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Internet Edition, February 11, 2009, Page 1


Edelman’s Chicago office has been assisting U.S. Airways with the international media interest in the pilots and crew of Flight 1549, which crash landed in the Hudson River on Jan. 15.

The crew, hailed as heroes by the public and media, declined interview requests in the days following the miraculous landing and rescue, but the pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, and flight team spoke at length for the first time on “60 Minutes” on Feb. 8.

That interview was originally slated for the “Today Show” just days after the crash, but the federal investigation of the crash took precedent.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Feb. 5 released the audio communications between a preternaturally calm Sullenberger and air traffic controllers creating an Internet sensation. His final transmission before landing in the river — “We’re gonna be in the Hudson” — was returned by an air traffic controller using U.S. Airways’ call sign: “I’m sorry, say again, Cactus.”

Cheryl Cook, executive VP and director of media relations at Edelman, is heading the work at Edelman.


DeVries PR beat three finalists to guide PR and “reinvigorate the image” of Hoover vacuums.

Nicole Sinclair, PR and promotions manager for Hoover owner TTI Floor Care North America, said a request for information went out to 15 firms. Four agencies were then selected to present a “2009 Hoover PR plan” and DeVries was chosen by a company team. “The process was thorough and we were confident in our decision,” she told O’Dwyer’s. Edward Howard previously worked on the Hoover brand, which marked its 100th year in 2008.

DeVries, which is owned by Interpublic, oversees all PR for the Hoover brand and will handle an “integrated collection” of services aimed at reinvigorating the image of the “iconic brand,” the firm said.

TTI acquired Hoover from Whirlpool in Jan. ’07.

GolinHarris has installed Edelman veteran Tim Scerba as executive VP in the corporate communications group. He will be based in Los Angeles.

Scerba is to deal with issues/crisis management, corporate social responsibility/sustainability, business-to-business and internal PR.

Scerba managed Edelman offices in 15 Latin American markets. He advised clients such as Wal-Mart, Taco Bell, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Deloitte Consulting and Motorola.


Alex Stanton and Dorothy Crenshaw are splitting Stanton Crenshaw after a partnership of a dozen years.

Alex Stanton keeps the original firm, which is going to have a new name. It will concentrate on his expertise in the corporate, financial, technology and business-to-business spheres.

Dorothy Crenshaw launched Crenshaw Communications on Feb. 9 to focus on consumer marketing, consumer tech and digital brands.

Both say clients will benefit from the break-up as Stanton and Crenshaw provide greater focus on their areas of expertise.

Stanton Crenshaw showed fee income of $8M in 2007, generated from clients like Boston Beer, Bain Capital, Sharp Electronics, and Office Depot.


Killeen Furtney Group is handling the media whirlwind circling around Nadya Suleman, the 33-year-old divorcee who gave birth to octuplets this month.

The eight newborns bring Suleman’s brood up to 14 children, sparking a debate online and over the airwaves over whether she is irresponsible or dedicated.

KFG, based in Los Angeles, is led by Joann Killeen, former president and CEO of the PR Society, and Michael Furtney, a former senior PR exec for Union Pacific Railroad. The two execs said Suleman is receiving scores of book, film, TV and media inquiries.

The Kaiser Permanente Hospital where Suleman gave birth has been deluged with media contacts to the tune of 200 per day, according to the Los Angeles Times, which dubbed the babies “LA’s newest celebrities.”


PR Society members, including counselor Michael Paul and corporate executive Stuart Goldstein, have asked the Society’s board to integrate its currently all-white, 17-member self.

“It is ironic that we have a black president, Barack Obama, the leader of the free world, and the PRS board has no executives of color,” said Paul, president and senior counselor of MGP and Assocs. PR, New York. He called it a “PRS crisis.”

Said Goldstein: “The fact that the board does not have any minorities is not only appalling, but further evidence of the need for substantial reform of this trade group…it adds to the litany of practices of secrecy and suppressing dissent that are anathema to the core beliefs of the communications profession.”

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, February 11, 2009, Page 2


Leon Panetta, former Congressman and Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, received $120K in director’s fees from Fleishman-Hillard last year for service on its International Advisory Board.

The Central Intelligence Agency nominee earned $831,500 in overall speaking and director’s fees, according to his financial disclosure records.

Activists such as Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, want Panetta to disclose whether or not he had contact with F-H clients with ties to intelligence agencies.

F-H’s Bill Black told Bloomberg that he doesn’t know of any instance that Panetta was “asked to make a call on behalf of a client.” He does “internal stuff” such as serving as a luncheon speaker.

F-H’s website calls IAB members its “ambassadors.” They author op-ed pieces, serve as guest speakers at client events, meet with clients/prospects and provide counsel in person, via video or calls to decision-makers.

Some other of the 17 IAB members are Andrew Card (President Bush’s chief of staff); Newt Gingrich (former House Speaker); General Barry McCaffrey (national security and terrorism analyst for NBC News); Tom Ridge (ex-Homeland Security chief and Pennsylvania Governor); Admiral Vernon Clark (former U.S. chief of naval operations); Mickey Kantor (ex-Commerce Secretary); Pete Wilson (former California Governor and Senator) and John Onoda (ex-PR chief at Charles Schwab, Visa, General Motors and Levi Strauss).


Mulberry Marketing Communications has picked up the six-figure global PR account of ATI Petroleum, a U.S.-based oil and gas company focused on reserves in Southeast Asia and Africa.

The account is a major win for the firm’s five-month-old San Francisco office, which led the pitch process.

Public, media and investor relations are the primary focus of the campaign across North America and Europe with expansion to China and Singapore slated for later this year. Budget for the remainder of 2009 is $450K.

Mulberry, which is based in London, is the first outside firm for ATIP as most marketing work was done out of Hanoi, Vietnam, where the company has had oil interests since 2000. Its operations office is in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Dan Brown, managing director of Mulberry’s San Francisco outpost, is coordinating the global account and heading the North American work. Offices in London, Paris and Munich are also involved.

Brown told O'Dwyer's that ATIP tried his firm out with project work before putting it on retainer for the global campaign. He noted that ATIP is positioning for "huge" growth over the next two years as energy consumption in the developing world expands rapidly.

In a statement, ATI Group CEO Huu Duc Dinh noted Mulberry's global presence combined with its "relatively small size."

ATIP is publicly traded and is based in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.


Ticketmaster, the concert and event ticketing giant, was knocked on the defensive last week as it faced an online onslaught of irate Bruce Springsteen fans, the artist’s management and even Springsteen himself.

Tickets for the New Jersey rocker’s upcoming U.S. tour fortuitously went online Monday morning only hours after his halftime performance at the Super Bowl. After the three New York-area shows quickly sold out, fans were redirected to Ticketmaster’s reseller platform, TicketsNow, which lets ticketholders and licensed brokers peddle tickets at higher prices.

That redirection sparked rumors of a conspiracy by Ticketmaster to gouge ticket prices, an assumption from Springsteen’s camp and ticketless fans that media quickly seized upon. The outcry was enough to spark New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs to investigate the process.

“Bruce Springsteen Nation is a very motivated group of citizens,” Albert Lopez, VP of strategic communications for Ticketmaster, told O’Dwyer’s. “The media believed that anonymous emails, or emails from fans who claim a situation, to be gospel truth. We were immediately thrown in a defensive position and it requires time to explain. But if you’re given time to explain, it doesn’t make the story ‘sexy’ anymore.”

Lopez said Springsteen’s management released a letter signed by the artist and his manager on Feb. 4 that was picked up immediately by a fan blog and then published on the singer’s website, The letter, which alleged a conflict of interest in Ticketmaster’s practices, included the email address of Lopez and encouraged the public to contact him to seek answers.

Lopez, who heads media relations for Ticketmaster, not customer service, said that sparked a tremendous individual fan response to his inbox.

“For all those naysayers who thought that social media and Web 2.0 don’t work, this is a classic example of it working,” he said.


Brandeis University, the private Massachusetts institution reeling from economic woes, has brought in Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications in Boston amid criticism and scrutiny during the crisis.

The university drew national attention when it closed its art museum and announced plans to auction off part of its $350M inventory.

The university’s president, Jehuda Reinharz, issued a statement on Feb. 5, a few days after RB was hired, apologizing for not explaining the fiscal situation better and not engaging the “Brandeis community” in the deliberations that led to the board’s decision about the museum. He quoted President Barack Obama’s “I screwed up” mea culpa.

The Boston Globe reported that many benefactors of the 61-year-old school lost fortunes in the Bernie Madoff scheme and the global economic crisis has whittled its endowment down to $549M from $712M.

The Globe noted that state law restricts non-profits from drawing on the principal of their endowments, which hurts “younger” institutions like Brandeis.


Internet Edition, February 11, 2009, Page 3


Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Robert Thomson is trimming 14 jobs at the News Corp. property, according to his “Dear Colleagues” memo.

He described the move as a reaction to the “precipitous decline in print advertising” which forced a “close examination of our structure and our costs.”

Thomson is closing the New York-based fashion and retail group and cutting jobs in Boston and Los Angeles. He reports the WSJ cut another 11 jobs via attrition during the past couple of months.

No layoffs are planned for Dow Jones Newswires, which recently launched a Spanish language service and is creating a new team to cover India.
News Corp. reported a $6.4B net loss for the quarter ended Dec. 20 due to an $8.4B charge.

CEO Rupert Murdoch called the economic climate the worst that he has seen since the company was founded more than 50 years ago.


Drew Schutte, publisher of the New Yorker, is assuming command at Conde Nast Digital to oversee sales and marketing for the company’s 23 consumer magazines. He is succeeded at the New Yorker by Lisa Hughes, who was publisher of Conde Nast Traveler.

Schutte was VP & publishing director of Conde Nast’s Wired before moving to the New Yorker two years ago.


Cyrus Freidheim has resigned as president & CEO of the Sun-Times Media Group, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times and community papers.

The turnaround artist joined the S-TMG in ’06 to right the ship in the wake of the Conrad Black scandal.

The company credited Friedheim for guiding the organization through “one of the worst print advertising markets in memory.”

Under his leadership, the S-TMG “downsized dramatically, successfully outsourced a number of functions, consolidated plants and departments, and significantly improved financial reporting and controls.”

However, the “accelerating decline in the industry print advertising market overwhelmed these corrective actions,” according to the company.


Bloomberg L.P., the firm of New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, is trimming 100 people from its payroll.

Most of the cuts are in the Big Apple, centered in Bloomberg’s radio and television operations.

Bloomberg founded the company in `81, the cutbacks are the first in its history. The company employs 10,000. It says the cuts represent a move to reduce overlapping jobs in its global programming.

The goal is to create a “single English-language worldwide network” to better compete with CNN.

The company denies the pruning has to due with the recession. It remains committed to hiring 1,000 reporters and staffers in its financial division over the course of the year.


The Newspaper Project ran ads Feb. 2 in the New York Times, Washington Post and more than 100 other papers to trumpet the fact that more people will read a paper today (100M) than watched the Super Bowl.

TNP, a grassroots group of publishers, wants to fight the presumption that newspapers are going the way of the dodo bird.

Jay Smith, former president of Cox Newspapers, blogged on the site that if nobody reads papers why did former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich try to silence the editors of the Chicago Tribune.

Smith also noted that millions of people lined up to buy newspapers following Barack Obama’s historic victory.

Smith wrote that TV stations throughout the nation get their “scoops” from the morning newspapers, and that Yahoo’s local news category is “built on the backs of hundreds of newspaper partners.”

TNP recognizes the many challenges facing newspapers, but wants to counter the “negative, gloom and doom stories about newspapers that appear on the web. It rejects the notion that “newspapers—and the valuable content that newspaper journalists provide—have no future.”

TNP’s site will feature research and reports about how newspapers are coping and expect to thrive in the rapidly changing media landscape.

Other key members of the group include Brian Tierney, CEO of Philadelphia Media Holdings; Randy Siegel, president of Parade Publications, and Donna Barrett, CEO of Community Newspaper Holdings.


The McClatchy Co. announced Feb. 5 that the New York Stock Exchange said the publisher does not qualify for its listing requirements regarding keeping a share price over $1 for 30 consecutive trading days.

As of Feb. 2, McClatchy’s shares traded at average 98 cents each over the previous month of stock activity.

The No. 3 newspaper chain has six months to bolster its share price, or McClatchy will be delisted from the Big Board.

McClatchy’s shares are currently trading at 69 cents each. CEO Gary Pruitt also announced that his company lost $21.7M during the fourth-quarter on revenues of $470M.

He called 2008 “difficult and disappointing,” one in which McClatchy battled “troubled economic times and structural changes.”

Pruitt sees an uncertain future. He said: “We don’t have any better sense than other market observers as to how long the current recession will last and we do not yet have visibility of revenue trends.”

He sees “better days when the economy finally turns.”

McClatchy owns the Sacramento Bee, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Raleigh News & Observer, Kansas City Star and Charlotte Observer.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, February 11, 2009, Page 4


Bob Sommer, who was president of the New York Observer, has returned to the Garden State as chief of new media and government affairs for the New Jersey Devils hockey team and the Prudential Center in Newark.

Sommer, a speechwriter for former Congressman and Governor Jim Florio, did a 20-year stint at MWW Group before joining the Observer, which is run by Jared Kushner, son of real estate baron Charles Kushner.

There has been talk that New Jersey would close the 28-year-old state-run Izod Center in the Meadowlands (East Rutherford) to bolster the profile of the $400M “The Rock” which opened in ’07.

The Devils used to play in the Meadowlands.

The Nets currently call the Izod Center home, but are supposed to move to Brooklyn if the Barclay Center is built.


Ogilvy PR Worldwide is guiding Aeroflot as it counters news reports that passengers on a December 28 flight from Moscow bound to New York suspected the pilot was drunk.

Prior to takeoff, passengers become alarmed after a welcome greeting from the pilot “was so garbled it was impossible to tell what language he was speaking,” according to the Independent.

A group demanded to see the captain, but he refused to emerge from the cockpit. Crew members told the passengers to stop whining or get off the plane, according to the paper.

A reporter from the Moscow Times claims an Aeroflot staffer boarded the plane and told the passengers "it wasn’t a big deal if the pilot was drunk" because "all he has to do is to press a button and the plane flies itself."

The Independent reports a TV newscaster, who was on the plane, made some phone calls and the pilot was replaced after a delay of a couple of hours.
Aeroflot issued a press statement on Feb. 4 to say it takes the incident very seriously.

“The medical examination of the crew before the flight and after the incident dispelled the allegations that the pilot, who sounded slurred while addressing the passengers, could be intoxicated,” said the Russian carrier.

A follow-up exam showed the pilot "had a medical problem — as the incident developed his physical condition quickly deteriorated under stress, with a possibility of a minor stroke," said the airline, which added there were two other well-qualified pilots aboard.

Aeroflot is conducting a follow-up probe in conjunction with the Ministry of Transportation of the Russian Federation.

It said “recent media accounts do no actually contain any new official information.”

Passenger, crew and plane safety is Aeroflot’s top priority, according to the statement.

Ogilvy/London (Katharina Winkler and Rebecca Perfect) are handling the story with Aeroflot’s press office in Moscow.


Goodman Media supported former Yankee skipper Joe Torre's triumphant book tour of the Big Apple region yesterday to promote his “The Yankee Years,” a book published by Doubleday.

Tom Goodman says he and GM's Sabrina Strauss worked with Doubleday prior to Feb. 3 and “assisted with the choreography of the press availability” at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on Fifth Ave.

The New York Times reported that B&N, which organized its book-signing event, had to close the area two hours before the now-Los Angeles Dodgers manager was scheduled to begin autographing copies at 12:30.

Throngs of Torre fans lined up around the block to buy the book and meet the man who managed the Yankees for a dozen years, winning four of six World Series contests.

Goodman has worked for the “Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation” since its ’02 launch.

Doubleday’s Tammy Blake organized the overall book tour, which included stops at National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” WFAN sports radio and an evening event at the Yogi Berra Museum in Little Falls, N.J.

Blake and Arthur Sando, communications chief at CBS Enterprises, have accompanied Torre on the tour.


Jill Nash is stepping down as Yahoo!’s chief communications officer after less than two years at the Internet giant.

Nash joined the company in January 2007 under former CEO Terry Semel after serving as VP of global communications for Gap Inc.

Yahoo! has endured three CEOs, layoffs, a takeover attempt by Microsoft and other woes over the last two years.

New CEO Carol Bartz, former executive chairman of Autodesk, has vowed to crack down on press leaks at Yahoo!, including reports that she is offering bounties for workers to turn in leakers.

Former Wall Street Journal reporter Kara Swisher first reported Nash’s pending departure on her blog,

Abernathy MacGregor Group assists Yahoo! with its corporate PR.


Eric Johnston has been named president & publisher of the Modesto Bee, the first McClatchy-owned paper to have a digital veteran on top.

He is the former VP of interactive media and classified advertising. Johnston takes over for Margaret Randazzo, who exited in January to pursue a career outside of the newspaper business.

Johnston, 37, joined the Bee in 2000 as director of online services. In his VP role, he was in charge of audience development and the papers overall marketing and community relations programs. He is credited for launching the Bee’s “WebWednesdays,” series of free technology classes taught by staffers.

Internet Edition, February 11, 2009, Page 5


Savvy Inc., the Portland, Me.-based PR and political consulting firm, has merged with Boston's DBMedia Strategies, which serves non-profits, companies and medical clients. The firms are run by the Bailey brothers, who are twins.

Dennis Bailey, CEO of Savvy, says the merged companies will have the resources to serve clients across New England with a greater range of service. He was press secretary for Maine's former Congressman Tom Andrews and communications director for ex-Governor Angus King before founding Savvy.

Doug Bailey is a former business editor of the the Boston Globe and senior VP at Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications prior to setting up shop in 2008.

His clients include Cambridge Health Alliance, Arbella Insurance Group, Planet Aid and Hybrivet Systems.

The Bailey brothers teamed to defeat Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's effort to build three casinos in the Bay State.


Tech firm OutCast Communications has cut 17 staffers in response to the sluggish economy.

“There is no question that this is a very tough economic climate,” Reema Bahnasy, senior VP for the firm, told O’Dwyer’s. “We made the very difficult decision to reduce the size of our team.”

The 12-year-old firm, which has fewer than 100 employees, has offices in San Francisco and New York with blue-chip clients like Xerox, Yahoo! and Facebook.

“We are very fortunate that we get to work with such an amazing set of companies, and this allows us to keep focused on doing great work for them,” Bahnasy added.

Outcast is part of NextFifteen Communications Group.


Bite Communications has been tapped to guide PR for the launch of BillMyParents, an e-commerce service intended to let young Internet users shop online with parental notification.

The service was developed by Socialwise, a San Diego-based tech company, and is targeted for social networks like Facebook.

Soames Haworth, who handles investor and media relations for Socialwise, said the company had difficulty finding a firm with relevant experience in the San Diego area. He said Bite’s presence in Los Angeles and the Bay Area along with its experience with Internet payment service PayPal and social networks like Facebook and MySpace stood out.

“We couldn’t find a partner in San Diego that really understood the space,” he said, noting that L.A. is only an hour and a half away.

Bite is charged with heading a traditional and social media push to introduce the service to consumer, business and investor audiences. The firm will also handle thought leadership and education campaigns aimed at parents and teens.

Kate Wesson, A/D at Bite, heads the work.

Bite is part of NextFifteen Communications Group.


New York Area

Child’s Play Communications, New York/Goddard Systems, child care franchise with 320 locations in 37 states, for social media relations, special events, cause marketing and “direct-to-mom” outreach locally and nationally.

The Investor Relations Group, New York/Defense Solutions Holding, for IR and PR.

Carolyn Izzo Integrated Communications, Nyack, N.Y./The Privilege Aluxes hotel, luxury resort opening this month on Isla Mujeres, Mexico, for PR.


Environics Communications, Washington, D.C./Biotechnology Industry Organization, for public and media outreach for the group’s 2009 BIO International Convention in Atlanta May 18-21.

PCI Communications, Alexandria, Va./National Biodiesel Board, for launch of a channel on YouTube during the group’s conference in San Francisco. PCI said it is the first of several social marketing platforms being rolled out over the next year.

Capstrat, Raleigh, N.C./Genesis Home, for pro bono PR via the firm’s Boomerang Society community involvement program.

French/West/Vaughan, Raleigh, N.C./Help for Homeowners of America LLC, for PR counsel for the workshop program beginning Feb. 14 in Tampa, Fla., that teaches homeowners how to modify their home loans.

communications 21, Atlanta/Cousins Properties, commercial shopping center developer, for media relations, direct marketing and social media for The Avenue concept of properties in Georgia, Tennessee and Florida.

Seitz Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla./Jim McLean Golf Schools, for national PR; Court at Pal Aire, assisted living, for marketing following a renovation; Valley Meats, for “re-branding,” and Transplant Foundation of Miami, for PR supporting an organ donation license plate in Florida.


Sweeney, Cleveland/Lithonia Lighting, for a national publicity and media relations campaign for its emergency lighting group.

BKV, Overland Park, Kan./B.E. Smith, leadership solutions firm for healthcare providers, for market research, PR, advertising, direct marketing and online marketing.


Ethos 360, Portland, Ore./, social network for apparel and fashion industry, for PR, media rels.

Cook & Schmid, San Diego/Pacific Building Group, for PR during the general contractor’s 25th year.

j. simms agency, San Diego/Globaltel Media, for launch of a mobile cellular tech application, including web design, PR, online advertising and social networking.


Lewis PR, London/Absolute Software, security services, for PR in Europe on a 12-month contract. Focus is U.K., Germany, France, Benelux and the Nordics.

Internet Edition, February 11, 2009, Page 6


PR Newswire has named travel industry veteran Ninan Chacko to take over as CEO for Charles Gregson, who is retiring.

The 44-year-old Malaysian native Chacko, who is on the job for the first time today, will take the reins by the end of March after a transition period working with Gregson.

“I found lots of very interesting parallels between the businesses in terms of the challenges that travel continues to face,” Chacko told O’Dwyer’s of the travel and newswire sectors. “In some ways, [travel] is a business model that probably has the same scope and potential.”

He outlined threats like the emergence of lower-cost competition, globalization and the explosion of new media channels as challenges facing both industries.

Chacko recently headed sales, marketing and other activities as chief commercial officer for Worldspan, a technology company focused on the travel sector. Chacko was previously with Sabre Holdings and its former owner AMR Corp. for 13 years in posts including senior VP of marketing and SVP of global services.

He noted that at Worldspan the company would take information from suppliers, attach value to it and then supply it to another party like a travel agent or corporate travel department, a model similar to PRN.

David Levin, CEO of PR Newswire’s parent company, United Business Media, noted Chacko’s understanding of businesses “that are all about data distribution and workflow information products.”

Chacko earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Kansas.

Gregson exits the PRN executive suite after four years at the helm and 35 years with UBM. He plans to return to the U.K. in the spring for PRN and will transition to a broader role with UBM for the rest of the year, the company said.

PRN president David Armon also said in December that he would leave the company.

Chacko suggested PRN’s global reach will be a focus during his tenure as CEO. “The sector that PR Newswire operates in, and its other competitors, is rapidly becoming more and more of a global business,” he said. “Expanding or continuing to expand PRN’s global footprint is key to our strategy.”


West Glen Communications, New York, said TV and radio PSA usage was up 20 percent in 2008 compared with the previous year.

The broadcast firm tracked 167 PSAs, which logged more than 1.2M airings.
WGC said that 34 percent of the TV PSAs airmed between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., while the same percentage hit the airwaves in the lesser-watched 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. slot.

A healthy 33 percent of the TV spots aired in the top 50 markets and just under half aired in the top 100 markets.

Twenty-seven percent of trackable radio spots aired in popular “drive-times,” while two-thirds were aired in the “waking hours” between 6 a.m. and midnight.



Joe Gargiulo to VP, Coyne PR, Parsippany, N.J. He manages daily operations for the firm’s automotive and toy practices. He’s been with the firm for five years and manages its Shell Lubricants, Crayola, Hasbro and Toys “R” Us account teams.

Eileen Prose, former director of sales and marketing at Tourtellotte Solutions who recently ran her own firm, to Renaissance Group, a Wellesley, Mass.-based insurance company, as director of PR.

Paul Gibney, A/D, Corinth Group Communications, to S3, Boonton, N.J., as PR director.

Peter Miller, co-founder of the Massachusetts Communications College, to The Castle Group, Boston, as a principal handling business development and corporate strategy. He is a former PA director at Cone.

Shane Wirta, manager of advertising, sports and events marketing, Bob’s Stores, to Cashman + Katz Communications, Glastonbury, Conn., as VP, group media director. He was previously with the firm. Jennifer Mik, senior A/M, The Sloan Group, joins as an A/S.

Christine Reimert, comms. consultant and former VP at Tierney Communications, to Devine + Powers, Philadelphia, as a VP. She heads the firm’s ProjectsPLUS unit, which focuses on short-term PR projects.

Peter Gilchrist, director of communications and marketing for Charlotte Preparatory School, to Branstorm, Charlotte, N.C., as director of account services. He is a former staff writer for the Augusta Chronicle.

Jim Kokoris to president and general manager, JSH&A, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. He’s been with the firm for 13 years.

Kelly Janhunen, an A/S at Linhart PR, Denver, was named the fourth partner in the firm. She joined in 2003 and leads accounts like Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Susan Yin to executive director, mPRm PR, Los Angeles. Chelsea Hettrick and Leif Helland to A/S, general entertainment practice.


Scott Widmeyer, chairman and CEO of Widmeyer Communications, Washington, D.C., to West Virginia University’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He established two scholarship funds at the university for African-American and first-generation West Virginians studying journalism. His firm also set up a professorship in PR in 2005.

Jim Brams, sales manager at KEF Media Associates, Atlanta, was given the Chapter Champion award from PR Society’s Georgia chapter.


Internet Edition, February 11, 2009, Page 7


Goldstein is managing director, corporate communications, Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., New York.

Counselor Joe Honick of GMA International, Seattle, in an e-mail to, agreed with a quote by an anonymous contributor that “A PRS board without one member of color would be ridiculous in any era but at a time when diversity is taught as a professional must by PRS and urged by the new president of our nation, it is downright stupid, ridiculous and untenable.”

Honick also blasted the current PRS policy of communicating with only via e-mail. “Don’t any of these characters at the PRS have a telephone and understand the elegance of direct conversation? It sounds like the old Hollywood B.S. of ‘Have your people call my people.’”

Other comments were on an anonymous basis. [The O’Dwyer publications and website allow such comments. The rationale is that those who identify themselves could jeopardize their jobs or accounts and could be barred from any PRS boards and committees. Some of the contributors hold or have held high elective posts in PRS and being identified could block them from sources of PRS information].

PR Itself Is ‘Very White’

A comment from “Veep” said, “The board is reflective of the industry as a whole. PR is very, very white. It’s unfortunate, but the Society and other groups have worked to improve diversity in the industry. I can’t see forcing an African American on the board considering the reality of the situation.”

A “former PRS member” commented: “Diversity too often is mandatory, but not everyone is more qualified for certain positions simply because he or she is a person of color. On the reverse side of the coin is the fact that not everyone is qualified simply because he or she is white. From my past membership in PRS, I would say the latter has too often been the case.”

Paul, Cherenson to Meet This Week

Arthur Yann, VP-PR of PRS, told Paul in an e-mail that PRS chair Mike Cherenson would meet with Paul this week. An in-person meeting had been requested by Paul. E-mail attempts by this NL to obtain a comment from Cherenson were unsuccessful. The last PRS elected head to talk to this NL by telephone was Cheryl Procter-Rogers on March 20, 2006. Rhoda Weiss and Jeff Julin, 2007 and 2008 CEOs, respectively, continued the policy of phone silence and Cherenson has also adopted it thus far.

Paul had noted that the ad/PR world is under heavy attack currently for alleged discrimination against people of color. A study released last month by civil rights lawyer Cyrus Mehri and others found that African Americans are only 3.2% of the ad/PR industry’s upper management when the average is 7.2% in similar professions.

Mehri, who is with D.C. law firm Mehri & Skalet, helped win a $193M discrimination case against Coca-Cola and a similar $176M case against Texaco.

Unveiling the “Madison Avenue Project” in early January, Mehri said that ad/PR agencies under-hire and segregate African-Americans and pay them only 80 cents for every dollar they pay comparable white employees.

Speculation is that M&S will launch a class action suit against major ad/PR firms but no suit has been filed as yet. The New York City Commission on Human Rights, after a four-year investigation, last year won signed agreements from 16 major agencies to fight discrimination.

Paul appeared about 300 times on TV/radio shows in 2008 including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and many radio shows. He and Fraser Seitel, author of “The Practice of PR” and an O’Dwyer columnist, are the two most visible spokespeople for the PR industry.

Paul said PRS is in a “crisis situation” that must be addressed quickly. He said there are no people of color running a global PR operation, none that are the head of a top ten firm, and none that are running any of the dozens of divisions of global PR firms.

“The excuse that ‘We can’t find suitable minority candidates’ is no longer acceptable,” he said, calling on PRS board members to have the “humility” to accept that they are causing an “embarrassment to the PR industry.”

The PRS board had two “senior counsels” last year (Dave Rickey and Mary Beth West) but none so far this year. “I will sit down with the board and go over the names of suitable candidates,” said Paul.

PRS Directors Don’t Respond

New PRS directors (except solo practitioner Don Kirchoffner) are at organizations with pro-active minority hiring policies.

They are Gail Liebl, Travelers; Gary McCormick, Scripps; Kathy Barbour, Mayo Clinic; Prof. Lynn Appelbaum, CCNY; Steve Grant, National Education Assn.; Prof. Deborah Silverman, Buffalo State College; Catherine Huggins, Western & Southern Financial, and Gail Winslow-Pine, Catholic Medical Center.

E-mails were sent to the 17 directors asking them if they favored adding two or more people of color to the board as “senior counsels.” Only one responded, saying she decided almost eight years ago that the “trials and tribulations” about PRS in this NL would not “add anything professionally enriching to my life” and that therefore, “I’m not listening” to anything in the NL. She promised not to respond to further e-mails.

Miller Too Busy to Comment

Debra Miller, who in 1997 became PRS’s first black president, was reached at her new job as VP-corp. affairs, Aurora Health System, Burlington, Wis. She said she was in a meeting and could not speak. She did not call back. She was previously at Clark Atlanta University.

Recruiter William Heyman, who has a database of minority PR people and has championed minority hiring, said through an assistant Feb. 5 he was traveling and could not talk about the matter until Feb. 10, which would be after the NL’s deadline.

Ofield Dukes, who headed the PRS diversity committee from 2001-2003, said he would withhold comment while studying the strategy involved in dealing with the issue.

Kim Hunter of Lagrant Communications, L.A., whose Lagrant Foundation has given $1M in ten years to minority scholarships, would not comment on the all-white PRS board but said there are too few people of color in high PR posts.


Internet Edition, February 11, 2009, Page 8




Criticism of the PR Society’s all-white board (page one) and PRS’s reaction to this have opened a Pandora’s box of ineptitude at the Society.

PRS leadership and staff froze like a block of ice when this criticism burst on the board last week.

Unavailable for comment were chair Mike Cherenson, his leadership in a shambles after only one month; the other 16 members of the board, who took the muzzle at their meeting Jan. 23, and PRS’s PR staff, which is trying to handle this incendiary situation via e-mails.

As one critic pointed out, the non-integrated board is but the latest foible on top of PRS’s “litany of practices of secrecy and suppressing dissent that are anathema to the core beliefs of the communications profession.”

Cherenson has agreed to meet counselor Mike Paul this week but he should also be meeting with this writer. No PRS president/chair has met with us since 2002. The most recent four haven’t even talked to us.

Jeff Julin, 2008 chair, was based in Denver and 2007 chair Rhoda Weiss was in L.A., providing somewhat of an excuse. But Cherenson is in Parsippany, N.J.

TV and radio personality Tavis Smiley, who addressed the 2006 PRS conference in Salt Lake City, screamed at the audience of about 1,500 PR people: “Stop the spinning, stop the spinning…the American people are sick and tired of being spun.”

Our message to the elected leaders of PRS would also be a scream—“Stop the running, stop the hiding. Truth and facts are catching up to you.”

Smiley, an African-American who has talk shows on PBS and Public Radio, said people “crave the truth so much they are making sophomoric reality shows like ‘American Idol’ the rage because they’re honest…either you can sing or you can’t.” He heads a sizable staff dedicated to “the support of human rights and related empowerment issues.” Its goals are to “Enlighten, encourage and empower” using “informative and inspiring media.”

Smiley would be a good addition to the PRS board as “senior counsel.” Three Southerners have had that title—Ray Crockett of Atlanta in 2007 and Dave Rickey of Birmingham and Mary Beth West of Maryville, Tenn., in 2008. How about some people of color?

Putting one or two “token” people of color on the board would not accomplish anything. There should be about nine or ten and none should be members of PRS. Several should be prominent journalists.

The “gene pool” of the board has shrunk to near zero in 35 years of APR inbreeding and needs refreshening. The Hapsburgs, chronic inbreeders, developed impotence, retardation and the “Hapsburg lip,” a hideous deformity that blocked chewing.

The PRS board has developed intellectual and character deformities over the years. Its members have lost the ability to know right from wrong. They block information flow on numerous fronts—Assembly transcripts, lists of delegates, bylaw reforms like Central Michigan’s democratic proposal, discussion of the printed directory, etc. They take oaths of silence so they can hide behind a “single spokesperson.” They refuse to read anything that doesn’t trumpet the PRS party line. District directors are forbidden to talk to their constituents. Elected CEOs won’t give out their speaking schedules. The list is almost endless.

What are we hoping for from this dust-up? Justice. Fairness.

PRS made and sold at least 50,000 copies of our articles and hundreds of thousands of other authors’ articles without permission and has refused to pay any of us a dime even in the form of free ads. None of us has much hope of APR directors ever rectifying this or many other abuses but if some major executives of color come on the board we might have some hope.

We believe they would come to our office and examine the boxes of “information packets” that PRS sold at prices $18 (members) and $55 (non-members) plus $3 for postage/handling. They would see entire 30-40 page chapters of books copied and sold with no thought of asking permission or reimbursing the authors.

Another casualty of the PRS board controversy is the much-heralded “PRSAY” blog started Jan. 12 as a “town square” for members and non-members alike. “Issues of mutual concern” were to be discussed.

The demand that the board add some people of color was not deemed to be a fit topic for discussion.

Almost all the copy on PRSAY is by Cherenson and COO Bill Murray. There were fewer than 20 postings by anyone else—a meager turnout from the 22,000 regular members and 10,000 student members not to mention the PR industry at large.

We posted a couple of innocuous items as a test but found some others did not get by the “moderator.” Another PR person had the same experience. Barred by PRS is any submission that contains “objectionable content” or is “off-topic, irrelevant, or inappropriate for the purposes of this Blog.” Falling under this apparently are ridding PRS bylaws of APR; 2008 Assembly transcript; printed members’ directory; identity of Assembly delegates, etc.

A real “town square” is Twitter, where we were able to instantly post long articles on the non-integrated PRS board and PR “award mania” (using PDFs since Twitter only allows 140 characters per post). Those familiar with the service have learned to provide links to complete documents.

Twitter fans tell us everything goes up instantly and can be tagged for a specific audience such as PRS. That’s what we do and find lots of PRS members there.
Only in the rarest instances will Twitter take down a post, say users. There is no “moderator” as at PRSAY. “You” (the user) are “solely responsible” for what is put on Twitter, say the rules. Twitter may remove something deemed “defamatory, offensive…” etc. but it has “no obligation” to do so, rules further state.

The U.S. started out with complete freedom of speech, meaning anyone could say anything about anyone without fear of prosecution. The “town square” was available to set things right. The original Americans were fed up with British libel law where the wrong words said about the Crown could lead to hanging, drawing and quartering or being burned at the stake. The U.S. has gradually reverted back to the U.K. system only instead of physical punishment there is the ruinous lawsuit. Justice Charles Ramos of the New York Supreme Court argued against this slide in an essay carried in full in the July 24, 1995 Wall Street Journal (8/2/95 O’Dwyer NL).

--Jack O'Dwyer


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