The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Edition, January 7, 2009, Page 1
RFP SEEKS PR PITCHES FOR U.S. SERVICE
The federal government has released an RFP for a $750K-a-year strategic communications contract to support the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal service entity that runs programs like AmeriCorps.
can be accessed iva odwyerpr.com.
This website reported in early December on the pending request for PR pitches. Hill & Knowlton is the incumbent agency. Dozens of firms have registered as “interested vendors,” including Waggener Edstrom, OneWorld Communications, LaBreche, Ogilvy, Xenophon Strategies and Allison & Partners.
The RFP covers only PR services like communications strategy, messaging and media relations in conjunction with CNCS’ office of public affairs.
A separate RFP for creative and marketing services work has also been issued.
Goals for its PR endeavors include recruitment of participants, forging partnerships and “encouraging an ethic of service and citizenship in America.” President-elect Barack Obama pledged during the campaign to expand national service programs.
The CNCS, which operates on an $850M budget, plans to award a pact worth up to $750K per year that could stretch to five years with options.
In addition to AmeriCorps and the similar Senior Corps, the CNCS works closely with President Bush’s White House-based USA Freedom Corps.
F-H SCOOPS UP GARDEN FRESH
Fleishman-Hillard begins work for Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. as the Omnicom unit aced a competitive review.
San Diego-based Garden Fresh is parent of the Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes chains of more than 110 restaurants in 15 states.
They serve fresh produce, salads, muffins and made-from-scratch soups in a one-price, all-you-can eat format.
F-H is to pitch the fare as wholesome food that offers the best value for consumers. Nutrition education, community relations and corporate communications are also on tap.
F-H’s San Diego office, which is headed by Della Sweetman, is in charge of the account with support from offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento.
Benedetto Communications had handled the account of Garden Fresh, which was co-founded by Michael Mack, a former Bain & Company management consultant.
CLINTON OWES WPP $5.3M
Mark Penn’s Penn Schoen & Berland polling outfit is still owed $5.3M from failed Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign as the New York Senator has decided to write-off the $13.1M loan that she lent her Presidential bid.
The campaign has $6.3M in outstanding debt, according to a Federal Election Commission report. PS&B has the largest obligation. That overall debt is down from $7.4M in December.
Penn, who is CEO of Burson-Marsteller, served as chief strategist to the Clinton campaign until he stepped down in April. That followed his meeting with the Colombian government officials for advice on how to win a free trade pact with the U.S. The Clinton camp was opposed to any new FTAs.
PS&B continued to do polling work for the campaign, and Penn remained an untitled advisor.
Penn’s former partner, Doug Schoen, joined Edelman’s PA practice in Washington, D.C. on Jan 1.
JOBS BREAKS SILENCE ON HEALTH
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the subject of health rumors that have affected the company's share price, broke his silence with a statement Jan. 5 that he has a hormone imbalance and is getting treatment.
He will remain at the helm of Apple as he gets “relatively simple and straightforward” treatment for the “nutritional problem.”
Jobs’ late 2008 decision to sit out the keynote slot at the annual ’09 Macworld conference raised more speculation about his health following photographs last year of him appearing to have lost weight. Jobs said his doctors expect it to take him until late spring to regain his weight.
Apple's board issued a concurrent statement expressing support for Jobs.
ASSEMBLY TRANSCRIPT NOT AN ISSUE
Michael Cherenson, 2009 chair of the PR Society, told the “For Immediate Release” blog Dec. 19 that only “two or three” people are seeking the transcript of the 2008 Assembly and that the Society has obeyed all state and federal laws as well as its own rules and Robert’s Rules in not providing it.
The three and one-quarter pages of minutes are the “official” record of the meeting as provided by all known authorities, Cherenson said in an interview with Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz, the podcast’s two co-hosts.
Edition, January 7, 2009, Page 2
PROFITS COME FIRST, SAYS MS&L SURVEY
Consumers worldwide understand the first business of business is to make money, rather than to promote social change, according to a MS&L Global Values study conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs.
Eighty-three percent of Americans say it is important for a financially successful company to put profitability first.
That result is followed by 80 percent in China, 79 percent in the U.K., 78 percent in France, 77 percent in Italy and 73 percent in Sweden. “Doing things the right way” ranked after the profitability goal.
Mark Hass, CEO of MS&L Worldwide, said in a statement it is “reassuring to know that consumers globally respect the profit imperative, as long as it is handled in a responsible way.”
A whopping 84 percent of Americans believe a company’s values are best demonstrated by the way it handles a crisis.
More than seven-in-ten (72 percent) of Americans say companies that are open and honest about their business practices can be financially successful. That percentage tops the 65 percent of Italians, 63 percent of Chinese, 55 percent of Frenchmen and 51 percent of Brits who feel that way.
Hass says the survey shows
the tie between transparent communications and corporate
success is very strong. The Internet is the key conduit
for communicating values, according to 59 percent of Americans.
They obtain info about a company via blogs, message boards
and websites. Less than half of French (47 percent), Italians
(46 percent) and British (45 percent) rank the Internet
as the top values tool.
The survey polled 6,000
AMBAC HIRES C&W
Ambac Financial Corp., the beleaguered provider of financial guarantee insurance, has inked Clark & Weinstock as its Washington rep.
C&W’s top guns working for Ambac are former Congressman Vin Weber; Ed Kutler, aide to ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich; Niles Godes, former chief of staff to Sen. Byron Dorgan; Sandra Stuart; ex-chief of staff to Rep. Vic Fazio and Deirdre Stach, aide to Rep. Robert Walker.
New York-based Ambac recorded a $2.4B third-quarter loss vs. a $360M year ago deficit.
New CEO David Wallis says “de-risking” and “de-leveraging” Ambac’s balance sheet is the top priority.
To that end, Ambac in November “commuted” $3.5B in collateralized debt obligations in return for a cash settlement of $1B.
Ambac uses the corporate slogan of providing clients with “financial peace of mind.” Its shares trade for $1.14. They sold for as high as $26.79 and as low as 76 cents during the course of the last year.
KEKST FILLS AT FLYING J
Kekst and Company has been called in to handle bankruptcy communications for Utah-based Flying J Inc., the $16 billion oil company that filed for Chapter 11 protection on Dec. 22.
Flying J’s operations extend from exploration and production through 250 retail gas stations in the U.S. and Canada. Forbes ranked it the 20th largest private company in the U.S. with 16K employees and $16B in 2007 sales.
Tom Davis and Wendi Kopsick, New York-based partners for Kekst, are handling communications for Flying J. The company says bankruptcy protection will allow it to address near-term liquidity needs brought on by the plummeting price of oil and disruptions in the credit markets.
Flying J gas stations, which it calls “travel plazas,” continue to operate. The filing also covers its Big West refining and Longhorn Pipeline subsidiaries, but its Canadian operations are unaffected.
“The good news is we have valuable assets, we do not expect layoffs will be necessary, and we are optimistic we will be able to generate substantial cash internally to allow us to meet our obligations going forward,” said president/CEO J. Phillip Adams, in a statement distributed by Kekst. Kekst is owned by Publicis.
EXXON REVISES LOBBYING OUTLAYS
Exxon Mobil now says it spent $6.7M in first-quarter federal lobbying outlays, an amount more than double the $3.1M that it reported in April. The energy giant registered that upward revision in a 21-page filing with Uncle Sam on Dec. 22.
The Q1 revision puts lobbying outlays more in line with the $5.1M that ExxonMobil spent in Q2 and the $9.8M that it shelled out in Q3.
The energy giant’s lobbying activities included ending sanctions on Libya, provisions for a potential renewables production tax under the Economic Stimulus Act of `08, math and science education, Children’s Chemical Risk Reduction Act regarding banning of phthalates, oil sands procurement, drilling in Alaska, global warming, price gouging, Colombia Free Trade Act and policy discussions regarding Venezuela.
RENT-A-CENTER BOOSTS OUTREACH
Rent-A-Center, the nearly $3 billion a year rent-to-own retailer, has brought in Toyota Motor Sales PR exec Xavier Dominics in a top public affairs post.
The hire comes as the rent-to-own sector is expected to be one of the few beneficiaries of the economic downturn.
Dominics took up the VP/public affairs slot on Dec. 15, according to Mary Gazioglu, director of corporate communications for the Plano, Tex.-based company. He reports to Dwight Dumler, who heads all government affairs, community relations and PR.
The rent-to-own industry is among companies like Wal-Mart, America’s Car Mart and fast food eateries that will likely benefit from the sluggish economy as consumers look for discounts and financing requiring small or no down payments for products from food and entertainment to computers, appliances and even cars.
Rent-A-Center in late November launched a campaign with Levenson & Brinker PR called “Credit Free Life” (creditfreelife.com) touting rent-to-own transactions as a way to help consumers “meet their needs without going deeper into debt.” That push is slated to run through early 2009.
Edition, January 7, 2009, Page 3
LOBBYIST DROPS $27M BOMBSHELL ON NYT
Vickie Iseman, the Washington
lobbyist whom the New York Times romantically linked
with Sen. John McCain, has sued the paper for $27M.
The defamation suit filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond claims the NYT on Feb. 21 falsely communicated that Iseman, 40, and the former Republican Presidential candidate, 71, had an “illicit romantic and unethical relationship in breach of the public trust in 1999, while Senator McCain was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and Iseman was representing clients as a lobbyist on matters relating to the business of the Committee.”
Iseman, who is a partner at Alcalde & Fay, names Bill Keller, executive editor; Dean Baquet, editor, and reporters Jim Rutenberg, Marilyn Thompson, Stephen Labaton and David Kirkpatrick as defendants.
The NYT fully stands behind the article as “true and accurate” and believes it will prevail in court.
“As we said at the time, it was an important piece that raised questions about a presidential contender and the perception that he had been engaged in conflicts of interest," says a statement from the paper.
CONSUMERS UNION GRABS BLOG
the popular blog that airs consumer grievances and often
provokes companies into action, is being acquired from Gawker
Media by Consumers Union.
CU, publisher of Consumer Reports, took the reins
on Jan. 1, 2009.
“The site is a perfect fit for advancing our mission of creating a fair, safe, and just marketplace,” said CU president and CEO Jim Guest.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The three-year-old blog is known to rip companies for unfair practices and has exerted enough influence to force changes in policies, making it a must-read for consumer PR pros. Readers often submit transcripts and audio clips of interactions with customer service reps. That style has made advertising sales and challenge and with its acquisition by non-profit CU the site will no longer accept ads.
Consumerist garners about 10 million page views and 1.8M unique visitors per month.
Gawker Media chief Nick Denton issued a dire forecast for web advertising in 2009 and has sold two other blogs – Wonkette and Gridskipper – and shuttered another – Valleywag -- this year.
Ben Popken will remain as editor of Consumerist, which CU said would maintain autonomy in its own division of the company.
CU claims to be the largest paid-subscriber website with 3.3M subscriptions.
BRADY EXITS WAPO SITE
Jim Brady, who is responsible for the growth of the Washington
Post’s online unit, is leaving after a nearly
site is No. 2 among newspapers after NYTimes.com.
It attracted 11.1M unique visitors in November, up 17 percent
from '07. The NYT scored 20.9M unique visitors. That was
up 10 percent.
Brady's departure as executive editor comes as the Post
has decided to merge online and print operations under editor
Marcus Brauchli, the ex-managing editor of the Wall Street
Journal, who joined the WaPo in the fall.
The online newsroom has operated in Arlington, Va. It isbeing folded into Washington Post Media under publisher Katharine Weymouth.
Brady supports the consolidation but believes separate
newsrooms made sense, according to washingtonpost.com.
He regrets the loss of independence and is looking for Internet
opportunities in or out of journalism.
Brady will remain at his post through the Inauguration. He joined the Post website as a sports editor in `95 and then was upped to assistant managing editor for news.
Brady worked at AOL prior to WaPO.
TRIB’S KIRK TO BLOOMBERG
Jim Kirk, who has headed the Chicago Tribune's business
coverage since Feb. `05, has moved to Bloomberg News. He
will cover the White House and other federal doings from
a perch in D.C.
Kirk says the "historic election combined with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression" makes Washington a good place to be in `09.
VOICE CUTS HENTOFF
The Village Voice has cut long-time columnist Nat
Hentoff and two other staffers. The 83-year-old Hentoff
has written for the Voice since 1958.
He plans to continue his syndicated column via United Media
and contribute pieces to the Wall Street Journal.
Lynn Yager, a fashion writer for the Voice for the past 30 years, and Chloe Hilliard, who joined two years ago, also were dropped.
LSSU RELEASES ‘BANISHED’ WORD LIST
On a “desperate search” for a “bailout” from hackneyed writing, Michigan’s Lake Superior State University has combed “Main Street” and released its annual list of words that should be banished for “mis-use, over-use and uselessness.”
LSSU reports that the public has had enough of “green” and its various incarnations. As a Denver commenter told the school: “Companies are less ‘green’ than ever, advertising the fact they are ‘green.’ Is anyone buying this nonsense?” A Philadelphian fed-up with the word is particularly outraged that ‘green’ has become a verb.
LSSU also wants to do away with “carbon footprint” and “offsetting.”
The protracted presidential election led to a call to
ban “maverick,” the term initially bestowed
by doting media on Sen. John McCain that eventually extended
to his running mate and seemingly every sentence written
about either of the candidates through the summer and fall.
The full list is at www.lssu.edu/banished.
news continued on next page)
Edition, January 7, 2009, Page 4
CNN CLOSES IN ON MSNBC
CNN is narrowing the
gap between CNN.com
and online leader MSNBC, according to the top 30 global
news and current events site rankings compiled by Nielsen
Online Editor & Publisher,
a sister company to Nielsen, reported the findings Dec.
The study shows MSNBC
with 41.9M unique visitors in November, up 41 percent, while
CNN had 41.5M visitors, up 27 percent.
The Huffington Post was
the biggest gainer, up 270 percent to seven million visitors.
Gannett Broadcasting is
the only site to post a drop, down 1 percent to 4.5M. Gannett’s
newspaper group shows a 14 percent jump in uniques to 14M.
Here is what E&P reported:
New York Times
The Huffington Post
New York Daily News
New York Post
Source: Nielsen Online
BLOG TO STOP HONORING PRESS EMBARGOES
Consider it another step in the press/publicist evolution. In an online statement dated December 17, TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington released a statement that his site will no longer respect press embargoes from PR pros.
"PR firms are out of control," the statement reads. "Today we are taking a radical step towards fighting the chaos. From this point on we will break every embargo we agree to."
In its broadest terms, an embargo is a request to temporarily “freeze” potential news items for release until an agreed upon time or date.
In many cases embargoes are mutually beneficial: it's often the perfect opportunity for the press to do research or otherwise plan how they should write a story before the specifics are delivered.
This isn't the first time TechCrunch has aired its grievances regarding embargoes. Arrington wrote a similar article in October, blasting the concept as outdated and impossible to enforce. The problem with embargoes, Arrington argues, is that PR companies are no longer making these agreements on a one-on-one basis. PR pros hungry for ink are literally spamming anyone they can with the promise of a scoop in exchange for a tenuously agreed upon release date. The result: no one honors them anymore. A blog that gets a scoop on the condition of an embargo runs the item prematurely anyway. While breaking an embargo was formerly considered a monumental breach of trust, nowadays, Arrington says, the result is superfluous: "The PR firm gets upset but they don't stop working with the offending publication or writer. You get a slap on the wrist, and you break another embargo later that day."
Arrington says TechCrunch has never broken an embargo. As a result, it cost him the story more than once. TechCrunch's new policy, he claims, is a reflection of today's news environment. "The benefits are clear," he writes, "traffic and links flow in to whoever breaks an embargo first."
Peter Himler, Principal of Flat Iron Communications and writer of The Flack blog, believes TechCrunch's reaction to embargoes is the result of opposing forces: namely, what happens when blogs are inundated with pitches and what happens when PR pros simply don't do their homework.
"I sympathize with any journalist on a beat that attracts these kinds of overtures," Himler said. "They're overwhelmed with technology and they're inundated with misguided queries and that's especially irksome for those who have to sift through their inboxes every day."
Himler believes the attention generated from Arrington's post probably exaggerates the reality of what will become in-house rules at TechCrunch, or other news agencies.
Himler believes most news groups would probably continue to honor embargoes in cases where the writer trusts the publicist, or in the event of an important news story.
"I think it's going to be a case-by-case basis. If I came to him and I have a really path-breaking technology that I want to share, I have a feeling he's going to be a little more flexible than his headline made it out to be."
STATESBORO HERALD DROPS MON. ISSUE
The Statesboro (Ga) Herald has dropped its Monday
edition, citing "tough economic times."
Publisher Randy Morton says the paper explored various options
before coming to the conclusion that "suspending publication
of Monday's paper made sense."
The paper's "Business Monday" is now found in
Tuesday's paper. Morton promises more changes this year.
Edition, January 7, 2009, Page 5
OF PR FIRMS
BALLANTINE OFFERS SMALL BIZ PR
Ballantine PR, an eight-year-old Los Angeles area firm, said it has set up a program designed to give a “low cost, short-term PR blast” to small business clients in the current business climate.
“Small businesses are most vulnerable in tough times like this,” said founder and president Sarah Robarts.
The BPR Blue! program costs $2,500 per month and includes preliminary consulting, writing, distribution and search engine optimization for one press release per month.
“This is the time when PR is the most crucial,” said Robarts.
THUNDER FACTORY CREATES BBB SITE
Thunder Factory, San Francisco, has created and launched
a consumer review site and online community for the Better
Business Bureau of the Southland called TrustLink.org.
The firm said it did an assessment of the BBB brand and later designed and wrote both its corporate website and the TrustLink portal.
“With the explosion of social media and the increasing role of consumers in providing ratings and recommendations online, it only made sense that the Better Business Bureau would lead the way with a powerful new program of its own,” said TF chairman and CEO Patrick Di Chiro.
Creative Solutions, State College, Pa., took home
a Platinum Ava Award in the marketing category for its video
marketing demo produced for American Adventure Sports. The
Avas, given by the Association of Marketing and Communication
Professionals, focus on audio-visual work. Winning
Strategies, Newark, N.J., won a platinum award in
the PSA category for its work with Children's Aid and Family
Services. DCI Group,
Washington, D.C., took home two platinum Avas for “use
of special effects/animation and “special events/sports.”
Complete list of winners is at avaawards.com. ...Hart-Boillot,
Waltham, Mass., said it recently launched two websites for
non-profit The Marino Center for Integrated Health (marinocenter.org)
and commercial client Mollie Johnson Interiors (molliejohnsoninteriors.com).
...Patton Boggs and
Qorvis Communications have teamed up to offer the
“2009 Presidential Inauguration Guide,” a free
iPhone application that includes a countdown to the Jan.
20 ceremony, information like transporation, dining, parking,
and wi-fi zones. PointAbout powers the app, which can be
downloaded from appshopper.com.
...PR Society’s New Jersey chapter has elected its
slate of officers for 2009 led by Joe Cohen, VP for MWW
Group, who serves as president. President-elect is
Ken Hunter, a VP for R&J
PR; Richard Lukis, executive VP of Parsippany, N.J.-based
Coyne PR, is
VP for the chapter; Bob Rinklin, owner of
e-PR, is treasurer, and Loren Waldron, marketing
project manager at MWW, is secretary.
DKC, New York/Samuel Goldwyn Films, for the public affairs component of a PR campaign supporting “American Violet.” The PA push focuses on civil rights violations and racial bias in the so-called war on drugs. DKC is also managing all aspects of PR for PBS’ airing of “We Shall Remain,” a five-part documentary on Native American’s history “as an essential part of American history.” In addition, the firm is guiding PR and public affairs for “Death on a Factory Farm,” an HBO documentary slated to air March 16 investigating an industrial pig farm in Ohio and alleging animal cruelty. The PA effort highlights legislative issues related to the treatment of animals on commercial farms.
Rubenstein PR, New York/The South Beach Group, owners of the 56-year-old Catalina Hotel & Beach Club, for PR for the South Florida destination.
Exemplar Strategic Communications, Falls Church, Va./EdWorks, Ohio-based high school improvement and part of the non-profit KnowledgeWorks Foundation, for comms. strategy, message development and media outreach, and Kinetic Potential Scholars, Maryland-based non-profit, for strategic development for its student mentoring program. The Washington, D.C.-based Association of American Publishers has also tapped Exemplar for editorial services and communications strategy.
Zander Guinn Millan, Charlotte, N.C./Stanly Regional Medical Center, as AOR for PR.
Jackson Spalding, Atlanta/Primrose Schools, Atlanta-based education child care franchise with 180 locations nationally, for PR related to enrollment, its children’s foundation, issues management, and traditional and social media relations. JS won the account after a three-round pitch process. JS also won an eight-firm pitch to launch a new library membership organization through the merger of PALINET and SOLINET. The firm also picked up Purchasing Power LLC for “branding” work following a competitive review.
GolinHarris, Los Angeles/NAMM, not-for-profit international trade association for music merchants, as AOR for PR. The account covers music education and advocacy, government relations, industry leadership, traditional and social media, and issues management. Chris Volk, VP, leads the work. GH noted that it will aim to change the 65 percent of Americans who think they “are not musical” and wouldn’t be able to learn an instrument.
Cook & Schmid, San Diego, said it achieved a spike in calls to a social services hotline following an outreach campaign aimed to change perceptions of the homeless. C&S developed the push, called “The homeless. They’re not who you think.” based on research that showed children, women and families were among the homeless, contrary to common stereotypes. C&S said a county 211 hotline saw a 28 percent spike in calls in September, including large boosts in rental housing, shelter, emergency food and rent assistance queries.
Edition, January 7, 2009, Page 6
BROMLEY ADVANCES BW IN EUROPE
Dick Bromley, European sales director for Business Wire since 2006, has been promoted to regional VP, Europe.
BW, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, said its London, Paris and Frankfurt offices were among its fastest growing in 2008. The company notes that the European market is splintered among local service providers and sees an advantange in offering regional and international reach.
Gregg Castano, co-COO, said BW has “ambitious” plans for the region and that Bromley will be key to those goals.
Bromley is based in the U.K.
CATAPULT REACHES INTO SINGAPORE
Catapult Action-Biased Marketing, Westport, Conn., has set up a Singapore office in a joint venture with local firm Gosh! to focus on point-of-purchase marketing in Asia.
Clients include Subway Singapore (Subway is a Catapult
client in the U.S.) and Intel Global Retail Marketing. Catapult
owns a majority interest in the joint venture. Info: www.catapultmarketing.com.
M+R Strategic Services
worked with the Transportation for America Campaign on its
“Build for America” plan calling on President-elect
Barack Obama and the incoming Congress to boost the economy
through investment in transportation. M+R helped the group
produce grassroots events around the country and business
leaders, activists and citizens met with New York Democratic
Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney. ...GnarleyDog.com,
a web video company, sees a future in video resumes. Among
its offerings is a video service starting at $200 that includes
up to one and half-minutes of a video presentation, photos,
a professional voice-over, background music and professional
script writing assistance. The company says a video resume
enhances a paper one rather than replacing it and allows
job candidates to stand out in a competitive environment.
Video profiles are also available for businesses and real
estate. ...The Marketing
Research Association said it will host its second
CEO Summit Feb. 9-11 at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.
The event is open to CEOs, owners, president and other top
executives of research companies and the main focus will
be to address the industry’s place in the current
economy. Info: www.mra-net.org. ...Entertainment advertising
exec Glenn Pere, who has headed The Pere Partnership in
New York since 1988, has put together an online college
search resource, CollegeClickTV.com,
which includes peer-to-peer videos from more than 200 campuses.
PR exec Eric Yaverbaum is serving as president of the venture.
former chief marketing officer of MommyCast, has joined
MDialog, a company focused on delivery of high definition
video for iPhones and other Apple devices, as CMO. He was
formerly executive director and assistant to the CIO at
U.S. Dept. of Treasury.
Camille Johnston, former director of comms. for Tipper Gore, has been tapped for a Special Assistant to the President role and director of communications for incoming First Lady Michelle Obama. She had recently been a communications consultant for the Entertainment Industry Foundation on the “Stand Up To Cancer” campaign. Earlier, she was senior VP of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise.
Bill Walkowiak, VP of IR and corporate communications for EDO Corp., to Fleishman-Hillard’s global headquarters in St. Louis as a senior VP in its corporate and financial communications practice. Prior to EDO, which was acquired by ITT in 2007, he was a VP for Lippert/Heilshorn & Associates and director of IR for Puretec Corp.
Jay Mariotti, who resigned from the Chicago Sun-Times after a 17-year sportswriting career, has joined AOL Sports as a national columnist and commentator. Mariotti created a buzz when he left the Sun-Times by saying newspapers were not the future of sports news. AOL sports director Scott Ridge told the Chicago Tribune that Mariotti’s hire is part of a plan to ramp up original content ahead of a redesign and relaunch this month.
Gabrielle Gauthey, a college member of the French regulatory body ARCEP, to Alcatel-Lucent, Paris, as senior VP of public affairs reporting to CEO Ben Verwaayen. She took up the post on Jan. 1 and was formerly director of new information and communications technologies at the Caisse des Depots et Consignations.
Duncan Forrester, new media PR manager for BMW and MINI, to Volvo, Marlow, U.K., as head of PR. He heads the carmaker’s press office and oversees all event and sponsorship activities.
Ghada Hammouda, formerly of Ogilvy & Mather, and N.W. Ayer & Partners, to Citadel Capital, Cairo, as head of corporate communications.
Kathleen O’Hara to VP of marketing for the Chicago Tribune. She had been director of consumer marketing and sales.
Leslie Jones to senior counselor, Carmichael Lynch Spong, San Francisco. She joined the firm’s Minneapolis headquarters in 2005 as a senior associate and relocated to the Bay Area in October 2006. Jones is the day-to-day contact for Trane, one of CLS’ largest clients, and also handles TransFair USA and co-chairs the firm’s CSR unit. She is a former TV reporter and anchor.
Amy Glanzman, director of player and media relations for NFL Alumni Inc., has been promoted to VP of corporate communications. She has been with the non-profit since 1999.
David Monfried, who is heading restructuring communications for AIG, was appointed to the advisory council of the College of Charleston, Department of Communications. Monfried was formerly VP of corporate communications for Safeco.
Edition, January 7, 2009, Page 7
|TRANSCRIPT NOT AN ISSUE (Cont’d from page 1)
Hobson had noted that there was criticism of PRS’ refusal to provide the transcript from author David Scott and Prof. Bill Sledzik, who operates a blog.
“The transcripts (a 136-page transcript was created for the meeting by an outside service) are not an accurate representation of what was done; they’re just a collection of what was said,” said Cherenson.
He added that a “person sitting in the corner,” and lacking names of people speaking and other data, might not understand what was happening.
A “court reporter” was not used; it’s not a “controlled environment,” he further said.
‘War’ with O'Dwyer Discussed
Cherenson was asked about the “all-out war” Jack O’Dwyer is waging against the Society in a bid to get paid for copies of O’Dwyer articles that he says were sold by the Society without his permission.
Both Hobson and Holtz pointed out neither has ever been a member of PRS. They are active in the International Association of Business Communicators.
At 31.06 of the tape, Holtz said that O’Dwyer has indicated he is in an “all-out war with PRS in that PRS owes him money and has “pretty much come out and said I am going to continue to attack PRS until I am paid.”
Holtz asked “How does an organization that is trying to do the kinds of things you are doing deal with a situation like this? Jack and his publications do have the ear, particularly of the agency community and particularly of the East Coast.”
“Well, first and foremost, you know I think I said earlier this year one of my goals is not just to line up the deck chairs but to help those members who are in the water screaming for help and so I will do everything in my power to help the organization focus on the needs of our members and the profession, and I think, you know, Mr. O’Dwyer has his perspectives and I think he’s written a lot about this money he’s owed and there has never been any kind of lawsuit or anything and frankly the claims he has made I think I was in the second grade when the claims he's made about some kind of photocopying, literally, I think it was 1973 and I was in the second or third grade.
“I literally have no background, knowledge or understanding, you know, I don't even know what he's talking about half the time and I probably realize he’s listening in or will be listening and I think, you know, for whatever reason, he sees PRS as a competitor. I don’t.
“If we lose focus, we lose and I am committed to not losing focus. I even told Mr. O’Dwyer that this profession has done well by him, provided him and his family with a wonderful life style and this back and forth is doing a disservice to the profession and you know and I think we would be wise to all focus on the broader picture, the larger needs of the profession and what the profession needs today and I can tell you that PRS has provided him with almost every bit of information that he has ever requested.
“But this falls on deaf ears and been utilized for and I don’t even want to get into it, I don’t even want to extend the he said, she said.
“The more important thing is that when we lose focus, we all lose. You both talked about the need to educate, inform, do all of those things and I just feel like he’s got his goals and objectives and our goals, business objectives are certainly not in conflict with his.
“But our goals and business objectives are to be sure our members advance the profession…and that’s what we are both interested in.”
Hobson then asked what he thought PR would look like in 3 to 5 years. Cherenson forecast a bright future, saying PR builds relationships with publics. He predicts more CEOs will come from the ranks of PR pros. PRS will also try to get business schools to have more PR courses, he said.
Assembly Open to Press
Cherenson said the 2008 Assembly was a meeting that was “open to the press” and that members are not interested in a transcript of an eight-hour meeting but are concerned about their jobs.
He said that certain PRS matters must be confidential and that the minutes of the meeting, as taken by three Society leaders, best reflect what went on at the Assembly.
Senior members of PRS during the week of Dec. 8 petitioned the New York County Supreme Court to obtain access to the 136-page transcript covering 6.5 hours of the Assembly Oct. 25 in Detroit.
Quest for Transcript Discussed
Cherenson, responded to a question by Holtz on how Cherenson would handle the quest of some members for the transcript of the 2008 Assembly, which the Society has refused to make available to members.
Holtz noted that there have been requests for the transcript, with Prof. Bill Sledzik of Kent State joining the “chorus” (via the toughsledding.wordpress.com blog) and criticism by David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules for Marketing & PR,” who said on the blog of Sledzik that PRS “acts like the worst sort of command-and-control corporation.”
“Obviously, we had a wonderful Assembly in Detroit and the State of New York, our articles of incorporation, our bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order and every governance structure that we abide by or are controlled by, i.e., government laws, regulations, etc., require that the minutes are the official record of the meeting.
“And there’s a reason for that because the transcripts are not an accurate representation of what was done. It’s just a collection of what was often said.
“Having been secretary, I can tell you that they are not. It’s a person in the room, sitting in the corner, who doesn’t know the names of the various people standing up, saying things, it’s not a court reporter, a controlled environment, and I can tell you that at this year’s Assembly we had multiple people, the transcriber and the current secretary and the incoming secretary all took notes and the minutes really were assembled by all three because, you know, and the minutes reflect what was done at the meeting and it was an open meeting, open to members, open to the media, I mean it was an open meeting.
“Every member was invited to attend and so I feel very comfortable in the way we communicated it. We make all of our board minutes available to members, all of our financials are posted quarterly, made available to all our members . Any requests for information, you know, that is requested of members, you know, we work to provide.
See odwyerpr.com for additional remarks.
PR a ‘Young’ Profession
Cherenson said PR is a very young profession in comparison to the other professions. The first law school in the U.S. dates to the 1700s while the first PR school was at Boston University and Cherenson’s father, Lee, was in the first class in 1947, Cherenson said.
A movie in the late 1950s, “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,” had a character played by Gregory Peck who told the personnel manager that he didn’t know anything about PR, Cherenson noted.
The personnel manager replied, said Cherenson, “I presume you have a freshly pressed suit.”
“That was the image of the profession in 1956-57,” said Cherenson. “Today, we are a multi-billion dollar profession, multinational, PR people at the highest levels,” he said. “According to the Annenberg study, it said that of the major corporations, close to 60-70% of PR people report directly to the CEO.”
“Organizations are screaming for PR,” Cherenson said at one point in noting that institutions are again suffering from a credibility deficit. “We have a crisis of confidence today,” he said.
“We are not about spin,” said Cherenson, adding that what the PR industry does is build longterm relationships.
Edition, January 7, 2009,
Lawyer and media figure Dan Abrams’ new “media-strategy” firm, Abrams Research, New York, has announced it will lean heavily on working or ex-journalists in helping companies to face communications issues (11/26/08 NL).
The firm’s website, abramsresearch.com,
lists Bryant Gumbel of HBO’s “Real Sports with
Bryant Gumble” program, Peter Greenberg, travel editor
of NBC, and David Zinczenko, editor of Men’s Health,
as “Advisory Board” members. “Media insiders”
are to offer “insights” for such things as “image
enhancement, branding, investigative reporting and the execution
of the best media plan.”
Abrams, whose MSNBC program, “Verdict with Dan Abrams”
was dropped in September after five years, is the son of
First Amendment specialist Floyd Abrams.
We appreciate that these are tough times and reporters
as well as PR people must scratch for a living, but the
Abrams model steps over the ethical line separating PR and
journalism. No working journalist should be associated with
this firm and this includes even “part-time”
journalists. Right now, some journalists are flipping back
and forth between reporting and PR in order to make a living.
Such “two-hatters” will further erode credibility
in media and PR.
Abrams is on the right
track, however, in touting the skills of journalists
This tactic has been followed with great success since
the 1980s by Reed Trencher of Primetime Publicity &
Media Consulting Corp., Mill Valley, Calif., the “Originator
of pay-only-for results publicity.”
The difference is that Trencher only uses ex-journalists. They had to have at least 15 years of experience, Trencher said in talking about his firm during its early years. The key to Trencher’s success was the hard bargain he drove with potential clients. He wouldn’t take any unless the CEO and other executives were fully available to reporters and welcome even at family events.
Clients had to agree todiscuss a half dozen or more sensitive topics and provide copious information.
Trencher could practically guarantee major placements.
Clients were charged slightly less than what an ad would
cost. A full-page article on Trencher in the 4/20/87 Newsweek
expressed the fear that journalists might demand some of
the money since they knew an article they wrote would bring
the PR person tens of thousands of dollars. “At Trencher’s
rates, one story could exceed the reporter’s salary
for a year,” Newsweek said. Trencher himself
was fully available to the press and received numerous write-ups.
currently lists more than 60 clients and “field locations”
in New York, Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles and Miami.
Mike Cherenson, 2009 chair of the PR Society, has granted three interviews even before taking office (page one) and said numerous things that we take exception to.
First, he confesses complete ignorance of the Society’s practice for about 15 years to 1994 of copying and selling authors’ works without their permission. He thinks it’s something that happened in the 1970s.
Second, he dismisses the quest of members, including a plea to the New York Court, for a copy of the 136-page transcript of the 2008 Assembly, saying no law compels PRS to release the transcript. But no law forbids the release of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 transcripts, either.
Third, he says all members were invited to attend the Assembly, implying that if they missed it, it’s their fault for not traveling to Detroit. If the Assembly were truly open to all members, PRS could have easily and cheaply audiocast it on the PRS website. PRS now insists a 3.25-page “minutes” adequately covers the 6.5 hours of proceedings. The transcript will show that at least five hours were spent on leader offerings and programs, with little time for delegate-initiated topics. Cherenson, responding to an observation on the FIR podcast that PR has a poor reputation, promised a “full-fledged” PR for PR program this year. But a couple of minutes later, he says PR operates “somewhat in the shadows” so “people may never truly understand what we do…many of my clients don’t understand what we do…as our tool box gets bigger and larger, actually, it’s going to be more and more difficult to explain what we do.”
There’s no mystery
about what PR is. It’s discussion, debate and
dialogue as defined by PR Prof. Tim Penning in the September
Tactics and numerous others. It’s two-way communication.
It’s exactly what Cherenson does not want to do—engage
in “he said, she said,” and “back and
Penning quoted Milton as saying truth has nothing to fear from “a free and open encounter” (10/1/08 NL).
If Cherenson can’t define PR, how can he lead a “PR for PR” campaign!?
The new PRS chair does not think PRS and the O’Dwyer Co. are in competition but we are. We both compete for ad dollars from the same companies and for membership or subscriptions from the same PR pros.
Another wild statement was that PRS has provided us “with almost every bit of information” we have ever requested. The opposite is true – almost none of our questions are answered.
PRS and the O’Dwyer Co. should be working hand in
glove because we have PR products PRS doesn’t have
including eight years of searchable PR web stories; a 450-page
directory of 2,000 PR firms that lists thousands of their
members; a monthly magazine focusing on the specialties
in PR; a PR Buyer’s Guide with 1,000 products
in 57 categories, and a weekly NL. PRS has plenty that we
don’t have including extensive webinars and seminars;
numerous award programs; many opportunities for networking;
leadership development at the national, section, chapter
and district levels; 110 chapters, and a national conference
that draws about 3,000.
What PRS should do is stop barring 95%+ of members from
running for national office. Cherenson promised a PR for
PR campaign this year but it will be difficult with only
two PR pros on a staff of 58. Volunteers have no time for
this. PRS had an opportunity to talk about itself and PR
in 2007-08 when it was 60 years old. We didn’t see
a single story recapping PRS’s history and its vision
for the future.
Cherenson says all 22,000 members must do PR for PR but
he must know he is the only authorized spokesperson for
PRS. Board members, staff, district, section and chapter
leaders are forbidden to talk on behalf of or about PRS.
Cherenson, in an interview
11/12/08, said he is both dyslexic and has attention deficit
disorder (ADD). The Greek meaning of dyslexia is “difficulty
with words.” Dyslexics may have problems in reading
and writing and show a preference for speaking. They may
find it hard to put things in order and follow instructions.
But they can have talents such as creativity, physical co-ordination
and empathy with other people. ADD, often referred to as
AD/HD for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, can
mean difficulty with planning and organization, inattention
Cherenson, based on his interview by FIR, should only talk from a written text that has been vetted by PRS staffers or senior members. Otherwise he is “a loose canon on the deck” and will not help the image of himself, PRS or PR.
Cherenson wants to improve PR’s image but ironically one of PR’s biggest problems is the Society itself.