The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Edition, March 25, 2009, Page 1
SEEKS MEDIA HELP IN AFGHANISTAN
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.
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.
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
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.
contract carries a base year of $10M and three option years
for $10M each. Work is based in Kabul. Response date is
PN CUTS DOZEN IN D.C.
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
She said PN has been making
a series of staff adjustments this year as part
of CEO Gary Stockmans effort to right-size the operation.
Salzman denied rumors
that additional cutbacks also took place in New York.
WHALEY SUCCEEDS BERGEN AT
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 Points
communications director and is remembered for his hand in
organizing PR efforts for the Academys 200th anniversary.
He retired from the Army after a 20-year stint and joined
Siemens in `04 as senior director of PA.
LEVICK ADVISES AIG
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
AIGs 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.
MAGLEBY HEADS COMMS. FOR LEGG
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, WaMus
new owner. JPMorgan acquired WaMu in September in a $1.9B
deal brokered by the federal government.
BUDD: SEMINAR SHOULD SWITCH
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 dont set a good example, what on
earth is the use of them?
on page 7)
Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 2
LIBYAN PR PLAN LEAKED
Livingston Group wants to help Libya reduce airport hassles
by U.S. Transportation Security Administration screeners,
celebrate the 40th anniversary of Col. Gaddafis 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.
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 (http://www.libya-nclo.com).
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.
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 countrys more than 400 commercial airports.
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.
NL reported March 9 that TLG received more than $750K in
fees from Libya since September.
ROTO-ROOTER CALLS ON EISEN
Eisen Marketing Group
has snapped up plumbing services franchise Roto-Rooters
PR account after a two-firm review. Ketchum/Chicago was
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 blog.rotorooter.com/blog/roto-rooter
to which Abrams contributes.
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 ODwyers. 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
R-R is a unit of publicly
traded Cincinnati-based Chemed Corp. Vitas Healthcare is
its other major subsidiary.
W.H. COMMS. DIRECTOR HANGS
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.
roughly half my time working on Weber stuff, on a handful
of different accounts, Sullivan told ODwyers
in noting hes 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 hes
worked out of Dallas, Detroit and Los Angeles for the agency
as well, since signing on last month.
Sullivan replaced Nicole
Wallace as President Bushs 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 ksullivancommunications.com.
LIONS GATE TURNS TO JOELE
Film and TV studio Lions
Gate Entertainment has hired Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer
Katcher as it mounts a PR battle with activist investor
Icahn said in a statement
on March 11 that talks with the studio to get his directors
on Lions Gates board had terminated, an announcement
that Lions Gate followed up about two hours later.
ultimately concluded that it could not meet [Icahns]
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 couldnt agree on terms of a
standstill agreement, which would have limited his stake
in the company.
that Icahn wanted to void such an agreement if any of his
directors stepped down from the Lions Gate board.
CCA BOLSTERS D.C. PRESENCE
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 Pfizers regional marketing group
and a VP in Edelmans Washington office.
Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 3
CITIZEN GETS REPRIEVE
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.
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
Boice is editor of the afternoon TC, which stumbled in a
circulation race with the morning Arizona Daily Star,
a Lee Enterprises property.
Associated Press had eulogized the 140-year-old TC as the
paper that covered Arizona's biggest stories.
That coverage included Wyatt Earps 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).
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 SAVES TREES IN SEATTLE
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 seattlepi.com
among the top 30 newspaper sites with 1.8 million unique
Hearst put the P-I up
for sale in January, but no bidders emerged. William Randolph
Hearst bought the P-I in 1921.
ROCKY STAFFERS LAUNCH WEB
A group of 30 journalists
of the defunct Rocky Mountain News has secured the
backing of three entrepreneurs for the fledgling online
news site InDenverTimes.com.
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
Under the planned model,
news stories will be free but subscriptions will give the
reader access to news analysis, insight, online chats and
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 were 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 TESTS CUSTOMIZED MAG
Time Inc. is trying a
10-week test of mine, a customized magazine
that is sponsored by Toyota and its Lexus 2010 sports utility
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
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.
ISANA RETURNS TO CABLE
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
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.
news continued on next page)
Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 4
SELLS TO EQUITY FIRM
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.
Equity paid an estimated $50M for the nations 23rd
largest newspaper that has a circulation of 270,000.
Press owns 13 acres in Mission Valley and another half-acre
in La Jolla. Real estate analysts value that property worth
more than $100M.
PHOTOGS VS. BLOGS
"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
"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 Britains 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
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."
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
"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
APTVs 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.
not to cross their legs when posting (fashion especially).
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.
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.
decoration" feeling; dont change colors on various
background; be consistent.
Put photogs first
on a press line; flow is proven to be better.
Edition, March 18,
2009, Page 5
OF PR FIRMS
NOMINEE IS WAGGED ADVISOR
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
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.
is hoping to get Locke through a smooth confirmation after
two previous nominees pulled out.
of Lockes 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 EYES L.A. WITH EXPANSION
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
Archer told ODwyers
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 Worldwides entertainment unit B/W/R handling TV
and film campaigns for Malcolm in the Middle
and the short film West Bank Story, which won
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.
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
Farmington, Conn., has changed its name to Durham Group
and launched a new website at durhamgroup.com.
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.
Dilenschneider Group, New York/VisitDenmark, official
tourism organization of the country, for travel and lifestyle
Kommunications, New York/Dr. Leslie Seppini, psychologist
and licensed family therapist, for PR and integrated marketing,
including the vetting of speaking ops, sponsorships and
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.
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.
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.
PR, Miami/AmericanAirlines Arena, sports and entertainment
venue, as AOR.
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&As marketing and
PR arm in New York, Florida and London.
PR, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill./Reckitt Benckiser, for
a year-long integrated PR campaign for its Spray n
Wash Bright & White brand.
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.
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
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.
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.
Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 6
PR SOCIETY CANCELS ATL. CONFAB
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.
original conference and career fair, the groups 10th
annual event, was slated for April 23-26 in Atlanta with
a theme of Real Talk in Tough Times: Communicating
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.
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,
webinars will run during the days originally slated for
the conference. Details are pending and will be posted at
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.
PRN LANDS ON GSA SCHED
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 PRNs
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.
PR SALARIES HOLD...FOR THOSE
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%
PR agency base salaries
increased 2.5%, off from a 3.9% bump in 2007. The hardest
hit portion of a PR persons 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: www.springassociates.com.
Ricci, senior VP at Taylor handling digital and emerging
media, has joined Marina Maher Communications as group senior
VP. Ricci published Taylors 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.
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.
Torra, chief of staff to Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.),
to The Raben Group, Washington, D.C., as a principal.
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.
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.
Berry Thompson was promoted to general manager of
MWW Groups 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
Beck has joined Howard, Merrell & Partners, Raleigh,
N.C., as a senior writing specialist and A/E in its PR unit.
Negrin, director of PR for Morsekode and counselor
for Carmichael Lynch Spong, to Maccabee Group PR, Minneapolis,
as senior counselor.
Bounds, chief spokesman for Sen. John McCains
2008 presidential bid, has moved back to his native Oregon
as a partner with Quinn Thomas Public Affairs, Lake Oswego,
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
Rockland, partner and managing director of Ketchums
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
hell be a speaker at the 1st European Summit on Measurement
in Berlin in June, a joint production of IPR and AMEC.
Edition, March 18, 2009, Page 7
SHOULD MOVE MEETING
was a member of Seminar, then known as PR Seminar, for 10
years mostly on its program committee and he said he respects
the groups honest intent to grow intellectually
by exposing themselves to some of the best thought leaders
as self-styled experts in the management of perceptionswhich,
in essence, is really what PR is all aboutis 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 publics and the media's
immediate outrage when retreats at posh resorts
are reported? said Budd.
said that the event will be reported despite the groups
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.
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,
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.
said if he represented AIG, GM, American Express, or another
company whose senior officers are on the Seminar board,
hed 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.
Id be a hypocrite.
also said that a priceless opportunity is being
squandered to demonstrate that they, senior PR officers,
Budd said he cant
understand why the group dropped PR from its
name two years ago.
discipline do they represent? Is this some sort of affectation
that presumes some policy role unknown to chief executives?
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 doesnt 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.
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.
REBUKE OF PRS FOUNDATION KEPT
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
New York States
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 PRSs 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.
of Foundation Not Available
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
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.
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.
Edition, March 18, 2009,
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.
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 worlds
worst PR guy? Other blogs and mainstream media castigate
AIG and Ashooh almost endlessly.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
publics outrage over similar retreats at posh resorts,
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.
2009 PR Society board, for which we had great hopes,
is now guilty of major ethical lapses.
It went along with the
2008 boards 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.
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 ODwyer 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, wont let
us advertise the five ODwyer 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 didnt return
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 were about as dead with her as anyone can be.
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.