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

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


Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, February 27, 2008, Page 1


The American Planning Association, a trade group of 43K city planners and consultants, is looking to raise its profile and expand the role its members play in shaping growth and development in the U.S.

The Washington, D.C.-based group has begun a two-part search for a PR firm with the initial phase seeking qualifications from interested firms. Part two of the process will be an RFP issued in March.

The APA, which follows public bond measures, infrastructure projects, open space, and affordable housing legislation closely, identified a need to ramp up its communications in 2004 and sees the hiring of an outside firm as part of that effort.

The PR work includes media and public outreach for its legislative program, members, and other aspects of the APA as the group marks the 100th anniversary of city planning in the U.S. beginning in October.

APA includes the American Institute of Certified Planners, the professional institute that certifies planners and standards of the field.

Firms are invited to submit qualifications through public affairs coordinator Denny Johnson ([email protected]] until March 5. The RFP can be downloaded from APA’s website.

Axiom Communications Group, Bethesda, Md, currently works with APA.


Brodeur broke the news on Feb. 18 that client Toshiba America Consumer Products is pulling the plug in its battle to be the standard high-definition DVD format.

After completing a review of its strategy for the HD DVD, the company cited “market developments” in its decision to halt sales and marketing for that format.

The move cedes the industry standard to Blu-ray, which is marketed by Sony and Panasonic.

Brodeur’s Boston office heads the Toshiba America account.

Blu-ray had scored a string of victories in locking up support from major Hollywood studios, the mail-order rental company Netflix, and retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy in recent months. Industry analysts compared the battle between the formats to the shootout between VHS and Beta in the 1980s.

Toshiba said it will provide product support for the estimated one million people who bought HD DVD players. The Blue-Ray Disc Association, a group of electronics and entertainment companies, promotes the Blue-ray format.


YPartnership, Orlando, has picked up the seven-figure marketing communications account for Our Lucaya Resort, Grand Bahama, a $450M oceanfront property affiliated with Starwood Resorts.

The resort includes Westin and Sheraton-branded hotels, both owned by Starwood.

PR billings are estimated to be $300K of the overall $5M account, which covers North American advertising, consumer promotions, and PR.

Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, during a meet the press event in early February, said Our Lucaya Resort has been experiencing low occupancy levels, according to the Bahama Journal.

Wilmer Communications, Seattle, was the resort’s previous agency.


Tom Jones, executive director of communications at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, has joined San Francisco independent healthcare PR firm WeissComm Partners as a managing director.

At East Hanover, N.J.-based Novartis, he was a company spokesman and oversaw PR programs for the company's growth driver brands.

Jones, a 15-year pro, was previously a VP and group manager at Ketchum, where he also focused on healthcare.

WeissComm, which has a New York office, counts clients like Genentech, Onyx Pharmaceuticals and 3M Worldwide.


A restaurant may advertise that it's "great" but it's not as powerful as "a restaurant reviewer writing a great review," PR Society chair-elect Michael Cherenson told a web interviewer Feb. 13.

Cherenson, interviewed by Wayne Messick of ibzresources, said this principle holds true for all types of businesses and services.

PR is about organizations building relationships with publics and using the media "is a great way to build relationships with the widest audiences," said Cherenson.

"Ads lack credibility," he added. "Everyone knows you bought it." Editorial mentions, on the other hand, are "earned," he said.

Cherenson, asked by Messick how small businesses can find the proper outside PR counsel, said they should ask whether the counselors are "accredited" since this is

(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, February 27, 2008, Page 2


Ketchum’s work for Russia in the second half of 2007 included lobbying for Vladimir Putin to be Time’s “Person of the Year” (he was) and dozens of media briefings in Moscow, New York and Washington, D.C. for both the Russian Federation and its natural gas monopoly Gazprom.

Craig Mersky, Ketchum’s general counsel, filed the firm’s six-month report for the last half of 2007 with the Justice Department this month.

Ketchum inked a $250K/month pact last August to work for Gazprom in the U.S. and an initial two-month $845K contract with the Russian Federation in early 2007, while Gavin Anderson has a $100K/month contract with Gazprom. Both firms are part of Omnicom.

Among its political and media relations activities for Russia, Ketchum conducted briefings with First Deputy Press Attache Dmitry Peskov at events like the G8 Summit and following a Moscow visit by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice in October.

The firm arranged dozens of meetings with media like the Washington Post editorial board, New Yorker editor David Remnick, and the Wall Street Journal editorial board last fall.

Ketchum also lobbied Time and made plans for Vladimir Putin to be named the magazine’s “Person of the Year,” which he was in December. A strong PR push followed that announcement.

For Gazprom, Ketchum conducted several press and think tank briefings and organized meetings as executives visited the U.S. in late November and early December.

Ketchum said it received $1.2M from sister firm GA to cover fees and expenses for the Gazprom account. Ketchum also took in nearly $2M from its U.K. operation for the Russian Federation work.

The work included a $26K tab with PR Newswire and more than $13K for video monitoring with VMS during the six-month period.


MWW Group has acquired the lobbying shop of law firm Jorden Burt and added Marilyn Berry Thompson as an executive VP in its D.C. office.

Michael Kempner, president and CEO of Interpublic-owned MWW, said he has known Thompson for more than 30 years.

Thompson was with JB for more than 15 years, chairing its government relations team.

Earlier, she was a D.C. rep for the State of New Jersey, where MWW is based, working for three governors and serving as director of federal policy for the state.

Joining MWW in the acquisition is SVP Marion Turner, a former aide to Sen. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), and VPs Allana Suda and Ryan Haaker Suda.

JB has recently lobbied for the City of Chino Hills, Calif., the Newark Public Library and Alachua County, Fla.

Tim Yehl, former chief of staff to New Jersey Democrats Rep. Frank Pallone and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, is managing director of MWW/D.C.


Phoenix’s public transit agency has put its three-year PR contract out for proposals this month.

The fifth largest city in the U.S. is searching for a firm to support its public communications staff in promoting the city’s transit services to a diverse demographic.

Phoenix is larger than Los Angeles, covering 516 miles, and its population tops 1.5M.

The work includes event coordination, media relations and coordination of partnerships. It also involved communicating progress of the city’s 20-year transit plan, passed in 2000.

A light rail connecting Phoenix with nearby Tempe, Mesa and Glendale is slated to be unveiled at the end of this year.

The RFP can be downloaded from Phoenix’s procurement site. A pre-proposal meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 28 and proposals are due March 21.

BJ Communications, Phoenix, has worked with the Phoenix Transit Authority in the past.


Marriott International has tapped WPP firm BPG PR to handle its account in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region. The Dubai-based firm has offices throughout the region, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

June Farrell, VP of international PR for Marriott, said the hotelier will be adding a number of properties in the region.

David Allen, senior VP of PR for BPG, is a former managing director for Ogilvy PR Worldwide in Singapore and MD for GCI Group in Malaysia. Oliver Stelling, chief consulting officer, is a former managing director for Weber Shandwick and management partner for Ogilvy PR Worldwide.

BPG, formerly Bates PanGulf, was formerly owned by Cordiant Communications Group.


24 Hour Fitness has inked a marketing deal with New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter as the privately owned gym chain looks to crack the lucrative New York market.

The San Ramon, Calif.-based company will co-brand its New York locations as 24 Hour Fitness-Derek Jeter, to reflect its partnership with the marketable Yankees shortstop, who becomes an equity partner of the clubs and will help design the locations.

Edelman Sports handles the 24 Hour Fitness account and is working on the launch of the Jeter gyms.

The first Jeter-branded club is slated to open in late June with two other locations planned for the next year. The 28K-square-foot facility is to include laundry service and Starbucks coffee among its amenities.

The move is the company’s first major foray into the northeast market.

It has more than 400 clubs worldwide and has previously inked co-marketing deals with athletes like Andre Agassi and Lance Armstrong, as well as the NBC TV show “Biggest Loser.”

24 Hour tapped basketball star Yao Ming to open a gym in China last year.

Internet Edition, February 27, 2008, Page 3


The E. W. Scripps Company has pulled the plug on the Albuquerque Tribune, which published its final edition on Feb. 23.

The company said the decision to close the daily newspaper follows a seven-month effort to find a suitor. Tom Carroll and Doug Turner, who head PR firm DW Turner in Albuquerque, made an offer for the paper in October, but withdrew it in early February saying they could not put the deal together.

Scripps, which bought the paper in 1923, said it notified the Tribune’s 38 editorial employees of the decision to discontinue publication. Employees will receive severance packages, including outplacement services and a limited health care subsidy, Scripps said.

“The loss of The Albuquerque Tribune is profoundly sad for the community, its dedicated staff and all of those great journalists who have contributed over the years to the newspaper's outstanding reputation for editorial independence and excellence,” said Rich Boehne, executive VP and COO for Scripps. "As The Tribune passes into history we take some solace in the knowledge that Albuquerque and New Mexico are better places to live today thanks to the newspaper's commitment to community service.”

The paper had operated since 1933 under a joint agreement that had Scripps and Journal Publishing Company sharing profits from the Tribune and the morning daily Albuquerque Journal. Under a new deal with Journal Publishing, Scripps will continue as a partner for the Journal newspaper.

Scripps had been seeking a suitor for the paper since August 2007 saying the Albuquerque market couldn’t support an afternoon daily paper.

Circulation of the Tribune shrunk from 42K in 1988 to about 10K recently.

The Journal's paid circulation tops 100K daily and 145K on Sundays.


A staffer for Arlington, Va.-based lobbying and public affairs firm Alcade & Fay is at the center of a critical piece on John McCain by the New York Times.

The Gray Lady, in a lengthy front-page story Feb. 21 with four reporters on the byline, questioned McCain’s ethics record and noted staffers of the Republican front-runner feared the candidate was having a romantic relationship with 40-year-old A&F lobbyist Vicki Iseman eight years ago.

McCain has denied the allegation, but the story has penetrated the national political media consciousness.

A&F's website, including Iseman's bio, was initially unavailble online after the article was published.

A&F, created a separate PR unit, Capitoline Communications, in 2002 under the direction of partner Jennefer Hirshberg, a former Ogilvy and Shandwick PA exec who served as Nancy Reagan’s press secretary as first lady.


Sun-Times Media Group said it has inked a deal with Elgin, Illinois-based Affinity Express to outsource most of its print and online advertising production. The move is expected to save $3 million annually and cost some jobs, the company said.

Last year, the STMG outsourced most of its newspaper delivery services.

The moves are part of a previously announced plan to cut costs annually by $50 million.

The transition will be phased in over a period of several months for the Chicago Sun-Times, Fox Valley Publications, Midwest Suburban Publishing, Pioneer Press and Post-Tribune.


Dan Farber, VP of editorial at ZDNet, has been named editor-in-chief of CNET He takes over for Jai Singh, a SVP and EIC, who is leaving the company in March.

Farber is credited with building ZDNet into a top voice in business technology while co-developing the ZDNet Blog Network, which includes more than 30 bloggers.

He joined ZDNet in 1996 after serving as VP and editor-in-chief at Ziff-Davis' flagship computing news publications, PC Week and MacWeek.

He was also a founding editor at MacWorld and part of the editorial staffs of PC World and PC Magazine.

Singh, 51 exits after more than 12 years with CNET.

“Last month marked my 12th anniversary here at CNET, and I realized I've outlasted the founders of this great company in tenure. I've decided it's time to take a breather, restore my health, and ponder what's next,” Singh said in a letter to staff.

“A lot has changed and a lot will continue to change since I had the good fortune to conceive, create, and launch But I remain confident in the immutable law: users always reward media that put relentless focus on timely, insightful, and credible content.”


The Thomson Corporation and Reuters said they’ve received green lights from the European Commission, U.S. Dept. of Justice and Canadian Competition Bureau for Thomson's proposed acquisition of Reuters.

That signals all regulatory approvals needed to close the transaction have now been obtained and the companies will now seek shareholder and court approval.

A target date of April 13 has been set to close the deal. As part of the agreements, Thomson has agreed to sell a copy of the Thomson Fundamentals database and Reuters okayed the sale of its Reuters Estimates, Reuters Aftermarket Research and Reuters Economics databases.

The sales include copies of the databases, source data and training materials, as well as certain contracts connected to the databases, said the companies.

Thomson and Reuters will face shareholders on March 26.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, February 27, 2008, Page 4


David Yarnold, former Pulitzer Prize-winning editor at the San Jose Mercury News, has been named executive director of Environmental Defense and president of the group’s lobbying arm, the Environmental Defense Action Fund.

Yarnold joined ED in 2005 as its first executive VP after 27 years at the Merc, where he served as editor, executive editor and managing editor. In his new role, he is responsible for all operations at Environmental Defense, which is based in New York but has eight other offices in the U.S. and an outpost in Beijing.

The group’s revenues are projected to be $116M in 2008.


Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has aligned with, an online marketplace with wedding planning tools and a social community. MSLO said the deal, which includes acquisition of 40 percent of WW, is to accelerate its digital footprint and expand its weddings franchise online and in print. The deal also includes a commercial agreement related to software and content licensing and media sales.

MSLO and WeddingWire signed a commercial agreement which has WeddingWire offering its tools on the “Weddings” section of will receive MSLO content and ad support. Ad revenues will be shared.

People ______________________

Michelle Holmes, 39, has been named editor of the Sun-Times News Group’s SouthtownStar, based in Tinley Park, Ill. The Star was created from a combination of the DailySouthtown and the twice-weekly Neighborhood Star, which covers Chicago’s Southland.

Holmes has been managing editor of the Post-Tribune in Northwest Indiana for two years, joining in 2000 after several years in various capacities at the News Dispatch in Michigan City.

Brief _________________________

Alternative lifestyle magazine YRB has moved from SoHo to the DUMBO area of Brooklyn. New address is 10 Jay Street, Suite 307, Brooklyn, New York 11201. Info:


“A few years ago, this was social media,” said Doug Simon, President & CEO of DS Simon Productions, to a packed room at the International Cinematographer’s Guild in New York.

The times aren’t changing — they’ve already changed. Online media’s revolution has given birth to a need for informational immediacy.

With news coverage moving into the digital realm, how can publicists ensure their relevance?

This was the topic of discussion at a January 23rd panel hosted by the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society, an event that brought together some of the biggest names in digital entertainment to discuss the future of publicity.

According to Lloyd Trufelman, president and CEO of Trylon SMR, maintaining relevance is essential. Thinking strategically and coming up with a unique voice is key for surviving in what he called the “big, disintermediated cloud” of digital convergence.

“It’s not if or when, it’s now. The Internet revolution has already happened,” he said. “Everything is instantaneous. Everything is global. And you can’t control it.”

Trufelman, whose firm was one of the first to integrate blogs into its standard media relations practice, believes new technology works to the PR pros’ advantage. New media outlets give publicists more choices, making the traditional Page Six route no longer “the only game in town.”

“The blogosphere is terrific from a publicist’s point of view. The fact is, the blogosphere is now extending the reach of mainstream media. Today’s blogger is tomorrow’s MSN chief,” he said.

Trufelman believes a responsibility falls on the shoulders of PR pros to educate clients about today’s media landscape. A generational gap may have clients believing that print impressions are better than their web counterparts, but Trufelman thinks PR pros should make a concerted effort to push for an online presence. Showing web stats and a list of recent impressions can remind clients that online coverage is good coverage.

“Send them stuff to show that it’s working,” he said. “As PR people, we can explain to management and to clients the value of third parties. That’s one of the big things comforting people nowadays.”

Publicists aren’t the only ones who’ve seen their professions altered in the information age.

Just as it has done with traditional journalists, wire services and press agencies now find themselves competing with blogs to get stories first. Jesse Washington, entertainment editor for the Associated Press, said because today’s media climate requires instant coverage, AP’s knack to break news makes them “perfectly suited for the digital age.”

“We go to great lengths to be prepared. Because we always need to have the story first, we have to be able to instantaneously respond to what’s out there,” he said.

Likewise, Marc Kurschner, Vice President of the Entertainment division for Getty Images, said he’s also felt the business shift in recent years.

Getty, which licenses photography footage to companies all over the world, has now found a new customer in an Internet news site.

“For everyday people, blogs brought in a ‘what about me’ mentality. For us, it brought in a lot of business,” he said.

Michael Slezak, senior writer for Entertainment Weekly’s web publication, said one of the greatest advantages of working online is the level of public interaction that is allowed through message boards, forums and surveys.

“We get to build a real community with our readers,” he said.

Internet Edition, February 27, 2008, Page 5


MDC Partners Inc., has acquired Clifford Public Relations and merged the firm with MDC’s Bratskeir & Company PR unit.

The combined entity, Clifford/Bratskeir PR, counts 60 staffers with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

New York-based Clifford PR reported PR revenue of $2M for 2006, up 20 percent from the year earlier, with 20 staffers.

Mike Clifford serves as CEO of the firm. Bratskeir principals Allyn Seidman, Mark Malinowski, and Mike Rosen round out the leadership team.

C/B has five main practices: consumer packaged goods; luxury/lifestyle; entertainment; home furnishings and design, and beauty, fashion and wellness.

“Allyn, Mark and I have admired Mike Clifford and his team's work and have spoken throughout the past year” about such a deal, said Mike Rosen.

Clients include NutriSystem, PepsiCo, L’Oreal, The Body Shop, Yankee Candle Company, and Callaway Golf.

Clifford was founded in 1997, while Bratskeir dates back to 1989.


Interpublic's Cassidy & Associates picked up $200K working for Major League Baseball in the Capitol in '07.

The firm focused on Congressional interest in drug testing, immigration (visa issues are common in MLB), and stadium security.

Former Illinois Democratic Rep. Marty Russo, CEO/senior vice chairman at Cassidy, Gerald Warburg, executive VP and a former Democratic Congressional aide, and Christine O'Conner, a VP at Cassidy and former aide to Rep. William Goodling (R-Pa.), round out the Cassidy team handling MLB.

On the players' side, Glover Park Group has a relatively small pact to help the Major League Baseball Players Association implement a public policy strategy. Joel Johnson, a Glover Park partner and former Clinton aide, heads that effort.


Powell Tate is working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to unveil President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldier's Home, the NTHP’s newest site which includes Lincoln’s residence for a quarter of his presidency.

The cottage is on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, about three miles north of the White House in Washington, D.C., and was designated an historical site by President Clinton in 2000.

Reporters were given a preview of the site last week and a ceremony officially opened it Feb. 18. A copy of the Emancipation Proclamation will be on display at the cottage through April, a nod to the possibility that the document was drafted at the site.

The 34-room cottage underwent a $15M restoration by the NTHP, including a visitor center that was renovated as a “green” building with a grant from United Technologies Corp.


New York Area

Affect Strategies, New York/Touchpaper, IT business management solutions, for PR as it expands in the U.S.

Corbin & Associates, New York/Planned Parenthood Federation of America, for launch of its condom brand, Proper Attire, this month.

Dan Klores Communications, New York/Elite Model Management, for PR for model Jessica White.

Geoffrey Weill Associates, New York/Aman Resorts, Singapore-based resort operator, for PR in the U.S. The company, which has 18 resorts in countries like India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, has handled U.S. PR internally since 1988.


Hill & Knowlton, Washington, D.C./Association of Dutch Insurers, for lobbying for the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of 2007, a House bill which would require disclosure of Holocaust-era policies by insurers and establish a federal cause of action for claims.

Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Washington, D.C./Virgin America, as AOR for PR. Ogilvy has worked with the airline since before its launch last year. Ogilvy’s Los Angeles office assists.Virgin America is planning to add 30 cities to its six original locales – New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Diego – over the next five years, including Seattle on March 18.

NewsMark PR, Boca Raton, Fla./Valerie Herskowitz, speech pathologist and autism consultant, for PR for her computer-based intervention program for families. The firm has also been tapped by Diagnostic Centers of America to showcase the $2M purchase of its cardiac and medical imaging technology by Siemens.


Ruder Finn, Chicago/Alterian, enterprise marketing platform provider, for global PR. RF/London will also handle the account. Adrienne McGarr, management supervisor in Chicago, and Becky McMichael, director of the firm’s global connectivity practice in the U.K., head the work reporting to Bob Barker, VP of corporate marketing for Alterian.

Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Grand Rapids, Mich./EmploymentGroup and Next Generation Equity Research, for PR.

Nicholson Kovac, Kansas City, Mo./M&I Bank, part of Marshall & Ilsley Corp., as AOR for PR for the central states region of Kansas City, St. Joseph, Mo., and Pittsburg, Kan.

The Marketing Store, Chicago/DeVry University, for a brand maarketing push unveiled this month to highlight the success of graduates in finding jobs after graduation and address the “misconception” that it is a technical or vocational school.


McRae Agency, San Diego/Association for Behavior Analysis International, for a national PR program educating the public about the field of behavior analysis.

Internet Edition, February 27, 2008, Page 6


Corporate communications base salaries edged slightly upward in 2007 - 3.8 percent, compared with 3.3 percent in 2006 - while agency salaries reversed a downward trend from '06 with an increase of nearly four percent, according to Spring & Associates' annual salary and bonus report. Agency salaries had decreased 3.2 percent in '06, according to Spring.

Corporate salaries continued to exceed agency salaries, a trend that has held steady since agencies last took the salary lead during the dot-com boom. But Spring noted that corporate salaries, with bonuses, raises, benefits and pension plans factored in, have actually surpassed agency compensation for the last 12 years.

Top markets like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and San Francisco saw increases top the four percent mark over '06.

The largest increases were seen at the lower rungs of the PR ladder. Agency account executives saw an average pay hike of 6.2 percent in '07 (7.4% in top markets) while corporate managers reported an upswing of 4.4 percent regionally.

Corporate communications bonuses were up an average of 8.6 percent in '07, compared with 6.2 percent in '06. On the agency side, bonuses registered a 9.6 percent gain, down from 11.2 percent last year.

Top bonuses were given to corporate specialists and managers (up 16.1 and 10.3 percent, respectively), while A/Es (12.4%), senior A/Es (11.2%), and A/Ss (11.2%) all registered double-digit bonus increases. Agency VPs saw an eight-percent increase in bonuses over the previous year, while SVPs reported an 8.3% hike and executive VPs posted a 5.2 percent gain.

Independent PR firms reported higher hourly billing rate increases than their ad-agency owned rivals. Among the top 100 independents, billings increases ranged from 4.7%-6.5% regionally, while ad agency-owned shops increased rates between 3.9% and 5%.

Spring said the national home mortgage crisis and other underlying economic financial issues have not yet noticeably affected PR compensation or job growth through February. "Barring a full-blown recession or a catastrophic event(s), this looks like another profitable year for PR professionals and the industry as a whole," said Spring.

The full salary and bonus report can be ordered at

BRIEFS: Elvin Montero, director of communications and issues management for the Chemistry Council of New Jersey, has been named president of the New Jersey chapter of International Association of Business Communicators. N.J. is the group’s eighth largest chapter worldwide. Montero also serves on the regional board as director of leadership development for IABC/Heritage region. He has been on the N.J. chapter board since 2005. ...Teletrax, the broadcast monitoring subsidiary of Medialink, has inked a four-year renewal contract with direct-response media company Mercury Communications. MC uses Teletrax to monitor airings of its long and short-form direct-response ads.



William Walkowiak, VP of investor relations and corporate comms., EDO Corp., to NexCen Brands, New York, parent of brands like The Athlete’s Foot and Bill Blass, as senior VP of IR. He previously held posts at AT&T, PureTec Corp. and Lippert/Heilshorn Associates.

James Andrews, a blogger for and founder of marketing firm BrandInfluence, to Ketchum, Atlanta, as a director in the firm’s interactive communications unit. Andrews publishes and earlier created Soul Purpose, an e-newsletter sold to Urban Box Office. Scott Kilroy, who has held director-level posts at, Vizy Interactive and Burson-Marsteller, has joined Ketchum’s interactive unit as a director in New York.

Mike Clements, assignment editor for economics at USA Today, to McGinn MS&L, Arlington, Va., as a member of its corporate communications practice. Clements directed USAT’s “Money” section and, as a reporter, covered the auto industry, trade, environmental and safety issues. He was formerly Washington correspondent for the Detroit News and spent five years at the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y.

Angelica Colantuoni to VP, Stanton Communications, Washington, D.C. Also, Jessica Trzyna to VP in Baltimore, and Meghan Weber to VP, New York.

Kimberly Porrazzo, editor of OC Metro Business Magazine, to Morgan Marketing & PR, Irvine, Calif., as VP of client services.

Michael Gazer, independent consultant, to Vital Insight Group, Toronto, as VP of marketing and communications. He was previously senior director of marketing for KFC Canada.

Nick Leonard, former managing director of Octane, a Lewis group company, to Ruder Finn, as U.K. managing director based in London.


Gabe Banner to promotions director, Lime PR + promotion, New York. He oversees projects for Wendy’s, Panasonic, The Natural Dentist, and Phonak. Sarah DeLuca, who ran her own PR/promotions firm, joins as an account manager. Amanda Ruymen joins as an A/M from MWW Group.

Jennifer Qotb and Meggan Manson to principals, Young & Associates, McLean, Va. Jean Young, founder, is now chairman of the board. Also, Eve Sheridan was upped to VP and Jennifer Mirabile, to senior A/E.

Shawn Draper to senior VP and partner, Imre Communications, Baltimore, Md. He joined the firm in 2006 and has worked in its home and building practice.


David Byrne, former European commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection; Admiral Vernon Clark, former chief of U.S. naval operations, and Christopher Meyer, former British ambassador to the U.S., to Fleishman-Hillard’s international advisory board.

Internet Edition, February 27, 2008, Page 7


a "mark of excellence" and shows that they follow a code of ethics.

Some "PR firms" are actually ad agencies that write press releases on the side, he said. One way to be certain PR is involved is to see if the counselor is "accredited," he continued. Accreditation is a "great tool for measuring whether someone can be an effective PR counselor," said Cherenson. (Messick had mentioned that Cherenson was accredited by PRS).

References can also be sought from peer companies, lawyers, accountants, and other sources in the business community, he added.

The local chapter of the PR Society as well as national h.q. can help with a search, said Cherenson, noting there are 119 chapters in PRS.

He did not mention directories of PR firms including O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms and Contact of PR Week, both of which list more than 2,000 PR firms. PRS stopped publishing its own Redbook of PR firms in 2006. Its online directory of members is barred to non-members.

Ibizresources Initiated Interview

The interview was initiated by ibizresources which said it asked PRS h.q. for someone to talk about PR. Traditionally, the chair of PRS (currently Jeff Julin) handles all interviews with the press. Cherenson was introduced as the "president" of Success Communications, Parsippany, N.J., which was said to have offices "throughout the U.S."

He is actually XVP of Success, heading its seven-person PR unit. The ad/marketing agency, with offices in 11 cities, employs 150 and has billings of $60M. It also handles association management and website design.

Link to the discussion is:

Cherenson urged businesses to build relations with local and trade reporters by following what they write about and by providing them with "nuggets" as well as "stories."A "nugget" may be even more important than a story, he said.

Try to be a "resource" for your local and trade reporters, he said. "They just want to talk to you."

Reporters are quite busy these days, he warned, and need materials that are "concise." They want the "five W's"-who, what, where, when and why. Material must be "newsworthy," he said several times.

Businesses don't necessarily need a PR firm in order to do PR, he noted, saying "a lot of it is intuitive."

He suggested keeping up ties with audiences such as employees, customers and suppliers by using newsletters, e-mails, letters and other means.

If a client has products that impact on the local environment, a good idea is to invite police, fire, mayor, etc., to a reception once or twice a year, he said.
"New media" such as blogs can be important, according to Cherenson, but companies must spend time and attention on them and be prepared for "negative" as well as "positive" responses.

Companies must be "prolific" in communicating on a blog, he said. "One post a month won't do it." While media relations is "more of a monologue with little interaction-it's printed and the public reacts to it-now you can have a dialogue" with the new media, he said.

Urging "realism," Cherenson warned that "only a small number of press releases get published," he said. Many are more suitable for local or trade papers rather than the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, he said.

The interview was sponsored by which helps groups to "meet regularly by phone." It is based at 14 E. 4th St., #408, NY 10012. ([email protected]).


Jeff Julin, CEO of the PR Society, announced last week that the leadership teleconferences that usually followed board meetings have been cancelled for the next "several quarters."

Leaders are very busy and even with two teleconferences following the meetings many leaders do not take part, he told leaders via an e-mail. Instead, he said, a written report will be made to leaders using a special "leaders@prs" e-mail address. A teleconference might be arranged if "issues arise," he said.

Members Howl

Seven e-mails protesting the suspension of the leader calls were posted almost immediately on Current and former leaders said that by the time leader calls resume, the year, including the annual conference and Assembly, will be over.

"Past Leader of PRS" said there will be "no dialogue, no ability to respond unless someone wants to post something on the website."

Julin's e-mail described in general what went on in the Jan. 25-26 board meeting. But one critic said the letter was "superficial" and had "no real information." Another called Julin's letter "pablum."

Another writer said board members, including new directors David Imre, Jim Haynes, Kathryn Hubbell and Phil Tate, have abandoned their communications principles in return for being able to boast for the rest of their careers about being on the board of the "world's largest PR association."

An attempt by the O'Dwyer Co. to place an ad for the 2008 O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms in the Tactics monthly of PRS was rejected by PRS on the ground that firms in the Directory are in competition with individual counselor members of PRS.

O'Dwyer said that many members of PRS are among the firms in the O'Dwyer Directory, but this argument was rejected. PRS no longer publishes a directory of counselor members (its former Redbook had 67 pages of entries). Non-members are barred from searching the PRS online member database.


Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher is representing private equity firm Paine & Partners in its $132M sale of medical supplies provider Byram Healthcare Center to OPG Groep N.V. of The Netherlands.

Byram markets disposable medical supplies for home-care patients and counts more than one million customers. The company had been owned by a P&P fund since 1999. The all cash deal is expected to close in March. JFWBK partner Andy Brimmer handles the work.

Internet Edition, February 27, 2008, Page 8




PRS chair Mike Cherenson has presented a very elemental view of PR in his interview with an online service (page one).

According to him, PR is almost entirely media relations. Don’t advertise because ads lack credibility, he says. Rather, he says, in the case of a restaurant, try to get a “great” review from a paper’s restaurant critic.

No doubt reviews carry more weight than ads but if all the restaurants stopped advertising, there wouldn’t be any media to carry restaurant reviews.

In this era of “integrated communications,” it’s odd to see Cherenson imploring against paid ads.

Asked how to find outside PR counsel, Cherenson said be sure to look for someone who is “accredited” by PRS. This means they are “excellent” and follow an ethics code, he said.

Unmentioned is the fact that, while Cherenson plays up media relations, only 5% of the questions on the accreditation test are about media relations.

He also fails to mention that APR is highly unpopular among PRS members, less than 2% of eligibles taking the test yearly. Only 391 new PRS APRs (130 yearly) have been created since 2003.

Also, the word “excellent” appears nowhere in APR literature. In debates over the meaning of APR at the 2003-2004 Assemblies, it was established that while APR “might” show more commitment to PR, it only equates to 5-6 years in PR. APRs are no better in any way than non-APRs, it was said.

Most odd is Cherenson stressing “media relations” when PRS practices caveman media relations. Even member relations are deficient.

CEO Jeff Julin (why wasn’t he the spokesperson for this interview?) has just cancelled live teleconferences with leaders, a PR atrocity that has many members up-in-arms (page 7). They have given us power of attorney to view the minutes of the Jan. 25-26 executive committee and board meetings. Julin cancelled the scheduled “Town Hall Meeting” at the 2007 Assembly so he could speak for 35-minutes. His predecessor, Rhoda Weiss, didn’t appear before about 12 of the 15 biggest chapters including the five biggest. There is as yet no published speaking schedule of Julin.

Though Cherenson mentioned the ethics of the APRs, he allowed interviewer Wayne Messick to describe him as “president” of Success Communications “with offices throughout the U.S.”

He should have corrected Messick, saying, “I am XVP of the seven-person PR unit of a 150-person ad/marketing/assn. mgmt. agency. I sold my father’s PR firm in 2006 to Success.”

Cherenson’s official bio as a candidate for chair-elect (skipping treasurer) also overplayed his hand, saying, “In 2007, the Cherenson Group expanded from a regional communications firm to a nationwide company.” It did no such thing. Cherenson sold out and the Cherenson name disappeared from the masthead.

Cherenson, asked how to find outside PR counsel, suggested shopping among PRS members although PRS national and all chapter online membership lists are barred to outsiders and PRS killed its printed “Red Book” of PR firms in 2005. PR pros should not ignore PRS, a group on public welfare because it avoids paying taxes but acts like a private business. It’s on “corporate welfare” by avoiding millions in taxes (federal tax of 34% and 8% New York State tax). Current surplus is $4.88M (9/30/07) indicating taxes due of $1.95M.

Cherenson’s urging new biz prospects to consult PRS and especially APRs needs to be challenged. PRS is supposed to be there for the entire industry and not just members. Studies over eight years by PR professors Jay Rayburn and Vince Hazleton (both APR) show that APR counselors with the same experience as non-APRs make $94,191 more yearly. This is from the new APR Study Guide. The Counselors Academy of PRS recently said that the “No. 1 question” that PRS receives “each month” at h.q., is “Where can I find a PR firm or consultant?” Said the promotion: “Hundreds of potential clients are looking for you, but will they find you?”

With this “smoking gun,” a group of counselors (members and non-members) must demand that one or more of them set up an office at PRS to monitor all incoming calls for PR counsel.

A page or two of information about PR firms should be given to inquirers including web links and addresses of the directories of PR firms put out by the O’Dwyer Co. and PR Week; info about Council of PR Firms and the IABC, and info about all the PR news websites.

PRS is abusing its public trust, its promise in its N.Y. Certificate of Incorporation to “consider all matters affecting the practice of PR” for the entire industry including “workers to employers and clients” and to “maintain high standards of public service and conduct.” It described itself as “a corporation which does not contemplate pecuniary gain or profit to the members thereof.” What about the $500 cash stipends to 100+ chapter presidents-elect each year and the lifetime free memberships and conference registrations to ex-presidents? What about the $300 extra charge for non-members for the conference and the 66% extra charge for the $150 PRS workshops? When PRS had its info pack service for 15 years, non-members were charged triple the member rate ($55 vs. $18 for members). A half million is spent yearly in meals, hotels and travel to leaders and staff in this era of the internet and telephone. IRS complaint form 13909 for tax-exempts has been filed.

Is Cherenson a fit spokesperson for the entire PR industry? We think not. Sources tell us he was picked over treasurer Tony D’Angelo because he is younger and better looking than D’Angelo and thus would be more appealing to younger PR pros. D’Angelo had far more experience than Cherenson and was with a blue chip company (UTC) rather than a small N.J. ad agency.

There was no logical reason to reject him.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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