The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Edition, March 11, 2009, Page 1
Full table of 08 revenues from 157 PR firms.
See pages 4-6.
DANGLES CLEAN AIR PR PACT
lucrative PR contract for clean air initiatives in the Houston-Galveston
region of Texas has gone out for bids through the end of
$352K a year pact, which runs for three years, has been
handled by Vollmer PR over the last three years. That budget
is down from previous years, when it was worth more than
Houston-Galveston Area Council oversees the PR efforts,
although the entire budget comes from federal funds. In
past years, local funding had bolstered the PR expenditures.
are due by March 24 and the RFP can be downloaded at odwyerpr.com.
significant PR budget pales in comparison to the $1 billion
in federal transportation funding for the region that hinges
on it cutting ozone pollution levels, which are too high
above federal air quality standards.
H-G region encompasses 13 counties in Texas with nearly
5.7M people across 12,500 square miles.
PHILIPS CONSOLIDATES AT OMC
Philips Electronics has
consolidated its estimated $15M global PR effort at affiliates
of Omnicom. The business has been at MS&L Worldwide
and Text 100 for the past five years.
OMC is establishing a
group called One Voice to handle PEs collection of
lighting/healthcare/consumer products offerings, corporate
communications, interactive and corporate social responsibility.
Staffers from Ketchum,
Fleishman-Hillard, Kreab Gavin Anderson and CPR Worldwide
will make up OV.
The account shift is effective
CRT ACQUIRES FOOD PR SPECIALISTS
CRT/tanaka has acquired
New York-based Lewis & Neale, a 69-year-old food PR
Richmond, Va.-based CRT
said L&N will continue to operate separately as a subsidiary
with current president Anita Fial at the helm. The lease
on its New York operation, which includes a test kitchen,
photo studio and food library, will be maintained, CRT said.
L&N, which has about
10 staffers, has worked with the U.S. Apple Association,
Florida Tomato Committee, Kraft Foods, Lea & Perrins
and the European Union Products Campaign.
CRT counted about $3.2M
of its roughly $12M in 2008 revenue in the food and beverage
The breadth of Lewis &
Neales experience in food and nutrition doubles our
strength within these categories, said Mark Raper,
CRT chairman and CEO.
BIG PR FIRMS GREW IN 2008;
51 DROP OUT
The ten biggest independent
PR firms reporting 2008 figures for the ODwyer rankings
were either up or about even. Edelman grew 12.4% to $449M
as it added $53.7M to its fee total. Were the added fees
an agency by itself, it would be the sixth biggest on the
Fifty-one firms opted
out of the ranking, some of them candidly saying their results
were too dismal to report. Most of the drop-outs declined
to say anything.
Fifteen firms, although
hit with double-digit percentage declines, reported their
figures anyway. Seventeen firms joined the list.
The number of ranked firms
declined to 157 from 190 in the 2007 rankings. The ten biggest
independent PR firms grew at an average of 10.7% in 2008.
Their total of $975M in fees was 75% of the total fees of
the 50 largest firms reporting figures -- $1.299 billion.
Three others in the top
ten had double digit
(Continued on page 4)
PR SOCIETY RAPS ODWYER
ON D.C. BLOG
PR Society VP-PR Arthur
Yann and PRS member Don Tepper of Fairfax, Va., debated
Jack ODwyer on the Capital Communicator blog March
ODwyer had published
on odwyerpr.com March 3 an open letter to President Obama
asking him to have the proper government office investigate
the refusal of the PR Society to allow ODwyer ads
in PRS media and its refusal to allow anyone from the ODwyer
Co. to join the organization.
ODwyer said that
PRS gets its tax-free status from its promise to serve the
entire PR community and its promise not to be in competition
with what any private business can do.
Its membership list of
22,000 was built up in 61 years with tax-free dollars and
is not PRSs private property, the ODwyer letter
The ODwyer letter
was picked up by the Capitol Communicator blog operated
by Phil Rabin which carried not only the ODwyer complaints
about ads and membership, but criticism by ODwyer
and others about the all-white 17-member PRS board.
New York counselor Michael
Paul has said that it is ironic that the nation
has a black president but the PRS board has no one of color
(Continued on page 7)
Edition, March 11, 2009, Page 2
TARGETS OBAMAS H-CARE SCHEME
Public Relations is leading the charge of Conservatives
for Patients Rights, a group that wants to defeat
any government-run healthcare system that might come from
the Obama Administration.
co-founder Rick Scott, former CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare
Corp., promises a multi-million dollar campaign promoting
free market health reforms solutions to the
nations healthcare crisis.
raises the specter of Washington bureaucrats making
decisions instead of doctors and patients. CPR believes
healthcare needs to be rooted in the principles of choice,
competition, accountability and personal responsibility.
initial $500K three-week ad blitz includes spots on CNN,
Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannitys radio
programs. Web ads are set for Politico, National Review
and Real Clear Politics.
second phase of the communications effort will warn about
the dangers stemming from a nationalized health system.
which used to be known as Creative Response Concepts, is
the firm of Greg Mueller, who was a top aide to Pat Buchanan
and Steve Forbes.
pitched the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group that attacked
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry during the `04 Presidential
campaign and has pushed for intelligent design as an alternative
U.S. CHAMBER PUTS GEPHARDT
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce
has hired the Gephardt Group to bolster its lobbying firepower
GG is headed by former
House Majority Leader and Democratic Presidential candidate
Dick Gephardt, who enjoyed strong support from organized
labor during his political career.
The Chamber is currently
locked in a fierce battle with the AFL-CIO over the fate
of the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make
it easier for workers to join unions by signing cards rather
than voting in a secret ballot.
The Chamber rips the card
check bill as part of an aggressive activist
agency that will impose new and costly regulations
on business. The AFL-CIO responds that companies use
the current secret tally system to actively campaign and
NASH RETURNS TO APPAREL SECTOR
Jill Nash, who stepped
down as Yahoo!s communications chief last month, has
returned to the apparel sector in a similar role at Levi
Strauss & Co.
Nash, formerly VP of global
communications for clothing retailer Gap Inc., left Yahoo!
in February after two years and three CEOs at the Internet
giant. At Levi Strauss, she retains a CCO title along with
the VP of corporate affairs role.
Prior to Gap Inc., she
was VP of corporate comms. at Charles Schwab Corp.
Levi Strauss posted 2008
sales of $4.4 billion on the strength of its flagship Levis
and Dockers brands. But its fourth quarter 08 profit
tumbled 77 percent to $62M compared with 07.
BOEING LANDS BKSH
Boeing has tapped BKSH
& Assocs. to spearhead its lobbying effort as the aerospace
giant strengthens its presence in D.C.
Charlie Black, who exited
BKSH in `08 to head John McCains Presidential campaign,
is among the heavyweights to rep Boeing in the areas of
trade, environmental/climate change and tax matters. He
was chief spokesperson for the Republican National Committee
and counselor to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Black is joined by Scott
Pastrick (BKSH CEO), M.B. Ogelsby (former assistant counsel
for legislation at the Army Corps of Engineers), Jim Healey
(a 15-year aide to ex-Rep Dan Rostenkowsi), and Rich Meade
(aide to the former House Budge Committee chairman).
Boeing has just added
Sean McCormick as VP-communications in Washington. He was
assistant secretary for PA at Condi Rices State Dept.
C&W PROMOTES MOTHERS RIGHTS
Omnicoms Clark &
Weinstock is repping the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe
Motherhood, which earlier this month launched the Mothers
Day Every Day campaign with CARE.
The MDED effort wants
greater U.S. leadership to promote safe and healthy pregnancies
and birth worldwide.
The Alliances outreach
is based on education, nutrition and improved access to
healthcare before, during and after pregnancy.
The Alliance says more
than 500K pregnant women die each year from childbirth and
maternal mortality. It estimates the U.S. loses $15.5B in
potential productivity from lost mothers and newborns.
C&W staffers handling
the account are Sandra Stuart (ex-Assistant Secretary of
Defense), Erik Hotmire (ex-communications director for the
USA Freedom Corps), Deirdre Stach (former legislative director
to Rep. Bob Walker) and Peg McGlinch (ex-legislative counsel
to Sen. Harry Reid).
GLOBAL HEALTH GROUP ISSUES
RFP FOR PR
The American Society of
Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is searching for a PR firm
to highlight the 106-year-old not-for-profit groups
mission of fighting diseases that affect the worlds
The organization has issued
an open RFP to guide its $70K/year PR account. Firms that
make the interview round must appear in Washington, D.C.,
for that process.
previously handled the account and has indicated it will
not pursue the contract, said Matthew Lesh, communications
manager for the group.
The ASTMH, which publishes
a monthly peer-reviewed journal, was set up in 1903 and
includes scientists, clinicians and other global health
professionals focused on controlling infectious and other
diseases that disproportionately affect the worlds
Deadline for proposals
is March 16. Lesh has details ([email protected]);
847-480-9592. Media relations and PR are the focus of the
Edition, March 11, 2009, Page 3
MAG SCALES BACK
the glossy magazine of the Wall Street Journal, is
pushing back plans to go monthly due to the advertising
quarterlys March issue carries a fashion theme and
features LVMH chief Bernard Arnault on its cover.
are 27 ads in the 92 page mag. The premier issue had 51
ads and 104 pages.
publisher Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio told WWD that News Corp CEO
Rupert Murdoch is fully committed to the magazine.
remains a quarterly due to the extremely challenging
the Wall Street Journal has expanded its sports coverage
to six days a week to offer readers more than business and
financial news. Sam Walker, sports editor, is not planning
game coverage. He wants stories that are idea-based
with big themes.
Journal had covered sports on Friday in its Weekend
TIERNEY TINKERS WITH DAILY
Philadelphia Media Holdings
chief Brian Tierney says the tabloid Philadelphia Daily
News will be printed as an edition of the Philadelphia
Inquirer to save money on wire services by positioning
the papers as a single subscriber.
They will have their own
staffers and be sold separately on newsstands and to subscribers.
The change takes place
Advertising sales gains
are anticipated by the move. Tierney, in an interview with
the PDN, said: Instead of telling advertisers we have
330,000 circulation (at the Inquirer) plus the PDN, it will
help to say we have 440,000 daily circulation.
The change had been in
the works for a year. Tierney put both papers into bankruptcy
NBC GOES NONSTOP
IN BIG APPLE
NBC launched New
York Nonstop, a cable and over-the-air digital channel
in New York City, on March 9. It is available to 5.7M viewers
and calls itself a local information and lifestyle
The channel provides news
updates every 15 minutes and runs pod segments
in between. NYN wants information from bloggers and third-party
Meredith McGinn, senior
VP/special projects at NBC 4 New York, likens NYN to a shuffle
iPod, in which a listener doesnt know what song will
HSN DROPS 250
The Home Shopping Network
cut 250 jobs during the fourth quarter as the cable programmer
suffered a $2.1B loss due to write-offs of $2.4B.
CEO Mindy Grossman reports
that sale of big ticket items fell, while electronics and
wellness offerings held their own. Net sales dropped 11
percent to $778M.
HSN has suspended merit
increases for `09 and is looking to reduce travel and other
The company was founded
in 1977 and was part of IAC/InterActiveCorp until it was
spun off in `08.
EXITS AT MYSPACE
Amit Kapur, COO of MySpace,
has left the News Corp. social portal, according to a memo
from CEO Chris DeWolfe.
He attested to Kapurs
tenacity, passion and creativity as a leader within
MySpace and the larger industry.
Jim Benedetto, senior
VP/engineering, and Steve Pearman, senior VP/product strategy
will join Kapur to launch a new venture.
DeWolfe expects `09 will
be a big year for our business. The firm is
effectively monetizing the stickiest sections of our
site such as Music by coupling the worlds richest
content offering with creative ad programming online and
GENACHOWSKI TAPPED FOR FCC
President Barack Obama
has nominated Julius Genachowski to chair the Federal Communications
Genachowski has extensive
experience both inside and outside the government. He is
co-founder of LaunchBox Digital and Rock Creek Ventures
and special advisor to General Atlantic.
He worked for eight years
at Barry Dillers IAC/InterActiveCorp, serving as chief
of business operations and general counsel.
Genachowski was chief
counsel to former FCC chairman Reed Hundt and commissioner
William Kennard before he assumed the top spot.
He clerked for Supreme
Court justices William Brennan and David Souter, and was
an aide to New York Rep. (now Senator) Chuck Schumer.
McCLATCHY TRIMS STAR-TELEGRAM
McClatchy Co. is cutting
12 percent of the Star-Telegrams work force
due to the unprecedented revenue declines due to the
economic recession, according to S-T publisher Gary
The reductions are across
the board and voluntary buyouts are being offered to more
than 1,100 staffers.
The paper has forged a
joint distribution agreement with Belos Dallas
Morning News and is selling real estate holdings.
Wortel told staffers the
S-T remains focused on our goal to be the No. 1 local
news source and providing a valued product to
readers and advertisers.
BROADCASTING SCHOOL SHUTTERED
School of Broadcasting, a national TV and radio journalism
and production school, has shut down. The 45-year-old CSB
had 26 locations across the U.S.
The Associated Press
reported that students were alerted on the night of March
4 via text message and the doors of the school were locked
the next day.
Local TV station
WTNH said students who paid $12K for the semester were livid
at the closing a week before graduation.
The station reported
that CSBs original owner and founder has started the
process of re-opening the school.
news continued on next page)
Edition, March 11, 2009, Page 4
PROFIT DIPS 5.8%
Group on March 6 reported 2008 profit dipped 5.8 percent
to $616M as the second-half economic slump took its toll
on the ad/PR combine.
Martin Sorrell called `08 a year of two contrasting
halves. Organic growth was up four percent during
the first half then posted a one percent gain for the remainder
of the year due to the impact of the sub-prime and
insurance monocline crisis.
Hill & Knowlton, Burson-Marsteller and Ogilvy PR Worldwide-led
PR/PA unit showed a 6.9 percent growth for the year.
had expected 09 to be weak following 08, which
included the Beijing Olympics, U.S. Presidential elections
and UEFA soccer championships.
short-term scenario has now darkened because the unprecedented
current financial crisis has triggered a vicious recession
across the globe.
has downgraded his `09 forecast from flat to a two percent
decline in budgets. He sees a recovery of sorts
FIRMS TOUT PR SERVICE BARGAINS
Dozens of small and mid-sized
firms have honed their approach for new business to a bargain
pitch, highlighting scaled-back slates of services aimed
at budget-conscious clients.
HWH PR/New Media in New
York is touting an online PR Starter Kit, a
package of free and ultra affordable PR services
aimed at entities without significant ad and PR budgets.
People just need
a positive new perspective and affordable new ways to do
business, HWH president Lois Whitman said of the downturned
Jeff Davis, who recently
founded Houston-based FoodSmart Communications, is promoting
a $500 press release and distribution service aimed at value-conscious
clients looking to launch new products.
Davis is also highlighting
FoodSmarts honed distribution model as a value proposition.
The firm only pitches about 170 food writers and bloggers
who opt-in to its distribution list, a more targeted approach
than the mass distribution more common in PR.
Pitching smaller firms
as more affordable alternatives is a recurring theme. Two
former partners of Omnicom firm BlueCurrent PR this week
announced the formation of a boutique shop in Dallas, MM2
The time is right
for independent firms that provide big-agency experience
with a more personalized and cost-effective approach,
said Larry Meltzer, who is teaming with former BlueCurrent
and Fleishman-Hillard colleagues, Robert Martin and Annette
Scores of firms are relaying
the axiom that companies need to keep communicating in a
Risdall Marketing Group,
a marketing communications firm based in New Brighton, Minn.,
is echoing that warning as it markets a "Stimulus Value
Package" to prospective clients.
The $7K slate of services
includes an account planning session, PR supporting one
idea or observation for the client, a piece of creative
like a banner ad, social media marketing and other services.
FIRMS GREW IN 2008 (continued
up 12.4% to $119M; APCO Worldwide up 15.3% to $112.4M, and
Qorvis Communications up 14.5% to $34.9M.
ICR, after growing 40%
in 2007, grew 6% in 2008 to $26.2M. Text 100 was up 5% to
$63M; Ruder Finn up 3% to $96M; DKC/Dan Klores Communications
up 3.3% to $22.4M, and Schwartz Communications was about
even at $31M as was Taylor at $20.2M.
For the seventh straight
year, conglomerate-owned PR firms such as Weber Shandwick,
Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Fleishman-Hillard
and Ketchum, were not allowed to report any figures.
The 157 firms ranked by
ODwyers had a total of $1,396,412,161 in fees,
a 7.6% gain from the total of $1,299,877,004 reported by
190 independents in 2007.
Coyne Star in Top 50
Biggest gains in the top
50 were turned in by WeissComm Partners, the San Francisco-based
healthcare specialist, growing 46% to $18.9M, and Coyne
PR, of Parsippany, N.J., growing 35% to $11.3M.
Other big gainers in the
top 50 were Lewis PR of San Francisco, up 28% to $8.1M;
Davies of Santa Barbara, Calif., up 24% to $10.8M; Makovsky
& Co., New York, up 19% to $11M; Levick Strategic Communications,
Washington, D.C., up 17% to $10M, Spark PR, San Francisco,
up 16% to $6.9M and which joined the top 50; Shift Communications,
Brighton, Mass., up 15% to $12.2M, and Gregory FCA Communications,
Ardmore, Pa., up 15% to $8M.
Also joining the top 50
were Crosby Marketing Communications, Annapolis, rising
8% to $8.2M, and Lou Hammond & Assocs., up 9% to $7.1M.
Tech, healthcare and financial PR firms turned in many of
the best performances.
Dropping from the 08
list, besides Regan, which had reported a 14% gain in 2007
to $21M, were Bite Comms., S.F. ($16M in 2007); Lippert/Heilshorn
Assocs., New York ($11M in 2007); HealthStar, New York ($8.9M
in 2007); Stanton Crenshaw, New York, ($8M in 2007), and
Jackson Spalding, Atlanta ($7.4M in 2007).
Joining the list were
Paul Werth Assocs., Columbus, Ohio, reporting $5,794,000
in fees, up 17%, and Singer Assocs., San Francisco, with
$5,624,881 in fees, down 9%.
Other double-digit gains
on the list were registered by Hager Sharp, Washington,
D.C., up 20% to $6.5M; GYMR, D.C., up 18.9% to $5.5M; Atomic
Communications, San Francisco, up 42% to $7.6M; Consensus
Planning, Los Angeles, up 19% to $4.6M; Launch Squad, S.F.,
up 42% to $4.2M; Matter Communications, Boston, up 20% to
$4M; Lambert, Edwards, Grand Rapids, Mich., up 22% to $3.7M;
Richard Dukas Communications, New York, up 47% to $3.4M;
Walek & Assocs., New York, up 10% to $3M; HLB Communications,
Chicago, up 12.9% to $2.7M; Peritus PR, Louisville, Kentucky,
up 40% to $2.7M; Dodge Communications, Roswell, Ga., up
49% to $2.4M; Hope-Beckham, Atlanta, up 27% to $2.1M, and
Roman/Peshoff, Holland, Ohio, up 62% to $2.7M.
Edition, March 11,
2009, Page 5
ODwyers Rankings of Independent
With Major U.S. Operations
here to view rankings
Edition, March 11, 2009, Page 6
OF PR FIRMS
EXEC FORMS PR GROUP OF FIRM
Rodger Roeser, president
of Eisen Marketing Group outside of Cincinnati and former
head of the PR Society chapter there, is working to organize
PR agency owners in a new national association.
Roeser has formed the
PR Agency Owners Association to give voice to what he says
are hundreds of PR firm leaders whose voices and challenges
are not being heard or addressed by current PR groups.
The 2005 president of
PRS/Cincinnati called the Society a "wonderful organization"
that he will continue to dedicate time to, but he noted
"much of the membership is rather young and not at
a senior level facing ownership challenges and issues."
Said Roeser: "I dont
need to learn how to pitch the media; we owners need to
understand and address key business issues and proactively
confront those strategically for the growth and health of
our firms and our clientele."
The PR executive has found
success with an online radio show, "That Marketing
Show," and claims Eisen Marketing Group, which is based
in Newport, Ky., is the largest firm in the Cincinnati area.
Roeser said he makes the
case for companies to hire PR firms by comparing agency
fees with the cost of hiring an in-house staffer.
For a $50K agency expenditure,
he calculates an in-house staffer with two years of experience
would cost a company $90K after all the costs are added
NEWS OF SERVICES _________________________________
PR RESEARCH ORG TAPS GRUPP
Robert Grupp, former VP
of corporate and public affairs at Cephalon, has been elected
president and CEO of the Institute for PR following a six-month
Grupp, who has been a
trustee of the Institute since 2004, takes the reins at
the PR research organization from Frank Ovaitt, who announced
his retirement in November after five years.
The Institute, a non-profit,
said more than 25 candidates were considered in the search,
which was led by Heyman Associates.
Grupp was 2008 president
of the International PR Association and co-chaired its World
Congress in Beijing last fall. He heads his own management
consultancy handling corporate communications and international
Prior to Cephalon, he
worked in corporate comms., public affairs and PR at Eli
Lilly, Dow Corning and Consumers Energy. Grupp started out
as a newspaper journalist in Florida and Illinois.
I am thoroughly
energized by the opportunity to lead the Institute,
Grupp said in a statement.
BRIEF: Lee Weinstein, principal at LWA
PR, Portland, is hosting a new Internet radio show,
PR Works Show, at smallplateradio.com.
The show debuted on March 5 at noon EST. Weinstein, a former
director of comms. for Nike, said hell feature PR
pros to share experiences and best practices. Each show
will also be available in podcast form.
New York/Baur au Lac, Zurich hotel, for PR. The 175-year-old
property is unveiling suites and a new restaurant in the
summer of 09.
New York/Rabbi Irwin Kula, for PR.
PR, New York/N.Y.
chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization, as AOR
Lambertville, N.J./Hollywood Tans, tanning salon chain,
as AOR including PR, advertising and interactive work.
N.J./ElementN, cloud-based database platform; Newfound Communications,
IP call recording, and Bay Crest Partners, financial services,
for PR and marketing.
Baltimore/Weil, Akman, Baylin & Coleman, accounting
firm, for website design
Baltimore/The Maryland Zoo, for brand management
Vienna, Va./China Telecom Americas, Virginia subidiary of
Chinese telecom; GigaTrust, enterprise rights management
software, and NexAira, wireless data solutions, for PR.
Airlines, for launch of new service between Chicago and
PR, San Diego/AnaptysBio,
therapeutic antibody applications, for PR and IR.
of GCI Group, to Feldman & Partners, as a partner based
in Austin. Hunt worked with Bob Feldman at GCI and earlier
at Burson-Marsteller. Feldman is based in Los Angeles with
the two-year-old firm.
for Thorp & Company, to Jones Public Affairs, Washington,
D.C., as an A/D. She handles healthcare clients like Bristol-Myers
Squibb and the Coalition for Patients Rights.
VP of IR, Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., to Owens-Illinois,
Perrysburgh, Ohio, as VP of IR taking over for Paul
was named VP and sales category leader.
specialist for the San Antonio Water System, to Dublin &
Associates, San Antonio, as an A/E.
with The Spizman Aegncy, to Westbound Communications, Orange,
Calif., as an A/E.
director handling voter contact for Barack Obamas
presidential campaign in Washington State, to Nyhus Communications,
Seattle, as an A/E. She was previously campaign manager
for Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.). Josh Dill, who oversaw new
media for the Rossi for Governor campaign, joins as an A/C
focused on new media.
Album to VP
of public and government affairs, Delta Dental, San Francisco.
Edition, March 11, 2009, Page 7
editorials have charged that PRS has obviously not
reached out to leaders in the black communications community.
by Paul to set up a lunch with PRS chair Mike Cherenson,
VP-PR Art Yann, Jack ODwyer and ODwyer editor
Kevin McCauley were blocked when Yann said no lunch could
take place until ODwyer editors demonstrated a change
of heart, agreed to abide by rules of accuracy and
fair reporting, and agreed to stop personal attacks on PRS
leaders and staff.
ODwyer said McCauley and he would attend any lunch
without any pre-conditions.
Has Personal Vendetta
In pursuing his
personal vendetta against PRS, Mr. ODwyer has written
to the New York State Supreme Court, university administrators
and professors, senior executives at companies that employ
our board members and volunteers, trade associations, journalists
He advocates for
operational changes that he is unqualified to address; pursues
grievances that he could not or would not pursue through
the judicial system, and claims unfair competition when,
in fact, PRS does not compete with the ODwyer organization
on any level.
We believe that
the White Housewhich clearly has more pressing matters
to deal with than a private-sector business decisionwill
dismiss Mr. ODwyers claims in much the same
way that the others have.
PRS and ODwyer
Compete Head On
Jack ODwyer responded
on the blog (capitolcommunicator.com) that ODwyer
products compete head-on with PRS for many of the same advertisers
and for the attention of all PR people including PRS members.
The ODwyer website,
with eight years of materials searchable by any word or
group of words, competes with the PRS site which has limited
search capabilities, ODwyer said.
Answering the observation
that he calls many sources and interested parties on a story,
ODwyer said that is exactly what PR doesbuild
a stable of allies.
Some of them side
with PRS but with others, our complaints about the Societys
financial reporting and record of only three blacks on the
board in 61 years, resonates enough for them to take action,
ODwyer said PRS
ignores all criticisms with impunity including criticism
of its financial reporting, blocking 80% of its members
from running for national office for more than 35 years,
and stifling member dissent on its website and in its publications.
He noted that he told
the Federal Trade Commission in 1976 about two anti-competitive
articles in the PRS code of ethics and the FTC
forced removal of the articles and made PRS sign a formal
Its time for
government regulators to step in again, said ODwyer.
PRS AUDIT CHAIR
James Finkle, managing
editor of Booz Allen Hamilton, a $4 billion consulting firm
that works mainly on government defense and security matters,
is 2009 audit committee chair of the PR Society.
The PRS website says that,
Although not required by law, PRS is committed
to supporting the principles of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of
SOX calls for the audit
chair of a public company to be on the board and to be expert
in financial matters. The audit chair is also to be assisted
by two other committee members who are on the board, according
to the NYSE and NASDAQ, which were assigned to carry out
many of the principles voiced in SOX.
The SEC defines a financial
expert as an investment banker, venture capital
investor, stock analyst or finance professional.
PRS refused to discuss
this matter or to provide the names of the other audit committee
Finkle, who declined comment,
is a retired Air Force colonel who served as deputy director
of PA at Andrews Air Force Base. He was for 11 years manager
of manager of the High Tech Incubator (start-up companies)
at Stony Brook University, Long Island, before joining BAH
His first job there, said
the Long Island Business News Sept. 23, 2005, was helping
intelligence czar John Negroponte break down the barriers
of communication among U.S. spy and law enforcement agencies.
Negroponte, the first
Director of National Intelligence, was U.S. representative
to the United Nations from 2001-2004 and is now at Yale
LEADER TELLS PRS: ACCEPT ODWYER
Dick Tyler, a Fellow of
PRS and former president of PRS/LA, fourth largest chapter,
said he was disappointed with the Societys refusal
to carry ODwyer Co. ads.
Tyler, who was PR director
of American Airlines and had posts at Ford Motor and Carl
Byoir & Assocs., said he has followed the Newsletters
coverage of PRS for decades and that, without the NL, he
would totally unaware of many of the issues facing
PRS and the industry in general since PRS is certainly not
keeping me informed.
He called the treatment
of Jack ODwyer by PRS appalling and said
the ODwyer NL is one of the key publications
in the PR industry that should be read by PRS members and
The straw that broke
the camels back, he said, was PRS VP-PR Arthur
Yann saying that the NL had a history of attacking
PRS leaders and
misrepresenting PRS programs, activities
Tyler said he would voice
his displeasure to PRS national.
BUSH AIDE TO HEAD PUBLIC STRATEGIES
Dan Bartlett, former communications
director for President Bush, is being elevated to president
and CEO of Austin-based PR and public affairs powerhouse
Bartlett is taking the
top post over from Clinton White House vet Jeff Eller, a
15-year PS veteran whos headed the firm since 2006.
Eller takes up a vice chairman role atop its D.C. office.
Bartlett assumes the post
on March 15. He joined the firm after wrapping up his White
House tenure as senior counselor to the president in June
Edition, March 11, 2009,
PR Society was its usual pugnacious self in commenting
on our letter to President Obama (page one) requesting government
intervention that would force PRS to take our ads and let
VP-PR Arthur Yann said we were pursuing our personal
vendetta against PRS and that we have contacted just
about everyone under the sun including the New York State
Supreme Court, university administrators and professors,
executives at employers of PRS volunteers, trade associations
should also have included the IRS, FTC, New York State Attorney
General, and New York State senators and representatives,
to name some of the others we have reached out to.
learned this approachbuilding a base of alliesfrom
none other than PRS itself and numerous PR books.
we first started covering PRS 1968, we noticed glaring
anti-competitive articles in the codebarring contingency
fees and PR firms or members from pitching each others
accounts or jobs. It was O.K. to pitch a non-members
account or job. The message was, join PRS and eliminate
a lot of competition.
Then, as now, PRS ignored
our criticisms of these articles. But in 1976, the FTC announced
a campaign to rid trade associations of code articles that
We called it up and asked
if it were interested in looking at the PRS code. We supplied
the FTC with a copy of it. Two FTC agents visited PRS in
the fall of 1976 and asked for removal of the articles.
PRS leaders said that
could only be done by the Assembly which was meeting in
November. Counselor delegates were opposed to any changes,
arguing that if anyone could pitch anyone elses account,
chaos would result. The FTC request was turned
Undeterred, the FTC came
back early the next year armed with a consent decree that
PRS had to sign. PRS suspended the code and the Assembly
made the changes at its spring meeting.
galls us most about the in-your-face attitude of PRS,
which dates back to 1980 when Patrick Jackson became president,
is that PRS is defaming us and competing against us with
our own money. All Americans contribute to PRS since it
is a 501/c/6 non-profit and does not pay its normal taxes.
If it did, it would have to shell out about $2M of the $5M
or so cash/and investments it has on hand (federal/state
taxes add up to about 40%).
Jackson immediately booted
all the PR pros out of h.q. including COO Rea Smith. She
was shifted to the Foundation but exiled to another office
and told not to show up at h.q.
Control of PRS went from
New York to across the nation by the simple expedient of
creating about 50 new chapters, many with 10-25 members,
resulting in a total of more than 100. Each of them had
one Assembly vote and was just as powerful as a chapter
with 99 members. Power left New York never to return.
However, members in the
smaller chapters started to complain about the high costs
of New York h.q. and twice voted to move h.q. out of the
city. The board said it was in control of the affairs of
PRS and in retaliation permanently abolished the spring
The PRS board has shown
in other ways that it does not like criticism.
When service firms organized
the PR Services Council in the early 1990s and demanded
better traffic flow and even classes at the annual conference,
PRS simply abolished the exhibit hall from 1995 to 2000.
With no exhibit hall to complain about, the Council folded.
proposed bylaws would abolish the sitting Assembly,
thorn in the boards side for many years. A major board
problem is how to occupy the delegates and minimize questioning.
In 2008, the solution was 5.5 hours of presentations and
programs including a two-hour exercise in strategic
thinking conducted by an outside consultant. For the second
straight year, the board was successful in blocking a town
hall session at the end of the meeting.
Another new bylaw would
require chapter presidents or presidents-elect to be delegates
to the new Leadership Assembly. Unsurprisingly,
these are the very same people to whom PRS gives or has
given $500 for a weekend in New York in June for a Leadership
wants to know why we or the other authors didnt sue
back in 1995. Twelve authors collected $6,000 ($500
each) and had a law firm write to PRS asking for negotiations.
PRS took the stance that it was a library and
was merely charging a loan fee for distributing
packets of copied materials. We said that $55 was a pretty
steep loan fee (non-member rate) for 50 or 60
pages of materials that were supposed to be returned. We
never heard of a library with such high charges.
Much of the material (including
entire chapters of books by three college professors) was
copyrighted by major publishers. None of the publishers
showed any interest in helping the authors pursue legal
action or even putting pressure on PRS. The authors saw
the truth in the old axiomthe strongest union is the
union of bosses. Our lawyers warned of a lengthy suit costing
hundreds of thousands of dollars which might go nowhere
because copyright law was so murky. Why this
issue hasnt been studied by some PR professor or PR
grad student is a mystery to us.
shocking piece of information came out last week after months
of our seeking it from PRSs Arthur Yann. 2008
chair Julin did not address any of the 109 chapters last
year until he spoke to the Sierra Nevada chapter in Colorado
in August. He spoke to one other chapter in September and
four in November. One of his first acts last year was cancelling
the leadership teleconferences that usually followed board
meetings. Leaders, until further notice, were to e-mail
him any questions. There was no town hall at the 2008 Assembly
which was conducted by Julin. He was one of the most reclusive
PRS chairs in our experience. 2009 chair Mike Cherenson
is showing similar habits. Yann says Cherenson has spoken
to six chapters and will address at least seven more but
wont identify any of them.