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

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


Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, August 8, 2007, Page 1


Edelman is supporting the grassroots Mideast peace drive OneVoice Movement, a group of Israelis and Palestinians that back uninterrupted negotiations to reach a two-state agreement in the troubled region.

OneVoice, which says it is frustrated with the region’s instability, is planning a series of public summits to be broadcast via satellite on Oct. 18 from Tel Aviv, Jericho, Jerusalem, London, Washington, D.C., and Ottawa. The group said the events are expected to draw hundreds of thousands of participants.

Robin Deutsch Edwards, an Edelman A/S who is the day-to-day manager of the account, told O’Dwyer’s the firm has been hired to manage a global communications program in support of the October events involving strategic counsel, media outreach, influencer outreach, online communications and design services.

Beata Gutman, an Edelman VP, is the lead for the OneVoice account.

The group contends that a two-state solution is supported by the majority of Israelis and Palestinians, but a small minority of violent extremists captures the world’s attention.

Sponsors of OneVoice include the Ford Foundation, IBM, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and unnamed Arab-Americans and American Jews.


Tom Reno, who joined Ogilvy PR Worldwide as head of its New York corporate practice in February, is no longer with the company.

Marcia Silverman, CEO of the WPP Group unit, did not return a call about Reno’s departure and the shake-up of the corporate group.

Reno shifted to Ogilvy following a five-month stint as president of Text 100’s North American operation.

Earlier, he was in charge of Hill and Knowlton’s New York office, and president of GCI Group’s Gotham office. Reno’s resume also includes chief of Makovsky’s IR unit, and managing director of Citigate Communications.

Vonage is looking for an internal director to boost communications between management and staff. The VoIP company, which brought in Burson-Marsteller veteran Karen Cleeve as VP-PR communications in July, said the director/internal comms. post is essentially a new position “with few pre-conceived ideas.” The director will oversee a handful of staffers and report to Cleeve. Arnold Huberman Associates ([email protected]), which placed Cleeve, is handling the search.


Rep. Dennis Kucinich wants to probe the possible role played by Rendon Group and Lincoln Group in “shaping the news accounts justifying the war in Iraq.”

The Ohio Democrat made that demand Aug. 1 following former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s testimony at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigation into the friendly fire death of Cpl. Pat Tillman.

Kucinich asked Rumsfeld whether the Pentagon used an outside PR firm to communicate false information to the public about the war. He then specifically asked if Rendon was involved.

Rumsfeld said he had no knowledge of Rendon devising a press strategy, but “various entities within the Department” had contracts with Rendon.

The ex-DOD chief said if there was a press strategy, “it obviously wasn’t a very good one.”


Tim Kane, an advertising industry veteran, is now at Makovsky & Co. in New York as executive VP and head of the independent firm’s branding + visual communications practice.

In a 30-year career, Kane handled campaigns for ExxonMobil, Anheuser-Busch, Capital One, Motorola and Kraft at McCann-Erickson, J. Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam and DDB agencies.

Kane moved to the PR side because that’s where the “breakthrough thinking is.”

He credits PR people with a “real understanding of the new relationship between people and brands.”


A 15-member “blue ribbon task force” headed by Seattle counselor Bob Frause is studying a new designation that the PR Society may offer—“certification.”
Frause, former head of the Ethics Board of PRS who is on the current EB, the current nominating committee, and who is chair-elect of the College of Fellows, told a leaders’ teleconference Aug. 3 that the “next step in professional development” is certification of specialized areas of PR like healthcare, utility PR, and government relations.

PRS has studied proposals for licensing PR people but concluded licensing is “not feasible,” he said.

However, he added, providing certificates of expertise in various industries is worth studying and the topic will be taken up with the 19 sections of the Society and its 115 chapters.

(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, August 8, 2007, Page 2


Cookerly PR beat GolinHarris and three other interested firms to guide a potential five-year disaster education campaign in Georgia.

The expected pact with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency is for a campaign to prepare Peach State residents to be on their own for 72 hours following a natural disaster or other emergency.

The main audiences for the push are parents, people with special needs, schools and businesses.

The state of Florida (, along with the cities of Chicago ( and San Francisco (, w/ Burson-Marsteller) have put together similar campaigns.

Edelman, Ascential, and Conceptualize It Inc. were also listed as parties interested in the work.

The state said the budget will not exceed $150K for the first year. It is counting on the federal Homeland Security Grant Program to support the education campaign.

There was no incumbent as the effort is a new project for the state.

Cookerly PR is based in Atlanta.


Allstate has upped SVP Joan Walker to chief marketing officer, following the departure of Joe Tripodi for the CMO slot at Coca-Cola.

Walker, who adds CMO duties to her role of senior VP, corporate relations, joined the Northbrook, Ill.-based insurance giant in 2005 after heading marketing and communications for Qwest Communications.

She previously headed corporate communications at Ameritech and had a similar role at Monsanto before the company’s merger with Pharmacia & Upjohn.

Tripodi left Allstate after nearly four years.


Sard Verbinnen & Co. is working on behalf of Japan’s Fast Retailing Co. as the clothing retailer said it will acquire Barneys New York in a $900M cash deal.

Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher is on the job for Barneys owner Jones Apparel Group.

Jones, which was on the block itself last year, is unloading Barneys after three years amid slumping sales across its units.

Jones’ other brands include Anne Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt and Jones New York. It paid $400M for Barneys in 2004.

George Sard, president and CEO of SV&C, along with principals Jim Barron and Jamie Tully are handling U.S. media for FRC.

Partner Joel Frank and director Sharon Stern are working the Jones account at JFWBK.

FRC owns the Uniqlo apparel chain, along with clothing brands Theory, Comptoir des Cotonniers and Princesse tam.tam.

If FRC seals the deal, Jones would have to pay a $23M fee to the Dubai government’s investment arm Istithmar, which agreed to acquire Barneys in June but left the door open for a higher bid, according to the Wall Street Journal.


The University of Iowa College of Public Health may be the first public college to name a school after a corporation.

U of I drew up a press release in June to announce the Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield Public Health College to mark a $15M gift from Iowa’s biggest health insurer.

The Des Moines Register reported the naming right was presented as a “win-win situation for Wellmark and the U of I.”

The school dropped the plan after research conducted by public health dean Jim Merchant found the $15M gift to be “embarrassingly small” compared to what other colleges received from wealthy individuals.

For instance, Columbia University received $30M for the Joseph A. Mailman School of Public Health and University of Arizona got $25M for the Mel and Enid Zuckerman School of Public Health. U of I was initially looking for a $35M donation.

Merchant, according to documents released July 30, also found that naming the college after a company could hurt its future “research funding.”

Wellmark has withdrawn the offer, but Iowa’s Board of Regents is to review college naming policies in September.


Ellen Davis, a nine-year veteran of ABC News, has joined Public Strategies Inc.’s office in New York.

A lawyer by training, Davis handled the network’s coverage of legal issues and was responsible for content on “World News with Charles Gibson,” “Nightline” and “Good Morning America.”

Prior to ABC, Davis worked at Akin, Gump, Strauss Hauer and Feld. She also held Justice Dept and White House Office of Legal Counsel posts during the Clinton Administration.

Davis is joined by Elie Jacobs in New York. He is a veteran of Brunswick Group, and former counselor to clients such as Procter & Gamble, Gillette, AT&T, Excelon, Alltel and CVS.

Austin-based PSI has 200 staffers in 15 offices. It is part of WPP Group


Aric Caplan’s Caplan Communications handled the Natural Resources Defense Council’s “Drive Beyond Oil Tour” to build grassroots support to raise fuel efficiency standards to 35 mpg.

He told O’Dwyer’s the Hybrid SUV road show achieved statewide media coverage in Ohio, which was the latest state targeted by the NRDC.

The Hybrid SUV crew barnstormed across the Buckeye State, stopping at gas stations, diners, libraries and fairs to urge people to contact their Congressional reps about voting for the energy bill.

Padilla Spear Beardsley has posted a photo of the collapsed Minneapolis bridge taken from the roof of its headquarters that is two blocks away from the downed structure. Everybody at PSB is safe. The firm also posted a link to the Red Cross disaster relief fund.

Internet Edition, August 8, 2007, Page 3


Walt Disney Co. could shell out $700M to acquire Club Penguin, a site aimed at the pre-teen market.

CP has more than 700K users who pay $5.95 a-month to play games and interact with other penguins. It attracted more than 4.7M unique visitors in June.

Robert Iger, CEO of Disney, said it's vital for the entertainment combine to beef up its web offerings because today's kids are likely to spend more time surfing the web than watching TV.

Disney is initially paying $350 for the acquisition with the rest of the money geared to performance.

Lane Merrifield, one of the founders of CP, has taken an executive VP slot in Disney's Internet group.


The Financial Times is looking for a media partner in the wake of News Corp.'s $5B takeover of Dow Jones & Co. and its crown jewel, Wall Street Journal.

Marjorie Scardino, CEO of Pearson, which owns FT, told reporters in London that the company is "talking to all sorts of people."

General Electric, parent of NBC Universal, was one of those parties. GE and Pearson discussed making a joint bid for DJ&C.

FT has a circulation of 450K. Its profit doubled to $20M during the first-half.

Scardino said FT targets business leaders and politicians, while the WSJ is more consumer-oriented.


Manhattan Media has purchased New York Press, a free weekly, from Denver-based Avalon Equity Fund.

NYP was launched in `89 to compete with the Village Voice as the alternative paper for NYC. Circulation is just over the 100K mark.

MM publishes Our Town, West Side Spirit, Chelsea Clinton News and Westsider. It also owns New York Family and Avenue magazines.


Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, plans to launch a community-based search engine to compete with Google and Yahoo!

His Wikia recently acquired Grub, a web crawling system, that would serve as the basis of the new search engine. Wales would depend on volunteers to edit searches.

Wales told Reuters that he sees a chance to "change the balance of power from the search companies to the publishers."


The New York Times was more determined to make a "mark on the skyline" than developing a newsroom for the 21st century, Paul Goldberger, NYT's former architecture critic, writes in the Aug. 6 New Yorker.

The new 52-story Eighth Ave. headquarters tower of metal and glass has a "tensile elegance that sets it apart from every other skyscraper in Manhattan," notes Goldberger.

The critic faults the NYT Co. for "a failure of nerve when it came to the interior." Reporters and editors are encased in a "four-story glass wing behind the tower."

The newsroom "feels enormous and austere, with a kind of corporate coolness." Nothing brings to mind the "amiable rambunctiousness of an old-style newsroom."

Goldberger writes of a "sea of cubicles portioned by wood-veneer cabinets." The sleekness has "brought a certain chill."

He contrasts the NYT newsroom with Bloomberg's two-year-old headquarters on Lexington Ave.

While the NYT's newsroom is an "unadventurous space hidden within an architecturally important building, Bloomberg is the opposite: a dazzling work environment tucked inside a refined but conventional skyscraper."

Staffers are closely bunched together and surrounded by large flat screens that relay news market data and other information.

The newsroom has the "energy of a trading floor and the buzz of newsrooms of old," according to Goldberger.


GolinHarris decrees the "trial is over" for digital media, according to findings in its "Trusted Media Index."

Interactive communications can no longer be regarded as 'icing on the cake' and should be viewed as "foundational media strategies," says an accompanying commentary by Jeff Beringer, VP of Dialogue, GH's integrated media team.

"Dedicated online media channels" score higher trust ratings than radio, newspapers, TV and magazines.

The PR firm finds that trust in mainstream is "primarily based on habit." Those information sources are "reliable, dependable, easy to use and consistent."

Web-based media are on the rise because they offer "fresh insights and an alternative point of view to MSM outlets."

Direct experience and word of mouth are the most trusted info sources. Blogs and social networks are the least trusted.

Consumers who trust social media the most are less likely to trust MSM. The survey finds the opposite also holds true, which leads the Interpublic unit to counsel clients of the need to develop campaigns to reach both social and traditional media.

ImpreMedia, the Hispanic news and media company, has created a separate company for its online endeavors, ImpreMedia Digital.

Arturo Duran, former president of interactive for Canwest Mediaworks, was named CEO of the new company.

Mary Zerafa, who had been GM of ImpreMedia's digital efforts for the last year, becomes VP of strategy. Duran was VP of multicultural for AOL and VP of marketing and interactive content for AOL Canada.

Impre's properties include El Diario, La Prensa, Hoy Nueva York and La Opinion.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, August 8, 2007, Page 4


Cleveland's Robert Falls & Co. handles Ave Maria University, which was the subject of an extensive Aug. 1 USA Today feature.

The school is moving this fall from a temporary home in Naples to the town of Ave Maria, which is being built to support the institution.

Former Domino's Pizza CEO Tom Monaghan poured more than $200M to establish the school that bills itself as the "first new Catholic university in the U.S. in 40 years."

After selling Domino's in `98, Monaghan dedicated his life to "getting people in heaven."

Monaghan envisions Ave Maria as a potential "Catholic Ivy" that will eventually enroll 5,500 students and boast of a Division I sports program. The Florida school will have 450 students in the fall.

USA Today notes that Monaghan has many critics who criticize his social conservative ways, and tight control over the school.

Rob Falls handles media relations for Ave Maria and arranges reporter trips.

Journalists are required to wear a press pass while on campus and are urged to respect the privacy of facility, staff and students.


Tom Snyder, who hosted the NBC's "Tomorrow" show following Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" from `73 to `82, died July 29 from leukemia.

His ground-breaking program aired in a slot that traditionally either ran re-runs or was "dark."

Snyder's casual style and provocative guests such as John Lennon, Charlie Manson and Johnny Rotten made the show a hit among college students.

The chain-smoking Snyder, according to a report on Bloomberg, provided some of the "strangest and most-compelling moments in television history."

His success paved the way for a new-generation of late-night hosts like David Letterman, whose show replaced Snyder's.


The Yes Network, the cable network that features New York Yankees baseball and New Jersey Nets basketball games, is on the auction block, according to Fortune.

Yes is owned by Goldman Sachs, the Yankees and Ray Chambers, former owner of the Nets, a team that is relocating to Brooklyn.

The cable network is the highest-rated regional sports network in the U.S.

Yankee president Randy Levine says the network is not for sale, but admits there has been some "testing of the waters."

Goldman's Gerry Cardinale, however, told Fortune that Yes is "being shopped" to a "limited universe of quality buyers."

Possible bidders include Verizon, News Corp., Comcast and Cablevision. The price could be as high as $3.5B.


Sex dominates the TV, advertising and now the question begs of PR pros, where do we draw the line?

How can "Desperate Housewives" or "Baywatch" not be about more than seeing good-looking people in extra-marital affairs or the newest swim suits?

Las Vegas has made a big splash in dropping its family-fun themes to play up topless waitresses and adult entertainment at its new casinos, pools and spas. So O’Dwyer’s couldn't resist asking Entertainment Publicists Professional Society members at a summer mixer about their view of Las Vegas' sexy image.

• "Who are we to draw the line when it comes to sex sells in advertising or publicity," said Cynthia King, of Cal-State Fullerton's Center for Entertainment and Tourism Studies. "You have to look at community standards to determine what's appropriate for what audience. Las Vegas' family angle didn't work, given the historical nature of the town. It appears Las Vegas is going back to its roots."

• "Sex sells very well," said author Kim Connet, who is promoting her book, Sex Secrets of America in Asia. "The book's title really helps sales."

• "It definitely works," said Molly Capenella of MarketWire. "We live in a much more visual PR and marketing culture than ever before. If it has to be 'sex sells,' then I'm all for it."

• "Our biggest headline is 'Mysterious Sexy' so I think sex sells is a good thing," said Courtney Jackson, publicist for fashion designer Yves Castaldi. "We have incorporated sexy with classy, so there's nothing trashy anymore, but rather mysterious, sleek and elegant."

"I really do think that you're not going to appeal to the younger pop generation without someone that looks young and hot, someone they look up to," added Morgan Olson, who also promotes the designer.

• "Las Vegas is taking on more show-type, adult-type of entertainment," said Ron Carter, The Carter Agency in Pasadena. "Ten or twenty years ago you wouldn't see Celine Dion, Prince or Tony Braxton in Las Vegas, but now they're there.

"Las Vegas used to known for the 'has-beens' and the few entertainers who meant anything to anybody. Because the city has taken on a whole new persona, Las Vegas is not the armpit of entertainment anymore.

"People should be able to take their kids to Vegas, but that's not happening anymore. The city is growing so fast, and has big developers that don't build kid-friendly projects. They are putting up hotels for people who will spend a lot of money."

• "I think it is a positive direction for Las Vegas," said Lucia Singer, Berman Singer Public Relations. "People always think sexy is cool, and they will also get people to visit to see how they are trying to promote themselves under the new sex appeals."

People ______________________

Scott Daniels has been promoted to managing editor of Scouting magazine, published by the Boy Scouts of America in Irving, Tex. The pub counts a national circulation of one million. Daniels was executive editor.

Internet Edition, August 8, 2007, Page 5


Brunswick Group is squared off against Sard Verbinnen & Co. in the PR fight over Roche's attempted takeover of Ventana Medical Systems.

Brunswick's New York office is handling U.S. media for the Swiss drug maker Roche, which has extended the deadline for its $3 billion unsolicited offer by more than a month.

Tucson, Ariz.-based Ventana, which makes medical diagnostic tests, meanwhile has engaged Sard Verbinnen and proxy solicitation firm Innisfree to fend off the takeover attempt.

SV issued a statement for Ventana's board last week after Roche extended its deadline calling Roche's overture "wholly inadequate" and recommended shareholders rebuff Roche's $75/share offer.

Ventana's stock is trading above $83 having risen 60 percent since the takeover was initiated when its stock was just under $52.


San Francisco-based Spark PR, which generated $5M in `06 fees, has opened in London. Rachel Bremer heads the unit that is called SPR Europe.

Eight-year old Spark already serves European companies such as FON, Index Ventures, MOO, Viagogo and Openads.

The U.K outpost, according to Bremer, gives the firm a "front row seat to the technical innovation coming out of Europe." Her first job is to "build out" SPR Europe's team in London. SPR also added Tim Smith, an Outcast Communications veteran, to the executive line-up. He is senior managing director.


Baltimore-based Imre Communications has acquired online marketing firm MDV Communications to expand its digital practice. Imre adds five staffers, including founder Marci De Vries as a VP.

The firm, which counts 58 staffers after the deal, said De Vries will head Imre Digital with her team moving into Imre’s offices within two months.

President Dave Imre said digital communications “is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have” piece of marketing. He said the firm made the acquisition because it wanted to offer more robust digital services like SEO, blog strategy, web design, and online data analysis.

BRIEFS: Maples Communications, Mission Viejo, Calif., has set up a digital marketing group with the addition of digital media execs Marcus Meazzo and Mike Duarte. ...New Venture Communications, San Mateo, Calif., has set up a Washington, D.C., office under the direction of Robin Bectel, director of comms. for the North American Insulation Manufacturers Assn. Info: ...Hill & Knowlton has aligned with London-based enterprise software company Cogenz Limited, which was “incubated” by the firm before Cogenz received outside funding. H&K will provide details of its social bookmarking service to clients.


New York Area

The Morris+King Company, New York/Glam Media, women’s web media property, for PR targeting advertisers, independent publishers, media content owners and syndicates.

Publicis Consultants|PR, New York/The Elations Company, for its upcoming Elations joint supplement beverage, slated for a September launch. PC’s Seattle office leads the team with an assist by Dallas and New York. The account was awarded following a competitive pitch process.

Rose Communications, New York/RCHN Community Health Foundation, not-for-profit, for comms., including web development, media relations, and training.

Blue Chip PR, South Salem, N.Y./Horizon Wealth Management, for media relations and PR.

Creative Partners, Stamford, Conn./XMI, mens’ and boys’ apparel and accessories, for PR.

Stern + Associates, Cranford, N.J./Amper, Politziner & Mattia, CPA firm; CareOne, rehabilitation and long-term care; Mohawk Int’l, an expansion of the firm’s work for carpet maker The Mohawk Group, and Moody•Nolan, design and engineering firm.

Eric Mower and Associates, Syracuse, N.Y./Hand Held Products, image-based data collection, for PR, adding on its direct marketing and advertising duties.


Boyd Tamney Cross, Wayne, Pa./PhotoMedex, as AOR for PR for its XTRAC Excimer Laser System. Lippert/Heilshorn & Associates continues to handle IR and financial comms.

Marketing Matters, Hollywood, Fla./E2 Labs, home theater console developer, as AOR for PR.


Peter A. Mayer PR, New Orleans/Stiletto Brands, spirits importer, as AOR. The company, which is planning the launch of the Russian spirit Stiletto Vodka in September, is based in N.O.


Todd Allen Design, Elkhart, Ill./Fifth Gear, towing components maker formerly known as Quest Technologies, for advertising, design, marketing communications, and PR.


Sacks PR, Phoenix, Ariz./iLinc Communications, web conferencing software, as AOR.

Jetstream PR, Dallas/Cistera Networks, enterprise application platforms and engines for IP communications, as AOR.


Clifford PR, Los Angeles/Bowers & Wilkins, home theater and stereo systems, for launch of an iPod speaker system; JLF/lone meadow, green design, for PR, and Portera, antique door maker, for launch of a Pasadena showroom.

WDC Media, Los Angeles/Sacrifice for Freedom, group selling a coin and sculpture as memorials for fallen U.S. soldiers, for PR, media relations and marketing, and Mirezo, a website that allows users to light a candle in a live broadcast from the Holy Annunciation church in Nazareth.

Internet Edition, August 8, 2007, Page 6


Marketwire said it has reached an agreement to acquire social and multimedia press release network Press Release News Network.

Two-year-old PRNN manages about 150 domains and hundreds of subdomains for U.S. metropolitan regions and international cities with populations above 100K. It also claims to be the exclusive press release outlet for Second Life and relies heavily on search engine optimization technology in issuing news.

A key selling point for PRNN, which advertises dissemination services starting at $99, is its ability to provide an archived record of releases online backed by SEO technology so they can be accessed via web search.

Founder Kevin Dill is slated to join Marketwire as product manager for MW’s social and multimedia products, reporting to SVP Thom Brodeur.

PRNN has a channel on iTunes which includes all releases, and also offers a release development tool and tracking service.


Admedia Partners was an advisor to two recent interactive marketing deals.

The firm counseled iCrossing in its July 30 acquisition of web development agency Proxicom. The deal makes iCrossing the largest independent interactive agency with net revenue in the $100M range, according to AdMedia.

The firm also represented interactive marketing agency Refinery in its acquisition by WPP’s G2 Worldwide.


U.S. Asian Newswire has aligned with global content provider Pyramid Media Group, which focuses on the travel, business and aerospace markets.

USAN said it will provide news, information and press release content alongside content from PMG.

The newswire said it also has added RSS feeds to its news dissemination services across several channels.

Pyramid was established in New York in 1992 with the merger of Pyramid Graphics & Publishing and Pyramid Productions. it opened its first Internet site in 1995 and acquired Air Travel Media last year.


Online market research company InsightExpress has added four executives to its media measurement group.

Nancy Dillon and Janett Haas have joined as senior A/Es focused on the San Francisco and Los Angeles markets for the group, which has services for measuring online and emerging media.

Dillon was a sales director for Nielsen/Net Ratings and former account manager at DoubleClick. Haas was L.A. sales director for and ex-associate publisher at Ziff Davis Media.

IE has also added Alicia Allijan and Leslie Newburn as A/Es. Allijan was with ValueClick and Newburn was research manager for Fox Interactive Media.



Matt Harris, VP of media relations at Ketchum, to Allison & Partners, New York, as senior VP of media relations and brand integration. He was previously at Ketchum spin-off Emanate and Hunter PR.

Brian Willinsky, formerly of State Street Corp. and Scwartz Comms., to Schneider Associates, Boston, as a senior A/E in the firm’s corporate group.

Kirk Monroe, who ran his own firm, K M Comms. in Washington, D.C., to Business Roundtable, as director of comms. He was previously with Ketchum and Ruder Finn, and served on the staff of Sen. David Durenberger (R-Minn.).

Itamar Rabinovich, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., has joined Washington, D.C.-based APCO Worldwide's international advisory council. Rabinovich has just wrapped up a second term as president of Tel Aviv University. Previously, he was Israel's chief negotiator with Syria under the Rabin Government, and represented his country here from ’93 to ’96.

Gary Sharpe, former head of IR for Comsat Corp., to Mobile Satellite Ventures, Reston, Va., as VP of IR and corporate comms.

Thomas Donahue, principal, Matlock Advertising & PR, to CompuCredit Corp., Atlanta, as director of corporate comms. He was formerly director of corporate comms. for Delta Air Lines.

Christopher Wailes, VP and director of media relations and editorial services at The Bounce Agency, to Erwin-Penland, Greenville, S.C., as associate director of PR. Wailes is a veteran of Edelman, Ketchum, HWH PR and Powell Tate.

Chip Kunde, VP of legislative and economic affairs for the Int’l Dairy Foods Assn., to Darden Restaurants, Orlando, as VP of government relations. He was previously VP of gov’t and state affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

Jacob Eisen, founder of an investment newsletter and former client service manager at Raymond James Financial Services, to The Investor Relations Co., Chicago, as a VP. TIRC chairman Woody Wallace said Eisen will help the firm create web-based products and services.

Bridget Braxston, who has handled PR in-house at Dell and Nortel Networks, to Ketchum, San Francisco, as one of four new VPs. Sara Gottman, formerly of LeapFrog Enterprises, Michele Lanza, and executive recruiter for Patch & Associates (and former Ketchum staffer), and Annie Su, research director for Ipsos ASI, are the others. Gottman handles brand clients, Lanza will tackle recruiting, and Su heads research, all for Ketchum West.


Suzanne Haber to managing director and Janene Ferrara to senior VP in Marina Maher Communications’ New York-based media connections practice.

Diane Chencharick to president and COO, G. Temple Associates, Wixom, Mich. She joined the ad/PR firm in 1999 as a partner, VP and creative director. Former president Ron Curcuru is now CEO.

Internet Edition, August 8, 2007, Page 7

CERTIFICATION STUDIED (Continued from pg. 1)

He told the leadership teleconference that six months of study will be needed on the proposal and that 15 members are working on it including CEO Rhoda Weiss, CEO-elect Jeff Julin, director Gerard Corbett, counselor Patrice Tanaka, and Mary Graybill, 2006 chair of the Universal Accreditation Board.

Formal Boycott vs. Press

Frause was reached by cell phone Aug. 3 but hung up the phone. An e-mail to him was not answered. One question would be whether a member has to be APR before becoming “certified.”

PRS has a formal boycott against the press in which board members, officers and staff are forbidden to answer questions from the press. CEO Rhoda Weiss is the only authorized spokesperson for the Society.

This was confirmed by Linda Cohen of the Caliber Group, Tucson, who refused to discuss the resignation from the EB last week of Rick French of French/West/Vaughan. She said she was not allowed to talk to the press on any PRS matter.

Low Turnout for APR Exam

Participation by members of PRS and eight other PR groups in the exam of the Universal Accreditation Board has been low. The first two years and 11 months of the new exam, which took four years to create at a cost of $250,000 and which was three years old as of June 30, 2007, resulted in 367 new PRS APRs or about 123 yearly. The previous test resulted in an average of more than 300 new PRS APRs yearly. After 42 years of APR, which was started in 1965, there are now fewer than 4,000 APRs among the 21,937 members.

PRS had 19,600 members in 1998, for a growth of 2,337 members in nine years or about 1.3% yearly. Two “members” of the UAB have never sent anyone to the exam—the Agricultural Relations Council and the Religion Communicators Council.

Two others sent one person each to the exam in three years—the Texas PR Assn. and the PR Assn. of Puerto Rico.

With at least 20,000 PR people eligible for the exam, participation by taking the Readiness Review or the exam itself is less than two percent yearly.

Marisa Vallbona of Cim Inc., La Jolla, Calif., chair of the UAB, told the teleconference that applications are up 8.4% to 219 from last year, Readiness Reviews are up 27% and the number of those taking the computer exam is up 59%.

“It’s looking really, really good,” she said. Pass rate is about 70%.

APR Study Guide Published

The UAB has created an APR study guide of 153 pages to help those interested in APR.

To help those who have a fear of taking the test, said Vallbona, an online demonstration of questions on the exam is now available at An interested person gets 20-45 minutes to answer sample questions while a clock runs, she said.

Only members of one of the groups can take the exam. APR status is lost unless annual dues are paid to one of the groups and $40 every three years to PRS accompanied by a list of articles and books read to show evidence of professional development.

Prof. Wright Heads Online PR Journal

Prof. Donald Wright of the College of Communication of Boston University is supervising a new online “PR Journal” sponsored by PRS which will carry scholarly works on PR. Wright told the teleconference that it can take years for professors to get their articles published and the new online PR Journal will make it possible for them to considerably shorten this.

A panel of scholars and practitioners is being formed to review works proposed for the online journal.

16 Leaders Make Presentations

The Leadership call that started at 11a.m. Aug. 2 had an agenda of 16 speakers plus Weiss.

They spoke without interruption from any callers to 12:10 p.m. when four questions were placed by listeners. The questions were about the online PR Journal and “tools” on the PRS website. In past years, leaders would talk for a half hour and leave a half hour for questions.

Bill Murray, COO who joined PRS on Jan. 22, said he has experienced an “exciting” six months in his new job and urged PRS leaders to “contact me any time.”

Phil Bonaventura, the new CFO, said revenues in the first half were $5.6 million, resulting in a surplus over expenses of $391,000.

“Record” Early Sign-ups for Conference

The annual conference Oct. 20-23 in Philadelphia has drawn a “record” 242 full registrations thus far, the teleconference was told. Member rate before Sept. 7 is $1,075 and $1,275 after that. About 4% of members attend an annual conference, according to 2005 chair Judith Phair. About 25% of attendees are non-members. More than 100 sessions featuring 200 speakers are scheduled. Thirty-five or more PRS staffers usually attend a conference.

Brad Rye, Assembly task force chair, said the list of delegates is still being prepared.

The names of the 250 or so chapter delegates are not usually revealed to the general membership until about one month before the Assembly. A member wishing to express an opinion to the delegates would have to send them individual e-mails. No e-mail address book is provided by PRS.

The conference program notes that PRS and its Assembly will be meeting in “the birthplace of American democracy.” Since 1973, about 80% of the membership has been barred from seeking national office. That privilege has been reserved for APRs. There has been no mention by leaders this year of changing this setup.

Speakers at the conference include Tim Russert of “Meet the Press”; actress Mia Farrow, who is noted for her humanitarian efforts, and Brian Tierney, a member of PRS who once headed Brian Tierney & Assocs. in Philadelphia (now part of Interpublic). He is CEO of Philadelphia Media Holdings and publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

Michael Cherenson of Success Communications Group, Parsippany, N.J., has been nominated as chair-elect of the Society, besting Anthony D’Angelo of United Technologies’ Carrier Unit. Cherenson moves up to chair-elect from secretary, skipping the position of treasurer. The nomination for treasurer went to Rosanna Fiske of Florida International University.

Internet Edition, August 8, 2007, Page 8




The pursuit of a new form of "accreditation" ("certification" in specialized areas) by the PR Society (page one) is a case of the academic community catching up with a 20-year-old trend.

The O'Dwyer Co. since 1990 has been ranking PR firms by their fees in areas such as healthcare, tech, financial, beauty/fashion, travel, etc. Proofs include lists of accounts, top pages of tax returns, W-3s, etc.

Six educators are on the task force of 15 headed by Seattle counselor Bob Frause-Gail Baker, Univ. of Nebraska; Steve Grant, Johns Hopkins; Fred Lash, George Washington; Jerry Swerling, USC; Susan Walton, Brigham Young, and Patricia Whalen, DePaul.

PR firms in 2006 reported to O'Dwyer a record 501 dollar figures in 11 categories supported by documentation.

Specialization is definitely the path that PR pros should take. Norman Mineta, vice chairman of Hill & Knowlton and former Secretary of Commerce, wrote in the Winter Strategist of PRS that his "greatest fear" is that PR will be populated by "communications majors who never developed expertise in an industry or economic sector." He wondered "if our colleges are adequately preparing young people for this profession…"

We wonder about Frause taking a leadership role in this issue.

His firm, the Frause Group, has never taken part in the O'Dwyer general or specialized rankings. He listed 65 clients for the 2006 O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms but gave none for the 2007 edition.

Frause played a key role in one of the biggest decisions ever made by PRS and one that (typically) was not run by the members-the abolition in 1999 of the Ethics Code that had stood for 50 years.

The issue that broke the code was charges by the EIFS construction industry that Lee Duffey Assocs., headed by 1999 PRS treasurer Lee Duffey, was conducting an unethical negative PR campaign against EIFS paid for by competing building materials.

The PRS code only said members had to be "prepared" to reveal clients and not actually reveal them. Rather than strengthen the code and make client identification mandatory, Frause wrote a 12-page report saying the code was unenforceable. The code was ditched and a new one created sans enforcement provisions.

This infuriated corporate members who felt agency ethics were below corporate ethics.

James Simon, SVP of Cardinal Health, said the new code was a "sellout to marcom" because it called PR pros "advocates" but also claimed they provide "accurate and truthful information."

Advocates are "salespeople and not educators nor in the business of dispensing information," he said. Alison Karam of PRS/Connecticut Valley, polled her chapter and found members wanted to keep the old code by a 2-1 margin.

The abandonment of the old code helped drive corporate members from the Society.

One of the speakers at the PRS conference in Philadelphia Oct. 23 is Brian Tierney, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News and an unaccredited member of PRS. Do we have an earful for him! PRS is trailing into the "the birthplace of democracy" (a phrase from the PRS program itself) with a carload of undemocratic practices including the fact that Tierney, as a non-APR, is banned from running for the national board of PRS. So have more than 80% of the members since 1973. PRS leadership shows no interest in changing this rule that makes Tierney and others second-class members of PRS.

Second most flagrant violation of democratic principles is the Assembly of PRS, supposedly the body that represents the membership. Delegates are not allowed to know who their fellow delegates are until about a month before the meeting. This virtually eliminates interaction among the delegates and blocks rank-and-file members from contacting the delegates. When the list is finally published, there's no easy way for members to contact them. PRS staff and leaders refuse to provide an e-mail address book.

Another anti-democratic practice of PRS is its current press and member boycott. Leaders refuse to provide the press or members the transcripts of the 2005-06 Assemblies (which they formerly did); the salary of new COO Bill Murray (although this is required under IRS rules), and, among many other things, refuse to poll members on whether they want a return of their printed 1,000-page directory that had much valuable information. The decision to suspend the directory was made undemocratically-without any input from members. Leaders and staff are currently refusing to answer any press questions about PRS itself including its finances. The "Ethics Board" has told reporters it is not allowed to speak to them.

Fifteen speakers talked non-stop for an hour and ten minutes at the a.m. Aug. 3 teleconference of PRS but conspicuously absent was VP-PR Janet Troy. This shows how little PR is valued in its own house. She should have been among the first speakers. Another indication: PR manager Cedric Bess, who left in March, has yet to be replaced…a disturbing thought is that PR's low standing at PRS is what its standing is at most organizations…the PRS staff will not allow any senior members to work at h.q. although doctor, lawyer and CPA groups have many of their own professionals on staff…PRS COO Bill Murray spoke briefly at last week’s teleconference, his constricted voice breaking up as though he were short of breath. He should discuss this because he seems to be nervous in speaking before a group.

The COO search committee was headed by Debra Miller and included Karla Voss, Dave Rickey, Grace Leong, Ellen Shedlarz and Pender McCarter. The committee had asked if the new COO should be "visionary," a "charismatic leader," and an "accomplished speaker" (3/22/06 NL).

--Jack O'Dwyer


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