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Internet Edition, January 9, 2008, Page 1


California has set aside $250K for a two-month PR contract to produce “branding tool kits” for disaster volunteers.

The kits, which are to include collateral materials, logos, fact sheets, media materials and other information, are to be used to identify local organizations as part of the statewide Disaster Volunteer Corps.

The state has issued a “request for offer” to PR firms. The work outline starts with conducting informational interviews with state officials and volunteer organizations to produce the kits all the way through production and distribution.

The work is to be performed for California Volunteers, which administers state volunteer and service programs like AmeriCorps. CV coordinated thousands of volunteers to assist with the state’s recent wild fires. Funding for the PR effort comes from the state’s Office of Homeland Security.

Marta Bortner, manager of comms. for CV ([email protected]), is contact.


Singer & Associates, the well-connected San Francisco PR firm, is guiding the San Francisco Zoo through a crisis sparked by the mauling death of a teenage boy by a Siberian tiger there last month.

S&A is working with the non-profit Zoological Society, which runs the San Francisco Zoo.

Singer’s involvement is generating heat, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Mark Geragos, the high-profile lawyer for two teenagers who were with the victim at the time of the attack, has threatened to sue Singer for allegedly planting stories that portray the two boys in a negative light, reports the Chronicle.

The paper noted that a dispatch in the New York Post last week had an anonymous source saying the boys had slingshots and that an empty bottle of vodka was found in their car.

Singer told the Chronicle that the slingshot rumor was “already out there” and denied he leaked the idea. “Reporters have asked about rocks, slingshots, bottle rockets and taunting,” he said. “Those are all things that San Francisco police are investigating, and that’s a fact.”

Microsoft has named Barry LaSala director of its government affairs team in Washington, D.C. He will tackle online security, trade and technology issues.

He had been a key staffer for the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee that is headed by John Kerry of Massachusetts.


Ogilvy PR Worldwide has inked a three-month contract to provide media relations services for the Embassy of Pakistan.

The $45K a-month pact was signed prior to the Dec. 27 murder of the country’s former leader Benazir Bhutto.

Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf on Jan. 3 denied that his government had anything to do with Bhutto’s assassination.

He told a press conference that extremists, who have been carrying out suicide bombings in Pakistan, were responsible for the killing of Bhutto. Musharraf also noted that he warned Bhutto about the dangers connected with her conducting a public rally.

Marcia Silverman’s shop is to provide media training, guidance, reporter outreach and write press materials for the Embassy. The WPP Group unit does not anticipate participating in political activities for its client.

The contract will be re-evaluated after three-months to determine whether it should be extended.

Pakistan and its former PR firm Cassidy & Assocs. parted ways on a $1.2M one-year contract in November after Musharraf declared emergency rule in his country.

Either Ogilvy or Pakistan retains the right to terminate the agreement upon giving 30 days prior written notice. Ogilvy agrees not to disclose the nature of the agreement or relationship without obtaining Pakistani approval. The firm’s client agreement was sent to Pakistan’s U.S. Ambassador Mahmud Ali Durrani.


Maryland-based MGH has won a review to guide PR and social media for the Common Ground Alliance, a utility industry-backed non-profit that runs a campaign to prevent people from uprooting pipelines and cables.

The CGA, based in Alexandria, Va., had worked with Fleishman-Hillard’s D.C. office in the past. It issued an RFP in late August for the $15K/month account to create a news bureau, handle media inquiries and reach out to bloggers, among other tasks.

F-H launched CGA’s 811 hotline, which was set for homeowners and contractors to call before digging or excavating. Damage to pipelines and cables costs the industry millions of dollars each year.

MGH, which was tapped after a unanimous decision by a team of CGA members, is charged with targeting would-be diggers in the planning stages before they break ground. The firm, for the last seven years, has been AOR for Miss Utility, a CGA member and call notification center based in the D.C. area. Michael O’Brien is EVP and PR director at MGH.

Internet Edition, January 9, 2008, Page 2


A reader of Vermont’s Rutland Herald took that paper and Hill & Knowlton to task as the latest media outlet to not identify an op-ed piece author as a nuclear industry spokesman.

A Dec. 27 commentary headlined “Vermont’s Low Carbon Leadership” was bylined Patrick Moore, who was identified as an advisor to the Vermont Energy Partnership, co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, and chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies. Ltd.

Reader Brennan Michaels, in a letter to the editor dated Jan. 1, noted that Greenpeace has disavowed the current work by Moore, who has not been with that environmental group for 20 years. Wrote Michaels: “Currently, Moore is collecting large sums of money to promote nuclear power from the Nuclear Energy Institute… [and] has been the most visible feature of an $8M public relations campaign funded by NEI and run by Hill & Knowlton that has booked countless Moore speeches and planted countless Moore editorials, all trumpeting his ancient association with Greenpeace and failing to disclose his payments from the nuclear lobby.”

The Rutland Herald’s failure to disclose Moore’s ties was not the first case, by any measure. The Columbia Journalism Review, in a 2006 editorial titled “False Fronts,” noted the Washington Post, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Rocky Mountain News, New York Times, and CBS News have all made references to Moore as a Greenpeace founder or environmentalist without mentioning his role as a paid spokesman for nukes.

A nuclear plant in Vermont owned by Entergy Nuclear is under review for its license to be extended beyond its 2012 expiration. That review has sparked a contentious debate in the state. Moore’s op-ed argued in favor of the plant and nuclear power.


The National Press Club has joined with British insurer Aviva to conduct an educational outreach program to promote the history and future of the Washington-based journalism organization with about 3,500 members.

Des Moines-based Aviva USA is funding 12,000 DVDs and brochures linked to a centennial documentary called “The National Press Club at 100: A Century of Headlines.” The materials are slated for j-schools, libraries and community groups.

The documentary premiered Jan. 4 at NPC. A panel discussion followed featuring reporting legends Helen Thomas and Jack Germond. They joined NPC president Jerry Zremski and president emeritus John Cosgrove.

The documentary, according to Zremski, tells NPC’s story and that of the development of journalism in America. He believes the film will “transmit journalistic values and traditions to young and aspiring journalists.”

For its participation in the anniversary celebration, Aviva received NPC’s first centennial founders award. Tom Godlasky, president of Aviva USA, said his company teamed with NPC because it is a “forward-thinking company that is dedicated to building better tomorrows in American communities and worldwide.” He praised NPC’s “illustrious history of promoting the highest professional standards in journalism.”

The Iowa-based subsidiary accounts for $38B of the parent company’s $713B total assets. Aviva USA has 1,200 employees and 37K licensed agents.


Barbour Griffith & Rogers earned fees of $650K during the six-month period ended November 30 for work on behalf of the Iraqi National Accord and Kurdish Regional Government, two sides working to put the country back together again.

BG&R is promoting the “Six Point Plan for Iraq” that is the handiwork of former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and his INA. That calls for the exit of most American forces within two years and establishment of a federal state that recognizes the “importance of Iraqi Kurds and the KRG in building a new Iraq.”

The Washington-based firm placed op-ed pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post for submissions bylined by Allawi. It also arranged face-time for Allawi with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

BG&R placed an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal on behalf of KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in which he defended his government’s measure to regulate energy resources in the region.

He promised to share the wealth with the rest of the country, but noted that Baghdad had tight control over Kurdistan’s energy wealth under Saddam Hussein, which it used to “create obeisance and loyalty to the center.”

He wrote that Kurdistan is not a “rogue province seeking an early escape from the chaos that has become Iraq.”

Barzani harbors “deep suspicions about becoming reliant on the capital that has brought us such misery for so many years.”


Seattle-based Scoville PR handles Imperium Renewables, the renewable fuel producer that suffered a December top executive shakeup and postponed its IPO last week citing “current market conditions.”

Imperium has raised more than $200M in funding and operates what it says is the largest biodiesel plant in the U.S., along with a separate research lab, in Washington state. It planned a $345M IPO for May.

Scoville, an independent boutique firm headed by John Williams, issued a statement for Imperium on Jan. 3 in which the company’s founder and interim president/CEO John Plaza announced the IPO postponement. The firm also announced the departure of Imperium CEO Martin Tobias on Dec. 21, a move CNET called “abrupt and not well publicized,” noting the news was released on the Friday before Christmas.

Biodiesel fuel, which produces low carbon dioxide emissions and is supported in Congress’ recently passed energy bill, is derived from organic material like agricultural products.

Scoville also works with Zipcar, the car-sharing service, and Targeted Growth, a biotechnology company.

Internet Edition, January 9, 2008, Page 3


Gender trumps issues for prospective votes in the 2008 presidential election, according to a survey of 2,000 Americans by New York Women in Communications.

Only 20 percent said they would support a woman as a historical precedent, although 36 percent of Hispanics and that same percentage of 18-24-year-olds would vote for a woman because of the historical significance.

NYWICI found that just 17 percent of women and 14 percent of men said they’d be more likely to vote for a woman if they liked a male and female candidate equally, and 59 percent said they are neither more likely nor less likely to vote for a female candidate.

However, a sizable number (36 percent) of women said they would support a female because of strength in issues like education and healthcare. That number was higher for black and Hispanic voters (41 and 45 percent, respectively).

“The survey suggests that although women won’t support another female unconditionally, they’re more receptive to certain campaign messages, and they’re far more sensitive than men to public scrutiny of a female candidate,” said Kristine Welker, NYWICI president.

Gender bias in media

Nearly half of women polled said females are more likely to receive negative press coverage, while 35 percent of men agreed with that analysis. Sixty percent of women said female candidates are more likely to be judged by their clothing and hairstyle. Half of men concur.

Fifty-five percent of all respondents said Hillary Clinton has been treated differently by her male opponents because she's female, and a large chunk of them (78 percent) call that treatment negative or critical.

As for celebrity endorsements, respondents said they aren’t swayed. Only eight percent said they would be moved by a celebrity’s support of a candidate. But there are a few high-profile figures with influence. Twenty percent said Al Gore’s backing would affect their vote, while Oprah Winfrey’s support (she’s backing Barack Obama) registered among 12 percent of respondents. Diane Sawyer (10 percent), Jon Stewart (9 percent) and Bill O’Reilly (9 percent) also registered.

The survey queried 1,016 men and 1,009 women 18 years of age and older from December 13-17.


Fox Business News is averaging viewership of 6,300 during its first two months, far below the 283K people who tune into CNBC each weekday, according to the New York Times.

FBN launched in October with much ballyhoo including boasts from CEO Roger Ailes about burying CNBC.

FBN’s viewership falls below the 35K minimum threshold that Nielsen Media Research uses before publicly disclosing a cable network’s rating. That figure represents a tenth of a ratings point.

CNBC is available in 90M homes, while FBN can be viewed in 30M households.


The San Jose Mercury News, which has a circulation of more than 230K, has replaced executive editor Carole Hutton with Dave Butler, VP-news at parent company MediaNews Group.

The Denver-based publisher bought the Merc, which had been Knight-Ridder’s crown jewel, from McClatchy in `06.

Dean Singleton, CEO of MediaNews, said Butler’s job is to spark innovation to the San Jose paper. He noted that the paper is located near Google and Yahoo!, two of the big drivers of the new media scene.

Butler has been editor and publisher of the Detroit News, and editor of the Los Angeles Daily News. He retains his corporate post.


Steve Florio, the colorful former CEO of Conde Nast Publications, died Dec. 27 from the aftermath of a heart attack suffered around Thanksgiving. He was 58.

Florio, who had a history of heart troubles, stepped down as chief in `04. He retained the vice chairman position.

Conde Nast chief S. I. Newhouse said in a statement that Florio was a “great executive and great leader.”

At CNP, Florio was in charge of magazines such as Glamour, New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Bon Appetit, Self and Vogue. The company’s magazines attract more than 70M readers each month.


Joe Kahn and Ian Fisher have been promoted to deputy foreign editors at the New York Times.

Kahn has been reporting from China for the paper. Earlier, he was a business reporter, Washington correspondent and staffer at the Wall Street Journal. He assumes his new post in March.

The well-traveled Fisher has written for the Times in Africa, Europe, Israel and Iraq. He will join Kahn in April.

Briefs ____________________

Wondertime, a Disney-published magazine for parents, said it will increase its rate base to 500,000 with its February 2008 issue. That’s a 25% boost from its current base of 400,000.

People ______________________

BusinessWeek assistant managing editor Paul Barrett, who led investigative reporting for the magazine, is returning to the Wall Street Journal to write on non-business topics for the front page.

Betsy Sagges, formerly of Access Communications, to Chief Executive magazine, as marketing relations manager, a new position. She markets events and handles outreach for corporate CEOS and C-suite participants. She previously managed events like Comdex and the International Housewares Show.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, January 9, 2008, Page 4


Viacom’s MTV Networks has recruited 51 members for its “Street Team `08” to report election news from each state and the District of Columbia.

They will file weekly multimedia reports that will also be distributed via the Associated Press Online Video Network of more than 1,800 sites.

The rookie reporters will provide a youthful take on the important issues affecting the presidential race.

Ian Rowe, VP-PA and Strategic Partnership at MTV, said Street Team `08 is a “key way for our audience to connect with peers, as well as get informed and engaged on the local and political issues that matter to them most.”

The project is bankrolled by a $700K grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has earmarked $25M over the next three years to back community news ventures.


Ladies Home Journal has been redesigned for its 125th anniversary.

Diane Salvatore, editor-in-chief for the last five and a half years who oversaw the changes, said: "The previous aesthetic - which worked extremely well at that point in our evolution - put more emphasis on pure gracefulness. Now we want to have a touch more swagger and intensity in key places." New columns include "Medical Mystery," covering a woman whose symptoms confound doctors but is eventually diagnosed; "Anatomy of a Splurge," comparing a high-priced beauty item to an economically priced version, and "Can This Recipe Be Saved?" an expansion of an existing column of makeovers for family recipes.

Among the changes are new typefaces, illustrations, graphics, and photo essays.

The changes take effect with the February edition.


Adweek, which has cut back to 36 issues a year, has announced a "re-launch of its brand."

The advertising trade said it will unveil a new website, magazine and events schedule on Feb. 4 which will be more closely aligned.

Editor Alison Fahey called the changes an "important shift in editorial direction, scope and content distribution." She added: "We will move from a vertical agency book to a broader perspective with more in-depth analysis and a focus on innovation and marketing strategies."

In addition to the web revamp, will include a searchable creative database of ads which users can ad to and critique, forums, video interviews, and agency profiles with user generated content. The print magazine will have longer features, case studies and client strategy critiques. A key goal is reaching beyond the agency sector to reach "outside industries." Its circulation will include 26 regular issues and 10 special editions focusing on topics like design, mobile marketing, digital services and media/measurement.

An ad campaign via New York agency Cowboy about the changes is running online and in print.


Private equity firm Falconhead Capital, which focuses on sports, leisure, lifestyle, and media, announced three separate acquisitions in the endurance sports event and publishing industries. FC has combined them to form a new platform company known as Competitor Group.

The three acquired companies are based in San Diego, Calif., the so-called "endurance-sport capital of the world," are Elite Racing, La Jolla Holding Group, doing business as Triathlete Magazine, and Competitor Publishing, Inc.

Faconhead said CG is the largest media and event-based enterprise in the endurance sport space, with total monthly magazine circulation of about 500K; marathons, triathlons, cycling and other endurance events in sixteen major cities with more than 150K participants.

Financial terms were not disclosed. FC pegs the endurance sport industry - including running, cycling and triathlons - as a rapidly growing, $1.3 billion sector with more than 3.4 million active participants nationwide and attractive to the key 25 to 54-year-old demographic with an average household annual income consistently in the $75,000 to $95,000 range.

Elite Racing is the top owner and operator of running events in the United States. Triathlete is the largest triathlon consumer magazine and online content provider in the industry with monthly circulation per issue of about 60K.

CP publishes regional magazines on endurance events, training tips, nutrition and products, with controlled monthly circulation totaling about 450K. CP also owns the Muddy Buddy endurance events.

Falconhead has named one of its operating partners, Peter Englehart, as chief executive officer of CGI, effective immediately.

Englehart, 55, is founder and former president of the Convention & Trade Show Television Network, LLC (CTS-TV); senior vice president of programming and production for the Outdoor Life Network, and director of program planning at ESPN.


Active Interest Media, the parent company of Backpacker magazine and Yoga Journal, has acquired SNEWS (Specialty News), a trade news service for the outdoor and fitness industries. SNEWS produces the GearTrends trade magazines and online news services.

AIM's president and CEO, Skip Zimbalist, called the deal a "powerful partnership of the leading consumer and trade brands in the outdoor and fitness industries."

AIM also publishes Vegetarian Times, Better Nutrition and custom publications like the soon-to-debut Whole Foods Market magazine.

SNEWS said it is retaining key senior staff including partners Michael Hodgson and Therese Iknoian, who will continue to operate out of Grass Valley, Calif.

Internet Edition, January 9, 2008, Page 5


Carmichael Lynch Spong has acquired Wyoming-based PR firm Stanwood & Partners, which specializes in the outdoor enthusiast arena.

CLS adds S&P’s 11 staffers and offices in Jackson, Wy., and Boston.

Carson Stanwood takes on the role of principal and chair of CLS’ environmental and sustainability practice.

BRIEFS: Omnicom has acquired an investment stake in Beijing-based Shunya Communications, one of China’s biggest advertising, PR, event marketing and marketing services firms. With nearly 500 staffers, Shunya has offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Shunya International PR will become part of OMC’s Porter Novelli. ...HenkinSchultz Communication Arts, Sioux Falls, S.D., designed the Iowa Caucus committee’s stage and backdrop for press events where the results of the tally were released in Des Moines last week. Kirby Schultz, co-owner of the firm, designed the backdrop of a waving American flag projected on a LED screen. ...Bob Gold & Associates, Los Angeles, has joined the Whiteoaks International Network of PR firms focused on technology and business communications. Gold said it became clear that his 11-year-old firm needed a presence in each region of the world. The network has 15 offices in 27 countries. ...Bonnie Crail, former PR pro for Ritz-Carlton, has opened Crail Communications focused on the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries. She has offices in Dallas and San Diego and counts multiple R-C properties as start-up clients; ...Gary Frisch, a former reporter and PR writer for Panasonic, has opened Swordfish Communications to serve the Philadelphia area from Voorhees, N.J. He has worked at New Directions PR, PRinceton Partners and Barton Gilanelli & Associates. He focuses on retail, food/beverage, tech and entertainment, among other sectors; ...New Jersey-based sports and entertainment PR pro Wayne Catan is slated to be inducted into the New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame on Jan. 19 at the University of Buffalo. Catan won the 1985 New York State Collegiate title when he competed for Syracuse University (class of 1986). Catan runs Catan Communications; ...Gwen Spragg Communications, Chicago, a solo practitioner shop, has changed its name to S3 Communications to reflect “strategy, style and solutions.” Spragg, who has practiced PR for 25 years, said she also has a new service to use images like murals, paintings and other artwork as part of integrated communications for new identity work or other PR endeavors. Info: ...Joseph Honick, president of GMA International, based in Bainbridge Island, Wash., will moderate a panel on home building opportunities in China on Feb. 13 as part of the International Builders Show of the National Assn. of Home Builders in Orlando. He has keynoted several events on housing in China and is former president of the American Building Products Export Alliance.



Susan Magrino Agency has picked up Talon Air, a New York-based luxury private jet operator that owns its fleet. Rubenstein PR previously handled the account.

David Thalberg, executive director at SMA, said the firm had a number of discussions with the company about the direction they wanted to take and both client and agency saw a good fit. He said there was not a formal RFP process.

Manhattan real estate mogul Adam Katz founded Talon and is an active pilot in the company.

Talon earned press last year when it hosted a tennis match between Pete Sampras and Jim Courier in its hangar at Republic Airport on Long Island. The event was sponsored by Maserati.


Gordon C. James PR, which has offices in D.C. and Phoenix, is coordinating an Ad Council campaign against child abuse for client Childhelp.

The Ad Council said last week it has launched a campaign to highlight Childhelp’s national child abuse hotline and website,

A three-year PSA project is planned.

GCJPR handles branding, media relations, special events and other work for Childhelp. As part of those responsibilities, it is coordinating the Ad Council campaign with the Childhelp leadership team.

The Ad Council had selected Childhelp as the spotlight of their child abuse campaign prior to the firm being hired on. The organization was the highlight of an Ad Council effort a few years back, the firm said.

New York Area

Stern + Associates, Cranford, N.J./ipCapital Group, a Vermont-based intellectual property consulting firm; China India Institute, research and consulting organization focused on investment in those two countries, and For Talent, by Ed Lawyer, professor at the Marshall School of Business at the Univ. of Southern California, slated for April 2008 release.


360 Public Relations, Boston/WowWee Group, designer, developer, marketer and distributor of consumer robotic and entertainment products, as North American AOR following a national agency review. 360PR is introducing WowWee's 2008 line at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

Vitrue, Inc., Atlanta/Chick-fil-A, for launch of a video contest and social media website at Vitrue developed a branded video community for consumers to upload videos of up to one minute in length that pleads their case as to why they believe they are the brand’s most passionate fan.


Lynott & Associates, Westminster, Colo./REAL Software, an Austin, Tex.-based developer and marketer of software development environments for Windows, OS/X or Linux. L&A is handling strategic planning, product launches, media and analyst relations, white paper development, article writing and placement for the company.

Internet Edition, January 9, 2008, Page 6


Nearly 50 percent of client/agency relationships last less than two years, according to a study by Cincinnati-based business development firm Reardon Smith Whittaker.

The top reasons for conducting an agency review, according to clients, are bad creative, weak strategic thinking, and lack of proactivity or fresh ideas. Agency personnel changes were also near the top of the list.

Forty percent of client respondents said they “look forward” or “find it exciting” to search for a new agency. Sixty-eight percent of clients said they saw four or more agencies in a review.

Experiential marketing was listed as the “most interesting” of new marketing disciplines cropping up, followed by Internet marketing and word-of-mouth.

Full results of the survey are at


PR Newswire has bolstered its Hispanic market capabilities with the acquisition of Hispanic PR Wire and two sister units covering monitoring and Internet advertising.

The deal is PRN’s second move in six months to shore up its reach in the Latino sector. It acquired Latin American media monitoring/analytics firm Notilog in July.

Hispanic PR Wire is a news dissemination service focused on Latino media which started up in 2000 and is based in Miami. PRN said it will keep HPRW’s operations and staff there.

The deal also includes media monitoring unit LatinClips, and Hispanic Digital Network, a digital advertising network that hosts websites for Latino publications.

Among the top HPRW executives joining PRN is Manny Ruiz, president and co-founder of the businesses. He is joined by Christine Clavijo-Kish, co-founder of HPRW and LatinClips; Dalia Paratore Salazar, co-founder and managing partner, LatinClips, and Bill Gato, co-founder and president of HDN.

Ruiz said the deal gives his companies 24/7 operation, expanded product offerings and new services down the road. Dave Armon, COO of PRN, noted that part of the three companies’ success came from “close relationships and boutique approach that its principals have taken” and said that level of service would be unchanged.

PRN said the combination of its existing operations and the new acquisitions puts its reach at more than 3,000 unique Hispanic outlets.

Cathy Egan, senior VP of marketing and business development for national TV sales at ABC Television, has joined media promotion company TMPG, White Plains, N.Y., as senior VP of business development.

Shari Sobine, former senior promotion manager for Advertising Age and Creativity magazine who was sales promotion manager for ABC’s national TV sales, joins as creative director.

TMPG has worked with Kraft, HBO and American Express.



Joshua Greenwald, VP at Berns Communications Group, returns to Rubenstein PR, New York, as a senior VP. He was previously with LaForce & Stevens and the Hall Company. Isabel Quinteros, previously with 5W PR, to Rubenstein PR, as an associate VP. She has worked at Quinto & Co., Think PR and Dan Klores Communications. Colleen McCarthy, associate director of consumer PR at Steve & Barry’s, joins as an associate VP. She has been at Edelman, RF Binder Partners and Ketchum.

Jaime Bruck, manager of PR at Thacher Proffitt & Wood, to Allen Overy, a global law firm, as U.S. PR and communications manager based in New York.

Katherine Hubbard, who recently directed the National Governors Association’s Innovation America campaign for Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, to Widmeyer Communications, New York, as VP in its PreK-12 education practice. She was formerly director of government and media relations at Scholastic, as well as chief of staff to CEO and chairman Richard Robinson.

Kionna Coleman, senior editor of menswear trade pub MR, to French/West/Vaughan, Raleigh, N.C., as an A/E. She handles Wrangler and Justin Boots. She previously wrote for Vibe and Mademoiselle and freelanced for MTV.

Roberta Klugman, a veteran of Paige Poulos Communications and Porter Novelli, to Burditch Marketing Communications, San Francisco. She handles luxury clients in central and northern California as hospitality and lifestyle strategist. Klugman was previously executive director of The American Institute of Wine & Food. At BMC, she handles Stags Leap District Winegrowers Assn. and Meadowood Napa Valley, among other clients.


David Schull to president, Russo Partners, New York. He was previously managing director and senior VP of Noonan Russo’s San Diego office. Earlier, he was senior VP at Thorp & Company.

Brent Burkhardt to executive VP and managing director of PR, Trahan Burden Charles, Baltimore, Md. Burkhardt heads PR for the firm out of Baltimore and New York. He has been with TBC for nearly 20 years and oversees work for MinuteClinic, Singapore Tourism Board, and Ameristar Casinos.

Katie Reinsmidt to director of corporate communications, CBL & Associates Properties, Chattanooga, Tenn. Dan Summerlin, director of electronic marketing for Unum, has joined as director of corporate relations.

Chris Perry to director of marketing communications, Hyundai Motor America, Fountain Valley, Calif.


Bob Gold, president of Bob Gold & Associates, to the board of directors of PR Society’s Los Angeles chapter. Art Maulsby, executive director at BG&A, was named to the board of Cable Positive’s L.A. chapter, and A/E Dwayna Haley was elected membership chair for the Southern California Chapter of Women in Cable & Telecommunications.

Internet Edition, January 9, 2008, Page 7


Muhter Kent, who assumes the CEO slot at Coca-Cola in July, will be greeted by one million empty water bottles when he takes over the Atlanta headquarters if a plan by marketing pros Eric Yaverbaum and Mark DiMassimo takes shape.

Yaverbaum, who heads PR firm Ericho Communications, and DiMassimo, founder of DiMassimo Goldstein ad shop, are founders of Tappening, a venture to promote the drinking of tap vs. bottled water. The goal is to highlight the environmental shortcomings of the bottled water industry; Coke is a player there via its Dasani brand.

Tappening contends that the national recycling rate of plastic water bottles is only about 23 percent. Four billion bottles wind up in the waste stream.

Water bottles are energy demanding both in production (e.g., 17M barrels a year) and shipping.

Tappening’s “Think Global. Drink Local” initiative also highlights the economic cost of drinking bottled water, which is a worldwide $35B business. Another angle: nearly a quarter of bottled water is derived from public drinking supplies.

Yaverbaum and DiMassimo sell re-usable Tappening branded water bottles at $14.95 and $17.95 each as part of the promotion.

They want people to include a message in the bottle to be sent to Kent about commitments to drink tap vs. bottled water.

Coke, for its part, claims to be a steward of Mother Earth. According to its website, the drinks company improved its water use rate by three percent from `05.

There was a four percent improvement in energy use, seven percent hike in the solid waste ratio and a one percent betterment in recycling.

Those figures are gleaned from its 775 beverage production plants around that world account for 94 percent of 106 volume sales.


Insurance giant Geico has launched a three-year U.S. tour of a live gecko exhibit to honor the iconic “spokescreature” for its line of auto and motorcycle policies.

The tour is a partnership with the Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums and its accredited members.

Steve Feldman, senior VP-at AZA, told O’Dwyer’s the project is not using outside PR help. It is being handled by Geico and AZA staffers.

The exhibit, featuring giant Day geckos that are native to Madagascar and other Indian Ocean islands, opened Jan. 5 at San Diego’s Children’s Zoo. Its goal is to help promote wildlife conservation.

The program features a Geico Gecko costumed character who will make media appearances to promote the need to save his “cousins” in the wild. There are also animated Geico/AZA commercials.

The insurer is making contributions to wildlife protection and signed on as lead sponsor for AZA’s “Earth Day Party for the Planet.”

The AZA zoos and aquariums attract nearly 160M visitors each year. Geico insures more than 13M vehicles. It is part of Berkshire Hathaway.


Publicis Consultants|PR is conducting a national search to replace Hayley Soffer, who exited the managing director slot in New York last month, according to Steve Bryant, the Seattle-based president of the Publicis Groupe unit. The firm is looking for an “experienced leader,” he told O’Dwyer’s via an e-mail.

Soffer, who also headed PC|PR’s healthcare unit, is now at Cohn & Wolfe in charge of New York health client service, operations, talent development and new business. Sally Ann Barton heads C&W’s North American health practice.

Bryant also handles PC|PR’s development and strategy duties. He is the top U.S. exec following the departure of CEO Ann Moravick to Ketchum in August.

PC|PR was formed about a year ago to house the remnants of Rowland Communications, which was formed in 1961.


George Sard's Sard Verbinnen & Co. is advising Jana Partners, which is spearheading an investment group out to gain control of CNET Networks.

The Jana-led consortium currently controls an eight percent voting stake in CNET, and wants to elect seven reps to an expanded 13-member CNET board.

Barry Rosenstein, managing partner at Jana, called CNET an "underperforming company." He aims to increase shareholder value by "building on its top-notch editorial talent and premier Internet assets."

CNET shares, according to Jana's statement, rose less than one percent in `07. That compares to a 10 rise in the NASDAQ Index. The company posted a nine-month net loss of $26M on revenues of $288M.

Founded in `92, CNET is among pioneers of the Internet. It employs 2,600 staffers at properties including its flagship tech site, GameSpot, FindArticles, and UrbanBaby.

CNET issued a statement saying that is has made significant "strategic, financial, personnel and operational progress" under new management headed by CEO Neal Ashe.

Sard is working the CNET takeover bid with Jonathan Gasthalter, Paul Kranhold and Andrew Cole.


Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, who announced his retirement from his Mississippi Senate seat on Nov. 26, is teaming with ex-Louisiana Senator John Breaux to establish the bipartisan Breaux-Lott Leadership Group.

Republican Lott, 66, is banned from lobbying the Senate for one-year under current rules calling for a one-year “cooling off period.”

He initially will provide strategic guidance to corporate clients about how to make their case on Capitol Hill.

Democrat Breaux, 63, retired from the Senate in `05. He exited Patton Bogg in December with plans to set up his own shop.

Lott’s son, Chet, and John Breaux Jr. will work at the firm. Brett Boyles, Lott’s former chief of staff, also has signed on.

Internet Edition, January 9, 2008, Page 8




Hillary Clinton's third-place showing in Iowa is being laid at the doorstep of none other than Mark Penn, president and CEO of Burson-Marsteller, once the biggest PR firm but whose fee and staff figures have not been seen since 2001.

Penn has long been criticized for leading the campaign of Clinton while at the same time heading a giant PR firm with large numbers of business interests.

Columnist Ariana Huffington has called for Penn to resign B-M and Ari Berman, writer for The Nation, has been blasting Penn's "centrist" policy for Clinton.

Penn used this approach to save the presidency for Bill Clinton after the Democrats lost both houses in 1994, says Berman. Republican themes like welfare reform and tax cuts were co-opted by Clinton.

Penn also rescued Hillary when she ran for the Senate in 2000 by getting her to focus on "pot-hole politics" rather than grand themes," wrote Berman.

Critics, including columnist Robert Novak, are now saying that Clinton's emphasis on "experience" is playing poorly against Barack Obama's promise of "change."

A dialog on what clients should pay to PR firms for what services raged in the Wall Street Journal print and online editions Dec. 31.

One writer claimed that PR firms "are a complete ripoff for small businesses. They take your thousands of dollars each month and put a recent college graduate on your case who knows even less about PR than you do."

The writer told small businesses to read a few books and then attempt their own PR: "As long as you see things from a media perspective, it's not that hard to do your own PR."

This touched off a string of rebuttals including the statement that "PR is about vastly more than simple publicity." Anyone who thinks about PR that way is "narrow-minded," said Tim Pennington of Allendale, Mich.

Another writer did not think "pay-for-play" is a bad idea because "too many firms collect their retainers without delivering the goods." At the same time, he noted, "too many clients don't pay for services rendered."

A related article was by New Yorker financial writer James Surowiecki who said in the Dec. 24/31 issue that the true meaning of the web is price & item shopping. For the first time, buyers know as much about prices as sellers, he said. People are not buying much on the web (only 3% of retail sales). Rather, they are shopping on the web and doing their buying in the stores.

PR firms have missed this boat which is based on massive amounts of facts and prices available. Fighting this new era of information are firms that display no accounts at all when they used to display hundreds of them. They clasp to their bosoms any data about fees, staff names and staff totals, make no speeches, hold no press functions and exhibit no public personality. Some small and medium-sized firms also do this.

But to be modern, PR firms should start competing on the basis of price (so many activities in a month for such-and-such price) while practicing full disclosure about themselves. The activities could be special events, parties and receptions; letters to current and past customers; new brochures for the sales force; interviews set up with the press and Wall Street; promises to obtain publicity in ten of 20 target media; a certain number of hours of counseling, etc. The web is about prices and information, not secrecy.

PR has a numerical story to tell as Ketchum research head Mark Weiner has pointed out. PR returns about $6 for every dollar invested while ads return about $1.20, according to his research. Return on investment can be measured in terms of revenue, doing more with less, and for less, and avoiding catastrophic cost, he says.

The first statements of 2008 PRS chair Jeff Julin show he is a master of the overblown empty phrase.

Prof. Bill Sledzik of Kent State University, critiquing Julin, said that if he were a student in his sophomore writing class he would get a "gentleman's C" for his first release but only on the condition that he re-write it. The grade would be much worse were Julin in the senior media-relations class, Sledzik added.

As an example of Julin's "fluff," Sledzik quotes this sentence: "Implementation of the (strategic) plan will maximize member value by enhancing our real and virtual communities, more aggressively profiling best practices and PR research, and leveraging our leadership position in PR ethics."

Julin's basic flaw is overuse of abstract "buzz words" like "stakeholder engagement" while avoiding anything specific, says Sledzik. It's "B.S." writing that lacks "substance," he says.

We found much worse than just poor writing in Julin's first remarks. There is mountainous hypocrisy in his statement, "I also hope to advance a broader understanding of our profession as PRS engages in public discourse on such timely issues such as ethical communications, the free flow of information and first amendment rights."

The last thing PRS believes in is the "free flow of information" because it is withholding from members the transcripts of the last three Assemblies; COO Bill Murray's employment contract; how individual delegates voted in the 51-49% defeat of the proposed five district bylaw at the 2007 Assembly (the board has this valuable political information), and what the arguments are for switching the charter from New York (which disallows electronic meetings) to Delaware (which allows them). Julin shows no interest in overturning the 35-year-old undemocratic rule that bars 80%+ of members from running for national office. Julin's remarks so far are 100% air. His new "stealth board" meets Jan. 24-26 in New York but there's no word of this on the PRS website. We expect not a peep from any of the directors in 2008.

Sledzik feels the writing at PRS is so bad that he has started the Facebook group, "PRS Needs Professional PR Help-NOW." (

--Jack O'Dwyer


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