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Internet Edition, December 5, 2007, Page 1


Burson-Marsteller works for the “secretive” Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which shocked the financial markets by taking a $7.5B stake in Citigroup.

The New York Times (Nov. 28) pitched the deal as a “coming out” party for the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund with assets of more than $650B.

Abu Dhabi ruler Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who chairs ADIA, had largely been content to “pour money into low-return, low-profile investments” prior to the Citi blockbuster.

B-M took on ADIA in June under a six-month contract worth more than $800K. Its job is to support ADIA’s corporate communications function, pitch the fund as a leading global investor and handle crisis duties. Jim Lake, chairman of B-M’s U.S. public affairs practice, did not return a call about B-M’s role in the Citi deal.

When the deal closes, ADIA will become the largest investor in Citi with a 4.9 percent stake, narrowly edging Saudi Arabia’s Prince Walid bin Talal.


Ame Wadler, who chaired Burson-Marsteller’s global healthcare group and served as chief strategic officer, has moved to MWW Group as executive VP/chief management officer and global health leader.

MWW CEO Michael Kempner calls Wadler a “great addition” to the staff. He says Wadler “created true intellectual capital that elevated brands.”

Wadler, a 25-year PR veteran, is to devise “new thought leadership platforms” for the Interpublic unit, and drive “practice integration across MWW’s 11 full-service office network.

Prior to B-M, Wadler held posts at Edelman, Hill & Knowlton and Lobsenz-Stevens.


Glenn Mahone, former comms. chief for NASA, has moved to defense contractor Aerojet in Washington, D.C., as executive director of strategic communications.

Mahone rose through the ranks at NASA from assistant press secretary during the Clinton Administration to head communications for the space agency and its 300 public affairs staffers during George Bush’s second term. He is credited with overhauling NASA’s communications for the digital age before stepping down in 2005.

Mahone joins Aerojet, a rocket and missile engine maker, from defense contractor Systems Application and Technologies, where he was a VP/mktg. and bizdev.


Jeff Battcher, who joined Delta Air Lines as VP, corporate communications in February, exited Nov. 30.

Battcher, 45, headed internal, external and executive communications for the airline. He was previously at BellSouth for 15 years, rising to VP-CC.

He reported to Delta CEO Gerald Grinstein, who was replaced in September by Richard Anderson.

Delta, meanwhile, has tapped GolinHarris as its China PR firm as the carrier kicks off service from its headquarters city of Atlanta to Shanghai on March 30.

The Interpublic unit will handle festivities surrounding that maiden flight. Delta is pitching the flight as the first-ever link between China and the southeast U.S., a region of more than 65M.

The Delta account will be handled by GH’s Shanghai office, which is headed by Lydia Lee.

A Delta spokesperson said GH edged two other multinationals for the business.


Michael Baroody, who was executive VP at the National Assn. of Manufacturers, has joined Porter Novelli’s Washington office as executive VP for strategic development.

He led NAM’s advocacy, communications and policy efforts, and was a regular guest on network and cable TV shows discussing a range of issues that impact U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.

Baroody also chaired the Asbestos Alliance, an industry coalition working to hammer out a solution to the long-running asbestos litigation crisis.

Prior to NAM, Baroody was assistant secretary for policy at the Labor Dept. and PA director in Ronald Reagan’s White House.

Carolyn Tieger is managing director of PN’s D.C. office.


Gene Weingarten, Washington Post columnist, used his Sunday, Nov. 25 column, which appears on the back page of the Post magazine, to launch his heaviest attack yet against PR and marketing.

Complaining that it takes 15 minutes each day to rid his voicemail of “Did you get my e-mail?” calls, he compared PR pros to the Gaboon viper, a six-foot central African snake with two-inch fangs, the longest of any snake. A bite causes “massive tissue damage, catastrophic internal bleeding, and a slow, shuddering death,” he said.

(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, December 5, 2007, Page 2


The District of Columbia has allocated $150K and issued an RFP for a PR effort to educate citizens about Human Papillomavirus and the effectiveness and risks of the Merck-manufactured vaccine developed to prevent it.

HPV, which is actually a group of viruses, has been closely linked to cervical cancer and venereal disease.

D.C. wants a firm to develop a public education effort and produce town hall meetings in the District wards.

The D.C. council passed a law this year requiring that the parent or guardian of every female child enrolled in sixth grade be required to certify that the child has been immunized or elected to forgo the vaccination. The public education effort requires a campaign to “provide scientifically based information… for the purposes of informing young women and their parents of the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of the vaccine.”

Merck’s Gardasil is the only FDA-approved treatment against HPV. A committee of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services has recommended routine vaccination for girls 11-12. The RFP acknowledges that there is considerable debate within the medical and lay communities about whether to require girls to be vaccinated.

Merck’s PR effort lobbying state legislatures to mandate a Gardasil vaccination program sparked controversy earlier this year before the drug maker pulled the plug on that effort. The drug maker, which has banked more than $1 billion this year in sales of the vaccine, is petitioning the FDA to get the drug approved for women up to 45.

Proposals are due Dec. 4. The RFP can be accessed here:


Los Angeles-based Sitrick and Company has expanded to the Bay Area with a San Francisco office headed by returning partner Lance Ignon.

CEO Michael Sitrick said the firm has often worked for Bay Area clients, but said he wanted to make sure he had the right person to oversee an office there.

Ignon first worked for Sitrick a decade ago as VP and co-head of its IR unit. He recently was VP of corporate affairs at VaxGen, a vaccine maker that has struggled since its $900M federal contract to produce an anthrax vaccine was canceled.

Ignon was also director of corporate comms. for Tenet Healthcare Corp., and both VaxGen and Tenet are Sitrick clients. He started out in journalism as a foreign correspondent for Bloomberg, finance editor for Investor’s Business Daily and a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Ignon said he is recruiting for the new office. Associate-level employees with journalism backgrounds can send their resumes to him at [email protected].

Carlyle Group, one of the top private equity funds, has hired Dutko Worldwide for advice on investments in the healthcare arena. Laine Glisson, press secretary to former Sen. John Breaux, is on the Dutko team.


The Alaska Railroad Corporation, which runs a profitable transit business for mining and passenger transport in The Last Frontier, has launched a search for a “full-service PR agency” to guide its communications and marketing efforts.

The ARC, which carries about 500K passengers a year in addition to its lucrative freight and real estate business, is state-owned but is incorporated and self-sustaining without state subsidies. It runs 651 miles of track from Seward in the south to Fairbanks in central Alaska. Revenues for 2006 were $149M with a $10M net. The railroad is receiving federal dollars for an aggressive capital program expanding and rebuilding across the state.

The PR work, according to an RFP, includes annual reports, press releases, media kits, government relations, employee communications (ARC has nearly 750 on staff), collateral and advertising.

Tim Thompson is manager of external affairs for the railroad.

President Woodrow Wilson created a commission to devise a route for the railroad in 1914 seeing it as key for mining and military purposes. President Warren Harding drove the golden spike in 1923 to complete it. The state bought the railroad from the federal government in 1985 for $22M.


Hasbro has hired Duberstein Group to handle safety, manufacturing and trade matters at the nation’s No. 2 toymaker behind Mattel.

Those issues include lead in paint used on toys, a topic that has received widespread coverage following various product recalls of products made in China.

Hasbro CEO Al Verrecchia has posted a letter to “parents and caregivers” on his company’s site in which he says paints used on Hasbro toys are tested and inspected before they are applied on the products.

The firm also makes unannounced inspection trips to its factories in the U.S. and Ireland plus vendors in China.

Hasbro, according to Verrecchia, maintains a “team of Hasbro quality control engineers and inspectors based in Hong Kong and China.” They are part of Hasbro’s “U.S. based global quality assurance team, and often present on the factory floors of our vendors to confirm the quality and safety of our products.”

Ken Duberstein, former chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan, heads Hasbro’s lobbying team. He is joined by DG president Michael Berman, an aide to former VP Walter Mondale, and Eric Ueland, who was an advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Hasbro’s line-up includes “G.I. Joe,” who will star in a $170M Paramount Pictures production in `09; “Mr. Potato Head;” “Littlest Pet Shop;” plus classic board games (“Monopoly,” “Battleship” and “Stratego”).

5W PR has five offices and 10 cubicles available for rent with a short-term commitment in New York at 1120 6th Avenue in the Hippodrome Building.

The firm recently moved to a larger space. Info: [email protected] or 212/999-5585.

Internet Edition, December 5, 2007, Page 3


The New York Times is making newsroom cuts for the “first time in recent memory,” according to a staff memo from Bill Keller, executive editor.

He notified the Newspaper Guild that a dozen support jobs are being eliminated now.

Some “management jobs in administrative areas” are set to go in `08, as the newsroom is poised to help the publisher “meet the difficult financial challenges facing our industry.”

Keller’s goal is to avoid the “drastic staff cutbacks” that have hammered other newsrooms.

His Nov. 28 memo came the same day that Banc of America Securities analyst Joe Arns put a “sell” rating on the New York Times Co. stock. He slashed his target price to $14 from $21 (NYTC is trading at $16.70).

Arns believes the “intrinsic value” of the stock is greater than $14, but that value won’t be realized under the current advertising down cycle bottoms out.

Though the Times’ reliance on “luxury categories” bodes well for the stock, Arns notes that the upscale segment is “far from recession proof.”

The stock is vulnerable to a meltdown on Wall Street since half of its ad revenues comes from New York and Boston (Boston Globe).

Arns had written that the Times “union-heavy employee base” (44 percent of workers hold union cards) is an “impediment to outsourcing and consolidation.”

Management however recently assured Arns that its good ties with unions will allow the company to “scale back its cost base as appropriate.”

Arns sees a golden opportunity for the NYT to monetize its worldwide online readership. He points out that less than 20 percent of the company’s online ad revenues comes from outside the U.S. (the bulk from Canada).

No Worries About Rupe

News Corp.’s impending takeover of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of Wall Street Journal, will not do much damage to the NYT, according to Arns.

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. CEO, has promised to add more international, national, arts and fashion news to the pages of the WSJ. He was asked at a recent investor conference if he wanted to “kill” the Times. “That would be nice,” Murdoch responded.

Arns is “skeptical” that the WSJ can “steal many readers and advertisers in the near term.” He also believes the Times would retaliate against the WSJ by stepping up its business news coverage.

The BoA analyst raised the prospect of an alliance between the Financial Times, a unit of U.K.-based Pearson, and the NYT.

Pearson has been under pressure from investors to boost returns or divest the FT.

A partnership between FT and NYT would be a “remarkable counterweight to a general interest WSJ,” in Arns’ view.

Harwood covers politics

John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and a veteran D.C. reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal, will join the New York Times as a political writer at the end of the year.

Harwood will contribute in a part-time role in print and online similar to his Journal/CNBC Washington coverage. He appears regularly on political affairs TV programs.

Harwood joined the Journal in 1991 as White House correspondent and later rose to political editor after working for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida and D.C.


Charlie Koones is leaving the president and publisher posts at Variety on March 1. The 17-year Variety veteran wants to pursue other opportunities in media and entertainment.

Neil Stiles, managing director at Reed Business Information in the U.K., will assume Koones’ job.

Koones, 45, is credited with the growth of Variety’s digital arm that was launched nine years ago.

He also forged a syndication partnership for the entertainment trade pub with MSN.

Peter Bart, Variety’s powerful editor-in-chief, said Koones brought a “style and energy” that proved vital to the publication’s success.

People ___________________________

Craig Crawford, who has covered politics and policy for Congressional Quarterly since 2003, will be blogging daily for CQ with reporting and commentary on the 2008 presidential campaign.

He writes the “Trail Mix” and “1600” columns for the D.C. news outlet and formerly ran The Hotline blog for National Journal.

Crawford said it is a “kick” to be covering “the most wide-open presidential campaign in more than a generation.”

Former Santa Cruz Sentinel editor Tom Honig is joining Armanasco Public Relations as a senior A/E focusing on public affairs and media strategies. The Monterey, Calif.-based firm is affiliated with Hill & Knowlton.

Meredith Corporation tapped Jennifer Mirsky as editor-in-chief of women’s lifestyle content for the company’s interactive arm. She will oversee content for titles including Ladies’ Home Journal, More and Fitness.

Mirksy had been VP of editorial programming at NBC Universal’s Prior to that, she directed the creation and production of 12 websites as VP for Hearst Magazine Group.

Parade has upped Janice Kaplan to the editor slot to replace Lee Kravitz who exited last month. She had been executive editor since `06.

Kaplan began her career as an on-air sports reporter for CBS Radio and was deputy editor of TV Guide prior to Parade. She is author of “The Botox Diaries and “Mine are Spectacular.”

Lance Graham, general manager of Parade Publications, takes Kaplan’s spot.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, December 5, 2007, Page 4


There’s a lot accounting for good taste in the food press. More than 120 PR pros were treated November 16 to a Publicity Club of New York panel of top food journalists at the Three West Club.

“Food is beyond eating and recipes,” said Jee Won Park, producer for CBS’ “The Early Show.”

“It goes into every aspect of life we can imagine. We need to think a little broader – the content given to me needs to be much more than consumer news.”

Taking this breadth into context, pitching the food beat requires a certain amount of creativity. Rachel Wharton, a reporter for New York Daily News, said one of her favorite ways of bringing food news to the public is “behind the scenes, human interest stories” that puts a face on a local restaurant.

“We’re really looking for things that make New York what it is,” said Laren Spirer, a food blogger for “That restaurant nobody knows about. The funky little deli that has that thing you can’t find anywhere else.”

This news bodes well for PR pros. The food beat blends with all kinds of non-food pitches.

For instance, Wharton said readers are interested in stories that bridge the gap between food and health. David Bonom, Contributing Editor for Cooking Light, said the nature of his magazine is healthy living through food, and feedback on his website’s blog confirms a growing trend in this sector.

James Oliver Cury, Executive Editor of, said some of the current buzzwords around his office are “organic, clean and sustainable.” gets between 36 and 40 million pages views a month, traffic that Cury attributed to a “huge percentage” of the more than 60,000 recipes the website offers.

Spirer said the nature of her work keeps her constantly reliant on pitches: “The thing about blogs is everything is instantaneous. Our readers respond instantaneously.”

Cury said the blog portion of his website gives publicists a chance to pitch two areas of the website. “There are two sections on the site that are right for pitches. For issue-related pitches, we run them on the other blogs.”

“We get a lot of feedback on our blog,” Bonom continued. “Interests come out. People talk about what they like and what they don’t like. It’s a great source of information.”

So what’s the best way to pitch the food press? The panel agreed that succinct, catchy subject lines in an email are of the highest importance.

“What’s a hot subject line? Just tell me what it is,” Park said. “What’s a good body? Just tell me how it works. Give me three ideas on how it fits in my show.”

“I save my emails,” Wharton added. “Then I search through Outlook by looking for the subject lines.”

But how creative should PR pros get with their pitches and subject lines? This was a point of contention for the panel.

Wharton said she doesn’t like it when PR pros try to dress up the pitch with hooks. Others disagreed.

“I personally don’t see anything wrong with being creative with your pitches,” Cury said at the panel event, moderated by PCNY president Peter Himler. “It’s useful. It’s taking information and trying to do something with it.”

Park said she doesn’t mind PR artistry but wants to know what the story is up front so she can work it: “Being brief and being very honest is very important to me. I’d rather know what the situation is without having to dig for it.”

Briefs _____________________________

Reuters reported that news of preliminary talks for News Corp. to potentially acquire the business networking platform LinkedIn aren’t true, shooting down a report by the U.K.’s Sunday Express.

The Express said last week that News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch and LinkedIn CEO Dan Nye started talking three weeks ago. Nye reportedly said he won’t take less than $1 billion for the site, which connects people in the business world.

Reuters cited a “source familiar with the matter,” while the Express did not identify its source, either.

Murdoch bought MySpace for $580 million two years ago.

CondeNet, the digital arm of Conde Nast, has inked a content distribution relationship with YouTube to create branded channels on the Google-owned online video giant. YouTube Channels for, and will be rolled out over the next month, joining CN’s on YouTube. A Channel is slated to launch early next year.

The Los Angeles Press Club has announced the first-ever National Entertainment Journalism Awards for print, broadcast and web journalism. Deadline for entries is Jan. 25. LAPC has run the Southern California Journalism Awards for the last 50 years.

The contest is divided into categories for newspaper reporters and editors, television and radio journalists, and bloggers and other online news organizations. The contest focuses on film, television or music reporting and criticism. Info:

Active Interest Media is developing Whole Foods Market Magazine, a custom pub for the natural/organic supermarket company. The magazine will be available in more than 60 stores, premiering in the Midwest in January 2008, and in the Rocky Mountain area in March.

AOL has launched a money and financial website to deliver real-time news, research, stock prices and charts from more than 3,000 sources. The site receives its streaming information from Relegence, which AOL acquired last year.

Disney has created a corporate group to scout for start-up acquisitions. VPs Leigh Zarelli (New York) and Matt Pillar (Los Angeles) head the operation.

TechCrunch expects Disney to make up to 20 acquisitions of start-ups over the next two years.

Internet Edition, December 5, 2007, Page 5


APCO Worldwide formally announced two offices in India—Mumbai and New Delhi—after operating in the country since earler this year.

APCO president and CEO Margery Kraus called the country a “crucial market” for many of APCO’s clients. Dev Dasgupta, who founded and led an Indian management consulting firm, is managing director of APCO/India.

APCO held a launch event on Nov. 19 with the American Chamber of Commerce in India.


A national survey by New Orleans-based Deveney Communications and the independent PR firm network The PRConsultants Group found that 91 percent of respondents said they planned to give more or the same number of gift cards during this holiday season as they gave last year.

The most common gift cards are in the retail space (32 percent), followed by spa (29%), restaurant (25%), entertainment (8%) and home/garden (6%). Nearly 60 percent said they will spend an average of $25 per card with 34 percent upping that amount to $50.

Sixty-one percent of repondents said they will shop in-store, compared with 36 percent hitting online retailers. The poll included 147 respondents across 23 states in late October and early November.

Consumer Reports reported and ran an ad campaign in October stating that $8 billion in gift cards will go unredeemed this year on an estimated $26B in sales.

BRIEFS: Maloney & Fox, New York, handled the Nov. 14 launch of Sensei for Weight Loss, a system that has a participant using a mobile phone as a “personal digital coach” for health and weight loss. The service is available for Sprint and AT&T mobile users. ...Troy, Mich.-based Bianchi PR picked up two MarCom Creative Awards for its work with American Heartland Homebuilder and Children’s Home of Detroit. The AHH work involved a home built on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and nabbed a platinum award. Community relations work for CHD picked up a gold award. BlueCurrent PR picked up a platinum Marcom for its pro bono work for the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater DFW. It earned a gold nod for media relations for Lennox Industries. ...The Devon Group, Shrewsbury, N.J., won four feature writing awards for an article on managing and motivating a multi-generational workforce. The piece, titled “Generations at Work,” earned kudos from The Communicator 2007 Print Media Awards, the Davey Awards, the 2007 APEX awards and JSPRAA. ...New York’s Erlick Group is celebrating its 15th year of lining up entertainment sponsorship opportunities for clients like Ford Motor, IBM, HBO and Blockbuster. CEO Jim Erlick is a marketing veteran who worked at American Express, General Foods and Seagram Wine Co. before launching his shop. He is at [email protected] and 212/418-7372.


New York Area

Goldstein Communications, New York/John Christopher, Dublin, Ireland-based jewelry maker, for PR as it enters the U.S. and launches a website.

The Morris + King Company, New York/Jeffrey Scheuer, author, for PR for The Big Picture: Why Democracies Need Journalistic Excellence (Routledge Press 2007).

Trylon SMR, New York/Countdown Entertainment, for PR on a project basis for its behind-the-scenes coverage of the Times Square New Year’s Eve footage.


Topaz Partners, Woburn, Mass./Prospero Technologies, social media solutions for integrating interactive features in websites, and Brijit, which digests long-form media into 100-word abstracts, both for PR.

Sawmill Marketing, Baltimore/HoodEz, vehicle ornament system, for a national media relations campaign supporting its launch.

DPR Group, Cary, N.C./Take Solutions, India-based business services for life sciences, business intelligence and supply chain mgmt., for corporate PR.

William Mills Agency, Atlanta/Customer Effective, customer interaction software, for PR.

Arketi Group, Atlanta/StatCom, hospital patient flow logistics and tracking, as AOR.

Tara, Ink., Miami/Equinox Fitness Clubs, for PR in South Florida; Parke & Ronen, for national PR and celebrity wardrobing for the swimwear and menswear designer; hip.e Boutique, for national and regional PR; VIP Couture, for local PR; Conde Nast Americas, for PR for the Fourth Annual Glamour Beauty Awards; RYGY, for national PR and celebrity wardrobing for the swimwear line, and Sex &..., for national PR for the women’s boutique.

Tilson Communications, Boca Raton/, online travel booking, as AOR for strategic planning and community/media relations.


Marx Layne & Co., Farmington Hills, Mich./Liss, Seder & Andrews, law firm, to write and design a website.


Alan Weinkrantz and Company, San Antonio, Tex./
PowerMaster Corp., developer of ReCyclone technology which reduces landfull waste via energy production and recycling, for global PR.

Mountain West

Soar Communications, Draper, Utah/Ritchey Design, road and mountain bike components, for PR in the U.S. for its Ritchey and Sychros brands.


Ogilvy PR Worldwide, San Francisco/BMC Software, as AOR for India following a review. Ogilvy has worked for the company in the Asia-Pacific region for several years.

MWW Group, Irvine, Calif./Asolva, business process management services, for corporate communications and positioning.

Internet Edition, December 5, 2007, Page 6


Marketwire has added a distribution option for corporate social responsibility and sustainability news through a deal with CSRwire.

With the service, MW news releases chosen for tract will go through CSRwire’s syndication network, news alerts, website, RSS feeds, aggregators and search engines. Audience is an estimated 500K special interest groups, professionals and thought leaders, as well as journalists, with an eye on CSR news.


Katie Paine, who runs PR measurement firm KDPaine & Partners, put together data on YouTube, the New Hampshire primary, and the 2008 presidential race. She looked at all the campaign-related videos that mentioned a candidate and New Hampshire, which recently voted to keep its status as the nation's first primary state.

The most active candidate on YouTube is Ron Paul, the Republican maverick who has surprised handicappers with his grassroots support.

According to Paine, Paul garnered 40 percent of the total views (about 3.1M). Paul and his supporters have has also posted the most videos on YouTube, 559, with Barack Obama second at 462 videos.

The closest to Paul in overall views were Obama and John McCain (w/ 273 videos), at 11 and 10 percent, respectively.

Paine noted that Paul has a strong and active cadre of supporters pushing his message via social media and suggested that may have helped with his surprising third-quarter fundraising prowess.

John Edwards, who has the 'Net political guru Joe Trippi behind him and adopted social media like Facebook and Twitter early on, grabbed only 603K views, or 7.3 percent.

Notably, Edwards' tally is only slightly more than Hillary Clinton, who leads many polls but came in fifth in the Paine ranking with 602K views, more than 300K behind Obama's 956K.

Paine also gauged the average rating the YouTube viewers gave to campaign-created videos. Joe Biden, who registered a small percentage of overall views, nevertheless tied Paul for the highest average user rating at 4.88.

Edwards, Obama and Romney were within a half-point of one another and Clinton rounded out the bottom with a paltry 3.23 average rating.

BRIEFS:, a press release distribution site focused on start-ups and smaller businesses, has added video and photo capabilities to its release service. The company, which distributes releases via email directly to reporters and online via search engines, is owned by Selig Multimedia. ...Lynne Sallott of PR Society’s Georgia Chapter, won the Society’s 2007 Outstanding Educator Award. She is professor of PR at Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the Univ. of Georgia. She practiced PR for 15 years before entering academia.



Nicole Laster, previously of Cooney Waters Group and Rosica PR, to Maloney & Fox, New York, as an A/E. Julie Conover also joins as an A/E from Hunter PR, where she handled clients like Altoids and Eclipse.

Steven Zylstra, who resigned as president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council earlier this year, to generic pharmaceutical maker Mylan in the Steel City as head of global corporate comms. and PR. Zylstra’s resume includes stints as business development director at Simula Technologies, now part of military contractor BAE Systems, and GM of General Pneumatics Corp. At the PTC, he was chief spokesman for the 1,300 tech and manufacturing member-companies in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Ellen Field, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, to Porter Novelli, Washington, D.C., as executive VP and head of health/social marketing. She was previously comms. director for the Peace Corps.

Emily Bryan, director of scheduling and inaugural committee director for Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, to Cooley Public Strategies, Nashville, Tenn., as a senior A/E.

Katie Pendergast, who directed Burson-Marsteller’s work for the National Fisheries Institute’s Tuna Council, to FD Dittus Communications, Washington, D.C., as a VP in its health, food and nutrition practice. Laurie Rossbach, a director in B-M’s public affairs practice, joins as a VP in FD Dittus’ PA unit. Lyn Stout, who ran her own D.C.-based events firm, joins as VP of marketing and special events.

Christian Schwarz, who was running his own interactive advertising shop, to Hill & Knowlton as business development/marketing director for Latin America. As head of Local Latin America, Schwarz worked with clients like McDonald’s, Bank of America, Royal Caribbean and BMW to crack the U.S. Hispanic market. Schwarz, who grew up in Peru and Bolivia, also held a marketing post at Peru-headquartered Interlatin Corp.


Kevin Sniffen to VP of sports marketing and consumer products for The Hamilton Group, New York. He is a five-year veteran of the firm and handles the NHL, Barclays and Voxred Int’l.

Doug Burcin and Donna Murphy to worldwide managing partners, Euro RSCG Life, New York, the compilation of Euro RSCG Worldwide’s 44 health-focused offices.

Charles Pinkerton to partner, director of communications insights, The Media Kitchen, part of kirshenbaum bond + partners, New York. Pinkerton oversees the Delta account. Darren Herman has joined TMK as group director of digital media from IGA Worldwide, which he co-founded.

Katie Torok to A/S, Sweeney, Cleveland. She joined in 2006 as an A/E.

Brittany Markarian to PR specialist, The Firm PR & Marketing, Las Vegas.

Internet Edition, December 5, 2007, Page 7

WEINGARTEN FUMES AT PR (cont’d from page 1)

Marketers, who have made bed with the PR people, were likened to Erszebet Bathory (1560-1614) who slaughtered 612 young women so she could bathe in their blood and forestall the effects of aging on her skin. Among other activities, she would suspend bleeding women from a cage and have a “blood shower.”

Bathory, sometimes called the “Female Dracula,” was confined to her castle for life as punishment although several assistants were executed.

Weingarten “chats” with callers each Tuesday at noon at

“The marketing-PR axis makes the team of Hitler and Mussolini seem benevolent,” wrote Weingarten.

Another barb was: “When a sulfurous, steaming dish of PR is liberally seasoned with oily globules of marketing, the resulting concoction could nauseate a carrion vulture.”

He had received a form from a media list company that asked him “What are your beats, what types of stories would interest you, what tips would you give PR professionals who may want to contact you, and what is your preferred method of being contacted?”

Doesn’t Cover Lifestyles

Many PR pros think he is a “lifestyles reporter” although he says he knows of no such designation in any newsroom and it certainly doesn’t apply to him.

His answers to the above questions include that his “primary responsibility is to savagely attack the quality of retail products” and he is interested in “exposing the unholy alliance between the PR industry and the soulless marketing industry which exists to dehumanize people…”

A Weingarten column May 20 that called PR pros “pathethic dillweeds” drew a comment by Mary Beth West, advocacy chair of the Society headed by Rhoda Weiss.

West told a Society teleconference May 24 that she had read the Weingarten column and considered it a “rant” that was so far-fetched that she could think of “no way to respond to it.”

She said that responding would be a “waste of time” because it would “not change the reporter’s opinion of our profession.”

Weingarten had complained that PR sources listed on several releases were unable to answer his questions about the products or services involved.

His column is circulated not only in the printed and web issues of the Post but through hundreds of papers and other media that subscribe to the (including George Will, David Broder, E.J. Dionne, Charles Krauthammer and more than a dozen other writers).


Rhoda Weiss, who has about one month to go as chair of the 22,000-member Society she heads, told 100 members of the Richmond chapter Nov. 28 that “Today is a great time for PR.”

Coverage was provided by a PR student from a nearby college who was retained by for this event. Chapter leaders had been asked to suggest a reporter for the event.

The student said “someone” from the chapter leadership announced at the start of the meeting that recording of Weiss would not be allowed.

Weiss spoke for 30-40 minutes, the student said, and did not have time for questions from the audience at the end of the speech because she had another engagement and had to leave immediately for the airport.

Several chapter members talked with her briefly after the speech.

Weiss had only appeared before two of the 108 other chapters, Detroit and Hoosier, as far as can be determined. Her chapter visits are not divulged on the Society website.

Weiss said the number of PR firms is on the rise and companies are depending more and more on PR for a variety of communications.

She did not discuss any specific Society issues such as the planned re-write of the entire bylaws nor ask for questions from the floor. Her speech was almost totally in the abstract, mentioning the many forms of “new media” that are available for use by PR people.

PR, she said, will play a major role in helping companies to brand and market their products and services.

“You do not have to spend a lot of money in order to make a difference in this world,” she said.

One job of PR pros, she said, is to find out customer needs. “Feedback groups” are replacing “focus groups” as research vehicles, she said.

The Society, Weiss told the group, has created a deeper understanding of what PR is.

Scholarships were awarded at the meeting to Shana Bernabela and Cassie Williams, PR students at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Cheryl Procter-Rogers, 2006 president, spoke to four chapters last year (based on available records) and also asked that her speeches not be taped.


Gerard Corbett, VP, branding and corporate communications group, Hitachi America, Brisbane, Calif., has left the company.

An e-mail to Corbett was returned by Hitachi with the statement: “Please be informed that Gerard Corbett is no longer with Hitachi America.”

Calls to the Hitachi PR dept. have not yet been returned. Corbett’s personal cell phone number has been disconnected.

He is in the third year of a three-year term on the board of the PR Society. He ran unsuccessfully for treasurer of the Society in 2006 against Anthony D’Angelo.

Corbett joined Hitachi in 1995 from Loral Corp., where he was VP of corporate communications from 1994-95.

Previously he was with Asarco, Gould, International Harvester and Creamer Dickson Basford.

He has been active in the honors and awards program of the Society.

Corbett’s access codes to this website had the fifth highest traffic for the period July 1-18, 2007.

His 10,510 “hits” via the codes were the second highest on the list, surpassing companies paying thousands of dollars for site licenses. Corbett denied giving his access codes to anyone else.

Internet Edition, December 5, 2007, Page 8




Editor complaints about bombardment by PR people are a wake-up call to the PR industry and especially the media list services.

The services, including BurrellesLuce, Cision, Media Distribution Services and Vocus (alphabetical order), have compiled hundreds of thousands of editor names and made them easily accessible by numerous breakouts. PR firms and others also compile their own lists.

The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten (page one) beefed about a daily deluge of voicemails and Wired editor Christopher Anderson railed against the “300 e-mails” he gets daily from PR.

A “spray and pray” mentality exists—send out 300 e-mails to a specialized audience (e.g., beauty editors) and hope that one or two will use it.

The expense is so small that even if less than 1% are used it’s still worthwhile.

The media list companies are highly competitive with each other but we think they should band together to do something about this.

VNR producers are also highly competitive but 14 of them formed the National Assn. of Broadcast Communicators when use of VNR materials came under attack. The FCC has now declared that five usages are “apparent” violations of the law and an investigation is under way that could have a major impact on the industry. TV news editors and VNR firms are arguing that the feds have no right to force stations to identify the origin of video they use although both favor identification (but not the frame-by-frame identification that critics want).

Proper identification and sourcing is currently a big issue. FEMA’s “fake” press conference in which staffers posed as reporters ignited a firestorm of criticism. Senator Hillary Clinton has been accused of taking questions from “plants.” CNN has now been called the “Corrupt News Network” and other names by journalists who say the recent YouTube debate featuring Republican candidates was marred by “plants” who posed as “ordinary people” when several were democratic and liberal activists. The criticism came from Michelle Malkin (11/30 New York Post) and Tim Rutten (12/1 Los Angeles Times). Fortune (12/10) faults banks and rating services for giving fancy names to what were really “junk mortgages.”

Weingarten’s complaint about voicemails illustrates a fact of PR—without a phone call, most releases will be ignored. Some PR juniors “dial for dollars” all day. They majored in PR thinking they were going to settle community disputes or were going into public service. They were in for a rude awakening!

Some PR/communications majors are learning that they’re really being groomed for sales positions and that their every move will be tracked by computer programs that log all incoming and outgoing phone calls and e-mails. Their value in terms of dollars will be calculated to the penny. Although acting as salespeople (via press placements, special events, etc.) they will be paid a fraction of what a “real” salesperson would earn on sales generated and certainly no commissions or equity. PR figure Ben Sonnenberg got rich largely because he took shares in a local bakery that vastly expanded.

As for whether PR pros are “salespeople,” we accept what NBC’s Beth Comstock told the Institute for PR Nov. 8: “PR people are, at the core, salespeople.” Students entering PR via a PR firm will quickly find out that winning new accounts may take up to half the time of agency principals. A traditional route into PR, not taken by many recently, is to work for local media, build contacts with business and community leaders, and land a PR job either with one of the businesses, start a PR firm, or bring accounts into an existing firm.

A question posed by the Weingarten and Anderson blasts, says counselor Cyrus Afzali, is why does PR “trust junior staffers with the most important work we do?” (influencing what’s in the media). Afzali, with Astoria Communications, Sloatsburg, N.Y., says juniors typically don’t read the media they pitch. Law firms, he notes, would never trust a junior with complicated litigation. He’s “amazed” that PR is not questioning this model. So are we. Corporate and agency PR chieftains opted out of media relations many years ago, dumping it on juniors while they focus on “strategy.” PR has been recast from relations with individual editors to “relationships” with audiences such as potential customers, stockholders, retireds, suppliers, communities, etc. We don’t think these audiences want “relationships.” They want the “straight skinny” or the best possible products at the lowest prices and will shop Google and the trade and general press to find them.

Rhoda Weiss spoke to a chapter of the Society she heads (page 7) but did not invite questions from the audience nor poll members on Society matters. Obvious questions are why is the Society revamping its entire bylaws and at what charge by its 600-member law firm, Venable of D.C., and will the charter be switched to Delaware, which allows electronic meetings and votes by members or elected delegates, from New York, which does not?

We see the influence of lawyers in many places in PR these days. But lawyers are poor PR practitioners, according to a column lawyer Harold Suckenik wrote for the O’Dwyer magazine. Lawyers are trained in the negative—to look for violations of rules or the law, he wrote. Their study of common law is mostly a study of “transactions that went wrong.” Lawyers are used to making voluminous arguments to small audiences—a single judge, three to nine appellate judges, or a jury of six to 12 people. They’re not used to dealing with the masses. Finely-tuned arguments that work in lengthy legal “briefs” may not have traction with the public. To this we would add that lawyers often argue guilt or innocence, black and white, up or down, with nothing in between.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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