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Internet Edition, March 25, 2009, Page 1


The U.S. Army is looking for a firm to handle a media campaign in Afghanistan to build support for the Government of President Karzai and acceptance of the Afghan Army as a “legitimate security force,” according to an RFP.

The move comes as President Obama is set to announce his plan for Afghanistan, calling for a doubling of the number of Afghan soldiers and police officers to about 400,000 members.

The Army wants its media partner to promote the theme that the Afghan government has been freely elected by the people and thus has a stronger tie to them than one with leaders who seized power. It also will stress that the Afghan Government provides services and aid “while the Taliban bring violence.”

Using posters, billboards, flyers, radio messages, documentaries and TV ads, the campaign will condemn the use of improvised explosive devices for killing innocents and tarnishing the future of Afghanistan. Another desired angle: “killing Muslims is against Islam.”

The contract carries a base year of $10M and three option years for $10M each. Work is based in Kabul. Response date is March 25.


Porter Novelli trimmed 15 percent of its Washington, D.C. staff (12 people) last week in an effort to deal with the economic slump, according to Marian Salzman, chief marketing officer of the Omnicom unit.

She said PN has been making a series of staff “adjustments” this year as part of CEO Gary Stockman’s effort to right-size the operation.

Salzman denied rumors that additional cutbacks also took place in New York.


Siemens Corp. has upped Jim Whaley to assume PR and marketing duties that were handled by Jack Bergen, who exited the firm in October for the top PR post at Alcoa.

Both men have ties to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Bergen graduated and taught at West Point before shifting to the Defense Dept. for a speechwriting post. That led to corporate jobs at RCA and General Electric before shifting to agency life.

Whaley was West Point’s communications director and is remembered for his hand in organizing PR efforts for the Academy’s 200th anniversary. He retired from the Army after a 20-year stint and joined Siemens in `04 as senior director of PA.


Levick Strategic Communications is advising embattled American International Group, which took a beating in Congress over the payment of $165M in bonuses to executives in its London office who created the financial derivatives that have brought the financial giant to its knees.

LSC, the D.C.-based firm that chalked up $10M in `08 fees, declined to comment about any AIG work. The embattled insurer has worked with Hill & Knowlton, Burson-Marsteller, Kekst & Co. and Sard Verbinnen on a broad range of issues.

Some media have criticized AIG’s reliance on PR firms as a sign that the insurer is trying to “spin” the public after accepting $180B in bailout funds from taxpayers.

AIG CEO Ed Liddy, who took the helm six months ago, told Congress last week “had I been CEO at the time I would never have approved the retention contracts that were put in place over a year ago.”


Alan Magleby, who headed investor relations and financial communications for Washington Mutual, has landed at asset manager Legg Mason in charge of IR and corporate communications.

Baltimore-based LM was hit with two downgrades this month and is trying to move forward amid a shakeup of top executives, including the ouster of its chairman and chief investment officer. The company said its assets plummeted from $31B to $3B from ’05 to the end of ’08.

Magleby was senior VP of IR at Washington Mutual since September 2004 when he joined after three years at JPMorgan Chase, WaMu’s new owner. JPMorgan acquired WaMu in September in a $1.9B deal brokered by the federal government.


John Budd, founder and chairman of The Omega Group and former vice chairman of Carl Byoir & Associates in a 30-year career there, said the secretive group of top PR executives known as Seminar should skip plans for its annual event at a swank California resort amid the economic downturn.

Budd, a former member of the group, said that when he learned the group was convening at the elegant Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Calif., complete with spa, pool, golf course and rooms at $449 per night, he was reminded of the Oscar Wilde quip, “Really, if the lower orders don’t set a good example, what on earth is the use of them?”

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 2


The Livingston Group wants to help Libya reduce airport hassles by U.S. Transportation Security Administration screeners, celebrate the 40th anniversary of Col. Gaddafi’s takeover, craft a corporate responsibility program, educate American military contractors about opportunities available and develop history/eco-tourism, according to a document obtained by a Libyan opposition group.

The 42-page document is marked “confidential” and called “2008-2009 Full Normalization Action Program: Moving the New Libya-U.S. Bilateral Relationship Forward.” It is posted in Arabic and English on the website of the National Conference of the Libyan Opposition (

The document credits former Speaker-designate Bob Livingston and team members for working “around the clock” to ensure passage of the bill signed into law in August, approving settlement claims with family members of Pan Am Flight 203, which was blown out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland by Libyan agents.

Livingston, according to the document, vows to meet personally with high level Dept. of Homeland Security officials to “prevent the harassment of Libyan officials and citizens” at this country’s more than 400 commercial airports.

“Recognition of the 40th Anniversary of the Revolution” is among projects that TLG plans to tackle. It plans to show how life has improved under Gaddafi and identify U.S. companies eager to join the festivities.

This NL reported March 9 that TLG received more than $750K in fees from Libya since September.


Eisen Marketing Group has snapped up plumbing services franchise Roto-Rooter’s PR account after a two-firm review. Ketchum/Chicago was the incumbent.

Rodger Roeser, president of Cincinnati-based EMG who is heading the account, said a series of three direct mailers eventually led to being invited to pitch against the Omnicom firm.

“This is our third major client to have chosen us after leaving a Chicago or New York firm in the last two months,” he said.

Roto-Rooter claims to be the largest plumbing and drain cleaning services company in the U.S. and Canada. It operates 115 businesses and about 500 are franchised.

EMG is handling national publicity and PR for the company, including social media awareness efforts. R-R has a blog at to which Abrams contributes.

“With communications evolving at such a rapid pace, we became increasingly convinced that we did not necessarily need a big New York or Chicago PR firm in order to reach top shelf media outlets,” Abrams told O’Dwyer’s. “We had a terrific run with Ketchum and some great programs, but I wanted to see if a small, scrappy local agency could bring us fresh ideas and a new approach without sacrificing quality media impressions.”

R-R is a unit of publicly traded Cincinnati-based Chemed Corp. Vitas Healthcare is its other major subsidiary.


Kevin Sullivan, communications director for President George W. Bush and a former corporate PR exec, has set up a Washington, D.C.-based PR shop and affiliated with Weber Shandwick.

“I’m spending roughly half my time working on Weber stuff, on a handful of different accounts,” Sullivan told O’Dwyer’s in noting he’s worked on American Airlines and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation so far.

He has an executive VP title with WS and an office at Powell Tate in D.C., where he goes in a few days each week. Sullivan noted that he’s worked out of Dallas, Detroit and Los Angeles for the agency as well, since signing on last month.

Sullivan replaced Nicole Wallace as President Bush’s White House communications director in 2006, moving over from the Dept. of Education and serving until the end of the second Bush term. He has Texas roots going to the Dallas Mavericks basketball franchise, where he rose to VP of communications before moving on to New York as VP/comms., NBC Sports, and later senior VP of communications for NBC Universal.

His new firm is at


Film and TV studio Lions Gate Entertainment has hired Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher as it mounts a PR battle with activist investor Carl Icahn.

Icahn said in a statement on March 11 that talks with the studio to get his directors on Lions Gate’s board had terminated, an announcement that Lions Gate followed up about two hours later.

“…the board ultimately concluded that it could not meet [Icahn’s] requests and continue to serve the best interests of all of our shareholders, which is our number one priority,” LG said in a statement.

The next day Icahn, who owns 14.5 percent of the company, announced a tender offer for any of the $325 million principal in convertible notes issued by Lions Gate. Icahn said the talks were cut off because the two sides couldn’t agree on terms of a standstill agreement, which would have limited his stake in the company.

BusinessWeek reported that Icahn wanted to void such an agreement if any of his directors stepped down from the Lions Gate board.


Chandler Chicco Agency has recruited Al Jackson, a former Ketchum PA staffer, to run its Washington office.

A 20-year PR/PA veteran, Jackson was VP-political affairs and grassroots advocacy at the American Hospital Assn. and director of the American Medical Assn. political action division.

CCA is part of inVentiv Health Inc., which is a NASDAQ-listed company. It also bolstered its D.C. operation via the addition of Michal Fishman, who joined from MDF Communications in New Orleans.

She was director of U.S. PA and director of Pfizer’s regional marketing group and a VP in Edelman’s Washington office.


Internet Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 3


Gannett called off its plan to shutter the Tucson Citizen on March 21 because negotiations with two prospective buyers were expected to continue through the weekend.

“In light of these ongoing discussions, Gannett will delay a decision regarding the potential sale or closure of the Tucson Citizen, but expects to make a decision in the very short term,” according to a statement from the publishing giant.

Jennifer Boice is editor of the afternoon TC, which stumbled in a circulation race with the morning Arizona Daily Star, a Lee Enterprises property.

The Associated Press had eulogized the 140-year-old TC as the paper that covered “Arizona's biggest stories.” That coverage included Wyatt Earp’s shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone (1881) and the 1934 arrest of famed bank robber John Dillinger and members of his gang who were hiding out in Tucson (1934).

Gannett put the Citizen on the auction block in January. Its stock price has dwindled to $2.52 a-share. That's a far cry from its $64.75 price of ten years ago.


Hearst Corp. last week officially announced that its Seattle Post-Intelligencer is shifting to an online-only newspaper, making it the biggest all digital “newspaper” publication. The final print issue ran March 17.

The move enables Hearst to slash employment at the paper that had more than 180 staffers. There are about 20 newsroom survivors and another 20 hawking ads.

Frank Bennack, CEO, called the decision to stop publishing the 146-year-old print paper an “extraordinarily difficult one.”

The goal, according to a statement from Hearst Newspapers president Steven Swartz, is to be more than an online newspaper.

He wants to “craft a new type of digital business with a robust, community news and information website at its core.”

The revamped P-I will feature columnists from prominent Seattle residents, more than 150 reader blogs, community databases, photo galleries and links to other websites. is led by Michelle Nicolosi, executive producer, who has headed the site since 2005. She had been an investigative reporter at the paper.

Nielsen ranked among the top 30 newspaper sites with 1.8 million unique users.

Hearst put the P-I up for sale in January, but no bidders emerged. William Randolph Hearst bought the P-I in 1921.


A group of 30 journalists of the defunct Rocky Mountain News has secured the backing of three entrepreneurs for the fledgling online news site

The group has set a goal of 50K subscribers by April 23, the date 150 years ago when the first edition of “The Rocky” was published. With that goal met, a full site is slated for launch by May 4.

Under the planned model, news stories will be free but subscriptions will give the reader access to news analysis, insight, online chats and other features.

“Well, the Rocky Mountain News is gone,” says columnist Mark Wolf in a video posted on YouTube. “But all the folks who have committed to bring you the very best in local news coverage, investigative reporting, sports coverage, local and national arts and entertainment reporting and criticism, commentary and cartoons – we’re all still around.”

In a statement, the staff said InDenverTimes is an effort to “reinvent the newspaper for the Internet age” with a news team the Denver area has known for years.

A video posted on YouTube promises the “same spirit of the Rocky.”

Among the staffers are sports reporters Sam Adams, Aaron Lopez, Chris Tomasson and Kevin Kuhn, presentation editor Kim Humphreys, “People” columnist Gary Massaro, cartoonist Ed Stein, music/dance critic Marc Shulgold, reporters Bob Willis, Kevin Flynn (transportation), Tim Burroughs, Bill Scanlon, assistant news editor George Tanner, columnist Mark Wolf, theater critic Lisa Bornstein, and music critic Mark Brown.

“This heart continues to beat,” said Humphreys.

E.W. Scripps Co. shut down the Rocky last month. More than 200 staffers lost their jobs. Scripps announced in December that it was seeking a buyer for the paper that it says lost $16M in 2008.


Time Inc. is trying a 10-week test of “mine,” a customized magazine that is sponsored by Toyota and its Lexus 2010 sports utility model.

The free magazine will have a print run of 31,000 and an online version going to another 200,000 emails.

Readers can select titles from five titles published by Time-Warner Inc. and American Express Co.

The magazines include Sports Illustrated, Time, Real Simple, Food and Wine, Money, Golf, Travel + Leisure and In Style.

Readers will fill out an online survey and the ads and stories will be targeted according to their preferences.

Editors will select the "best of" stories and package the collection. The kick-off issue will be mailed in early April, and then sent every other week.

The online version will look just like the paper edition, Time said.


Ron Isana, who exited CNBC three years ago for a life of a hedge fund manager is back as a part-time financial analyst.

He will appear on the "Closing Bell" and do spot duty on MSNBC and NBC News programs.

Isana told the New York Times that the one regret that he had in the financial arena was about losing money.

He sold Isana Capital Partners in August.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 4


The San Diego Union-Tribune has been sold to a Beverly Hills-based private equity firm that some observers believe is more interested in the Copley family's valuable real estate than the newspaper.

Platinum Equity paid an estimated $50M for the nation’s 23rd largest newspaper that has a circulation of 270,000.

Copley Press owns 13 acres in Mission Valley and another half-acre in La Jolla. Real estate analysts value that property worth more than $100M.


"It is out of control. We do not want people stealing our photos," Stewart Cook, photographer for Rex USA, told an Entertainment Publicists Professional Society workshop on March 19 about theft of online photos.

"We have watermarks, but once a magazine publishes our photos and posts it online, we are always finding people ripping it off," said Kathy Hutchins, president, Hutchins Photo, which specializes in entertainment, does some news and is published by magazines available by subscription and on newsstands.

"Everything in entertainment can be found on our site, but once it gets into magazines it is hard to protect them," said Hutchins. She pays a fee to a watermark service, which is how Hutchins tracks who is using her photos and is able to prevent free-loaders from downloading her work.

"It is an interesting time we are in, and it may take years before we learn what format is best to preserve or protect our photos online," said Sam Mircovich, editor-in-chief, Global Entertainment Pictures, Thomson Reuters News Pictures.

Stewart Cook, photographer, Rex USA, a unit of Britain’s largest privately-owned agency, also bemoaned having photos copied by bloggers: "We specialize in entertainment, but we are also strong in features that range from one-legged skate boarding jocks to features on the military in Iraq. We are one of two agencies that syndicate for the Ministry of Defense. We supply web print and video much like everyone else with one of the largest libraries."

Sara De Boer, Photographer, Retna, LA, adapted to the shift from film to digital by shedding staff and going it alone. "I am syndicated domestically and also syndicate to Sunday editions worldwide," she said. "I provide photo services of events, parties and celebrities. I also do a fair amount of work with the soap opera stars, and I really enjoy that. I do as many red carpet events as I can, and I am one of the most affected by digital photography changes."

Reuters vs. AP

Pictures illustrate the story, said Mircovich. He noted that Thomson Reuters is a little different than the AP. "Reuters like the Associated Press, is one of the oldest wire services in the world, and I think there is a constant battle over who is older, AP or us. We started around 1853. Reuters News Pictures is part of a larger company called Thomson Reuters," after Reuters' acquisition last year by a data provider Thomson of Canada.

"Our clients are newspapers and online customers," explained Mircovich. "We supply content to many of the websites you see on the Internet. But what sets us apart from AP is we also provide data services and news to professionals on a subscription basis.

"We have products for the legal side, for medical and financial clients as well. The photographs and data are all packaged in the subscription through a web browser," he said.

Mircovich said that entertainment plays a big part in TR's business, including coverage of the movie studios and conglomerates. "We are a little more targeted than AP," said Mircovich.

"We are subscription based internationally, so when photos hit the wire, they hit thousands of AP members globally, instantly," countered APTV’s Guinevere Smith, national entertainment photo editor. "We work with publicists to understand your needs, and we work with staff photographers on the editorial side as well as contributing freelance photographers. AP works to achieve your goals as well as our breaking news."

The AP offers news, photos, graphics, audio and video for 1,700 U.S. newspapers and 6,000 broadcast outlets around the world. There are more than 240 bureaus worldwide representing 121 countries. It features a massive digital network, a continuously updated online news service, a television news service and one of the largest radio networks in the United States.

Here are some photo tips offered by the photo experts:

• Do not use vinyl as a backdrop, because it reflects a lot of light.

• Be aware of your lighting, especially on red carpet events; one spotlight is not enough.

• Show up early with lesser known clients at events; they will shoot most everyone if time permits.

• Advise your clients to wear color, avoiding solid white or black outfits.

• Advise clients not to cross their legs when posting (fashion especially).

• Remember flashes pierce sheer black.

• Go ahead of your client with a client name in large, bold type for ID.

• Stay out of the photos; many photogs are shooting long lenses down the carpet.

• Be aware when an "A" list star is approaching, step back. Resume shooting when they have passed.

• Have a realistic space for press cleared; 12" per position is minimum, 18" is preferred.

• Be honest with tip sheets; photogs would rather have surprises than disappointments.

• Check-in time should be accurate, not an hour before you intend to check in.

• Communication if you are marking placement for photos in press area.

• All events are not equal; Photos will support small events if given access to the "good" ones.

• Avoid "set decoration" feeling; don’t change colors on various background; be consistent.

• Put photogs first on a press line; flow is proven to be better.

Internet Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 5


Gary Locke, the former Washington governor nominated by President Obama to be Commerce Secretary, listed a $19K payment over the past year from Waggener Edstrom on his financial disclosure forms.

WaggEd in June 2007 announced Locke as one of four members of its Global Public Affairs Advisory Council. The Democrat has been serving as a partner in the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine.

Obama is hoping to get Locke through a smooth confirmation after two previous nominees pulled out.

Most of Locke’s income came from his law firm salary of $533K, as well as a state pension of $121K. He also nabbed $101K as a director of Safeco Insurance and $467 in deferred fees and stock cashout from that Seattle-based company.


DDA PR, the London-based entertainment PR powerhouse, is expanding its Los Angeles office with the addition of a domestic publicity division.

Dana Archer, who handled entertainment accounts as a group manager at Weber Shandwick, has joined the firm to head the new unit as VP of corporate publicity.

Archer told O’Dwyer’s that she is heading up the domestic side of DDA business in Los Angeles with responsibility for pursuing film, TV, home entertainment and corporate business. She'll also provide an L.A. presence for overseas clients targeting North America.

At WS, Archer worked on Warner Brothers, Overture Films and Paramount Home Entertainment, among other clients. She is a veteran of SWPR and Ogilvy PR Worldwide’s entertainment unit B/W/R handling TV and film campaigns for “Malcolm in the Middle” and the short film “West Bank Story,” which won an Oscar.

Lawrence Atkinson, executive VP of DDA, said the time was right to develop its North American capabilities after recently growing its international corporate unit in London.

DDA, along with its events division, claims to be the largest independent agency in the entertainment field.

BRIEFS: WordenGroup Strategic PR, Jackson, Wy., says PR firms need to do a “green audit” before establishing “green” credibility with media and clients. That includes digital press kits, collateral and clip books, minimal swag and, if you need to mail something, use of 100 percent recycled paper and envelopes. “We have ecotourism clients who could receive negative coverage if we miss the slightest green detail,” said Darla Worden, principal of the firm. ...Lang/Durham, Farmington, Conn., has changed its name to Durham Group and launched a new website at ...Rosica Strategic PR, Paramus, N.J., has acquired boutique three-person firm B&Y Communications. Rosica reported $1.7M in revenue for 2008 with 15 staffers, up two percent from ‘07. The combined firms count 18 staffers based in Paramus. B&Y focses on healthcare, B2B and medical technology.


New York Area

The Dilenschneider Group, New York/VisitDenmark, official tourism organization of the country, for travel and lifestyle PR.

Krupp Kommunications, New York/Dr. Leslie Seppini, psychologist and licensed family therapist, for PR and integrated marketing, including the vetting of speaking ops, sponsorships and partnerships.

FdF Marketing PR Consultancy, New York/Medialia ... Rack and Hamper Gallery, New York, for April exhibit of paintings and drawings, “True or Not,” by Han Jong Shin.

Redpoint Marketing PR, New York/Solo, a division of U.S. Luggage Company, for brand and product media relations for its line of business cases. Solo recently unveiled a TSA-approved laptop case. Redpoint also expanded its relationship with Robinson Home Products for launch of a line of cooking utensils for slow cookers.


Dodge Communications, Atlanta/Chamberlin Edmonds, patient advocate for process of government and community reimbursement of media expenses, for PR, including media relations, speaking opportunities and message development. The firm has also picked up Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a publisher for healthcare pros and students, for collateral development.

rbb PR, Miami/AmericanAirlines Arena, sports and entertainment venue, as AOR.

TransMedia Group, Boca Raton, Fla./Barkin and Associates, real estate investment and relocation company, for global PR. TM founder Tom Madden is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York and keeps his real estate sales license at B&A. Under the deal, TM serves as B&A’s marketing and PR arm in New York, Florida and London.


JSH&A PR, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill./Reckitt Benckiser, for a year-long integrated PR campaign for its Spray ‘n Wash Bright & White brand.


Fineman PR, San Francisco/Marin Healthcare District, for PR support as the district takes over management of Marin General Hospital next year. The a la carte, month-to-month contract budget tops out at $25K/month as the transfer approaches.

Bob Gold & Associates, Los Angeles/R.L. Drake, cable TV systems and engineering components, for marketing and PR support of its Drank Digital line of products for video network operators.

Mayo Communications, Los Angeles/Sol Romero, model and actress, for publicity and media training. Romero appears in the upcoming Mel Gibson thriller “The Edge of Darkness.”


The Communications Group, Toronto/Atria Networks, fibre-optic network operator for telecommunications, as PR consultants of record, and The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, support organization for the Holocaust education center in Jerusalem of the same name, for PR.

Internet Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 6


The National Black PR Society, citing the “difficult economic environment,” said it will forgo its four-day annual conference which was planned for Atlanta in late April in favor of a series of free webinars.

The original conference and career fair, the group’s 10th annual event, was slated for April 23-26 in Atlanta with a theme of “Real Talk in Tough Times: Communicating for Change.”

Wynona Redmond, public affairs director for Safeway who is president of NBPRS, said tough economic constraints have prohibited travel and conference expenses for members and sponsors of the event.

“We decided to be innovative and use a combination of technology and the grassroots approach of taking the conference directly to our target audience, which is our local chapters,” she said.

The webinars will run during the days originally slated for the conference. Details are pending and will be posted at

The group, which has about 1,000 members, is also planning local events and career fairs through its chapters in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., this year. NBPRS is also planning to publish a “Network Guide” of top African-American PR pros and agencies to distribute to companies, government agencies and the PR field.


PR Newswire has landed a GSA Schedule contract from the federal government, a five-year deal that gives myriad federal agencies incentive to do business with the company.

The General Services Administration is the procurement portal for the U.S. bureaucracy. Based on its size, PRN will earn a minimum of $550K through the duration of the deal, but that figure could grow much larger depending on its workload.

Brian Taylor, VP of PRN’s Public Interest Services unit, said the GSA designation streamlines the process of hiring contractors and expands the scope of its business with the federal government.

PRN acquired U.S. Newswire from Medialink in a multimillion-dollar deal 2006 that gave it a wider line into the public affairs news dissemination sector based in Washington, D.C.


Spring Associates, a NYC-based executive search firm, released its 13th annual PR salary report last week noting average corporate communications base salaries increased 2.2%, down from an increase of 3.8% last year.

PR agency base salaries increased 2.5%, off from a 3.9% bump in 2007. The hardest hit portion of a PR person’s compensation package last year were bonuses.

Those fortunate enough to receive bonuses, saw the amount dwindle 34% on average.

Dennis Spring noted that as of mid-March the pace of hiring has slowed to a crawl. However, the corporate side is hiring at a slightly brisker pace than the agency side. Info:



Robert Ricci, senior VP at Taylor handling digital and emerging media, has joined Marina Maher Communications as group senior VP. Ricci published Taylor’s “Responsible Engagement in Social Media” policy and handled projects for MasterCard, Alltel Wireless, Kimberly-Clark and Microsoft. He was previously a VP at Weber Shandwick in its digital unit.

Josh Rosenberg was promoted to director of M Booth & Associates’ wine and spirits practice. The senior VP has been with the New York-based firm since 2001 and has led communications for The Macallan whiskey for five years.

Michael Torra, chief of staff to Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), to The Raben Group, Washington, D.C., as a principal.

Ellen Howe, assistant administrator for strategic communications and public affairs at the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, to Adfero Group, Washington, D.C., as a VP. At TSA, she served as senior spokeswoman and oversaw the creation of its “Evolution of Security” blog. She previously ran her own PA shop in D.C. for 11 years.

Jason Lobo, director of financial communications at Fannie Mae, to Burson-Marsteller, Washington, D.C., as a director in its U.S. public affairs unit. He was formerly an A/S at Ketchum and Goddard Claussen.

Marilyn Berry Thompson was promoted to general manager of MWW Group’s Washington, D.C., office. Current GM Timothy Yehl remains with the firm in a part-time role as a senior counselor. He is forming a new company to handle entrepreneurial ventures.

Courtney Beck has joined Howard, Merrell & Partners, Raleigh, N.C., as a senior writing specialist and A/E in its PR unit.

Keith Negrin, director of PR for Morsekode and counselor for Carmichael Lynch Spong, to Maccabee Group PR, Minneapolis, as senior counselor.

Tucker Bounds, chief spokesman for Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, has moved back to his native Oregon as a partner with Quinn Thomas Public Affairs, Lake Oswego, Ore.

John Jeubusch, former VP of comms. for the American Red Cross and chief administration officer for Gateway, to executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, Simi Valley, Calif.


David Rockland, partner and managing director of Ketchum’s global research network and Stromberg Consulting unit, was named to the board of directors for the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication. Rockland chaired the Institute for PR through the end of 2008 and he’ll be a speaker at the 1st European Summit on Measurement in Berlin in June, a joint production of IPR and AMEC.


Internet Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 7


Budd was a member of Seminar, then known as PR Seminar, for 10 years mostly on its program committee and he said he respects the group’s “honest intent to grow intellectually by exposing themselves to some of the best thought leaders extant.

“But as self-styled experts in the management of perceptions—which, in essence, is really what PR is all about—is it not painfully obvious that this smacks of the sort of hubris for which their CEOs have been accused ... an arrogant demonstration of tone deafness in light of the public’s and the media's immediate outrage when ‘retreats’ at posh resorts are reported?” said Budd.

Budd said that the event will be reported despite the group’s attempts to limit any coverage of the annual confab. The veteran PR counselor suggested that planners exercise “some reality” and move the event to a New York hotel or club, or the same in Washington, D.C.

“Yes, some deposits may be lost and fees paid to some speakers already booked, but the protection of PR's already thin credibility makes a change of venue a sound investment,” he said.

“I, myself, would be very uncomfortable in expensing my costs for this event, especially noting that it would run some $6,300 per couple and cost the group, overall, nearly one million dollars to stage.”

Budd said if he represented AIG, GM, American Express, or another company whose senior officers are on the Seminar board, he’d hesitate before exposing his CEO to further media blasts. “How could I, in good conscious, advise them to be careful about public perceptions?” he asked rhetorically. “I’d be a hypocrite.”

Budd also said that a “priceless opportunity” is being squandered to demonstrate that they, senior PR officers, “get it.”

Seminar Should Keep PR

Budd said he can’t understand why the group dropped “PR” from its name two years ago.

“What management discipline do they represent? Is this some sort of affectation that presumes some policy role unknown to chief executives?” he asked.

Budd is also wondering where the senior PR executives have been amid several media blowups amid the financial crisis.

“Never mind, for now, the financial shenanigans; think only of the personal behavior,” he said. “One doesn’t have to be a lawyer or have degrees in finance to realize that lobbying for a $10 million bonus (John Thain, Merrill Lynch) or scheduling half-million-dollar retreats at millionaire watering holes (AIG) or rationalizing them as retention devices as the executives leave (again, AIG) or putting a bridge tourney ahead of shareholder interests (Jimmy Cayne, Bear Stearns) is catnip to an already angry and furious public and raw meat for headline hunting media,” he said.

Budd noted this is not the best of times for those who brag of their closeness to their CEOs.

“Their collective impotence in persuading iconic CEOs to exercise common sense in dealing with the public exposes, sadly, their pretense of counseling limiting whatever leverage they have to the mechanics of communications, notable, but limited, exceptions notwithstanding,” he said.


The PR Society board severely criticized the PRS Foundation at its Oct. 23-24, 2008 meeting but the criticism was withheld from the general membership until mid-March 2009, nearly five months later.

The minutes were posted on the PRS website after repeated demands were made for them by members who noted that previous board minutes had been posted.

New York State’s Committee on Open Government recommends that minutes of a government body meeting be made public in two weeks.

Still not on the PRS website are minutes of the Jan. 23, 2009 meeting of the board.

Veteran members were shocked at the severity of the criticism leveled at the 2008 Foundation board, which was accused of lack of activities, lack of plans, failure to elect officers and “lack of coordination” with the PRS board.

A two-page resolution of the 2008 board, headed by chair Jeff Julin, threatened expulsion of Foundation directors, cancelling the affiliation agreement, and removing the $30 suggested Foundation donation from dues invoices. The resolution said Julin warned the Foundation board in April 2008 about PRS’s “growing concerns” about the Foundation.

The July PRS board repeated these concerns to Kathy Lewton, 2008-2009 Foundation president, and Gary McCormick, 2007 president.

The PRS board demanded on Oct. 23-24 that the Foundation board provide, by Nov. 21, its fundraising, business and operating plan, and proposed activities for the rest of 2008 and 2009.

It also demanded quarterly reports and an annual report to Foundation donors.

Whether these demands were ever met to the satisfaction of Julin could not be determined. He did not return an e-mail. Lewton said the “information flow” between the two boards has been improved and the two boards are now “very supportive of each other.”

Revenues of Foundation Not Available

Foundation contributions were $54,746 in 2007, mostly from the dues check-off. Investment income and assets released from restrictions brought the total to $71,356. The 2008 audit and IRS Form 990 are not yet available.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the Foundation, which was created in 1989 after the Institute of PR broke away over PRS’ demand that all directors of the Institute be accredited. The Institute said this hurt fundraising activities because most leading PR executives were not APR.

IPR had revenues of $867,631 in 2007 including $307,516 in contributions and $486,405 from activities. It conducted two Leadership Forums; two summits, and hosted its annual lecture in New York that was given by Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP. IPR has a staff of three based at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

The Foundation’s biggest activity in 20 years was the “Believability” study it initiated in 1997, obtaining a matching $75K from the Rockefeller Foundation which wanted black individuals to be included.

The study, unveiled in 1999, found that “PR specialist” ranked 43rd in “credibility” on a list of 45 occupations such as teacher, reporter, and political leader.


Internet Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 8




AIG is being hit as hard as any company has ever been hit over the prospect of big bonuses being paid to the very people who brought financial ruin to the company resulting in the need for massive federal bailouts.

Nick Ashooh, AIG spokesperson, is being excoriated for trying to justify company policy and practices. The Davie Galbraith blog asks whether “Nicholas Ashooh of AIG is the world’s worst PR guy?” Other blogs and mainstream media castigate AIG and Ashooh almost endlessly.

AIG employees report that neighbors are showing open hostility to them. AIG executives are under close watch to see if they show up at tony resorts.

Tracking “lavish junkets” and “troubling uses of taxpayer money at country clubs, private airports and glamorous retreats” is now a “full time job” for network news divisions and other media, said the New York Times March 13.

ABC-TV on Feb. 27 nailed Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis landing at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey in a $50M Gulfstream jet. A network helicopter filmed his arrival and footage was shown on “Good Morning America” the next day.

With public outrage at a boiling point over the lifestyles of corporate executives, former PR Seminar member John Budd is urging PRS to switch its May 20-23 meeting from the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, to New York or Washington, D.C.

The meeting of about 150 blue chip corporate PR people and their spouses/companions (3/4 NL) will cost about $1 million ($3,350 for registration alone). It is always at a top tier resort with plenty of time for golf, tennis and local tours. Speakers include professors, heads of government depts., editors from New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, etc. No word of the meeting ever escapes it. PRS has draconian anti-press coverage policies.

Budd fears the media will get wind of this group whose members include Ashooh of AIG; Steve Harris of General Motors; Gary Sheffer of General Electric, and PR people from banks and other companies being bailed out by the U.S.

The meeting would be “an arrogant demonstration of tone deafness in light of the public’s outrage over similar retreats at posh resorts,” says Budd.

He faults the group for dropping “PR” from its name, feeling this might be an attempt to hide the true nature of the meeting from CEOs who may think “Seminar” is a management or sales training exercise. Members are PR people no matter what they call themselves, says Budd, and we agree.

Budd notes Seminarians “boast of access to their CEOs” but have been nowhere in sight “while these same CEOs have increased the trust deficit through boneheaded conduct.”

PRS chair Charlotte Otto of Procter & Gamble has been asked via a P&G staffer who takes her calls whether the meeting will go on as planned. She has also been asked to provide IRS Form 990 (as required by law), a list of members, and the 2009 program.

The 2009 PR Society board, for which we had great hopes, is now guilty of major ethical lapses.

It went along with the 2008 board’s cover-up of two-pages of criticism of the Foundation that was passed at the Oct. 23-24, 2008 board meeting in Detroit (page 7).

The minutes of that meeting were withheld for nearly five months when the standard for release of minutes of meetings is two weeks, according to the Committee on Open Government of New York State. Five months is too long by any standards.

But to whom can we or members complain? No one. The “Ethics Board” of PRS does not pass judgment on the national board or anyone for that matter.

The “teeth” of the EB were removed in 1999 when chair Bob Frause declared the code inoperable because of the fear of lawsuits. The Foundation in 1999 had unveiled a $150K study showing “PR specialist” ranked 43 on a list of 45 “believable sources.” PRS leaders, wanting to low-profile the study, had a mini-press conference at the offices of the Rockefeller Foundation, co-sponsor. We were not invited but obtained the study anyway and started asking a lot of questions.

Sam Waltz, 1999 president, said we were taking too much staff time and the board passed an official boycott of O’Dwyer reporters, forbidding staff or leaders from answering questions.

A member said the boycott violated five articles of the PRS code including one promising “fair” dealing with the press. Rather than submit the formal complaint to a judicial panel as required by the Code, the Frause EB (without asking the Assembly) suspended the code until a new one could be created. After two years and $190K, a new code emerged without any enforcement provisions.

The 2008 and 2009 boards, by continuing the boycott against us announced in the September 2008 Tactics, are again violating the same five articles of the old code.. Those charges never got the hearing they deserved. The 2009 board, continuing the unethical policies of the 2008 board, won’t let us advertise the five O’Dwyer products in Tactics nor join the Society.

Attempts to win a hearing from some of the new directors went nowhere. Steve Grant of the National Education Assn., Gail Liebl of Travelers, Kathy Barbour of Mayo Clinic, etc., simply didn’t return e-mails.

We thought we might get a hearing from Gail Winslow-Pine since she is with the Catholic Medical Center in N.H. If people working under the banner of a religion are not fair, then who will be?

However, we discovered that Winslow-Pine, while employed full time by CMC for five years, also had a website positioning herself as an independent PR counsel. Her CMC job was not mentioned. She pulled the site last week after first saying she would maintain it. But we’re about as dead with her as anyone can be.

We’re also persona not grata at CMC because we discovered that it was accused in 2007 of $1.7M in Medicare overcharges for 2003. Hospital officials would not discuss the case with us.

A 2008 CBS report said Medicare fraud costs taxpayers $11B a year. CMC tried to block publication of the charges, based on 44 cases, and fought them. Nine were removed after a second review but by this time a four-year limit on collection of alleged overcharges had expired. They were never adjudicated, just like the ethics charges against the 1999 PRS board.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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