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Internet Edition, November 5, 2008, Page 1


New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong Airport, which is still well short of its pre-Katrina passenger traffic, is calling for proposals to expand its list of PR and advertising agencies that handle project work to the tune of $250K per year.

The airport, which changed its name from New Orleans International in 2001 to mark the 100th birthday of the jazz great, holds a $1.9 billion economic impact over the New Orleans area and affects more than 12K jobs directly and indirectly along the state’s Gulf coast. It was a key hub for rescue and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Estimates show that by the end of 2008, 123 of the airport’s 162 pre-Hurricane Katrina flights will have returned.

Seven firms currently provide communications services to the New Orleans Aviation Board, which oversees the airport. They include Carolyn Grisko & Associates, Deveney Communications and Sardie & Associates, among others.

The airport, which is owned by the City of New Orleans, handled 7.5M passengers last year (down from about 9.7M before Katrina) and industry experts see Armstrong growing its passenger traffic by 10 percent over the next eight years.

Proposals are due December 19. The RFP can be downloaded at


Ketchum has acquired San Francisco-based Access Communications, a technology firm which billed $14.1M in 2007 with 75 staffers.

“Our strategy was to source the best expertise available in technology PR and we found just that in Access, an industry leader,” said Ray Kotcher, senior partner and CEO of Ketchum.

He sees the move intended to bolster the Omnicom unit’s global technology practice and consumer-technology savvy, as well as expand its California footprint.

Access will continue to operate under its name and its two main offices in S.F. and New York.

Access president and CEO Susan Butenhoff, who began her career at Ketchum rising to VP before founding Access in 1991, said the firm’s clients and staff will be “well-served” by the deal.

Access’ clients have included Google, Kaiser Permanente, Disney Interactive and PayPal.

The acquisition is one of the largest of a tech firm since 2006, when Edelman acquired A&R Partners, which billed $15M annually at the time.


Interpublic CEO Michael Roth reported a $38.7M net profit compared to a $28.8M year ago loss spurred by an uptick in organic revenue growth and tight cost controls. Revenues jumped a solid 11.5 percent to $1.7B.

Roth said in a statement that IPG, owner of Weber Shandwick, MWW Group and GolinHarris, is “increasingly competitive in the marketplace.” Major operating units are “showing improvement in their performance for the year.” Roth took notice of the global financial chaos. That mess has begun to “weigh on marketers’ spending plans for both the fourth quarter and `09.”

Though IPG is positioned for a strong `08, Roth warned the “impact of an increasingly unsettled and volatile business environment on our sector is not yet clear and creates a risk to meeting our stated goals.”

For the nine-month period, IPG registered a $56.7M net versus a $31.5M `07 deficit. Revenues reached $5B, up 10.7 percent.


Racepoint Group has laid off 20 percent of its employees across its four offices.

Executive VP Jackie Lustig told O’Dwyer’s that the reduction was made on Oct. 27. “Given the current financial crisis, we have to prepare our business for overall lower revenue than originally anticipated,” she said. “We are financially sound and have a strong and deep commitment from our board of directors.

Racepoint had 125 employees at the end of 2007 and one source said the layoffs total about two dozen staffers. Racepoint is part of W2 Group, the marketing services holding company headed by veteran tech PR executive Larry Weber. The five-year-old firm has three offices in the U.S. – San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Boston – and a London outpost. It has worked with clients like Mozilla and Sony.


“You guys know how to spin anything … we should all be as good with spin as you are,” Boston Globe career columnist Penelope Trunk told the Oct. 27 luncheon of the PR Society conference in Detroit.

The skill of PR people with spin is especially useful when they switch out of PR and into another business, she said, because PR pros can easily out-spin those who are not expert at it. A resume, she noted, “is all spin.”

With these and other remarks about “spin,” a murmur of protest started to spread through the audience of more than 1,500 and chair Jeff Julin interrupted Trunk to

(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, November 5, 2008, Page 2


The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq plans to go directly to the American people to educate and raise awareness of the goals of the leading Shiite political party that opposes Muqtada al-Sadir’s group.

The Council, which has been backed by the Bush Administration, plans to spend an estimated $20K per-month here to organize programs and issue press releases. The group hopes citizens and members of the U.S. government will “learn, question and become familiar with Iraqi Islamic culture,” according to ISCI’s federal lobbying filing.

The Council has been dismissed as a stalking horse for Iran by the International Crisis Group. An ICG report recommended the U.S. “should stop using it as a privileged instrument” due to the Council’s close ties and financial backing received from Tehran.

Karim Almusawi is the U.S. rep for the Baghdad-based ISCI, which promises to “promote a stable and democratic Iraq with equal opportunities for all citizens irrespective of religion.”


Sitrick & Co. repped Steven Page, singer and guitarist of the Barenaked Ladies, who faced a possible 5 ½ -year prison term for a narcotics arrest made in Syracuse in July.

The Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office agreed to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor during a hearing on Oct. 28.

The move was made because Page did not have any prior arrests and the cocaine found was “lower in quantity and lower in quality” than had first been reported.

The Attorney’s Office also considered Page and the BNL’s charitable work on behalf of children’s hospitals in the U.S. and Canada.

Page, 38, will have the misdemeanor charge dropped if he stays out of trouble over the next six months and participates in a drug screening program.

The singer apologized to fans following his appearance in Fayetteville. He is happy for the opportunity to prove himself a “productive and law-abiding member of society.”

Page said he views the next six months as a time for “healing and growth.”

The BNL have made a dozen albums, and recorded hits such as “If I Had a $1,000,000 Dollars,” and “Too Little Too Late.” The group released “Snack Time,” which features two dozen children’s songs in August.


Bob McFarlin, who handled the I-35 bridge collapse crisis, has signed on as VP at Weber Shandwick’s Minneapolis office.

McFarlin will tackle corporate, community and PA issues.

The I-35 span over the Mississippi River collapsed in Minneapolis on Aug. `07, killing 13 people.

McFarlin served as principal spokesperson for Minnesota’s Dept. of Transportation during that tragedy. He was elevated to acting commissioner of the Minn./DOT by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in February.

Sara Gavin heads the Weber Shandwick office.


Andy McCormick, VP of worldwide communications for Pfizer, has stepped down to take up the VP/public affairs post at The Hershey Co. He steps into the post on Nov. 10 and will head corporate communications, product publicity, community relations and corporate social responsibility for the chocolate marketer.

McCormick joined Pfizer in 1993 and handled various communications disciplines for the pharmaceutical giant, including media relations, public affairs, product and financial communications.

Earlier, the Lancaster, Pa., native managed marketing comms. at IBM in a four-year career and started out as a newspaper reporter at papers like the Newport News Daily Press and the Wilmington News Journal.

Richard Marshall and Megan Sattuck led the search at Korn/Ferry.


Joe the Plumber has hired The Press Office in Nashville in hopes to land a contract and western music deal.

The firm owned by Jim Della Croce promises “maximum PR” for the music industry professional. He has repped Waylon Jennings, Grand Funk Railroad, Merle Haggard and the Kentucky Headhunters in a 20-year career.

The Press Office also handles projects outside the Nashville music scene. Liquid Fence Co., for example, is among clients. It produces eco-safe and cruelty free goose, mole, cat and snake repellent. It also markets Liquid Net, a “Deet-free insect repellent for people, pets and horses.

Joe, who is unlicensed Ohio plumber Sam Wurzelbacher, got his 15 minutes of fame when he challenged Barack Obama in person on the campaign trail. Though not an accomplished musician, Wurzelbacher is a C&W fan who sings a little and plays some guitar. He is shooting for an album for release by Inauguration Day.


Labreche has won a six-figure contract to tout Minneapolis tap water to residents and neighboring municipalities as “pure, safe, great-tasting and environmentally friendly.”

Twenty firms submitted proposals and Lebreche was among three finalists. The competing firms were not disclosed by the city.

Labreche is charged with marketing the H20 and its contract is capped at $180K after an RFP was issued over the summer. The contract is pending approval from the full city council in early November.

The RFP cited two main tenets to the campaign: build awareness of and confidence in Minneapolis tap water, and encourage people to choose tap over bottled water because it is said to be safer, healthier and more environmentally friendly.

The Mississippi River is the source of Minneapolis’ water bounty, which the city notes is a sustainable resource. The city blames organic material from the river for an occasional odor that the water carries in the spring, but it assures consumers that it is safe and says it is working to eliminate the seasonal smell.

Internet Edition, November 5, 2008, Page 3


Time Inc. is cutting around 600 jobs due to the "financial crisis, which has produced sharp decreases in advertising spending," according to a memo from CEO Anne Moore. She expects the slump to continue through `09.

Moore is revamping the Time Warner unit’s 24 U.S. magazines into three business unit groups with titles that share similar audiences, advertisers and staff skills.

The news group combines Time, Fortune, Money, and will be headed by John Squires.

The style and entertainment group includes People, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly and Essence and will be headed by Moore.

The lifestyle group includes Southern Living, Cooking Light, This Old House, All You, Cottage Living, Coastal Living and Southern Accents and is headed by Sylvia Auton.

Moore says Time Inc. must react quickly to the new reality “in order to maintain our financial strength, build our market position and sharpen our ability to bounce back at the first signs of economic recovery.”

She believes it is no longer possible for Time Inc. to operate with the "same decentralized management structure that served us so well during our many years of sustained growth."

Her memo highlighted recent examples of titles and writers working together such as Sports Illustrated providing Olympics photos to, while Fortune and Time shared correspondents on big business stories. "We will see much more of this kind of cooperation," noted Moore.

Time Inc. employs 7,000 people in the U.S. and another 5,000 overseas, where it publishes nearly 100 magazines.

The unit posted a 15 percent decline in second-quarter operating income to $218M on a six percent dip in revenues to $1.2B.
Time Warner shares trade at $9.79, near their $8.66 low. Activist investor Carl Icahn made a run at Time Warner in `06, recommending that it be broken into four separate companies. The stock was trading at $18.76 at that time.


The average daily circulation of the 507 newspapers charted by the Audit Bureau of Circulations fell 4.6 percent to 38.1M during the six months ended September period. Sunday circulation dropped 4.8 percent to 43.6M.

The circulation carnage was especially evident in the Top 25 papers audited by the ABC. None of those papers posted a gain though No. 1 USA Today and No. 2 Wall Street Journal both posted flat circs at 2.3M and 2M, respectively.

Rounding out the Top Five, the New York Times was down 3.6 percent to 1M, Los Angeles Times dipped 5.2 percent to 739K and New York Daily News plunged 7.2 percent to 632K. The NYDN archrival New York Post ranked No. 6 at 625K, down 6.2 percent.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was the biggest loser on the list, off 13.6 percent to 275K. It was followed by Houston Chronicle (-11.7 percent to 448K), Philadelphia Inquirer (-11 percent to 301K) and Star-Ledger (-10.4 percent to 316K).

Smallest declines were reported by the Washington Post (-1.9 percent to 623K), Newsday (-2.6 percent to 378K) and San Diego Union-Tribune (-3.0 percent to 270K).


Third quarter earnings plummeted 86 percent at the Washington Post Company mostly due to its struggling newspaper division.

The company posted net income of $10.3M for Q3, compared with $72.5M for the same period in 2007. The newspaper division put up an operating loss of $82.7M, a large portion of it (nearly $60M) from a goodwill charge at the Everett (Wash.) Herald and its smaller papers because of their diminished value, the Post reported.

Print advertising at the Post fell by 14 percent to $97.2M for Q3, although online revenue was up 14 percent to $30.8M.

The company's education division, Kaplan, which accounts for more than half of its revenue, posted $603M in Q3 revenue, up 17 percent from '07.

Standard & Poor's has lowered its ratings outlook on Washington Post Co. from "stable" to "negative" due to declines in circulation and ad revenues at the Washington Post and Newsweek.


The Christian Science Monitor is ending print publication of the Monday through Friday newspaper after a 100-year run.

The non-profit CSM will be an online subscription publication in April supplemented by a weekend newsmagazine when more people have the time to experience the "pleasures of print," according to John Yemma, editor of the CSM.

The Boston-based publisher says it is the "first newspaper with a national audience" to shift to a 24/7 online model.

The, according to the release distributed by Shift Communications, is the "first major international newspaper" to fully embrace the future of journalism.

Yemma believes daily print is "too costly and energy-intensive" and considers the electronic newspaper format more suited to attract younger readers and a more global audience.

CSM's circulation has declined from a peak of 220K in `70 to 52K. Its online edition currently receives three million page views a month.

The newspaper is financed by the First Church of Christ, Scientist to the tune of $12M a year. The subsidy is being reduced to $4M in five years. The paper was founded as a voice to combat the "yellow journalism" of the early part of the last century.

Yemma expects some cuts in the 130-member staff, of which 100 people are involved in editorial. He promises the cutbacks will not be "draconian.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, November 5, 2008, Page 4


Conde Nast is cutting staff and reducing the frequency of Portfolio, the business/lifestyle magazine that it launched with great fanfare in `07.

The 160-member staff is taking a 20 percent hit. Portfolio will now publish 10 times a-year rather than on a monthly basis.

Portfolio's stand-alone website, which filed original reports, will now re-purpose material from the printed magazine.

Circulation for Portfolio averaged 415K copies for the first-half of `08. Its 445 ad pages for the first nine months of `08 were not enough to put the magazine into the black ink column.

Portfolio cutbacks are only a part of CN's move to streamline operations. Men's Vogue, for instance, is being folded into Vogue.

MV, which published ten times a-year, will now be published just twice.


Sarah Lueck, who has been in the Wall Street Journal's Washington bureau since 1999, moved to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Nov. 3. She had covered Capital Hill and health policy issues for the paper.

The Center works at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low and moderate-income families.

It is headed by Robert Greenstein, former administrator at the Dept. of Agriculture's food and nutrition service.


Manhattan Media has pulled the plug on 02138, the magazine geared to Harvard University graduates.

MM and its financial backer Isis Venture Partners decided not to invest more in the venture due to the current Wall Street chaos.

The current issue is near the completion stage and will be delivered online to subscribers.

01238 was founded by Harvard grads Bom Kim and Daniel Loss in `06.

It was published by The Atlantic before being sold to MM in May.


John Spelich, who was VP-corporate communications in Walt Disney’s interactive media unit, is joining Alibaba Group, which is China’s leading e-commerce company.

Spelich will be based in Hong Kong.

Alibaba acquired China Yahoo! in '05. It runs, an Internet-based business management software operation, and, a consumer shopping marketplace.

Alibaba says it has nearly 30M registered users and 30 offices throughout China, Taiwan, Europe and the U.S. Korn/Ferry International’s Asheley Linnenbach (San Francisco) and Train Luo (Shanghai) conducted the search.


Massive information overload may be the No. 1 reason for readers fleeing the printed New York Times, according to its publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger, who gave the keynote speech at the WebbyConnect summit in Dana Point, Calif., in October.

Sulzberger believes the world’s senses are being assaulted by data deluge, leaving traditional news outlets fighting for survival or for the attention of readers. Bloggers are pumping out reams of facts, misstatements, propaganda and personal attacks that addle the brains of millions of simple information seekers, he suggested.

Sulzberger sees the “need to maintain perspective as the tendency to either become agitated by the tidal wave of news or to ignore critically important stories because you can no longer process what is happening.” He said it is reasonable to ask: “Do we need all this news and information? Do we want all this news and information? Can we tolerate all of this news and information?”

Tipping his cap to Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria, he worries that “we know so much about what is happening throughout our planet, we may have lost some perspective along the way.” As Zakaria wrote in “The Post-American World”: “the immediacy of the images and the intensity of the 24-hour news cycle combine to produce constant hyperbole. Every weather disturbance is the Storm of the Century. Every bomb that explodes is breaking news.”

Sulzberger reminded the audience to remember the “need for balance and maintaining that critically important sense of perspective on our world and its developments to keep from either sensationalizing or trivializing local, national or international reports.”

Briefs ___________________________

Julie Mason, who covered national politics and the White House for the Houston Chronicle, has moved to the Washington Examiner as its White House correspondent. She takes over for Bill Sammon, who was named deputy managing editor of the Washington bureau of Fox News Channel.

Mason was at the Chronicle for eight years and took over the White House beat in 2005. She is currently a political analyst for MSNBC.

Alice Short has been promoted to assistant managing editor for features at the Los Angeles Times, overseeing its Food, Health, Home, Image and Travel sections in print and online. She's been with the paper for 21 years and served as California features editor since March 2006. Nicholas Goldberg has been promoted to deputy editor of the Times' Opinion section. The six-year Times pro also joins the editorial board.

Sue Horton replaces Goldberg as Op-Ed and Sunday Opinion editor in November. She returns to the section after a stint at the California section.

Slate, the online magazine, said it will highlight two-to-four-minute highlights of "Charlie Rose" on the site and its Slate V video magazine. Rose said in a statement that the deal means his show can offer "more possibilities to an expanding audience."

Internet Edition, November 5, 2008, Page 5


A group of 12 northern Virginia hospitals tapped CRT/tanaka following an RFP for crisis communications counsel.

The Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance wanted a firm to align and refine crisis plans for its member hospitals and develop a training regimen for leaders and crisis response team members.

Budget is capped at $100K through Aug. 31, 2009.

Alliance members are in the six counties in or near the Washington, D.C. metroplex known as the National Capital Region.

Zachary Corrigan, executive director of the Alliance, said the group developed a “robust” crisis plan since 9/11 “but there are always areas that need improvement.”

Corrigan said the group received more than 10 proposals and narrowed that field down to two finalists, who presented to a selection team of four directors of media relations from the group's hospitals.

He noted: "CRT gave the best presentation, was better able to answer our questions about their approach and ultimately was better able to convince us that they were (1) knowledgeable enough about the subject matter to credibly teach our executives; and (2) were not coming in thinking they knew enough about hospital emergency preparedness to be unwilling to customize their training to meet our existing plans, policies and procedures."


M Booth & Associates, New York, has launched a unit focused on consumer products that enhance personal and family health.

Margie Booth, president of the firm, noted: “Health and wellness products are the fastest-growing segment of the packaged goods arena today because consumers are flocking to their ‘better for you’ benefits.’”

The practice, called “Better For You,” covers clients in sectors like food, nutrition, baby care, pet care, beauty, oral care and home environment.

The firm has set up an advisory board that includes dietician and author Sandra Woodruff, public health advocate Charles Stuart Platkin, and gastroenterologist Bryan Vartabedian, among others.

Booth also said it will maintain an index to gauge the demand for products with health benefits using Harris Interactive data and the first installment found that three-quarters of adults say they make more health-conscious buying decisions now than two years ago.

Booth senior VP’s Joyce Yaeger and Rich Goldblatt head the new practice.

BRIEFS: Lucas Public Affairs, the two-year-old Sacramento firm of former Schwarzenegger deputy chief of staff and Porter Novelli PA practice leader Donna Lucas, has opened new offices in Sacramento and added three staffers. Julie Marengo, former comms. director for the League of California Cities, joins as senior VP; Jessica Spitz Biller, a VP for Porter Novelli/Sacramento, joins as a VP, and Justin Knighten, a legislative staffer in the California EPA, joins as an account coordinator.


New York Area

Pierce Mattie PR, New York/Bed Stu, fashion; Katrina Kelly, jewelry; Zeira Jewelry; Como & Brigante; Kat Burki, home furnishings; Classified Cosmetics, beauty; Rudy Project, eyewear; Bideawee, humane organization, and ANAMA, fashion, for PR. The firm has also renewed with beauty clients JOICO and butter London.

Rubenstein PR, New York/Dezer Signature Brands, to publicize upcoming real estate projects and its overall corporate brand, and Clipper Equity, developer of the BellTel Lofts in Brooklyn, for development of a media relations program.

Oxford Communications, Lambertville, N.J./Kathy Davis Designs, as AOR for the design and inspirational message company and creator Kathy Davis, who recently inked a licensing deal with American Greetings Corp.


Trevelino/Keller Communications Group, Atlanta/, online invitations and announcements retailer, for consumer PR and social media, following a competitive bid of four firms on the East and West Coasts.

Carabiner Communications, Atlanta/Cardlytics, loyalty solution for banks; LeadLife, on-demand marketing automation software; Omnivue, financial and CRM management streamlining; TopEyeView, environmentally friendly helium blimps for broadcasting, monitoring and surveillance, and vmSight, user assurance for virtual desktops and applications, for PR.

Chisano Marketing Group, Orlando, Fla./Southwest Florida Economic Development Partners, to develop a branding platform for the consortium.


Exact Publicity, Chicago/Little Hands Learning Center, preschool, for creation and implementation of a media relations program.


PetersGroup PR, Austin, Tex./COPC Inc., customer contact center and business process outsourcing, for media and analyst relations on top of its current marketing work for the company.

M/C/C, Dallas/Market Street, supermarket chain, for an integrated marketing campaign including media relations, interactive, and SEO, for opening of a new Texas store.


Lane PR, Portland, Ore./Consumer Cellular; Creature, independent ad agency; Dutch Bros., drive-through coffee company, and Pacific Seafood, retailer, for PR.

Atomic PR, Los Angeles/BeenVerified, background checking service for businesses and individuals, as AOR for PR. Atomic’s New York office will co-head the account.

VSC Consulting and EthnikPR, San Francisco/Jump Games, mobile entertainment unit of Reliance Big Entertainment Company, for PR in North America. VSC and Ethnik are sister firms.


MS&L, Toronto/Indigo Books & Music, Canada’s largest book retailer; as AOR for PR.

Internet Edition, November 5, 2008, Page 6


Vocus reported a 32 percent rise in third-quarter revenue to $20M on Oct. 28 but its shares were battered last week on a downgrade.

Net income for the quarter was $218K, down from $475K for Q3 ’07.

Vocus shares fell nearly 25 percent on Oct. 29 to trade below $17, off its 52-week high of $41.50 per share, after a downgrade to “neutral” from “buy” by Dougherty & Co.

The PR software company added 233 net new subscribers across the U.S. and Europe during the quarter. President and CEO Rick Rudman noted a downturn in late September coinciding with the global financial crisis began to subside by early October.

“The tail-end of September the market kind of froze for a couple of weeks, where a lot of buying decisions were just simply put on hold,” said president and CEO Rick Rudman. “We’ve seen business return to somewhat of a normal pattern.” Customers that cut back or froze spending were offset by others that increased spending during the uncertainty, he said.

Total operating expenses rose to more than $16M for the quarter, up from $12M in 2007.

Vocus said it currently has 131 sales representatives. The company expects fourth quarter revenue in the $20.5-20.7M range.

“Vocus has almost $90M in cash, no debt and exceptional cash flow,” said Rudman.

The company counts 3,144 customers for its software services.


Stratford, Conn.-based media monitoring company CyberAlert, said it has lowered its cost and bundled services amid the tough economic climate.

Bill Comcowich, CEO of the company, said he wanted to offer a media monitoring value “as we all face a painful recession.”

CyberAlert is bundling its online, broadcast TV and word-of-mouth monitoring services into a single subscription through the end of the year for $379 per month, a 60 percent discount, according to the company.

The service includes overnight email delivery of all clips from the previous 24 hours.



Dan Gugler, senior VP for Fleishman-Hillard, has joined executive search firm Korn/Ferry International in Los Angeles as senior director of marketing and communications.

He was previously a VP at The Bohle Company.

At K/F, he reports to Mike Distefano, senior VP and CMO of the company.

K/F has 90 offices in 39 countries.

BRIEFS: Online video services company FeedRoom has unveiled version 4.0 of its enterprise video platform. FeedRoom says the upgrade allows users to more easily create, integrate and manage online video. Info:



Brian Litten, manager of government affairs for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, to AmeriHealth New Jersey, Iselin, N.J., as VP of strategic and external affairs, a new position.

Blake Robinson, co-founder of the CrunchGear blog and a web metrics and conversational media advisor at Federated Media, to MWW Group, East Rutherford, N.J., as senior digital media specialist.

Lee Rafkin, founder and president of his own brand consultancy, to Siegel+Gale, New York, as global director of simplification.

Carol Zepp, PR consultant for Cambria Biosciences, to LaVoie Group, Salem, Mass., as a senior A/S and director of editorial. She previously was an A/S at Brushfire Marketing and earlier a science-medicine reporter at the Durham, N.C., Herald Sun.

Ufuoma Otu, formerly of Taylor Johnson & Olesker, to Media & Communications Strategies, Washington, D.C., as a senior A/E. The firm also added Alicia Dunn as an A/E.

Cyndi Fisher has left Flynn & Wright for a senior PR strategist post at Strategic America in Des Moines.

Linda Beltran, PR manager, Fairmont Newport Beach, to The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, as director of PR. She has been with JMPR, Victoria King PR and Tsantes & Associates.

Markus Hermsen, managing director for Hill & Knowlton’s German technology affiliate Hiller, Wust & Partner, to MD of Fleishman-Hillard’s Munich office and tech practice leader for Germany, starting in January.


Cathy Calhoun to president, North America, for Weber Shandwick, based in New York. Gail Heimann was named vice chair of WS; Ken Luce to president, global client management, and Susan Howe to president, WS/Chicago.

Shawna Seldon to senior VP, The Rosen Group, New York. She joined the firm in 1999 and handles clients like Revision3, and Cibus.

Mark Marmur to assistant VP, Makovsky + Company, New York. The firm has also promoted Jonathan Pappas to A/S, Kerri-Ann McGinty to senior A/E, Jennifer Seelin to A/E. Three staffers were upped to AA/Es.

Kevin Cook and Caroline Dettman to managing directors for Edelman’s Chicago office. Cook was GM in the Chicago reputation management practice. Dettman has been with Edelman for 11 years and has headed work for Wal-Mart, Unilever and Shell.

Mike Cohen to executive VP, Ackermann PR, Knoxville, Tenn. He leads the firm’s public affairs practice, and handles business development and client services. Jeff Hooper was named chief strategy officer and leads the firm’s strategic consulting practice, and Crystal Cardwell was named chief financial officer after 26 years with Ackermann.


Anne St. Peter, founder of PR firm Global Prarie, to chair of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Internet Edition, November 5, 2008, Page 7

‘SPIN’ RANKLES PRS CONF. (Continued from pg. 1)

say that spin is something that PR people would never do. PR, said Julin, is about “building relationships.” He suggested that Trunk had some view of “spin” that was other than what PR people do, a different kind of “spin.”

Trunk, who parlayed her beach volleyball skills (she was ranked No. 20 in the nation) into a first job since her boss liked volleyball, said that PR pros must make friends at their jobs and especially be friendly to the boss.

No One Promotes Someone They Hate

Urging the PR pros to throw themselves into “office politics,” she said: “No one ever promotes someone they hate.”

If co-workers are all “jerks” and you can’t relate to them, move onto another job, Trunk advised the conference attendees. She is an advocate of frequent job-hopping, saying PR people should leave a job when they “stop learning.”

Noting that she has had many jobs including a job as a writer for Time-Warner (“such bad money”), she urged the PR people to “take a break” from the workplace every so often in order to think more deeply about their life situations.

Trunk, author of "The Brazen Careerist," worked in marketing for ten years in the software industry and created a career column that goes to more than 200 publications.

She said everyone should have a blog that calls attention to their own “personal brand” rather than some company they are working for.

Blogging “builds relationships” and is “an amazing career tool,” she said, adding that using Twitter, which “creates conversations,” is also a must for careerists.

Bosses Must Mentor

If companies want to keep their young employees, they must mentor them, Trunk said.

“Young people don’t know what their careers will be…if you do some mentoring, they will stay with you,” she said.

Although Trunk used the word “spin” a number of times, the write-up on her speech by Tactics editor John Elsasser on the PRS web does not mention the word “spin” at all.

Craig Newmark Wants to 'Do Good'

Craig Newmark, speaker at the opening general session Oct. 26, said his goal in business is to do good for America. He noted that Craigslist is 99% free, with charges levied only in 18 cities for job ads and in New York for real estate ads. The site gets 12 billion hits a month.

Newmark said he supports worthwhile causes and named the Center for Media & Democracy headed by John Stauber as one of them.

Another cause is helping veterans and their families. He likes “people who get stuff done.”

Anyone who gives PR a “bad reputation” should be exposed, said Newmark, who said he will back people who “speak truth to power.”

He calls himself “a fan of Twittering.”

The company was built without advertising and with little PR. Current PR consultant is Mike Smith, of Michael Smith Business Development, Herndon, Va.


Several PR Society veterans have criticized the conduct of the 2008 Assembly, saying delegates were “forced” to discuss “the same old topics,” the subject of APR was ducked, and the meeting was unfairly ended although half the delegates wanted it to continue.

VP-PR of PRS Arthur Yann, responding to the criticisms, said delegates are generally satisfied with Assemblies (quoting a 2007 survey), and that the delegates themselves set the agenda and voted to end the meeting.

Yann also attacked the anonymity of the complainants, saying that at least one of the observers on was “ethical enough to include his name.” The observer, noted Yann, says the implication is that there is “some kind of intimidation from PRS that threatens people.” [Editor’s Note: this NL does not usually identify critics of PRS because in the past they have been subject to calls from volunteer and paid PRS staffers accusing them of disloyalty and harming PRS. Critics also fear their jobs can be jeopardized and they may be shut off from new business and job leads from PRS. The Counselors Academy said this year that the “No. 1 question” PRS receives each month is “Where can I find a PR firm or consultant?”].

Delegates Told “No Time” for Questions

Critics said that delegates lined up at mikes to ask questions about the bylaws rewrite, the Ketchum/Echo member survey, accreditation and the licensing issues but were told by chair Jeff Julin that the Assembly was running behind and there would be “plenty of time” to talk about such topics at the “town hall.”

But the program, which included two hours of discussion on licensing and certification by consultant Jean Frankel, got so far behind that no time was left for the town hall. Critics were especially annoyed that nominating chair Cheryl Procter-Rogers took from 4:27 to 4:50 p.m. to talk about the nomcom procedure and introduce the candidates. This “pro forma” vote (because no elections were contested) could have taken a couple of minutes, said the critics, and thus left time for the town hall.

They also rapped Julin for demanding a formal vote on whether the Assembly should continue. Only half voted to continue the meeting and Julin then closed it, noting a two-thirds majority was needed. Veteran members said Assemblies have often gone well past 6 p.m. and Julin could easily have said that while the formal part of the Assembly is over, the board will stay and listen to anything the remaining delegates have to say.

Delegate Mark McClennan of Boston said on Twitter that he was “stunned and dismayed” by the “abrupt” end of the meeting that was voted on by half the delegates. “That’s it for the year,” he noted, even though chapters spend $500+ to send delegates to the meeting.

Besides the two hours taken up by Frankel, another two hours were used for presentations by Julin, chair-elect Mike Cherenson, COO Bill Murray, the Ketchum member survey, and the Blake Lewis leadership study. The lunch break occupied an hour and 42 minutes.

Commenting on the Ketchum finding that a quarter of members whose dues are paid by their employers said they would not renew if they had to pay themselves, Yann said this is consistent with the experience of other organizations.

Internet Edition, November 5, 2008, Page 8




The 2008 “Assembly” of the PR Society never took place and the delegates must quickly re-assemble and rectify this wrong.

After witnessing the fiasco in which nearly six hours of an eight-hour and 45-minute session was wasted on canned speeches, hundreds of power point slides, a grade school-level, two-hour session in logic, and an overly long hour and 42-minute lunch, we’re convinced the Assembly needs its own lawyer, CPA, and PR counsel and that PRS should fund this out of its $12 million in revenues.

For the second year in a row there was no “town hall.” Especially objectionable this year is that delegates never received a list of who the other delegates were. “Secret” elected representatives have no place in a democracy.

The Assembly must take matters into its own hands or it won’t meet again until November 2009.

No legal clearance from PRS national is needed to do this. The reconvened Assembly wouldn’t have legal status but anything it decides would have to be listened to by national leaders. A meeting by teleconference would be easy to arrange.

The First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to “peaceably assemble.”
Uninvited, except as listeners, would be the 17 national directors, 10 district chairs and 19 section chairs.

PRS/Houston in the 1980s said this “executive branch” should not be voting in the “legislative branch” because they are voting on their own performance and initiatives.

A major question about the 2008 Assembly is how did these leaders vote on the question of cutting off the Assembly at 5 p.m. when at least half the room wanted it to continue?

There was no need to end the meeting unless the leaders and certain others wanted it to end. There was an excessive reliance on what was “legal” or not.

Neither chair Jeff Julin nor any of the other directors sitting on a stage above the delegates urged the delegates to vote in favor of continuing the meeting.

Julin’s hands-off attitude was that continuing the meeting was strictly up to the delegates. It was as though he was asking them whether they preferred fish or meat for dinner. He abandoned his leadership role when the chips were down.

Chapter delegates are no match for the high-paid, high-powered consultants that PRS leaders have arrayed against them.

This includes the Venable (600-lawyer) law firm that got $65,000 from PRS in 2007; the PKF (minor) CPA firm (because none of the four majors will work for PRS); Tecker association consultants (used at the board meeting in January and at the 2008 Assembly), and new hire VP-PR Art Yann, who is probably getting $150K+ based on the reported $295K in salaries/fringes spent on “media relations” in 2007.

Also working closely with the board is COO Bill Murray, who cost $312K in 2007 ($262K salary, $29.5K benefits, and $21.3K expenses).

PRS has developed a bad habit lately of using ongoing consultants as the Assembly parliamentarian, which we feel is a conflict of interest. It used podiatrist Mark Schilansky as parliamentarian in 2004 and found him so supportive that it hired him also as an ongoing consultant.

He worked on the bylaw that allows the executive committee to act in place of the full board. When proxy voting became an issue in 2005, he noted that New York law allows it unless bylaws of a group forbade it. This pleased the board which continues to allow proxies in defiance of Robert’s Rules, which is four-square against the use of proxies. Groups like the Assembly must only be conducted by those present, it insists. For two years in a row the board has used someone from its law firm, Venable, as parliamentarian. Last year it was Beth Caseman (who had a baby and withdrew) and this year it was Ann Thomas.

Delegates should start organizing now because governance at PRS goes to sleep from the Assembly till late in January when the new board meets. Then the board will say, “We have to wait until the Assembly in October to do anything.” Another year will be lost.

The board in 2007 promised that a new set of bylaws would be ready for the 2008 Assembly but reneged on this promise. The board then said it was decided that the Assembly should help pick governance reform topics but the 2008 Assembly was given no chance to do this.

The survey of 2004 delegates found that 71% wanted a Spring Assembly; 66% wanted quarterly teleconferences of delegates, and 44% favored voting by fax, which is legal. All these wishes were ignored.

Only if the delegates start organizing now, whether or not they obtain a grant from the board, will any change come.

Among the many proposed governance reforms that did not get discussed this year is the one for chapter-only membership by Prof. Bill Sledzik of Kent State (

He notes that chapters typically enroll only 10% of PR pros in their areas and chapter membership would skyrocket once newcomers are relieved of the $225 yearly fee to national. Local-only members would not get Tactics or Strategist. The National Law Marketing Assn. tried this several years ago and found that both chapter and national memberships grew.

Hundreds of entries on Twitter were posted about the PRS Assembly and conference. PRS VP-PR Art Yann monitored them and answered participants who had any complaints about the Assembly or PRS. He told Sledzik that PRS could not supply wi-fi for the conference because of “logistical reasons.” When Yann posted a rosy description of the Assembly by Julin, we posted a report from that slammed Jeff and the board for blocking discussion by delegates, wasting hours on prepared pitches, and not having a town hall.

The travesty of the 2008 Assembly becomes evident when a stopwatch is put on the activities.

The meeting went from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. or a total of eight hours and 45 minutes.

Five hours and 42 minutes were taken up by four leader presentations, a two-hour tutorial on strategic thinking by a consultant, and an hour and 42-minute lunch break lengthened by speeches and awards. Lunch could have been a 30-minute affair using box lunches, a common practice at corporate annual meetings.

All during the meeting delegates who got to the mike to raise issues were told the meeting was running late and topics could be brought up at the town hall.
Unwittingly, the delegates had agreed to a “hard” end of the Assembly at 5 p.m. in adopting the agenda shortly after the meeting began—15 minutes late at 8:15 a.m.

Chair Julin announced the meeting would have to end at 5 p.m. unless the delegates voted “no” on a motion to extend it. He warned that they would be voting the opposite of what might be expected because the vote would really be against staying with the “order of the day” and a “no” vote would mean the meeting could continue. The 53% (and then 51% on a second vote) who voted to continue the meeting lost because a two-thirds majority was needed.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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