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Internet Edition, April 29, 2009, Page 1


Publicis Consultants has signed on to promote the Shanghai Expo 2010, which is expected to showcase the People’s Republic of China’s emergence on the world’s stage.

Philippe Le Corre, partner with PC, predicted the Expo will play an “important role in cultural, educational and scientific exchanges and development,” of the country, according to the Shanghai Expo’s website.

He made that remark at the April 15 signing ceremony at which Chinese officials played up the role of PR in a world where communications is quickly becoming more global.

The Expo, earlier this month, hired Hill & Knowlton for PR duties. H&K is part of Martin Sorrell’s WPP Group. Publicis is a unit of Maurice Levy’s Publicis Groupe. Sorrell and Levy are tough rivals.


Former White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer worked with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to get U.S. coverage in the days running up to the G20 Summit that took place in London earlier this month.

According to the “Project G20 Media Plan” worked up by Fleischer, the objective was to “provide communications advice around issues pertaining to the 2009 G20 Summit as they relate to the U.S. in order to effectively articulate the position of the Government of Canada.”

Fleischer’s work included neither lobbying U.S. officials nor promoting the policies of Harper’s Government.

Harper’s G20 priorities included fixing the financial system, avoiding protectionism and coordinating worldwide economic stimulus packages.

Canada will host the G20 Summit next year at the Deerhurst Resort, which is just north of Toronto.


Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois National Guard major who lost both legs and partial use of her arm in Iraq, has been confirmed by the Senate to head public affairs and internal communications for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

Duckworth lost a bid for Congress in 2006 and later campaigned with President Obama, who nominated her for the post. She takes on the role of Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Duckworth, a native of Thailand whose father served in Vietnam, was wounded in Iraq in 2004 when the helicopter she was piloting was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed.


 The Nasdaq Stock Market notified Medialink on April 20 that its stockholders’ equity was below the minimum requirement for listing on the exchange.

Medialink’s equity of $2,181,000 as of Dec. 31, 2008 falls short of the $2.5M minimum required by Nasdaq rules.

The  broadcast and multimedia PR services company, which is scrambling to find an investor or buyer, has until May 5 to file a plan with Nasdaq.

The stock exchange could then grant an extension to Medialink of up to 105 days or move to delist its shares. Investor relations firm Darrow Associates is working with the company.

Medialink pointed out the notification from Nasdaq in an April 24 SEC filing. Medialink’s stock is trading around 13 cents, off its 52-week range of $.03 to $1.30.


President Obama plans to nominate Nike corporate social responsibility pro Maria Eitel to run the Corp. for National and Community Service, which plans a big expansion of the AmeriCorps volunteer effort.

Under the Edward M. Kennedy Service America Act signed into law April 21, AmeriCorps is to grow from 75K to 250K positions.

Eitel is president of the Nike Foundation and a corporate VP at the footwear/athletic gear company. Most recently, she was in charge of Nike’s program to bolster opportunities for disadvantaged girls.

As Nike’s first CSR officer, Eitel played a leading role in improving working conditions in plants run by Nike’s overseas contractors, and creating the company’s environmental sustainability policy.

Prior to Nike, Eitel managed European PR, corporate and community affairs for Microsoft.


PR Seminar, the “premiere organization of senior communications and public affairs executives of the world’s most influential corporations, non-profit organizations and PR agencies,” is refusing to reveal the names of this year’s speakers to registrants or the press.

Registrants say the program is usually provided at least two months before the meeting but they have not received anything this year that gives the names of the speakers.

Cancellation deadline was April 8 for the meeting

(Continued on page 7)

Inside: Page 4: 2008 revenue table of independent firms in professional services category.


Internet Edition, April 29, 2009, Page 2


The Government of Turkey hired Edelman earlier this month to maximize the value of President Barack Obama’s visit there.

Turkey’s deputy director general of Americas Ersin Ercin gave an email okay of a $117K program on April 5, the day after Edelman sprung into action. That message was to Edelman’s Peter Segall, managing director in D.C.

Edelman’s program was aimed at the European Union and U.S. It covered arranging interviews for President Gul and Foreign Minister Babacan in “top-tier” media. The independent PR firm partnered with the Foreign Ministry to create a “significance of the visit” document to be distributed to reporters and other interesting parties.

The Turkish Embassy, on April 13 posted its “reflections” on Obama’s trip and his “historic speech” to the Grand National Assembly.

Obama’s visit was a “statement about the importance of Turkey, not just to the United States, but to the world.” Also, his “strong and vocal support during his overseas trip of Turkey’s admission into the European Union sent an important message of friendship to the Turkish people.”

Edelman has yet to register its full Turkey contract with the Justice Dept.


Kekst and Company is helping luxury goods client LVMH shot down two reports out of the U.K. that the company is considering a sale of its spirits division, Moet Hennessy.

Kekst handles PR/media relations for Paris-based LVMH in the U.S.

The company, which includes brands like Dom Pérignon and Donna Karan, issued a brief statement April 22 denying “reports in certain newspapers” that the group is in discussions to divest the MH wine and spirits unit. “LVMH confirms that no such negotiations are taking place,” the company said.

The Financial Times and Daily Telegraph reported April 22 that LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA could sell its two-thirds stake (worth about $12B) in the division to partner Diageo, although no decision by LVMH had been made.


Samuels International Assocs. has registered a $675K contract covering `09 PA duties for Angola, a country that is attempting to revamp its economy.

Angola announced April 24 an $8B program to reduce its dependence on its declining oil and diamond export markets.

The African nation had been on an economic high since the `02 end of a nearly 30-year civil war that erupted with the departure of the Portuguese.

SIA’s agreement calls for “assisting in the flow of open source information to facilitate Angola’s public image, facilitating U.S-Angolan military-to-military relations, facilitating ‘sister city relationships.’”

SIA also will arrange English language training sessions for Angola’s diplomats.


Apple’s iTunes store has removed an application for iPhones called “Baby Shaker,” which sparked an outcry from a national group focused on childhood brain injuries.

The app, developed by Sikalosoft, plays the sound of a crying baby on an iPhone until the user shakes the phone forcefully enough to stop it.

“They’re always distracting you from preparing for that big presentation at work with their incessant crying,” reads a promo for the app. “Before Baby Shaker, there was nothing you could do about it.”

Jennipher Dickens, communications director for the New York-based Sarah Jane Brain Project, emailed a press release headlined “Something’s Rotten at Apple” to O’Dwyer’s last week containing quotes from livid parents and expressing the group’s outrage over the Baby Shaker app.

“Apple, Inc., which notoriously and routinely rejects new apps from developers with a ‘rigorous’ vetting processs, nonetheless apparently allowed this horrible application to be sold through its store,” the group, which specializes in Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury and Shaken Baby Syndrome, said in the statement, which called the app “reckless.”

The 99-cent application was released on Monday, April 20, and was pulled from the iTunes store on Wed., April 22, without comment from Apple or Sikalosoft.

The Foundation, which provided the emails and phone numbers of top Apple executives, also asked for an apology from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who is currently on health leave, and an effort to “reverse the damage they have already undoubtedly caused.”


BlueSky Charter School, an online high school in Minnesota, is asking for PR proposals to boost its visibility and student enrollment.

The St. Paul-based school, Minnesota’s first online institution when it opened in 2000, had a rocky start but began seeing enrollment blossom between 2006-08 and now counts about 900 students.

It caters to young mothers, full-time workers, so-called at-risk teens and other students like athletes-in-training who need flexibility in education.

The school has issued an RFP for PR pitches through May 1.

The work includes identifying and reaching prospective students, finding students and parents who could be spokespeople for the school, media relations, online networking and overall communications planning for the institution.

Budget is in the $125K range for planning and implementation. A one-year contract through June 1, 2010 is expected, but the school said it hopes to find a long-term firm.

A profile of the school in the Star Tribune in December highlighted a 19-year-old student with a two-year-old daughter, one of 90 moms enrolled in the high school.

The RFP has been posted online on the charter school’s website:


Internet Edition, April 29, 2009, Page 3


Conde Nast is pulling the plug on its start-up monthly business magazine Portfolio after two years.

Joanne Lipman broke the news to staff early April 27 saying the decision had been made because of financial reasons at CN parent company Advance Publications.

Lipman was apparently told of the decision by CN chairman S.I. Newhouse early on April 27.

“While the unprecedented nature of these times has made business and the economy the main topic of conversation, it has also led to high levels of uncertainty and a tremendous reduction in ad spend in the five key sectors Portfolio’s business model depends on,” CN group president and publishing director David Carey said in a statement.

Last October, Portfolio was cut to 10 issues a year from 12 and its online staff was decimated. The magazine was launched in April 2007.


Yahoo is cutting five percent of its staff (700 people) in the aftermath of a plunge in first-quarter net from $536M to $118M.

CEO Carol Bartz says the performance shows that Yahoo is “not immune to the ongoing economic downturn.”

Though the company felt pressure in both the display and search sectors, Yahoo remains “one of the most compelling advertising buys on the Internet,” she said.

Bartz is confident Yahoo “will be positioned when online brand advertising resumes its growth.”

The job cuts are the third round of cuts that began last year when 2,400 people were shaved from the payroll.


Peter Kaplan, editor of the New York Observer, is leaving the cheeky salmon-colored weekly in June after a 15-year stint.

The 55-year-old editor told staffers it’s time to move on for a “third act.” He was a reporter at the New York Times and executive producer of “The Charlie Rose Show.”

The Observer has a circulation of 50K in Manhattan. It was purchased for $10M by real estate developer Jared Kushner, 28.

Kushner is fending off reports that he is going to unload the paper.


Wenda Harris Millard is stepping down as co-CEO and president of media at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to join the advertising and marketing advisory firm Media Link LLC in New York.

Millard had been with MSLO since July 2007 after serving on its board and served as co-CEO for less than a year.

Previously, she was chief sales officer at Yahoo! and chief Internet officer for Ziff Davis Media, where she also served as president of its Internet operation.

Millard was a founding member of DoubleClick and held top publishing posts at Family Circle, Adweek, Mediaweek and Brandweek.

She is the current chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

MSLO said founder Martha Stewart will be heading all creative and editorial operations as a consultant.


The New York Times took home five Pulitzer Prizes for journalism, including an investigative reporting award for its probe of a Pentagon PR program.

David Barstow of the Times won for his coverage of how retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been used by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq.

Barstow also revealed how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended.

The Times also won for breaking news reporting for the Elliot Spitzer scandal, international reporting for Afghanistan and Pakistan, feature photography (Damon Winter) and criticism (Holland Cotter).

The Las Vegas Sun earned a Pulitzer for public service for Alexandra Berzon’s coverage of the high death rate among construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip.

Also winning were the Los Angeles Times (explanatory), Detroit Free Press staff and East Valley Tribune in Mesa Ariz. (local reporting), St. Petersburg Times (national reporting), Washington Post (commentary, Eugene Robinson), Post-Star of Glens Falls, N.Y. (editorial writing), San Diego Union-Tribune (editorial cartoons, Steve Breen) and the Miami Herald (breaking news photography).


MySpace founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson have been pushed out of the top slots in a bid to rev up growth at the social networking company. Owen Van Natta, VP/operations at Facebook, is the new CEO.

DeWolfe becomes a “strategic advisor” to the News Corp. property, while Anderson is in talks about a new position within the organization.

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch recruited former AOL chief Jonathan Miller as CEO of the digital media group earlier this month to oversee MySpace, Photobucket and IGN Entertainment.

News Corp. bought MySpace in `05 for $650. It remains the No. 1 social networking site with 70M unique visitors in March. No. 2 Facebook has been catching up with MySpace. It now had 71M viewers in March, up 72 percent from a year earlier.

BRIEF: BET, a cable TV unit of Viacom, plans to launch “Centric” in October. The new network is aimed at middle aged and older blacks. BET is viewed in nearly 90M homes. It is the No. 1 black audience network. The network’s only main competitor, TV One, has 47M viewers.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, April 29, 2009, Page 4


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is sending a “new media delegation” to Iraq in an effort to bolster the country’s emerging media sector.

The delegation is to show how new tech communications tools “can foster greater transparency and accountability, build upon anti-corruption efforts, promote critical thinking in the classroom, scale-up civil society, and further empower local entities and individuals by providing the tools for network building.”

State believes the traveling troupe will teach the Iraqis how to integrate new technology as a “tool for smart power.”

Members of the group include Twitter chairman-founder Jack Dorsey; Jason Liebman, CEO-Founder, Howcast; David Nassar, VP-Blue State Digital; Hunter Walk, Head Product Development-YouTube; Steven Levy, Senior Writer-Wired Magazine; Scott Heiferman, CEO-MeetUp; Raanan Bar-Cohen, VP-Automatic/WordPress; Google’s Kannan Pashupathy, Director of International Engineering Operations and Ahmad Hamzawi, Head of Engineering, Middle East/North Africa, and /Richard Robbins, director of social innovation of ATT.

Clinton, who maintains a blog on the State Dept.’s website, is said to be a strong component of new media tools.


The American Society of News Editors said this week that black journalists were cut from newsrooms at a rate of 13.5 percent in 2008 making them the single most targeted group for job losses.

Four hundred black journalists were cut last year, the group said, which has scaled the diversity of newsrooms back to 1998 levels.

ASNE said 458 newspapers have no minorities on their news teams and only 111 of 633 papers have "achieved parity with the minority population in their communities."

Newsroom jobs held by black journalists were cut by an alarming 13.5 percent in 2008, making African-Americans the single most targeted group for job losses in newsrooms across the country, according to a study released by ASNE, the American Society of News Editors.

"While NABJ recognizes the current economic downturn, newspapers must stop the bloodletting of black journalists now," said NABJ Pres. Barbara Ciara.


Michael Barone, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and 18-year senior writer at U.S. News & World Report, has joined the Washington Examiner as a senior political analyst.

Barone will pen a twice-weekly column for the paper's politics page and blog for its website.

He is the co-author of National Journal’s “The Almanac of American Politics,” which is published every two years and started in 1971.

Noting the “challenging time” for journalism in the U.S., Barone said he’s happy to return to daily writing.

O’Dwyer’s Ranking of Professional Services PR Firms
Click here for ranking.

Internet Edition, April 29, 2009, Page 5


Next Fifteen Communications Group, the U.K.-based parent to PR firms like Bite Communications, Text 100 and Outcast Communications, reported a 10 percent rise in revenue for the first half of its fiscal year ending Jan. 31 of £33.5M ($48.9M by current exchange rates).

Chairman Will Whitehorn said the results reflect the “challenging environment” but added that the conglomerate has been pursuing acquisitions in the U.S. and Asia. U.S. and Canada revenue for the first half was £15.5M (about $22.7M), up from £13M in ’08.

Text 100 posted 2008 revenue of $63M with 540 staffers, according to figures provided to O’Dwyer’s. Bite had revenue of $16.9M for ’08.

Eighty percent of Next Fifteen’s revenues come from retainer clients like IBM, Cisco, Coca-Cola and Microsoft. Whitehorn said revenue dipped in January as expected as clients set budgets for the year. But Whitehorn noted the company has taken “resolute steps” in response to the market, including a nine percent headcount reduction (about 100 jobs) and closure of its Seattle operations which led to about a $1M (£700K) charge for the period. Further cuts have been made so far in the second half and the group said it will merge London-based PR firm Inferno, an ‘03 spinoff of Bite, into Bite’s operations to further cut costs.

CEO Tim Dyson struck a more upbeat tone in an interview with Reuters/U.K. He said U.S. businesses by the summer will be spending “very close to what they were before the cuts.”

He added the group could start hiring again in the U.S. by the summer, although he remains “cautious” toward Europe.

Whitehorn forecasts a decline in revenue of about 10 percent from the first to second half of this year.

The group has recently added work for Skype, SanDisk and Intuit and said 33 percent of its revenue comes from its top 10 clients, down from 35 percent for the same period of ’08.


Ken Makovsky, president of New York-based Makovsky + Company, has co-founded a group of firms active in the environmental consulting arena to counsel businesses on climate change risks and the advange of sustainable actions.

In addition to Makovsky, the group, called Interraction, includes law firm Arnold & Porter, design and engineering firm Buro Happold, consulting firm carbonRational, green architecture firm FXFOWLE Architects, and climate change data firm Svante Scientific.

Makovsky said as a group the firms can help corporations see themselves as a whole, which he said is key to “making sustainability sustainable.”

Correction: Walek & Associates, New York, was correctly listed as the No. 10 indepedent PR firm in the financial category in the April 22 issue, but its 2008 revenue figure was incorrect. The firm had financial PR revenue of $3,006,520 in 2008, not $2.7M.


New York Area

Burke & Company, New York/Mattern & Associates, law firm consultants, for a media comms. campaign.

Carolyn Izzo Integrated Communications, New York/
Ben & Jack’s Steak House, as AOR for PR for its grand opening of a Fifth Avenue eatery in May.

Crenshaw Communications, New York/Club Quarters, for media relations for the River Hotel, a new Chicago boutique hotel opening in May.

Harrison Leifer DiMarco, Rockville Centre, N.Y./VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture P.C., as AOR for PR and marketing.

R&J PR, Bridgewater, N.J./XStreamHD, high definition home entertainment delivery, as AOR for PR.


Tiziani Whitmyre, Sharon, Mass./T.R. Miller Co., to introduce its The Life is good brand of apparel and accessories to the corporate marketplace. The work includes media relations, online PR, SEO and social media.

IMRE, Baltimore/NAVA, the Association for Insured Retirement Solutions, for creative strategy, PR, media planning and digital services.

Warschawski, Baltimore/Capital Funding Bancorp, for an internal and external communications campaign for its acquisition of AmericasBank.

Porter Novelli, Washington, D.C./National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institute of Health, for a three-year, $3.6M contract focused on its chronic obstructive pulmonary disease awareness campaign called “COPD Learn More Breathe Better.” PN noted the NHLBI was the firm’s first client in 1972. Rosy McGillan, senior VP for health and social marketing, leads the effort.

Swanson Communications, Washington, D.C./Oscar de La Hoya, to produce a press conference for the boxing champ’s retirement announcement. The event was held at Nokia Plaza at LA Live in Los Angeles and was open to the public.

Dodge Communications, Atlanta/Capario, revenue cycle management for healthcare services, for renaming and “rebranding” of the company via an ongoing PR campaign.

Kleber & Associates, Atlanta/Century Architectural Specialties, for a strategic PR program, and Basco Shower Enclosures, for a trade and consumer advertising push.

rbb PR, Miami/duMi Shapewear, for development and implementation of a PR campaign via the firm’s style group for the undergarment brand.

Capital Structure Today, Jacksonville, Fla./Cannabis Science, medical marijuana research, for branding and public/investor relations.


Charles Communications, San Francisco/DeLoach Vineyards of Boisset Family Estates, for PR including media and consumer relations, online and off.

The Ross Group, Los Angeles/Christopher Guy, luxury furniture brand, for PR for the launch of its design lounge in July in Beverly Hills.

Mayo Communications, Los Angeles/Wyatt Films, New York, for PR and web work.

Internet Edition, April 29, 2009, Page 6


PR software company Vocus reported a $478K net loss for the first quarter of '09 as new and renewal subscriptions lagged expectations and the overall economy affected its business.

Revenue for the first quarter -- $20.4M -- was up 14 percent over '08. A decline in selling prices and fewer net new subscribers compared with last year affected the company's revenue during the period.

The net loss was an increase from the $403K loss for Q1 of '08.

“We clearly saw a business climate that was worse than what we expected and one that now reflects the PR marketing cuts that organizations are fully incorporating into their 2009 budgets,” said CEO Rick Rudman.

Vocus shares were downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by Broadpoint Capital following the Q1 results.

Net new subscriptions were 179 for the period, fewer than expected and down from 219 subs in Q1 last year. Vocus reported 3,558 active subscribers to its services and Rudman said the company expects to break the 4,000 mark by the end of the year.

Vocus sees its market for PR software as more than 150,000 organizations.

Rudman noted the “challenging macroeconomic environment” during the quarter. “There were many positive results and trends for Vocus during the quarter, yet clearly PR marketing budgets are not immune to the bad economy,” he said during a conference call.

Rudman said average selling prices declined in the quarter as customers selected fewer modules or add-ons to services for 2009.

Rudman said Vocus' PRWeb release distribution unit posted a record number of new customers for the quarter and the company sees the small business segment and overseas as keys to its growth.


The Institute for PR, which broke away from the “PR” Society in 1989, reported a loss of $92,435 for 2008 as assets dropped 24% to $288,325 and cash/investments fell 25% to $305,071.

Revenues fell only 3% partly because $104,450 was received in temporarily restricted funds in 2007 vs. only $11,000 in 2008.

The entire audit was posted for public viewing on the IPR website.

Frank Ovaitt, who will be succeeded as IPR president by Robert Grupp on July 1, said savings had been built up for a rainy day and “it did begin storming toward the end of 2008.”

IPR’s goal is to “bridge the gap” between the academic and practitioner communities. It sees its mission as showing “the science beneath the art of public relations.”

The “PR” Society, a 501/c/6 non-profit, and the Arthur W. Page Society, a 501/c/3 non-profit, have yet to reveal either their audits or IRS Form 990s.

c/3 corporations are usually charities like the Red Cross or United Way but can also include educational groups.



Laura Ackerman, senior PR manager, Kel & Partners, to Fuseideas, Somerville, Mass., as director of PR overseeing the full-service agency’s PR unit. She was previously an A/S for Schwartz Communications and began her career at Peter Arnold Associates.

Chad Hyett, a veteran of Fleishman-Hillard, Hill & Knowlton and Noonan Russo Presence Euro RSCG, to Widmeyer Communications, Washington, D.C., as an assistant VP in the firm’s health and wellness unit. Pfizer is a key focus of his work.

Kate Krejci, associate, Rational PR, to Griffin & Company, Washington, D.C., as media relations manager. She was previously director of marketing for Design Studios West in Denver.

Leigh Fazzina, director of PR at MediciGlobal, to On The Scene Productions, Los Angeles, as VP of business development to expand the broadcast and digital PR services company’s healthcare practice and social media services. She works under executive producer Ben Garrett, who knew Fazzina from their work on PR Society’s health academy board. She was previously PR manager at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and senior manager, brand communications, at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. She’s is an adjunct professor at Temple University.


Dan Steen, VP of gov’t affairs for Owens-Illinois Inc., to chair of the National Association of Manufacturers’ national public affairs steering committee, effective May 6. He takes over for William Corcoran of W.R. Grace & Co.



John Graham, whose career with Fleishman-Hillard stretches to 1966, was given the first “Paladin Award” of the PRSA Foundation April 20 at a dinner in the “W” Hotel, New York.

Graham said the “need for what we do has never been greater.”

Graham told nearly 100 PR executives at the dinner that the current times present "a terrific opportunity" for PR. “The need for what we do has never been greater,” he told an audience that included Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman, and Michael Cherenson and Gary McCormick, chair and chair-elect, respectively, of the Society.

Kathy Lewton, of Lewton, Seekins & Trester and chair of the Foundation, presided over the ceremonies.

A “Paladin,” as defined by the Foundation, is a “knightly or heroic champion, a determined advocate or defender of a noble cause.”

Graham urged all PR pros to “focus on doing outstanding work.” There is a need for open and complete dialog with all the audiences that PR addresses, he said.

Graham joined F-H in 1966 after working as an editor at Hallmark Cards, St. Louis, and serving as director of PR of the St. Louis Metropolitan YMCA.


Internet Edition, April 29, 2009, Page 7


scheduled for May 20-23 at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Almost all registrants go as couples, paying $3,350 for speakers, banquets and entertainment. Single registrants pay $2,250.

Speakers are usually editors and executives of major media, professors, authors, and current and ex-government figures.

One theory is that the speakers do not want to be identified as attending a corporate meeting at an expensive resort because of the criticism that followed a meeting of AIG representatives last year at such a resort.

AIG has become “the lightning rod” for critics of bailouts, the Financial Times said April 14. A House committee is investigating AIG contracts with Burson-Marsteller and Hill & Knowlton.

Bartiromo, Clift at 2008 Seminar

Maria Bartiromo of the “Closing Bell” on CNBC, Eleanor Clift, Newsweek columnist, and Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg News columnist, were among the speakers last year.

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York and founder of Bloomberg, was a speaker in the 1990s. Judith Czelusniak, head of global communications of Bloomberg, has been a member since 2005.

AIG was criticized for holding a meeting of its representatives at the St. Regis Resort, Monarch Bay, Calif., last October, after receiving billions in federal bailout funds.

A similar AIG meeting was planned at the Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay but was cancelled on Oct. 9, the day after Bloomberg reporters Erik Holm and Hugh Son wrote about it.

Catherine Mathis, VP-communications of the New York Times Co., attended PR Seminar in 2005.

Speakers have also included editors and executives of the Washington Post, Fortune, Forbes, New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and BusinessWeek as well as network and cable TV shows.

Members include PR executives of companies and banks that have received government bail-out funds.

Among members are Nicholas Ashooh, senior VP of communications, AIG; Steve Harris, VP-global communications, General Motors, Gary Sheffer, executive director, corporate communications and PA, General Electric, and Michael O’Neill, senior VP, corporate affairs and communications, American Express.

Page Members Dominate Seminar, IPR

Ashooh, Harris and Sheffer are members of the Arthur W. Page Society as are about half the members of Seminar including Charlotte Otto of Procter & Gamble, chair of the 2009 meeting; Johanna Schneider, Business Roundtable, program chair, and Joan Wainwright, Tyco Electronics, secretary/treasurer. Twenty-one of the 30 governing committee members of PRS are Page members.

Thirty of the 44 trustees of the Institute for PR are members of Page including those holding the top four IPR posts: co-chairs Michael Fernandez of State Farm Insurance and Matthew Gonrng of Gagen MacDonald, treasurer Kenneth Makovsky of Makovsky & Co., and president/CEO Frank Ovaitt. Incoming president Robert Grupp is also a Page member.

The first principle of Page is: “Tell the truth. Let the public know what’s happening and provide an accurate picture of the company’s character, ideals and practices.”


“PR” Society bylaws chair Dave Rickey has irked Assembly delegate Mark McLennan of Boston by saying that specifics of the proposed direct election of board members and officers “will not be completed until after the bylaws are approved by the Assembly.”

“We are being asked to vote on something without knowing how the very important process is going to work,” McLennan told the Governance Forum on the Society website April 24.

He is asking that “detailed policies and procedures to cover the voting process be available for review” before the Assembly vote.

Some members say such rules should be posted now so they can be reviewed by the 109 chapter presidents-elect who are meeting in New York June 5-6.

McClennan also expressed his concern about allowing marketing, advertising and others “with a broader range of knowledge, experiences and job responsibilities” into the Society, as proposed.

Rickey responded that many members, including himself, are “equally involved in advertising and marketing” and that the intention is not to “dilute” the PR profession but to “strengthen” it.

McClennan opposes the elimination of district directors and making the 25 or so national committee chairs Assembly delegates. The executive branch already has a “strong voice” in the Assembly he noted. Delegates include the 17 national directors, 19 section heads and 10 district chairs.

Both Rickey and McClennan pleaded for more participants in the debate.

Thus far they are the only two among 22,000 members offering their views.

Few members appear to be aware of the bylaw proposals. They can only be accessed by clicking on a link in a general discussion of the need for new bylaws on the Society website.

For the first time in more than 30 years, non-APRs could be on the board. But they would have to have served as head of a chapter, section, district or national committee or be able to show “more than 20 years of experience in PR with increasing levels of responsibility.” Service as a voting Assembly delegate would no longer qualify a member for national office.

Rickey, defending the elimination of board members representing districts, said this “geographic limitation” has made it “challenging to find candidates for the national board.”

Senior members said that what has made it hard to find candidates is the APR rule that has blocked more then 80% of members from running for national office since the 1970s.


Internet Edition, April 29, 2009, Page 8




PR Seminar’s withholding of its 2009 speakers’ program from members who have registered (page one) is an example of the slippery slope of secrecy.

Once secrecy has taken its grip on an organization (and PRS has been “off-the-record” for its entire 60-year history), more and more secrecy becomes the norm.

Soon, not only are secrets being kept from the press but even members. In this case, the members are those who have paid $3,350 per couple (and mostly couples attend) for a four-day stay at one of the most posh resorts in the U.S.—the Ritz-Carlton at Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Veteran members tell us that for the first time in its history, PRS has not informed them of the speakers, who are usually media figures (like Maria Bartiromo of CNBS and Eleanor Clift of of Newsweek), corporate execs (Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase), consultants, college professors, scientists and authors.

A hot topic of the day, of course, is corporate execs holding “business meetings” at fancy resorts.

Media figures may not want it reported that they are taking part in this corporate largess along with PR people from companies that are on the public dole.

We begrudge Seminar its secrecy because at least $1 million is spent on it and nothing is published for the benefit of others.

A poll on found the vote was about 70% in favor of PRS either canceling the May 20-23 meeting or holding it in a city such as Chicago or New York. Veteran PR pros are saying as much.

Seminar is following in the footsteps of the “PR” Society, which communicates little if at all with the press, and which cannot even communicate with its own members (page 7).

Although it has 22,000 members, only two are taking part in an online debate on sweeping changes in the Society’s bylaws. Both are begging for more to join in with no success even though this is well into the second month of a “discussion” of the proposed bylaws.

There are a couple of reasons for this institutional silence. We bet nearly 100% of the members don’t even know what the proposed changes are since they were buried in a link in a generalized announcement of the changes.

They don’t know that the Assembly would lose its power to elect board members and officers; that marketing, advertising and anyone remotely connected with communications would be allowed in as full members, and that districts would no longer have their own directors.

APRs would retain their grip on leadership by allowing non-APRs on the board but candidates would have to show “more than 20 years of experience with increasing levels of responsibility.”

Bylaws chair Dave Rickey says it’s hard to find candidates from each of the ten districts. The problem is not the districts but that more than 80% of the members (the non-APRs) have been blocked from running for office since the 1970s.

Since the Society has 22,000 members, there are about 2,200 in each of the ten districts. Yet districts such as Tri-State, Southeast and Southwest have trouble finding even one candidate. The Society should look to its own policies including virtually barring members from working at h.q. (one or two PR pros are allowed) as the reason for the disinterest.

Rickey, in saying that many members, including himself, are “equally involved in advertising and marketing,” has said a mouthful. The Society is moving away from obtaining “third party endorsement,” once the hallmark of the industry. We doubt most members would approve of that trend. McClennan certainly does not.

Both PR Seminar and the “PR” Society are run by people who have the loftiest of ethical codes but who don’t live up to them.

Seminar is dominated by members of the Arthur W. Page Society, who occupy 21 of the 30 seats on the governing committee including the top three—Charlotte Otto of Procter & Gamble, Johanna Schneider of the Business Roundtable, and Joan Wainwright of Tyco Electronic.

Page members account for 30 of the 44 trustees of the Institute for PR including the top four posts—co-chairs Michael Fernandez of State Farm Insurance and Matthew Gonring of Gagen MacDonald, treasurer Kenneth Makovsky of Makovsky + Co., and president/CEO Frank Ovaitt. Incoming president Robert Grupp is also a Page member.

Leaders of Page, Seminar and the Society should be experts in press relations. Instead, they are like cooks who don’t like the heat in the kitchen, lifeguards who have aquaphobia, and surgeons who can’t stand the sight of blood.

The No. 1 Page principle is: “Tell the truth. Let the public know what’s happening and provide an accurate picture of the company’s character, ideals and practices.”

Since 2005, PR Week has been offering its $249 Contact directory (also priced at $199 and $198) as an inducement to new and renewal subscribers, which may be a violation of the USPS rule that a premium may be no more than 70% of the price of a publication mailed at the low Periodicals rate.

If the premium is worth more than 70%, subscriptions are deemed to be “free.” The Periodicals rate is barred to publications with more than 50% in free circulation.

Haymarket, since 2005, has been offering the directory as a free bonus both to new subscribers and renewals, and we wonder if the 50% rule has been breached.

PRW’s total circulation averaged 8,902 in 2008, of which 2,381 consisted of free circulation. So it could only distribute a total of 4,451 copies free or it would be in violation of the 50% rule (an additional 2,070 copies).

Paid and requested circulation averaged 6,521 in 2008. We have asked PRW president Lisa Kirk and publishing director Julia Hood for comment on this.

Hood herself in 2008 was sending pitches to prospects who were mentioned in PRW, offering for $148 a one year subscription to PRW (“regularly $198”), and as a “BONUS—receive the PRWeek Contact Directory (a $199 value!) at no additional cost.”

The 2009 Contact has two prices on it--$249 and $198.

Kirk says PRW is in compliance with USPS rules and that it is only offering “one consistent full price of $198.”

However, the 2009 Contact has an offer of PRW, Contact and other services for $148.

In determining the value of a premium, USPS uses the highest published price.

PRW submits a circulation statement to USPS each year but it has never submitted to an audit by the Audit Bureau of Circulations or the Business Publications Audit. Sister publication Direct Marketing News is audited by the BPA.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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