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Internet Edition, November 14, 2007, Page 1


California’s state-backed entity set up to distribute funds for stem cell research has issued a six-figure RFP for state, national and global public information and communications work.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is backed by $3 billion in bonds and distributes funds via an independent citizens’ oversight committee, which plans to dole out nearly $300M each year over the next decade. The Institute has issued an RFP for a firm to handle its public information needs for the next year with a budget capped at $300K. The work includes a full media relations program, strategic counsel, outreach to patient advocacy and health organizations, and internal communications.

The CIRM wants a firm steeped in education and advocacy for scientific and medical research, public funding and related topics.

Proposals are due Nov. 30. Point of contact is Melissa King (415/396-9119).


Burson-Marsteller is repping Spin Master Toys, which is the center of the Aqua Dots/ 'date rape drug' toy crisis.

The toy beads contain a chemical that when swallowed metabolizes into the date rape drug.

China has frozen the export of Aqua Dots beads following recall of the toy in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Government officials say they "sealed" up the Shenzhen plant that produced the small multi-colored beads the stick together when sprayed with water.

Nine American children have been sickened after eating the dots. The toy was sold in 40 countries, and was once touted as a "hot" holiday item by Wal-Mart.

A B-M staffer told O'Dwyer's that the WPP unit's New York and Washington offices are involved in the Aqua Dots story with support from other offices in the network. Marc Ambinder, who blogs for the Atlantic Monthly, broke the B-M/Aqua Dots story.

Don Baer, a former senior advisor to President Clinton, has joined Burson-Marsteller and its Penn, Schoen and Berland unit in the roles of vice chairman and chairman, respectively.

Baer is based in Washington, D.C., and advises clients at both units, reporting to Mark Penn. He has been senior VP of strategy and development at Discovery Channel parent Discovery Communications and is considered an expert in helping companies extend their brands in the digital sphere.


Monitor Clipper Partners has pumped a $30M investment into W2 Group, the Waltham, Mass.-based digital marketing firm that is headed by Larry Weber.

The former Weber Shandwick chief is earmarking proceeds to expand operations of its Racepoint Group (PR) and Digital Influence Group (social media) units plus to bankroll acquisitions.

Weber plans to build out marketing services in categories such as community building, social networking, content/Web 2.0 publishing, mobile, online analytics, and domain-specific services such as healthcare.

He told the Boston Globe that MCP has made a long-term commitment of more than $100M to W2 Group in return for an equity stake.

Weber says W2 Group will generate $20M in revenues this year, earning about $4M. His goal is to build W2 Group into a $300M entity within five years. It has worked for Sony, eHarmony, One Laptop Per Child, AMD, Genzyme and AOL/Third Screen.

Monitor is a private equity firm that manages $1.5B in capital.


Omnicom stock on 11/12 hit $45.84, a 52-week low, in the aftermath of a Nov. 7 downgrade from “buy” to “sell” by Banc of America Securities. They are now at $46.87.

Analyst Joe Arns cut OMC because of an anticipated slowdown in advertising spending in `08. He projects 3.9 percent growth in marketing expenditures vs. 5.4 percent this year. That `08 projection is the lowest growth rate since the 3.8 percent mark in `02.

Arns, who has a $48 price target on OMC, also is concerned that creativity has slipped in its DDB advertising network following the `05 retirement of creative guru Keith Reinhard. He notes that Subaru shifted its $150M ad account to Interpublic’s Carmichael Lynch without a review. Also, DDB has not had a $100M win this year.


A second PR head has rolled in the FEMA “fake news conference” flap-that of Aaron Walker, FEMA press secretary, who has taken a job at an undisclosed PR firm in Utah.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Harvey Johnson, No. 2 under administrator David Paulison, knew that FEMA staffers were asking him questions at the conference; he referred to them by name.

(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, November 14, 2007, Page 2


Abelson Group has won a competitive RFP process to develop a consumer awareness group for the trade group behind radio frequency identification technologies, or RFID.

The campaign, called “RFID: Safety, Security and Convenience for Everyone,” for AIM Global aims to highlight the benefits of the technology, self-regulation by the RFID industry, and to dispel inaccuracies about the tracking system.

AIM is the 35-year-old trade association for mobile data collection technologies like bar codes, biometrics and RFID. RFID is commonly used to track goods shipped through the supply chain, but expanded uses for animals, food and even humans are being developed. Detractors say expanded use of the technology compromises privacy.

Abelson is charged with a three-pronged effort targeting consumer and trade media, analysts, and grassroots social and new media communities. The firm is also putting together a communications program for state capital cities considering RFID-related legislation.

“It’s mainly focused on large consumer outlets like local, regional and major daily newspapers, and business journals,” said Keith Pillow, VP for Abelson, “targeting a number of different beat reports, whether it be travel or healthcare, to highlight many of the newer consumer-oriented RFID applications.”

Jennifer Abelson, CEO of the firm, noted RFID faces “numerous challenges, including criticism from detractors who fail to acknowledge proven facts about the technology, and choose to sensationalize it instead.”


5W Public Relations is doing PR for the family of wrestler Hulk Hogan whose 17 year-old son has been booked on a wreckless driving charge in Florida. He surrendered to authorities on Nov. 7, and was released on $10K bail.

Police say Nick Bollea was racing his father’s car on Aug. 26 when he hit a curb, spun across two lanes of traffic and slammed into a palm tree, reports the Associated Press.

John Graziano, the 22-year-old passenger, suffered a broken skull and remains comatose.

Adam Handelsman, executive VP at 5W, is handling media inquires on behalf of Bollea’s attorneys.

The family maintains the crash was “not a high-speed accident,” and is saddened that criminal charges have been filed against Bollea “based on a “tragic single car accident.”


FD is counseling AirMedia Group, the China-based digital advertising company that made a splashy public IPO last week.

AirMedia manages an airport and airplane media and advertising network in China, which includes news, weather and entertainment programming. That includes 52 airports in the country and aboard nine airlines. Six-month revenue ended June 30 was $16.7M.

FD is handling the account, including media relations work, in Beijing and New York.


The bi-state commission that oversees transportation and land use issues along the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey is looking for an agency to boost awareness of its role in the region.

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is run by an 18-person board and staffs more than 100 full-time employees. Its operating budget is slated at $25M for 2008.

The 42-year-old Commission wants a marketing, advertising or public relations firm (or team of firms) to develop a “multi-faceted, multi-media public relations campaign” that results in public awareness and builds grassroots support for the entity and its programs.

Proposals are due Nov. 27. The Commission expects to award a one-year contract beginning in February 2008. The RFP can be downloaded from the DVRPC’s website.


Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. is looking for a PR firm to handle an `08 national campaign to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the brewer of authentic German lagers. The Palo Alto-based operation markets draft and bottled beer brewed in accordance with the 1516 German Purity law.

Its restaurant group, offering fare such as Cajun Pasta, New York Strip and Barbecued Salmon, has 24 units in a dozen states plus Washington, D.C.

Founder Dan Gordon wants a PR effort to play up five seasonal promotions of specialty beers and limited time menu offers. He wants to receive a PR proposal at GBBC at 357 East Taylor St., San Jose 95112.

Stephanie Nichols at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, 2001 Riverside Dr., Ste. 3100, Chattanooga, Tenn. 37406 will take either a CD-ROM or hard-copy proposal.


Heelys, the faddish wheeled sneaker company, has hired Edelman in a bid to recover corporate momentum, according to CEO Mike Staffaroni.

He told analysts in a Nov. 7 conference call that Heelys is “enhancing our PR effort by recently hiring Edelman.” He described Edelman as a leading independent PR firm that has represented “many world leading consumer brands.” Its expertise will benefit Heelys as it continues to “grow and evolve our business.”

Staffaroni also told analysts that the company “experienced higher than anticipated levels of order cancellations.” It had to provide retailers “discretionary marketing assistance beyond our original budget, which negatively impacted our gross margins.”

His comments helped send Heelys stock to a $6.30 all-time low. The company went public last December and traded as high at $40.09.

Prior to Edelman, Heelys used SPM Communications and Integrated Corporate Resources for PR and financial communications. SPM said it resigned the account in September but will continue to work on it until the end of the year.

Reader’s Digest put the wheeled sneaker on its 2005 “Best of America” list.

Internet Edition, November 14, 2007, Page 3


Circulation fell at most of the top 25 newspapers, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ latest figures ending Sept. 30.

Of the major dailies, the Philadelphia Inquirer (up 2.31 percent) and USA Today (up 1.04 percent) were the only notable gainers. The New York Times posted a 4.51 percent dip to 1,037,828, while the New York Post sank 3.23 percent to 667,119 subscribers, falling behind its bitter rival, the New York Daily News (-1.7%), which sank to 681,415.

The top five papers are USA Today, Wall Street Journal, N.Y. Times and the Daily News.

The San Diego Union Tribune (-8.5%), Atlanta Journal-Constitution (-9.08%), and Dallas Morning News (-7.78%) were among the hardest hit.


Peggy Northrop, editor-in-chief of Meredith Corp.’s More magazine, has been named U.S. editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest, succeeding Jacqueline Leo, who is stepping down.

Northrop had been at More since April 2004 after serving as EIC of Rodale’s Organic Style.

She also held senior editorial posts at Vogue, Glamour, Redbook, Real Simple and Health.


Conde Nast is closing House & Garden again following the surprise exit of publisher Joe Lagani, winner of CN’s `06 turnaround of the year award.

Charles Townsend, president/CEO of CN Publications, cited the “unexpected departure of the publisher” as the reason to “take a serious look and re-evaluate the title.”

After years of red ink, Townsend said H&G no longer was a “viable business investment for the company.”

H&G was launched in 1901. CN shut it down in `93 and re-launched it in `96. The shutdown will result in 80 job losses. The magazine’s website also is going out of business. H&G had a circulation of more than one million, and 800 advertising pages through the 11 months of this year.

Lagani left for GlamLiving, an online channel from Glam Media, in October.


Jeff Bewkes has officially been designated CEO of Time Warner, assuming command from Dick Parsons on Jan. 1. Parsons will stay on as chairman indefinitely. His employment pact is up at the end of May.

Bewkes, who is COO, is credited with cementing HBO’s role as a leading cable network.

Parsons says Bewkes is expected to bring “new energy and new perspective” to the company.


Associated Press CEO Tom Curley believes newspaper executives need to stop complaining about the state of the business and get busy finding ways to deliver news and information to people the way they want to receive it. “Editors need to stop pining for the old world and intensify the leading to the new one,” he told a fundraising dinner for the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship.

Newspaper executives need to drop their “we-know-best” gatekeeper mentality and understand that readers want to “captain their newspaper ships.”


A federal judge has tossed part of Johnson & Johnson’s lawsuit lodged against the American Red Cross over the use of the Red Cross emblem.

Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed J&J’s claim that the charity had promised not to sell first aid, health, safety and emergency preparedness products with the Red Cross logo.

J&J filed its suit against ARC three months ago. The $53B drug giant demanding that ARC stop the licensing program, destroy inventory of the accused products, fork over cash received from the sale of the goods and pay punitive damages plus legal fees.

Rakoff’s ruling concerns a portion of the suit. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York is expected to hear the full case early next year.

Mark Everson, CEO of ARC, hopes Rakoff’s Nov. 5 ruling will encourage J&J to drop its lawsuit so the non-profit can “put this distraction” behind it.


Julie Roehm has dropped her wrongful dismissal suit against Wal-Mart because pursuing the case has "become more difficult and financially draining," according to a statement distributed by her PR firm, Sitrick & Co.

The marketing communications wiz hired to inject sizzle into the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer has accepted "Wal-Mart’s decision to terminate her employment." She is not receiving any money or other compensation to settle the case.

Roehm’s decision also is based on information that allegations she made against Minnesota investor Irwin Jacobs and Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott are false.

She had alleged Scott received boats and a "large pink diamond" at a steep discount from companies controlled by Jacobs in return for Wal-Mart contracts.

Jacobs, who is happy that Roehm has "finally come to her senses," has dropped his defamation suit against her. Wal-Mart is ending legal claims against Roehm, who is happy to "move on."


The Council on American-Islamic Relations has launched a media outreach to dispel what it considers "inaccuracies" reported about the religion in the U.S. media.

The Washington, D.C.-based group is distributing copies of "American Muslims: A Journalist's Guide to Understanding of Islam and Muslims."

CAIRN believes it is the duty of all American Muslims to work to achieve more accurate and balanced information in the press about Islam and its followers.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, November 14, 2007, Page 4


The Bancroft family, which is selling Dow Jones & Co. to News Corp., has selected Natalie Bancroft, a 27-year-old opera singer with no business experience, to be its representative on the company’s board.

The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 7) reported that “internal discussions” about who to select to sit on the board were “almost as rancorous as family members endured while deciding whether to sell Dow Jones.”

Said the Bancroft family lawyer, Michael Elefante: “I don’t think we’ve distinguished ourselves in how we handled this.”

Crawford Hill, a family member, called the episode a sad and pathetic fiasco. “No wonder we lost Dow Jones,” he said in an email to family members.

Bancroft believes she has the “capacity to handle” the board seat. She will serve with luminaries such as News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, Spain’s former president Jose Maria Aznar, Rothschild Investment director Andrew Knight, J.P. Morgan Chase/Australia chief Rod Eddington and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers partner Tom Perkins.

Murdoch believes the opera singer will make a fine director. Dow Jones shareholders will vote on the News Corp. acquisition on Dec. 13.


Levick Strategic Communications has added David Bartlett, one-time president of the Radio-Television News Directors Assn., as senior VP.

Bartlett will focus on media training for the Washington, D.C.-based “high-stakes” crisis/PA shop.

His resume includes VP-news & programming for NBC Radio, managing editor at Metromedia TV News, director of news and English broadcasts for Voice of America, and director of global news services for WorldSpace.

Bartlett handled media training and presentation coaching duties at Rowan & Blewitt, which recently closed.


Whole Foods has banned its CEO John Mackey and other senior executives from posting industry-related thoughts on the Internet.

The move follows this summer’s debacle that featured an anonymous Mackey trashing competitors and talking up WF stock.

The new code of conduct covers directors, corporate executives and regional VPs. It bans staffers from commenting on third-party websites to “avoid the actual and perceived improper use of company information, and to avoid any impression that statements are being made on behalf of the company.”

It also bars anonymous postings either under a screen name or “communicating through another person.”

WF conducted an internal probe of Mackey’s postings, and pledged continued support to the company’s co-founder. The Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting its own probe.


Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who has been called "snake oil peddler," "smug," "arrogant," "intolerant," and a "doofus" by the Philadelphia Inquirer penned his first every other week column for the Inky on Nov. 8.

In his kick-off piece, hard-right Santorum notes that he gets little love in the City of Brotherly Love, which him 20 percent of its votes in his big loss to Democrat Bob Casey in `06.

Santorum vows to be more than just a "token voice of the great unwashed." He wants to speak for the "thousands of people who either read this section of the paper only as a source of enemy intel or don't read it because it is bad for their blood pressure."

Santorum calls the "conservative movement" rudderless, and he hopes to restore America's confidence in it.

Once considered one of the most polarizing figures in the Senate, Santorum now is singing a different tune. "Some have so personalized their contempt for the opposing view that they can no longer view issues with any sense of inquiry or objectivity."

Briefs _____________________________ has launched an expanded and enhanced version of its technology section overhauling its look and adding new content providers IDG Media Brands and to contribute reporting. Content feeds are provided by, a feed aggregator owned by the Times Company that monitors blog postings and the online conversations they inspire. has also added an environmental blog called Dot Earth, written by science reporter Andrew Revkin with other contributors.

The New York Daily News has become the largest paper to join Yahoo!’s Newspaper Consortium. The paper will offer Yahoo content like display advertising and help wanted ads. It is the 21st newspaper company to sign onto the network.

Forbes Media, parent of has acquired Clipmarks, a web browser add-on that enables people to clip and share text and other content from web pages. The application lets users take text, images and videos from pages, and then save, blog, e-mail and print what they clip. Forbes also said last week that it acquired a 51% stake in, a political Web site. The founders will remain owners and management.

Cary Barbor, diet, health and fitness editor at Hearst’s Quick and Simple, to More magazine, as health director.

She takes over for Stephanie Young, who left the Meredith magazine for the pre-med program at Columbia Univ. but will continue as a contributor.

Barbor has written for and edited Meredith titles like Fitness (health and psychology editor), Shape, Health and Psychology Today.

She is based in New York.

Internet Edition, November 14, 2007, Page 5


Text 100 has set up a PR unit to Mumbai, India, for clients to have 24/7 access to services and save money on time-intensive activities.

The firm said its Global Resource Optimization division will be useful for budget-cutting because the “cost of business in India is considerably lower than most markets.”

Text CEO Aedhmar Hynes said the unit will “significantly” improve the firm’s “efficiency and quality of delivery.”

The GRO center handles account administration, content (case studies, opinion articles), and secondary research support.

Text’s Indian team has previously worked with Cisco, Lenovo and Microsoft. The firm said several clients have adopted the model since it was internally tested earlier this year.

BRIEFS: GolinHarris has set up a sustainability practice led by central region managing director Scott Farrell and D.C. managing director Lane Bailey. The practice, called Green, has GH leaders in several major markets around the world. The firm said it grew out of existing work on sustainability issues like energy and security, climate change and carbon offsets. ...Hill & Knowlton has taken over responsibility for sister WPP agency GCI/Grey Group’s office in Prague. Jindrich Lacko and Roman Parik co-manage the operation, now known as GCI/Hill & Knowlton. H&K’s Mediterranean region head Cesare Valli said the Czech Republic is experiencing “tremendous” growth “with prospects of entering the Euro zone in five years time.” ...The Hastings Group, Washington, D.C., has teamed with Opinion Research Corp. of Princeton, N.J., to offer a polling/PR product for organization and companies with “limited or no dedicated PR resources.” Called PR Plus, the service produces media-targeted surveys from concept through post-news event follow-up, including tracking, news releases, and a detailed report of findings. A version with fewer options is also available. ...M Booth & Associates, New York, has created a division for online campaigns led by VP Josh Rosenberg. The practice, called FirstWorldDigital, focuses on outlets and tactics like online video, mobile applications, games, blogs and SEO. Rosenberg was previously VP in the firm’s consumer and travel/lifestyle areas. He joined the firm in 2001 from Cone. ...Michael A. Burns & Associates, Dallas, has aligned with Internet marketing firm Yellow7 Interactive to handle online PR campaigns, especially social media. Yellow7 is based in Little Elm, Texas. ...The Marcus Group, Little Falls, N.J., won three Jasper Awards for its work with clients New York-Presbyterian Hospital, The Provident Bank and LibertyHealth System from the Jersey Shore Public Relations and Advertising Association. A profile of the hospital’s president and CEO that was the lead feature in the New York Times’ Sunday business page landed a silver award. The firm’s media kit for LibertyHealth System also took silver.


Harry Savage, who first went to work for Robert Marston and Assocs., New York, in 1971, died suddenly of a heart attack on Nov. 7. He was senior VP and director of the corporate/financial programs at Marston.

Savage in 1979 became a corporate VP of Norton Simon, whose operating units included Hunt-Wesson Foods, Avis, Canada Dry and Max Factor. He headed global PR and chaired the corporate contributions committee. He rejoined Marston in 1994 and has worked for a number of major clients including Albertsons, Honeywell, Dial Corp., and Santa Fe Energy.

His early career began in 1958 and included serving as the business editor and columnist of the Wichita Eagle. He was financial news editor of the former New York Journal-American from 1962 until its merger into the World-Journal-Tribune in 1966.

Surviving are his wife, Monica Gail, and children Mary Elizabeth, David and Michael; stepchildren William and Patrick Judge, and sisters Nancy Savage and Honora Willcutts.

NEW ACCOUNTS _______________________________

New York Area

MWW Group, New York/Iceland Naturally, part of the Icelandic Tourist Board and Overseas Business Service, a campaign touting economic development and sustainable energy sectors in the country.

Rubenstein PR, New York/Designer Apartment Collection, for launch of the Queens condo complex; SSJ Development, to promote the Riviera Projects in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and Miraval Living, for a Manhattan condo conversion.

5W PR, New York/, social network and entertainment site; Vividas, video streaming, and SpinVox, “voice-to-screen” messaging.
Michael Rogers PR, New York/Lord & Berry, Italian cosmetics line, for PR.

Thomas PR, Melville, N.Y./Visan, creator of the RocketLife web photo application, as AOR.

Harrison Leifer DiMarco, Rockville Centre, N.Y./Harvey Electronics, as AOR for advertising.


Bell Pottinger USA, Boston/Seven Seas, European health supplements, for PR focused on the Caribbean.

Fleishman-Hillard, Washington, D.C./The Red Hat Society, 10-year-old social network for women “approaching 50 and beyond,” for PR via the firm’s FH Boom practice.

Imre Communications, Baltimore/Fiber Composites, for brand positioning, PR, media planning, creative and digital services to support the fiberon deck and railing brand.

Carabiner Communications, Atlanta/Agent Vi, video analytics software; Fintura, marketing for credit cards, student loans and home equity products, and Marshal, email and ‘Net security.


Mayo Communications, Los Angeles/Everyone Loves Buttons, promotional button maker licensing Fred Thompson ‘08 merchandise, and H20 Productions, for PR for its half-hour drama “Whittaker Bay.”

Internet Edition, November 14, 2007, Page 6


dna13, a system built so that the largest companies can track 50 to 100 issues in media worldwide (including the blogosphere), starts gathering data before reporters have started to write their stories.

PR pros using the system log in all incoming and outgoing press calls and e-mails including their time and nature. This data is combined with real time mentions in media, blogs, and any events or news breaks related to the subject. Issues that have caught the attention of reporters, even before stories are filed, are monitored by the system.

"We believe this closes an important gap in the monitoring of issues," says Chris Johnson, CEO of the six-year-old Ottawa-based company, which also has offices in New York and Atlanta. Clients can no longer wait for clips to come in 24 hours later, he says. "You want to identify any inaccuracies immediately to prevent pickup by other media."

With dna, companies are able to see broadcast and print mentions shortly after they occur and watch how promptly press calls are returned and the nature of the responses. Pitches that don't win press attention are also tracked so that the company can change the pitch or put more PR people on the campaign.

If an issue pops up in one part of the world while other parts are quiet, attention of the PR staff and executives can be shifted to the "hot spot," says Johnson.

Recording phone calls is illegal in many states, he notes, but PR staff can enter the gist of the conversations into dna13, which are then available worldwide to key contacts in the company.

Press Contacts Largely Electronic

Phone and e-mail contacts with the press have largely replaced face-to-face meetings so that tracking press contacts has become much more measurable, he said. "There's a giant thirst for real time information, especially among public companies whose stock might be affected by news," he adds.

Technology has made possible the monitoring of hundreds of broadcast TV channels, traditional print outlets, internet sites and millions of blog feeds, he notes. Clients of dna13 posted on the company website include the National Commercial Bank, the largest bank in Saudia Arabia; Aegon, a major global insurance company whose units include the Transamerica insurance and investment group; Starbucks Coffee Co.; Rio Tinto Alcan, worldwide aluminum producer, and Fidelity Investments.

Social media are not likely to replace traditional media but they are a "force to be reckoned with," says dna literature. More than 175,000 new blogs are being created daily and their total is now in the tens of millions.

Asked about the origin of "dna13," Andy Church, VP of marketing, says the number 13 signifies renewal in some circles and has many "positive connotations that offset the superstitious ones." The U.S. had 13 original colonies, its original flag had 13 stripes and there were 13 signers of the Declaration of Independence, he notes.

"We combined 13 with dna since we bring renewal to the corporate communications process," he said.



Roger Ardan, senior VP and head of Edelman’s legal and professional services group, to Gibbs & Soell, New York, as VP and head of its professional/financial services group.

Maureen Miller, an A/E for Dorland Global PR, to JFK Communications, Princeton, as a senior A/E for the healthcare firm. She handles Eisai and Cytogen.

Jim Healy, A/D for Porter Novelli, to Lipman Hearne, Washington, D.C., as senior VP. Healy headed PBS, Propane Education & Research Council, and Nextel Communications at the firm. The firm has also added three VPs: Lydia Pelliccia, former VP at Widmeyer Communications; Shelley Goode, VP for external affairs at the National Children’s Museum, who is VP of philanthropic marketing, and Pete Boyle, ex-VP/director of higher education solutions at Widmeyer.

James Jaye, corporate manager, business communications, Parker Hannifin, to Nordson Corp., Westlake, Ohio, as director of corporate comms. for the manufacturing equipment maker.

Curt McAllister departs John Bailey & Associates for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Detroit, as product news manager for Midwest corporate communications.

Melissa Daar, California policy and field director for People for the American Way, to Full Court Press, Oakland, Calif., as a senior VP. She was previously with Working Assets and the ACLU.

Maggie Watkins, VP of advancement and alumni relations, National University, to LECG, Emeryville, Calif., expert services and economic advisory firm, as director of marketing and communications.


Karen Strauss to chief innovation officer, Ketchum, New York. In the newly created post, she oversees the firm’s process for identifying new communications products and services.

Mack Bradley to executive VP, The Vandiver Group, St. Louis. He joined the firm in 1996. Andrew Lake has been upped to senior team leader after two years with TVG.

Kelly Bright, Jung Choi, Laura Mayes and Lesa Sorrentino to VPs, Marion, Montgomery, Houston. Bright oversees operations; Jung Choi heads creative services, Laura Mayes guides PR, and Sorrentino heads account services.


Rise Birnbaum, who heads broadcast PR company Z Communications Co. in Bethesda, Md., is being honored as one of the Washington Business Journal’s 2007 “Women Who Mean Business.” Finalists were nominated by industry peers and selected by Washington Business Journal editors. The former ABC network correspondent founded zcomm in 1989.

Kristin Wood, an A/C for Cook & Schmid, was among the 18 recipients of PR Student Society’s National Gold Key Award, the group’s highest honor. The Key was given to the San Diego State Univ. grad for academic excellence, Society leadership and her internship with C&S.

Internet Edition, November 14, 2007, Page 7

SECOND PR PRO LEAVES (cont’d from page 1)

Earlier, FEMA PR head John Philbin took blame for the mishap although he said he was "unaware before the briefing that reporters had not been given adequate time to arrive…"

Philbin had already quit his post at FEMA on Oct. 12 to join the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Oct. 25. But ODNI then said it would not hire him.

The Post said the Homeland Security Dept., headed by Secretary Michael Chertoff, had ordered FEMA officials to hold the Oct. 23 press conference. Paulison himself was not available at the conference for questioning either in person or via phone.

Philbin said he did not "advise, authorize or approve" of the conference as it was conducted. He said he arrived at the briefing just as it was starting and was unaware that reporters would not be present and that a listen-only phone line had been set up for them.

Russ Knocke, lead press secretary for Chertoff, who was sent to investigate, said there was "a significant lack of leadership" in FEMA's external affairs.

Paulison has said Johnson "didn't know everyone in the room" at the televised conference, which took place in FEMA's Washington, D.C., offices.

Paulison said he had "tremendous confidence" in Johnson who has worked "an ungodly amount of hours" in rebuilding the agency.

Reporters described the staff questions at the "fake" conference as "softballs" that included "Are you happy with FEMA's response so far?" and "What lessons learned from Katrina have been applied?"

Paulison Began as Firefighter

Paulison, according to his official biography, has held "a number of senior positions within the federal government" since 2001 after a 35-year career as a firefighter. A native of Miami, he began as a rescue firefighter and rose to fire chief of Miami-Dade.

His federal positions include director of the Preparedness Division, Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate and U.S. Fire Administrator. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2006 as director of FEMA. With the 2007 reorganization of FEMA, he continues to lead it as administrator.


PR pros must accept the internet-"the great equalizer," and give up a measure of control, Beth Comstock, president, NBC Universal Integrated Media, told 270 on Nov. 8 at the Institute for PR dinner at the Yale Club, New York.

"Those trying to 'control the message' need to give it up-or at least be willing to share control," she said.

Admitting that some in the audience will not like to hear it, she nevertheless said she believes that "PR people are, at the core, salespeople…being a great salesperson, like being a great communicator, is all about listening to people and delivering a solution that meets a need."

Her training as a communicator turned out to be "incredibly invaluable" when she switched to marketing, she said, "because we're totally focused on figuring out early what's going on outside the company." She had switched from PR to head marketing while at parent General Electric.

Foster Lauds Personal Relationships

Larry Foster, retired head of PR at Johnson & Johnson, who received the Alexander Hamilton Medal for lifetime PR achievement, said PR pros should not let technology block them from developing "better long-term personal relationships that are so critical to success in PR."

He asked, "How many people have you been communicating with online for years, and yet have never once met face to face?"

Success in PR "relies importantly on developing trust between two people and two organizations," he said, noting that this includes relationships between PR people and the press.

Comstock Raps New York Post

The NBC executive started her speech by poking fun at New York Post reporter Peter Lauria who on Sept. 5 said her "tumultuous two years at NBC Universal are coming to an end."

He wrote that NBC's $600M purchase of iVillage in 2006 was "championed" by Comstock but it is "largely viewed as an overpriced bust."

The iVillage deal and her "poor decision to launch a TV show tied to the brand, led executives to question her ability to succeed" at NBC, wrote Lauria, who speculated she would be returned to the parent. The Post has never retracted the story.

Comstock on Nov. 8 that iVillage is "growing both traffic and revenue.", she said, "is having incredible growth from streaming long-form TV." Goal is to reach $1 billion in digital businesses by 2009.

Comstock sees her role as an "integrator, one who has to pull different pieces together-trends, teams, technologies-and create new value. Understanding the value of trends and audiences, weaving together meaningful stories, being good at integration-those are skills I learned in PR."

In her early days in PR, she said, "I often wrapped myself in a shield called 'control,’ enrobed in an illusion, or rather delusion-that I could actually command an outcome. After all, that's what we attempt to do as good communicators, right?"

But she said that consumers now want more control, "sometimes even of the story itself…or at the very least to feel they can participate in it's unfolding."

She now feels that "you have to give it up (control) if you're going to move things forward."

Digital technology has become "the great equalizer," she said. She urged PR people not to "head for the bunker" when their positions are "threatened" but to "get out of the bunker…be a tiger."

Technology is Dominant—Foster

Personal relationships "took most of our time 50 years ago," said Foster, but now there is reliance on computers, Blackberries, Palms, faxes, copiers, videotapes, DVDs, camcorder, cell phones and IPhones. I do know that success in PR relies importantly on developing trust between two people, or two organizations," he said. "I contend that the best way to generate trust is through a personal relationship-not by e-mail."

Internet Edition, November 14, 2007, Page 8




John Philbin, late of FEMA, is fighting for his PR life (page one).

His bosses and even his professional assn. (PR Society) egged on the mob before he could get a word out in his defense about the “fake” press briefing. What most disappoints him about this affair is the “rush to judgment,” he said.

Another casualty is press secretary Aaron Walker, who resigned to join a PR firm in Utah. A FEMA probe found there was a “significant lack of leadership” in the agency’s PA. Yes, there is. It traces to administrator David Paulison and his deputy, Harvey Johnson. Johnson knew FEMA staffers were tossing “softball” questions at him such as “Are you happy with FEMA’s response so far?” (to the California wildfires) because he referred to the staffers by name in the televised conference.

Paulison himself should have been on this call, either in person or by phone.

The PA “culture” at FEMA was to protect the bosses from wide-open questioning by a roomful of reporters. FEMA did not have “press conferences” but rather had “press briefings” on specific subjects when and if the bosses wanted one.

The bosses are trying to dump the blame on PR when it rests with them. PR pros such as Philbin and Walker are only too ready to put their necks on the chopping block. There are a lot of lessons here on how PR is being practiced these days and we hope PR and communications majors are watching. Real PR is far different from the definition of “social work” and “public service” used by academia.

Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff doesn’t look too good here, either. He blasted the ill-fated conference as “one of the dumbest things” he had ever heard of and promised “disciplinary action” before investigations were made.

Paulison was a career firefighter in Miami/Dade until 2001 when President Bush won the election. Florida’s disputed vote was decisive.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, headed by Michael McConnell, pulled out the welcome mat for Philbin after internally announcing Philbin would join ODNI.

We started investigating the incident on Saturday, Nov. 3 when we saw 11 letters on the subject in Tactics/online of the PR Society, whose story was dated Oct. 30. Most condemned not only the conference but Philbin himself. Two of the postings were by Cassandra Stalzer, PA specialist, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Alaska (who did not identify herself except by name) who said she was “disheartened” that PRS could not revoke Philbin’s APR for “such an egregious violation of the Society’s Code of Ethics.”

She also pointed out that Philbin holds a Ph.D.

Checking the Tactics story Nov. 11, we found the two postings by Stalzer had been removed and also one by Gwyn Walcoff that referred to Stalzer’s postings. Walcoff, chair of National Capital’s ethics committee, wanted to know if an “official complaint” had been made about Philbin and whether “PRS has the mitigating facts we seek to guide our response?”

PRS, which only allows members to post comments on Tactics/online, should require that they supply their titles and employers.

We started looking for Philbin on Monday, Nov. 5 and reached him by telephone.

No one from PRS had ever called him to check his side. Philbin, after talking with us, then tried to reach Rhoda Weiss, chair of PRS and its only authorized spokesperson. His call was returned by PR staffer Joe DeRupo who said Weiss was traveling and would talk to him on Nov. 12 (which would be 13 days after the Oct. 30 story in Tactics/online. Philbin did not get loyalty from his own professional association.

PR pros, who are very loyal to their employers and clients, have to wonder how loyal their employers and clients will be to them should a crisis occur.

Two speeches to the Institute for PR (page 7) urged PR to go backwards and we applaud that.

Fifty-year PR veteran Larry Foster, formerly of Johnson & Johnson, urged PR pros to cut back on the electronic hardware and return to putting emphasis on personal relationships including those with reporters.

NBC’s Beth Comstock, who went from PR to marketing, said PR people must stop trying to “control” information, especially in the age of the internet. Go back to “sharing control,” she said. Comstock also said that PR people, “at the core, are salespeople.”

Many have forgotten that including the bedrock principle of sales that you must “sell yourself before you can sell anything.” A couple of decades ago, PR pros worked very hard at building the “personal relationships” to which Foster referred. If PR pros admitted that they are really “salespeople,” they could demand the high salaries salespeople make.

Face-to-face PR/press encounters are rare now. Virtually all the press luncheons, breakfasts and cocktail parties of companies and PR firms in New York have long since disappeared. Even combined holiday parties by New York PR groups fell by the wayside years ago.

President Bush is an example of someone who has “gone back” to old-style press relations. During his first four years he had only 16 solo press conferences vs. 43 for Clinton and 84 for Bush’s father, causing much criticism.

But he has changed his policy. For the first nine months of 2007, he has had 25 conferences and took questions from reporters in 19 “less-extensive” sessions (study by Towson University’s Martha Kumar).

If PR pros (and their bosses) listen to Comstock and Johnson and follow the lead of President Bush, PR will start being more responsive to the press. However, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus says candidates including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama “have been the most elusive of the Democrats,” avoiding press.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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