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Internet Edition, February 25, 2009, Page 1


The Technology Research and Development Authority, which allocates funding and runs programs to boost tech endeavors and education like the space program in Florida, is seeking an outside PR firm.

The Authority was created in 1987 and is governed by a five-member board appointed by the Florida governor. It has alliances with NASA and private sector companies and seeks to boost education, research and economic development for technology in the Sunshine State.

TRDA’s deputy director Dave Kershaw said Griffin Integrated Marketing, Seabrook, Tex., is the incumbent.

An RFP was issued on Feb. 10 with a March 5 deadline for proposals to develop and implement a comprehensive PR plan for the TRDA, including press release writing, media relations and monitoring, electronic newsletter production and planning for its website, The RFP is posted online there.

TRDA is funded by federal, state and private allocations, along with other means like proceeds from the “Space Plate” license plate in Florida.


Qorvis Communications has been named agency of record for Aamco, the No. 1 auto transmission specialist, and will launch a more than $20M integrated marketing campaign in April in front of the summer drive season.

Qorvis CEO Michael Petruzzello told O’Dwyer’s the Aamco win establishes his shop as a “regional leader in advertising. Aamco is an iconic brand and we are really excited to put our creative talent to work for the country’s Aamco dealers.”

Aamco was using Clearvision for creative duties. Qorvis takes command of creative development for TV/radio advertising, interactive marketing and PR.

The campaign’s aim is to bolster awareness of Aamco’s complete car care capability and grab share from competitors such as Firestone.


Peppercom has hired Darryl Siry, former chief marketing officer for Tesla Motors, as senior analyst for its clean technology practice. He had handled brand building, sales and media relations for Tesla, which has orders for more than 1,200 of its electric cars.

At Peppercom, Siry will support its business intelligence group and GreenPepper sustainability operation. He will counsel clients such as Honeywell, Tyco Flow Control and Solazyme.

Prior to Tesla, Siry was CMO at Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co.


Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees slugger taking licks from the media and public after he was outed for failing a steroids test in 2003, has been leaning on two PR firms to deal with the fallout.

Rubenstein PR president Richard Rubenstein has worked with A-Rod since he joined the Yankees, and confirmed to O’Dwyer’s that relationship continues. But the third baseman also brought in Outside Eyes, a crisis firm based on the West Coast, after the allegations hit.

Rodriguez last week admitted to using performing enhancing drugs after Sports Illustrated discovered that he failed a doping test in 2003. He gave a brief interview to ESPN last week confessing to using a banned substance and arrived at the Yankees spring training facility in Tampa, Fla., last Tuesday amid a barrage of questions from hundreds of reporters.

Ben Porritt, a partner at Outside Eyes, was with Rodriguez in Florida last week, as was Rubenstein. Porritt is a former press secretary for Rep. Tom DeLay, when he was Majority Leader in the House of Representatives. He also worked in the Bush White House and on Bush’s 2004 and John McCain’s ’08 presidential campaigns.


Betsey Solberg, who stepped down from Fleishman-Hillard in 2006, has been called out of retirement to head its Kansas City office on an interim basis.

She takes over for Jennifer Goldston, who took the post in April with the exit of Anne St. Peter to launch her own shop, Global Prairie, in Feb. ’08.

Solberg, 69, opened F-H’s K.C. office in ’77. She was appointed F-H’s midwest regional president in ’99.

F-H, meanwhile, is trimming North America staff to cope with the global economic slump, according to CEO Dave Senay. He said the cuts represent less than five percent of F-H’s staff.


New bylaws proposed by the PR Society would drop the APR rule for the board, drop the districts, end the sitting Assembly (which would vote electronically), and allow electronic election of directors and officers by the entire 22,000 members.

The Assembly, which in 2006 heard a proposal to make it “the ultimate policy-making body of the Society,” would become “a group that communicates regularly, votes electronically, and helps shape PRS’s advocacy agenda.”

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, February 25, 2009, Page 2


Killeen Furtney Group has pulled the plug on its pro bono PR representation of Nadya Suleman, the California mother who gave birth to octuplets in late January.

Firm president Joann Killeen said she and her husband, Mike Furtney, dropped Suleman after receiving threats. One particularly chilling threat outlined by Killeen suggested she “should be anesthetized and put down like a dog.”

Killeen said L.A. police told her and her husband that the threats were the worst they had seen since the O.J. trial. Clients of the firm were also targeted by hecklers.

Suleman now has 14 children and has received welfare assistance, sparking outrage among some in the public and media.

Killeen is a former president and COO of the PR Society and Furtney was a PR exec for Union Pacific.


Public Strategies Inc. is guiding Live Nation through the Washington thicket as its plan to merge with Ticketmaster runs into a roadblock on Capitol Hill.

The potential combination, resulting in Live Nation Entertainment, would control 80 percent of U.S. concert sales, according to New York Senator Chuck Schumer. He penned a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to block the deal on antitrust grounds. The Justice Dept. has opened its own probe, an investigation that looms as the first test of the Obama Administration’s merger policy.

Two PSI staffers with strong Democratic ties are working the Live Nation business. They are Lee Godown, former aide to Reps. Loretta Sanchez/Bob Wise and staffer on the presidential campaigns of Dick Gephardt and Mike Dukakis, and Daniel Kohns, ex-communications director for Rep. Mike Honda and advisor to the failed Andrew Cuomo for Governor run in New York.

The Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee has penciled in Feb. 24 as the day it will kick off hearings on the Live Nation/Ticketmaster hook-up. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy will take up the matter on Feb. 26.

Brunswick Group and Brainerd Communications are handling media relations for Live Nation. Abernathy MacGregor Group is guiding Ticketmaster.


Frank Wisner, a career diplomat serving as vice chairman, external affairs, for American International Group, is retiring from the troubled financial services company’s board.

Wisner, 70, served on AIG’s board of directors from 1997-03.

AIG chairman and CEO Edward Liddy said Wisner contributed knowledge of international affairs and public policy to the company’s businesses.

Wisner retired from the U.S. Foreign Service after 36 years, serving as ambassador to India, the Philippines, Egypt and Zambia, in addition to several under secretary roles at the State Department.


Omnicom has merged its wholly-owned Gavin Anderson & Co. unit with Sweden’s Kreab Group in what is billed as a “merger of equals” and a “complimentary fit” of the two firms.

Kreab, which is part of Magnora AB, is a public affairs/strategic PR powerhouse in nordic/northern Europe and the EU, while GA bolsters a global corporate and financial PR network. Kreab and GA have partnered in Beijing for a number of years.

Peje Emilsson, chairman of Kreab becomes executive chairman of the combined Kreab Gavin Anderson.

Richard Constant, CEO of GA, is president/CEO of the merged entity, while Charlotte Erkhammar, CEO of Kreab is deputy CEO of KGA.

KGA has more than 350 staffers in 25 countries. It will target financial/political centers in developing markets in the Middle East and Asia.

Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s has placed OMC’s long-term ratings on its “credit watch” with negative implications. S&P’s credit analyst Heather Goodchild says the placement is based on the view that the conglom’s “leverage will likely rise further beyond our threshold for OMC at an A- rating as a result of weak ad demand.” The conglomerate is “unlikely to return within our threshold over the next one to two years,” according to Goodchild’s statement.


Sitrick and Company has been retained to mount a PR defense of Chris Brown, the 19-year-old multi-platinum recording artist whose career is in jeopardy after an arrest for allegedly assaulting a woman.

The mainstream and entertainment media have pounced on the story because Brown’s alleged victim is believed to be the singer Rhianna.

Mike Sitrick and Tony Knight of Los Angeles-based S&C issued a statement for Brown on Feb. 15 expressing sorrow and regret from the singer. Brown said in that press release that he is seeking the counseling of his pastor, mother and other loved ones and is committed to “emerging a better person.”

Brown continued: “Much of what has been speculated or reported on blogs and/or reported in the media is wrong.” Brown said via Sitrick that he can’t talk about the incident until legal issues are resolved.

Knight was city editor of the L.A. Daily News.


Dara Torres, the darling of the Beijing Olympic Games, is the new face of energy giant BP’s “Gasoline with Invigorate” line and its positioning of helping a “car run younger for longer.”

The 41-year-old swimmer copped three silver medals during the Summer Games, competing against women half her age.

The three-time Olympian joins BP’s Invigorate team of marathoner Linda Quick, mountain climber Wendy Booker and surfer Ryan Helm.

Linda Bartman, marketing communications manager at BP Products North America, believes Torres’ story will “help consumers make a relatable connection to the brand.” GolinHarris handles the BP account.


Internet Edition, February 25, 2009, Page 3


The New York Post, the target of two days of chanting protestors outside its Manhattan headquarters, has issued a half-hearted apology for an editorial cartoon that shows two cops standing over a bullet-ridden dead chimpanzee.

One cop in the cartoon is saying: "They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

Some protestors say the cartoon plays off the racist depiction of blacks as monkeys. Others suggest it calls for the assassination of President Obama.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned paper posted a statement on its website, noting that the Sean Delonas-drawn cartoon has stirred "considerable controversy." Its intent was to "mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill."

The Post says it’s aware that the cartoon "has been taken as something else - as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism. This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize."

The paper then lashed out at its critics "in media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past - and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback. To them, no apology is due. Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon - even as the opportunists seek to make it something else."

Rev. Al Sharpton, who is among leaders of the protest, regrets the "conditional statement" of apology.

"Though we think it is the right thing for them to apologize to those they offended, they seem to want to blame the offense on those who raised the issue, rather than take responsibility for what they did," said Sharpton in a statement.


The New York Times Co. has suspended its dividend for the first time in 40 years, a move that will save about $35M a-year.

The NYTC cut the payout from 23 cents to six cents in November. The dividend was upped in May 2007 from 17.5 cents.

Chairman “Pinch” Sulzberger says the dividend cut “provides the company with additional financial flexibility given the current economic environment and the uncertain business outlook.”

He said the NYTC has “taken decisive steps to reduce capital spending, lower operating costs and re-evaluate our assets” to help decrease debt and improve liquidity.

NYTC shares trade at $3.75.


Donald Hayner, managing editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, is the new editor-in-chief. He replaces Michael Cooke, who left for the Toronto Star.

The 57-year-old Hayner is a 27-year veteran of the paper. He has been metro editor, city editor, general assignment reporter, personal finance writer, neighborhood beat reporter and Sunday features writer. Hayner practiced law before joining the S-T.

Andrew Herrmann, 48, takes Hayner’s ME post. He has been with the paper for a quarter of a century as general assignment/lifestyles reporter, Sunday editor, assistant city editor, editorial writer and op-ed columnist.


Former New Hampshire Senator John Sununu, who was defeated in 2008, has joined the board of Time Warner Cable, which will be split from Time Warner Inc by the end of March.

Sununu served as N.H. Congressman from `96 to `02, and chief financial officer of Teletrol Systems prior to that.

He is one of a trio of new directors at TWC and is joined by Donna James and Ed Shirley on the 12-member board.

James, managing director of Lardon & Assocs., a business advisory firm, was president of Nationwide Strategic Investments and executive VP of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

Shirley is vice chairman of Procter & Gamble’s global beauty and grooming unit, and held top posts at Gillette, which P&G acquired in `05.

TWC is the No. 2 cable company. It has more than 14M customers.


Playboy interim CEO Jerome Kern said last week that he is open to offers for the men’s magazine that has been hammered by the Internet. The company suffered a $156M loss for `08 on $292M revenue.

Kern took over for Christie Hefner, daughter of Playboy founder, Hugh. He told an investment conference call that Playboy is “open to discussions.”

Playboy is closing its New York office and is combining print and online editorial operations. Jimmy Jellinek, a Maxim alum, is overseeing that integration.


John Malone’s Liberty Media notched a last-minute deal to save Sirius XM Radio from a Chapter 11 filing.

Liberty is to pump $530M into Sirius in return for preferred stock convertible into 40 percent of the satellite radio company’s outstanding common shares.

Mel Karmazin, CEO of Sirius XM, says Liberty’s cash infusion is an “important validation” and a “vote of confidence” in the radio company’s future, especially in light of the challenging credit markets.

Malone and Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty, will get seats on Sirius XM’s board of directors.

Sirius XM lost $654M on $1.8B nine-month revenues. Its stock trades at 14 cents.


Honey, the fashion magazine for women of color that closed in `03, has been revived as a website.

The Sahara Holdings-owned site focuses on fashion and beauty news/trends that are of interest to women aged 18 to 34.

Honey reached a 1.5M circulation high before it was shut down by Vanguard Media. Shanel Odum, ex-editor at Vibe, is editor-in-chief of the new Honey.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, February 25, 2009, Page 4


Veteran public affairs media exec Jeff Ballabon is slated to join CBS News as senior VP of communications.

He’ll head media relations and public affairs for the news division of CBS Corp. taking over for Sandra Genelius, who left in the fall for the VP/comms. slot at Sony USA.

Ballabon had been running his own PR and PA shop, Ballabon Group, with offices in New York and D.C. and an affiliate agreement with The Livingston Group.

The Yale law grad previously headed public policy for TV, Internet and magazine owner Primedia and held senior policy and communications posts at Court TV and Channel One. He was also legislative counsel to Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.) and Republican counsel to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

During the 2004 campaign, he specialized in Jewish outreach for the Republican Party.

Sean McManus is president of CBS’ news and sports divisions.

CBS Corp. posted dismal Q4 results last week, reporting a profit slide of 52 percent and revenue dip of six percent to $3.53B.


Film Detroit, the division of Detroit’s tourism entity that handles motion picture and TV projects, has hired Fleishman-Hillard after an RFP process.

The Omnicom firm’s Los Angeles office will lead the six-figure account, which starts on March 1.

Film Detroit narrowed the RFP responses down to three firms in Los Angeles. Chris Baum, senior VP, sales and marketing, told O’Dwyer’s that F-H was “by far the most professional.”

Baum said the film unit is only two years old and had previously been using the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau’s in-house communications team.

“We have come to believe that the entertainment industry requires PR experts on the ground in L.A. and New York,” he said, noting that Michigan’s generous film production incentive is gaining traction in Hollywood.

The Wolverine State offers a refundable tax rebate up to 42 percent for film operations, among other incentives. It has advertised in the trade paper Variety with the tagline “We’re Cheap and Easy.”

Recent Hollywood hits shot in Detroit include “Gran Torino,” directed and starred in by Clint Eastwood, and the blockbuster “Transformers.”


The Wall Street Journal has yanked its sponsorship of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships because the United Arab Emirates refused to give Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer a visa to enter the Gulf State.

The UAE now says the ban was put into place because officials feared Peer's play might trigger protests in the aftermath of Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip.

The WSJ Europe is pulling out because its "editorial philosophy is free markets and free people and this action runs counter to the Journal's editorial direction," according to its statement. The News Corp. property is dropping a special advertising tennis themed issue that was set to run this week as the men's competition takes place. The WSJ also has dropped sponsorship on the men's matches.

The Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships lists other sponsors of the match including Rolex, Lacoste, Sony Ericsson, Jacob's Creek and Newsweek.

Titled sponsor Barclays says its agreement does not allow it to interfere with the actions of the tournament, players and regulations of the host country.

The WSJ ran an editorial Feb. 18 called “Dubai Double Fault.” It says the Arab city-state needs to reconsider not only Peer’s visa, “but its attitude toward Israel.” The paper said if Dubai truly believes it is a “global mecca for commerce, sport and recreation, it ought to be able to handle a few Jews in its cosmopolitan midst.”


Time magazine’s Feb. 23 edition carries a list of “25 People to Blame” for the collapsing economy, describing “the good intentions, bad managers and greed behind the meltdown.”

Among the 25 is Burton Jablin, described as “programming czar” of Scripps Networks Interactive which owns HGTV and other lifestyle channels.

“His shows pumped air into the real estate froth by teaching us how to extract value from our homes,” says the article, which shows pictures of the 25.

Programs such as “Designed to Sell,” “House Hunters” and “My House Is Worth What?” created “addicted audiences,” says the story. Blame is also put on other shows such as “Flip That House” (TLC) and “Flip This House” (A&E).

“No one on these shows ever seemed to lose a dollar, giving the housing game too much glamour and gusto,” said Time.

SNI Has No Comment

HGTV’s Gary McCormick, who is chair-elect of the PR Society, reached by telephone, said the ones at SNI who might comment are Cindy McConkey, senior VP-communications, SNI, or Audrey Adlam, VP-communications and partnership marketing, HGTV. After speaking with one or both of them, he called back to say there would be no comment from the company on the story.

The “25” include former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan; Christopher Cox, former SEC chair; former president Bill Clinton; Stan O’Neal, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, and Sandy Weill, former CEO of Citigroup.

SNI, cable TV and online operations including HGTV, Food Network, Food Network, DIY (do-it-yourself), Fine Living and Great American Country, was spun off from Scripps (newspapers) last year.

HGTV last year was the big money-maker at SNI, grossing $171M in the second quarter, up 12.9%. Gross of all operations for the second quarter was $350M.

Internet Edition, February 25, 2009, Page 5


Omnicom’s Cone says the dire economy hasn’t changed the habits of environmentally conscious consumers.

Nearly half of more than a thousand adults surveyed in late January said their green buying habits haven’t changed amid the downturn and 34 percent said they are more likely to buy green products today, the firm reports.

Only eight percent among the sample of 1,087 U.S. adults said they are less likely to buy green and 14 percent said they don’t shop with the environment in mind.

Jonathan Yohannan, senior VP of corporate responsibility at Cone, sees the results as evidence that environmental consciousness is “more than just a passing trend.”

He noted that as consumer confidence in companies has dipped to record lows, trust in green messages has been surprisingly resilient. Yohannan pointed to data saying 63 percent trust companies to tell them the truth in their environmental messaging.

As Earth Day approaches in April, Cone also highlighted the finding that 85 percent surveyed said they think companies should communicate green commitments year-round.

Among the small percentage of consumers who said they are less likely to buy green amid the downturn, 71 percent said they have less money to spend and environmental products “seem to cost more.”

Reputation Important in Buying

A similar survey by non-profit Green Seal and Portland, Ore.-based EnviroMedia Social Marketing found that half of 1,000 people surveyed said they are buying just as many green products as they were before the economic downturn, and 19 percent said they are buying more.

Notably for PR pros, 21 percent of consumers polled said a product’s reputation is the biggest factor they weigh when making a purchasing decision. “Word of mouth” follows at 19 percent and brand loyalty was cited by 15 percent. Only nine percent said “green” advertising affected their decisions.


David Stephenson, former VP of public affairs at Agnew, Carter, McCarthy, is writing a book with Washington, D.C.’s chief technology officer and is seeking examples of businesses and organizations making strategic use of structured data like XML or XBRL.

Stephenson heads Stephenson Strategies in Medfield, Mass. Contact 508-740-8918

BRIEFS: Weber Meritt, Washington, D.C., won a Gold Magellan award for corporate/organizational communications from the League of American Communication Professionals. The firm won for its “Pentagon Memorial Fund: We Must Never Forget” to raise money for a permanent 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon. ...Hal Dash of Cerrell Associates, Los Angeles, was elected chairman of Worldcom PR Group for 2009. Stefan Pollack of Pollack PR Marketing Group, also in L.A., was named chair-elect and treasurer. Info


New York Area

Pierce Mattie PR, New York/Marc Sebastien, skin care cosmeceuticals, for PR, and Ootra, luxury accessories brand, for a fashion PR campaign.

Lou Hammond & Associates, New York/Allegria Hotel & Spa (Long Beach, N.Y.); The Atlantic Hotel (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), and Certified Angus Beef Brand, as a full-time client following a project for its 30th anniversary.


Hart-Boillot, Waltham, Mass./American University of Antigua College of Medicine and School of Nursing, for PR to raise the public perception of offshore medical education and attract students. Media relations, messaging and other PR efforts are among the tasks.

Environics Communications, Washington, D.C./Core180, telecommunications network integrator, to develop and implement its 2009 PR program, including message strategy, media and anlyst relations, events and trade show marketing.

CRT/tanaka, Richmond, Va./Tie Cinemas, for Feb. 27 opening of a 17-screen movie theater in Richmond called Movieland.

RLF Communications, Greensboro, N.C./Terrie Anne Bennett, professional skier, for PR and sponsorship outreach.

Arketi Group, Atlanta/MaxRecall Technologies, as AOR to develop a new message for the document management company. The work includes PR counsel and marketing.

Tilson Communications, Boca Raton, Fla./Upromise, private funding source for college tuition payments, for PR for its Tuition Tales ceontest. Upromise is part of SLM Corp., also known as Sallie Mae.

NewsMark PR, West Palm Beach, Fla./Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, for strategic comms. counsel for several civic engagement leadership projects.


Advertas, Houston/WellEz, oil field operations reporting and support, for marketing and PR.

Accolades PR, Austin/TaxaScapes, landscape design and maintenance firm, for creation of a website, marketing and communications.

Shelton Group, Dallas/Silicon Border, science and technology park in Mexicali (Mexico), for PR. Shelton previously launched the company in 2005.


Sitrick and Company, Los Angeles/University of Pittsburgh Media Center, for opening of its $625M Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville, Pa. The hospital’s use of an electronic medical record system is drawing national interest. The firm has worked with UoP in the past.

Solters & Digney, Los Angeles/Madame Tussauds Las Vegas and Hollywood, for PR representation. The Las Vegas locale is marking its 10th year and the $55M Hollywood museum is slated to open this summer next to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. S&D has also picked up Delta Groove Music and eclectoGroove Records, an independent record label.

Internet Edition, February 25, 2009, Page 6


eReleases, a discount press release and writing services company, has set up a news dissemination circuit just for non-profits called CauseWire.

“We have served non-profits for years but felt it was time give this formidable and important segment a place of its own via CauseWire,” said Mickie Kennedy, co-founder and CEO.

The company, which has discounted its services to non-profits for years, said the new wire includes newswire distribution, media targeting and online visibility to meet “the special needs” of non-profit entities.

eReleases points out that non-profits can have small or overtaxed media departments and also notes that news dissemination and portfolios can bolster fundraising efforts. Distribution starts at about $200 while a writing and distribution package will start at about $600.


Victoria Akers, a researcher for PR Newswire who has been the company’s face on the social networking service Twitter, was promoted to director of audience development for PRN.

The company said the move marks the launch of a division aimed at cultivating new audiences among media, analysts, social media users and bloggers.

Units marked for growth include its PR Newswire for Journalists portal and the ProfNet news source service, as well as the overall online influence and following of the company.

She has been in PRN’s media research group for eight years.


Fourteen companies including Wal-Mart Stores, CSX, National Grid and Omega World Travel were recognized Feb. 19 by the National Minority Business Council for being outstanding employers of minorities.

John F. Robinson, president and CEO of NMBC, presided over the 29th annual award ceremonies before more than 200 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Founded in 1972, NMBC is a not-for-profit that helps small businesses through programs and networking support; acts as a clearing house for the Women and Minority-owned Business Enterprise community, and serves as a resource for corporate America for supplier development.

Keynote speaker Marisa Lago, president and CEO, New York Empire State Development Corp., spoke about President Barack Obama’s “stimulus” plan, saying it would help the state but was by no means a “magic bullet.” Particular emphasis will be put on helping small businesses and improving the state’s infrastructure, she said.

CSX, National Grid and Wal-Mart Stores won Outstanding Corporate Supplier Diversity Awards.

Outstanding Minority Business Award winners were Bartlett Dairy, Levon Graphics Corp., and New York Staffing Services.

The Outstanding Woman Business Award went to Omega World Travel, Fairfax, Va., headed by Gloria Bohan. It has offices in 125 cities.



Patricia McGuire, deputy chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, to the Princeton Public Affairs Group, Trenton, N.J. She is a former adviser to Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and previously ran her own grassroots shop, Front Porch Strategies.

Matt Bennett and Mike Schmidt to VPs, GolinHarris Public Affairs, Washington, D.C. Bennett has been with the firm for a year, joining from Issue Dynamics. He handles Kaiser Permanente, Olympus and the National Cable and Telecomms. Association, among other clients. Schmidt is a two-year veteran of the firm and former journalist who heads the PA unit’s sustainability practice, geoImpact. He handles Dow Chemical, Waters Corp. and Cool Earth, among others.

Mark Groombridge, a veteran State Department hand who was former counselor to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, to Global Communicators, Washington, D.C., as a member of its board of senior international advisors.

Kim Tillinghast, senior A/E, Victoria King PR, to Vollmer PR, Austin, as an A/S to handle the Texas Tourism Office, Hyatt Regency Austin, and the Employee Retirement System of Texas, among other account. She was previously an A/C at Publicis Dialog.

Larry Krutchik, co-founder and principal at Edison Group, to Allison & Partners, Los Angeles, as a senior VP. Krutchik is a former commercial litigation attorney. Clients joining A&P with him include Healthways, California Children’s Health Initiatives and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Kathryn Kates, a freelance journalist, to Infinity Communications, Oakville, Ontario, as a VP.

Chris Green, a veteran U.K. journalist most recently with IT PRO, where he was founding editor, to Davies Murphy Group’s European operation, DMG Europe. He was an editor with Computing and sister pub Data Business for eight years, and has worked for the Daily Mirror, Reuters, and Cable & Wireless, among other outlets. DMG in the U.S. is based in Burlington, Mass.


Damian Garcia to chief strategic officer and “vision stirrer” at STIR-Communications, Miami. He joined the firm in June 2008 from marketing firm Bridget Conway, where he was CEO.

Lars Rosene adds the title of chief sustainability officer to his duties heading global communications as VP of public affairs for Flowserve Corp., Dallas.


Internet Edition, February 25, 2009, Page 7


It would be renamed the “Leadership Assembly” and would still approve bylaw changes, dues structure and chapter dissolutions.”

While non-APRs could run for the national board, they would have to show “more than 20 years of PR experience with increasing levels of responsibility.”

Joining the new “Leadership Assembly” would be 26 heads of national committees and task forces. Chapter delegations would have to include the president or president-elect. About 50 chapters that have fewer than 100 members could only send the president or president-elect.

Already in the Assembly are about 47 national directors, district heads and section heads.

PRS/Houston once complained that such “leaders” should not be in the Assembly since the Assembly’s job is to hold the leaders accountable. Houston withheld national dues for a period to underscore its complaint.

The bylaws re-write committee, headed by Dave Rickey, who was initially given the task of heading bylaws re-write by 2004 president Del Galloway, published a “membership briefing” on the new bylaws Friday, Feb. 20.

Direct election of national board and officers by the 22,000 membership might entail the shift of the PRS charter to another state such as Delaware because PRS leaders have said New York State law does not allow electronic voting.

Directors Could Return as Directors

A proposed bylaw would let directors return for another two-year term and return again to run for secretary, treasurer or chair-elect.

Until 1999, no director had ever returned to the board either as a director or officer. Bylaws stated that directors could not “succeed themselves” and this was interpreted to mean either as directors or officers.

However, an emergency occurred in 1999 when the nominating committee decided not to nominate counselor Lee Duffey as president-elect even though he was treasurer. It picked Kathy Lewton, who previously served on the board, breaking a nearly 50-year tradition that barred anyone from returning to the board in any capacity. Duffey opposed her at the 1999 Assembly but Lewton won by a large margin.

If the new returning director rule is passed, a volunteer could serve up to nine years on the board—four as director and five more as secretary, treasurer, chair-elect, chair and immediate past chair.

NomCom Would Propose Candidates

The nominating committee, whose members would include APRs or PR pros with “20 years of PR experience with increasing levels of responsibility,” would continue to propose candidates.

Write-in candidates could run by submitting 25 signatures from active Assembly delegates 60 days before the Assembly.

The bylaws committee did not take up the matter of how candidates would campaign such as whether they would be able to state their views on the PRS website. PRS for many decades has picked its leaders on the basis of years of service to PRS and PRS titles held rather than titles obtained in the business world or stands on issues facing PRS or the industry.

The COO of PRS would join the nomcom in a “non-voting, non-deliberating” capacity “to provide important historical context.”

The immediate past chair would continue to lead the nomcom but his or her predecessor as immediate past chair would no longer serve on the nomcom.

Other Assns. Allow All Members to Compete

“Most associations” it examined, said the task force, “allow any voting member in good standing to run for their boards.” The briefing is on the PRSAY blog of PRS in the public area of the site.

Tecker Consultants, Yardley, Pa., described as “experts in association governance,” helped the bylaw re-write task force. It advised the committee that “Popular votes are supplanting the use of stakeholder groups (such as the Assembly) to represent members and that “Barriers to full participation, including holding the organizations’ credentials, are usually abandoned.”

Current boards are “defining and delegating, rather than reacting and ratifying,” was further Tecker advice.

Glenn Tecker in 2008 conducted a full day session for the PRS board at its first meeting on the topic of how to be a director. The 2009 board did not take part in such a session.

Tecker is the author of “Will to Govern Well: Knowledge, Trust & Nimbleness.”

Membership May be Opened Further

The bylaws committee has urged that new bylaws “extend membership opportunities to professionals with a broader range of knowledge, experience and job responsibilities,” saying this is “typical of today’s communications professional who is involved in all aspects of communication.”

Some members interpreted this to mean that marketing, advertising, promotion, research and those with other job descriptions could join PRS. Prospective members once had to have a proposer and seconder but this rule was dropped many years ago. Students two years ago were allowed to join while still five months from graduation.

The “ideal PRS,” says the committee, will be “member driven, transparent and participatory, its board elected by a popular vote among all members.”


An attempt to place a full page ad in Tactics, the monthly tabloid of the PR Society, was rejected by VP-PR Arthur Yann who said in an e-mail to Jack O’Dwyer that PRS “chooses not to do business with your organization given its history of, among other things, personally attacking [PRS] leaders, harassing [PRSS] students, and misrepresenting [PRS] programs, activities and operations.”

Yann said PRS “does not consider itself to be a competitor to the O’Dwyer Co. in any way.”

Publisher Jack O’Dwyer responded that the O’Dwyer products are in head-to-head competition with PRS products and this is the real reason for the ad turndown. He said that PRS’s non-profit charter calls for it to act like a “Chamber of Commerce” and not be in competition with anyone.” “PRS has forgotten the first name in its title—public,” said O’Dwyer.


Internet Edition, February 25, 2009, Page 8




The bylaws rewrite task force of PRS has presented its recommendations (page one) and we will present ours.

First order of business is bringing blacks on the board right now, ending historic de facto discrimination (three blacks on the board in 61 years).

Second is opening debate and taking a vote on bringing back the printed directory of members, a decision that was made in the dark of night without any notice to the Assembly.

Third is a board resolution ordering chair Mike Cherenson to face PRS/NY ASAP and then at least a dozen other large chapter memberships (not their boards) and take questions (just like President Obama and Alex Rodriguez have done). PRS chairs have run from members for four years in a row.

Fourth is a board resolution that takes the muzzles off the directors and lets them speak to their own chapters and districts.

Fifth is ditching the “Leadership Rally” June 5-6 in New York (in conjunction with the Silver Anvils June 4) and replacing it with a working Assembly that will hash over the bylaw proposals and make some of its own. The board could call an Assembly meeting with ten days notice if it wishes.

Sixth is taking up the Tecker Consultants advice of “transparency” and putting the full audit (2007 and 2008) and full IRS Form 990 for both years on the PRS web. A balance sheet showing deferred dues must be provided. CFO Philip Bonaventura is a CPA but is not registered (hasn’t taken the required yearly courses and cannot use CPA after his name). This is a “red flag.” Also a red flag is the failure of PRS to have one of the big CPA firms as auditor (it used to have Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young). True costs of staff time on the conference should be revealed.

Seventh is cutting the board from 17 to 12 or even ten. PRS should mimic the 4As. It has a 24-member board but at least eight are in New York who can meet almost instantly on any problem. PRS directors are scattered throughout the nation and the board often doesn’t have anyone from New York. Lynn Appelbaum of CCNY was shanghaied onto the board after two nomcom deadlines had passed. The board is too anti-New York, too anti-media, too white, too inbred and lacking in any non-PR people (which puts it out of step with most other boards).

We hope PRS has not paid too much money for the Tecker recommendations.

We doubt the Assembly, weak as it is, will vote itself out of existence and become a propaganda arm for the board.

The Houses of Delegates of the AMA and ABA, which tell their boards what to do, are not doing that. These are the professional associations that PRS should be mimicking and not any dug up by Tecker.

As for dispatching the districts, the Assembly just turned this down by a large margin in 2007 so Tecker should not be bringing it up.

What’s needed is for some delegates to get together and block this power play by the board.

Not only should the delegates stop the 26 heads of committees and task forces from joining the Assembly, but they should boot the 47 directors and chairs of the districts and sections. These “management” types have no business being in the Assembly which is supposed to hold their feet to the fire.

We like the Tecker proposal that the Assembly meet “regularly” and not just once a year. Moving the charter to Delaware or elsewhere (both easy and cheap) would allow electronic voting and give members some access to big PRS issues.

Financier Carl Icahn, writing in the Feb. 16 Washington Post about the current “financial catastrophe,” blasted board members who were “demonstrably unqualified, abjectly remiss or simply too cozy with management” as key culprits.

Nell Minow, of, has portrayed corporate boards as composed of “intelligent, capable, honorable people who lose 50% of their I.Q.’s and all of their courage when they join a board.” The PRS board certainly answers to some of these criticisms.

Icahn had another point about board composition—that the chair is a fiduciary to shareholders and the “main shareholder representative.” How can this person oversee the CEO if the job is “one and the same?” he asks. We would put this question to PRS which makes the chair (Mike Cherenson this year) also the CEO. How can he monitor himself?

Anyone who has ever been to an Assembly has heard the staff and board praise each other endlessly for what a great job the other one is doing. The board is too close to the staff and too far away from the membership. Icahn says North Dakota has the “most shareholder-friendly corporate laws in the nation.”

While on the subject of the financial debacle, Time mag Feb. 23 harpooned “25 People to Blame” for the housing meltdown and one of them was Burton Jablon, described as the “programming czar” of Scripps Networks Interactive, whose HGTV has programs such as “Designed to Sell,” “House Hunters,” and “My House Is Worth What?”

Time said these shows and others “pumped air into the real estate froth” and “no one on ever seemed to lose a dollar, giving the housing game too much glamour and gusto.”

We called Gary McCormick, director of partnership development at HGTV and chair-elect of PRS.

Normally he would be forbidden to talk to us under the “single spokesperson” rule of the PRS board, but this was a matter that involved his company rather than PRS.

McCormick, noting he is not the spokesperson for HGTV, said that he would seek a comment from Audrey Adlam, VP-communications of HGTV, and/or Cindy McConkey SVP, Scripps Networks Interactive.

Neither would talk to us nor was any statement available on this matter to anyone. This is typical of corporate PR today.

Not only was it impossible to reach Jablon, but even his PR people would not get on the phone with a reporter. Scripps is one of the great names in American newspapering and has an elaborate ethical code.

Last year it split the profitable online operations from the unprofitable newspaper/TV operations.

Stock of the newspaper part (SSP) went from a 52-week high of $147.78 to $1.59 last week while SNI (online) went from $44.98 after the spin-off to $19.81 last week.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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