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, September 26, 2007, Page 1


Tony Blankley, who was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s Press Secretary, has joined Edelman in Washington as executive VP-global public affairs.

His credentials include speechwriter and senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, editor of the Washington Times’ editorial page and author of “The West’s Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations.”

Edelman also has named two high-profile Democrats—Toby Moffett and Paul Bledsoe—as strategic counselors.

Moffett is a former Congressman from Connecticut and VP at Monsanto. He remains chairman of PLM Group, the entity forged by Tony Podesta and Bob Livingston’s lobbying firms.

Bledsoe handled communications for climate change issues in Bill Clinton’s White House and worked in the Dept. of Interior under Bruce Babbitt.


C&M Capitolink serves as Washington representative for Blackwater USA, the private security firm that centers in the Sept. 16 shooting of eight Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has brandished that incident a “criminal act,” and wants the U.S. military to use guards from another contractor to protect State Dept. staffers and civilian contractors.

Blackwater maintains that its personnel acted in self-defense. Anne Tyrrell, spokesperson for the North Carolina-based company, confirmed that C&M reps the company. She added that crisis firm Corallo Comstock, which provided media training in April for Blackwater officials who testified in Congress about waste in Iraqi contracts, is no longer on the payroll.

C&M has received $300K from Blackwater since it began work in Feb. `06. It is charged with responding to Congressional inquiries about activities and capabilities of private security contractors and exploring ways to attain proper oversight and accountability.

Paul Behrends, a former senior advisor for international relations and national security affairs to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Cal.) and retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Marine Corps. Reserves, was the initial staffer on that account.

The C&M team has grown to include Deborah Atwood, a veteran of the Bush I and II Administrations, and Paul Noe, former counselor to the administrator of the Office of Management & Budget’s Office of Information Regulatory Policy.


Levick Strategic Communications is handling the Government of Dubai’s audacious bid for a 19.99 percent stake in the Nasdaq electronic stock market of more than 3,200-listed companies.

Michael Robinson, senior VP at Levick, is leading that effort. He is a former communications director at Nasdaq, and public affairs and policy chief for ex-Securities and Exchange Commission chief Harvey Pitt.

The United Arab Emirates entity formed “Borse Dubai” in August as a holding company to house Dubai Financial Market and Dubai International Financial Exchange.

With the Dubai deal, Nasdaq will acquire BD’s shares in OMX Group, the Stockholm-based market that runs exchanges in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries.

Sloane & Co. handles PR for Nasdaq.


Jon Harmon, a PR blogger and 23-year veteran of Ford Motor Co., has taken the new VP-corporate communications post at truck, bus and engine maker Navistar International Corp.

Harmon had been recently running his own shop, Force for Good Communications.

At Ford, he was director of North American product public affairs, handling PR for the Ford Mercury and Lincoln brands. He was also director of communications strategy, charged with grooming Ford’s PR staff for developments like citizen-generated media, globalization of consumer networks and social responsibility. He guided PR during the Ford-UAW labor strife in 1996, the Ford-Firestone tire crisis in 2000-01, and Ford’s centennial in 2003.

At Warrenville, Ill.-based Navistar, Harmon reports to VP of corporate human resources and administration Gregory Elliott.


Indianapolis is looking for outside help to produce an integrated marketing plan for its popular White River State Park, described as the city’s version of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The marketing co-op that promotes the $200M, 250-acre park has issued an RFP for a two-year contract for PR, marketing and some media buying. The park encompasses two museums, the city zoo, NCAA’s headquarters, the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial, a minor league ballpark, a summer concert venue, an IMAX theater and other attractions.

The RFP can be downloaded here at

Internet Edition, September 26, 2007, Page 2


Porter Novelli is promoting the need to expand capacity of San Diego’s Lindberg Field on behalf of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

The Federal Aviation Administration, in September, put the San Diego airport on its list of facilities with the most pressing need for expansion.

The FAA warned that without more capacity by ’21, LF could have a negative impact on the nation’s transportation network.

LF, which is formally known as San Diego Int’l Airport, handled 17.5M passengers in `06. That made it No. 1 among single runway airports. Authority officials have outlined a $650M blueprint to add more boarding gates and parking spaces by 2015.

The long-term expansion program may call for greater integration of flights between Lindberg and Tijuana’s Rodriguez Int’l Airport in Mexico.


Burson-Marsteller helped unveil the new security-laden U.S. $5 bill on Sept. 20 with a modern twist that previewed the currency on the Internet.

B-M won a $35M contract with the Treasury Dept. last year to launch the new $5 and upcoming $100 notes.

The new note, which features splashes of purple and two watermarks to foil counterfeiting, was kicked off on the web at in a press event called “Wi-5” by the Treasury. The bill enters circulation next year to be followed by a new $100 note.

The effort was the first time the U.S. government unveiled a new currency online, according to B-M’s Penny Kozakos, who handled the online press conference. Podcasts, an online press kit, and other interactive features were included in the launch.

The Wall Street Journal called the preview of the Abraham Lincoln note “flashy,” while the Associated Press noted the “high-tech unveiling.”

B-M had previously released new $20 and $50 bills, along with the last new $100 bill in 1996.


The federal government has cancelled plans for a strategic communications effort to assess and improve the image of the Louisiana National Guard.

An RFQ was issued on Sept. 14 but cancelled five days later noting that the matter could be addressed next year depending on funds.

Public affairs officer Major Michael Kazmierzak, who was overseeing the search for a vendor, told O'Dwyer's that "a change in requirements resulted in the cancellation."

The U.S. Property and Fiscal Office, which oversees National Guard funds, was overseeing the solicitation. The plan was for a firm to conduct market analysis in the hurricane ravaged state in cities like Lake Charles, Lafayette, New Orleans and Baton Rouge to gauge public perception of the Guard, improve its image, and identify and work to correct problems in recruiting.

The USPFO also planned on calling on a firm to assess the internal image of the LNG based on input from its members.


The Western District of the PR Society on Sept. 21 proposed allowing student chapters at colleges other than the 286 that are "certified" by PRS.

Such chapters would no longer have to be "affiliated" with an existing PRSS chapter. There are about 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S.

"Associate" student chapters that are "affiliated" with a nearby regular student chapter are currently allowed.

Students in the independent chapters would be "encouraged" to take PRS's online educational seminars and workshops. Taking PR courses in a nearby school or other online PR instruction is also advised.

"This amendment shall encourage students interested in PR to form an associate PRSS chapter and pursue education in topics important for a solid background for a PR practitioner," says the District proposal.

The current arrangement was made after 2002 PRS president Joann Killeen and others proposed that all interested college students be allowed to join PRS directly as "student members" without being in a PRSS chapter. The proposal was placed on the agenda of the 2002 Assembly.


Weber Shandwick has picked up the United Nations Grand Award for outstanding `07 achievement in PR for its campaign in India to promote condom use as part of safe sex and family planning.

The “Say Condom Freely” program by Corporate Voice/Weber Shandwick targeted the declining rate of condom use by addressing the sensitivity surrounding the discussion of condoms.

The PR pitch also shot down the notion that condoms are only for people in high-risk groups.

The campaign from the Interpublic unit ran in Indian states that comprise 45 percent of the country’s one billion people. It was a collaboration among the U.S. Agency for International Development, Lowe Lintas (an Interpublic ad agency), ICICI Bank, and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

WS will receive the award during an International PR Assn. ceremony in London on Nov. 6. IPRA sponsors the award with the U.N.’s Dept of Public Information.


Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the world's "oldest and largest private institution devoted to the prevention, patient care, research and education in cancer," is looking to hire a VP-PA.

The position reports to MSKCC's president. It calls for oversight of media relations, print publications, websites, special events and community relations.

The VP will oversee a staff of 22 people and a budget of $3M. The New York-based facility wants somebody with a 10-year background in either government or academia. The individual must have a working understanding of the language of research, biology, medicine and hospitals.

Resumes go to John Gunn, executive VP, c/o Clara Irizarry ([email protected]).

Internet Edition, September 26, 2007, Page 3


Dan Rather is suing CBS, his former employer of 44 years, for alleged breach of contract following his removal from the anchor chair after his report on President Bush's National Guard Service.

The suit names CEO Les Moonves, former president Andrew Heyward and Viacom executive chairman Sumner Redstone as defendants.

Rather contends his removal as CBS anchor was part of a "scheme to appease angry government officials."

He alleges that Redstone at a Viacom board meeting became "enraged that the broadcast has hurt CBS in the eyes of the Bush Administration, and exclaimed that Rather and anyone associated with him must go."

Rather claims he was forced to read an apology for the story. That apology was penned by CBS VP chief Gil Schwartz.

Rather, who now works for Mark Cuban's HDTV venture, says he will donate the bulk of his legal winnings to "causes that will further journalistic independence."

CBS has dismissed Rather's suit as "old news."


Viacom's MTV Networks unit has launched, a site to engage and inform young people about the issues of the day.

It is a "place where everyone from sunny day volunteers to die hard activists can get educated, get connected, get heard, get active and get rewarded," according to its release.

The launch follows an MTV "Just Cause" survey showing that 80 percent of young people want to take action to make a difference in their community, but only 19 percent are "very involved" with social organizations.

The respondents named discrimination, global warming, sexual health, poverty, immigration and terrorism among important topics. The MTV social network is a project of the Bill and Melinda Gates, Case, Goldhirsh and MCJ Amelior Foundations.


The New York Times has pulled the plug on TimesSelect, the paid access portion of its website that featured the work of 23 columnists.

It had been charging $49.95 a year for TimesSelect. The NYT attracted 227K paid subs during the two years of the project.

The Times dropped TimesSelect because future growth on the subscriber front paled in comparison with the potential to sell ads. The paper also noted that the "online landscape has altered significantly" since `05.

Most readers now arrive at the Times site via search engines, social networks, and blogs, compared to going directly to as in the recent past. Those people, in the Times' view, are less likely to pay for articles.

The NYT site attracts 13M unique visitors a month, making it Nielsen/NetRatings' No. 1 newspaper site.

The Wall Street Journal charges for its site, but incoming owner News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch plans to review that strategy.


Jerry Seib, Wall Street Journal D.C. bureau chief, has been upped to assistant managing editor and executive Washington editor. John Bussey, one-time editor of the WSJ/Asia paper, succeeds Seib.

Seib, according to a memo from D.C. managing editor Marcus Brauchli, is to resume writing his "Capital Journal" column, and is to be the WSJ's news department D.C. TV "face."

Bussey assumes responsibility for covering the White House, Congress, politics, government policy and regulation.

Both take their new jobs on Nov. 1.


Time Warner's AOL unit is moving its headquarters from Dulles, Va. to New York City because that is the "center of the advertising marketplace."

The online unit also unveiled "Platform A," with the move to provide marketers a more sophisticated targeting capability.

Curtis Viebranz, the former CEO of AOL's Tacoda acquisition, has been named executive VP and president of Platform A, which reaches 90 percent of AOL's domestic audience.

Viebranz reports to COO Ron Grant.


John Cruickshank, publisher of Chicago Sun-Times, is leaving the paper after seven years for a chance to head the news division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. He also exits the COO slot of Sun-Times Media Group's 100 papers in the Chicagoland area.

Cruickshank is a former editor-in-chief of the Vancouver Sun and managing editor of the Toronto Globe & Mail. He became publisher of the CS-T in `03.

At CBS, Cruickshank takes over for Tony Burman, who retired during the summer.


The Wall Street Journal has penciled in Sept. `08 for the launch of Pursuits, a monthly glossy magazine aimed at high-rollers.

Pursuits, according to WSJ publisher Gordon Crovitz, is to extend the Journal's "highly successful business of life franchise."

Pursuits promises to capture an "intimate view of the world of wealth, from luxury goods and travel to art and investing," according to the corporate announcement.

Robert Frank, WSJ's wealth reporter and author of "Richistan," is expected to play a major role at Pursuits.

The magazine will be delivered to 800K selected subscribers to the WSJ, and its content will be available free online at

Pursuits was the name of the lifestyle section in WSJ's Saturday paper.

News Corp., which is acquiring WSJ parent company Dow Jones & Co., has given the okay for the magazine launch.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, September 26, 2007, Page 4


Hearst Corp. is acquiring RealAge Inc., a consumer health media company and information database.

The company delivers health and wellness information (and advertising) to consumers who have taken the RealAge Test, an analysis of 125 factors that influence the rate of aging.

The test allows consumers to make lifestyle changes to reduce the impact of aging. RealAge co-founder Michael Roizen wrote "RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be?" a book that has been promoted by Oprah Winfrey.

The RealAge site averaged 2.1M monthly unique visitors and 22M page views through the first-half of this year.

Hearst expects its women magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, Redbook, Cosmopolitan and O, The Oprah Magazine to achieve synergies with its acquisition.

RealAge is to become part of the Hearst Digital Media unit.


Chris Albrecht, who was forced to resign as CEO of Time-Warner's HBO in May, has joined talent agency IMG as head of its global media business.

Albrecht exited the cable programmer following reports that he assaulted his girlfriend in a Las Vegas parking lot.

He will head a $250M media and entertainment fund that is being raised by financier Ted Forstmann, who purchased IMG in `04.

At HBO, Albrecht was responsible for development of "Sex in the City," "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "The Wire," "Deadwood" and "Band of Brothers."

Albrecht is one-time owner of "The Improvisation" nightclub in New York. He also was a talent agent at International Creative Management, where he signed Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Carrey and Billy Crystal.

Sard Verbinnen does PR for IMG.


Pinch Sulzberger’s New York Times Co., Starcom MediaVest Group and CMP Media are the most “gay and transgender worker-friendly” companies among the 13 media and marketing communications companies ranked by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which released its sixth corporate equality index survey of 519 U.S. businesses.

The trio scored a perfect 100 percent in the six categories measured by the group.

Those sectors cover discrimination, diversity training, partner benefits and “appropriate and respectful advertising, marketing or philanthropy.”

Martin Sorrell’s WPP Group aced archrivals Interpublic and Omnicom.

The conglom scored a 93 percent falling a bit short for lack of a “firmwide diversity council or employee-supported employee resource group.”

IPG notched 60 percent, which was twice OMC’s score. Vertis Inc. shared the basement with OMC.

On the media side, Thomson West trailed NYTC and CMP with a 95 percent ranking.

It was followed by McGraw-Hill Cos. (80 percent), Gannett (65 percent), Scholastic (50 percent), Dow Jones & Co. (30 percent) and R.R. Donnelley & Sons (20 percent).

HRCF reports that 195 businesses registered a perfect score, up from 138 last year.


Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour may not have sold his Interpublic Group stock as he told the Associated Press after his `03 election, according to the New Republic.

The former chairman of the Republican party acquired the IPG holdings when he sold his lobbying firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers to the ad/PR combine in `99.

The NR, however, acquired an apparent copy of Barbour’s blind trust agreement that was dated Feb. 27, `04, six weeks after he took office in Jackson. That document lists ownership of nearly 50,000 IPG shares.

According to TNR, “maintaining ties to a powerful K Street firm while holding high public office would strain even the most liberal ethics regime.”

The magazine noted that Barbour’s nephews, Henry and Austin Barbour, joined Capitol Resources in `03 shortly after his election. CP shares BG&R’s clients such as Northrop Grumman and Lorillard Tobacco Co.

TNR contacted Barbour’s office about the trust, but was told, “It’s a blind trust, which means we don’t talk about it.”

Barbour’s spokesperson Ryan Annison refused to answer a list of questions submitted by TNR. He dismissed them as “full of inaccuracies and innuendo,” and added: “Tell your sources and allies at the Democrat Party we send our regards.”

The magazine concedes there is no way to know for certain whether Barbour sold his IPG holdings. It did note that Barbour visited his old shop on June 19, exiting after a 90-minute meeting.

IPR sold BG&R back to Lanny Griffith and Ed Rogers in `04. It is a source of speculation whether Barbour repurchased a stake in the firm.

Olivia Monjo has been promoted to VP/editor-in-chief of Home magazine, in addition to her responsibilities as EIC of Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications.

Home is published eight times a year with a rate base of 800K.

PennWell Corporation, Nashua, N.H., said it will launch a new magazine and website targeting the optical technologies and instrumentation sector in January. Bio-Optics World will be unveiled at BiOS 2008 in San Jose, Calif., and comprise a bi-monthly magazine, monthly eNewsletter, and website.

The design, development, and utilization of optical technologies for the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease is the focus.

Internet Edition, September 26, 2007, Page 5


Tunheim Partners, Minneapolis, has acquired New School Communications, a 12-staffer St. Paul-based PR and public affairs firm with revenue topping $1M.

Blois Olson, president and CEO of NSC, joins Tunheim as executive VP and a shareholder. His PA and PR teams will be integrated into TP.

Tim Loesch, senior VP at Tunheim, has been promoted to VP of PR following the acquisition.

The firms had collaborated in the past.


New York-based Gravitas Communications is handling the launch of Spiral Frog, the digital music and video service that went live on Sept. 17 to provide free downloads supported by advertising.

Spiral Frog, also based in New York, gives record companies a cut of its ad revenue. It has a deal in place with the largest music label, Universal Music Group, and is in talks with others. The company has about 800K tunes (with a goal of two million in the next several months) and more than 3,500 videos for download.

"Digital download services are teetering on the edge and have not gotten it right yet," said Jocelyn Johnson, president of Gravitas and a former SVP for Sloane & Co. and ex-tech staffer at Middleberg + Associates. She told O'Dwyer's that nine in 10 downloads are done illegally and noted a generation of users have never downloaded a song legally. With that data, she said Spiral Frog is getting content to consumers while speaking out against illicit file-sharing: "This is a fascinating company that is also taking a very strong stance against piracy."

Users download the content free but must login to the site once a month or the files lock up and are unreadable. The digital files are protected from being burned on a CD but can be copied on up to two digital music players. Neither Macintosh computers nor iPods can play the files.

Advertisers on the site include the U.S. Armed Forces, Procter & Gamble, and Chevrolet.

Gravitas picked up the account six weeks ago in a formal RFP process that narrowed a field of about 10 firms down to a handful. The firm has worked for Primedia,, and cable operator Charter Communications.

BRIEFS: American Home Mortgage has dropped Kekst & Co. after its request to continue retaining the firm as it navigates Chapter 11 bankruptcy was criticized. Kekst was brought in with a $50K retainer before AHM filed for protection in early August. Creditors of AHM essentially said in a filing that Kekst's purpose was to gloss over the "failure of the company." Newsday had closely followed Melville, N.Y.-based AHM's push to continue retaining Kekst and reported the split. ...Global Communicators, D.C., has aligned with N’PR Communications Consultancy, a Turkish firm with offices in Istanbul and Ankara. GC worked for Turkey native Muhammad Yunus, 2006’s Nobel Peace Prize winner. N’PR was set up in 1992.


New York Area

G.S. Schwartz & Co., New York/Pivot, financial data tracking; Miningham & Oellerich, data management services for the financial sector, and Paradigm Group, distribution and manufacturing services for mailroom, breakroom and janitorial services.

5W PR, New York/Vividas Group, Internet video; Vumber, disposable phone numbers; SendUDirect and SendUMobile, mobile networking, for PR.

Rubenstein PR, New York/John Fraser, chef, for new Manhattan eatery, Dovetail, slated to open in November; Guernsey’s, auction house, for upcoming Naylor Photography and Pugliese Collection auctions, and The China8 Project, message platform that puts ads on shipping crates for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, starting with launch in November.

Travers Collins & Co., Buffalo, N.Y./Klein Steel of Western New York, for strategic counsel, media and community relations for launch of a steel center in the Buffalo-Niagara market.


Pan Communications, Andover, Mass./Kodiak Venture Partners, VC firm, for PR following an RFP. Pan beat one other finalist.

Schwartz Communications, Waltham, Mass./
AgileWaves; BioMS Medical; EnjoyMyMedia; High Street Partners; InovaWave; Oxford Biomedica; PatientFlow Technology; Quantum Health; Spreanza Systems, and Terumo Cardiovascular Systems.

Schubert Communications, Downingtown, Pa./Datastrip handheld identity verification systems, as AOR for integrated marketing.

GolinHarris, Atlanta/Asian American Hotel Owners Assn., for PR for the group, which counts 8,000 members who own more than 22K hotels.

Gilbert Manjura Marketing, Longwood, Fla./Vista Royale Resort (Kissimmee), for marketing and PR.

rbb PR, Miami/Lady of America Franchise Corp., for consumer PR, and Polaris World, to promote a new outdoor furniture line, Yedra, and new store in Miami.


John Bailey & Associates PR, Troy, Mich./North American International Auto Show, for a three-year extension to serve as AOR for PR through 2010.

HSR Business to Business, Cincinnati/Canon Virginia, a manufacturing subsidiary of Canon USA, as AOR for a marketing comms. effort.


Antarra Communications, Garden Grove, Calif./ThermoTX, FDA-approved pain management products, as AOR.

Bender/Helper Impact, Los Angeles/Channel M, out-of-home video marketing; Nerjyzed Entertainment, game developer, and National Lampoon.

Hill & Knowlton, Los Angeles/AmericaSpeaks, a non-profit, for support of a statewide town meeting on healthcare across eight cities and linked through interactive TV. H&K/Canada has picked up WestJet Airlines following a competitive review, for crisis preparedness and media training.

Internet Edition, September 26, 2007, Page 6


Cision conducted the media analysis for Advertising Age’s annual Media Mavens Special Report, which ranks ad executives based on their portrayal in the news.

Cision IDed the top “mavens” as Brad Adgate of Horizon Media; Shari Ane Brill of Cara; Tim Spengler, Initiative Media Worldwide; Steve Sternberg, Magna Global, and Tim Hanlon of Publicis.

The company looked at all manner of news, from print to digital, from July 2006 to the end of June 2007.

BRIEFS: Business Wire said it has a new program to target feature and Sunday editors looking for news content to fill sections and broadcasts. The series counts more than 100 scheduled news topics and specialty supplements. BW has also promoted Laura Sturaitis to the new post of senior VP, media services and product strategy. She directs the company’s U.S. media relations specialists and other teams. Sturaitis joined BW 15 years ago as regional manager for Florida. ...Broadcast PR company VideoLink, Newton, Mass., has relocated to 1230 Washington Street in Newton, near downtown Boston and in the same facility as Fox News Channel and ESPN. ...News Broadcast Network, New York, said it landed a record number of radio newsroom “placements” in the last 12 months. The company said more than 112K station contacts landed more than 84K placements. Its previous best was 79.5K placements, which it defines as physical delivery of a news piece to a radio news room via phone patch, MP3 or fax transmission after a pitch and on request. ...The NewsMarket, New York, said it has more than 13K separate media outlets across 193 countries using its PR video download services. The company said videos published by blue-chip clients like Microsoft, McDonald’s, Volvo Cars and Nintendo has accounted for a 200 percent jump in volume. The NewsMarket recently added Facebook, LinkedIn and Second Life to its client roster. ...Portland, Ore.-based broadcast PR and marketing company Peter Jacobsen Productions has been renamed Peter Jacobsen Sports as part of its 20th anniversary. Jacobsen is a seven-time PGA Tour winner and president of the firm. ...Broadcast monitoring and analysis company dna13 has updated to its PR and stakeholder management software suite with a greater focus on customization. New features include integration with Microsoft Outlook, improved analytics, and content from BurrellsLuce. ......The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication will host a two-day conference Oct. 19-20 on social media called Connect. Panel discussions are slated to include Constantin Bastura of Converseon, measurement guru Katie Paine, and Kaye Sweetser, assist. professor of PR at UGA’s Grady College. Info: Cost: $125 with deadline of Oct. 8. ...Colloquy, Cincinnati, a loyalty-marketing consultancy, has published a white paper on consumer segments and their use of loyalty marketing programs. It can be downloaded at



Brian Hickey, who headed Walek & Associates’ financial and professional services practice, to Cubitt Jacobs & Prosek Communications, New York, as a managing director. He was previously director of comms. and media relations for law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Susan Hirsch, who headed Ogilvy PR Worldwide’s U.S. healthcare practice, to Ruder Finn, New York, as global healthcare practice leader. She takes over for Susan Smirnoff, who has been named global strategic head of health and wellness. Hirsch was formerly a senior VP in RF’s healthcare and corporate branding units, and earlier had stints at Chandler Chicco Agency and CPR Worldwide.

Colleen White and Lisa Sepulveda, interns at Goodman Media Int’l, New York, have been named assistant A/Es. Goodman also added Carly Jansen and Rebecca Stein, recent grads, as AA/Es and promoted Jessie duPont to A/E.

Paul Sagan, a financial comms. and PR counselor, has returned to Sharon Merrill Associates, Boston, as a VP to boost its media relations and financial comms. practice. He has held senior posts at Thermo Electron Corp., Allmerica Financial and Camp Dresse & McKee. He was previously with SMA for three years.

Bill Roberts, White House reporter for Bloomberg News, has taken the media relations director slot at the American Institute of Certified Accountants office in D.C. He reports to Janice Maiman, VP-comms. of 330K-CPA group. Roberts, 46, covered John Kerry’s run for president and the D.C. regulatory response to the 9/11 attacks. Prior to Bloomberg, Roberts was D.C. bureau chief for the Journal of Commerce. He also reported for the Philadelphia Business Journal and Westchester Business Journal. Joel Allegretti is AICPA’s media chief in New York. AICPA also has offices in Durham (NC), Ewing (NJ) and Lewisville (TX).

Jason Owens has joined The Hawthorn Group, Alexandria, Va., as client services director from the Frist Center for Visual Arts in Nashville. Christina Worden, comms. manager and PAC treasurer for Harrah’s Entertainment in Las Vegas, joins as comms. director. She was formerly a communications operative in Arizona Democratic politics.

Christine Salas, formerly of TMP Worldwide, to Cotton & Co., Stuart, Fla., as an A/E.

Cheryl Bella returns to The Firm PR and Marketing, Las Vegas, as account services director. She was a senior PR specialist in 2004.


Michael Szumera and James Florez to managing directors for Burson-Marsteller’s U.S. region. Szumera is based in New York and Florez in Dallas.

Monica Witter to senior A/E, Neiman Group, Harrisburg, Pa. Sarah Groff was upped to A/E and Aubrey Hayden to producer.

Curtis Smith to director of business dev., Carmichael Lynch Spong, Minneapolis. Leslie Jones was upped to counselor in the firm’s San Francisco office.

Internet Edition, September 26, 2007, Page 7


Prof. Donald Wright of Boston University, recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Service Award of the Arthur W. Page Society, rapped the PR industry for failure to provide support for PR education.

"Support for PR education is woefully bad, at best," he said in accepting the award Sept. 17.

He quoted a survey by Rob Flaherty of Ketchum and Pat Ford of Burson-Marsteller, with assistance from Institute for PR staffer Michelle Hinson, that showed major PR firms rarely hire graduates of PR degree programs.

Such graduates only account for a "dismal 10-15% of recent hires at these firms," said Wright.

"Most of the time," he said, "these agencies, and major corporations, favor graduates of liberal arts, business and other academic disciplines instead of graduates of PR degree programs."

Many PR Majors Won't Find Jobs

Wright says that, according to research, about 35,000 students are now majoring in PR at nearly 700 institutions but "Who is going to tell these kids most of them will never get a job in our field?"

"Who decided PR should be taught everywhere?" he asked.

Universities are making "huge financial profits teaching PR," he said, but there is a "lack of financial and moral support" from many PR practitioners themselves.
There are exceptions to this including some universities that do support PR education and some associations, including the Page Society, that also support it, he said.

But the "reality" of this, he said, "is that most universities don't support PR education and research in a manner similar to other popular majors and too many PR practitioners couldn't care less about it."

He continued: "Some want to blame the practice for this problem. I think we should blame universities and PR educators. We've sat back and let the curriculum at some schools evolve into something more theoretical than practical.

“We've looked the other way when some universities have hired less than competent professors. We've tolerated, hired, tenured and promoted those whose research agendas don't focus on information practitioners want or need."

"New Reality" Needs to Be Addressed

Wright said the new "reality" of PR needs to be addressed including the "new audiences, new channels, new kinds of content and new measurements…and most PR education remains a part of journalism schools-a model that might have worked 50 years ago but is not effective today."

While a few elite universities with "highly selective admissions policies do teach PR, many of today's top-ranked US programs are at smaller regional institutions, some with questionable admission standards," he said.

Some PR professors (including himself) developed good programs at lesser-known institutions "rather than fight back when top-ranked journalism schools showed blatant professional prejudice against what we do," he added.


Steven Harris, VP-global communications of General Motors, which has 500 communicators worldwide, says building "organizational trust" is the new principal job of PR people.

Harris, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Arthur W. Page Society this month, said "Communicators are uniquely positioned to become experts in the new art and science of organizational trust" and that "today's communications leaders are best equipped to lead in the all important areas of trust and reputation."

Quoting a "white paper" prepared by Jon Iwata of IBM and Valerie DeMaria of Willis Group Holdings, he said that "Authenticity will be the coin of the realm for successful corporations and for those who lead them."

The white paper, as quoted by Harris, says that "The corporation that wants to establish a distinctive brand and achieve long-term success must, more than ever before, be grounded in a sure sense of what defines it-why it exists, what it stands for and what differentiates it in a marketplace of customers, investors and workers.

"[Those definitions,] whether they are called values, principles, beliefs, mission, purpose or value proposition, must dictate consistent behavior and actions," he said.

Harris has spent more than 40 years in communications, first joining GM in 1967 as a lecturer after graduation from the University of Southern California with a BA in journalism. He was with American Motors as head of product PR in 1979 and moved to Chrysler as director of corporate PR in 1987. He became VP-communications for Chrysler in early 1998 and later that year became SVP-communications, following the merger of Chrysler and Daimler-Benz. He returned to GM in 1999 as VP-global communications.

He "retired" at the end of 2003 but was asked to return to GM in February 2006.

Doing Something "Important"

Harris said the question he is most often asked in connection with his return is whether he is "having fun?"

"I'm not sure that I would answer that it's fun but I do feel like I'm doing something important," he said. "I feel like I'm playing a small role in helping restore a corporate icon to health."

He noted that GM, which will be 100 years old next year, has had to contend with such bad publicity as a cover story of Fortune that was headlined, "The Tragedy of General Motors," and a column by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times that asked: "Is there a company more dangerous to America's future than General Motors? Surely the sooner this company gets taken over by Toyota, the better off our country will be."

Harris said GM is rebuilding its reputation by "giving people reasons to trust us." It was decided at the start, he said, that CEO Richard Wagoner was going to be "our most effective spokesperson."

Harris described 13 elements that are part of the trust-building campaign (full text is at

He described as "bunk" the thought that some PR people feel PR was more exciting, more important and more fun five, ten or 20 years ago.

"This is the 'golden age' of communications," he said.

Internet Edition, September 26, 2007, Page 8




Contrasting corporate and academic attitudes towards PR are on display on page 7 of this issue.

On the one hand we have General Motors veteran Steve Harris describing the new role of "communicators" who are involved not just in "communications" but "every aspect of our companies and their businesses."

Harris, who returned to GM after retiring, said people often ask him if he is "having fun." He doesn't think it's "fun" but he does feel that it's "important."

Yes, it's very serious-building the sales and profits of GM, which has had to contend with lots of bad publicity. At one point he says the industry can't even agree on what to call itself-"Is it PR, communications, public affairs or any one of a handful of others?"

He votes for communications since he also says, "This is the golden age of communications." Almost all major companies have "communications" rather than PR depts.

On the other hand, we have Donald Wright, PR professor at Boston University, saying that employers, based on a survey by the Arthur W. Page Society, are mostly hiring other than PR grads for PR jobs. There's a glut of PR majors and many won't find PR jobs, he says.

He would like more support for PR education and for employers to hire more PR grads. PR education is also buffeted by advice in the Princeton Review (not part of the University) that "a broad education" is the "best preparation" for PR. The Review says "communications" is the eighth most popular major. Critics say "communications" is just an "administrative convenience" and not a "real subject" and that those who carry such a degree through life will be met with rolling eyeballs if they mention it.

What is PR these days? It's mostly sales and marketing--helping a company to define itself and then spreading that definition among employees and then the market. This is a very serious, numbers-oriented undertaking.

The ad/PR business used to be a lot more light-hearted and informal and even "fun," as the AMC "Mad Men" TV series is portraying it. Drinking, smoking, sexual adventures and jollity abound in the series. Adman Jerry Della Femina told an 8/27 New York Post article on the series that "Investment bankers invaded [Madison Ave.] and it went from being a business of fun to being a business of money and that changes everything."

On the subject of PR education (or other vocational courses in college), the Sept. 16 New York Times Book Review had a lengthy piece on author Allan Bloom (“The Closing of the American Mind”) which explores his claim that colleges have been "dumbed down" by an invasion of business and other courses that "credential" grads rather than provide "four years of intellectual freedom" in which they explore new ideas.

He also says colleges have been politicized in terms of ethnic, gender and class identity.

PR professors argue that a PR major only involves one year of PR-related courses and the other three are reserved for liberal arts. PR courses are also a form of liberal arts-training, they say. This argument needs to be put on and promulgated to employers. A lot of "PR for PR" needs to be done.

But who is to do it? The PR Society, with $11.4 million in revenues, has not a single experienced PR pro on its 55-member staff. VP-PR Janet Troy arrived in 2004 confessing she was "clueless" about PRS. New PR appointee Joe DeRupo, from the Coffee Assn., was not even a member of PRS. The staff has only two PRS members. There can be no "PR for PR" program if veteran PR people can't work at h.q. The solos who dominate the board and who become president or chair don't have the time for "PR for PR." PRS is a hospital without doctors, a kitchen without cooks.

The Oct. 20 Assembly in Philadelphia is the time and place for delegates and regular members to declare their "independence" from staff and national leaders. PR is a serious business these days and it's time the delegates put aside the fluff (such as re-writing the frothy "Strategic Plan") and took up serious issues such as allowing local chapter membership; demanding that senior members join the staff as departures occur (reportedly 15 so far this year including veteran Gale Spreter who sold ads and conference exhibits); eliminating the APR rule for board/officer posts; keeping the Assembly in continuous session; dropping the three-year term limits; demand leaders admit staff costs for the annual conference are close to $2 million and not below $200K as claimed; demand printing of the "phone book" of members be resumed, and demand a "blog" or bulletin board on the PRS website so members can trade opinions. This year's candidates (Mike Cherenson, Rosanna Fiske, Mary Barber, Kathy Hubbell, Dave Imre and Phil Tate) refused to discuss any of these issues or any questions.

PRS, desperate for candidates for the board, wants to squeeze the ten districts into five "regions" (Texas would go into the "Midwest" region and West Virginia into "Northeast"). This was rejected twice by a large margin last year and one delegate on a teleconference Sept. 18 shouted "I'm not voting for that, Dave," when Dave Rickey brought up the subject. Leaders are pulling their usual tricks to block Assembly discussion including scheduling an entire morning of speeches by themselves followed by splitting up the Assembly into "buzz groups" for 1.5 hours after lunch. As another diversion, they proposed (at the last minute) a re-writing of the entire bylaws, which could touch off lengthy discussion. Last year, the leaders came up with nine other bylaw changes to distract attention from the Central Michigan proposal that would have made the Assembly the "chief policy-making body" of the Society. PRS leaders demand "a place at the management table" for PR.

But how are they behaving when they're the only people "at their own table?" Are they setting a good example for the industry?

--Jack O'Dwyer


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