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Internet Edition, May 13, 2009, Page 1


California is searching for a firm to produce a public information campaign outlining the process to join its first redistricting commission made up of citizens.

The campaign is mandated by the Voters First Act, which was narrowly approved by Golden State voters in November as Proposition 11. The act takes redistricting power away from the state legislature and hands it over to a 14-member commission of citizens. The political boundaries affect the state senate, assembly and the state’s tax collecting body – the board of equalization.

The goal of the PR campaign is to educate citizens about how to join and work with the commission, which is chosen every 10 years starting with the first seating in 2010.

The state auditor has issued an RFP for proposals to reach all registered voters in the state to outline the process.

Proposals are due May 15. Questions are being taken and posted via the state’s online procurement portal:


Mexico Tourism Board has hired Qorvis Communications for a one-year online PR program, covering marketing, new media relations, grassroots/allies outreach and web support. The program is worth $330K.

Coordinating the work with Mexico’s U.S. Embassy, the Washington-based firm is to develop a profile of the top five search engines for Mexico, President Felipe Calderon and Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan in order to bolster search efficiency.

Qorvis is to tackle blogger relations. According to its agreement, the firm will “feed this community straight and factual information with the end goal of engaging the bloggers in a conversation.”

Other duties include creation of mobile applications for IPhone, BlackBerry and Android, plus establishment of the “Virtual Consulate,” local portals aimed at major cities.

Qorvis’ contract expires April 31, 2010. The firm is to receive its $27,500 monthly fee for the entire year even if the contract is cancelled for any reason.

MTB has agreed to a one-year extension.

Lisa Camooso Miller, who headed public affairs for the National Community Pharmacists Association, has moved to the Virginia-based American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity as VP of media relations. The trade group is backed by coal producers, railroads and power companies.


Although 24 fewer PR operations provided net fee and employment totals for the 2009 O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms, the total of fees reported for 12 specialty practices only declined from the record 618 for 2007 to 616 for 2008.

The 39th edition of the Directory, which has overall rankings and rankings by city and PR specialties and listings on more than 1,600 firms, will be published in June.

Firms that take logo/statement ads are also on for a year. Ranked are 169 independents (-21) and 11 ad agency PR depts. (-3).

The largest number of specialty rankings were in technology/industrial, totaling 102. Others were healthcare, 96; financial/IR, 71, and professional services, 65. The last category is for PR for doctors, lawyers, accounting firms, consultants, real estate firms, etc.

Orders for the $95 Directory are handled online at or at 866/395-7710.


Burson-Marsteller won a $3.5M pact to continue the Federal Communications Commission's outreach for the digital TV transition previously led by Ketchum.

The consumer education effort leads up to the June 12 transition date.

B-M’s D.C. outpost will lead the contract, which called for the ability to provide advertising and public relations expertise to supplement and expand the FCC’s existing consumer education campaign.

The FCC issued an RFP in April after the digital transition deadline was moved from Feb. 17 to June. At the time, Nielsen estimated that nearly four million Americans were still unprepared for the switch.

Funds for the extension came from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus package.


The “PR” Society should not have been investing $1.89 million in stocks and bonds or anything that risked members' money, CPAs told

The Society last week revealed a $383,000 loss on investments that as of Jan. 1, 2008 included $1,179,684 in common stocks and $712,568 in corporate bonds and preferred stock.

Society leaders have known about the losses since at least the first week in January but they were only revealed in the 2008 audit published last week (a PDF is available at

(continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, May 13, 2009, Page 2


Texas Governor Rick Perry’s office has issued an RFP for a long-term travel PR contract intended to lure overseas travelers from Europe to the Lone Star State and revamp its “cowboy” and “dusty” image.

The state plans a two year contract with two additional 24-month options beginning in September.

Texas started running travel PR campaigns in international markets in 1997 and it currently has one contract covering North America, the U.K., Germany, Mexico and parts of Latin America and Asia.

Vollmer PR currently handles the tourism account.

The new RFP will be the state’s first go at a regionally based contract for Europe.

The RFP notes research indicating many domestic and international travelers have a “stereotypical and one-dimensional image of Texas, recognizing the state for its rich cowboy image and western heritage, but also perceiving the state to be a hot, flat, dry and dusty place with limited appeal as a travel destination.”

In the U.S., the state uses the tagline “Texas. It’s Like a Whole Other Country,” while in Mexico it pitches the state as “A Little of Everything.”


Joshua King, chief spokesman and VP at The Hartford Financial Services Group, has re-joined his former Clinton administration colleague Mark Penn at Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates as a senior VP in New York.

PS&B said King works alongside managing director Jay Leveton and reports to president/CEO (and Burson-Marsteller chief) Penn while focusing on new business and overseeing staff and operations.

King was VP for media and community relations at insurance giant Hartford since 2003 when he joined after serving as a consultant at PS&B in D.C. He was previously director of production for Presidential Events during the first term of the Clinton administration when Penn was a senior advisor to Clinton.


Regan Communications is handling crisis communications for Summit Structures and Cover-All Building Systems, the makers of the dome that collapsed during severe weather at the Dallas Cowboys practice facility on May 3.

Mariellen Burns, VP and director of crisis communications at Boston-based Regan, is handling inquiries about the incident, an operator at Cover-All told O’Dwyer’s.

Summit is based in Allentown, Pa., while Cover-All is headquartered in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The dome collapse injured Cowboys personnel including an assistant scouting director, who is paralyzed from the waist down, according to the football team.

The severe weather is believed to have been a “microburst,” according to the National Weather Service.

In a statement issued by Regan for the dome builders, company president Nathan Stobbe said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families. This is obviously a very difficult time for each of them and for the Cowboys organization.”


The Ad Hoc Committee of General Motors Bondholders has retained Sloane & Co. to handle communications aimed at the “high end, high stakes financial press,” according to Elliot Sloane.

The New York-based financial firm is supplementing the work of Democratic heavyweight Glover Park Group, which is targeting its sights on Washington policymakers.

The Ad Hoc Committee has drawn up a plan that it says would enable GM to “avoid a lengthy and difficult bankruptcy process that would hurt all stakeholders, employees and customers.”

Its proposal “prevents the nationalization of one of the country’s largest companies and provides for a fair and equitable allocation of new GM equity across all stakeholder classes.”

Sloane says his firm has been hired by the bondholder group to “help communicate their counter proposal and support the bondholders as they work to reach an agreement with the company and the Government.”


Kekst and Company, which helped Chrysler fend off a hostile takeover in 1995, is again working with the automaker at it navigates Chapter 11 and a sale to the Italian automaker Fiat.

A bankruptcy judge okayed the automaker’s planned auction of most of its assets by the end of the month to Fiat, the top bidder. The combine will create the No. 6 automaker in the world, according to Bloomberg.

Fredric Spar, a partner at New York-based Kekst, is handling the account.

Kekst, which is part of Publicis, worked with Chrysler when investor Kirk Kerkorian made a hostile bid for the automaker with the support of its iconic retired CEO Lee Iacocca.


Levick Strategic Communications provided crisis PR insurance for the Summit of the Americas that ran mid-April in Trinidad & Tobago, the event attracted leaders of 34 nations.

LSC developed the plan for the Trinidad & Tobago International Financial Center.

The elements of LSC’s program included “developing a communications strategy and implementing tactics geared toward positioning the TTIFC in a positive light for the Summit of the Americas and toward managing potential crisis issues that are likely to arise.”

Nikon is looking to hire a GM-corporate communications at its Melville, N.Y. (Long Island), operation to direct consumer, trade and employee PR.

An executive with at least 10 years of experience will oversee PR, partnerships, trade shows, dealer relations, publications, promotions and point-of-purchase materials. He/she will guide branding activities in the U.S. and lead the “corporate spirit initiative” program of workshops, sporting events and seminars. The position reports to the president.

Rick Delin of Lloyd Staffing is leading the search ([email protected] and 631/777-7600, ext: 722).


Internet Edition, May 13, 2009, Page 3


Time Warner posted a seven percent decline in first quarter revenues to $6.9 billion citing slumps at AOL and its publishing and filmed entertainment units.

TW’s Networks segment, which includes Turner and HBO, was up to $2.8B for Q1, up six percent from $2.7B in ’08, while publishing revenue fell 23 percent to dip under $1 billion in ’08 to $806M for Q1. Advertising was down 30% while subscriptions fell 16%.

Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO, noted a “challenging economic environment that’s affecting all our business,” singling out advertising at its AOL and publishing segments.

He said the separation from Time Warner Cable has made TW a “more content-focused company.”

AOL revenues were down 23% to $867M mostly on a 27% fall in subscription revenue and 20% slip in advertising. AOL had 106M monthly unique visitors in the U.S. during the quarter for a total of 58 billion page views.

THESTREET REPORTS Q1 SLIDE reported a 26 percent slide in first quarter revenue to $14M, compared with $18.9M for Q1 of ’08. Advertising and interactive marketing services revenue fell 45 percent to $4.5M compared with ’08.

Net loss for the first quarter reached $45.7M, including restructuring costs and a one-time $24.1M impairment charge.

“This is clearly a time of great change within the company,” said interim-CEO Daryl Otte.

Paid services revenue – including subscription and syndication revenue -- fell 12 percent to $9.5M for Q1.

The company’s board moved to reorganize in March and cut 21 positions, or six percent of its workforce, which contributed to a $1M charge for the quarter. The revamp also led to the resignation of CEO Thomas J. Clarke Jr. and a $1.6M severance agreement.


The New York Times is raising the Monday-Saturday newsstand price of the paper to $2.

The 50 cent boost, effective June 1, is the third price hike in two years.

The price of the Times has doubled since July 2007. The Sunday Times will cost $5, which is a $1 increase. Home delivery prices remain the same.

The NYT weekday circulation averaged 1.04M for the six-month period ended March. That was down three percent from the year earlier period.


The Atlantic has scooped up Scott Havens, executive director at now-defunct

Havens takes the new post of VP, digital strategy and operations for the Atlantic, overseeing its website.

He was previously senior manager, business development, at Yahoo! Finance. claimed 3.2M unique visitors in April.

Havens was previously with Lighthouse International, NursingHands and


TelevisionWeek, prints its last magazine on June 1, then becoming an online-only information source at

TVW is spinning off its NewsPro supplement as a monthly stand-alone magazine in August.

Launched as Electronic Media in ’82, TVW assumed its current name in ’03.


Anna Quindlen, 58, has given up her “The Last Word” column in Newsweek after a nine-year run. She stepped aside to provide an opportunity for someone younger to take over.

Quindlen wrote in her final May 11/18 column that aging baby boomers are blocking advancement opportunities for their children, the millennials.

Her son recently told her, “You guys just won’t go,” during a talk about the unwillingness of Quindlen's friends to retire.

“Generational stall,” to Quindlen, is a big problem in the news business, which is supposed to “remake itself in the image and likeness of the public.” She believes “America’s opinionators are too white and too gray. They do not reflect the diversity of ethnicity and race, gender and generation. They do not reflect the diversity of opinion, either, mainly because most are part of an echo chamber of received wisdom that takes place at restaurant tables in New York and Washington.”

Quindlen knocked “an entire generation of Americans who seem dedicated to the proposition that they will fight aging to the death. Quite literally.”

The former New York Times columnist understands that many aging journos would like to split but remain on the job for economic reasons.


The San Diego Union-Tribune, which was just acquired by Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity., is cutting 192 jobs effective July 6.

The cuts are across-the-board. The U-T will have about 850 staffers following the cutbacks.

The paper sells more than 300K issues every day and 330K on Sunday. It was owned by Copley Press.


Entertainment news website Radar Online, which shuttered its print edition last fall before re-launching on the web in March, has tapped John Hughes as executive VP/business development.

RO is a joint venture of American Media and Integrity Multimedia.

Hughes developed the Clashorama and Pollclash web sites and worked under American Media chairman/pres./CEO David Pecker for six years as SVP/business affairs. He was previously with Hachette Filipacchi Media as VP of entertainment media.

Pecker said: “We are already being inundated with proposals to migrate the Radar Online brand into television and John’s expertise at handling these types of negotiations will be invaluable.”

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, May 13, 2009, Page 4


Four journalists will be inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame in August during the group’s annual convention in Tampa, Fla.

Two reporters are getting the nod posthumously. Peggy Peterman, a 31-year newsroom veteran of the St. Petersburg Times who served as a reporter, columnist and editorial writer, died in 2004 at 67. She had retired in 1996.

Larry Whiteside, a former sports reporter for the Boston Globe who covered the Red Sox from 1973-94, died in 2007 at 69. Whiteside started the “Black List” in 1971 to help sports editors hire qualified black journalists.

Also being honored are Earl Caldwell, who wrote for the New York Times and N.Y. Daily News and currently serves as writer-in-residence at the Maynard Institute, and Lynn Norment, editor of Ebony Magazine who has been with the publication since 1977.

"These remarkable individuals endured great challenges so that black journalists today can have more freedom and professional opportunity," said NABJ President Barbara Ciara.

Briefs ___________________________ has launched a blog to cover media in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley region called

Karris Golden, assistant director of communications and marketing at Warburg College and editor of its magazine, has moved to W&A Publishing in Cedar Falls, Iowa, as executive editor. W&A publishes books for financial professionals including “Rookies Guide to Options” and “Psychology of Trading.”

Golden was a writer for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier from 1998 until 2001.


Dallas Morning News publisher Jim Moroney believes search engines, aggregators and online news forums are ripping off newspapers and “getting a free ride on the investments” they are making in local journalism.

Moroney told Sen. John Kerry’s “Future of Journalism” Senate hearing on May 6 that “publishers should be able to obtain reasonable compensation from Internet companies that reproduce content for a commercial purpose.”

Moroney took aim at Google’s claim that it drives traffic to newspapers sites by summarizing a story and linking to the source material.

He noted that search engines “sell advertising wrapped around this newspaper content.”

The DMN publisher suggested that Congress “establish a principle of ‘consent for content' for breaking news.”

That principle would be similar to the 1992 Cable Act, in which cable systems need “retransmission consent” to carry local broadcast signals.

That system “serves as a critical means for broadcasters to get a fair return on their content and its underlying rational could seemingly be extended to serve as a financial bulwark for local journalism,” according to the news exec.

Ads Slumping, Not Readers

Newspapers and their websites are enjoying record readership, he continued.

Newspapers are in trouble due to a “dramatic and relentless drop in advertising revenues, which traditionally have accounted for approximately 80 percent of newspaper revenues.”

Moroney worries that at the current rate of decline, by yearend ad revenues will be down 50 percent over a three-year period.

Google is friend of newspapers

Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP-search products and user experience, told the subcommittee that her company is all for preserving robust and independent journalism at both national and local levels.

“Google is doing its part by driving significant traffic to online news publishers by helping them generate revenue through advertising, and by providing tools and platforms that enable them to reach millions of people,” she said.

Mayer said Google Search and Google News “provide a valuable free service” to online newspapers specifically by sending interested readers to their sites at a rate of more than 1B clicks per month.

“Newspapers use that web traffic to increase their readership and generate additional revenue,” she said, acknowledging that publishers can always opt out of Google’s sites.

The executive also said many print publishers use tools developed by Google.

The Los Angeles Times’ website, for example, used Google Maps to track the recent southern California wildfires, while Life magazine uses Google Image Search to deliver its photo archive to a “whole new generation of readers,” she noted.


Click here for ranking.

Internet Edition, May 13, 2009, Page 5


Interpublic plans to consolidate back-office operations in Omaha as part of CEO Michael Roth’s cost-cutting efforts at the struggling ad/PR conglom.

Financial systems, payroll, travel/expense, e-learning and email messaging are to set up shop in Nebraska’s biggest city over the next 12 months.

Staffers in New York City, Chicago, London and Hong Kong currently handle information technology functions.

IPG is committed to spending $1M for its facility at the Scott Technology Center located on the campus of the University of Nebraska.

Thirty IPG jobs are to be created. Students at the Kiewit Institute, UNO’s IT/engineering program, will be among those getting jobs. A back-up computer system designed to handle national/natural disasters is to be established within 200 miles of the “Big O.”

A dozen IPG executives toured the STC facility May 5. Joe Farrelly, chief information officer, says consolidation will cut cost and improve productivity.

IPG has a history in Omaha,” dating from its 01 acquisition of True North. Bozell Inc., which was part of TN, was founded in Omaha.

IPG shifted its “help desk” from New York to Omaha in December. Farrelly likes the Omahans handling customers of IPG because their voices “shine through the phone.”


Ogilvy Financial Beijing, the IR unit under Ogilvy PR Worldwide, handled the U.S. IPO china-based gaming company Changyou.

The company went public on the NASDAQ on April 2 and was the largest U.S. IPO of a Chinese company since GT Solar Int’l went public last August.

Ogilvy provided strategic counsel and corporate communications consulting aimed at the global investment community, as well as IPO and corporate positioning counsel.

PR Work included creation of corporate and IR websites, a roadshow video production and international media strategy and outreach.

BRIEFS: Text 100 Global PR has created a set of consulting services intended to help C-suite executives communicate in the “current turbulent business environment.” The services combine crisis, social media, internal comms. and media relations and are intended to “manage negative news with minimal risk, build confidence in the future, while at the same time demonstrate return on PR investment.” ...Hope-Beckham, Atlanta, handled a New York media tour for client Aaron’s Inc. in April which included coverage of its CEO and CFO from Bloomberg,, Forbes, Fortune, Fox Business News, Reuters and a story in the Wall Street Journal. That same week, the firm guided media relations for the company’s annual manager’s meeting in D.C. ...Jones Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., said it donated $215K in PR services to non-profit clients in 2008. The firm handles pharma and gov’t work.


New York Area

DKC, New York/Gator Group, newly formed licensing agency for fashion and lifestyle brand Paul Frank Industries and creator of a socially responsible toy line called Tales 4 Tomorrow, for PR for both the PFI and T4T brands.

Adam Friedman Associates, New York/Primary Global Research, investment research firm based in Silicon Valley, as AOR for PR, including media relations, investment community events, social networking and online research.

Lisa Lori Communications, Greenwich, Conn./
MacKenzie-Childs, home furnishings, as AOR, and the American Institute for Stuttering’s third annual benefit gala, for PR.

Media Logic, Albany, N.Y./Microbia, industrial biotechnology, as AOR for marketing and comms. support.


Haselton Group, Boston/Lexia Learning Systems, reading-skills software, for PR and communications.

True North Communications, Providence/Donald W. Wyatt Dentention Center, for a PR pact worth $42K as the institution faces scrutiny over the death of a Chinese national inmate.

Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Washington, D.C./ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership, for an integrated campaign to show how associations contribute to the American economy. The push, called “The Power of A,” includes Ogilvy staffers in creative, PA, media and digital strategy.

White+Partners, Herndon, Va./Visit Fairfax, tourism entity for Fairfax County, Virginia, as AOR for advertising, brand marketing and PR through July 2012.

The Zimmerman Agency, Tallahassee, Fla./Cap Juluca (Anguilla), Almond Resorts (St. Lucia/ Barbados), Brazilian Court (Palm Beach) and The Mayfair (Coconut Grove), for PR.


Strat@comm, Detroit, Mich./Univ. of Michigan Rose School of Business Executive Education, for media relations and PR, and the U.S. Dept. of Energy, to promote its Solar Decathalon program and competition slated for October.


Campbell Consulting Group, Bend, Ore./Deschutes Brewery, as AOR for PR focused on existing and potential craft beer drinkers. DB also tapped Portland-based North for creative.

SJ Communications, West Hollywood, Calif./Sunset Strip Business Association, for PR and social media following a competitive review.

Gable PR, San Diego/Sudberry Properties, retail and urban community developer, for an integrated PR campaign for the company and its developments in the Southern California region. Tom Gable, CEO, leads the account with Erin Koch, director.

Clearpoint Agency, San Diego/Drug Information Association, for regional PR and marketing for the biopharmaceutical group’s 45th annual meeting in June in San Diego.

Internet Edition, May 13, 2009, Page 6


Alan Murray, executive editor, Wall Street Journal Online, will address PR Seminar May 20-23 at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Calif., on the topic: “The Future of News: Light at the End of a (Long) Tunnel.”

Mark Penn, CEO of Burson-Marsteller, is chair of the session.

Nicholas Ashooh, SVP, communications, AIG, and Mike O’Neill, SVP, corporate affairs and communications, American Express, will speak on “Global Financial Crisis—Lessons Learned.”

New York counselor Michael Paul will moderate the session. He is the official spokesperson for Seminar.

AIG is in line to receive up to $173B from the government and Amex has received $3.4B.

The meetings, attended by PR and communications executives of major companies and leaders of about a dozen big PR firms, usually feature several top-flight journalists.

However, criticism of an AIG meeting last year at an expensive resort apparently has made both journalists and Seminarians leery of taking part in business meetings at resorts.

Last year’s meeting at the Four Seasons Troon, Scottsdale, Ariz., featured Eleanor Clift, Newsweek columnist; Maria Bartiromo of the “Closing Bell” Show on CNBC; Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg News columnist, and Michele Norris, host of “All Things Considered” on NPR News.

Speakers in 2007 included Matthew Bishop, U.S. editor of The Economist, and Christopher Buckley, author of “Thank You For Smoking” and founder and editor-in-chief of Forbes FYI magazine.

Among those not going this year is Steve Harris, VP, global communications, General Motors. He is on the 30-member governing committee of PRS and is also a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, whose members dominate PRS governance (21 of 30 committee posts). Some Seminarians are predicting that the turnout this year could be half of the 162 executives who attended last year.

Single registrations are $2,250 and couples pay $3,350. PRS revenues in the year ended Aug. 31, 2008 were $566,589. In recent years, 30 and more Seminarians have been “freshmen” vs. 7-8 decades ago. Only ten of the 26 new Seminarians from the 2005 meeting attended the 2008 meeting.

BRIEFS: Nigel Wilson, chief financial officer and deputy CEO of PR Newswire’s parent company, United Business Media, has resigned. Wilson, who was named CFO in 2001, will stay on through September but immediately stepped down as a board member. UBM said it will conduct a search over the summer. ...IPRA, the International PR Association, said it received 342 entries from 43 countries for its annual Golden World Awards for Excellence competition, down from last year’s submission numbers. Awards will be presented in London in October after two rounds of judging. Maria Gergova, 2009 president of the group, said the turnout has been good despite the economic climate.



Thomas Graham, director of U.S. communications for BBVA Group and former GM with Weber Shandwick, to Cohn & Wolfe, as president of the firm’s Austin office. He takes over for Paul Walker, who heads the firm’s digital practice and had been wearing both hats. Graham was also an executive VP and deputy GM for Edelman in the Southwest.

Lorraine DelliCarpini, previously with Edelman, to MLB Network, Secaucus, N.J., as manager of media relations. Jeff Heckelman, who was handling PR for the new network since its January launch, returns to his role as managing of business PR for MLB.

Michael Haener, deputy chief of staff ex-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano who is now Homeland Security chief, to Policy Impact Communications, Washington, D.C., as a VP in its Arizona office. He earlier directed legislative affairs and comms. for the Arizona attorney general.

Holly Feraci, who headed the healthcare and government affairs unit at lobbying firm Greenberg Trauig, to MS&L Worldwide, D.C., in its government affairs practice. She was legislative assistant to Republican Reps. Ernie Fletcher and Mac Thornberry, and staff assistant on the House Ways and Means.

Sean O’Neill, former SVP, investor relations and corporate communications, First Industrial Realty Trust, to Ensco International, Dallas, VP of IR, responsible for IR, PR, corporate comms. and branding. He was corporate VP, financial relations, for Aon Corporation and managing director, strategic IR consulting, Thomson Financial. He takes over for Richard LeBlanc, who is retiring, at Ensco, which owns offshore drilling rigs.

Sharon Cook, director of marketing for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Utah, to AlphaGraphics, Salt Lake city, as director of marketing and PR. She was previously director of brand strategy for Beneficial Financial Group and corporate comms. manager for Surety Life.

Cathy Pittham, a PR consultant who earlier worked at The Weber Group and Weber Shandwick, to Racepoint Group, London, as managing director for Europe. Pittham also led Text 100’s European-based global client practice and was MD for the U.K. Racepoint has also promoted Blaise Hammond to MD of Racepoint/U.K. The firm acquired London-based Fuse PR in 2006 and that firm’s founders recently completed their transition period and left the firm.


John Conrad, Thea Roberti and Jayson Schkloven to VPs, Merritt Group, Reston, Va. Conrad, a seven-year MG veteran, handles client service, staff professional development and account management. Roberti heads the firm’s research practice and Schkloven leads strategic services.


Internet Edition, May 13, 2009, Page 7


Rosanna Fiske, 2008 treasurer, was asked at the 2008 Assembly how the Society's investments were faring but declined to answer.

The 136-page transcript of the Assembly, which has a record of her answer, is being withheld from delegates and members by the board.

Up until 2003, when Reed Byrum was president and Judith Phair was treasurer, the Society had mostly invested in certificates of deposit, government mutual funds, diversified mutual funds and corporate bonds and preferred stocks.

The investment in mutual funds was $93,352 in 2001 out of a total of $1,183,227 in investments. About $600K was in CDs.

Mike Cherenson is current chair of the Society.

Phair Announced New Policy

Phair announced a new investment policy at the 2003 Assembly, saying that that "While our previous position, based on unrestricted net assets of $1M or less, relied heavily on bonds, we can now invest more cash in a well-researched combination of equities and bonds. The bottom line is we can truly begin to build for tomorrow's growth in the Society."

She said that the investment committee, chaired by Grace Leong of Hunter PR, long active in the leadership of the New York chapter, would work closely with Bridges Investments, which managed the Society's investments.

Fiduciary Duties Possibly Breached

Phil Wolitzer, CPA who speaks in behalf of the New York Society of CPAs, said associations usually follow a conservative investment policy that precludes any loss of members' money.

The Society's policy did not follow that pattern and may open up the board to charges that it did not live up to its fiduciary responsibilities, he said.

Members have a right to see what common stocks were purchased by the Society, he added.

Wolitzer, who for many years has conducted classes for journalists, showing them how to cut through legalese and accounting complexity to get at the truth, faulted the Society for only spending $2,317 on "ethics" when the Society places such a high value on ethics.

The code of the Society says "Ethical practice is the most important obligation of a member."

Chief financial officer of the Society is Philip Bonaventura, who is a CPA but who is not "registered" (kept up with the annual courses required for registration). He cannot use CPA after his name.

John Colletti, previous CFO, was not a CPA.

Diane Salucci of Calucci & Assocs., West Orange, N.J., was chair of the 2008 audit committee.

James Finkle, head of the 2009 audit committee, is an editor at Booz Allen Hamilton, Arlington, Va. Neither Salucci nor Finkle are on the board of the Society as required by Sarbanes-Oxley. The Society website says it is "committed" to following the principles in SOX. Audit chairs are required to be financial professionals.

Dues Income Should Be Deferred

Wolitzer, accounting Prof. Edward Ketz of Penn State, and accounting Prof. Charles Mulford of Georgia Tech are already on record as criticizing the Society's policy of booking dues as cash.

They have said dues should be booked as earned during the course of the year.

IABC, which is similar to the Society in members, programs and billing according to the anniversary date of joining, had $2.8M in dues in 2007 and deferred $1.6M.

ABA, AMA, AICPA, ASAE and other organizations defer about half their dues income as unearned.

Wolitzer, observing that a profit of $456K is claimed on the annual conference (income of $1,510,649 vs. costs of $1,144,561), said that annual conferences of non-profits are not supposed to make money. They're supposed to break even, he said.

Society veterans said staff and leaders like to show that the annual conference makes money since it is an activity they favor.

The 2008 audit shows that only $227,588 out of a total payroll of $5,463,473 (payroll was up 6%) was spent on staff time for the conference.

Former officers and treasurers say staff cost is far higher and at least $1M since more than 200 speakers are typically invited; exhibits are set up by more than 50 companies; arrangements must be made for the 300-member Assembly; two nearly 100-page magazines are created for the meeting, and about 35 staffers attend, spending a week or more at the site.

Administrative Expense Removed

Asked about the Society policy, starting in 2004, of removing "overhead" expenses from 13 categories of services (APR, awards, publications, etc.) on the ground that such figures were too hard to calculate, Wolitzer noted that the Statement of Functional Expenses lists more than 150 individual expenses and says if those can be calculated, overhead might also be calculated.

In 2004, $2,002,580 in overhead expenses was removed from 13 categories. The total in this "catch-all" designation was $2,643,817 in 2008.

Arthur Yann, VP-PR of the PR Society, on May 7 asked for the names of CPAs criticizing the 2008 audit so that the Society could be in touch with them “to see if the concerns you’ve outlined on their behalf hold any water.”

None of the CPAs named in the article on have retracted any of their criticisms.

As a commentary on the article, Yann e-mailed a discussion of O’Dwyer reporting that was posted on on March 25, 2007 by Shel Holtz, long active in the leadership of the International Assn. of Business Communicators.

The Holtz letter questioned whether the accounting professors who criticized the 2005 PRS audit (Edward Ketz of Penn State and Charles Mulford of Georgia Tech) had “delved deeply into the books” of PRS.

The professors had been sent the complete 2005 audit of the Society.

Holtz said in the letter that he “believes in dues deferral,” which is used by IABC.

The latest available financial report of IABC reported $2.8 million in dues in 2007 and deferred income of $1.6M.


Internet Edition, May 13, 2009, Page 8




A reader has taken us to task for being too rough on ad people in last week’s editorial about the 4A’s and too kind to PR people.

This veteran PR person, citing his experience at major companies, a partnership in a “top five” PR firm, and a switch from “pure PR” to integrated marketing, says the “ad people” he has interacted with are “just as honest—and unfortunately—just as deceitful at times as their PR counterparts.”

PR pros, according to the reader, “will say and/or do anything to get what they want and make the problem go away for their company or client. They are the masters of selective disclosure, obfuscation and the verbal run-around (AKA lying).”

He continues: “I am not just talking about political PR people, who are probably the worst offenders. Corporate PR pros are mostly the same. Indeed, corporations tend to hire former political PR people because of their slash and burn communications combat skills.”

The source feels PR needs to “clean its own house before we go casting aspersions on ad people. Sad to say, but the PR profession these days is a big glass house…those of us who live in it should be careful not to throw stones at our neighbors.”

We had described a study by two journalism professors who found that (pure) ad people tended to judge prospective clients by how much money they had to spend rather than ethical considerations (such as promoting consumption of alcohol even though this violated their personal beliefs).

The source feels ad people and PR pros are really “integrated marketing professionals these days,” handling a wide range of promotional techniques. They have moral failings, he admits, but it’s unfair to carve out PR pros as having a separate existence. This certainly tracks with our experience.

PR was once soft sell—polite, friendly, personable, accessible. But with the invasion of marketers and the emphasis on the “bottom” line and “achieving measurable goals,” PR/marketing has become harsh, dictatorial, aggressive, rude and one-way.

It’s no wonder Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten said the “marketing-PR axis makes the team of Hitler and Mussolini seem benevolent” (11/25/07 WP).

None other than the “PR” Society’s bylaws chair Dave Rickey feels that the Society must admit ad and marketing people if it is to grow. Rickey himself says he spends much of his time on advertising.

It’s not for nothing that “PR” Seminar dropped the PR two years ago. Almost none of its nearly 200 corporate members have “PR” anywhere in their titles. Many are involved in advertising.

We put quote marks around the “PR” in the PR Society because its leaders don’t live up to any of the principles in the Society code including dedication to “truth,” “fair treatment” of press, public, etc., and “protecting and advancing the free flow of information.”

We’re ready to pronounce “pure” PR dead and at the top of the list of suspected killers are the PR groups starting with the “PR” Society.

One question that arises is why are tens of thousands (maybe even hundreds of thousands) of college students studying “PR” when PR may only be a theoretical construct?

The Society’s latest fiasco, which it refuses to discuss, as usual, is gambling away $383,000 of members’ money in the stock market CPAs say non-profits have no business playing the market and an excellent example is the Independent Sector itself, a group of 800 non-profits with investments of $13.4 million. It has $11.4M in the money market and commercial notes, and a mere $56,032 in mutual funds, and $165 in common stocks. PRS had $1.1 million of its $3.2M in 2007 investments in common stocks.

While the Society claims $3.3M in “unrestricted net assets” vs. 2008 expenses of $11.4M, the Independent Sector has unrestricted net assets of $17.7M vs. expenses of $6.7M. If it deferred $2.4M in dues income as it should, Society net assets would only be $900K.

Members have a right to know what those “common stocks” were.

The Society undercuts its arguments that can book dues as cash by offering an increased schedule of services throughout the year including “free professional development opportunities for the first time.” It offers seminars and workshops throughout the year and posts items on “Online Tactics” daily.

Startling, for a group that says “Ethical practice is the most important obligation of a member” and whose Code mentions “ethics” and “ethical” 12 times on the first page alone, is that only $2,317 was spent on ethics in 2008, a decline from the $4,360 in 2007.

The ethical transgressions of the Society have been well documented by us including its practice of about 15 years of selling copies of authors’ works without their permission and refusing to share any proceeds with them, and currently blocking the O’Dwyer Co. from advertising its five products in Society media (which were created with and operate on tax-free funds).

Other PR groups bear responsibility for the behavior of the Society. Many Society leaders are also in these groups which have interlocking memberships.

PR Seminar, for instance, should be called Arthur Page/PR Seminar because 85 of the 162 executives at the 2008 Seminar are also Page members. The three top leaders of the 2009 Seminar are Page members (Charlotte Otto, Johanna Schneider, Joan Wainwright) as are 21 of the 30 governing board members of PRS.

Also dominated by Page members is the Institute for PR, where 30 of the 44 trustees are Page members.

Page, Seminar and IPR leaders sit on their hands while PRS continues its press and member avoidance policies and questionable financial reporting.

Journalism has plenty of critics these days and journalist groups and individual writers and media lambast each other all the time. In the sister profession of “PR,” there is only silence.

The Society’s board, after a more than three-month delay, last week released the minutes of its Jan. 23 meeting. The “sleeper” in the minutes, not previously disclosed, is that the board wants to install the immediate past chair (who is still on the board) as chair of the nominating committee. This would fly in the face of the recommendations of the 2000 nomcom reform committee headed by 1986-87 president Jack Felton, who said the Society’s bylaws indicate “officers and board are to be elected by the Assembly” without any influence from the board.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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