumner Rider & Associates; Tate Agency; Tech Image; Tunheim Santrizos, Van Vechten, Vorhaus Assocs. and Zeppos.

Internet Edition, April 11, 2007, Page 8




The list of 48 independent PR firms on page two, 35 of them with gains of 20%+ in 2006, shows the independents are thriving.

The U.S. PR counseling industry, unlike ad agencies, did not sell out to the Big Five ad agencies—WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic, Publicis and Havas.

Many firms did sell but that era is over. The Five ran up long-term debt of $13.5 billion in their buying binge (biggest debt is the $4.82B at WPP) and don’t have the cash or stock they once had to overpay for acquisitions.

It’s no longer accurate to refer to the Five as “holding companies,” suggesting they are made up of financial executives in ivory towers aloof from the operations of their components.

Omnicom CEO John Wren and WPP CEO Martin Sorrell lead their empires in pitches against other agencies. Their media buying units buy for their entire systems, driving down media prices.

The Five found that while PR firms can pay the salaries of owners and staff, few can throw off 25% in profits yearly without stringent measures. PR pros prize their independence and don’t like every step being measured by an overseer from the parent.

News item on page 7: the Council of PR Firms “is re-evaluating” its advertising and doesn’t have a nickel to spend on any more ads in 2007. It may even cancel some remaining ads in PR Week/U.S.

The poor, poverty-stricken CPRF – it only has net assets of $592,501 and only had cash of $623,924 on Dec. 31, 2006! Its paid president, Kathy Cripps, only makes $285,000 a year or nearly one-third of dues income of $837,571. She supervises two other CPRF staffers. Cathy Bolton, former COO of PRSA, got the same amount for supervising 55 staffers and a $10M budget. CPRF is one of the richer PR groups with net assets equaling 61% of expenses of $962,834. Also, member PR firms of WPP and OMC do $2.2 billion in PR fees so it’s not as though the leading members of CPRF are poverty-stricken, either.

At the lower end of the scale are the Int’l Assn. of Business Communicators, with net assets at the end of 2006 of $500,516, equaling ten percent of revenues (it’s still recovering from the TalkingBusinessNow website disaster), and PRSA, whose net assets of $2.8M as of 12/31/06 were 23% of expenses (this includes abut $2M of unearned dues booked as cash). Other assets to expense ratios are NIRI, 90%; Arthur W. Page Society, 74%, and Institute for PR, 45%.

The ad/PR policy of CPRF is the same as that of its biggest donors, the five giant ad agencies. The Five have 15 PR firms in CPRF including 10 that pay the max dues of $40K. About 60% of the dues of $837K come from the 15. These units advertise almost exclusively in PR Week/U.S. and that is the policy of CPRF. The Five have limited relations with the press, never holding press conferences and never discussing their financial reports. They have blocked disclosure of revenues/staff of many hundreds of ad agencies and PR firms for five years. OMC’s Wren is infamous for being tight-lipped even with analysts, which is one reason OMC is only $103, still below its high of $107 on Dec. 17, 1999. Wren, who has given four powder-puff interviews in 4.5 years, is up to his ears in a four-year-old stockholder lawsuit charging OMC inflated its earnings in 2001 (Wall Street Journal 3/2/07). Sorrell is involved in a nasty personal/business lawsuit involving WPP’s operations in Italy (4/4 NL). The New York Post (and almost no other media) is covering this in detail. Interpublic (Weber Shandwick, Golin Harris, MWW, De Vries PR) is not too keen on getting press these days since it is still dealing with the repercussions from reporting $514M in non-existent earnings from 2000-04. But CEO Michael Roth has promised a “new level of transparency.” IPG at least holds its annual meeting in New York while OMC has fled out of town four years in a row (and this year to Denver on May 22). Attempts to dialogue with the two French-owned firms, Publicis (a large minority interest is owned by Dentsu) and Havas, have been unsuccessful. Publicis operates “Publicis Dialog” and OMC’s Code of Ethics promises “fair dealing” with anyone it comes into contact with.

At the bottom of this food chain is the executive committee of CPRF, comprised, according to the bylaws, of three reps from the Big Five and two “independents.” CPRF is not going to have an ad campaign that includes the New York Times ad column, Ad Age, AdWeek, and the entire PR trade (and not just PR Week) even though spreading ads around in a fair manner would bring more coverage of PR and relieve CPRF of the charges of favoritism and unfairness. PR firms are not going to join an organization that acts in an unfair manner. There is no PR campaign at all by CPRF in the sense of reaching out to the PR trade press and building relationships with PR editors.

We wonder why no one in the PR academic world will take up a study of the influence of the acquisition policies of the Big Five on the U.S. PR counseling industry when so much of this material is public record ... a chief issue before the PR industry today is the vote in favor of PR pros having to “lie occasionally” in order to save their jobs that was taken at a session for 350 PR pros hosted by PR Week/U.K. (3/21 NL). The O’Dwyer website conducted a poll on the same question for two weeks and the returns held steady at 65% saying an “occasional lie” was needed to save employment. It’s obvious many PR pros have been forced to provide less than the truth but the field cannot accept this attitude without harm. PR critics are going to seize these findings and run amok. Barbara Burns, president of PRSA/New York, has made a strong statement calling on PR groups to urge a change in behavior of PR people. PR pros can at least have a policy of saying “No comment” when they are in situations where clients and employers will not allow them to be truthful.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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