Contact O'Dwyer's : 271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471; Fax: 212/683-2750
ODWYERPR.COM > Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter return to main page

Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter
Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter
The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Subscribe today


Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, April 15, 2009, Page 1


The Federal Communications Commission is considering an additional PR contract to support its protracted public awareness push for the national switch to digital TV.

With the original Feb. 17, 2009 deadline pushed to June 12, the FCC is asking for quotations from firms that could handle tasks like PSA production, media services, publication, PR, distribution and other efforts to reach the public about the transition.

Nielsen said last week that as many as 3.8M Americans are still unprepared for the switch. Nearly 45 percent of TV stations have already switched to digital-only signals.

Ketchum has handled a multi-faceted campaign for the DTV switch on a $1.7M contract since 2008.

The FCC said it is conducting an open competition for a new contract worth up to $2.5M.

The contractor must have the wherewithal to complete multiple assigned tasks with short deadlines,” reads a procurement document, which outlines a time table for a campaign stretching from late April through mid-June.

President Obama signed the DTV Delay Act in February, a week before the initial deadline, and Congress earmarked $650M to pay for coupons for converters.
Obama cited Americans in “vulnerable” communities that would be “left in the dark” without the delay.

Check for RFQ info.


Jane Madden has joined Edelman’s Chicago office as senior VP for corporate responsibility and sustainability.

Madden, a dozen-year veteran at the World Bank, has created programs in more than 25 countries including Afghanistan.

She unveiled the WB’s global development learning network in Kabul. That’s billed as one its first projects completed under the Karzai Government.

At the WB, Madden held the job as capacity building and education specialist.
Madden also worked at CARE, UNICEF and the European Union. She once headed her own shop, counseling Xerox, Ben & Jerry’s and The Brookings Institution.

Madden is trustee at CHF International, which focuses on housing and microfinancing.

Her concentration at Edelman is engaging with multilateral groups and developing environmental and CSR programs.


Omnicom CEO John Wren’s 2008 compensation tumbled 72 percent to $2.9M following his recommendation that top executives at ad/PR conglom take a 75 percent cut in their performance based bonus.

That reduced bonus, according to OMC’s proxy, “allowed senior management to provide for lower-level employees to receive incentive compensation,” while “permitting OMC to maximize its financial objectives for shareholders in a troubled economy.”

Wren’s incentive pay dropped to $1.75M from $7M in ’08. He also received $172K for personal use of OMC’s jet. Chief financial officer Randy Weisenburger took a 66 percent hit in total comp to $2.8M, while diversified agency services chief Tom Harrison suffered a 53 percent drop in pay to $2.3M.

OMC has cut its workforce by an estimated 3,000 workers. Its `08 net rose 2.5 percent to $1B on a 5.2 percent gain in revenues to $13.4B


Hill & Knowlton is repping Shanghai Expo 2010, which is billed as the most anticipated World’s Fair since the 1964 event held in New York.

China expects more than 70M visitors to attend the Expo that will run from May through October. It plans to use the Expo as a sign of its emergence on the global economic and political stage.

More than 185 countries have confirmed participation in the event as well as corporations such as Coca-Cola, General Motors and Siemens. U.S. participation is yet unclear, tied up in “behind-the-scenes maneuverings and State Dept. incompetence,” according to The Atlantic. The Shanghai Expo is another trophy win for the WPP Group unit, which handled the Beijing Summer Olympics. H&K has 200 staffers in China.


A posting in the “Governance Forum” of the “PR” Society says members so far have “very little real information” about proposed bylaw changes and especially the proposal to “extend membership opportunities” to those with a “broader range of knowledge, experience and job responsibilities.”

While admitting the Society needs to “evolve,” Assembly delegate Mark McClennan of Boston asked, “What specifically are we talking about here?”

Bylaws chair Dave Rickey responded by saying that the committee has in mind “other communications professionals” including those in “social media, strategic

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, April 15, 2009, Page 2


The Mexico Tourism Board is working with Miami PR agency Newlink Communications to reassure travelers and counter coverage of drug-related violence in that country.

The U.S. State Dept. issued a renewed travel alert on Feb. 20 citing an increase in violence near the U.S. border.

Newlink and the Tourism Board have launched a series of roundtable discussions with reporters which started last week in New York and will continue on to Los Angeles next week, Chicago and the Texas market. The latter market has been particularly affected because of its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We wanted to talk about the travel alert renewal and what the concerns are and tell the other side – that the travel destinations are safe,” said Cessie Cerrato, senior A/E at Newlink. “So much of the media has covered all the negative stuff. People can get confused but there is a difference – in distance and geography – between, for example, Cancun and Ciudad Juarez.”

Tourism officials, travel agents and representatives from large tour operators are taking part in the roundtable discussions with media to emphasize that violence is contained to a handful of provinces in the northwest part of the country.

A website,, has also been launched to include an FAQ and host videos from convention and visitors bureaus throughout the country. Cerrato said: “They’ve been sending us content, including video testimonials of Americans in Mexico traveling while this is all going on, saying ‘This is safe.’”
Newlink will mark its second year on the Mexico Tourism Board account in July.


Entergy Corp. has hired Breaux Lott Leadership Group to deal with nuclear issues as the license of its Indian Point facility in Westchester is up for renewal.

The New Orleans-based company, is the second largest nuclear generator in the nation with plants in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and New York.

Located 45 miles up the Hudson River from New York City, Indian Point has been a target by activists eager to shut down the facility. That protest picked up momentum following the 9/11 terror attacks.

Entergy, in `07, filed an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the original 40-year licenses at the Indian Point reactors for another 20 years. The licenses are up next February. A round of raucous public hearings is expected.

The $13B (revenues) Entergy “celebrated” the 30th anniversary of the Three Mile Island incident last month, issuing a press release that noted the nation’s 104 reactors are stronger and safer than ever before.

The company pointed out that TMI’s safety systems “performed as designed, resulting in no injuries and no deaths, even as the reactor experienced the nation’s only partial meltdown.” Exelon Corp., which has $19B in annual revenues, runs TMI.

Former Senators John Breaux (D-LA) and Trent Lott (R-MS) head the Entergy business, assisted by their sons.


Ogilvy Government Relations is repping the “payday loan” business against Congressional charges of “predatory pricing” surrounding the practice of making short-term loans that could burden low income borrowers with a 391 percent annual interest rate.

The WPP Group unit is working on behalf of Cash America International, pawn shop operator in more than 20 states that also offers “payday advances,” and Community Financial Services of America, which has membership running half the nation’s 24,000 advance loan outfits.

CFSA’s website features an extensive “myth vs. reality of payday loans” section. It covers topics such as “Payday loans are extremely expensive and have exorbitant interest rates;” “Payday loans trap borrowers in a never-ending cycle of debt;” “Payday lenders take advantage of poor people and minorities,” and “Consumers win if payday lenders are regulated out of business.”

The group takes aim at the 391 percent interest figure, saying that rate applies only if a consumer rolls over the 15 percent two-week interest rate on a $100 loan for the entire year. (The Center for Responsible Lending found that 12M of the 19M payday loan borrowers make five or more transactions on a loan. It found that 90 percent of payday loan revenues come from people who do not pay off the loan in two weeks.)

CFSA notes the 391 percent rate is better than the 965 percent late fee ($37) that credit card companies charge on a $100 balance overdue for a full-year or the 1,203 percent rate that utilities charge with $46 late fee on a $100 bill.

Its staffers on the two accounts are Moses Mercado (an aide to former Rep. Dick Gephardt), Dean Aguillen (who worked for Rep. Nancy Pelosi), Stewart Hall (a Sen. Richard Shelby alum) and John Green (a staffer for former Sen. Trent Lott).


Dubai has hired Finsbury to develop a financial communications strategy to counter media reports that depict the Emirate as in state of economic free fall.

The New York Times (Feb. 12) reported that Dubai’s real estate/construction market has crashed, leaving many foreigners, who make up 90 percent of the population exiting. It reported that more than 3,000 cars have been abandoned at Dubai Airport by “fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners who could be imprisoned if they failed to pay their bills.”

Housing vacancies make parts of Dubai, once hailed as the economic superpower of the Middle East, as looking more like a ghost town,” according to the NYT.

The Financial Times (April 2) blames the Government for a “lack of transparency in financial matters, overlooked in the boom years, has come to haunt the Emirates.”

That “information black hole allowed rumors, since denied, to snowball about Dubai’s richer neighbor Abu Dhabi buying Dubai’s trophy assets, such as the airline Emirates and Dubai Metro, in return for a financial bail-out.”


Internet Edition, April 15, 2009, Page 3


The majority of big-name journalists surveyed by The Atlantic say the Internet is hurting journalism more than it helps.

Sixty five percent of the 43 media people surveyed say journalism is hurt by the `Net while 34 percent say the craft is bolstered by online activities.

Sam Donaldson, Jim Lehrer, Tucker Carlson, Ray Suarez, Fareed Zakaria, Judy Woodruff, Cokie Roberts, Todd Purdum, Chris Matthews, Gloria Borger, David Brooks, Jeff Greenfield and Gene Robinson participated in the poll.

Some cons: smaller news bites, shallow coverage and inability to “monetize” news.

Some pros: audience reach, broader participation in public affairs, and real-time scrutiny.


Credit Suisse expects YouTube to lose $470M this year, according to a report written by Spencer Wang and Kenneth Sena. They project revenues in the $240M range.

The cost of bandwidth, which accounts for more than half of YouTube’s expenses, is the key financial burden for the Google-owned operation.

Wang and Sena believe YouTube needs to “increase the percentage of its videos that can be monetized” and attract more advertising demand via standardization of ad formats.

Google paid $1.65B for Google more than two years ago.


The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs is investigating an April 7 incident in which a public affairs officer and security confiscated a reporter’s flash memory card after a Town Hall meeting.

The Washington Post, other media and journalism groups have been pressuring the federal agency with coverage of the incident and the VA returned WAMU radio reporter David Schultz’s memory card on April 10.

The VA, which initially cited a “legal and moral responsibility” to protect the privacy of patients and said Schultz didn’t properly identify himself, is conducting a “top to bottom review” on the incident, according to WAMU, which is an NPR affiliate.

Schultz was covering a meeting (announced in a press release) in the hospital auditorium about medical care for minority veteran patients.

He says when he followed up with a veteran who spoke critically of the care, a PAO interrupted to say both reporter and patient needed to sign consent forms.

Security was summoned and Schultz gave up the flash card on his audio recorder after speaking with his news director.


Gaude Paez, who was at Veoh Networks, has taken the VP-corporate communications post at Fox Broadcasting. She reports to Shannon Ryan, senior VP-publicity & corporate communications.

At the Internet TV company, Paez was in charge of Veoh’s business, consumer and advertiser communications.

Stationed in Los Angeles, Paez serves as FB's spokesman for executive initiatives, ratings performance and the News Corp. unit's brand.

Paez launched her career at BSMG Worldwide and then moved to Burson-Marsteller, where she handled telecom, consumer electronics, crisis and high-tech work.

She moved to the corporate side as director of communications at Yahoo!


Keith O'Brien, editor-in-chief of PRWeek/U.S., is exiting the U.K.-based Haymarket property to join New York-based Attention.

He spent five years at PRW, taking over the top spot from Julia Hood in '08.

O'Brien announced his departure on April 7 via Attention's blog. He quit the magazine because the PR biz is “fundamentally changing” and people “no longer solely consume top-down media, they create and share their own.”

He experienced the rise of social media at PRW via its coverage and the increase of interaction between staffers/readers through blogging, Facebook and Twitter.

O'Brien believes the Internet will truly come of age when people throw out "tired phrases like digital natives" and realize that people of all ages go online.

Marketers must also chuck aside the “numbers game” of “counting impressions” on the ’Net.

The influence of the Internet stems from its ability to find “right community linchpins” and work with them to spread appropriate messages, according to O’Brien’s post.

He joins Attention April 29.

Curtis Hougland, a veteran of Ruder Finn and pre-Euro RSCG-owned Middleberg, founded Attention.


David Axelrod, a senior White house advisor to President Obama who ran strategy for his campaign, took home $1.5M from his PR and political consulting firms last year.

He took a $3M buyout that will be paid over five years when he left the firms for the White House.

The numbers have been released by the Obama administration to meet financial disclosure requirements.

ASK Public Strategies is the corporate PR firm Axelrod started in 2002 with former Edelman exec Eric Sedler and ad/public affairs consultant John Kupper.

The firm has worked for Exelon, ComEd and AT&T.

AKP&D Message and Media is the 24-year-old political campaign firm that works for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley in addition to its Obama campaign efforts.

Axelrod is a former Chicago Tribune columnist and got into politics in 1984 as communications director for Paul Simon.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, April 15, 2009, Page 4


Universal Motown Records, the Vivendi unit that houses the classic Detroit music label, has created a new senior PR post and recruited veteran music writer to fill the slot.

Margeaux Watson, recently a staff writer and blogger for Entertainment Weekly, has been named senior VP of media relations.

She'll handle media strategies for artists like Lil Wayne, Stevie Wonder and Blue October.

"She brings a fresh perspective and a breadth of experience to Universal Motown that we have not had before," said UMR president Sylvia Rhone.
Watson was formerly arts and entertainment editor for Suede magazine and senior editor at Vibe.

She's held posts at Time Out New York, co-edited books on hip-hop and Tupac Shakur, and penned pieces for publications like Rolling Stone, Spin and Marie Claire.


Al Gore and a band of environmental groups are urging the creation of a new Internet domain suffix, .eco.

The Sierra Club, Surfrider and the Alliance for Climate Protection, along with Gore, are supporting Dot Eco LLC in its application for the new "green" web address.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, is preparing to accept applications for new web addresses, known as top level domains.

The advisory board of Dot Eco LLC includes Davis Guggenheim (director of “An Inconvenient Truth”), Roger Moore (actor and Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF), Richard Muller (Author of “Physics for Future Presidents”) and Jim Dufour of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The groups hope to use .eco to raise awareness about climate change. A website has been set up at


Newser, an online news aggregator founded by Michael Wolff, has named four prominent media members to its new advisory board.

Gordon Crovitz, ex-publisher of the Wall Street Journal; Ned Desmond, former president of Time Inc. Interactive; Larry Kramer, founder of MarketWatch, and Wenda Harris Millard, co-CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, round out the four new members.

They'll handle corporate development and strategy.


Current Media, the cable TV company co-founded by ex-Vice President Al Gore, has suspended plans to issue an initial public offering.

The San Francisco-based operation filed a registration for a $100M IPR a little more than a year ago. The proceeds were supposed to fuel expansion.

The sour economy is given as the reason for officially putting the IPO on ice. Current cut 60 staffers late last year. It attracts 58M viewers.


Time’s Michael Weisskopf posted an April 10 column, questioning why American International Group is “spending tens of thousands of dollars every month on four big PR firms” in the aftermath of CEO Ed Liddy’s testimony that the company would act as “good stewards of the public funds we have received.”

He quoted Congressmen who want to know what “spin doctors” have to do with Liddy’s stated mission.

AIG, which received $180B in taxpayer funds, has been roasted for doling out bonuses to those responsible for its distress and for conducting junkets at swanky resorts. AIG’s firms are Burson-Marsteller (crisis), Sard Verbinnen (bailout statements), Kekst & Co. (asset sales to pay back loans) and Hill & Knowlton (Congressional inquiries).

AIG PR chief Nick Ashooh defended the use of the outsiders, saying they made a bad situation much better.

According to Ashooh, AIG needs the outside PR help to meet the media’s insatiable demand for info. “If we stopped doing what we’re doing, there would be a worse outcry,” he said.

The firms are not doing image work or developing corporate sponsorships to bolster AIG’s reputation, noted Ashooh. They are doing vital “information-processing” work and making sure that reporters and Congressional staffers get all the answers to their many questions about the bailed-out AIG.

The Time piece carries input from a fierce AIG critic, Rep. Elijah Cummings, who serves on the House Oversight Committee. He riled against the PR payroll as “prime example of AIG misusing funds.”

Cummings said “all of the PR firms in the world will not distract us from getting to the bottom of what is really going on at AIG and how the company is spending taxpayer dollars.”

Weisskopf frets that some of AIG’s PR dollars may be going for damage control. Ashooh would neither disclose specific PR duties of the firms nor the overall budget. “Contracts are proprietary,” he said.


Forbes Media has launched ForbesWoman, a “brand” to include a dedicated section on, quarterly magazine for female subscribers of Forbes, proprietary research, and custom events and conferences for female executives.

The first issue of ForbesWoman magazine will be delivered with the May 11th issue of Forbes, and the online component is already live.

Moira Forbes serves as publisher, and Carol Hymowitz as editorial director.

Content areas include: Leadership, Power Women, Entrepreneurs, Net Worth, Style, Wellbeing and Time. A video series, “Smart Women Now,” is also part of the mix.

BRIEF: United Media’s Dilbert, the cartoon about a cubicle office worker, is marking its 20th year. Dilbert was recently fired and hired back at a lower salary to do the same job. Scott Adams pens the strip.

Internet Edition, April 15, 2009, Page 5


CRT/tanaka has acquired D.C.-based social media firm Livingston Communications and is making the firm its Washington office. The deal closed on March 31.

LC was originally slated to merge with Canada’s Social Media Group last year but that deal fell apart a month after it was announced.

The three-year-old firm is headed by Geoff Livingston, who has said that social media consulting should start to gravitate into overall communications plans rather than be a separate discipline. He penned the 2007 book “Now is Gone” and has a second tome in the works for 2010.

Last summer in announcing the deal with SMG, Livingston hit large agencies for ineffectively handling social media programs. “This acquisition brings social media into the larger communications fold,” he said of the deal with CRT.

He takes a senior VP role with CRT and brings three other staffers with him. The firm also uses a stable of freelancers. The deal is CRT’s second major acquisition this year. The firm acquired food PR specialists Lewis & Neale in March.
Livingston has handled social media projects for Ford Motor, the Consumer Electronic Show, General Dynamics, Save Darfur and United Way.

Writing about the move in a blog post, Livingston noted the time commitment for an entrepreneur (60-100 hours a week) and said he is “thrilled” to work for a firm without his name on it.

Livingston’s services include blogging and social networking engagement, product marketing, SEO, content development and blogger relations.

CRT, based in Richmond, Va., with a major New York office, topped $12M in revenue last year, up nearly seven percent from ’07.

BRIEFS: Rhode Island’s Economic Development Corp. has dropped an $8,750/month pact with Cutler & Company and given a $5K/month pact to Duffy & Shanley ahead of an RFP this summer. Both firms are based in Providence. R.I. has seen its unemployment rate top 10 percent, fifth highest in the U.S. ...Peritus PR, Louisville, Ky., has formed an equine marketing division out of its Lexington office. Lisa Sheehy, who ran her own marketing shop focused on the thoroughbred industry, has joined the firm as director of the unit. Clients include Kirkwood Stables and Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs’ Equine and Gaming Group.

CORRECTION: Peppercom’s percentage change in revenue was incorrect in the April 1 issue’s table of New York PR firms. The firm, which posted $11,623,964 in PR fees for 2008, was up 11% in New York, an increase of more than $1.1M. The table in the 4/1/09 edition incorrectly stated the change as a 1.6% decline.


New York Area

Affect Strategies, New York/ASME, professional association for mechanical engineers, as AOR for PR.

DKC, New York/Beyond Tribute, veterans support group, for PR for its Memorial Day and Veterans Day initiatives focused on research, services and treatment of neurological conditions that affect veterans.

Huff Events & PR, New York/Sixth Annual Style Week Jamaica (May 28-31), for onsite PR and media relations.

Keith Sherman & Associates, New York/The Visiting Nurse Service of New York; 6th Annual Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival, and the PBS broadcast of “3 Mo’ Divas,” for PR.

Peppercom, New York/Astorino, architecture and design firm based in Pittsburgh, and elliptipar and Tambient, Conn.-based divisions of archit. and lighting maker, Sylvan R. Shemitz Designs, for integrated comms. and thought leadership campaigns.

S3, Boonton, N.J./The Zoological Society of New Jersey, non-profit covering the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, as AOR for marketing and PR.


Nieman Group, Harrisburg, Pa./National Association for Home Care & Hospice, for development of a new PR campaign, “Help Us Choose Home.” A new website,, went live on March 24.

Weber Shandwick, Washington, D.C./U.S. Postal Service, for a “strategic messaging” contract worth up to $750K per year. The two-year pact carries three option years.

Trevelino/Keller Communications Group, Atlanta/
InQuickER, online check-in system for emergency room patients, for launch and initial PR push into Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Dutko Worldwide, Miami/Authenware, biometrics software, as AOR for PR.


Investor Awareness and North Shore PR, Deerfield, Ill./DTV, Internet and telecomms. services in Vietnam, for IR and PR support.

Grandone PR, Edwardsville, Ill./Danna McKitrick, P.C., St. Louis-metro area law firm, for media relations and PR.

Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Grand Rapids, Mich./Perceptron, manufacturing control applications for automotive and other manufacturers, for investor outreach and comms.


Vantage Communications, Orlando/Florida Venture Forum, for pro bono PR counsel and services.

“it” Girl PR, Los Angeles/Masha K, Russian recording artist, for publicity as she prepares to launch a U.S. career with the release of a new album in Sept.

Englander & Associates, Los Angeles/Starwood Energy Group; Enterprise Rent A Car; So. California Veterinary Medical Assn. and Areas USA.

Morgan Marketing & PR, Irvine, Calif./Fresh Foods Cafe, fast casual dining, for opening of its flagship eatery in Long Beach.

Fineman PR, San Francisco/Morton’s The Steakhouse, as AOR for its San Jose location.

Internet Edition, April 15, 2009, Page 6


PR veteran Don Bates has taken a senior counselor post at StevensGouldPincus, where he will advise on mergers and acquisitions especially in the social media category.

Bates ran his own shop for a dozen years before merging it with Sumner Rider & Assocs. in 1994. He exited SR&A as COO/executive VP for a top post at Media Distribution Services, a 10-year stint.

Bates joined George Washington University in 2007, making his mark via establishing its strategic PR master’s degree and certificate program in the graduate school of political management.

Bates had jobs at Western Electric, North American Rockwell, McDonnell Douglas, United Nations Assn., Planned Parenthood and Public Relations Society of America.

SGP is led by partners Art Stevens, Rick Gould, Ted Pincus and Mike Muraszko.


Strauss Radio Strategies, Washington, D.C., has added four new clients and built out its National Press Building offices to 2,500 square feet.

The radio PR firm recently handled an on-site radio media tour for the Consumer Electronics Association’s 2009 trade show in Las Vegas.

Strauss also conducted an on-site tour for attendees at the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and did the same for the National League of Cities’ annual Congressional Cities Conference in Washington, D.C., in March.

The 13-year-old company also arranged interviews for General Motors corporate executives for an on-site RMT during the Detroit Auto Show.

Richard Strauss said his company’s new digs include a “next generation” conference room with video networking capabilities and better IT infrastructure. has also been revamped.


David All Group, which bills itself as the first conservative Web 2.0 firm, is expanding its boutique staff with two Bush-era hands.

Joining the Washington, D.C.-based firm are Ethan Eilon, former head of the College Republican National Committee, and Heath Clayton, a former White House aide to President George W. Bush.

DAG was set up in 2007 by David All, former communications director to Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.).

Eilon, who led the Bush-Cheney get-out-the-vote push in Colorado in 2004, will serve as manager of political and grassroots advocacy for the firm and clients in the corporate, non-profit and political sectors.

Clayton, who worked in the Offices of Strategic Initiatives and Presidential Correspondence at the White House, is assistant to All.

The firm has worked with the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute, Media Research Center and Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder. It doesn’t disclose its corporate work.



Mark Faford to VP, IR and corporate communications, Arch Chemicals, Norwalk, Conn. He has been with the company since its 1999 spinoff from Olin Corp., where he was since 1977.

Terry Neal, a former journalist and director at Burson-Marsteller recently with The Caraway Group, to Hill & Knowlton, D.C., as senior VP and director of strategic media in the firm’s corporate practice. Christopher Hull, a former Hill aide who has been president of Issue Management Inc., joins as senior VP and campaign manager in its public affairs unit. Also, Antoinette Forbes, senior VP in Porter Novelli’s PA unit, joins as SVP, healthcare, and Stacie Paxton, national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, joins as VP, PA and strategic media. Steven Immergut relocates from H&K/N.Y. for a senior VP role serving as director of the D.C. healthcare unit. H&K said it has hired nearly a dozen staffers since January.

Carol Guthrie, comms. director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in D.C., as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public and Media Affairs. She was previously comms. director and speechwriter for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Deborah Mesloh, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign and inauguration, joins as Deputy Assitant, and Nefeterius Akeli McPherson, an aide to the new Trade Rep Ron Kirk when he was mayor of Dallas, takes a senior media affairs liaison post.

Madeline Black, previously with Riben Postaer and Associates in Los Angeles, to Low + Associates, Bethesda, Md., as a senior A/E.

Patricia Hvidston, former VP for development and external relations, College of St. Catherine, to Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, Va., as senior VP for development and communications. She has recently served as consultant to the group.

Todd Parker, scientific director, ProEd Communications, to MedThink Communications, Raleigh, N.C., as associate scientific director.


Stephanie Herzfeld to senior media relations specialist, Carmichael Lynch Spong, New York. She joined the firm in 2007.


Lee Huebner, director of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs and former publisher of the International Herald Tribune, has joined the Global Communicators board of senior international advisors.

Hillary Topper, president and CEO of HJMT Communications, New York, has been named for the second time as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Business by Long Island Business News. The 30-year vet founded HJMT in ’92.


Internet Edition, April 15, 2009, Page 7

DELEGATE SEEKS BYLAW INFO (cont’d from pg. 1)

planning, marketing, business development, etc.?

McClennan objected to this, saying there are “fundamental differences” between PR and marketing and the Society should stay focused on “areas that work to build two-way mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics.”

Said McClennan: “I do not want to see the day when the head of the Society could also be the head of the American Marketing Assn.”

Most textbooks have been teaching for years that “PR is not a marketing function,” he added. It would be a “serious mistake” for the Society to take in those in traditional marketing jobs, he said.

Michael Cherenson, chair of the Society, and Dave Rickey, bylaws chair, have not been available for public questioning on the proposed bylaws.

As of press time, there have only been four postings on the bylaws revision in the “Governance Forum” of the Society website, which is restricted to members.

Rickey said “Specific bylaws language will be drafted and circulated by mid-summer.”

McClennan thanked the committee for its “heads up” on the “general themes” in the bylaws but said “the devil is in the details.” He wants specifics in order to be able to provide “intelligent feedback.”

McClennan gave permission to to reproduce his full one-page letter.

Worries About Assembly

The proposal to have the Assembly “communicate regularly” worries him since he notes he was “one of the outspoken critics” of the “Think Tank” sessions that occupied about two hours of the 2008 Assembly.

He called them a “substantive failure” and “a total waste of time.”

He does not want the Assembly to give up its “teeth” and get turned into “an advisory board whose weight could be questionable.”

On the proposal for direct election of board and officers, which would eliminate this function of the Assembly, he would like to know “how specifically members could educate themselves on the various candidates, how specifically members would vote, etc.”

Rickey’s answer was that the specifics would be part of the Policies and Procedures Manual rather than the bylaws.

McClennan objected to this, asking whether such rules would be available to the 2009 Assembly. He wants “at least rough policies and procedures before agreeing to this change.”

He also called for “a large amount of time” at the next Assembly for debate and discussion.

At the 2008 Assembly, delegates who posed questions during the day were told to wait until the end of the Assembly when there would be a “town hall.” But there was no town hall for the second year in a row. Leader presentations took up about 3.5 hours and another two hours was spent on the “Think Tank” sessions. The 5 p.m. deadline for closing the 2008 Assembly was reached and only one-half of the delegates voted to continue the session.

A two-thirds vote was needed.

‘Leadership Assembly’ Discussed

He and Rickey also traded comments on the proposal to turn the Assembly into the “Leadership Assembly,” making it more of an advisory and advocacy group and less of a rule-making body.

Rickey noted that one proposal is to add the 27 committee and task force chairs (who are appointed by the national chair) to the Assembly which already has 46 from leadership including the 17 national directors, 10 district chairs and 19 section chairs.

McClennan said he is “confused” over the proposals regarding the Assembly and wants more input on this. He is also against the elimination of district directors (all directors would be “at-large”), saying different regions have different needs.

“The importance of having someone relatively close cannot be overemphasized,” he added. “It creates a connection between the individual chapters to know that there is someone in the next state or two. It makes in-person visits more likely and cost effective.”

McClellan is also opposed to putting the COO on the nominating committee, saying “working relationships” of candidates with the COO might be affected. As for the need for “history” that the COO might provide, the nomcom already includes the past chair and others with plenty of Society background, he said.

COO Bill Murray’s contract is up Dec. 31 and would need to be renewed so that an “experienced” COO would be on the nomcom.


CEOs could learn a lot about the value of PR from government and political leaders, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez told the Arthur W. Page Society Spring Seminar April 3 at the Jumeirah Essex House, New York.

Gutierrez, who was CEO and chairman of Kellogg Co. before joining the Bush Administration, said he was shocked at the amount of teamwork and collegiality achieved by the Administration and the involvement of the PR person in policy matters.

“In government, communications people are policy people — they know policy with a high level of detail,” he said. “In the private sector, communications people are not always business people close to strategy. It’s not your fault, it’s the CEO’s fault. It’s the CEO’s responsibility to see communications as a strategic tool.”

Urging PR people to get close to their CEOs, Gutierrez said “You should be with your CEO in every meeting.”

He felt the level of knowledge given to communicators in government is far greater than that given to PR people in the business world.

“My sense is that in the corporate world PR people walk around not knowing why the company may have dropped its dividend by 10% or why a new product was launched,” he said.

PR people should use “simple language that everyone can understand,” said Gutierrez. In the corporate world, he said, “We often mistake complexity for sophistication … simplicity is an art and a science and the beauty of simplicity is often overlooked.”


Internet Edition, April 15, 2009, Page 8




The remarks of former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez (page 7) to the effect that government PR people are far better informed than corporate people brings to mind a description of PR that PR people have fought against for years: “Last to know, first to go.”

Gutierrez said he was surprised at the close coordination government officials have with their PR people.

He contrasted it with his experience as CEO of the Kellogg Co. and his knowledge of other companies.

In government, he said, the top communicator is inseparable from the President.

But in the business world, he added, “Some CEOs don’t see the value in communications. Some think it is a little bit of role-playing.”

He feels government people are “experts” in areas ranging from healthcare and taxes to immigration policy and can therefore be engaged in policy formation at the highest level. The message is that if you want a seat at the boardroom table you need subject matter expertise.

Those studying communications, PR, journalism, etc., which involve knowledge of methodologies, should also not neglect having a specialty such as healthcare, tech, financial or any of the nearly dozen other well-defined areas of PR/PA.

Many new PR grads are coming onto the market these days and we have been in touch with a number of them after sending free copies of O’Dwyer’s Directory of PR Firms to about 70.

In return, we have asked them to describe their experiences in job-hunting.

The general response is that employers have little interest in their majors and instead want to know how many internships they have served. Two internships are mandatory and three are even better. “Practical experience trumps book-learning,” said one grad.

This principle is illustrated by a story we heard about a college student who majored in education some years ago but did not get to practice-teach until her last semester.

She was put in front of a classroom of children but found she hated it. Teaching candidates today, we are told, are put in class “almost immediately” to see if they can handle it. Students thinking of PR careers should serve a couple of internships before deciding on a major.

The quest of members of the “PR” Society for more information on the proposed bylaws (page 1) is a laudable one and we hope the presidents-elect are able to knock some answers out of bylaws chair Dave Rickey and chair Mike Cherenson.

Assembly delegate Mark McClennan does not like the Society seeking marketing, business development, strategic planners, etc., as “full” members although “affiliate” memberships might be o.k. McClennan says PR develops relationships and is different from marketing.

Marketers are hunters and predators, aiming their messages at “target” audiences. They deal in large numbers, sometimes millions of people, pigeon-holing them by demographics such as age, income, gender, ethnicity, etc.

They’re not into conversing with consumers (and never with reporters) but tend to regard them as laboratory animals that need to be subjected to constant testing. In the new world of Twitter, Facebook, etc., consumers want conversations. They don’t want to be manipulated.

The quote marks above around the “PR” used for the “PR” Society indicate we don’t feel the group is living up to the definition of PR any more than the fake “press conference” staged by FEMA on Oct. 26, 2007 lived up to the definition of press conference. You can’t have a “press conference” without press.

The slew of half-baked and unbaked ideas in the proposed Society bylaws contain this ringer: put COO Bill Murray on the nominating committee because he can help its members with “current and historical information about Society operations (budget, programs, etc.).”

The quote is from bylaws chair Dave Rickey answering criticism by Assembly delegate Mark McClennan that the COO's presence on the nomcom may have a "chilling effect" on discussions and besides, there are already plenty of people on the nomcom who know its history.

This proposal is a bid to save the job of Murray, whose contract is up Dec. 31. A new COO would not have his three years of experience.

Murray, an appointee of Rhoda Weiss, Jeff Julin, Mike Cherenson and others, should depart Dec. 31. He should never have been appointed. He has been a "stealth" president, having little contact with the press or members. He is a non-PR professional in a job that demands a PR pro. Peer groups like the ABA, AMA, AICPA and 4As always have one of their own professionals as head of staff.

Another staffer who must go or be given a new job is CFO Phil Bonaventura. He is not a registered CPA (has not taken the required annual courses). A group the size of the Society should have one, says CPA Phil Wolitzer, who is authorized to speak for the NYCPA. Bonaventura succeeded another Society CFO who should not have had that post-John Colletti, who was not even a CPA.

Also needed as auditor is one of the Big Four CPA firms which will put an end to the Society's habit of refusing to defer dues income.

McClennan’s questioning of Rickey on the “Governance Forum” of the Society shows how inadequate e-mails are for the purpose of having a discussion. In more than a month, there have only been four participants from among 22,000 members.

Face-to-face discussions in public are what is needed. Rickey, Cherenson and others should face members and the press in New York to discuss incendiary proposals that include abolishing district directors (all 17 directors conceivably could come from one state or district); further “packing” the Assembly with 27 committee heads (on top of 17 national directors, 19 section chairs and 10 district chairs); letting directors serve four years in a row and potentially another five as officers; letting almost anyone in as members, and providing direct election of board and officers without giving specifics on how this would be done. The proposed bylaws would strengthen APR and staff control of h.q. and the blocking of PR pros from working at h.q. (the “hospital without doctors”).

Chapter presidents rather than presidents-elect should attend the June 5-6 meeting in New York and change it from a “Leadership Rally” into a mini-Assembly, grilling national leaders on the proposed bylaws.

First, they need plenty of answers and data including the transcript of the 2008 Assembly. Rickey should not be allowed to get away with his plan to withhold further details until “mid-summer.”

--Jack O'Dwyer


Copyright © 1998-2020 J.R. O'Dwyer Company, Inc.
271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471