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Internet Edition, April 25, 2007, Page 1


The U.S. Army command in Iraq is preparing to release a multimillion-dollar RFP for PR agencies to produce a marketing campaign for its electrical sector reconstruction unit based in Baghdad.

The Army’s Joint Contracting Command, part of the Multi-National Forces Iraq, expects to release the RFP in late April and to eventually award a PR firm an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, a type of pact which has the winning bidder engaged per project as needed.

The estimated dollar value for the contract is from $11M-$25M. The government said a six-month base contract will include three six-month options.

The Lincoln Group has handled PR assignments for the MNFI since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

An Army report released in September said reconstruction efforts under its watch increased power generation benefiting 1.3M homes in Iraq and boosted electricity distribution to 340K homes. An inspector general report, however, said in February that the country’s electricity production has dipped below pre-war levels, despite $4B spent on power reconstruction projects.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has chosen a bevy of PR and marketing shops, including Weber Shandwick, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Ketchum and Hager Sharp, to handle projects over the next seven years.

The $10M/year contract range (one base year with three, two-year options) encompasses health communication, public affairs, social and health marketing, media outreach, online efforts and research for its various programs.

In addition to the four PR firms, 13 other companies round out the CDC's new marketing roster. They include Academy for Educational Development, American Institutes for Research, Battele, Constella, Danya, Educational Services Inc., Harrison Maldonado Associates, Macro International, NOVA Research, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, PRR Inc., Research Triangle Institute and Westat.

Under government procurement rules, those firms will compete or be chosen outright based on their area of expertise as assignments arise over the seven-year duration of their contracts.

The CDC operates under the Dept. of Health and Human Services and produces statistics and campaigns on health issues from HIV and brain injuries to air pollution and workplace safety. Its ’08 budget request is $8.8B.


The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation has selected a Weber Shandwick communications team from a roster of nine competitors, Michelle Breslauer, a spokesperson for the WTCMF, told O’Dwyer’s.

She declined to name the other firms.

WS and its sister Interpublic firms—Octagon (global sports/entertainment marketing) and Jack Morton Worldwide (experiential marketing) will be in charge of a national outreach effort set for later this year.

The idea is to bolster awareness of the Memorial to the victims of the 9/11 and `93 attacks on the WTC, build broad-based support, and raise cash.

Octagon is noted for creation of the Ultimate Drive for BMW, which raised $10M for Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation.

Morton established Bank of America’s two-week “Democracy Plaza” exhibit in NYC’s Rockefeller Center.

WS publicized the dedication and 10-year anniversary of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.


Bob Finlayson, an Edelman and Burson-Marsteller veteran, has left the VP-corporate communications slot at software publisher THQ for a top technology post at Ketchum in San Francisco.

Finlayson has been tapped as senior VP of consumer technology for Ketchum West with oversight for the Omnicom unit’s San Francisco and Los Angeles tech practices.

He was previously CEO of Burson-Marsteller’s Northern California operation and executive VP for Edelman/Los Angeles.

Ketchum’s big tech accounts include Kodak, Nokia, IBM and FedEx.


Larry Hincker, associate VP of university relations at Virginia Tech, who acts as the spokesperson for the school, was at the meeting of eight university officials Monday, April 16, that decided to withhold the news of two student murders that were discovered at 7:15 a.m.

The VT website had a picture of his supervisor, Elizabeth Flanagan, VP of development and university relations, but not of Hincker. The department said it would look for such a picture.

The two-hour delay in notifying either the campus or the media is being blamed by some critics for the later murders of 26 students and four professors.
Cho Seung-Hui might not have carried out his

(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, April 25, 2007, Page 2


There is “an enormous amount of rigorous data that shows a statistically significant, positive correlation” between corporate social responsibility and financial performance, members of the Arthur W. Page Society were told April 13 at the group’s spring seminar in New York.

The speaker was Jane Nelson, senior fellow and director of corporate social responsibility, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

The statement contradicted a finding published earlier this year that stocks of “despised” companies slightly outperformed those of “admired” companies in the period from 1983 to 2006.

Stock performance of companies that ranked high on Fortune’s annual “most admired” list were contrasted with companies that did not score well on the list.

Lower-ranked companies posted a 17.8% return while the “admired” companies had a 15.4% return.

Making the study were Prof. Meir Statman, Santa Clara University; Deniz Anginer, University of Michigan, and Kenneth Fisher, CEO, Fisher Investments.

They believe that investors in the admired companies are penalized by an aura of positive feelings.

As an example, they noted someone could pay a lot for a stylish watch but a cheap watch would tell time just as well.

Gunther Questions Nelson

Marc Gunther, senior writer of Fortune, questioned whether Nelson’s data actually showed that CSR is the driver of financial performance.

Nelson replied that the connection is very deep and is supported by a number of studies. Analysts are increasingly covering the CSR activities of companies, she said.

Companies that address CSR issues know how to build a broad consensus with stakeholders. PR’s role is to reach out to stakeholders and encourage collaboration. This has made PR’s role “far more important to the company,” she added.

Nicholson Is Executive Director

Thomas Nicholson, who was VP and general manager of two divisions of Avery Weigh-Tronix, industrial and retail weighing systems, has been named executive director of Page to succeed Paul Basista, who had the position six years.

Roger Bolton, Page president, said Nicholson has broad experience in PR, having worked as a journalist, agency counselor and as a corporate communications executive.

He was VP, PR and communications, HSBC North America and was director of PR for all retail formats of Sears Roebuck & Co. He has a BS in journalism from Bradley University, Peoria, Il.

The two-day meeting, chaired by Ray Kotcher, senior partner and CEO, Ketchum, and co-chaired by Bob DeFillippo, chief communications officer, global communications, Prudential Financial, was attended by more than 200.

Theme of this year’s meeting was: “Prove It with Action: The Case for Improving Business Performance by Improving Society.” Summaries of the session are at


Education Finance Partners, which has agreed to pay $2.5M to settle a kickback probe, has shifted its account from Pan Communications to Edelman, Jeff Dillow, the PC staffer who ran the business, told O’Dwyer’s. “We started working for them in January and lasted until mid-March,” he said.

Dillow said Edelman was chosen because of its size and greater government relations capability. Kirk Copeland, who heads PR at EFP, said the company required a crisis capability and presence in Washington, which led to the Edelman hire.

Edelman’s Maude Wilson took up spokesperson duties for EFP as it promised “even greater transparency to students and their families.”

EFP, on April 16, agreed to pay $2.5M to settle New York State’s investigation into its lending practices.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo had charged the San Francisco-based EFP with paying kickbacks to 60 colleges.


Warren Cowan & Assocs. is handling PR for Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods, which has issued a voluntary recall of all of its venison dog and cat food products as tests show the food contains melamine.

Daniel Bernstein is fielding media calls at the firm of the founder of the legendary Rogers & Cowan entertainment firm that is now part of Interpublic.

Melamine is a chemical used in plastic products and fertilizers. It can cause kidney failure if consumed by a cat or dog.

Natural Balance says the source of the melamine is from a rice protein that was recently added to its venison food line (venison and green pea dog food and venison and brown rice cat chow).

It stresses that no other of its canned or bagged food, such as potato and duck or sweet potato and fish, have melamine as an ingredient.

Natural Balance is working closely with the Food and Drug Administration in that government agency’s ongoing investigation of the pet food business.

Actor Van Patten launched his company in `89. He is best known as the star of the TV show “Eight is Enough” (`77 to `81) and for his rolls in Mel Brooks’ “High Anxiety,” “Spaceballs” and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.”


Poland has inked McGuireWoods Consulting as its government relations firm to provide advice and communications services to further trade ties with the U.S.

Frank Donatelli is MWC’s executive VP and director of its federal affairs unit. He served as an aide to former White House chief of staff James Baker, and assisted him in the `00 Florida recount.

Poland has drawn fire from critics in Europe who oppose its decision to house an American anti-missile system as a potential shield against an attack by Iran. Russia believes the system will spark a new arms race.

Poland will soon hold formal talks with the U.S. about the missiles.

Internet Edition, April 25, 2007, Page 3


Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive unveiled a new online consumer magazine on April 23 targeting women with a “green lite,” eco-friendly focus.

The site, called Sprig, wants to be a source for fashion, beauty, home, food and lifestyle products and editorial “with a touch of green.”

Jeanie Pyun, editor of Sprig who was editor of the now-defunct green magazine from Rodale, Organic Style, told O’Dwyer’s she thinks the time is right to cultivate green consumers. She sees the Sprig audience “as sophisticated women who want to become a little bit more green, but in the most stylish, convenient, fun and easy ways.” She also called the new magazine a “very shopping friendly” publication with an eye on the environmentally conscious consumer.

Pyun joins former Organic Style beauty and fashion editor Suzanne Murray at Sprig.

Washingtonpost.Newsweek expects an audience of about 50K at launch and feels the current environment is ripe for its success, whereas Organic Style failed because it was ahead of its time. The publisher of, Slate and BudgetTravelOnline sees women’s magazines that feature green issues, like Elle or Domino, as one-month a year titles that are not seen as experts in the environmental space, while green magazines like Plenty and Good are under capitalized and not viewed as mass market.

Sprig is also aimed more at a mainstream audience, or “green lite,” rather than “hard core environmentalists.”

“If you get 95 percent of the people out there to become five percent more green, that will have a lot more of a positive impact than getting those five percent hardcore people to be 95 percent green,” Pyun said.

Calls for pitches

On the content side, daily newsletters, video, profiles, and news coverage will be featured on the site, along with a searchable “green” product database.

From a PR standpoint, Pyun specified four areas where pitches would be welcome:

• Profiles of “mediagenic” or celebrity people who have great expertise that would fit in with the magazines mission.
• New green product lines, especially those being launched by unexpected companies. e.g. Ralph Lauren, Bed Bath & Beyond, Chanel.
• New home décor and design companies with a green focus.
• Hip restaurants serving green or organic cuisine.

“We’re covering all of these areas and we have a great staff, but these are areas I wouldn’t mind a little shoring up in,” she said.

People ________________________

Keith Fox, president of McGraw Hill Professional, has been named president of McGraw’s BusinessWeek. He succeeds William Kupper Jr., who is retiring after 12 years at the helm of the business media organization.

Fox joined McGraw-Hill in 2000 heading marketing strategy and comms. as senior VP of marketing and business development for BusinessWeek. He was formerly VP of new media at Reader’s Digest Assn. and held posts at Unilever and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Greg Philby, executive editor of Meredith Corp.’s Midwest Living magazine, has been named editor-in-chief to succeed Dan Kaercher, who is retiring after 35 years. Philby has been exec editor of the Des Moines, Iowa, publication for five years.

Kaercher joined Meredith as a copywriter in 1972 for Better Homes and Gardens. He launched Midwest Living in 1987 and has been its only editor-in-chief.

Mark Bautz, editor-in-chief for, was named to the new post of editor-in-chief for TV Guide Online, based in New York.

Bautz oversees,,,, and

He joined Time Inc. in 1992 as a staff writer for Money and later moved to Entertainment Weekly, serving as executive editor for He was named editor of in 2003.

Briefs ________________________

Hachette Filipacchi Media has reached an agreement to buy Jumpstart Automotive Media, a San Francisco ad network focused on automobiles. HFM, which owns Car and Driver, Road & Track and Cycle World, said JAM would immediately assume responsibility for the online sites of those three titles.

JAM sells ad space on five of the top auto sites in the U.S., including JD Power & Assocs. Autos, eBay’s Auto, and Vehix.

Rolling Stone has tapped Bondi Digital Publishing to convert every issue of the music magazine to searchable DVD as part of its 40th anniversary.

The DVD is slated to be released in the fall and is the magazine’s first digital archive, which covers 1,000 issues from November 9, 1967 to the present.

Bondi handled The New Yorker’s 80th anniversary box set in 2004.

The National Urban League’s Urban Influence Magazine is now being distributed nationally on newsstands. The title, launched in 2004, marked its new reach with its “Men of Influence” issue on April 12.

ULM previously used a controlled distribution model through chapters, paid subscribers and tradeshows, counting about 100K subscribers. is being folded into the website by the end of the month. Visitors to the TP site will be directed to the “parent” site. Teen magazine was folded a year ago. Mark Golin, editor of, said his site receives many hits from teenagers so the decision was made to combine the sites.

CBS has linked with Gemstar-TV Guide. The broadcaster agreed to transmit the “TV Guide On Screen” interactive program guide to those with digital broadcast signals. The distribution will be over the next few months as soon as Gemstar gets needed equipment.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, April 25, 2007, Page 4


Vivian Stringer, the coach of the Rutgers University basketball team that was the target of Don Imus' "nappy-headed hos" crack, has signed a book contract with Random House's Crown Publishing Group.

The book, "Stepping Up and Standing Tall," is to focus on the "extraordinary life" of the 59-year-old coach, according to Tina Constable, Crown's publicity executive VP.

Stringer is the third winningest women's basketball coach in NCAA division 1 history.

She also overcame personal hardships such as paralysis of her daughter from meningitis and the death of her husband at age 47.

Constable said Stringer has been working on a book proposal for a year, but the contract with the Bertelsmann's unit was inked this month.

Stringer and the Rutgers team met with Imus on April 12. They had a "very productive meeting" with Imus, according to her statement posted on the Rutgers site.

"We were able to share our thoughts and feelings, as did he. I am extremely proud of these 10 young women, and I now hope for this group that the healing process can truly begin. We are hoping some good can come out of this, and we're looking forward to putting this behind us," she said.

Stringer had a closed door meeting on April 13 with Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who visited the university to speak on women and political leadership.


Marcus Brauchli takes over the Wall Street Journal managing editor spot from Paul Steiger on May 15.

He was a foreign correspondent before assuming the global news editor position.

The 45-year-old Brauchli managed the news department's role in the redesign of the WSJ.

Steiger, 64, moves to the editor-at-large post, and will retire at the end of the year. Both will report to Gordon Crovitz, publisher of the paper.

Crovitz, in a statement, praised Brauchli as a "superb journalist, who reported for Dow Jones Newswires and the Journal from more than 20 countries, and as global news editor oversaw Journal coverage from stock-market downturns to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."

He called Steiger "one of the great leaders in the history of business journalism," His "impact on the Journal will benefit readers and inspire our newsroom for generations."

The WSJ is the second-largest paper with a circulation of 1.7M. Subscribers to its online paid edition jumped 20 percent to 931,000 during the past year.


News Corp.'s MySpace social networking unit has launched MySpace News, a news aggregation service that allows users to rank stories by their relevance.
The launch is part of the effort to attract more entertainment content and advertising to MySpace, which has 160M users.

MySpace News has 25 main topics and 300 subcategories like celebrity and fashion news.

Brian Norgard of MySpace told Reuters the venture is a way for advertisers to "target the MySpace community in a more direct way."


General Electric is creating a $250M equity fund to invest in media and technology companies, according to Beth Comstock, NBC Universal's integrated media president.

Its first outlay is $3M for Adify, a company that helps build online ad networks. Comstock told that she is on the prowl for companies involved in digital/wireless content and advertising services.

The fund is a tool for GE to "invest in smart companies where we see a strategic value and companies that have a high-growth potential, particularly in the digital media space," she said.

The targeted companies could receive up to a $15M cash infusion from GE.


IAC/InterActiveCorp, the firm headed by media mogul Barry Diller, plans a web site aimed at black consumers early next year.

The site set for a January launch will feature topical content, services and serve as a platform for community interaction.

Johnny Taylor has been named CEO of the still unnamed site. He was senior VP of human resources for IAC, and held a similar post at its LendingTree unit.

Taylor, who will be based in Charlotte, also held posts at Viacom and its Paramount Pictures and then-Blockbuster Entertainment units.

Taylor sees an "enormous opportunity in today's online landscape to provide blacks with an experience that engages their unique communities through a collective voice," according to an IAC statement.

He noted there are 40M African-Americans in the U.S. and another 20M in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean that have access to IAC's upcoming content.

IAC's 60 brands include Ticketmaster, HSN, and


InfoWorld, the weekly computer magazine, has completed a 29-year print run with its current issue because of declining readership.

Bob Ostrow, IF CEO, told the Chicago Tribune that there is "no guarantee anymore that when InfoWorld landed on a desk that it would be read."

He said the online version of the magazine, which will continue, is thriving and now generates the bulk of InfoWorld's revenues.

Ad pages for the print issues fell 14 percent in February, while online readership grew 85 percent from a year ago.

Internet Edition, April 25, 2007, Page 5


Ken Chandler, who became editor-in-chief of the New York Post in 1993 and publisher in 1999, leaving in 2002, has joined with George Regan of Regan Communications Group, Boston, to form Chandler-Regan Strategies, which will focus exclusively on New York clients.

Regan continues as head of his PR firm, the 13th biggest firm in the O’Dwyer rankings with $15 million in fees, and Chandler continues as head of Chandler Media, a media consulting business.

Nicole Glor, director of TV relations for Regan the past three years, is general manager of the new firm.

Regan said he has known Chandler for many years and "his reputation and media credentials speak for themselves.”

Chandler, who was editor of the Boston Herald, a News Corp. property as is the New York Post, from 1986-93, said Regan “has built a powerhouse PR firm on the East Coast” and that he and Regan have “an extraordinary opportunity” to expand the new business.

Chandler, a native of England, began his newspaper career there at a weekly paper, joined the News Corp. in the U.K. and came to the U.S. in 1974 to help launch Star magazine. He joined the New York Post in 1978 and became managing editor. He was named editor of the Boston Herald in 1986. In 1993, he worked for News Corp’s Fox Television, directing the TV show “A Current Affair.”

Regan, who started his firm in 1984 after 11 years in the office of Boston Mayor Kevin White, in 2006 acquired Pierce-Cote Advertising, Cape Cod, expanding services to include advertising as well as PR and marketing. Other offices are in Jupiter, Fla.; Providence, and Hartford.


Two former senior Robinson Lerer & Montgomery execs have set up a New York firm to apply a consistent PR approach across both new and "old" media.

"There are a lot companies that are chasing bells and whistles on the web and specializing, and there are also companies that are a little bit staid, but we think the discipline of strategic communications – focusing on clients' objectives and getting the messaging dead right – should be applied across all media from traditional to brand new," Bob Maistros, former principal at RLM, told O'Dwyer's of the new firm, NewPR Group.

Maistros, who recently headed Blitz Media Group, and fellow NewPR founding partner Andrei Bogolubov, ex-head of global financial communications for Burson-Marsteller, worked together earlier for AOL - Maistros heading the account team at RL&M and Bogolubov as global comms. chief for the company's Europe division.

Maistros declined to discuss specific clients but said the firm's initial focus is new media and entertainment, reflecting experience with accounts like WebMD, Cablevision, MTV, and XM Satellite Radio.

"Our clients recognize that it's no longer about old media or new media - their messages must be programmed for all their channels to public audiences," said Bogolubov.


New York Area

JS2 Communications, New York/Skin Doctors Cosmeceuticals, skin care products, and Linziclip, hair accessories, as AOR.

Rubenstein PR, New York/DebtResolve, online collection technology, as AOR; Gersten Savage LLP, corporate law firm, for its 30th anniversary and ongoing PR; Laurus Capital Management, boutique investment banking firm, for media relations, and Somerset Partners, PE firm focused on real estate, as AOR.

Stern & Co., New York/Astrate Group, IT services using GPS and wireless comms., for outreach to the investment and government security sectors.


Corporate Ink, Newton Mass./DarwinSuzsoft, IT outsourcing to China, and Axeda, enterprise remote management and monitoring software, for PR.

Cashman + Katz, Glastonbury, Conn./Connecticut Bank and Trust Co., for advertising, creative and media buying, events, and brand positioning, and VantisLife Insurance Co., for PR.

Tierney Communications, Philadelphia/Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, non-profit focused on pediatric cancer research, as AOR for PR.

Chris O. Communications, Severna Park Md./iGov, IT services for federal agencies, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, for PR.

Dittus Communications and Widmeyer Communications, Washington, D.C./American Road and Transportation Builders Assn., for national outreach efforts. Dittus is assisting with development and execution of a multi-year image and branding push for the transportation design and construction industry. Widmeyer is helping with a multi-year recruitment push for careers in those sectors.

Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Washington, D.C./Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office; American Public Health Assn.; National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, and the Endocrine Society.


The Investor Relations Company, Chicago/First California Financial Group, for a full IR program. The company, the result of a merger of National Mercantile Bancorp and FCB Bancorp, has 12 locations, a market cap of about $150M and assets topping $1B.


CKPR, Phoenix/Revolution Tea, as AOR for PR.

Mountain West

CTA Integrated Communications, Louisville, Colo./New Frontier Energy, for national IR and media relations; PetroHunter Energy and Falcon Oil and Gas, both for design of banners, signage, and promotional items for trade shows.


Blanc & Otus, San Francisco/BurnLounge; BuzzLogic, and Passenger, all social media cos.

Allison & Partners, Los Angeles/Affinity Group, recreational vehicles, as AOR for PR to assist with a new integrated marketing and branding campaign.

Internet Edition, April 25, 2007, Page 6


Revenues of the Institute for Public Relations, based in Gainesville, Fla., soared 47% to $839,985 in 2006, helped by $86,502 in "in-kind" contributions that were counted for the first time.

Cash of this amount was not received and the same total has been given an offsetting expense.

Accounting practices call for in-kind contributions to be counted if they are a significant percentage of overall income, IPR pointed out.

Even without the in-kind contributions, IPR showed a sizable gain over the previous year.

Total assets rose to $345,665 while total net assets gained $69,937 to $297,152.

Revenues from programs such as the Summit on Corporate Communications and the International PR Research Conference represented well over half of the revenues.

Peter Debreceny, chairman, said generous contributions from supporters are essential to the IPR but supporters are also glad to see that programs are bringing in an even greater amount.

The Institute put its financial report on its website,


PR Newswire has acquired New York-based EDGAR filing company Vintage Filings to become a division of PRN.

The five-year-old company, which handles filing, typesetting and financial printing to more than 1,000 clients, has 65 full-time staffers across offices in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Vintage continues to be run by CEO Shai Sterm and president Seth Farbman.


Pearlfinders, a London-based lead-generation firm focused on marketing, media and PR, has expanded to the U.S.

The four-year-old company says its services are used by 400 marketing comms. agencies across 32 countries. In the U.S., it is working for Fleishman-Hillard, Rapp Collins, and Saatchi & Saatchi, among others.

Bill Colbourne, CEO of Pearlfinders, said he found until recently that U.K. agencies were far more proactive about hunting for new business than U.S. firms.

Pearlfinders interviews senior “brand decision-makers” about their plans for marketing comms. to gauge new business possibilities.

The Council for Marketing and Opinion Research is publishing an online compliance guide for the government affairs sector.

Donna Gillin, director of operations for the non-profit survey and opinion research group, said the number of legislative bills that threaten to restrict research is on the rise. She said the new publications gives guidance on legal issues for researchers.

The guide will be published in five parts. The first component on online research is available now at



Joan Parker, who repped the diamond business for a quarter century, is now “brand ambassador for Gemesis Corp., the privately held Sarasota, Fla.-based producer of laboratory grown diamonds.

Gemesis says its cultured diamonds possess the same “fire, brilliance and hardness of mined diamonds.” A lab diamond is created from carbon that undergoes a heating and pressuring process.

Parker, 72, headed N. W. Ayer PR where she handled the Diamond Information Center, the marketing arm of DeBeers. She then shifted to the client side.

Most recently, she directed PR for DeBeers’ LVMH joint venture, and consulted for luxury goods clients.


Eldin Villafane, senior advisor and communications director for Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, to Butler Associates, New York, as a partner. Earlier, he was deputy secretary to former New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller.

Aimee Corso, who ran her own healthcare firm and earlier was partner/SVP at Fischer Health, to WeissComm Partners, New York, as a senior associate. Edie DeVine, a comms. exec for Progenics Pharmaceuticals, and April Starling, formerly of HealthSTAR PR, also join as senior associates. Cassandra Choe, formerly of Porter Novelli, Laura Cutland, a reporter for the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, and Kelly Thornicroft, previously with GCI Group, all join as associates.

Ann-Marie White, senior director of marketing and communications for the American Heart Assn., to the Heart Rhythm Society, Washington, D.C., as director of comms. and PR.

Karla Cutting, who headed GCI Group’s work for Medtronic, to GolinHarris, to lead the Cord Blood Registry account as a VP. Amanda Widtfeldt, media relations manager at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, also joins GH as a VP. Debbie Harvey, who oversees corporate comms. work for Alcon laboratories, was promoted to VP.

Jordan Traverso, director of communications for the California Restaurant Association, to the Consumer Attorneys of California, Sacramento, as director of comms. She was previously director of public liaison for then Treasurer Phil Angelides.


Dan Shepherd to VP for golf-lifestyle PR firm Buffalo Communications, Vienna, Va. Tom Williams was upped to PR/branding director and Shane Sharp was named PR manager.


George Ledwith, global director of external communications for KPMG, to the board of directors of Us Too International, a non-profit prostate cancer education and advocacy group. He was also named chairman of its communications committee. Ledwith, a prostate cancer survivor, said that form is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American males today. A 40 percent surge is expected as the first wave of Boomers turns 60.

Internet Edition, April 25, 2007, Page 7

VT PR EXEC WAS AT MEETING (Continued from 1)

planned slaughter if TV trucks and reporters were roaming the campus, critics are saying.

Students would have been more cautious if they knew a murderer was on the loose, critics are also saying. Not informed of the early murders until much later were the nearby Roanoke Times, which covers University news, and WDVJ-TV, the local TV station.

Officials at Meeting

University officials at the meeting shortly after the initial murders were discovered (besides Hincker were: Mark McNamee, provost; Kay Heidbreder, legal counsel; Wendell Filchum, university police chief; David Ford, associate provost; James Hyatt, chief operating officer; Zenobia Hikes, VP of student affairs; Kim O'Rourke, chief of staff. There were no representatives from the student body.

Greta Van Sustern of Fox News last week interviewed a student who lived in the dorm where the initial murders took place who said police refused to tell her why they were present in the dorm when she saw them on her way to class shortly before 8 a.m.

They told her she would not be allowed to return to the dorm but would give no reason.

When she returned from class at 9 a.m. they continued to withhold the news of what happened but let her into the dorm on the condition she would not leave it, the student told Van Sustern.

Van Sustern commented before the interview was shown that listeners were apt to be "shocked" by what the student was about to tell them.

VT officials have been saying they acted in the best way they could based on information that was then available.

Andrea Peyser, New York Post columnist, carried the list of the eight people at the VT meeting, saying it was a "travesty" that the earlier murders were not given wide publicity. She blasted the "shameful inaction" of the eight administrators and quoted Mark Owczarski, director of news and information, as saying that "The decisions that were made corresponded to the amount of information available."

Prof. Rachel Holloway, head of the communications dept. at the school, is a member of PRSA. Ashley Hess is president of the school's PRSSA chapter.

The website of the chapter currently does not list any officers or board members by name.

The role of Flanagan's department is to "promote public understanding of and support for Virginia Tech" and to "create a positive public impression of the university and its faculty, students and programs," the school's website says.


PR Society of America has hired the Southeastern Institute of Research, Richmond, Va., to conduct a wide-ranging research project among PR people about PRSA and its activities.

Questions on the survey, such as whether recipients consider themselves to be "PR professionals" or whether they receive PRSA's PR Tactics, indicate it is going to non-members.

Neither Bill Murray, PRSA president, nor Rhoda Weiss, chair, were available to answer questions about the survey. PRSA policy is not to comment on or discuss anything related to PRSA itself such as its finances or governance.

The last published survey of PRSA was conducted in 1997 when Debra Miller was president. Members were asked to gauge their satisfaction with PRSA and whether they would approve of a dues hike.

SIR is a 40-year old marketing research firm that helps organizations to "evaluate brand position and awareness" and "formulate unique marketing positions."

Statements cover the general reputation of PRSA, its educational programs, leadership opportunities, forums for discussion, career advancement opportunities, programs to obtain "positive media coverage," its accreditation program, and its Anvil awards program.

PRSA's Media Relations Highlighted

Recipients are not being asked whether they think PRSA is doing a good job with these programs but whether they are aware of the programs and whether they think the programs are important or not important to them.

PRSA's media relations activities are highlighted in the survey. Some recipients think it is a "push" survey designed to provide messages as well as to elicit responses.

First statement in the survey is that PRSA "Initiates programs to advance the PR profession through increased visibility in the media for PRSA and the profession."

Another statement on the first page says, "Conducts activities with external audiences that build understanding of, and value for, the PR profession and PR professionals."

Still another statement is that PRSA "Sponsors programs to advance the PR profession through positive media coverage."

Other statements include those that deal with PRSA being "a reputable association," having programs that "promote the ethical practice of PR," and "offers an accreditation program for PR."

Recipients are first asked whether they are aware of these programs and then how much importance they attach to each. Nineteen special interest sections are listed and respondents asked to say whether they are "aware" or "not aware" of them and whether they are interested or not interested in them (1-7 scale).

Four Descriptions of PRSA Tested

Four descriptions of PRSA are in the study. Respondents are asked to vote on them from 1-7 with No. 1 being "not very appealing" and No. 7 being "very appealing."

The descriptions are:

1) "PRSA represents the leading edge of PR strategies and tactics."
2) "PRSA is the leading voice for the PR profession."
3) "PRSA advances the PR profession by providing programs and services that help PR professionals to succeed."
4) "PRSA is the embodiment of ethical and credible PR."

Internet Edition, April 25, 2007, Page 8




A communications failure involving PR pros took place at Virginia Tech that contributed to the loss of 31 additional lives (including the shooter) after the murder of two students was discovered April 16 at 7:15 a.m. (page one NL).
Eight VT officials met shortly after that and decided to sit on the news. A bulletin at 9:26 did not even use the word “murders.”

Not invited to the meeting was any student representative. Also absent was Elizabeth Flanagan, VP of development and university relations (PR).

Had the local radio, TV and newspapers been informed of the two murders, they would have broadcast the news and sent reportorial teams and TV trucks to the campus. Students, parents and friends would have heard the news and spread it around the campus. Students would have been alerted that a killer was on the loose. VT had its own radio station and loudspeaker system but legitimate media can also play a big role.

As Fox TV’s Greta Van Sustern learned, not even the students in the shooter’s dorm were told what had happened by police stationed at the dorm.

Public Rep Was Absent

Those at the meeting included a lawyer, the campus police chief, the associate VP of “university relations,” and five administrators. None of them showed any recognition that news of the murders “belonged” to the public. New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser blasted the “shameful inaction” of the eight.

A fatal administrative flaw is that Flanagan has the conflicting title of fund raiser and PR person. Fund raising is completely different from PR. In its early days, PRSA would not allow fund raisers to join.

The “VP of development and university relations” sounds good in the university environment but it shows an inward orientation. It’s the equivalent of “corporate communications” and indicates lack of orientation to the public. The title of “public information,” implying the public’s right to know things, has suffered the same fate as “PR” in many corporations and organizations – banishment in name as well as in spirit.

The tragedy at VT pushed the Imus “hanging” off the front pages but the issue still lingers. A tsunami of condemnation led by Al Sharpton went mostly unopposed while writers and others who were frequent guests of Imus abandoned their longtime “friend.”

The case for Imus was excellent. He could not have been a “bigot” because he campaigned tirelessly last year for Rep. Harold Ford of Tennessee, an African-American who ran for the Senate. Imus noted his support for Ford resulted in death threats. The word “ho” that Imus used turned out to be common currency in rap and hip-hop with black artists saying they needed to use that word (and other graphic expressions) in order to sell records. The 4/23 New Yorker, unable to make up its mind about Imus, tallied his pluses and minuses, saying he’s a “curmudgeon” who sticks pins in overinflated egos of whatever race, creed or color. What Imus hated was “weasel” and “jive” talk as opposed to “straight talk,” said the mag. Imus supporters noted that real “bigots” do not practice their hatred in public where they can be discovered. In a coincidence, the April National Geographic ran 20 pages on rap and hip-hop, saying “most commercial rappers spout violent lyrics that debase women and gays...(and) brag about their lives of crime.”

Where were Imus’ friends to argue such points?! The worst defector of all was Tom Friedman of the New York Times. He told readers April 18, “I got back from Africa for the climax of the Don Imus controversy, a show on which I’ve appeared.” That is one of journalism’s all-time understatements (“show on which I’ve appeared”). Friedman was allowed to pontificate endlessly on Imus on scores of occasions, plugging his book and stating his views. Friedman pleaded ignorance but said he was “impressed” by “how much hurting has been going on in the African-American community.” What Friedman should have done was marshal all the arguments in favor of his “friend” Imus and ask the public to put this issue in perspective. At the end of his column Friedman praised Barak Obama as the candidate for president who has “moral authority”...the general public was far from unanimous in supporting the destruction of the Imus show. A voice vote taken by Jay Leno of the “Tonight Show” had a slight majority voting against the firing of Imus and as did a poll on had Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer met with Imus immediately, as sought by Imus, and accepted his apology, there probably would have been no firestorm.

Instead, he went on the Al Sharpton show. Stringer never accepted the apology as far as we can determine from news reports. Now it turns out she had written an autobiography and was looking for a publisher. The April 18 New York Post, in an item headlined, “Silver Lining,” said Stringer has obtained Crown Publishing of Random House (Bertelsmann)...the Rutgers team is also being used for political purposes. Senator Hillary Clinton appeared at a luncheon sponsored by Sharpton April 20 and praised Stringer and the team. A peaceful settlement with Imus was not what certain participants wanted.

The PRSA poll described on page 7 seems to be a “push poll” designed to push messages as well as elicit opinions. Three statements say that PRSA programs gain “positive media coverage” for itself and PR. PRSA is called “the leading voice for the PR profession” and “the embodiment of ethical and credible PR.” Recipients are not asked whether they agree with such statements but only whether they are aware of them and whether they are “appealing.” Push polls are a form of marketing and are unethical, says the code of the American Assn. of Political Consultants. A sign of a push poll is that the results are not published.

PRSA, whose code says, “Ethical practice (of PR) is the most important obligation of a PRSA member,” should not be involved in such polls.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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