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Internet Edition, April 16, 2008, Page 1


The Livingston Group has picked up a $2.4M contract to provide government affairs and lobbying services to Libya.

Col. Qaddafi’s Government renounced terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in `03, moves that removed Libya from the State Dept.’s list of rogue states.

Congress, however, has held up money for construction of a U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and confirmation of an ambassador until Libya completes compensation for the victims of the bombings of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland and the `89 attack on a French airline, UTA.

Livingston is headed by former Speaker of the House-designate Bob Livingston (R-La.).

The firm’s one-year contract went into effect on March 12.

TLG recently wound up a $1.8M contract with Turkey.


Alexandra Trower, senior VP/media relations at Bank of America, has moved to Estée Lauder Companies for the executive VP-global communications post. She succeeds Sally Sussman, who left for Pfizer.

Earlier she was managing director at JPMorgan Chase, responsible for corporate communications at its JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management.

Trower spent a decade at Chancellor LGT Asset Management. She served as VP-corporate communications.

Trower reports to CEO William Lauder. She began work on April 14.

Estee Lauder brands include Origins, Clinique, Aramis, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, and Bobbi Brown as well as the Estée Lauder flagship line.


Ronald Rand, a retired Air Force brigadier general who specialized in public affairs, has been tapped as the new senior VP of communications for Lockheed Martin.

He is slated to take over for Dennis Boxx – who retired earlier this month – on May 1.

Rand exits civil and military engine maker Pratt & Whitney, where he was VP of communications.

He wrapped up his Air Force career as director of public affairs in D.C. in 2004, heading all internal and external comms. and serving as chief spokesperson.

Rand was with the Air Force for 32 years and led communications for bases around the world.


WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell sees no need to sack Burson-Marsteller chief Mark Penn in the aftermath of the loss of the Colombian Government account and the resulting media dust-up that triggered Penn’s high-profile “demotion” in the Clinton for President campaign.

B-M is “doing extremely well at the moment,” Sorrell told the Financial Times, and Penn “will continue as CEO to develop the business further.”

Sorrell said there are potential clashes and conflicts between commercial and political clients today that were hard to imagine a few years ago.

WPP has no plans to establish any rules banning executives from working on political campaigns while representing other clients.

Penn Schoen & Berland has billed the Clinton campaign $13M so far for its work as consultant and pollster.


Omnicom CEO John Wren received a 15 percent hike in `07 compensation to $8.4M, fueled by a $1M boost from the company’s incentive bonus plan.

The ad/PR combine granted Wren a $7M bonus last year. His salary remained at $1M. Wren did not receive stock awards in `07.

OMC’s No. 2 executive Randy Weisenburger was granted stock worth $280,884 during the past year. He received $975K in salary and a $5.3M incentive bonus.

The well-traveled Wren received $410,652 in other compensation.

That sum includes $340,031 for personal use of aircraft and $49,998 for auto lease/car allowance. Wren also got a $4,000 medical allowance.

OMC reported a 12.9 percent rise in `07 net income to $976M. Revenues were up 11.6 percent to $12.7M.

OMC will hold its annual meeting in New Orleans on May 16.


The PR Society, which has a record 11 board positions to fill, conducted two teleconferences April 8 but only two potential candidates asked questions.

Michael Jackson, a director in 2002, asked if he could run for CEO-elect in 2008 and was told that he could by chair Jeff Julin.

Prof. Francis McDonald of Hampton University, Hampton, Va., asked how committee chairs were picked and was told that volunteer leaders are assigned to something that interests them.

(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, April 16, 2008, Page 2


Cohn & Wolfe has made a splash in the technology sector via its acquisition of a majority stake in London-based AxiCom, which has more than 80 staffers.

Julian Tanner’s firm does PR for telecommunications, wireless/mobile, consumer tech, enterprise computing and digital media companies.

AxiCom’s client list includes Real Networks, Brightcove, Kineto, VMware, Sling Media, BT and Dell.

C&W CEO Donna Imperato had her eye out for a European acquisition partner to complement her shop’s U.S. and China tech groups.

Tanner sees an opportunity to apply his firm’s expertise across C&W’s tech, healthcare, consumer and corporate sectors.

WPP Group owns C&W.


BKSH is representing former shareholders of Yukos, the bankrupt energy company that was once Russia’s biggest oil company.

Scott Pastrick, BKSH CEO, leads the effort to educate the public and private sector about the ongoing legal battle surrounding the downfall of Yukos.

A Dutch court ruled March 26 that former shareholders of Yukos are entitled to a payment of $850M. More than 50K shareholders could receive compensation, according to a statement from Bruce Misamore, ex-CFO of Yukos.

The Russian Government levied a multi-billion dollar back tax claim against Yukos, which triggered its bankruptcy. The company’s assets were shifted to state-owned Rosneft.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former CEO of Yukos, was sentenced to nine years in jail. He is a political rival to Russian strongman Vladmir Putin.


Ian Blair, who was VP-corporate communications at H&K Canada, is now in charge of Manning Selvage & Lee’s corporate practice in that country.

The former TV newsman (Global TV and CBC Newsworld) is based in Toronto. He assumes a senior VP post. From `98 to `04, Blair served as chief spokesperson for BMO Financial Group and headed the bank’s media and PR group. He was a TV journalist for more than a decade.

Gayla Brock-Woodland is managing director of MS&L/Toronto. Publicis Groupe owns MS&L.


Peggy O’Neill, who headed Oracle’s analyst relations program, has shifted to Hill & Knowlton as senior VP-director in its U.S. industry analyst relations group.

She headed Oracle’s operation since `01. O’Neill is a veteran of Gartner and a founding analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings.

H&K has 14 analyst relations pros in the U.S., Asia and Europe. They have close ties with Gartner, Jupiter, Forrester, Yankee, IDC and other top outfits.

O’Neill reports to Joshua Reynolds, senior VP-messaging, positioning and analyst relations for the global technology practice.


New Hampshire is reviewing its $110K/year travel and tourism PR account with an RFP through April 22.

The Granite State’s Division of Travel and Tourism Development plans to award a two-year contract to earn national media coverage positioning New Hampshire as a year-round leisure destination.

Leading Edge Marketing of Newfield, N.H., is the incumbent firm. Senior partner Stephanie Seacord, former director of corporate communications for Omni Hotels/North America, heads the account.

The RFP can be downloaded at

New Hampshire uses the tagline “You’re going to love it here” and is a key outdoor recreation market in the Northeast.


Kaplow has replaced Stanton Crenshaw Communications as AOR for kajeet, a kids cell phone service with parental controls.

Kaplow won the account in a competitive review, but the company declined to name other firms involved.

SC had the business since kajeet’s launch last spring. Bethesda, Md.-based kajeet, which was named from the initials of the children of its three founders, uses online tools to moderate cell phone use. It also launched a $10/month GPS locator service for parents to track their kids in late March.

Co-founder Daniel Neal said the company tapped Kaplow to reach a “broader swath of media and consumers.”


Rasky Baerlein is handling Chapter 11 communications for The Education Resources Institute, the largest backer of private student loans which filed for bankruptcy protection on April 7.

Beth Bresnahan, associate VP at RB, is handling the account.

In a statement, non-profit TERI cited the ongoing credit crisis for causing volatility in the student loan market and causing “immense hardships on loan-related companies.” The company said it will continue operations and initiatives as it restructures its loan guarantee business.

TERI has more than $17 billion in outstanding loan guarantees.

RB and TERI are both based in Boston.


Yier Shi, a veteran food and drug communicator, has left FD Dittus for a VP post at Gibraltar Associates in Washington, D.C.

Shi was a senior director in FD Dittus’ food/heath/nutrition unit in a two-year stint there.

Earlier, he was senior communications advisor at the Food and Drug Administration managing its 40-person public affairs unit.

He was also the FDA commissioner’s chief speechwriter and primary media contact during Hurricane Katrina.

Internet Edition, April 16, 2008, Page 3


Sue Naegle, the 38-year-old co-head of United Talent Agency’s TV department, has been named president of HBO’s entertainment unit.

Finding a “hit” program to replace “The Sopranos” is a key priority for Naegle, who brought “Six Feet Under” to HBO, a Time Warner unit. She is responsible for HBO’s upcoming series, “True Blood.”

Naegle spent 16 years at UTA, beginning there in the mailroom. She begins at HBO by the end of the month, reporting to Michael Lombardo, president of HBO’s programming group and west coast operations. He called Naegle a “perfect fit” for HBO.


Randi Rhodes, host on liberal Air America radio, has resigned following her offensive comments aimed at Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro.

Those remarks were made at a March 22 San Francisco event hosted by an Air America affiliate. They gained wide distribution on YouTube. Rhodes had been suspended from the station.

Mark Green, the New York politico who is president of AA, puts Rhodes’ comments in the “Imus league.” [Shock jock Don Imus made disparaging remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.]

He told the Wall Street Journal that Rhodes’ “abusive, obscene comments obviously crossed the line of what talent at a media company could say.”

Rhodes had a weekly audience of 1.5M.

Air America is owned by Pendulum Media, an entity formed by venture capital and political activist Charlie Kireker. He is co-founder of FreshTracks Capital in Vermont and was a member of then-Governor Howard Dean’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Kireker, who is chair of Air America, purchased it in March from Green Family Media, which bought the broadcaster in `07.


The Journal Register Co, which publishes 22 dailies and 310 non-dailies, has hired Lazard Freres as its strategic advisor to “evaluate its strategic options.” The investment banker is mulling the environment for print advertising.

Veteran newspaper analyst John Morton says a JRC Chapter 11 filing may be in the works, a highly unusual occurrence at a media company.

The JRC is saddled with $625M debt as of Dec. 31, most of that connected with the `04 acquisition of Michigan papers that are now reeling from the auto crunch.

The company’s shares trade for less than a quarter. The stock traded as high as $6.48 during the past 52 weeks.

Morton told the New York Times that a potential JRC bankruptcy would be a “market-driven collapse.”

The New Haven Register is JRC’s flagship. The company has other papers in greater Philadelphia/Cleveland and New York’s mid-Hudson region.


Jay Smith is stepping down as president of Cox Enterprises’ newspaper group on May 1, capping a 37-year career.

That span included a seven-year run as publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cox’s largest paper.

Sandy Schwartz succeeds Smith. He is a 23-year veteran of Cox, joining the company as an editor in Mesa, Ariz. Schwartz was GM at AJ-C before being named executive VP at Cox Newspapers.

He retains his post as president of Cox Auto Trader, publisher of auto classified magazines.


The Charlotte Bobcats Arena is being renamed Time Warner Cable Arena in a deal inked with the National Basketball team.

The city of Charlotte built the arena to win an expansion team after the Hornets high-tailed it to New Orleans in `02.

Under the naming deal, Bobcat games will shift from TWC News 14 to Fox Sports Net South and SportSouth, a move that more than triples the potential viewing audience.

The Bobcats rank 23rd in wins in the 30-member NBA.


Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, launches "Radio Perez" on May 5.

The three-minute radio program will air during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are among the first cities slated for RP.

Lavandeira will call the biggest stations to chat with their DJs to help tailor RP to local markets. RP is a production of “C” Student Entertainment Corp.

Lavandeira’s website drew 2.8M unique visitors in February.


BGR Holding has signed Clear Channel Communications as a client for legislative and regulatory issues.

Hot topics are media ownership, localism and the Performance Rights Act.

Bryan Cunningham, a former aide to Republican Senators John Ensign (Nev.) and Judd Gregg (N.H.) handles the account.

Clear Channel has been in the news, concerning a messy takeover bid by private equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Those firms filed a lawsuit against six banks to force them to comply with the original financing terms of the $19.5B takeover bid.

Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland, Wachovia, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse asked a Texas judge on April 9 to dismiss the case.

Stanton Crenshaw reps Bain Capital. Sard Verbinnen works for THLP.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, April 16, 2008, Page 4


“We are going to have a new look to our paper, and much more clearer,” said Hollywood Reporter editor Elizabeth Guider at a recent Entertainment Publicists Professional Society workshop in Hollywood.

Guider, who noted that HR has seen double-digit growth since she came on board last year, led a panel on working with publicists with TV editor Nellie Andreeva and film editor Greg Kilday. Hanna Pantle, associate VP, corporate and media relations at BMI, moderated.

Guider, a 15-year veteran of Variety, joined HR in August 2007 and has been involved with the launch of an east coast and an Asian edition, as well as the addition of several blogs. The paper is preparing to launch a style redesign that will include several new elements.

“We want to bring the paper into the 21st century,” she said. “Readers want humor, insight, news, and analysis. No more ‘How thrilled everyone is…’” Guider said the new look will include expanding front pages so there are fewer jump pages, an overall faster “pace,” more thought to the stories that appear up front, and more features that explain how things work.

“We belong to the Nielsen Company – they have vaults of data so we’d like to do more stories that relate to the data,” she said.

The Hollywood Reporter is published daily, Mon.-Fri., with Friday’s edition called the “International Weekend Edition,” making it a key read overseas, where the paper has expanded its staff to 14 writers.

The New York edition covers the east coast with input from bureau chiefs in London and Beijing. Guider said it is different from the Los Angeles print edition, and noted the east coast paper came about after she rarely saw HR in waiting rooms when visiting corporate offices in New York.

Guider advised PR pros: “Part of your job is to distinguish the level of importance.” She said it is crucial to deal with the newsroom in the morning before afternoon deadlines approach. Andreeva admitted: “We can be cranky, especially if you call in the afternoon. In the morning we’re very mellow.”

“Pitch it short and succinctly, give us the bullet points, and keep it ‘newsy,’” she said. In the longer view, she said, they like to be part of an ongoing conversation. Rule of thumb for film stories is when a picture is acquired for distribution, gets into a major festival or when a story has a “happy ending,” because “that is the Hollywood dream,” said Guider. She told PR pros to start with the person that they might have a relationship with, and then copy the appropriate person for a particular beat. If it’s a big story, Guider wants to be in the loop.

Reaching editors

“All of our stories are offered to Reuters, especially the international stories because there is a growing demand on the Internet,” said Kilday, who has been film editor since 2001. “Readers want to know the insight, the humor and cut to the chase of the story.”

Kilday said he and his reporters prefer email and noted “two-minute voicemails are deadly.” Publicists attending the Cannes Film Festival, he noted, should find out which reporters are attending and contact them ahead of time.

Kilday, a veteran journalist of the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Herald Examiner and Entertainment Weekly, oversees the paper’s daily news coverage of the film business.

“Our big goal is to have a voice you can recognize, a Hollywood voice,” said Andreeva, who has been TV editor since June 2004 and earlier worked at Investor’s Business Daily. “During the Writers Guild of America strike there were people going through the picket lines. We tried to be objective as possible, because we knew there was a lot of coordination to get things down in Hollywood. It was a great learning experience of behind the scenes. It was a big impact on television program and stories we covered, and we’re still finishing stories on the TV side,” she said.

“Fashion can’t be all things to all people,” Andreeva said, when asked how to get stories related to fashion in the paper. “I think the media and entertainment needs to be defined, especially when it comes to television. Fashion plays a big role and we are interested in those stories. Showbiz has become much more global. We are going to see much shorter stories and more of them, because Hollywood is one of the global players.”

Guider described her typical workday as beginning at dawn, because correspondents from London and Beijing post directly to the Internet. About 14 writers cover Asia. “If there is a big story brewing it will likely make the paper by 3 or 4 p.m. International deadlines on Thursday and Friday are the same as New York, which is Thursday morning before noon for Friday editors.”

Guider noted that the New York printed edition has a “different feel” than the L.A. version, while the International Weekend edition features more Q&A’s and more global news.

PITCH TIPS: Pitch Film Editor Kilday, but cc Guider, too, and ditto for pitching TV stories to Andreeva, because Guider wants to know, too. After your email pitch follow-up with a short phone call to ensure the right person got your info.

Additionally, stories of “weirdness,” originality, or buzz at Sundance will likely get more attention, such as the most viewed piece on YouTube.

Anything local that gets picked up by a major distributor should be pitched. And even though the news release has not been signed off by everyone at, say, Disney, the panel suggests publicists give editors an early heads up like the day before a major announcement is coming. And, of course, HR editors love exclusives.

All the editors and writers prefer an email pitch first, and a follow-up call later. Mornings are the best time to pitch stories.

Contacts: Elizabeth Guider: [email protected]; Nellie Andreeva: [email protected]; Greg Kilday: [email protected].

Internet Edition, April 16, 2008, Page 5

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Metzger Assocs, which is based in Boulder, Col., is opening an office in the Bay Area to bolster ties with Silicon Valley’s high-tech analysts and reporters, according to John Metzger.

He has hired San Jose freelancer Cynthia Hoye to establish the west coast outpost.

Metzger says he considered opening on the West Coast in the past, and is making the move now to capitalize on the rebound of the technology sector. He sees parallels between Boulder and Northern California; both are leaders in the natural products and LOHAS (lifestyles of health and sustainability) sectors.


New York Area

M Booth & Associates, New York/Tea Forté, teas and accessories, as AOR. A/S Andrew Rossi heads the account.

Stanton Crenshaw Communications, New York/
Healthy Interactions, health education, for strategic comms. alongside U.K. agency Vane Percy & Roberts.


BackBay Communications, Boston/Advisors Asset Management, investment services for financial professionals, as AOR for PR, including media relations, training, and conference speaking support. AAM marketing director April Stout said the company reviewed several national PR firms.

Devaney & Associates, Baltimore/The Shafer Center, early learning center, for PR.

Imre Communications, Baltimore/Boral Bricks, brick maker, for brand positioning, sustainability awareness, media relations and supplier comms.; Mannington Mills, flooring products, for corporate messaging and positioning for its environmental efforts; Beazer homes, homebuilder, for PR, and United Industries, consumer products, for traditional and digital comms. for launch of new Super Green fertilizer line.

Loeffler Ketchum Mountjoy, Charlotte, N.C./
Simonini Builders, for advertising and marketing.

The Zimmerman Agency, Tallahassee, Fla./Sanderson Farms, for advertising, PR, promotions and interactive work, following a review. SF is the No. 4 chicken processor in the U.S.


Edward Howard, Cleveland/Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., for corporate comms.; Maloney + Novotny LLC, public accounting firm, for branding, media relations, marketing and graphic design; Progressive Corp., auto insurer, for message dev. and media training; Fire-Dex, emergency response apparel and gear, for mktg., publicity, and trade show support; Synapse Biomedical, for mktg. planning for new device, and Memorial Hospital of Union County, mkt. research, planning and community affairs.

Mountain West

Metzger Associates, Boulder, Colo./The Sterling-Rose Group, advertising and branding agency, for a national PR and new media campaign.


Atomic PR, San Francisco/KidZui, for launch of the “Internet for Kids,” an online network of websites, images and videos for children.

Mackenzie Agency, Santa Rosa, Calif./Cakebread Cellars, for media relations to support the 22nd annual American Harvest Workshop in September.

Bailey Gardiner, San Diego/, formerly Perfume Bay, for integrated marketing; Sheraton Gateway Hotel SFO, for interactive, advertising and PR; Cadena Churchill, law firm, for a website revamp, and San Diego National Bank, for annual report design.

The McRae Agency, San Diego/Complexions Rx, medical spa, for PR, including community relations, media relations and event support.

Internet Edition, April 16, 2008, Page 6


Vocus, whose $5,000 and up media management products have mostly been used by larger businesses, has a new “Small Business Edition” priced at about $3,000 annually.

SBE, like the Vocus Enterprise and Professional Editions, helps users to create customized lists of editors (which are then updated by Vocus) and track what the editors write about specified products and competitors’ products.

Data of the enterprise and professional editions can include biographies of the editors, preferred methods of contact, and podcast interviews with editors who are willing to give them.

The PRWeb unit of Vocus e-mails releases including embedded pictures and video to thousands of blogs, websites and other outlets for prices that range from $80 to $360, depending on breadth and depth of coverage.

Recipients include many thousands of editors and others who have asked to be sent materials on a specific subject.

There is no membership charge for PRWeb services, which can be purchased separately from Vocus.

PRWeb has about eight million websites, blogs, etc., in its RSS database that respond to certain keywords.

A $200 PRWeb package reaches many thousands of outlets and includes placement on major search engines such as Yahoo, Google and Topix. Releases can include up to two megabytes of images.

The most comprehensive PRWeb package, which includes Associated Press distribution to the major dailies and some 30,000 other outlets, is $360.

Vocus, based in Lanham, Md., went public at the end of 2005 and reported 2007 revenues of $58 million. It has more than 2,400 customers worldwide and provides services in five languages.

As with previous Vocus editions, SBE does not require software installation or IT support. A demonstration is available at

Chief marketing officer Bill Wagner said SBE will help businesses with under $10 million in sales to create their own media lists and track usage not only of their own releases but those of competitors as well as industry news.

Reports include how many potential customers are viewing the news in the releases and how many times client websites are being accessed as a result of the release dissemination.

Vocus products, said Wagner, do not require expensive up-front hardware and software.

BRIEF: The NewsMarket has launched a “channel” for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to provide free video content for journalists and bloggers from clients like Visa, Samsung and the International Olympic Committee. Info: Sam Cincotta, a former officer of the U.S. Marine Corps with corporate and legislative experience, to Rapportica, Gaithersburg, Md., as an account director. Rapportica is an online platform design to link financial experts with journalists.



Christopher Guidette, who headed corporate comms. for Insurance Services Office Inc., has been named director of comms. for the XL group of insurance services companies in the Americas. He handles internal and external strategic comms. for XL. Roger Scotton, global head of marketing, comms. and knowledge services, said Guidette will support growth of XL's insurance business in new markets in the Americas. Previously, Guidette was city editor of the New Brunswick Home News-Tribune before entering the PR arena in the public sector as director of comms. for the New Jersey General Assembly. He later moved to the corporate sector with Prudential Insurance Company before taking up the ISO post.

Mary Converse, VP of corporate finance and treasurer at Keane, to W2 Group, Waltham, Mass., as chief financial officer. She formerly held finance roles at PepsiCo and U.S. News & World Report.

Lacey Caldwell, former director of content and education for the Telecommunications Industry Assn., to Connect2 Communications, Wake Forest, N.C., as an account director.

Lyndsey Walker, former managing editor of Inside Business magazine, to PR 20/20, Cleveland, as a consultant.

Amanda Brannum, associate director of North Texas Business for Culture and the Arts, to GroundFloor Media, Denver, as senior PR manager. She was previously a senior A/E at Springbok Technologies.

Steve Moses, senior VP of Duncan & Associates’ Los Angeles office, to Riester, L.A., as general manager of the 15-staffer office. He was previously executive VP of Radio Marketing Group and SVP of The Martin Agency.


Jennifer Goldston to GM of Fleishman-Hillard’s Kansas City, Mo., office. She joined the firm in ’02 and replaces Anne St. Peter, who headed the office for four years, before leaving in February.

Mark Rozeen to VP of GolinHarris’ Insights and Innovation research unit, based in Chicago. He is a 17-year veteran of the firm.

Paul Walker to president of GCI Group’s Texas operations, GCI Read-Poland. He continues to head the firm’s global digital media unit.

Jennifer Temple to GM of Hill & Knowlton’s San Francisco office. The SVP and California native joined H&K/Houston in 2003. She is the firm’s global client service director for H-P.

Kathryn Walker to partner and senior VP, McGrath/Power PR and Communications, San Jose, Calif. She first joined the firm in 2001 and rejoined after stints at Internet Security Systems and Borland Software Corp. She heads up East Coast operations for the firm.

Clint Kendall and David McDonald to co-presidents, Allied Advertising, PR, Los Angeles. Gerry Feldman, moves from the president’s post to chairman. He said he watched Kendall and McDonald work together for the last two years and called them the “perfect team” to run the entertainment agency.

Internet Edition, April 16, 2008, Page 7

PRS CANDIDATES SCARCE (continued from 1)

Chair-elect Mike Cherenson, describing what it’s like to be a director, said those who join the board must “check your PR hat at the door and put on your board of director’s hat.”

Directors cease being PR people when they join the board and instead become “leaders” and management, he said.

Staff will handle PR, he added, saying directors were to “keep out of the weeds…let the staff do their part…we have a great staff, extremely capable people…they have the tools to be successful.”

“You’re not PR people on the board,” said Cherenson, recalling that 2005 director Steve Lubetkin had often voiced the same sentiments.

Troy, DeRupo Are PRS PR Staff

The two PR people on staff, Janet Troy and Joe DeRupo, were not members of PRS when they were hired.

Troy, hired in 2004, told the Bergen Record that she was “flabbergasted” that PRS even “existed” and was “clueless to it.” She said the Society needed “more visibility and I’m here to help fix that.”

DeRupo, hired in September 2007, previously was with the National Coffee Assn.

Current PRS policy forbids them from answering press questions. There have been no stories in the general press about the 2007-2008 60th Anniversary of PRS and the anniversary committee apparently has been disbanded. It has been removed from the list of boards and committees on the PRS website.

Severe Shortage

There has been a severe shortage of national candidates in recent years. No one showed up for a Southeast District board seat last year and the nominating deadline had to be extended.

The only Southwest candidate, Marlene Neill, an M.A. candidate at the Missouri Journalism School, was rejected by the nominating committee and a special search was conducted for the district director.

The candidate shortage is so severe that Blake Lewis of Richardson, Texas, and 49 other members created a task force to work at attracting candidates from the chapter level on up.

This group was successful in getting the 2007Assembly to pass a resolution demanding “transparency, complete openness” for PRS and its board.

Rules Eliminate 95% of Members

About 80% of members can’t run for national office because they’re not accredited. Other rules eliminate another 15% or more. Candidates must have headed a chapter, district, section or national committee or have voted in an Assembly.

Positions available are chair-elect, treasurer, secretary, and directors for the East Central district, Midwest, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Sunshine, Tri-State, Western, and one at-large seat.

Rhoda Weiss, 2007 chair, said district directors are not to think of themselves as representing a district but as working for the entire Society and the entire PR industry.

“You’re not here to represent a chapter or district…you represent not only members but the profession…we’re all becoming so global,” she said.

An attempt by the board to combine the ten districts into five with the eventual aim of eliminating districts was defeated by the 2007 Assembly.

3-4 Hours Weekly Needed

Julin said directors spend about three to four hours a week on PRS work and this can increase at certain times of the year.

They are required to attend four two-day board meetings and the Silver Anvil function and “Leadership Rally” each year which are held on adjacent days in June.

Travel and hotel expenses are paid but not meals, he noted. Travel expenses are only paid in the city where a meeting takes place and not in the home town of the director, he noted.

Directors are “required” to sign an oath of confidentiality in which they promise not to discuss PR or PRS matters in public, letting the elected chair and certain staff members of PRS act as the sole spokespersons.


Too many members of the PR Society are “lending” their access codes to non-members, resulting in a drive by PRS staffers to stop the practice.

PRS is placing “cookies” on member computers so that only these computers can gain access to the members’ area of the website which includes the database of 22,000 members.

The upsurge in the improper and possibly illegal use of member codes (theft of services) is partly the result of PRS suspending publication in 2005 of the 1,000-page One Source directory that included member contact information.

Those who joined in 2006 and 2007 and who did not renew their memberships now find themselves barred to the database of members unless they borrow the codes of a friend who is a member.

Previously, all members received the printed directory which is widely used for job-hunting purposes, reaching PR people in allied fields, and doing research of many types.

Weiss Committee Killed Directory

A “transitions team” headed in 2005 by Rhoda Weiss, who became chair in 2007, decided to halt publication of the directory after the 2005 edition.

Other members of the team included directors Mary Barber, John Deveney, Margaret Ann Hennen, Steve Lubetkin and Thomas Vitelli.

Neither the Assembly nor members-at-large were ever consulted about the decision.

Former national director Paul Wetzel of Boston, noting that several associations he works for have dropped printed directories, said the PRS directory “was a large expense to accommodate a few old dinosaurs.”

Staff Prefers Annual Conference

Critics saw the staff as much preferring to put time and effort into the annual conference rather than the directory.

The conference is attended by about 4% of members, 2005 president Judith Phair has said.

The 2006 PRS audit showed conference income at $1,361,738 and expenses at $1,077,813.

Internet Edition, April 16, 2008, Page 8




The board of the PR Society, finally commenting after about 20 days on the sudden resignation March 20 of Gail Baker as ethics chair (3/26 NL), has blamed it on the writer of this column.

We totally accept the “blame” although we call it “credit.”

We have saved Baker’s employer, the University of Nebraska, from a lot of embarrassment.

The board’s letter (in full on says we’re an “extreme example of attack journalism,” we make “personal” attacks on leaders, we have “a disregard for respectful communication,” and have “stepped far beyond the bounds of accurate and professional reporting.”

There’s something extreme going on here and it’s not us. It’s the extreme rigidity of the board which is unable to face facts and make needed changes.

As for “personal attacks,” we criticize chair-elect Mike Cherenson for saying that PR people check their “PR hats” at the door when joining the board (page 7). That is a ridiculous comment and deserving of no respect. Cherenson should be available for further questioning to see if he can dig himself out of a deep hole. PR talents and sensitivities are especially needed on a PR board.

We criticize 2007 chair Rhoda Weiss for saying that directors are not on the board to represent chapters or districts but to represent all members and the profession as well. This too is unworthy of belief or respect. For instance, Tri-State (NY, NJ & CT) is the most populated by far and the richest possible source of new members. It deserves far more attention than a thinly populated district. Tri-State director Fran Onofrio should be pushing for a huge increase in help to the NY chapter, a midtown information center, and having the annual conference to be in New York at least every third year (where it loses the least amount of money). He has no public record of saying anything. In criticizing the ideas of Cherenson and Weiss, we are not making “personal” attacks on them.

The “biggest project” of the year, according to chair Jeff Julin, is the re-write of the bylaws.

But what are the members told about what might change? Next to nothing. Julin told the Jan. 25 board meeting that “a number of options and approaches are being considered” and “key issues are being identified.”

Here’s what the members should be discussing on the PRS website:

1. Remove APR from the bylaws. It has choked off the supply of leaders to the point where only two questioners showed up at “cattle calls” April 8 (page one story). Also remove service as chapter, etc., leader. Get leaders from PR community, not PRS.

2. Negotiate with the 11 still-living authors whose articles were copied and sold without their permission, giving PRS at least $200K in gross profits. This stain on PRS gets deeper each year.

3. Switch the charter from New York to Delaware which allows electronic meetings.

4. Order the CPA firm to defer dues income like the AMA, ABA, AICPA, etc., giving members a true picture of their finances.

5. Assembly should pass bylaw mandating publication of an annual directory of members, also ordering drastic shrinkage of the ego-boosting annual conference attended by 4% of members.

6. Assembly should pass Central Michigan bylaw proposal giving it the same powers that similar bodies have at the AMA and ABA.

7. Ditch the three-year rule for Assembly delegates which guarantees a naive Assembly. Delegates sat meekly for about 90% of the time in 2007 while leaders hogged the mike.

8. Appoint us to the board, following Sarbanes-Oxley which tells companies to appoint expert outsiders. Many non-profits follow it. After all, who knows more about the history and politics of PRS than us? Instead of two outsiders, PRS just appointed two loyalists as board counsels—Dave Rickey and Mary Beth West.

A few more needed reforms include eliminating proxy votes at the Assembly; again publishing Assembly transcripts; barring the return of anyone to the board whether as officers or not, and ordering employment of at least ten senior PR people at h.q. PR staffers Janet Troy and Joe DeRupo, who were not members of PRS when they were hired, are swamped by the association/legal culture that exists at h.q. PR values of compromise, being open to criticism, gentleness, facing facts and engaging in dialogue are missing. Speed of response, the hallmark of PR, is obviously lacking since it took 20 days to come up with the letter about Baker.

A spring Assembly in June instead of the ego-stroking “Leadership Rally” for chapter presidents-elect (which costs about $100K) could accomplish all of the above.

Something must be done about the controlled press of PRS—namely, Tactics. One suggestion given at the Assembly was that Tactics start to run “honest, truthful editorial content.”But the March issue devotes a full page to the Tylenol myth, declaring it “an enduring example of crisis management done right.”

Tylenol was not a PR triumph but a tragedy. Johnson & Johnson rushed onto the market two months after the initial seven deaths in 1982 with the same easily-spiked capsules that resulted in the death in 1986 of 23-year-old Diane Elsworth of Westchester. CEO Jim Burke expressed profound sorrow that he had re-introduced the capsules. J&J had spun and framed the issue as a packaging problem when it was a product problem. The business press took a dive, worried about possible damage to the Tylenol brand. Tactics did not carry a word on the resignation of Baker. As another example, it printed not a word in 2006 of Central Michigan’s proposal to model PRS’ governance after that of the ABA and AMA.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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