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Internet Edition, May 20, 2009, Page 1


The Wikimedia Foundation, which operates online Wikipedia, wants to hire its first PR firm to build awareness of non-profit status, raise funds and bolster the credibility of the free online encyclopedia.

According to a note from Jay Walsh, head of communications for the Foundation, few people know that the fourth most visited website is a non-profit project. He expects PR will change that.

The RFP calls for development of an overall communications strategy including “public-facing activities” (speeches, events, visual material and fund-raising sessions) to position the Foundation as a “global leader and a volunteer-driven, technology oriented educational charity.”

The overall goal is to top the `09 community giving goal of $6.5M. Wikimedia reaches a global audience of 320M visitors a month.

Thousands of donors contribute an average $33 to keep the site running. The Foundation has less than 30 staffers, and relies on the input of more than 150K volunteers.

The anticipated one-year PR campaign is slated to begin in July, according to the RFP.

Proposals will be accepted up to May 29. Interviews will be penciled in from early to mid June.

Walsh can be reached at [email protected].


Olivier Fleurot, executive chairman of Publicis Worldwide and former CEO of Financial Times Group, has been named CEO of Publicis’ PR and events management divisions that include MS&L.

The move follows the exit of PR chiefs Mark Hass of MS&L and Eric Giuily of Publicis Consultants, as well as the previously announced dismantling of its specialized agencies and marketing services division, or SAMS, led by the ousted John Farrell.

Parent company Publicis Groupe, headed by Maurice Levy, said the shuffle is meant to simplify and streamline its structure while sparking “fresh” development.

“Olivier Fleurot's experience in the financial press, followed more recently by that as executive chairman of Publicis Worldwide, clearly shows his thorough understanding of businesses, of their communication problems and how to bring them the right solutions,” said Levy in a statement.

COO Richard Pinder, No. 2 to Fleurot, has been given the reins on the Groupe’s main network and joins its executive committee, known as P12.


Pinnacle Airlines, Memphis, has reached out to Cleveland’s Dix & Eaton to provide crisis support in the aftermath of its Colgan Air Flight 3407 that crashed February outside Buffalo killing 50 people.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which on May 12 kicked off hearings into the disaster, released a damaging cockpit flight recorder transcript of the doomed Flight 3407. The text shows pilot and co-pilot engaged in small talk, a violation of federal safety rules, and talking about their inexperience in icy conditions.

Pinnacle uses hometown Howell Marketing Strategies for PR. Its phone number is listed as media contact on Manassas, VA-based Colgan’s site. Pinnacle CEO Phil Trenary’s assistant said D&E has been hired for crisis work and is specifically handling Flight 3407.

A voice mail was left for D&E CEO Scott Chaikin. VP Amy McGahan emailed this website with the following: “Unfortunately, we cannot be of help to you at this time.”


The Embassy of Egypt has hired Omnicom’s Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Assocs. unit to devise a strategic PR campaign as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visits President Barack Obama in Washington on May 26-27.

Obama, in turn, travels to Cairo in June for his much-anticipated address to the Muslim world in which he will sketch out his policy goals with Islamic nations.

The politically savvy CLS&A is to arrange meetings with Embassy officials, schedule press interviews and place stories about the importance of Egypt’s relationship with the U.S. It is charged with advancing the level of communication, awareness and media/policymaker attention of Egypt and supporting to the Embassy’s press shop. A formal contract is pending.


PR Society chair Mike Cherenson addressed the Akron chapter May 14 but press coverage was blocked by chapter leadership.

After saying on May 11 that chapter lunches were always open to the press, chapter president Danielle McCann reversed herself the next day, saying she had made “a mistake” and “no press is or was invited to attend” the session featuring Cherenson.

The meeting, instead, was to concentrate on “professional development.”

McCann said she would present ten O’Dwyer questions to Cherenson and Society VP-PR Arthur Yann said

(continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, May 20, 2009, Page 2


Retired baseball hurler Roger Clemens has hired Levick Strategic Communications as he faces fallout from the release of an unflattering book about his life.

Four New York Daily News reporters contributed to the 454-page book, “American Icon” (Knopf 2009), which documents Clemens’ transition from an elite, Hall-of-Fame-bound pitcher to an accused steroid-user who testified before Congress and is locked in a legal battle with his former trainer.

In his first media appearance since last fall’s House hearings, Clemens told ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” May 12 that he hired Levick’s senior VP Gene Grabowski as he was made aware of the book before leaving on a trip out of the country and thought he should be able to talk about it.

“This was great that I hired Gene and the Levick company and they came in and said, ‘You need to get your story out about all this garbage that is out and being said,’ and it’s important for me to do that,” he said on the program.

Clemens claims that what he’s read and seen of American Icon “are completely false.”

In reviewing the book, the New York Times compared it with Bob Woodward’s tomes on Washington for its reliance on “lots of official documents” while also noting that style can leave “sourcing highly opaque.”

Clemens later added: “I think I’ve taken some criticism by not coming out at times, that’s another reason why it’s great having Gene aboard because I’ve always wanted to talk about it and tell people my feelings and my stance on it.”


Amber Ready, a technology service intended to speed up the reporting of missing children, has brought in D.C.-based Podesta Group to handle its PR.

The AR service lets parents store on the wireless phones a child’s photo and descriptive data which can be transmitted quickly to police in the event of an abduction or a child who goes missing.

The company said it has hired an investment bank, John Thomas Financial, as it anticipates going public down the road.

Podesta Group principal Ed Rothschild, who heads the account, told O’Dwyer’s his firm picked up the business through a referral. The firm set up a press conference at the National Press Club May 14 to unveil the technology. PG is charged with overseeing all PR and public affairs for the company.

AR, headquartered in Rockaway, N.J., notes 800K children are reported missing each year and the company says too much time is spent getting vital information to police in order to issue an Amber Alert.

AR has also tapped D.C.-based Hilltop Public Solutions to guide a grassroots push in local markets for a planned 30-city national RV tour. That effort aims to educate parents and police on child safety issues and promote the Amber Ready II Child Safety Initiative. John Thomas Financial has sponsored AR’s appearance on the ABC “supersign” electronic billboard in Times Square through May 2010.

Elite Financial Communications Group does IR.


Vollmer PR has fended off a challenge from three firms to continue its lucrative PR work for the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

The year-long contract is worth $352K in its first year and carries two option years. Burson-Marsteller, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Stevens/FKM challenged Vollmer for the work.

The assignment includes promoting commuter alternatives, events work and clean air initiatives for the region, which covers 13 counties in Texas and about 5.7M people.

The contract has declined from its $600K-range in recent years when its federally funded base was bolstered by local funding. The entire pact is now backed by federal funds.

Vollmer has worked the account for the last three years after edging Hill & Knowlton in 2006.


Clark & Weinstock is repping the Food Allergy Initiative, a non-profit group that has raised more than $60M to improve diagnosis and treatment of people at risk for food allergies.

The New York-based organization launches public awareness campaigns, partners with government entities and presses for funding from Washington.

The FAI is running a seven-year program with the National Institutes of Health to determine whether early introduction of peanuts into a child’s diet will prevent the development of peanut allergies.

Former Congressman Vin Weber spearheads C&W’s team on the FAI business. He is joined by Deirdre Stach, ex-aide to Rep. Bob Walker; Sandra Stuart, former chief of staff to Rep. Vic Fazio and Niles Godes, ex-chief of staff to Sen. Byron Dorgan.


Washington, D.C.-based Weber Merritt has filed a bid protest against the Federal Communications Commission’s award of a $3.5M contract to support the upcoming digital TV transition to Burson-Marsteller.

WM submitted the protest on May 8, according to the Government Accountability Office.

A spokesman for WM told O’Dwyer’s that the protest was filed and acknowledged by the FCC and GAO. He said the firm has challenged the award because the RFP designated the contract as a small business set-aside for companies with less than $7M in revenue.

The protest option is available to bidders who believe contracts have been awarded in violation of federal rules and regulations.

The GAO typically must decide a case within 100 days of the protest, but because of the constrained time frame and “urgent” nature of the contact with Burson, the PR work is moving forward. WM said it will follow through on the protest, despite this fact.

Ketchum led the initial DTV PR campaign but an RFP was issued in April for the extension to take the work through the final stretch leading to the June 12 DTV transition date. Funds for the $3.5M pact awarded to Burson came from the federal stimulus bill.


Internet Edition, May 20, 2009, Page 3


Washington State has passed a tax break law cutting its business tax by 40 percent for newspaper printers and publishers.

The move comes months after the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ceased its print edition and reduced staff.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed off on the break on May 13.


Google’s Ien Cheng has joined Bloomberg LP to bolster its interactive activities as it has “established ambitions to be a substantial player in consumer news,” he wrote in an email announcing his departure from the search giant.

The former managing editor of the Financial Times’ website believes he will be at the “heart” of Bloomberg’s consumer push.

Bloomberg has been hit hard by the Wall Street slump, which has greatly reduced the need for its financial terminals.

Andrew Lack, the former NBC News president and Sony BMG who joined Bloomberg last year, was hired to maximize the return of the financial news entity’s newsgathering operation.

Cheng says he is thrilled with this “unexpected opportunity.” The former director of product management at Google is in charge of Bloomberg’s TV, radio, web and mobile properties.


Online magazine Slate has launched a site geared toward women, covering topics like politics, culture, family and fashion. Called Double X, the site is a spin-off of Slate’s nearly two-year-old XX Factor blog.

“The aim is to build a robust online conversation among the most engaged women writers and readers, and the men who want to know what they’re thinking,” the publisher said.

“I grew up mostly baffled by women’s magazines,” said Emily Bazelon, one of three founding editors. “Double X is our attempt to create a savvy women’s magazine, the kind that we’ve long wanted to have to read, which will set the agenda for what women are thinking and talking about.”

Bazelon joins Meghan O’Rourke and Hanna Rosin, who also write and edit for Slate. Peggy White, former GM of Yahoo! Finance, is publisher.

Sprint is launch sponsor.


Tribune Co. got the nod from a U.S. bankruptcy court to award more than $13M in bonuses to 700 staffers, the Associated Press reported.

Tribune filed for Chapter 11 protection in December amid the economic slump and its crushing $13 billion debt.

The Washington Times pointed out that Tribune execs will be getting the bonuses after many of its media properties like the Los Angeles Times and Hartford Courant berated AIG for doling out bonuses after its federal bailout.

Tribune CFO Chandler Bigelow told the bankruptcy court that the payments were necessary to “motivate and incentivize the key people who will implement change.”


Hollywood mogul David Geffen is sniffing around the New York Times, interested in buying the 20 percent stake held by Harbinger Capital Partners.

Fortune magazine reported that Geffen ended talks with Harbinger after the investment firm demanded a premium for its 28.5M shares. Harbinger has two seats on the 15-member Times board.

Geffen’s offer was based on the May 1 New York Times Co. stock price. NYTC shares are up more than 25 percent to $6.83 since the offer.

Geffen, 66, bid for the Los Angeles Times in '06, but his $2B offer was spurned by then-owner Tribune Co. Real estate tycoon Sam Zell emerged with a deal to take Tribune Co. private.

Geffen is the founder of Asylum Records and Geffen Records. He launched Dreamworks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg in '94.


The Free Press today released its “Saving the News: Toward a National Journalism Strategy,” a 48-page report about how the government could improve the outlook for the nation’s newspapers.

The Report admits that many of the newspaper industry’s “wounds are self-inflicted, the result of bad business decisions and failed strategy.” It faults media conglomerates Tribune, Gannett and McClatchy for running amok in “buying sprees, sacrificing journalism for ever-higher quarterly returns to satisfy Wall Street’s increasing profit expectations.”

The “dirty secret,” according to the Report, is that many newspapers remain highly profitable, but their corporate owners are saddled with enormous debts.

The “perfect storm” of rising Internet participation, economic downturn and the collapse of the traditional "advertising-supported business model has dealt a big punch to the business.

The Report offers five models for policymakers to pursue. They are new ownership structures (nonprofit and low profit news organizations through tax-exempt and low-profit limited liability company), incentives (setting up tax incentives and revising Chapter 11 codes to encourage local and employee ownership), journalism jobs training (retraining for multimedia and investigative projects), R&D fund for innovation (experimentation of new business models) and new public media (formation of noncommercial news operations using new technologies and community service).

The Free Press is a non-profit media reform group.

Brief _____________________

Laura Sequenzia was promoted to publisher of Golf World, a Condé Nast title. She had been associate publisher since August 2006 and earlier was travel director for the magazines, Golf Digest and Golf for Women.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, May 20, 2009, Page 4


The Wall Street Journal will launch a micro-payment system for individual articles beginning in the fall, according to Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief.

Rival Financial Times calls the WSJ’s plan “a milestone in the news industry’s race to find better online business models.”

The WSJ will charge occasional users, not subscribers, a fee that will be “rightfully high,” said Thomson. He also sees an opportunity to move into cities, where the hometown papers are struggling.

For instance, the WSJ has kicked off marketing campaigns in Detroit and San Francisco.

The FT allows “unregistered” visitors free access to three articles per-month. Registered users can get 10 articles per-month for free. An online subscription goes for $3.49 per-week.


Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter says in the June issue that what a "few hundred bankers" have done to the world’s economy "may well turn out to be the greatest nonviolent crime against humanity in history."

"Never before have so few done so much to so many," he writes, saying the bankers have "lost tens of millions of people their jobs and their homes, trashed the retirement plans of a generation, and could drive an estimated 200 million people worldwide into dire poverty."

Despite the above mayhem, there has been not one "sincere apology" nor even "one major voluntary resignation by an American financial executive," he writes.

While banks are at the "heart of the financial meltdown," they are now reporting earnings again, he notes.

Carter doubts the genuineness of such reports, asking, "Who wouldn’t be able to show a $4.2B profit after getting $45B in bailout money?"

Indications are that President Obama and "his lieutenants are seriously in over their heads" in trying to deal with the bankers, he concludes.

The $2.9 trillion, he notes, is "like taking $9,508 from every man, woman and child in America."

Also attacked are bank and credit card charges. Some cards are charging up to 29.9% while Bank of America charges small businesses $500 for the privilege of having a line of credit (there used to be no charge) and JPMorgan Chase charges $250 (an increase from $100).

Bank Reps at Page/Seminar

Bank PR executives are well represented at the meeting May 20-23 of the Arthur W. Page Society/PR Seminar at the Ritz-Carlton at Laguna Niguel, Calif.

More than half (85 of 162) members at the 2008 meeting are members of Page and Page members dominate the executive committee of PR Seminar (21 of 30 members).

The top three Seminarians also belong to Page—Charlotte Otto of Procter & Gamble, who is 2009 chair of Page/Seminar; Johanna Schneider of the Business Roundtable, program chair, and Joan Wainwright of Tyco Electronics, secretary/treasurer.

PR executives who were at the 2008 Page/Seminar included Nicholas Ashooh, SVP, communications, AIG, which is in line to receive $173B from the government; Michael O’Neill, SVP, corporate affairs and Communications, American Express, which turned itself into a bank in order to receive $3.4B in bailout money; Joseph Evangelisti, head of worldwide corporate communications, JPMorgan Chase, which has received $25B; Debra DeCourcy, Fifth Third Bancorp ($3.4B), and Donna Peterman, PNC Financial Services ($7.6B).

Others at the 2008 meeting were David Palombi of Freddie Mac ($44B); Charles Greener, Fannie Mae ($15B), and Toni Simonetti, GMAC ($5B).

Ashooh and O’Neill will speak May 22 on "Global Financial Crisis—Lessons Learned."

Moderating the session will be New York counselor Mike Paul.

Paul, who also serves as official spokesperson for Page/Seminar, has been asked to supply the texts of the prepared speeches of Ashooh and O’Neill.

The group has a tradition of barring any coverage on the ground that discussion might be inhibited. However, on several occasions speakers have released their prepared remarks.


A multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract between the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans and a Maryland PR firm is drawing the ire of citizens and the scrutiny of national media.

The website has been the key critic of the nearly $5M contract with Outreach Process Partners, an Annapolis, Md.-based firm headed by a veteran of public works public affairs which has also worked at FEMA.

The Levees group has leveraged its 23K-plus mailing list to blast the contract as wasteful as well as the firm’s claims on its website to have “transitioned” news coverage of the Corps from negative to positive. The page on OPP’s website was taken down after that claim was highlighted by the advocacy group.

OPP’s president Janice Roper-Graham told CBS News her firm is in a “support role” with public education efforts for Corps and said the firm is “proud of our contribution.” She said “we didn’t think through” the criticism from the group on how its website would be viewed.

"What they're supposed to do is not turn negative media around. That's not their job, it's not any government employee's job," Army Corp New Orleans PA chief Ken Holder told the Associated Press.

Holder told CBS News that the firm was not hired to directly handle media inquiries but to develop educational material and set up public meetings.


Kit Rachlis, editor-in-chief of Los Angeles magazine since June 2000, has stepped down. Mary Melton, executive editor of the magazine, has been promoted to editor.

Melton, a former Los Angeles Times magazine staffer, joined LA as a senior editor in 2000, and became executive editor in 2002.

Emmis Communications owns the publication.

Internet Edition, May 20, 2009, Page 5


Next Fifteen, owner of Text 100, Bite Communications and Outcast Communications, May 11 confirmed that it has received two takeover inquiries.

The Telegraph reported May 9 that Chime Communications and Huntsworth are “set to duke it out” over Next Fifteen, “one of the few independent PR groups based in London.”

Chime's Tim Bell and Huntsworth’s Peter Gummer have been close friends for more than 40 years and are two of the “most colorful figures in the British PR industry,” according to the paper.

Bell advised Margaret Thatcher, while Gummer counseled her successor, John Major, and supported David Cameron's bid to lead the Conservative Party.

The two executives recently spent time together at England's cricket match against the West Indies.

Next Fifteen says discussions “are at an early stage” and there is “no certainty that any offer will be forthcoming.” The PR combine counsels IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Coca-Cola and Whirlpool.


Sard Verbinnen & Co. and Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher are playing support roles for Pepsi’s main bottlers as the global beverage giant PepsiCo maneuvers to acquire the two in a $6 billion deal.

The Pepsi Bottling Group, based in Somers, N.Y., is the largest bottler of PepsiCo products and PepsiAmericas, out of Minneapolis, is No. 2. Both rejected the initial overture from PepsiCo, which was about a 17 percent premium on the bottlers’ shares.

The battle elevated on May 11 when PepsiCo said it filed a suit against PBG and certain directors in Delaware alleging that notice of a board meeting was not provided to directors affiliated with PepsiCo.

Sard is working with PBG amid the fight, while Joele Frank is backing PepsiAmericas. At SV, chairman/CEO George Sard, managing director David Reno are working the PBG account, while Joele Frank partner Judith Wilkinson and director Jeremy Jacobs are handling PepsiAmericas.

BRIEFS: Hillary Topper, president and CEO of HJMT Communications in Westbury, N.Y., has been named a featured weekly expert on yourBusinessChannel TV, an online TV channel. She has run her firm since 1992 and penned the upcoming book “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Media But Were Afraid to Ask.” ...Edelman has aligned with online analytics company Brandtology in the Asia Pacific market. John Kerr, regional director for Edelman, said the deal puts “powerful analytical and executive dashboard tools” in the hands of Edelman consultants. ...PR Organisation International said its member firm revenue rose 3.5 percent last year despite the economic downturn. Its 46 partners posted revenues of $292M. The group has added firms in Dubai (Active PR & Marketing), Turkey (Zego Communications Strategies), Malta (Inpetus Europe Consulting Group), New York (Gibbs & Soell PR), Australia (Red PR), China (Genedigi PR) and Bulgaria (United Partners).


New York Area

Dentsu Communications, New York/Merck Institute for Science Education, non-profit, for an integrated campaign including PR, web and collateral.

Faraone Communications, New York/Michele Balan, comedienne, for management and PR, and Forza Migliozzi, Hollywood-based advertising agency, as AOR for PR.

KCSA Strategic Communications, New York/, portal for student athletes, coaches, parents and fans, as AOR for PR. The company has worked with Morris + King and breakwhitelight.

TrylonSMR, New York/Peer39, online advertising and content monetization, as AOR for media relations.

Corbin & Associates, New York/Bacardi USA, for a renewal of its work for Bacardi Rums and adding tequila brand Cazadores.

Brushfire, Cedar Knolls, N.J./2009 New Jersey Tax Amnesty Program, as AOR for advertising, PR and grassroots work.

Stern + Associates, Cranford, N.J./The RBL Group, HR consultants; TruePoint, management consulting; Galbraith Management Consultants, and Dr. John Kenagy, author on healthcare industry, for PR and marketing comms.


Matter Communications, Newburyport, Mass./Verizon Wireless, for PR in New England.

Warschawski, Baltimore/Milestones Achievement Centers of America, support centers for children, for a re-naming, logo design and web development.

GlobalHealthPR, Washington, D.C./Progeria Research Foundation, for launch of “Find the Other 150,” an international awareness campaign slated for the summer focused on the disease. Spectrum handles the account in D.C.

Big Apple Consulting USA, Longwood, Fla./
GuestMetrics, consumer data for the hospitality industry and suppliers, for PR and investor relations.


Edward Howard, Cleveland/Dayton Superior Corp., concrete construction market supplier, for corporate comms. related to its debt restructuring and Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Grand Rapids, Mich./Aspirus, Wisconsin-based healthcare system, for media relations and strategic counsel.

Mountain West

JohnstonWells PR, Denver/Faegre & Benson LLP, law firm with 120 lawyers in Denver and Boulder, to work with the firm’s marketing team on PR strategy and promotions.


Loughlin/Michaels Group, Sunnyvale, Calif./e4e, business technology services; Kwikcall, robo calls; Nokeena Networks, storage systems and other tech services and products, and NetOptics, passive monitoring access for networks, for PR.

Morgan Marketing & PR, Irvine, Calif./St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, for its annual “A Taste of Greece” festival in September.

Internet Edition, May 20, 2009, Page 6


Medialink Worldwide posted a 34.5 percent slide in first quarter revenues compared with 2008 citing a decline in the number of projects amid the global economic crisis.

Revenue fell to $3.2M for Q1, down from $4.9M for the same period of ’08, and the company took a $1.5M net loss for the period, including a $120K hit from costs to wind down its U.K. operations.

Medialink’s net loss for Q1 ’08 was $2.5M, when it took a $1M loss on divesting its Teletrax unit and began to unload its U.K. office.

President and CEO Larry Moskowitz said Medialink faced “significant challenges during rough economic times in the first quarter,” but noted improvement as revenue rose each month in ’09. He also said cost-cutting has boosted its operating margins, but added “the overall economic climate still poses greater challenges than we faced last year.”

Medialink expects a $1.4M decline in revenue for the second quarter compared with ’08.

The broadcast and digital PR services company said it expects revenues to further decline this year leading to more operating losses. It reiterated statements earlier this month that its working capital may not be sufficient to fund continuing losses and is pursuing financing or a buyer.

The company had cash and working capital of $4.7M and $3.4M, respectively, at the end of March.


PitchEngine, a social network for publishing press releases and other PR materials, took aim at Business Wire last week for apparently removing some links to PitchEngine content in BW-issued releases.

“This is unfortunate as it takes away from the spirit of the social web,” said PE founder and CEO Jason Kintzler, who expressed support for traditional distribution through newswires for cases like financial disclosure.

Monika Maeckle, VP of new media for BW, told O’Dwyer’s that claim is “unfounded” and noted there is no policy at the newswire for taking out links to PitchEngine. She added that the company has editors reviewing copy and making judgment calls in 22 newsrooms daily. “It is true that an editor may have been uncomfortable with a certain link and asked a client to change it,” she said. “The client didn’t seem to have a problem with that at the time.”

Before Maeckle clarified BW policy May 12 afternoon, Liana Miller, co-founder of eLuminate PR in Irvine, Calif., said earlier in the day via Twitter that BW editorial and account reps told her a release could not contain a link to PitchEngine content. She later praised BW for “doing the right thing.”

Maeckle said BW encourages the use of outside links when instructing clients and she provided several BW releases that included links to PitchEngine content.

PitchEngine doesn’t distribute content like the wires but has tools for building releases and hosts content online, putting it in competition with some services of the major wires.



Jeannine Dowling, Evan Goetz, Olivia Pirovano and David Press were promoted to managing directors, FD, New York. Dowling and Goetz handle corporate communications work, while Pirovano is in the firm’s strategy consulting unit and Press works special situations like M&A and bankruptcy clients.

Joseph Becker to group VP and practice leader, MWW Group, East Rutherford, N.J., to head its DialogueMedia practice. Saurabh Wahi, who headed the unit, is exiting the firm for graduate work.

Owen Pollock, finance director for Don Wiviott’s unsuccessful primary bid for Congress in the New Mexico 3rd, to Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, Boston, as a member of its public affairs team. The firm has also promoted Lauren Crowne and Marissa Moskowitz Goldstein to A/Es, and Lea Cademenos and Lily Lunch to A/Cs.

Jeff Cohen, chief of staff for Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), to Direct Impact, Alexandria, Va., as executive VP of the Burson-Marsteller unit. He managed Mack’s campaigns in 2004, ‘06 and ‘08 and has been chief of staff since ‘05. He was also press secretary to Mack’s father, a U.S. senator.

Anne Madison to senior VP, corporate communications, Choice Hotels International, Silver Spring, Md. She has been elected an officer of the company by the board of directors. Madison, 46, was previously VP of corporate comms. for homebuilder The Ryland Group and VP of marketing and comms. for Enterprise Community Investment.

Alexia Poe, director of public affairs, Gaylord Entertainment, to Peritus PR, Louisville, Ky., as managing director of the firm’s Tennessee office. She handled government and community relations for Gaylord, which owns the Grand Ole Opry and several hotels. She was previously communications director for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), deputy press secretary to First Lady Laura Bush and press secretary to Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist.

Jim Nancekivell, who ran his own graphic design firm, to Padilla Speer Beardsley, Minneapolis, as director of its creative services practice. The firm has also added former Nancekivell Group staffers Brian Prentice as design director, Thea Buri as senior designer, and Carrie Young as client services director. Laudan Sakizadeh, community action assistant at General Mills, joins as an AA/E, consumer products, handling General Mills and Jim Beam.

Angela Shultis, community manager for Simply Good Media, to O’Connor & Partners, St. Louis, as an A/M.

Franklin Lavin, former U.S. ambassador to Singapore, to chairman, public affairs practice, Edelman Asia Pacific, based in Hong Kong. He was ambassador from 2001-05 and negotiated the Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Singapore. He has worked for Citibank and Bank of America in Asia and was managing director and COO of Cushman & Wakefield Investors Asia.


Internet Edition, May 20, 2009, Page 7


they were presented and answered. But he has not yet supplied what the answers were.

Akron Beacon-Journal business reporter Betty Lin-Fisher was assigned to interview Cherenson and did so in the paper’s offices. She had no plans to cover the luncheon meeting which was at the University of Akron, about two blocks from the paper.

The Beacon-Journal was purchased in 2006 by Black Press of Canada, headed by David Black, whose policy calls for “low-key community journalism,” according to a profile of him in the Seattle Weekly July 16, 2008.

Black owns more than 100 newspapers which are grouped together as much as possible for economy reasons.

Standard & Poor’s in January downgraded Black’s credit rating to “junk-level” B from B+ and lowered senior secured debt two levels to BB- meaning creditors could expect to get 50-70% on their money in case of credit default.

Attempts by this NL to find someone to cover the meeting including PR and journalism professors or their students, chapter members, and PR Student Society chapter advisers, leaders or chapter members, were unsuccessful. Payment of $200 was offered for taping the meeting, taking pictures and asking questions.

Three Universities Nearby

Nearby Kent State University is represented on the Akron chapter board by Jeanette Drake, Ph.D.; Jeff Tyus, Ph.D., Youngstown State University, and David Meeker, adjunct faculty at Kent State and of counsel to Edward Howard & Co. Meeker is ethics chair of the chapter.

A chapter member told this NL on May 13 that the press ban had been lifted but no such word was received from McCann.

This NL had hired a reporter from Cleveland to cover the meeting but had cancelled him after the notice was received from McCann. O’Dwyer editors said that by Wednesday, when unofficial word had been received that the meeting was again open, the atmosphere had grown so hostile to the presence of press that normal discussion would be stifled.

A journalism professor at the University of Akron had sent our request to two journalism students but no response was received from them.

Lin-Fisher was sent the ten O’Dwyer questions but said she had her own assignment and did not want to write about the “workings” of the Society. Her interview is appearing this week on in the business section.

McCann was asked to post the ten O’Dwyer questions on the chapter website but this has not happened.

Cherenson’s visit to Akron is the only chapter appearance this NL has learned about.

His speaking schedule is not on the Society website and Yann will not reveal it.

Ten O’Dwyer Questions

1. The Society just reported a $383,000 loss in the stock market. Invested was $1.38M or 57% of the Society’s cash. Was that a proper use of Society funds?

2. The bylaws task force wants the 2009 Assembly to approve direct election of officers and board by the 22,000 members without giving the rules for this until 2010. Do you approve?

3. The task force would have at-large directors only, eliminating the rule that each of the ten districts must have its own director. Do you approve?

4. Advertising and marketing people and anyone in “communications” could be full members. Do you approve?

5. No African-Americans are on the 17-member board. Should this be rectified?

6. If the Society deferred about one-half of dues income like the ABA, AMA, AICPA and ASAE, wouldn’t net assets be about $900,000 vs. expenses of $11M+ ?

7. You have said that PR pros are the “antenna, conscience and voice of an organization.” What is their proper role in this economic meltdown?

8. You told that all Society members were invited to the 2008 Assembly but you’re against releasing the transcript of that Assembly. How do you explain this inconsistency?

9. Since you’re in favor of members at the Assembly, why are you against audiocasting the Assembly?

10. Why did the Society only spend $2,317 on “ethics” in 2008 when “Ethical practice is the most important obligation of a member,” says the Society’s Code?


Rhoda Weiss, 2007 PR Society chair, and Gary McCormick, chair-elect, expressed different opinions on the proposal to end representation on the national board according to districts.

The 2007 Assembly had defeated a proposal to reduce the ten districts to five. The bylaws task force headed by Dave Rickey now proposes to have all 12 directors elected on an at-large basis.

Only two are at-large at present.

Weiss, speaking on a nominating committee conference call May 12 with McCormick, repeated what she has said on several occasions, that those thinking of running for the board must know “You do not represent your district but every member in the Society.”

McCormick commented that the district directors serve as a “conduit of information from members back to the national organization” and that the board “needs input” from the districts.

The district directors are “a go-between for national and local levels” and help the board “to know what is going on at the local level,” he said.

Judy Phair, 2005 president, said concerns about a district “must take into account the entire Society.”

The one-hour call, intended for those interested in seeking national office, elicited one question. “Amy from Charlotte” asked where the nominating rules were on the Society website.

Phair said the treasurer’s post is a “real” one rather than just being “a figurehead.”

As treasurer in 2003, she told the Assembly that the Society had a new investment policy. “While our previous position, based on unrestricted net assets of $1M or less, relied heavily on bonds, we can now truly begin to build for tomorrow’s growth in the Society.”

She said the investment committee, chaired by Grace Leong of Hunter PR, New York, would work closely with Bridges Investments.

The Society has reported a $383K loss on its investments in 2008. It had $1,179,684 in “common stocks” at the beginning of the year and $904,040 at the end. Its $712,568 in “corporate bonds and preferred stock” fell to $591,155 at year’s end. Certificates of deposit were $1,386,000 Jan. 1 and $1,980,000 at the end of the year.

At the beginning of the year, 57% of cash was in stocks and bonds.


Internet Edition, May 20, 2009, Page 8




“PR” Society chair Mike Cherenson went to the Akron chapter last week and brought with him the Society’s shroud of secrecy and censorship that enveloped chapter members, three local universities—Akron, Kent State and Youngstown State—and the Akron Beacon-Journal.

All attempts by us at obtaining coverage failed even though we offered $200 for an assignment of a couple of hours.

PR and journalism profs at the three colleges were unable to cover and they couldn’t get any of their students to cover.

The Beacon-Journal took a pass, a reporter and an editor telling us its readers are interested in local news and not the “workings” of a PR group.

The top editor did not return a call or e-mail in which we said a figure of national and even international importance was coming to town and he has been evading our questions and particularly those of a financial nature.

False and non-existent financial reporting by banks and companies is at the root of the current U.S. economic debacle, we explained.

Googling Beacon-Journal gave us an answer.

Owner Black Press of Canada, said a profile in the Seattle Weekly (free sister paper of the New York Village Voice) runs more than 100 papers and has dedicated them to “low-key community journalism.”

That explained the almost complete lack of interest Beacon-Journal reporter Betty Lin-Fisher had in anything we had to offer.

She was not going to cover Cherenson’s appearance before the chapter although it would take place two blocks away at the University of Akron. Rather, he would visit the paper. She had an “assignment” from her editors and would pursue that, the results to be published in the paper and on May 18.

Standard & Poor’s in January cut Black’s credit rating to “junk-level” B from B+ and its “recovery rating” was lowered from 3 to 2 (meaning investors can expect to get back 50-70% of their investment in case of a payment default).

Two PR professors on a blog bemoaned the decline of the Beacon-Journal to an “OK local newspaper” from one that had won four Pulitzers.

Chapter president Danielle McCann initially told us on Monday that chapter lunches were always open to the press.

But on Tuesday she e-mailed us that she was mistaken and “no press is or was invited to attend.”

Someone had filled her ear with the usual fusillade of slander and defamation that the Society rains on us. We know what it says—that for decades we’ve been doing everything we can to discredit and hurt the Society and we should be totally avoided. We agree the Society is being hurt—by the leaders themselves.

We were interested in the Akron visit of Cherenson because it’s his only chapter visit that we have learned about. The tightest security surrounds his speaking schedule. Last year’s chair, Jeff Julin, did not speak to any of the 107 chapters until August and only appeared before six chapters. We never learned of any of the visits since they were not on the Society website.

Had Cherenson followed the definition of PR as put forth by Prof. Tim Penning in the September 2008 Tactics (“debate, dialogue and discussion”), he would have had his appearance in Akron audiocast on the Society website and would have engaged in a slam-bang debate with chapter members on the Society’s 2008 audit.

CPAs have found plenty to criticize about the audit, including the investing of 57% of cash in stocks and bonds, losing $383,000; failure to defer dues income; removal of “overhead” expenses in 13 categories; making $465K profit on its annual conferences when such conferences are supposed to be a member service and not a money-maker, and spending only $2,317 on “ethics” (down from $4,360 in the previous year) when PRS puts such great emphasis on monitoring and encouraging ethical behavior not only of its members but the entire PR industry.

Accounting professors Edward Ketz of Penn State, Charles Mulford of Georgia Tech and Phil Wolitzer of Long Island University had criticized the small amount PRS put aside as deferred income in 2005.

When reporters ask the New York State Society of CPAs for an accounting opinion, the Society refers them to Wolitzer.

He does not speak for the Society itself but is its recommended expert on accounting matters.

He has conducted free classes for many years for reporters, on behalf of the NYSSCPA, helping them to cut through accounting complexity and legalese in financial documents. Others now conduct such classes.

Wolitzer said the 2008 PRS audit fails to defer sufficient amounts and questioned the propriety of PRS risking funds in the stock market.

Bankers are taking it on the chin. Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter says a few hundred bankers have committed what “may well turn out to be the greatest nonviolent crime against humanity in history,” driving “an estimated 200 million people worldwide into poverty.” The $2.9 trillion headed to banks works out to $9,508 for each of America’s 300 million citizens, he says…Page/PR Seminar will meet as scheduled starting Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton at Laguna Niguel, Calif. We have asked speakers Nick Ashooh of AIG and Mike O’Neill of American Express to give us copies of their formal remarks on the subject of “Global Financial Crisis—Lessons Learned.” However, they said they won’t have formal texts and will only lead the discussion…three major PR networks of WPP, Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton and Ogilvy PR, all grew during 2008, XVP Howard Paster says in the WPP annual report. “It was not unusual in 2008,” he says, “for clients of these three agencies to dominate the business news on any given day.” H&K “enjoyed one of its finest years in its eight-decade history,” said CEO Paul Taaffe. Cohn & Wolfe, having absorbed GCI Group, is now a “true global competitor with expertise across all practice areas and offices in 55 markets,” reports CEO Donna Imperato. PR/PA was the “fastest-growing [WPP] communications services sector with constant currency revenue up 6.9%,” says the report. PR profit margins are 16.6%. The balance sheet showed WPP to have 3.999 billion pounds in “bonds and bank notes” as of Dec. 31, 2008, which were worth about $8B when the pound was around $2. It is now under $1.50.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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