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, October 8, 2008, Page 1


EcoCAR, a General Motors and Dept. of Energy-sponsored competition for college engineering students in North America, is looking for a PR firm to support the three-year program.

The competition is soliciting proposals from PR firms through Oct. 16 to guide communications for EcoCAR and its sponsors for at least half of its three-year span. The PR program will be evaluated in the second year to determine if a new contract will be sought.

PR budget will range from $200-350K, according to a copy of the RFP.

The competition covers universities in the U.S. and Canada (the Canadian government is also a sponsor) and has students reengineering a Saturn Vue automobile to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Included in the PR work is development of a communications plan for Jan. 2009-10 and execution of media relations, PR events, outreach to consumers, policy makers, students, and coordination with PR staff from GM, the DOE and other supporting organizations.

Kimberly DeClark ([email protected]), a Strat@comm executive on the GM account who is now communications and logistics manager at the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is the point person for the competition’s steering committee and will oversee the selected firm. Jackie Papiernik ([email protected]] is handling proposals. A copy of the RFP can be downloaded from the EcoCAR website at


Burson-Marsteller has replaced Jim Lake, who was chairman of its U.S. PA practice, with his identical twin brother, Mike.

Jim took the presidency post at Gibraltar Assocs. on Sept. 15. Mike had been running B-M’s southwest region and opened offices in Dallas, Austin and Houston.

Prior to B-M, Mike opened BSMG Worldwide’s southwest operation.

Both Lakes served in the Reagan White House. Mike was director of campaign event operations for Bush-Quayle in `88, and director of candidate operations for the “Dole for President” campaign.

B-M’s domestic PA group has about 100 staffers.

PRS president Bill Murray earned $262,515 in `07 compensation. The Society contributed $29,500 to Murray’s employee benefit plan, and shelled out $21,338 for his expense account and other allowances, according to its Form 990 made available Sept. 29.


WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell is shifting the firm’s incorporation from the U.K. to Ireland in a move to slash taxes. The move is to be completed next month.

The British Treasury’s tinkering with the tax code would force WPP and other companies to pay taxes on earnings overseas once they are remitted to the U.K, according to a report in the Daily Mail. E.g., United Business Media, owner of PR Newswire, is joining Sorrell in the shift to the Emerald Isle.

The Mail reports that WPP paid 204M pounds in taxes in `07, but would now be on the hook for “tens of millions of pounds more.” The U.K. generates less than 15 percent of WPP’s revenues and profits.

Sorrell had been an ardent foe of the Treasury’s plan, and is now apparently throwing in the towel. Reuters reports that WPP’s shift to Ireland is a “blow” for the British Government, especially since Sorrell “acted as an ambassador for British business. He also played a leading role in London’s win of the `12 Olympics.


Red Cavaney, who is retiring as president and CEO of the powerful oil industry trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, will take the top government and public affairs post at ConocoPhillips in November.

Cavaney announced his retirement from API after 11 years in June. He steps down on Oct. 31 and will be succeeded by Jack Gerard, who heads the American Chemistry Council and previously led the National Mining Association.

Cavaney was a senior White House staffer for Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan. The 65-year-old Vietnam veteran earlier headed three key trade groups – the American Paper Institute, American Plastics Council, and the American Forest & Paper Association.

At ConocoPhillips, Cavaney will oversee policy, government affairs, communications and PA.


Ogilvy PR Worldwide has won PR duties for Silicon Valley solar cell producer SunPower Corp. following a competitive review. Ogilvy takes over for San Francisco-based Bite Communications.

SP claims to be the largest maker of solar systems in the U.S. It’s looking for Ogilvy to tap the energy medium’s “momentum as a mainstream energy source.”

Ogilvy’s S.F. office will lead the account with support from more than 10 offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. The work encompasses corporate and consumer comms., PA, crisis management, message development, social media and media training.

Internet Edition, October 8, 2008, Page 2


Sal Russo, founder and principal of the right-leaning PR firm Russo Marsh & Rogers, is chief strategist of a political action committee targeting Sen. Barack Obama with a 38-city tour this month of rallies across the U.S.

The Our Country Deserves Better PAC is hitting Obama on what it says will be higher taxes, weaker national defense, an empty energy policy and uncontrolled borders if the Illinois Democrat is elected to the White House in November.

The group is organizing rallies across the U.S. from Sacramento on Oct. 15 to culminate 14 days later with a Washington, D.C., press conference. It’s asking participants with executive experience to bring their resumes to highlight Americans with more experience than Obama. The group, which is also raising money to run advertising, is urging rally participants to bring American flags to the events.

Russo, a former aide to Ronald Reagan when he was governor of California, has been active in similar groups in the past to advance Republican causes. In 2007, he was chief strategist of Move America Forward as it assembled a 24-city caravan in support of the so-called military “surge” in Iraq and earlier, mounted opposition to Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” film. He was also under contract with Iraq’s Kurdish population at the time.

Howard Kaloogian, a former state assemblyman in California and key figure in the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in 2004, chairs the OCDB PAC.


Abernathy MacGregor Group and Stanton Crenshaw are working the $2.2B private equity takeover of venerable asset management firm Neuberger Berman.

Hellman & Friedman and Bain Capital Partners are leading the takeover of the property that had been part of Lehman Brothers, which prior to its collapse had spurned a $7B offer for NB. AMG reps H&F, while SC works for BCP.

NB is to form the core of a $230B asset group that is being created by the equity partners. The company will be known as Neuberger Investment Management.

George Walker, former head of global investment management at Lehman, says his worried staffers are now energized by the deal with H&F and BCP. He couldn’t “think of two better partners,” according to a statement. Walker will head NIM.


Ellen Gonda has left the director of communications slot at private equity giant The Carlyle Group after a year to head global communications and PR for Hilton Hotels Corp.

She took up the senior VP post at Hilton last week reporting to CEO Christopher Nassetta and based in Beverly Hills.

Gonda joined Carlyle in New York last December to direct communications for its North and South American initiatives from Brunswick Group, where she was a director. Earlier, she was with Gavin Anderson and then-Abernathy MacGregor Frank.

Chris Ullman continues to head global communications for Carlyle, which has $89.3 billion under management, up from $75B when Gonda joined last year.


Lehman Brothers owes Kekst & Company $400K for its crisis and other PR services handled before the bankrupt investment bank went belly-up in September.

The New York Post said Oct. 3 Lehman was expected to pay the firm in full about a week before its earnings announcement on Sept. 11 but never did, despite a request before the Chapter 11 filing.

Kekst, which was acquired by Publicis Groupe in a nine-figure deal in July, doesn’t comment on its client work. It had worked for Lehman in the past before its financial troubles surfaced this year.

The firm hasn’t yet filed a request for payment from the bankruptcy court.


Jeff Battcher, who headed corporate communications at Delta Air Lines for a year and a half, has left the carrier for the senior VP post at Level 3 Communications, the Colorado-based fiber network giant.

Delta is slated to merge with Northwest Airlines – pending a federal antitrust review – to create the world’s largest airline.

Battcher, who started at Level 3 on Sept. 30, heads media relations and internal/external communications.

He relocated to the Denver area from Macon, Ga., for the post. He joined Delta in February 2007 as its top communications strategist from BellSouth Corp., now AT&T, where he was VP of corporate communications in a 15-year career. He headed global comms. for the three years leading up to its merger with AT&T and was BellSouth’s primary spokesman.


Cohn & Wolfe is helping Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. officially rebrand itself as Panasonic Corp. as the Japanese electronics powerhouse seeks to expand beyond its home market.

Panasonic North America CEO Yoshi Yamada and COO Joe Taylor celebrated the name change by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange Oct. 1. Its NYSE stock symbol has been changed to PC from MC. Panasonic showcased a 150-inch plasma high-def TV outside the NYSE. It is the largest flat screen TV.

The Wall Street Journal called the name change a “radical move for a company that has long revered its founder Konosuka Matsushita.”

The company, however, is too dependent on the slow-growth Japanese market compared to its more nimble competitors.

Panasonic had fiscal `08 global sales of $90B. Half came from Japan, where the company sold its goods under the Matsushita and National brands.

The corporate makeover of the 90-year-old company is expected to be completed by March `10.

It follows the move made by archrival Sony to change its name from Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering. That was done a half-century ago.

Internet Edition, October 8, 2008, Page 3


The New York Sun published its last edition on Sept. 30 after president and editor Seth Lipsky failed to find a financial angel in his three-week search for the cash needed to save the conservative daily.

In a farewell note published on the Sun’s website, Lipsky said he spoke with every individual deemed to be a prospective partner, but was hampered operating during a period that is “one of the worst in the century in which to be trying to raise capital.”

The decision to shut down after a six and a half year run was not an “acrimonious one. It is a logical decision following a hard-headed assessment of our chances of meeting a goal of profitable publication in the near future.”

Lipsky regrets that the paper could not return the cash to the original roster of investors that pumped nearly $16M into the start-up.

That group includes Michael Sternhardt, former chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council; Roger Hertog, chairman emeritus of the Manhattan Institute and Bruce Kovner, a hedge fund manager.


The Washington Post Co. is buying Foreign Policy magazine and its website from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a D.C.-based think tank.

The deal, according to WPC CEO Don Graham, furthers his company’s “commitment to great magazine journalism” and provides an opportunity to expand online.

Moises Naim is publisher and editor-in-chief of FP. Susan Glasser, a Washington Post editor and foreign correspondent, will become executive editor at FP, which is now part of The Slate Group.

FP is a bi-monthly with a circulation of 100K.


Journal Community Publishing Group, a Milwaukee-based unit of Journal Communications, has inked a deal to acquire Waupaca Publishing Company and its Wisconsin newspapers and niche publications for $7M.

Titles include the Waupaca County Post, The Chronicle, Picture Post, Tri-County Advertiser, Wisconsin State Farmer and Silent Sports magazine.

The deal also includes additional unnamed print publications and associated websites as well as Waupaca Publishing Company’s commercial printing business and the related real estate and buildings.


Macrovision is looking for a buyer for its TV Guide Channel, which it acquired as part of its May acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide International.

The channel is distributed in more than 80M cable/satellite homes.

Variety estimates a deal could be worth about $400M to Macrovision.

It notes that NBC Universal and its partners shelled out $3.5B for the Weather Channel in July, which was before the current financial crunch.


Standard & Poor’s has put the ratings of Gannett, on its “creditwatch” with negative implications, which means the ratings of the No. 1 newspaper chain could be in store for a downgrade.

The ratings agency is reviewing both Gannett’s long-term corporate credit rating and short-term commercial paper rating.

S&P cited the “worsening pace of decline in advertising revenue” for the move. It believes that the risk of a long-term downturn in the U.S. economy could “exacerbate operating weakness at Gannett for a longer period of time than previously expected.”

Gannett says it continues to generate substantial cash flow and enjoys “significant untapped availability under its $3.9B of committed revolving credit facilities, far in excess of its total commercial paper obligations.”

CEO Craig Dubow believes Gannett’s “underlying fundamentals remain strong,” according to a statement issued in reaction to the S&P warning.

Gannett publishes 85 daily newspapers, including USA Today.

On Sept. 15, it reported that August ad revenues dropped 16.8 percent from the year earlier month. Gannett’s stock trades at $16.52. Its 52-week range is $46.18 and $14.52.


Osborn Elliott, who is credited with revitalizing Newsweek during the `60s, has died of cancer. He was 83. The New York Times obit said when Elliott assumed the managing editor role at Newsweek the magazine lagged far behind Time and just aped the Time Inc. flagship’s terse writing style.

Elliott, widely known as Oz, brought a sense of flair to Newsweek and doled out bylines to reporters who had written anonymously. He actively targeted a younger audience with hard-hitting pieces on the opposition to the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement.

Newsweek’s circulation, which stood at 1.5M in `61, grew to 2.7M in 76, the year Elliott left the publication.

Upon leaving Newsweek, Elliott became New York City’s first deputy mayor for economic development, and dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He stepped down from that Columbia post in `86. He taught at Columbia until `94.

Elliott saw combat in the Pacific during WWII, and began a journalism career at the New York Journal of Commerce.

His brother John, known as “Jock,” rose to the chairman slot at Ogilvy & Mather. He died in `05.

Tunku Varadarajan, contributing editor at the Financial Times, has joined as its opinions channel editor. He is responsible for the four topic categories of foreign affairs & defense, culture & society, business and economics and politics.

Varadarajan penned op-eds, book reviews and culture essays at FT and earlier was chief TV and media critic and op-ed/features editor.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, October 8, 2008, Page 4


Television and daily newspapers are viewed as more credible sources of news and information than radio, the Internet or magazines, according to a survey of consumers sponsored by ARAnet, which provides content to papers and websites.

Using a 1-10 credibility scale from “not at all credible” to “extremely credible,” the study polled 1,005 adults by phone nationally in early September and found TV scored a 6.6 and daily papers a 6.3. Radio was close behind at 6.0 while the Internet and weekly community papers were rated in the middle ground at 5.6 and 5.2, respectively.

Magazines garnered a 4.6 score and respondents said they got only 1.6 percent of their monthly news and information from glossies. Free “shopper” papers fared the worst with a 3.5 credibility score.

“The types of media that people view as the most credible are the ones that they turn to the most often for news information,” said ARAnet president Scott Severson.

Respondents to the survey said they receive fewer than 35 percent of their monthly news and information from TV and less than a quarter of their news from daily newspapers. Online sources were cited by respondents as the source of 12.7 percent of their news consumption.

Severson said the results reflect what his company hears from the industry and consumers.


The National Association of Black Journalists issued a statement of support for PBS editor and correspondent Gwen Ifill following the Oct. 2 Vice Presidential debate which she moderated after Ifill was hit with mild criticism by Sen. John McCain’s campaign and conservative pundits for a book she is writing about black politicians including Sen. Barack Obama.

NABJ said Ifill “served with resilience, grace and tenacity, the traits of an exemplary debate moderator.”

Ifill is writing her first book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” slated for release on Jan. 20, 2009. She has been an NBC correspondent and began her career in print journalism at the Washington Post, Baltimore Evening Sun and Boston Herald.

“Gwen set a steady hand, a sound voice and balanced tone through what became a civil debate between two history making rivals,” NABJ President Barbara Ciara said of the debate between Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin. “We’d expect nothing less from one of our country’s most highly-respected political journalist.”

The group said Ifill’s role in the debate paves the way for future opportunities for black journalists and others of color to participate more fully in coverage of Presidential elections. The group gave out its Thumbs Down Award earlier this year in noting how journalists of color were not represented proportionally in this coverage.

PBS’ ombudsman said that Ifill’s book project should have been “surfaced” by the Commission on Presidential Debates or Ifill much earlier than it was, but expressed support for the journalist’s professionalism.


Jeff Leeds, a former music reporter at the New York Times, is the new editor-in-chief at Buzznet, a pop culture online community.

He is to develop editorial material as well as manage partner sites such as Absolute Pink, Vampire Freaks, Stereogum and The Gauntlet.

Scott Boyd, general manger of Buzznet, said he hired Leeds for his "wealth of music and journalism experience plus knowledge of social programming and the fast-changing media landscape."

Leeds joined the Times in `04, and left in May following its retrenchment.
Earlier, he spent nine years at the Los Angeles Times, covering music, politics, aerospace and white collar crime.


Mike Nizza, blogger for the New York Times' The Lede, is taking the senior editor post at Atlantic Media, parent of The Atlantic and National Journal magazines.

Jim Roberts, digital news editor at NYT, credits Nizza for the overall development of

He says Nizza has a "well-tuned understanding of the news" and an "unparalleled depth of knowledge of the web."

Briefs _______________________

The New Yorker endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for President in its Oct. 13 issue, the magazine’s second endorsement in its history following the ’04 backing of Sen. John Kerry.

On almost every issue, John McCain and Obama both "speak the generalized language of 'reform,' but only Obama has provided a convincing, rational, and fully developed vision," the editors wrote.

FutureClaw is a new large-format quarterly magazine focused on fashion and art.

The pub is a collaboration between artist Guy Derry and photographer Bobby Mozumder and is based in Burlington, Vt. Info:

Two top online news and opinion sites said traffic records were shattered in September. said it broke its traffic record with more than 323.3 million page views in September, 27% higher than the previous record of 272.5M views. Its politics and business sections were the top performing areas of the site and more than 1.4M videos were viewed during the month.

Slate, the online magazine, posted more than 87 million page views in September, a 41% increase over last year. The best performing area was news and politics, up 67% over 2007.

AOL Television has launched “Outside the Box,”, a free online series in which cast members from network and cable TV programs interview one another using fan submitted questions.

The debut episode featured cast members from ABC’s "Private Practice" and premiered on Oct. 1

Internet Edition, October 8, 2008, Page 5


New York-based Kellen Associates has acquired Washington, D.C., public affairs shop John Adams Associates.

The firms see critical changes in federal and state policies over the next year following Presidential and Congressional elections affecting business, regardless of which party prevails.

Under the agreement, JAA acts as the PA arm of Kellen with firm president John Adams becoming a senior executive of the firm.

StevensGouldPincus facilitated the merger.

Kellen has operations in New York, Tucson, Brussels, Beijing and Singapore.


One in four Americans interact with companies on a social media website, according to a study by Boston-based Cone.

The firm found that 93 percent of adults believe a company should have a social media presence, while 85 percent think companies should also interact with consumers via such a platform like a blog.

More than half surveyed (56%) said they feel a stronger connection and better served by companies they can interact with in a SM environment, Cone found.

Asked about what types of SM platforms would be welcome consumers responded as follows:

• 43% said companies should use social networks to solve consumer problems.

• 41% said companies should solicit feedback on their products and services via SM.

Men are nearly twice as likely to interact with a company via social media – 37% to 17%, respectively, according to Cone. And one-third of younger consumers (18-34) think companies should actively market to them via social networks.

Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone, said the results are “great news” for marketers as younger consumers and men are typically more difficult to target. “Here they are saying, ‘Come market to us and interact with us online,’” he said.

BRIEFS: Six consultants from Jaffe Associates, Washington, D.C., were included in LawDragon’s 100 Legal Consultants You Need to Know list, including president/CEO Jay Jaffe. ...Idea Hall, Costa Mesa, Calif., said it ranked 667 in the 2008 Inc. 5000 rankings of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. Rebecca Hall, president/CEO, said the firm has grown more than 500 percent since 2003, when it started from her home. IH now has 23 staffers. ...Widmeyer Communications, Washington, D.C., has created a nine-member higher education advisory panel. Members include Edward Fiske, former N.Y. Times education editor and author of “The Fiske Guide to Colleges”; Jose Tijerino, president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and Susan Tifft, journalism professor at Duke Univ. and former associate editor of Time. ...Vehr Communications, Atlanta, which focuses on economic development work, has been elected a partner in the IPREX network of PR firms.


New York Area

KCSA Strategic Communications, New York/GAIN Capital Group, online foreign exchange, as AOR for PR. GAIN’s currency trading site handles a daily volume exceeding $77 billion.

Rubenstein PR, New York/charitybuzz, online auction site for “celebrity experiences” to benefit charities, for publicity for its auctions.

R&J PR, Bridgewater, N.J./GameChanger Products, exclusive distributor of Audio Bone headphones in North America, as AOR for PR.

Yankee PR, Alexandria Township, N.J./Octapharma USA, blood plasma fractionation, as AOR for PR.

Travers Collins & Company, Buffalo, N.Y./New York State Podiatric Medical Association, for integrated communications and PR services for the New York City-based group’s 1,200 members.


Pan Communications, Andover, Mass./DiCicco, Gulman and Company, public accounting and financial advisory firm, as AOR handling traditional and social media like podcasts and blogs, thought leadership and awards.

Porter Novelli, Washington, D.C./Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., for a PSA campaign with finance expert Suze Orman to educate consumers about deposit insurance. The campaign highlights the FDIC site,, and includes PSAs for TV, radio, online and print/billboards.

rbb PR, Miami/BankAtlantic, financial institution, to develop and implement a PR campaign encompassing brand awareness, consumer education and community outreach.

TARA, Ink., Miami/American Heart Assn., for the Miami chapter’s “Go Red for Women” charity luncheon; In Fashion Photo by Art Photo Expo and Empire Editions, for media relations; Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, for Miami launch; Whiskey Blue, for PR representation; Karu & Y, for event marketing and media relations for re-launch; Hot Tuna, for opening, and Giorgio Armani, for event marketing for an Oct. fashion show.


Fineman PR, San Francisco/Sierra Summits Skin Products, for PR for its flagship sunblock product; Xoom Corp., ’Net-based global money transfer company, to publicize a partnership with a major Mexican bank, and The Cheesecake Factory, for media relations during coverage of a Phoenix-area lawsuit; Univ. of California at Santa Cruz, for animal activist terrorism issues; The Summit Lighthouse, for crisis and issues planning for the spiritual organization, and Empire Academy, Santa Cruz charter school.

Rogers & Cowan, Los Angeles/Bahamas International Film Festival, for publicity for the 2008 event in December. The firm handled BIFF last year.


PR Associates, Vancouver/Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association, for media relations for its 16th annual conference Nov. 2-4. PRA will be primary media contact and produce a daily blog for the event.

Internet Edition, October 8, 2008, Page 6


KEF Media Associates, an Atlanta-based broadcast PR company, has created a series of environmental news broadcast segments for TV stations.

Laura Turner Seydel, president of her own eco-friendly consulting firm, is hosting the monthly segments, which feature a newsworthy “green” topic of interest and will begin airing in early January 2009.

Products like cleaning supplies or clothing, as well as energy saving tips and other eco projects are examples of features for the segments.

Beverly Brunston, VP and executive producer for KEF, said the firm found an interest in the project after surveying stations nationally. Two national networks and four top DMA-market stations have signed on for the initial broadcasts, KEF said, for an estimated audience of three million households.

Info: [email protected].


Edelman, the top independent firm, has adopted dna13’s enterprise PR software platform.

dna13, which worked with the firm to design a custom platform, said the goal is for all of Edelman’s 3,200 employees across the world to use the service for media monitoring, media directories, analytics, document management and client reporting.

The firm will also offer the service to clients to work on a common platform with the agency.

Derek Creevey, chief of staff for Edelman, said the software enables its staff to access the services in every country and provide every team with its own client portal.


PR Newswire’s broadcast unit MultiVu has aligned with creative video production network Spot Runner to bolster its production and distributing of multimedia news releases and online postings with video.

Todd Grossman, MultiVu’s VP of sales, said the deal allows PRN to provide a more affordable and comprehensive multimedia release package with online video. He said MNRs are its fastest growing service and noted those with video receive 35 percent more pickup.

Under the relationship, Spot Runner manages creative production of 30, 60 or 90-second videos for multimedia releases for MultiVu clients.

BRIEFS: International Association of Business Communicators is collaborating with the Mexican Association of Communicators, known as AMCO, helping AMCO become more global and facilitating IABC’s entry into Mexico. Ruben Dario Gomez, president of AMCO, signed a pact with Julie Freeman, president of IABC, to formalize the relationship. ...The Marketing Research Association has published a Virtual Business Guide to aid members. The guide includes tools for human resources, finance, sample contracts and business management. A blog is planned to create a sort of brain trust for members to collaborate. MRA’s CEO, Lawrence Brownell, said the guide is important in a time when company resources are tight. Info:



Shannon Weber, marketing and communications manager, UPMC Health Plan, to Elias/Savion Advertising, Pittsburgh, as PR manager. She previously held several agency posts handling clients like Kellogg, Heinz and ConAgra.

Aaron Lindenbaum, special assistant in the City Council President’s Office in Yonkers, N.Y., to Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, Boston, as an A/C.

Ricahrd Smith, VP and senior biotech analyst, JPMorgan Securities, to Pharmasset, Princeton, N.J., as VP of IR and corporate comms.

Brian Kennedy, press secretary for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), to FD Dittus Communications, Washington, D.C., as VP and managing director of its energy practice. He was a co-founder of the D.C. office of the Institute for Energy Research, a non-profit backed by energy companies, serving as VP of public affairs.

Andrea Weckerle who ran her own boutique firm, to Livingston Communications, Alexandria, Va., as a VP to launch a New York office for the firm. She will split her time between D.C. and the Big Apple. Weckerle has a law degree and previously held consulting posts with Ernst & Young.

Michael Lawson, VP of IR for Associated Estates Realty Corp., to Kedle, a clinical research organization based in Cincinnati, as director of PR.

Amber Mussman, marketing manager, Stages Theatre Company, to Henry Russell Bruce, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a PR counselor.

Vera Katz, former mayor of Portland, to Gallatin Public Affairs, Portland, as of counsel.

Sue Barnes, technology practice leader at Zeno Group, to Airfoil PR, Detroit, as GM of the company’s Mountain View, Calif., office in Silicon Valley. She was previously with Waggener Edstrom and held a senior leadership role on its flagship Microsoft account.

Nicole Catalano, former SA/E at Waggener Edstrom and Atomic PR, to Full Court Press Communications, Oakland, Calif., as a PR counselor.

Marion Pyle, former director of bilingual communications for the Metropolitan Water District (L.A.) and an ad/PR exec at Cruz/Kravetz, to The Rogers Group, Los Angeles, as VP of its Latino strategies group.


Sam Locricchio to president, John Bailey & Associates, Troy, Mich., after less than a year at the firm. John Bailey takes the role of chairman. Locricchio has led the Volkswagen of America account and supervised Osram Sylvania and CPU Tech, among others. He previously managed the PT Cruiser launch while at Chrysler.

Julia Spiess to VP, Perry Communications Group, Sacramento. She joined the firm in May 2001 after working with Assembly woman Helen Thomason. She heads the media strategy component of the California State Parks Foundation’s “Save Our State Parks” campaign.

Internet Edition, October 8, 2008, Page 7


Maril MacDonald will serve another term as president of the Arthur Page Society.

The head of Gagen MacDonald, an internal communications and labor relations outfit, has been unanimously re-elected by the board of the organization of chief corporate communications officers and heads of big PR firms.

She told O’Dwyer’s the Society plans to move aggressively overseas during her new term. It has already penciled in meetings in London, Brussels, Mumbai, Beijing and Sao Paulo. More sessions are expected.

MacDonald says the Society is putting a big push on development, zeroing in on grooming the “No. 2” person in corporate PR departments.

It also is focused like a laser beam on better aligning the communications function with overall corporate strategy, said MacDonald.

MacDonald was VP-corporate communications at International Truck and Engine Corp.  She founded GM in `98.

The Page Society also elected new trustees at its annual conference held Sept. 21-23 in Chatham, MA.

They are David Samson, GM-corporate affairs at Chevron; Mike Fernandez, VP-PA at State Farm Insurance; Ray Jordan, VP-PA & corporate communications at Johnson &  Johnson, and Gary Sheffer, executive director/corporate & PA at General Electric.


Laura Sheehan, a VP at FD Dittus who led the firm’s energy and environment practice, has moved in-house for the American Gas Association, a client of the firm.

Sheehan takes the title VP of marketing and communications to handle external communications for the Washington, D.C., trade group, which counts more than 200 member companies delivering natural gas to consumers in the U.S.

In addition to AGA, Sheehan handled Shell Exploration & Production, Florida Power & Light and the Center for Clean Air Policy at Dittus.

She is a veteran Democratic operative who was policy director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and communications director for the party in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its chairman, Rep. John Dingell (D- Mich.).

She started out as press secretary for Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).


Quinn Gillespie & Assocs. is accepting nominations through Oct. 31 for its three “Flak Jacket” awards for the best D.C. spokespersons in the categories of political campaign, Capitol Hill press secretary and industry, which includes companies, trade associations and non-profits.

QG&A wants to honor professionals who are “level-headed, quick on their feet, silver-tongued and tough as nails.” It says “given the array of front page news over the past year there couldn’t be a better time to reward excellence on the PR front lines.”

The panel of judges includes Jeff Birnbaum (Washington Times), Jim VandeHei (The Politico), Charlie Mitchell (Roll Call), Eleanor Clift (Newsweek), Brody Mullins (Wall Street Journal), Bob Merry (Congressional Quarterly), Eve Fairbanks (New Republic), Kathryn Jean Lopez (National Review), Bob Cusack (The Hill) and Bara Vaida (National Journal).

The Flak Bash is slated for November 19. Nominations are accepted at


Strat@Comm has picked up the Intelligent Transportation Society of America and its World Congress slated for New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center from November 16-20, according to Sabrina McGowan, director of communications for the organization of transit technology professionals.

She told O’Dwyer’s that Strat@Comm, which is part of Fleishman-Hillard, aced a quartet of firms. She declined to name that foursome.

Strat@Comm is to create messages to address issues such as safety, congestion reduction/mobility, environmental sustainability and security.

The firm will organize pre-show media briefings in New York and D.C., set up media tours for key ITS staffers and handle the show’s media room. Post-show publicity is geared to supplying the media with follow-up reports on the show.


Ogilvy Public Relations is using former New York Senator Al D’Amato’s PA/lobbying firm on behalf of Britain’s JCB Construction Equipment, the world’s biggest privately owned maker of construction machinery.

The Republican politico and Kraig Siracuse, managing director of D’Amato’s Park Strategies Washington Group, is working Congressional defense committees on behalf of JCB contracts.

JCB Americas, which is located in Pooler, Ga., on Sept. 29 rolled out the first nine of its 800 combat-ready backhoe loaders that are headed for Afghanistan and Iraq. The company has a $230M contract from the Army for its all-terrain vehicle, which is armor-plated and able to maintain convoy speed.

Park Strategies also represents Poker Players Alliance ($360K pact), Alaska Structures ($240K), Forest City Ratner ($200K), Collazo Enterprises ($200K), and Lockheed Martin ($160K), among others.


Lisa Bushey is joining Qorvis Communications as managing director from Widmeyer Communications to handle Beam Global Wine & Spirits, the No. 4 liquor company, and other corporate and association clients.

At Widmeyer, Bushey was in charge of Coca-Cola Co., specifically the soft drinks marketer’s CSR environmental and social responsibility initiatives.

She also worked on the firm’s “Stop Bullying Now” campaign on behalf of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Service’s Health Resources and Services Administration.

Earlier, Bushey was director of comms. for George Washington Univ. Center for Equity and Excellence in Education and the American Educational Research Assn.

Internet Edition, October 8, 2008, Page 8




Championing truth and ethical behavior is PR’s main job, according to the codes of all the PR associations we deal with.

The debate Oct. 2 between Vice Presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joseph Biden was littered with the usual array of half-truths, untruths, unsubstantiated claims, overgeneralizations, and downright inaccuracies that characterize a political debate.

The debate had its “fair share of inaccuracies,” said a banner headline in the Oct. 3 New York Times and copy below the headline bore this out.

For instance, Barack Obama was accused of failing to vote for funds for the “surge” in Iraq but commentators pointed out that he and others wanted something said about eventual troop withdrawal.

Time and again, “lies” were being told by Palin and McCain mostly by omitting details that would contradict sweeping statements.

Both campaigns are fighting this onslaught of alleged untruths. The Obama/Biden team has a “Count the lies” website to counteract the “lies and distortions” of the McCain/Palin team while the latter has a “Truth Squad” to defend “recent attacks” on Palin “as well as liberal smears.”

The PR Society, declaring it represents the entire PR industry, has injected itself into the Presidential race by asking both campaigns to sign pledges that they will uphold the PRS Code that champions “the highest standards of accuracy and truth.”

No replies have been received so far for the request that was made Aug. 22 and none are likely.

But is there anyone who can claim to know the truth in any given situation?

PR has backed itself into a corner in recent years by largely shifting from an information providing function to an advocacy function.

Advocates present their sides of something while the truth may be a combination of many viewpoints.

Jim Lukaszewski, the speaker most featured at PRS webinars and seminars (making $70,000 in one year), says there may be no such thing as truth at all. Interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in 2006, Lukaszewski cited the example of an accident witnessed by people standing on four different corners. Each witness would have a different perspective and a different story, he said.

The PR person’s job, he says, “is always to lay out as best he can the facts of the matter from the perspective he is representing…” According to Lukaszewski, “truth is 15% facts and 85% perception.”

But another definition of truth, or a least how to arrive at it, appeared in the September Tactics of PRS. Professor Timothy Penning of Grand Valley State University argued that truth is arrived at through dialogue, and (quoting John Mill), is “so much a question of the reconciling and combining of opposites.”

Quoting one source or another, Penning made the point about the need for debating no less than 11 times in his article. He coupled it with “democracy,” which he also mentioned 11 times.

Still another definition of PR’s role is that provided by Prof. Karen Russell of the University of Georgia. She (and other PR professors and PR textbooks) teach that PR is “public service.”

In this view of PR, which is widely taught, PR pros are likened to social workers and mediators of disputes. Allegedly, they will consider the viewpoints of several sides of an issue and try to get the parties to compromise. We don’t think this is close to what most students will be doing should they get PR jobs.

Forgotten is PR’s original promise by Ivy Lee in 1906—to “most cheerfully” answer questions of reporters who are in pursuit of facts and truths.

The PR industry needs to get its act together and send out a single message of its role. One way to get at the thorny issue of what is truth is to define lying. Lying, as shown by the Presidential battles, is leaving out important facts. If you can show that someone has omitted relevant data in making an argument, you can claim they’re liars. Or you can at least rub their noses in what was omitted. The PR associations have to be shining examples of the principles they articulate in their codes.

Besides outright lies, there are also fallacious, fatuous reasoning, and providing the wrong reasons for doing something in order to hide real motives.

Some people, wanting something so badly, lie to themselves and we don’t know whether to call this lying or not. They have fooled themselves.

The more we think about PRS’s ditching of the printed members’ directory in favor of an online directory, the more we think this action was unjustified and the real reasons for it hidden.

As for the PRS online directory being “more up to date,” there’s no need for a PRS online directory at all in this day of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, web phone books, etc.

We searched PRS board members as well as rank-and-file members (from the 2005 PRS directory) via such web sources and all immediately came up in one database or another.

What PRS members need is an easy-to-use printed directory, supplemented by Google, Facebook, etc.

The real motives for ditching the printed directory are to improve member-retention and cut down on member interaction. It’s definitely harder to look someone up online (at least five steps) than flip through pages of a printed directory. With a printed directory, there’s no need to make copies of an address. PRS loses about 25% of its members in a year and it’s a tough nut to crack, a job that is mostly borne by the chapters.

In 2001, the last year it gave a statistic, PRS gained 5,324 members and lost 5,263 for a net gain of 61 and a renewal rate of 73%.

Members who joined in the past three years did not get a printed members’ directory and now must pony up $225 yearly or lose contact with the entire membership. PRS has instituted web controls to block any member from “lending” his or her codes to other members.

PRS leaders and staff wanted to stop the printed directory because this major asset was purchasable by non-members as part of the $75 subscription to Tactics.

Page two of the directory said: “PR Tactics is published monthly with an annual Directory issue in April.” At the top of the front cover of the Directory were the words: “PR Tactics.”

--Jack O'Dwyer


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