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Internet Edition, June 17, 2009, Page 1


Ogilvy PR Worldwide has named its Asia chief, Christopher Graves, to succeed Marcia Silverman, 65, as CEO of the WPP unit in January.

Graves, 50, a veteran journalist, is credited with growing the firm’s Asia Pacific operations by roughly two-fold since joining the firm in 2005.

Hong Kong-based Graves joined Ogilvy from 23 years in the news business, many at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal in several editing and executive posts in Asia and Europe.

Silverman, who has been with Ogilvy for 28 years, will slide into a chairman role after seven years at the helm, playing a role with clients and global strategy for the firm.

She took over for former CEO Bob Seltzer, who resigned in August 2002.


Porter Novelli’s Sacramento office is representing Plains Exploration & Production, which is pushing for a state permit to drill offshore California. There has been a ban on drilling since the catastrophic spill in 1969 off the Santa Barbara coast.

The Houston-headquartered oil and gas company faces spirited protests from environmental groups and key politicians like Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The Schwarzenegger Administration, however, favors drilling as a potential revenue-generator for the cash-strapped Golden State, which is struggling to deal with a $24B budget shortfall.

It wants control over offshore leasing authority, which has been the duty of the State Lands Commission since 1938. The Commission voted against a lease proposal in January.

PE&P expects its drilling activity will raise almost $2B for the state and more than $300M for Santa Barbara county. It has properties in the Gulf Coast, Colorado and Vietnam.

PN could not be reached for comment.


Jim Swords died of a heart attack on June 7 while bicycling with friends in Virginia. He was 55.

Swords is remembered as part of W.R. Grace & Co.’s PR team that was headed by Fred Bona.

Swords left in 1985 for Texaco just before Grace began its downsizing.

He then worked at The Dilenschneider Group before leaving for Washington for spots at Computer Sciences Corp. and Satyam Computer Services.


Tom Bell, former CEO of Burson-Marsteller and its parent Young & Rubicam Inc., has been elected vice chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

His elevation comes as Chamber CEO Tom Donohue launches its biggest marketing/lobbying campaign to “support free enterprise,” which the powerful business group believes is under attack by the Obama Administration.

Donohue says the Chamber will spend “tens of millions of dollars annually” to counter inroads made by “union leaders, some environmentalists and a growing force of anti-business activists” that are pushing to “close trading markets, lock down capital markets, expand entitlements and raise taxes and debt to unsustainable levels.”

Bell exited Y&R following its acquisition by WPP. Currently CEO of Cousins Properties Inc, Bell also chaired the Committee on the Next Agenda, a group that advised the second Reagan Administration, and was chief of staff to ex-Senator Bill Brock (R-TN).


New Mexico, in an effort to boost travel to the so-called Land of Enchantment, is seeking proposals to create an eco-tourism program.

The state has allocated $250K to pay a vendor to develop the outline of a program by early 2010, when the legislature will be pitched on further funding.
New Mexico sees its Native American tribes and history, Spanish legacy, art communities and vast parks as potential assets for such a program.

The goal is to build on the estimated $5.2 billion impact tourism has on the state.

Deadline for pitches is July 10. The RFP is at


Peter Sussman, a member of the Ethics Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists, while emphasizing it is his own personal opinion, has criticized the “cozy” relationship of the press and PR executives at PR Seminar, more than half of whose members also belong to the Arthur W. Page Society.

Sussman, who was an editor for 29 years at the San Francisco Chronicle and who describes himself as a “vocal advocate on issues of journalism ethics, diversity and freedom of information” on his own website, answered “Yes” to the question: “Is Big Press too cozy with Big PR?”

(continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, June 17, 2009, Page 2


The federal government is looking for new PR ideas to reverse an upward trend in motorcycle accident fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that despite substantial progress in reducing vehicle crashes and fatalities through seat belt and drunken driving education efforts, motorcycle wrecks are the key reason that overall safety trends are heading in the wrong direction.

Motorcycle deaths have more than doubled since 1997, offsetting gains in overall road safety.

The federal agency’s office of communications and consumer information recognizes the need to continue its current efforts, but has put out the RFP to produce new strategies and campaigns pointing out that some efforts in the past have been off-target.

The NHTS said it will review a swath of disciplines, from market research and advertising to media relations, government relations, partnerships and Web 2.0. Experience and knowledge with the Hispanic population is singled out.

The agency plans to award an open-ended, two-year contract, known as an IDIQ pact, carrying a minimum per-assignment fee from $25K to $3.5M.

Responses are due by July 11. The RFP has been posted online and can be linked from

The NHTSA has worked with several firms in recent years, including Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Carmen Group, and Fleishman-Hillard/Strat@comm, among others.


Riptide Communications handles PR for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which scored a landmark victory June 8, when Royal Dutch Shell agreed to pay $15.5M to settle a lawsuit alleging human rights violations in Nigeria during the early 1990s.

The New York Times reports the settlement was made days before the start of a trial in New York, proceedings that were expected to “reveal extensive details of Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta.”

Riptide co-founder David Lerner told O’Dwyer’s that his New York-based firm began work on the case shortly after the 1995 hanging of environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa by Nigeria’s military regime.

The death of Shell’s No. 1 environmental critic triggered international outrage among activist groups. Shell denies any role in the death of Saro-Wiwa.

The oil company rejects charges that it bankrolled violence in the region. It says the settlement will provide money for plaintiffs, including Saro-Wiwa’s family for their loss, and for an educational and social trust.

Lerner was press officer for CCR before setting up his progressive PR firm.

Bethesda’s Caplan Communications was active on a parallel front.

Aric Caplan generated publicity (New York Times blog, WBAI radio in NYC and NPR’s “Democracy Now”) for, a coalition of Oil Change International, Friends of the Earth and Platform/Remember Saro-Wiwa.

CC represented FOE in that effort.


The legal team of alleged Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford has engaged Qorvis Communications as it defends against a civil suit from the Securities Exchange Commission charging the Texan of defrauding investors to the tune of $8 billion.

Qorvis CEO Michael Petruzzello is leading the research and litigation support work.

The 59-year-old financier, whose assets have been seized and placed under the guidance of a receiver pending an outcome in the SEC case, denies the charges and has said he is a scapegoat for the government’s inability to discover the Bernie Madoff fraud.

The court-appointed receiver raised eyebrows last week with a request for $20M in fees.

Among those charges are $150K in fees and $15K in expenses through April 12 for the services of Texas PR firm Pierpont Communications.

That work has included sorting through correspondence (12,000 emails), media and blog monitoring, comms. strategy, and updating the receiver’s website.


Eli Lilly has recruited the former Democratic mayor of its hometown Indianapolis, Bart Peterson, to serve as senior VP of corporate affairs and communications.

Peterson’s duties at the drug maker encompass government relations, communications and PR, CSR and other aspects, but the company said a significant part of his role will be heading its interactions in the public health sector and among other “payers” globally as healthcare reform has become a priority of the Obama administration.


Ned Gerrity, the press savvy right-hand man of former ITT CEO Hal Geneen, is dead at 85.

The Wall Street Journal credits Gerrity with putting a “happy face” on both Geneen’s acquisition spree of more than 250 companies and ITT’s “reputation for corporate ruthlessness.”

Geneen transformed the sleepy telecommunications gear and Latin American phone company operator into a conglomerate that included Hartford Insurance, Continental Baking and Avis Rent-a-Car.

He was ensnared in ITT’s effort to block the election of leftist Salvador Allende as Chile’s president in 1970. The PR pro was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice connected with his testimony before Congress. Those 1978 charges were dropped after the Justice Dept. concluded that it would have to release sensitive national security information during a public trial.

The WSJ remembers Gerrity as an “old school style” handler of the press that “reflected his friendships with such legends as saloon proprietor Toots Schor and sportswriter Jimmy Cannon.”

Beginning in 1964, Gerrity organized the annual Brussels Boys Club press bash. The affair was named after a fountain in Belgium, called Manneken Pis, a stature of a boy urinating. A replica of the statue went to the newsman “Boy of the Year.”


Internet Edition, June 17, 2009, Page 3


The Boston Globe is getting some interest from local groups that may be willing to take the money-losing paper off the hands of the New York Times Co. and its chairman Pinch Sulzberger, who rejected a plea for "mercy" from Guild members.

The NYTC is using Goldman Sachs to line up bids for the Boston Globe, which is no longer slated for shutdown, according to spokesperson Catherine Mathis.

“We do not foresee closure at this time and are focused on executing the Globe’s turnaround plan,” she said in a statement following the company’s victory in wrestling $20M in concessions from labor. Those givebacks include an imposed 23 percent wage cut for members of the Boston Newspaper Guild.

The Globe reports that former Hill, Holliday, Connors Cosmopulos co-founder executive Jack Connors, Boston Celtics part owner Stephen Pagliuca and Stephen Taylor, a member of the family that owned the Globe, are among interested parties in taking over the Globe.

The union concessions, while a financial windfall to the NYTC, make the Globe a more attractive property to buyers.

NYTC management will entertain bids during the next couple of weeks and will explore various options over the summer. A package deal with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette is a possibility.

Goldman Sachs is also peddling the NYTC’s 17.5 percent stake in the Boston Red Sox.

Plea to Sulzberger is rejected

Globe reporters penned a letter to Sulzberger asking him to drop plans to cut pay by 23 percent.

They asked Sulzberger to “call off the lawyers, head off a bitter fight and come forward with a plan that would attract a bit more support from the Guild.”

The reporters stand ready to “take painful cuts and do what it takes to preserve the long-term future of the Boston Globe.”

The 23 percent cut, however, “would be disastrous for many of us who have worked tirelessly for the Globe for years. Not only would many of us lose our homes and our child care, but too much of our top talent might no longer be able to afford to work for a newspaper that they’ve given their hearts and souls for so long.”

The reporters “never expected high salaries; we just wanted reasonable pay, enough to make ends meet."

They praised Sulzberger for his “fair-minded leadership," and believe he wants to do the right thing because he is a “mensch.”

In his response, Sulzberger said he is gratified by the staff’s commitment to the Globe and journalistic excellence. “You are correct that I had hoped this would work out differently, and that a timely solution would be found for the Globe to achieve the necessary savings without Guild employees suffering a huge wage cut.”

Despite his concern for staffers, “all dealings on this subject must be with and through the Guild, which, under law, is the employees’ sole and exclusive bargaining representative.”

Sulzberger wrote that Globe negotiators worked tirelessly to iron out a deal with the Guild as they did with other unions:

“We are now left with no alternative other than to proceed with the wage reduction. Without that, the Globe will be unable to effectuate the savings already ratified by its other unions, in which case it simply cannot survive.”

Canellos to Guide Editorial Page

Peter Canellos, 46, is taking over for Renee Loth as editor of the Boston Globe’s editorial page. He was D.C. bureau chief for the past six years.

Canellos has been with the Globe since 1988, serving as City Hall bureau chief, and metro editor. He edited the Globe's book, “The Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy,” which was based on a seven-part series that ran in the paper.

Loth, 56, is retiring July 3. She plans to freelance a weekly op-ed piece for the Globe. She took on the editorial page job in 2000, after writing for the Sunday magazine, serving as political editor and deputy editor of the editorial page.


Seventy percent of the nation's 1,422 daily newspapers are solidly profitable and in no danger of collapse, according to newspaper analyst John Morton.

Those papers average a 12K circulation and represent the newspaper business to millions of Americans in smaller towns and cities.

The smaller papers operate in less complex and competitive markets than their big brothers, according to Morton.

They are much closer to readers and advertisers. That means “smaller newspapers are just not as vulnerable as large dailies are to the national economic meltdown.”

Morton notes that high-profile shutdowns of the Rocky Mountain News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer do not represent a faltering business model. Both were weak sisters in two-paper markets. Morton is surprised they lasted as long as they did, according to his column in the American Journalism Review.

Morton believes newspapers will not rebound as sharply as they did in the last recovery of `02 because the Internet is much more dominant today.

The large dailies will be thinner and the smaller papers will be more hyper-local.

“One can only hope that newspapers will figure out a way to stop giving away information online that they charge for in print and that they will be more successful than they have been in capturing Internet advertising,” he writes.


The Public Broadcasting Service is trimming staff by 10 percent (45 people) and ordering a six-month pay cut of about four percent beginning July 1.

A hiring freeze, benefit cuts and reductions in travel are other measures used to deal with a budget shortfall of more than $3M.

No impact on programming is promised by Michael Jones, COO.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, June 17, 2009, Page 4


Hearst has cut 44 jobs at its ten Connecticut newspapers and may slice 80 more in coming months in order to reduce costs by 20%.

The announcement appeared on the web of the Hearst-owned Stamford Advocate but did not appear in any of the print editions of the ten papers.

The Greenwich Time and the other papers were purchased in late 2007 by Hearst, which was partnered at that time with MediaNews Group of Denver, then owner of the Connecticut Post, based in Bridgeport.

MediaNews, owner or part owner of more than 100 papers, has run into financial problems, its credit lowered in December 2008 to CCC from B-.

The Tribune Co., which owned the GT and Stamford Advocate, had been trying to sell them for many months. Printing of the two papers was shifted to Bridgeport.

Hearst also owns the Danbury News-Times and six weeklies in Fairfield county.

Noted Editor JoinsTime/Advocate

David McCumber, managing editor of the Post-Intelligencer, at first was hailed by a local Greenwich blog as "a prize-winning investigative editor with plenty of guts," has been named editor of Time/Advocate and editorial director of the Connecticut Hearst newspapers., a critic of the Hearst Connecticut papers, blogged that "Greenwich politicians and insiders are shaking in their boots that Steven Swartz (president of Hearst Newspapers) brings in a big gun to cover Greenwich."

The blog, which has traded angry e-mails with Hearst lawyer Ravi Sitwalla on copyright issues, says that "All voices in Greenwich society will be heard" because of McCumber's appointment.

However, the blog expressed disappointment with Hearst's new Connecticut blog, asking, "Who is going to read this crap?" and suggesting that McCumber might be "on drugs."

Hearst said its Connecticut blogs will cover "favorite restaurants," "parenting in 2009," "toxic soil in our communities," "high school bands," and "the New York Yankees."

Previous GT editors were Joseph Pisani, who was dismissed in 2007 after more than ten years; David Warner, Jim Zebora and Bruce Hunter. Hunter continues as managing editor.

A series of back-and-forth e-mails between Hearst and greenwich.roundup indicated that Hearst was unable to document copyright violation charges and the blog claimed victory in the dispute. provides extensive coverage of news, community events, local ads and also provides hard-hitting opinions and analysis. Readers are invited to become contributors to the blogs which represent formidable competition to print newspapers.

The Christopher Fountain real estate blog received a letter from a lawyer threatening legal action because the blog pointed out negatives in a house that was for sale. The blog reprinted the letter as well as a dozen comments from readers supporting the right of the blog to make its criticisms.

Emails were sent to Hearst officials, GT editors, and MediaNews officials. These include Debra Shriver, VP/chief communications officer of Hearst; Dave Swartz, Hearst Newspaper president; Mark Aldam, SVP, Hearst Newspapers; McCumber, and the PR dept. of MediaNews.

The MediaNews PR dept. acknowledged receipt of the e-mail and McCumber said he would return our call when able.


Several polls were released last week gauging public and consumer opinion on issues from the communications budgets to gay and lesbian readership of blogs and social media.

Fifty-two percent of respondents to an International Association of Business Communicators and Buck Consultants study said their communication budgets have decreased, while 35 percent reported cuts to their communication staffs over the past year.

Despite those doldrums, nearly half said communication with staff has stayed the same and many are turning to social media to engage them.

The survey of 1,500 participants across various industries found that 79 percent reported using social media to communicate with employees, while 75 percent cited email.

Company blogs are the top social media tool and were cited by 47 percent, while discussion boards were said to be the top tool on the horizon at 33 percent.

Twitter (21%), Yammer (20%) and Facebook (18%) were also mentioned and organizations cited plans to use such tools more down the road.

On social media use among top executives, 56% are not using such tools and about half (46%) said they are not monitoring social media’s effectiveness.

Blogs Draw More Gay Readers

More than half of gay and lesbian adults read blogs, compared with only 38 percent of heterosexuals, according to a Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs Communications poll of 3,000 adults, 404 of whom said they were gay or lesbian.

That figure is up from 51% in March and 32% in November 2006.

Among the blogs drawing interest were news and issue blogs (34% gay-22% hetero), entertainment and pop culture (25%-15%), politics (28%-14%) and travel (14%-8%).

The strong blog readership from the gay/lesbian community also translates to social networks, where 55% of the group participates, compared with 46% of heterosexuals.

That trend follows from entertainment-oriented sites like MySpace (43% gay-30% hetero) and Twitter (20%-12%) to professional sites like LinkedIn (23%-13%).

Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications said companies looking to make the most of their advertising budgets need to consider blogs and social networking sites as an “even more powerful cross-section of opportunities” today when reaching out to the gay and lesbian market.

Internet Edition, June 17, 2009, Page 5


MWW Group has developed and released a mobile application, M.insight, that aggregates news and opinion articles in marketing fields like PR, advertising and social media.

MWW president and CEO Michael Kempner hopes the app “will make it easy for PR, marketing and advertising professionals to discover and track news that is most relevant to them.”

The service was developed for the iPhone but can also be used on WindowsMobile and Blackberry devices.

The app can be downloaded at or via the iTunes store.


C. Paul Luongo, after a 45-year career in which he represented financial and other clients including Charles Schwab & Co., Federated Securities, Dataram Corp., Nymox Pharmaceutical, Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Newbury College, has closed his firm and will live in a retirement home.

“For the fourth time in my career, my lease has run out and the landlord will not let me renew it,” said Luongo, who for many years lived in the Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston.

Luongo, who made hundreds of appearances on local and national TV and radio shows, including “The Today Show,” in 1980 authored America’s Best, which focused on the “best” hotels, restaurants and hundreds of other products and services.

He is moving at the end of the month to a senior citizens facility in midtown Boston.

His hobbies earlier in life included playing the trumpet and horseback riding. He was in a number of competitions that involved jumps but he doesn’t see any such activities in his future.

The PR counseling scene today is one of “keen competition,” he said. Asked what the “C” stands for in his name, he said his parents named him Carmine at birth and it was a name he always detested. He picked Paul upon Confirmation, since he was an admirer of St. Paul, but he retained the C in honor of his parents.

BRIEFS: Gibbs & Soell, New York, has moved from its Third Avenue home of 17 years to 60 East 42nd Street, 44th floor, across from Grand Central Terminal. Info: ...APCO Worldwide has revamped its website,, to include advanced search and a “more in-depth look into what we can do for our clients.” ...Koroberi Inc., Chapel Hill, N.C., has been tapped by Sweden-based consumer design group Chislett Productions as its U.S. interactive marketing services. partner. The firms said they will “engage in a technology and cultural exchange to create a global team offering state of the art integrated marketing solutions.” ...The Lippin Group, Los Angeles, has aligned with event and entertainment marketing firm The jLine Group to officially collaborate after previously working on joint projects in the entertainment sector.


New York Area

Waggener Edstrom, New York/Toshiba America Consumer Products, as agency of record for its North American television and digital A/V products, following a review. WE’s consumer marketing practice leads the account partnered with the firm’s consumer subsidiary, Maloney & Fox. Account covers strategic counsel, new product launches, media and analyst relations, communications planning, and long-term branding initiatives. Brodeur Partners handled the account as Toshiba’s global AOR.

Laura Davidson PR, New York/Dream Escape, Scotland, as AOR for PR. The five-year-old travel company is based in Edinburgh and puts together “one of a kind” experiences in Scotland for clients.

Shadow PR, New York/The Light Group, hospitality development and management, for PR for the company and its affiliated properties like The Beatles Revolution Lounge and Bare Pool Lounge at The Mirage Hotel & Casino.

Savvy Drinks, New York/Vermont Spirits, for marketing and PR to support its Vermont Gold and Vermont White vodkas.


Hart-Boillot, Waltham, Mass./Venyu, Louisiana-based data protection company formed by merger of Amerivault and Network Technology Group, and PRQA, software quality assessment services, both as AOR for PR.

Tiziani Whitmyre, Sharon, Mass./Howard Leight-Sperian Hearing Protection, for global PR for its services and hearing conservation programs. Work includes media relations, SEO and web 2.0 social media strategy.

Arketi Group, Atlanta/OB10, e-invoicing network, for PR for its North American business unit based in Atlanta.

Crossroads PR, Raleigh, N.C./Clinipace, digital clinical research, for PR for its clinical trial technology and service offerings.

William Mills Agency, Atlanta/SourceMedia, for PR for its publications, including American Banker, Bank Technology News and Financial Insights.

180 Communications, Tallahassee, Fla./McDavid Sports Medicine, for media relations.


The Investor Relations Company, Chicago/Spicy Pickle Franchising Inc., Denver-based restaurant company with 38 locations in 12 states, for an investor contact program which started on June 1. Market value tops $10M. SPF was developed by the creator of the PretzelMaker franchise, which was sold to Mrs. Fields Cookies.

Zizzo Group Advertising and PR, Milwaukee/St. Aemilian-Lakeside, family services non-profit, for strategic communications including PR and branding.


The Pollack PR Marketing Group, Los Angeles/the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corp., for a PR program supporting its three centennial events between June 20 and Sept. 9. The famous pier was built in 1909.

Internet Edition, June 17, 2009, Page 6


The U.S. Dept. of State said June 10 that it plans to award online video service The NewsMarket a sole source contract to support its foreign policy objectives and messages.

The State Dept. said it requires the services of a contractor to place video content produced by the government as it faces limitations in its ability to reach a growing global TV and video audience.

State said The NewsMarket’s platform allows TV stations anywhere in the world to access, preview and order broadcast standard video.

In claiming a “sole source” pact, the government said The NewsMarket is the only company that can offer the service and therefore does not need to seek bids.


GlobeNewswire, the release distribution service owned by Nasdaq, has created a network targeting retail investors.

GN is working with MUNCmedia to use a network of 200 financial magazines, newspapers and portals online as its base of distribution.

Doug Ventola, senior VP of Nasdaq’s OMX unit which oversees GN, said the service allows public companies to deliver information to individual investors while they are actively researching investments in a particular sector.


The fifth annual Public Relations & Communications Summit is slated for July 27-28 at Pfizer’s headquarters in New York.

The event, produced by ExL Pharama, includes PR executives from dozens of pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies.

Sessions include “Restoring Public Trust,” with executives from Biogen, Amgen and AstraZeneca; “Building an Effective Relationship between the Pharmaceutical Industry and FDA in a Changing Environment,” and “The Changing Face(book) of PR,” which includes execs from Schering-Plough, AstraZeneca and Bayer.

Cost is $2,000. Info:


MyPRGenie, a social-media based PR platform, said it has added social media and search engine optimization tools.

New features include improved tracking and analytics for release distribution, an ability to “mass invite” a list to join a newsroom or pitch targeted journalists with a single click, as well as the ability to build an online newsroom with tools like Twitter, PR Newswire distribution and LinkedIn.

Business Wire said its releases and multimedia assets are now available on The Associated Press’ AP Mobile, the app utilized by users of iPhones, Blackberrys and other smartphone devices.

BW noted that AP Mobile is chalking up monthly visitation in the 38 million page view range.



George Snell has joined Weber Shandwick as senior VP in its digital communications practice. He had been senior VP at Racepoint Group, which is a unit of Larry Weber's W2 Group, and co-leader of its much acclaimed “One Laptop Per Child” program. Prior to joining Racepoint, Snell was director and senior consultant at ML Strategies and reporter at the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, Mass.

Aliza Rothman, VP for Ogilvy PR Worldwide in Denver, to Turner PR, Denver, as a VP focused on travel/hospitality and real estate. She was previously a VP for Robinson Lerer & Montgomery in New York and earlier was with Ruder Finn.

Pamela Weber-Leaf, managing editor for 201 magazine, to The Marcus Group, Little Falls, N.J., as an A/E. She was previously a reporter for the Herald News (West Paterson, N.J.) and Journal News (White Plains, N.Y.). She also has a J.D. and master’s degree in environmental law.

Damion Martin, head of North American PR and marketing comms. for All Nippon Airways, to Wonacott Communications, Los Angeles, as an account director. He was previously with Rogers & Cowan. Racheal Caswell, a gaming PR pro previously with Bender/Helper Impact and Pacific Media Partners, joins as a senior A/E. She previously reviewed games for Hollywood Previews.


Matthew Garth, 35, has been promoted to director, investor relations, Alcoa, New York, replacing Elizabeth Besen, who recently resigned. He joined the company in 2002 as manager, IR.

Fernando Rizo to head of digital media for Ketchum London. He was a senior interactive specialist and founding member of the firm’s interactive strategies unit in New York. He handles social media planning, digital partnership realization and digital media education, as well as online issues and crisis counsel. Rizzo specializes in advising clients with matters related to Wikipedia, where he has been an administrator since 2005.


Joan Cear, managing director of G.S. Schwartz & Co., to president of the New York Women in Communications Foundation board. The non-profit arm of NYWICI supports student communications career education programs and scholarships.


Internet Edition, June 17, 2009, Page 7


He said failure of the press to cover Page/PR Seminar is “atrocious journalism of the very kind that has lowered the credibility of journalists among the public.”

Sussman, who says his opinion “should not be construed as a consensus of the committee’s views,” also noted that “many or most of my opinions were shared by various committee members.”

An O’Dwyer report on the May 20-23 Page/PR Seminar meeting listing speakers such as Alan Murray, executive editor, Wall Street Journal Online, was sent to the chair of the SPJ Ethics Committee who distributed it to the other 13 members.

Sussman also noted that he has not contacted anyone from either Page or PR Seminar and that he is only expressing his own “preliminary views” on the annual meeting of PR executives at which editors from major media are speakers (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Bloomberg, MSNBC, CNN, etc.). He noted his views are “based on facts you provided and without access to reactions to participants at these events.”

The 14 member committee is headed by Andy Schotz, a reporter for The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown, Md., who covers city hall, police beat, courts and the Maryland statehouse.

A member is Jane Kirtley, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota. A lawyer, she was executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Arlington, Va., for 14 years until 1999 when she joined UofM.

Another member is Jerry Dunklee, journalism professor at Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven.

Lack of Coverage “Unethical”

Sussman, who answered the questions via e-mail, said he agreed that “Big Press is too cozy with Big PR,” adding: “The best possible face you can put on it would be that failure to cover the meetings is unethical and attendance at the meetings may or may not be unethical but is certainly atrocious journalism of the very kind that has lowered the credibility of journalists among the public.
“To elaborate somewhat, this is, as Mr. O’Dwyer states, a very good example of the way that news organizations have failed their readers, listeners and viewers.

“During the recent mortgage/home/price/debt securitization bubble; in the buildup to the Iraqi war and on many other occasions in recent years, the news media have failed to ‘seek truth and report it’ [the first category in our Code of Ethics] because they have been too cozy with those powerful and rich enough to buy their camaraderie, their insider access and their good will.”

SPJ Code Articles Quoted

Sussman then listed nine articles of the SPJ Code and said Page/PR Seminar appeared to break all of them, including two of them “emphatically.”

The two are “Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility,” and “Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.”

Journalists, says the SPJ Code, are to “Give voice to the voiceless,” but Sussman said the journalists at Page/PRS “seem more intent on giving voice to the voiced. If they were half as conscientious in seeking out the voiceless, we would have very different news narratives in this country.”

The journalists, he continued, are also failing to “Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open” and failing to “Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.”

On whether journalists are telling “the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly,” Sussman said, “Actually, they are telling the story of the powerful meekly.” “No” answers were also given to whether Code articles are being obeyed that say “Disclose unavoidable conflicts” and “Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.”

Sussman’s criticisms have been sent to Page president Maril MacDonald of Gagen MacDonald, Chicago, and executive director Tom Nicholson but no replies had been received as of press time.

SPJ Ethics Committee Listed

Other members of the SPJ Ethics Committee are vice chair Fred Brown, media training and consulting firm of Hartman & Brown, and who retired from the Denver Post in 2002 although he continues to write for it and for the NBC TV affiliate; Robert Buckman, prof. of comms., University of Louisiana; Casey Bukro, who retired in 2007 after 45 years at the Chicago Tribune; Mike Farrell, director, Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, Univ. of Kentucky; Irwin Gratz, anchor, Public Radio, Portland, Me.; Liz Hansen, comms. prof., Eastern Kentucky Univ.; Paul LaRocque, retired J prof, Texas Christian Univ.; Sara Stone, J prof, Baylor Univ.; Adrian Uribarri, writer, Orlando Sentinel, and Nerissa Young, asst. J prof., Marshall Univ.


The PR Society “would not need to reincorporate in another state” in order for the 22,000 members to vote electronically on candidates for the board and officer positions, bylaws chair Dave Rickey has announced on the PRS website.

The Society has been saying for many years that its Assembly could not vote electronically because it would be against New York State law.

A major plank in proposed new bylaws is that “The membership directly elects the board of directors and officers.”

Rickey’s latest statement on the bylaws proposals notes that “Other associations incorporated in New York are successfully using technology to legally facilitate electronic popular voting.”

Society leaders and staff have been asked why member voting is now deemed to be legal when it wasn’t before but they have not responded.

The bylaws committee has yet to spell out details of how candidates would run for office including whether they would have to state their views on issues to the membership.


Internet Edition, June 17, 2009, Page 8




Peter Sussman’s criticism of the press for failure to cover or even mention the existence of the Arthur W. Page Society/PR Seminar meeting (page one) is a watershed moment for the press and PR. Press and PR appear to be far too “cozy” with each other.

Sussman, one of the creators of the Ethics Code of the Society of Professional Journalists, has emphasized that this is his personal opinion and not the opinion of the entire 14-member committee.

He also notes that he has not talked to anyone from the meeting.

Fat chance, we say. In our nearly 40 years of covering the meeting of “Big PR and Big Press” we have never once received an official communication from anyone connected with the annual pow-wow.

The first order of business is making all attendees swear that “what happens at Seminar stays at Seminar.”

If Sussman or any of his committee members gets anyone to say anything official including providing lists of speakers and members and/or what was said, that will surprise us. About the only thing “official” anyone will get from Page/PRS is a “no comment” from a “spokesperson.”

None of the leaders will pick up the phone or answer an e-mail.

SPJ, like the PR Society, does not have an enforceable code. But it does point out right and wrong.

We’re hoping the committee will take a thorough look at our Page/PRS reports and also about the campaign of defamation the PR Society has conducted against us for many years.

A Sussman e-mail said that “many if not most” of his opinions about the meeting “were shared by various committee members.”

We don’t see how anything but a fence post could fail to be shocked by Big Media failing to report on Big PR.

The nation is in nearly economic free-fall because our institutions have failed us including congress, government regulators like the SEC; banks and financial institutions; rating services such as Fitch, Moody’s and S&P; academics; the press and PR.

The much-heralded Sarbanes-Oxley flopped.

There was too much “coziness” between Wall St. and the SEC. The press failed to catch onto the burgeoning real estate disaster whose roots were in local banks lending to just about anyone because they immediately off-loaded the loans to Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and others.

A main culprit in the economic meltdown is the failure of boards of directors to do their jobs.

A regular critic of boards is the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki, who noted June 1 that even though fewer than 20% of corporate directors are now insiders and are supposed to be “independent,” service on a board is often still “a cushy gig” that few want to endanger by challenging the CEO who appointed them.

“Collegiality trumps independence,” he wrote.

The directors usually depend on the CEO for information, doing little or no research on their own, says Surowiecki, who quotes a survey showing that half of directors wish they had more information.

So there’s the average board of directors—an ill-informed group that meets probably eight times a year (four times for the PR Society) and it’s a social engagement as much as anything else.

An even harsher critic is Nell Minow of the Corporate Library and an expert on corporate boards. She once said that otherwise decent people lose “half their I.Q.’s and all of their nerve” when they join a board.

Minow now also writes as the “Movie Mom” for the Chicago Tribune and other outlets about movies, TV, the internet and parenting.

This is a key period for the PR Society since nominations will be made for the board which is deeply conflicted.

Winds of change started to blow last year when Gary McCormick of Scripps, who was not even on the board, won the nomination for chair-elect from Rosanna Fiske, who as treasurer was an almost automatic choice as chair-elect.

Although die-hard APRs dominate the board, McCormick said that while he is proud of his APR, the “content knowledge in APR is not indicative or instructional on serving as an effective member of a board…even for PR.”

McCormick would put the question to the Assembly which has never been allowed to consider dropping APR for board service.

His words as well as those of Don Kirchoffner, who flatly said APR should not be required for national service, no doubt incensed the APR hard-liners.

After many years of a board dominated by solo or small firm practitioners, members from large organizations joined the board in 2009 — Travelers, National Education Assn., Western & Southern Financial, Mayo Clinic, and City College of New York.

However, such “new blood” does not yet have enough votes to control the board.

PRS has done an amazing flip-flop on the legality of members voting electronically.

For many years, despite Assembly polls showing such a desire, PRS has said the Assembly could only meet and take votes in person. Electronic voting was strictly forbidden by New York State law, it said.

Now however, when it wants to remove the power of the Assembly to elect board and officers (turning the Assembly into a propaganda arm of the board), the board says that electronic voting by members is perfectly legal and there is no need to move the charter to another state.

We’d like to hear the legal reasoning involved in this remarkable flip-flop.

Another flop is PRS turning its back on recommendations made by a nominating committee reform group in 2000.

That group found blatant interference in the selection of directors and officers by the directors themselves.

The group said the bylaws “make it as clear as can be that the board is to be separate from the nominating process and the board is not to elect its own officers.”

The stranglehold of the APRs on PRS continues to be evident.

A bylaw proposal is that non-APRs can come on the board if they can prove they have more than 20 years in PR in posts with ever higher degrees of responsibility.

In other words, the APRs are saying that passing a three to four-hour multiple choice test about PR on a computer is the equivalent of “more than 20 years of PR experience with increasing levels of responsibility.”

What municipality would hire a lifeguard without a swimming test or an orchestra a musician without hearing him or her play?

--Jack O'Dwyer


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