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Internet Edition, November 19, 2008, Page 1


John Margaritis, former CEO of Ogilvy and chairman of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, has taken a senior VP slot at New Jersey firm The Marcus Group.

“The Marcus Group affords me the opportunity to work directly with clients without the bureaucracy of larger consulting firms,” he said.

Margaritis served as executive director and chairman of North America for Euro RSCG Worldwide PR in a brief stint from late 2005 to March 2007 departing amid philosophical differences over how to grow the business.

He left Ogilvy in 1997 and later served as chief marketing officer for upscale British luxury goods company Asprey. Earlier stints were at Firebrand Financial Group, Fleishman-Hillard, Burson-Marsteller and GE.


Laura Sturtz, a branding and marketing veteran of big PR firms, has joined CarryOn Communications as New York-based president. She reports to Kevin Grangier, CarryOn’s founder & CEO, who is in Los Angeles.

Sturtz will focus on new media, environmental initiatives, business-to-business assignments and marketing, while Grangier is now free to concentrate on CarryOn’s “Brandeavor” (branding) and COi (social media) programs.

Sturtz joins from Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, where she served as North American CMO. Her resume includes Rowland Communications Worldwide COO; senior managing director at Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart; VP-PR at Hill, Holiday, and VP-marketing communications at Hill & Knowlton.


The Cannes Lions Festival, the Oscars of advertising, has added a PR competition for 2009 and installed the U.K.’s Tim Bell to head the jury.

The week-long June festival in Cannes, France, said that the addition of PR to categories like film, press, and outdoor ensures the whole advertising and communications industry is represented. PR categories include sector-related PR, product and services, and technique.

Bell, who helped found Saatchi & Saatchi, is chairman of Chime Communications, parent to PR powerhouse Bell Bottinger. He said the new category will “further elevate the recognition of reputation management within our industry.”

Philip Thomas, CEO of the festival, said PR has been on the Cannes radar for quite a while.


Omnicom is folding The Washington Group lobbying unit into Clark & Weinstock.

The move is part of Omnicom’s plan to consolidate operations in D.C. TWG is currently part of Ketchum which purchased it in `01.

TWG received a blow last month with the defection of its CEO Susan Molinari to Bracewell & Giuliani’s government affairs practice.

TWG had `07 fees of $4.7M. Clients include Exelon, New York Metropolitan Authority, National Cable and Telecommunications Assn., Shield Technologies and Sanofi-Pasteur.

John O’Hanlon is managing director of TWG. He was trustee for the Kerry/Democratic National Committee Campaign. Vin Weber, the former Republican Congressman from Minnesota, heads C&W. It had fees of $7.5M. Clients include Ericsson North America, General Dynamics, Nokia, PhRMA, AICPA, and Yahoo.

C&W is the surviving name of the merged entity.


Edelman is representing the swank Yellowstone Club, the Montana resort for high-rollers that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week with $343M owed to creditors.

Bill Keegan, director of Edelman’s U.S. crisis and issues management practice in Chicago, confirmed that the firm is working with the Club.

YC counts as members of its residential resort facilities Bill Gates, Greg Lemond and Dan Quayle.

The value of the Gallatin Mountains land for the YC is $778M and the club also counts another $336M in unsold memberships. It owes $343M to banks and contractors.

Ski magazine reported in 2001 that the initiation fee for the club was $250,000.


Eleven questions of a personal nature are on the 2008 Post-Assembly Delegate Survey that has been sent to nearly 300 delegates by the PR Society.

These include such areas as the age bracket of the delegate (30 or younger, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61+); gender; years in PRS; whether a Fellow or not; years of membership in PRS; what offices held nationally, in sections, districts or chapters; who paid for attendance at the Assembly, and number of Assemblies attended.

What is most annoying, said several delegates, is that the e-mail survey does not permit a respondent to

(Continued on page 7)

Internet Edition, November 19, 2008, Page 2


The United States fell a notch to No. 3 in Futurebrand’s annual ranking of top country “brands” behind top-ranked Australia and rising star Canada. Italy, France, New Zealand, U.K, Japan and Sweden round out the Top 10.

Interpublic’s Futurebrand unit polled 2,700 frequent business and leisure travelers from nine countries to assess country brands across several categories. The results were released Nov. 11 at London’s World Travel Market expo with the help of sister firm Weber Shandwick.

Called the Country Brand Index, the FB ranking flagged China, the United Arab Emirates and Croatia as the top three countries likely to become major tourist draws in the next five years. They are followed by Vietnam, India and Cuba.

The U.S. was absent from the top five countries in several key categories for top brands like art and culture (Italy, France, Egypt, Japan, Greece), families (Canada, Spain, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand) and “best country you would most like to live in” (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland and Scotland).

The U.S. was knocked out of the No. 1 slot in three categories from 2007, including “easiest to do business in” (down to No. 2 in ’08), “extend a business trip” (down to No. 6) and conferences (down to No. 2). FB highlighted particularly poor rankings for the U.S. in standard of living (14), political freedom (19), safety (45) and environmentalism (62).

The firm noted that significantly fewer people prefer the U.S. and fewer visitors would recommend it as a destination to family, friends and colleagues.

The U.S. was among the top countries in categories like “ideal for business” and shopping.

Futurebrand noted several travel trends in its report, including increased numbers of women traveling without men; affluent retirees traveling more, with half of Baby Boomers taking their grandchildren along; finite travel, or people visiting places seen as endangered from environmental risk, and religious tourism.

FB noted that the U.S. is one of the only major countries in the world that does not have an official government tourism board, instead relying on city and state tourism campaigns. “As a country brand, the U.S. has no formal identity and no formal call to action to lure travelers and to help drive the economy,” the firm pointed out.


Karen Hanretty, who was communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, becomes a Qorvis Communications managing director next month. She is a frequent commentator on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

Her GOP background, according to Qorvis CEO Michael Petruzzello, will come in handy since many of the coming PA debates will be won not with “red” or “blue” arguments but with “‘purple’ strategies and bipartisan communications.”

Hanretty also served as deputy communications director for Fred Thompson’s presidential run and spokesperson in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial campaign. Petruzzello calls her “battle-tested.”

Hanretty joins the Qorvis’ PA staff, which includes Maura Corbett, a member of Barack Obama’s technology media policy committee; Dan Goldberg, an aide to former President Clinton, and Jake Ward, ex-press secretary for Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).


A coalition of interest groups under the name Divided We Fail is planning a million-dollar campaign to push Barack Obama and the new Congress to keep campaign promises to pursue healthcare reform and a solution for the financial crisis.

Backing the effort are AARP, Business Roundtable, Services Employees International Union and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Drew Nannis, director of advocacy media relations for AARP, told O’Dwyer’s that internal teams at the four lead organizations – which claim to represent 53 million Americans – are handling PR. GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Tex., is producing issue ads.

The campaign kicked off with a full-page letter to President-elect Obama run as an ad in USA Today on Nov. 11. Capitol Hill papers and cable news networks are other targets for the campaign.

The campaign says it wants to hold Obama and members of Congress to pledges for healthcare reform made during the election cycle. It says Obama and more than two-thirds of the incoming 111th Congress have endorsed the group’s pledge committed to a bipartisan effort on healthcare and “lifetime financial security.”


The Kingdom of Bahrain, the Persian Gulf island of 725,000 people off the coast of Saudi Arabia, has hired Patton Boggs to handle concern over its human rights practices. [Qorvis, which is affiliated with PB reps the Saudis.]

Tommy Boggs heads the PB team that bills at an hourly rate. Boggs bills the Arab state $990 per-hour.

He is joined by Ed Newberry, former aide to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va) who bills at $695; Stephanie Peters, a $505-biller who advised Democrats during the floor debate and vote on the Articles of Impeachment of Bill Clinton, and Peter Gould, a natural resources specialist who bills $415.

According to the State Dept.’s country report on human rights practices released in March, Bahrain restricts “civil liberties, including freedoms of press, speech, assembly, association and some religious practices.”

Domestic violence against women and children was common, as well as discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sect and ethnicity. Trafficking in persons and restrictions on the rights of expatriate workers are problems.
The Shi’a majority population was routinely discriminated against by the ruling Sunnis, according to State.

PB is to reach out to both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. Government on behalf of Bahrain. Its engagement letter suggested an initial $25K retainer to get the ball rolling.

Internet Edition, November 19, 2008, Page 3


The New York Times Co. stock plummeted to an $8.16, 52-week low on Nov. 11 following news of a big write-off largely for its troubled Boston Globe property operation. Shares traded at $8.81 on Nov. 9 in 1990.

The NYTC, which last month reported a preliminary $6.5M third-quarter net, now says it lost $106.3M following a $166M “impairment of assets” charge related to its faltering New England Media Group.

According to its Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the NYTC pins the charge on the “continued decline in print advertising revenue affecting the print industry and lower-than-expected current and projected operating results” at the Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

The NYTC warns that more write-downs for the New England papers may be in the works. The company “has not yet finalized its interim impairment analysis due to the timing and complexity of the calculations required.”

Any further charges are anticipated for the fourth-quarter when the company completes its “interim third-quarter 2008 impairment test.”

The NYTC is closing its Billerica, Mass., printing plant during the second-half of `09 because it “no longer needs as many presses to print all copies of the Globe, which will be printed at the main plant in Dorchester.

The NYTC says savings will result from that move following the completion of negotiations with labor unions.

The Globe, this month, laid off 42 people in advertising, marketing and circulation. It also tightened control over its site. That site now reports to Globe publisher Steve Ainsley rather than the NYT digital operation.

Schiller to NPR

Vivian Schiller, 47, becomes president and CEO of National Public Radio on Jan. 5. She takes over from interim CEO Dennis Haarsager, who has held the spot since March.

Schiller led the NYT’s digital operation to the top spot among newspaper websites. She handled product, technology, marketing, classified, planning and business development.

Earlier, Schiller spent four years as senior VP and GM at the Discovery Times Channel, cable venture between New York Times Co. and Discovery Communications.

Prior to joining the NYTC, Schiller was senior VP of CNN Productions, leading its long-form programming. She began her career as a simultaneous Russian translator in the Soviet Union, which led to documentary work at Turner Broadcasting.

Howard Stevenson, NPR chair, called Schiller’s news roots, operational expertise and extensive media experience a “natural fit” for NPR.


Gerry Baker, a veteran of the BBC, Financial Times and Times of London, has moved to the Wall Street Journal as deputy editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal.

He assumes the position in January, reporting to Robert Thomson, who called Baker a student of “the minutiae of monetary policy, and the frailties of the international financial system.”

Baker will edit the WSJ when Thomson is not around and accelerate its “development as a national paper of influence and as an unrivalled international business news franchise.”

From `88 to `94, Baker was producer and economics correspondent at the BBC. He was FT’s Tokyo correspondent and then Washington bureau chief.

In `04, Baker helped launch the Times here and developed its U.S. website.


Rodale, publisher of Runners World, Prevention, Organic Gardening and Men’s Health, is cutting 10 percent of its work force (111 people) via outsourcing of information technology and customer service.

The company says it is hurting due to advertising cutbacks among automakers. It reported a five percent decline in Q3 revenues from the year earlier period.

Steven Murphy, CEO of Rodale, said though the ad decline has hit the company, it has been “able to achieve our profit goals by delivering books, magazines and online products digitally to a global audience.”


Barbara Cochran is stepping down as president of the Radio-Television News Directors Assn. in June after a dozen years of service. She will consult the trade group in the role of president emeritus.

RTNDA chairman Ed Esposito credited Cochran for advocating on behalf of online journalists, especially in the area of First Amendment rights and protections. He also noted that Cochran was instrumental in opening the Supreme Court to the release of selected audio recordings, according to the group’s release.

The board has begun a search for Cochran’s replacement. Cochran plans to keep busy over the next eight month, working on Communicator, the online system for judging the Murrow Awards, and drafting the organization’s strategic plan.


The Tribune Co has promoted Cissy Baker VP in Washington to coordinate newsgathering for the company’s print, publishing and interactive operations. A big task for Baker is to facilitate content-sharing.

Baker, who joined Tribune in 1994, had been in charge of D.C. broadcasting operations. She exited CNN in `80 for a run for the House in Tennessee. She won the primary, but lost the general. She returned to CNN in `83 and left in `90 for the job of VP of Fox News Service, handling national news feeds and breaking news.

The Financial Times has revamped its website to create more of a “clean and uncluttered executive briefing on the world of global business.” There is expanded coverage of macroeconomics, energy and technology and tighter integration of market data and news.

(Media news continued on next page)

Internet Edition, November 19, 2008, Page 4


Nick Denton, founder and owner of the Gawker Media network of blogs, issued a gloomy advertising forecast and folded the ValleyWag Silicon Valley blog into GM’s namesake blog, Gawker.

“From conglomerates to Internet ventures, executives should be planning now on a decline of up to 40% in advertising spending during this cycle,” he wrote Nov. 11 in his 2009 Internet Media Plan.

Denton argues that ad forecasts, which have ranged from six to 16 percent decline for online sites, don’t anticipate a deep recession and that previous banking crises in countries like Japan and Sweden led to gloomier climates. He said suggestions that Internet advertising is immune to a steep downturn or that it is more “mature” than when a steep decline of 27% hit ‘Net ads from 2000-02 don’t add up. Denton said that “maturity” in digital ads also means that its underlying growth is more sluggish than it was early on.

Denton has six main “levers” for publishers to navigate the downturn – get out of categories like politics that advertisers shy away from; renegotiate vendor pacts; consolidate; offshore more; reduce high executive pay for profit-sharing, and provide more ad value for advertisers.

BRIEFS _____________________

Ray Chelstowski, publisher of Wenner Media’s Rolling Stone, has moved to the CR Media USA luxury lifestyle magazine set for a February launch, Prestige New York.

Chelstowski is former national sales director for Time Inc.’s Entertainment Weekly.

Bob Cohn, executive editor of Wired, has been recruited by The Atlantic to become editorial director of Based in Washington, D.C., Cohn reports to editor James Bennet and oversees all digital editorial efforts, including blogs, web-only features and online delivery of magazine content.

Cohn was executive editor of Wired since 2001. Earlier, he held that title at The Industry Standard and was editor and publisher of Stanford magazine.

Sue Owen has been promoted to fashion editor and Gabrielle Porcaro to associate fashion editor at Ladies’ Home Journal.

Owen now leads development of the fashion section, including styling and writing all features.

Porcaro continues to cover the show market and coordinate photo shoots. She adds coverage of fashion and accessory markets to her duties.

Gannett Co. has acquired social media technology and analytics company Ripple6, which becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the media company.

Ripple6 currently powers Gannett’s sites, which recently launched in 80 local markets, also provides social media properties for Procter & Gamble and the soon to be launched, Meredith Corporation’s social network around meals and meal planning.


An important early move in any crisis plan is to count and study potential enemies and friends and keep this a closely guarded list, advises Rene Henry in "Communicating in a Crisis: A Guide for Management."

“Opposition research is essential,” says Henry, who has worked for corporations, educational institutions and agencies in a career of more than 40 years.

He advises obtaining biographical information on adversaries, determining who will be their leaders and spokespeople, and what media might support them.

“Review their speeches, books, papers and articles,” he advises, looking for their “philosophy” and whether they have been making “contradictory statements.”

Possible allies of opponents should also be checked out carefully, he says, and biographies and other information collected.

Your client or employer must also explore whether “celebrities” can be expected to enter the fray against you, he says.

People on your side involved in plans and delicate negotiations must be trustworthy and not considered a risk of “leaking to the media,” he notes.

Sample Opinion Beforehand

Focus groups and opinion polls conducted before any crisis develops can help a company determine whether and how much public support it can expect, says Henry. A “must read,” according to the author, is “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky.

Written in 1972 as a primer for students and dissenters, it advocates “disorganization of the old and organization of the new,” and the stirring up of “dissatisfaction and discontent.”

Henry notes Alinsky’s belief that communication “is the single most important quality for an organizer.”

Henry, who was director of the office of external affairs of the Environmental Protection Agency from 1996-2001 and executive director of university relations, Texas A&M University from 1991-96, authored in 2000 "You’d Better Have a Hose If You Want to Put Out the Fire," which became a best-seller on crisis management.

He authored in 2000 "Marketing Public Relations—the Hows That Make It Work," and in 2001 wrote "Offsides! Fred Wyant’s Provocative Look Inside the National Football League."

Henry draws on his experience in government, education, sports and PR firms (Edelman, Flourney & Gibbs and his own firm) in writing about scores of crises in those areas.

He has advice on dealing with lawyers, educational administrators, corporate executives and government figures.

Lawyers, he notes, “make little money preventing crises and a lot resolving them.” He feels they have “little understanding of the media” and have a tendency to “move slowly and cautiously.”

He quotes Pete Oppel, managing director of Fairchild/Oppel, Dallas, as saying that “Lawyers are so afraid of possible litigation that they go out of their way to be dull and then wonder why the other side gets all of the media attention in a crisis.”

Internet Edition, November 19, 2008, Page 5


Weber Shandwick has shuffled oversight of its Northern California operations.

The Interpublic firm has added GM/Northern California to the duties of its New York-based North American technology practice head, Robert Dowling. He takes over as GM of Northern California for Tim Marklein, who has moved into an EVP role atop the firm’s measurement and strategy practice.

Dowling has been with WS for four years. Announcing Marklein’s new role, WS president Andy Polansky noted the importance of communications measurement in challenging economic times.

Marklein played a role in developing the firm’s measurement model ARROW, which stands for activities, reach, relevance, outcomes and worth.


Horn Group, a tech firm with offices in San Francisco and New York, has unveiled a 1,200-square foot, full-service video production shop for digital content creation in its San Francisco office.

Shannon Latta, partner at Horn Group, noted that people expect video on the web but marketers rarely have the skills or time to produce it.

In the past few months, the firm has completed projects including CEO interviews and white boards sessions for EchoSign, Genius and Kalido, event motion graphics for Adify and a man-on-the-street piece for Tealeaf.

Services include production, direction, script writing and storyboarding, shooting and post-production. Its facilities include a green screen and peripheral equipment.

Info and details are at

BRIEFS: JS2 Communications, New York, has set up a project division targeting companies that seek short-term PR support for situations like trade shows, product launches or events. The unit, called PRoject JS2, is based in the firm’s New York office and headed by GM Alissa Pinck. ...San Diego firm Formula has formally set up a Hispanic sister unit called Formulatin. The Formulatin team has worked with Tecate beer since 2005 and also handles Tequila Herradura. Michael Olgiun, president of Formula who also helms the Hispanic unit, said ongoing growth in the sector and the need for PR firms to have an “authentic point-of-view” sparked the creation of Formulatin. ...The Dilenschneider Group, New York, has formed a working alliance with South Korea’s largest firm, Prain. TDG said it will represent Prain’s corporate clients in the U.S. while Prain does the same in South Korea. Robert Dilenschneider, founder and chairman, said South Korea is one of Asia’s most dynamic and robust economies and presents numerous commerical opportunities for U.S. companies. Lee Sung-Bong is president of Prain. ...Edge Communications, a 12-year-old Encino, Calif., firm, has a new website and blog penned by founder Ken Greenberg and other staff.



New York Area

G.S. Schwartz & Co., New York/Global Association of Risk Professionals, not-for-profit trade group of 100K risk management pros and researchers for entities like banks, investment management firms and government agencies, for PR following a review. GARP didn’t previously work with an agency.

The Morris + King Company, New York/University of California, San Francisco, to develop a PR campaign for the opening of its $100M Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center Research Building, slated for June.

Rubenstein PR, New York/American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, for a public education campaign on the specialty and techniques.

Burson-Marsteller, New York/Sony Ericsson, as AOR for PR in North America. The firm’s London office has been SE’s global firm for the past year.

R&J PR Bridgewater, N.J./Maquet, surgical equipment unit of Sweden’s Getinge Group, for PR in North America for its Variop operating room suite. Maquet, which has installed Variop suites in Europe for more than 25 years, recently put in its first U.S. installation in South Carolina.


Hart-Boillot, Waltham, Mass./Soapstone Networks, resource and service control software for telecom carriers and enterprises, as AOR for PR, an expansion of its previous relationship for creative services.

CRT/tanaka, Richmond, Va./Mirage Studios and 4Kids Entertainment, for development of a website to mark the 25th anniversary of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. MS owns the brand and 4Kids is its licensing agent.


Carmichael Lynch Spong, Minneapolis/Noodles & Company, noodle eatery with 200 locations in 18 states, as AOR for PR. Ad unit Carmichael Lynch is also working with N&C.

Mountain West

Catapult IR-PR, Boulder, Colo./JNBridge, software, for ongoing PR after the firm handled PR for its JNBridgePro product over the past year and a half.


K. Fernandez & Associates, San Antonio/Colonial Bank, commerical bank division of $26B Colonial BancGroup, for Hispanic advertising, PR and online work throughout the South and Southwest.


Atomic PR, San Francisco/Smule, sonic applications developer for the iPhone, as AOR for PR. The company has launched four applications, including Sonic Lighter and Ocarina, among the top paid iPhone applications in the U.S. and abroad.

JS2 Communications, Los Angeles/Patina Restaurant Group, for PR for its West Coast division following project assignments in the region.

Wonacott Communications, Los Angeles/Psyclops, kids products and interactive website, for PR, and Cookie Jar Entertainment, for PR for its digital media division. CJE brands include Strawberry Shortcake and Inspector Gadget.

Internet Edition, November 19, 2008, Page 6


BurrellesLuce has released an Internet media monitoring service, iMonitor, that features unlimited use for a monthly fee and no per-clip charges.

The service include free and subscription-based news sites, blogs, social media and other outlets, and also includes its 2.0 monitoring portal, which allows tagging and organization of coverage and reporting, including print and broadcast content.

Steve Shannon, executive VP for BL, said time and budget contraints for PR pros made the introduction of a flat-fee service timely for the company.


Medialink Worldwide reported a 28 percent decline in third quarter revenue and net loss of $1M following its sale of its U.K. operations and stake in the Teletrax monitoring service during the period.

Net loss for the same quarter in 2007 was $1.6M.

Revenue for Q3 of 2008 was $5.3M, down 28.4 percent over the same period of 2007. Medialink posted an operating loss of $948K for the quarter ($1.2M for Q3 of 2007) before impairments and charges of $897K that include a $450K loss from its now-shed U.K. operations.

Net loss for the nine months ended Sept. 30 was $11.6M. The company said it has cash and working capital totaling $7.1 million and $7.2 million, respectively.

“Revenues in the third quarter increased in our US-based business amid rough economic times and a broadcast media environment that was saturated with election coverage,” Larry Moskowitz, president and CEO, said in a statement. He said “deteriorating economic conditions” are a significant challenge to Medialink and others in the space. He predicts a $1.4M decline in revenues for its U.S.-based business in the fourth quarter, compared with Q4 of 2007.

Moskowitz said Medialink has re-focused its efforts on its U.S. operations, especially Internet-based video and audio services. Medialink shares are trading in the range of its 52-week low $.08. The company could face delisting in February 2009.


Spending cuts in advertising could come at the benefit of one particular segment of PR – public service announcements.

New York broadcast PR company WestGlen Communications said last week that its PSA airings are running 18 percent higher in November, which is traditionally a tough month for such placements because ad spending increases from elections and holiday buys.

A survey by WestGlen of TV and radio stations showed that ad sales were expected to slump through the first quarter of 2009.

Annette Minkalis, senior VP of PSA services for WestGlen, said the full impact of ad cuts hasn’t been felt yet because marketers are still running commitments made during the summer. She sees great “uncertainty” a month or two down the road. She said “the economic hardship for one industry sector has at least opened a tremendous opportunity for another.”



Mindy Fletcher, deputy chief of staff for external affairs for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has returned to Ogilvy PR Worldwide, San Diego, as a senior advisor to the firm’s West Coast operations. Fletcher, a veteran Republican operative, was deputy campaign manager for Schwarzenegger’s 2006 re-election. At Ogilvy, she is back in the fold with former political partner Maggie Linden, a Democrat who heads the firm’s West Coast public affairs practice.

Mira Meghdessian, senior A/E, Development Counselors International, to The Dow Chemical Co., as media and community relations manager for the Middle East. She previously held posts at RAIN Media and Al Arabiya Television. Dow has eight current and proposed ventures in the Mideast.

Elizabeth Curwen, senior associate, APCO Worldwide, to Widmeyer Communications, Washington, D.C., as a VP in its public affairs practice. She is former director of PA for the American Chemistry Council.

Cozette Phifer, former director of corporate communications, Jenny Craig, to The Johnny Rockets Group, Lake Forest, Calif, in that same title. She was previously strategic PR program manager at Sony Electronics and senior PR manager at Eddie Bauer.

Diane Blazek, president and publisher of Ball Publishing, to Arment Dietrich, Chicago, as a VP focused on business development. Also, Tara Stocker, managing principal, Chaffee Group, joins as a managing supervisor.

Jamie Szwiec, PR manager,, to Zizzo Group Advertising and PR, Milwaukee, as an A/E.

Deborah Friedman, who headed her own PR shop for 16 years, to Steinreich Communications, Hackensack, N.J., as an account director.

Darcie Borden, account manager at Jaffe Communications, to R&J PR, Bridgewater, N.J., as an A/E. Also, Vickie Cullen, an intern, to A/C.

Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, former Dutch cabinet minister and member of the European parliament, to APCO Worldwide’s international advisory council. Gene Lawson, founder of the U.S.-Russia Business Council, has also joined the council.

Ross Hughes, former general manager, China, for The Hoffman Agency, to Ketchum Shanghai, as GM. He takes over for Penny Burgess, who takes on a consulting role with the Omnicom firm.


Justin Perras to senior VP, Dukas PR, New York. Perras, who joined the firm in 2004, leads the firm’s new asset management team, which includes hedge funds, asset managers and service companies. Seth Linden has been promoted to VP/media director, to head the firm’s financial and professional services unit.

Melissa Napolitano to visual communications manager, DDR PR, Mt. Kisco, N.Y.

Susie Tappouni to VP, Spectrum Science Communications, Washington, D.C. Tappouni takes on a new role as a manager in its client service group. She joined the firm in March 2002.

Internet Edition, November 19, 2008, Page 7

PERSONAL QUESTIONS (Continued from pg. 1)

proceed to further questions until all the personal information questions have been answered in full.

The post-Assembly survey is supposed to be about the quality of the Assembly and the quality of the leadership of the Society and not about the identity of the delegates, said critics of the survey.

Armed with age, gender, chapter, offices held and other information leaders could easily determine the identity of those filling out the questionnaires, said delegates.

Since numbered electronic voting devices were used, leaders and PRS staff members could then see how these individuals voted on various issues during the Assembly, they further said.

Leaders and staff could then determine who is “on board” with leadership and who isn’t, they added.

Should Be No Personal Questions

Dissidents said personal questions have no place at all on the survey.

There should be no attempt to coordinate voting records with age, gender, years in PRS, leadership roles, whether representing a section, district or chapter or any such background, they said.

This represents an “ad hominem” approach to assessing criticism that has no place in a democracy, they said.

Survey Questions Are Legitimate

The survey would be a legitimate one without the personal questions, said several delegates.

Questions on the survey include the following. Delegates were asked to vote according to seven different levels of satisfaction or dissatisfaction: “Extremely effective,” “Effective,” “Somewhat Effective,” “Neutral,” “Somewhat ineffective,” “Ineffective,” “Extremely ineffective.”

Questions included:

• (The Assembly) “Provided a member-centered forum for organizational decision-making.”

• “Encouraged respectful discourse on issues of importance.”

• “Provided chapters, districts, sections and other groups a voice in [the Society's] strategic focus as an organization.”

• “Provided chapters, districts, and sections a platform to communicate with national leadership.”

In another section of the survey, delegates were asked to assess their views of the national board and whether key issues were discussed.

Seven levels of satisfaction or dissatisfaction could be indicated: “Strongly agree,” “Agree,” “Somewhat agree,” “Neutral,” “Somewhat disagree,” “Disagree,” and “Strongly disagree.”

The topics included:

• “I felt well informed of key issues and items presented for Assembly vote.”

• “I knew enough about key issues and items ahead of time sufficiently to prepare for Assembly votes.”

• “I had ample opportunity to express my views during the Assembly.”

• “The manner in which delegates participate in the business of the Assembly was professional and productive.”

• “I feel good about PRS’s governance process under current Assembly procedures and practices.”

• “I am confident in the leadership of PRS as a result of my involvement in the 2008 Assembly.”

Delegates were also asked to rate their satisfaction in the two hours of discussion groups led by Jean Frankel of Tecker Consultants.


The Institute for PR, which hosted WPP's Martin Sorrell and General Motors' Steve Harris at its annual dinner Nov. 5, has announced ambitious plans for research into the fundamental nature of PR.

Although revenues only grew $27,646 to $867,631 in 2007 from $839,985 in 2006, net assets jumped 33% to $380,760 from $297,152 and cash/investments climbed 23% to $408,410.

Cash grew to $197,074 from $146,397 while certificates of deposit declined to $99,486 from $179,616 as IPR apparently shifted about $80,000 from CDs to "investments." The investments rose to $111,850 from $5,376.

Frank Ovaitt, IPR CEO, said from a conference of the International PR Assn. in China that the investments are in a money market fund.

Ovaitt told the Nov. 5 dinner that IPR will carry out research into "ground-breaking topics" including examining "long-held claims that PR and advertising produce different effects."

Six "Fellows" have been named to provide "expert guidance" into the research program that will build and share the "science beneath the art of public relations," said Ovaitt.

The six are Kathryn Collins, retired director of communications research of General Motors; Donald Wright, professor of PR, Boston Univ.; David Michaelson, president, Echo Research; Louis Williams, chairman, L.C. Williams & Assocs.; James Grunig, emeritus professor of communications, Univ. of Maryland, and Don Stacks, professor, Univ. of Miami School of Communication.


Wayne Catan, who ran Catan Communications for more than a decade, recently joined Parsippany, N.J.-based Coyne Public Relations as VP/media specialist. He works on Disney, Toys R Us, Hard Rock International, Mary Kay, Goodyear and Casio.

Catan is remembered for his work on behalf of (of sock puppet fame) leading up to the dot-com crash. He was promoter of “Dog Day Afternoon,” a nationwide tour for pets and their families.

Earlier this year, Catan was inducted into the New York State Hall of Fame at the University of Buffalo.

The Syracuse University graduate told the New York Daily News that he applies wrestling techniques learned in college to his work. “I use the tools I have from wrestling to beat opponents in the boardrooms on Madison Ave.,” he said.

Catan writes for Amateur Wrestling News and is proud owner of the Dellinger Award, which is bestowed on the nation’s top wrestling writer.

He began his PR career at Manning Selvage & Lee.

Internet Edition, November 19, 2008, Page 8




General Motors, Chrysler and Ford seem headed for bankruptcy and are getting no sympathy from the public, GM PR head Steve Harris told the Institute for PR Nov. 5. Evidence Harris is right were six letters-to-the-editor of the New York Times Nov. 14 blasting GM for being out of touch with consumers by foisting gas-guzzling SUVs on them.

Three million jobs are directly tied to the “Big Three” and the “ripple effects” of their bankruptcies on a worsening economy would be almost too great to imagine.

Why hasn’t PR been able to work its “magic” and reverse this tide of anti-U.S. auto industry sentiment? After all, the public’s own neck is in the noose now.
One reason is a lack of industry spokespeople who can persuasively argue their cases in discussions and debates on TV. The PR spokespeople most often seen by viewers on a variety of subjects are Fraser Seitel and Mike Paul, who have been on cable and network shows hundreds of times.

On the positive side, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and Edward Liddy of AIG have been hitting the public airwaves. Dimon has been discussing the economic slide and Liddy has been explaining that only $23,000 of the $400,000 spent on a recent much-criticized AIG meeting was AIG money. The purpose of the meeting was to train non-AIG agents in the sale of AIG products, he says.

Let’s switch from a “macro” view of this situation, with its hard to grasp boxcar figures, to a “micro” view—namely the street we live on in Connecticut, which is a block from a grade school.

The letters to the NYT blame the U.S. auto companies for pushing SUVs on consumers but that’s not what we saw happening down the block and with our neighbors.

About 20 years ago small cars were all the rage in our town. Then more and more SUVs started to appear and especially around the school until just about all of the cars near the school were such “giants,” each one bigger than the last.

Safety was one factor. Parents felt their children were safer in a big car and they were right. It was an automobile “Gresham’s law”—the bad drove out the good. It became unsafe to ride around in “dwarf” cars in a land of giants.

Fashion was also a factor. What parent could bear to have his or her child made fun of because the parent drove around in a tiny car? Irresistible peer pressure from children was also at work.

Meanwhile, on the street where we’ve lived 30 years, almost every resident started riding around in foreign cars. It was the “smart thing” to do. Volvos, BMWs, Lexuses, etc., became the fashion. We were the oddity on the street—driving a pedestrian Buick.

Over the years, practically every executive on the block lost jobs that were at companies such as International Paper, ABC-TV, Hertz, etc. There was a connection between the two, not one-to-one, but a connection.

A “PR” number was also done on the U.S. auto buyer who thinks that most Japanese cars, for instance, are actually “made in the U.S.” At one time about 25% of Japanese car parts were made in the U.S. but this dipped to about 10%. Also, while GM and other U.S. automakers are saddled with high and even ruinous labor/medical costs, Toyota and others profit by making nearly four million cars in non-union plants in the South. U.S. automakers failed to get out “messages” like that.

Part of what happened over the years to PR is that it got dominated by demographic-oriented “marketers” intent on aiming messages to segments of the public. PR lost its ability to make a case with experts in the press. The public looks for truth in the clash of ideas in open venues.

The 2008 PR Society Assembly in Detroit Oct. 25 was a fraud perpetrated on the general membership not only by the national board but by the Assembly delegates, all of whom are “wired” in one way or another.

It was bad enough that the board scheduled more than two hours of canned presentations plus a two-hour exercise in “strategic thinking” that would have insulted the intelligence of a third-grader.

Even worse was the acquiescence of the more than 200 chapter delegates in this charade.

It’s easy to see why the delegates took a dive.

The bylaw passed in 2004 that let non-APRs into the Assembly had a huge Mickey in it. Non-APR delegates had to be board members of their local chapters.

This strengthened leader/staff control of the Assembly as the local “titled establishments” joined the “national establishment.”

The entire Assembly now is APRs or “leaders” of chapters/sections/districts. These are members “on the take” from PRS in terms of local, district and national titles, memberships on the 30+ national committees, etc.

They are often desirous of even more titles that they feel enhance their resumes. They are mostly “status borrowers” rather than “status lenders” and are not going to bite the hand that feeds them.

Besides receiving titles, leaders get various budgets and expense accounts approved by national. The $571,000 spent on “travel” in 2007 also includes meals but there is never a breakout of “meals.” We wonder how much of that total is spent on staff and volunteer meals. Such a total should be readily available.

It’s no wonder the delegates sat there like bumps on a log and allowed themselves to be led around by their noses the entire day.

Not one delegate arose to ask why the board was reneging on its promise to bring even one meaningful bylaw change before the Assembly after vowing a year ago to provide a full slate of new bylaws.

We’ve asked about ten delegates to obtain the 136-page transcript of the Assembly that was delivered to Jennifer Ian at PRS h.q. a couple of weeks ago. All refused. Of course they did. They don’t want to hear anything more about the shameful Oct. 25 meeting in which they failed to represent their constituents. Rank-and-file members have every right to see what went on at that meeting.

We hope the nine new national directors will not wait until the end of January to exercise their powers including demanding the release of the transcript. They are now involving not only their own names but the names of their organizations in a dysfunctional, undemocratic system.

They are Gary McCormick, Scripps Interactive; Kathy Barbour, Mayo Clinic; Catherine Huggins, Western & Southern Financial Group; Gail Liebl, Travelers; Lynn Appelbaum, CCNY; Donald Kirchoffner, retired head of PA, U.S. Army; Steven Grant, National Education Assn.; Gail Winslow-Pine, Catholic Medical Center, and Deborah Silverman, Buffalo State College.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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