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

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


Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, June 24, 2009, Page 1


The Army’s public affairs office is considering PR help for a wide communications campaign supporting its new Army Force Generation program.

The goal of the three-year PR effort is to boost public awareness and comprehension of the Army’s cyclical program of developing and sustaining soldiers, which goes by the acronym ARFORGEN – developed after soldiers were rotated into service in Iraq and Afghanistan to fulfill heavy demand before their requisite “rest” time was completed. The new program was unveiled last year and comes as the Army hopes to add as many as 21 new brigades to its force in coming years.

Specific emphasis for the PR effort is being placed on new media and social networking to get information to soldiers, families, civilians, employers and communities. The selected firm will work with the public affairs office at Fort McPherson (Georgia) and other locales.

The work is expected to begin in July and an RFP is linked from


Levick Strategic Communications has recruited David Whitmore as COO/general counsel.

The 25-year financial and operational veteran is a savvy Washington player, having served as executive VP/CFO/COO at Qorvis Communications, the No. 2 independent shop in the nation’s capital.

Whitmore held key posts at Interpublic’s Shandwick Washington/The Cassidy Cos. He also served as M&A officer/North America at Shandwick, where he closed deals worth more than $120M, according to the announcement from Levick.

Most recently, Whitmore handled the D.C. outpost of Larry Weber’s Racepoint Group, handling crisis, issues management, government and PA for the high-tech firm that is based in Massachusetts.


Burson-Marsteller has merged Marsteller Advertising with sister polling outfit Penn Schoen & Berland’s ad unit to create Proof Integrated Communications.

The new entity is headed by Jay Leveton, who had headed PS&B's PSBcreative advertising operation.

Bill Marsteller founded MA in 1951. He joined with Harold Burson in 1953 to create Burson-Marsteller.

Proof IC offers broadcast/print advertising, media buying, video services and events production.


The 2009 O’Dwyer’s Directory of PR Firms, listing more than 1,800 firms and providing 616 PR specialty rankings, was published June 22. Copies are available at O’Dwyer offices at 271 Madison Ave. and

The 39th annual edition of the soft-cover Directory runs 400 pages.

Although 24 fewer firms than last year took part in the O’Dwyer rankings this year because of the economic environment, the number of specialty rankings in the 2009 O’Dwyer’s Directory of PR Firms only fell to 616 from 618 as more and more firms break out fees for the specialties.

Technology/industrial was the biggest category with 102 firms reporting their fees under this heading. Other big categories were healthcare, 96; financial/IR, 71, and professional services, 65.

Ranked are 169 independent firms (-21) and 11 ad agency PR departments (-3).

The Directory has the only cross-index to clients of the PR firms. Indexed are more than 7,500 clients.

More than 400 firms have expanded their listings by displaying their logos and describing the unique nature of their services.

Those taking logo/statements are also listed on under the heading, “Database of 400 PR Firms.” This is the most frequently-accessed part of the O’Dwyer website,

Thirteen pages of rankings break out 13 types of specialties by categories ranging from agriculture and beauty/fashion to technology and travel/leisure and by 17 different geographic areas.

Essays on “How to Hire a PR Firm” are provided by Jack O’Dwyer, editor-in-chief, and Fraser Seitel, O’Dwyer columnist and author of “The Practice of Public Relations” (Prentice-Hall).

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


Omnicom has merged Ketchum with its Europe-oriented Pleon unit to create an entity with more than 2,000 staffers and 100 offices.

Ray Kotcher, Ketchum CEO, helms the new outfit that will carry the Ketchum moniker outside of Europe, where it will be called Ketchum Pleon.

Timo Sieg, who was CEO of Pleon, becomes chief of Europe based in Dusseldorf. Ketchum and Pleon bill the linkage of sister shops as “one of the largest mergers ever in the PR industry.” Full integration is expected by January.


Internet Edition, June 24, 2009, Page 2


The Treasury Dept. is moving in the right direction with its communications strategy for the TARP program but the PR effort to keep Congress, stakeholders and the public informed “may not be as effective as it could be,” according to a Government Accountability Office report.

The report notes that the Treasury Dept. has created a more streamlined website and developed a media relations position for TARP, in addition to including public affairs and legislative staff in regular meetings with its new Office of Financial Stability.

The GAO said, however, that until Treasury’s plans to keep regulators and the public fully apprised, many stakeholders may not receive information “in a consistent or timely manner.” The report noted that Treasury’s revamped website,, is a key component of its efforts to improve communication but the department hasn’t taken any steps to gauge if users are finding the information they seek.

The GAO report said that Treasury is in the process of expanding its public disclosure and efforts to keep Congressional stakeholders more up-to-date. The department has established a working group to address TARP-related communications internally and externally.

The GAO was following up on a March report and will continue to monitor TARP-related communications.

Officials from Treasury’s public affairs and legislative affairs office told the GAO that the Financial Stability Plan announced in February 2009 provided a base for the new administration launching its current communication strategy. As major changes occur, the public affairs unit now has a process in place to timely issue releases, hold media briefings and conduct outreach to academia and investors. It also has a staffer focused only on TARP issues.


Russia has established a government panel to work on its global image as the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Georgia looms.

The Wall Street Journal reports the image commission includes top government officials. It is chaired by Sergei Naryshkin, chief of staff to President Dmitry Medvedev. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sits on the panel.

The Kremlin believes it has “been unfairly characterized as bullying, neo-Soviet and expansionist when it is only asserting its national interests,” reports the WSJ.

Russia expects an image boost in the aftermath of hosting the first summit of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations on June 16.

The BRIC group seeks to showcase its economic clout, while reducing the overall dominance of the U.S. dollar in international trade/investment.

Russia, however, is the weak link among the BRICs as its economy is expected to contract five percent this year.

Omnicom’s Ketchum unit has been handling PR for the Russians since 2006.

The firm received $5.2M from the Russian Federation and another $2.9M from Gazprom, the state’s energy company, during the latest 12-month period ended Jan. 31.


GolinHarris is helping Matrixx Initiatives rebound from the Food and Drug warning that use of its Zicam nasal spray offerings may result in the permanent loss of smell. The federal watchdog recommends that consumers stop using the product immediately.

Matrixx “stands behind the science of its products and its belief there is no causal link between Zicam Cold Remedy intranasal gel products and anosmia,” according to a statement from CEO William Hemelt.

It hits the FDA action as “unwarranted” and plans to vigorously defend its scientific data “developed during more than 10 years of experience with the products, demonstrating their safety.”

Hemelt appears a bit miffed by the FDA move. “We are surprised that the FDA decided to take this action without notifying us first, given our cooperative relations with the FDA since we launched our first product in 1999.”

Had the opportunity existed for a “sit down with the FDA beforehand,” Hemelt is confident that Matrixx could have “clearly demonstrated the safety of our products,” according to the statement from GH, a unit of Interpublic.

Negin Kamali, a VP in GH’s Los Angeles office, works on the FDA matter for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Matrixx, along with staffer Kelly Simonsen.

The FDA actions are limited to Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs and Zicam Cold Remedy Gel, which are being voluntarily withdrawn from the market.

The company has established a hotline for consumers and urges them to visit for refund information.


Kekst & Co. is handling the Chapter 11 filing of Eddie Bauer Holdings, parent of the 89-year-old classic American brand.

EBH CEO Neil Fiske blames the double-whammy of “crushing debt burden” triggered by the `05 reorganization of Spiegel and prolonged recession for doing the company in.

He describes EBH as a “good company with a great brand and a bad balance sheet.”

EBH has arranged a Section 363 sale of its assets to private equity firm CCMP Capital for more than $200M. It plans to close the deal with 60 days unless another bidder emerges for the bulk of the company’s 370 stores, catalog and online sites.

The Seattle-based clothing company has received credit commitments from Bank of America, GE Capital and CIT Group.

K&C’s Wendi Kopsick and Diana Postemsky work the account.


Extended Stay Hotels, which has been battered by the drop in corporate travel, is using Sitrick & Co. to handle its Chapter 11 PR.

The Spartanburg, S.C.-based company, which was also burdened by debt connected to its acquisition by the Lightstone Group, remains in operation.

S&C’s Sandi Sternberg handles ESH.


Internet Edition, June 24, 2009, Page 3


Reader’s Digest said it is reducing its U.S. frequency from 12 to 10 issues a year and scaling back its rate base from 8 to 5.5 million over the next 18 months as part of an effort to “move to new platforms” and respond to consumers’ “changed media appetite.”

The 87-year-old magazine, which once had 17M readers in the U.S., said it will roll out this year a new suite of products under the name “Reader’s Digest Version,” a concept that means “getting to the point.”

“To people everywhere, the ‘Reader’s Digest Version’ is a concept that means getting to the point,” president Eva Dillon said in a statement. “We will now turn that concept into an explicit brand delivering essential content the way in which consumers expect from Reader's Digest.”

The title, owned by private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings, has moved in a more conservative direction by cutting back on news and entertainment coverage and focusing on more upbeat content. It entered a venture with evangelical pastor Rick Warren earlier this year.

RD also said last week that it has made U.S. editor-in-chief Peggy Northrop its new global EIC responsible for its 50 international editions and all digital content. After the rate base reduction, RD said its global circulation will be 14.5M, the largest of any magazine.

RD previously revamped its U.S. website in June 2008 and it will be further tweaked to incorporate the “Version” content.


News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch has sold the Weekly Standard to Denver oil man Phil Anschutz’s Clarity Media Group.

The 15-year-old publication, which has a circulation of more than 80K and was a must-read during Bush Administration II, is edited by Bill Kristol, formerly of the New York Times op-ed page for a year.

Kristol issued a statement thanking Murdoch, noting “his generous support and (if I may use the term) liberal disposition have made whatever we’ve accomplished possible.”

New ownership will “produce an even better magazine with a stronger web presence and even larger readership,” according to Kristol.

Murdoch launched the WS to have a conservative voice on the political scene. He more than achieved that goal with the acquisition of Dow Jones & Co. and its flagship Wall Street Journal.

Ryan McKibben, chief of CMG, called the WS “one of the most highly respected publications of public policy and political commentary in America.” He oversees the San Francisco Examiner, Washington Examiner and local websites in 90 cities.


News Corp. is slashing staff at its MySpace social networking site by 30 percent in an effort to return to a “start-up culture” atmosphere. About 400 people will lose their jobs.

Owen Van Natta, who heads MySpace, says the outfit is “bloated.” The cuts, he said in a release, are “painful for many, but necessary for the long-term health and culture of MySpace.” He aims to forge an “environment of innovation that is centered on our user and our product.”

MySpace “grew too big considering the realities of today’s marketplace,” added Jonathan Miller, head of News Corp’s digital media operations. He expects MySpace will operate more “effectively both structurally and financially moving forward.”

MySpace lost some bragging rights in May when Facebook inched ahead in terms of U.S. users by a 70.28M to 70.26M margin. More tellingly, the number of Facebook users more than doubled during the last year, while MySpace lost five percent of its people.

The New York Times reports that people are leaving MySpace because its performance is poor and its “brand is becoming synonymous with one of those perpetually declining Internet properties like AOL.”

Facebook has 307M users worldwide in April, according to ComScore, while MySpace has 126.9M. Twitter, which ranks No. 3, is on a tear. It had 17.6M users, up more than 2,700 percent from `08.


Craig Dubow, CEO of Gannett, is taking a temporary leave of absence following back surgery.

Gracia Martore, executive VP/CFO, steps into his shoes until Dubow is ready to get back to work.

Dubow is “confident that Gracia and our strong experienced management team will continue to execute our strategic play while I am recovering.”

People _______________________

Betsy Morgan, who took the helm at The Huffington Post nearly two years ago, has left Arianna Huffington’s social media site. Eric Hippeau, former CEO of Ziff-Davis and a managing partner at Softbank Capital, take the reins.

He is a board member of HuffPo and Softbank and is an investor in the site.
Morgan joined HuffPo from, where she was managing director.

The Wall Street Journal has named Patience Wheatcroft editor-in-chief of its European operations. She is based in London.

Robert Thomson, WSJ's managing editor, says Wheatcroft'’s “extensive experience in media and business will make the Journal a formidable presence in Europe.”

Wheatcroft was editor of the Sunday Telegraph and city editor of The Times of London. She reports to Thomson.

The Boston Globe has tapped Christopher Rowland as Washington bureau chief.

The 47-year-old had been the paper's political editor, covering the Massachusetts State House and Boston's City Hall. Prior to the Globe, Rowland reported for the Providence Journal. He replaces Peter Canellos, who has shifted to editorial page editor.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, June 24, 2009, Page 4


Time and Newsweek are switching from news coverage to analysis but are about “a decade late” in doing this, says Michael Hirschorn in the July/August Atlantic.

Both may suffer the fate of U.S. News & World Report, which went monthly, his article warns.

The Economist’s ad revenues climbed 25% last year while Newsweek’s dipped 27% and Time’s, 14%.

What The Economist does is “cleverly distill the world into a reasonable compact survey … the real value of The Economist lies in its smart analysis of everything it deems worth knowing.”

Hirschorn, an Atlantic contributing editor, is impressed that the magazine’s U.S. circulation is nearing 800,000 and that more than 75,000 copies are sold on newsstands at $6.99 “at a time when we’re told information wants to be free and newsstands are disappearing.”

Newsweek and Time, which are now modeling themselves after The Economist, are making “brave stabs at relevance in a changing media environment” but are also “a decade late,” writes Hirschorn.

The newsweeklies initially were “counterprogramming to newspapers, back when we were drowning in newsprint and needed a digest to redact that vast inflow of dead-tree objectivity,” he writes.

Newsweek's circulation, nearly 3.5 million in 1988, will be cut to about 1.5 million. Time, which was five million in 1988, is now 3.4 million.

The Economist rarely gets scoops but provides in-depth research to support its analyses, says Hirschorn, noting a recent 30-page article on fusion energy in Indonesia. The newsweeklies no longer have the staff to do such articles, he feels.

The magazine remains “primarily a print product” with little presence on the web, although both Time and Newsweek have large web audiences (4.7 million unique users a month and two million, respectively).


Euromoney Institutional Investor said it will start a new magazine and website in September covering U.S. and international hedge funds, called AR.

The publisher said it will contain similar content to its Alpha and Absolute Return publications, but will have new surveys, rankings and “high-powered web functionality.” Absolute Return is owned by EIV but published by HedgeFund Intelligence.

Padraic Fallon, editor-in-chief of Euromoney, noted the hedge fund sector is under intense scrutiny from Washington, regulators and investors and sees it as an “excellent time” to launch a hedge fund publication.

Michelle Celarier, editor of Absolute Return, will edit the new magazine. Institutional Investor's sales team will handle advertising.


Popular Science’s July cover featured a 3-D image that activates when the magazine is projected through a web cab.

The “augmented-reality” cover, which features a GE wind turbine in motion, was produced by ad agency OMD, with GE's (non-financial) support and technology from software company Metaio.

The cover can be printed at


Freedom Communications has named independent director Burl Osborne as its interim CEO to replace Scott Flanders, who has resigned for the CEO post at Playboy Enterprises.

Osborne has served on Freedom's board since May 2004. He was executive editor and then publisher of the Dallas Morning News from 1980 to 2001 and served as president of the publishing division at Belo Corporation, parent company of the Morning News. He was also chairman of the board of the Associated Press from 2002 to 2007 and chairman of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, as well as director of the Newspaper Association of America.

Flanders continues as Freedom's CEO through June and will work with Osborne on the transition.

Irvine, Calif.-based Freedom owns more than 30 daily newspapers and scores of other publications, as well as several network affiliate TV stations.


A Pennsylvania newspaper executive and private equity firm have acquired Blethen Maine Newspapers from the Seattle Times Company, a unit which includes the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and other properties.

Richard Connor, a Bangor native who purchased The Wilkes-Barre Publishing Company in Pennsylvania after serving as editor and publisher of its Times Leader paper from 1978-86, will serve as CEO of the new company formed – MaineToday Media – backed by PE firm HM Capital Partners. He continues as CEO of W-BPC, which is also owned by HM Capital.

Portland, Me.-based PR firm Savvy Inc. is working with MaineToday, while Kekst & Co. is speaking for HM Capital Partners.

The price was not disclosed. The Seattle Times Co. paid more than $210M for the Maine papers in 1998. A Times spokesperson said “it is unreasonable to compare newspaper values today with the 1990s.”

MTM said it has entered into new contracts with employee units to give them an ownership stake in the new entity. Tom Bell, president of the Portland Newspaper Guild, said workers’ ownership stake “will motivate workers and increase morale across the new company.”

MTM includes the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Pine Tree State’s largest paper, along with the Kennebec Journal (covering the capital, Augusta), Waterville Sentinel, Coastal Journal and The deal also includes four office buildings and two print facilities.

Brief _____________________________

Men’s Health magazine is marketing an iPhone application, “Men’s Health Workouts.” The $1.99 application includes workouts and exercises and users can also purchase additional groups of workouts.

Internet Edition, June 24, 2009, Page 5


Farmington Hills, Mich., PR firm Tanner Friedman has filed a defamation lawsuit to unmask a Twitter account that published tweets critical of the firm.

The suit was filed on May 27 against the anonymous Twitter user—John Doe—who set up an account with the username “tannerfriedman.” The suit, which is not against Twitter, gave the social networking service until June 12 to answer a subpoena handed down by U.S. District Court to identify the owner of the account.

Founding partner Don Tanner said the agency is waiting to hear back from its attorneys. He said the ordeal goes back several months and TF has had exchanges with Twitter, including one of its founders. “It seems to us it took Twitter several months to actually take the page down,” he said. “Whoever did this, according to Twitter's guidelines of behavior, they’ve lost their right to have that page and we'd like to have it.”

Tanner said the firm is not asking for money but wants to make sure that social media is held to standards" as traditional media has been throughout history.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa sued Twitter last month over an account created in his name that posted material he found offensive. Twitter is reportedly working on identity authentication features in the wake of that high-profile legal challenge.

Tanner said feedback to the agency on the lawsuit has been about 97 percent positive, with a few critics accusing TF of staging a publicity stunt or saying the agency should’ve created the page before someone else had the chance. “It’s an emerging medium and I see it as if I open a bank and haven’t yet put in the alarm system,” said Tanner. “If somebody robs me, it’s still a robbery.”


Travel Alberta, the tourism marketing entity for that Canadian Rocky Mountain province, is reviewing its in-country PR accounts for North America, the U.K., Australia, The Netherlands, Mexico and China.

Ruder Finn handles U.S. PR for the province and won its last review in 2006.

In the U.S., the province’s primary focus is California, as well as media markets east of the Mississippi. An RFP for the U.S. has drawn the interest of several firms, including Edelman, Fleishman-Hillard, Latitude PR, MWW Group and The Zimmerman Agency.

The work includes press releases, story ideas, media relations, and other PR activities.

Proposals for the U.S. are due by June 24.


Vice presidents from entertainment PR powerhouses BWR PR and PMK/HBH are setting up their own shop with four other colleagues.

Lee Ginsberg, VP at PMK, and Chris Libby, VP in BWR’s film division, head the new shop – Ginsberg and Libby – based in Los Angeles.

Both have handled myriad film PR campaigns with Ginsberg guiding Oscar nominees “La Vie en Rose” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Libby has worked on “The Reader,” “In Bruges” and “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” of late.


New York Area

DKC, New York/The Carlton Hotel, Manhattan hotel which just underwent a $60M renovation, for PR. The architect, David Rockwell, is also a client of DKC.

Goodman Media, New York/Museum at Bethel Woods, Upstate New York performing arts center, for media outreach for the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.

Hill & Knowlton, New York/Tata Communications, outsourcing, IP and other communication services, for global PR excluding India.

Middleberg Communications, New York/SendTec, customer acquisition ad agency, for Chapter 11 communications.


Pan Communications, Andover, Md./Pegasystems, business process management software, as AOR for North American PR. Pan is focusing on business press, high-level IT and vertical media, as well as social media and thought leadership.

Quinn Gillespie & Associates, Washington, D.C./
SatCon, venture-backed start-up focused on power conversion and system design for renewable energy plants, for government relations headed by Patrick Von Bargen, former chief of staff to Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).

Dodge Communications, Atlanta/Greatwater Software, IT solutions provider, for media visibility and social media, and Halfpenny Technologies, health information exchange, for media relations, PR writing, speaking engagements and message dev.


Dix & Eaton, Cleveland/CPI Corp., portrait photography chain mainly out of Sears and Wal-Mart stores, for investor relations, and MAPCO Express, convenience store unit of DELEK US Holdings, for PR and media relations.

Kohnstamm Communications, St. Paul, Minn./Lavera Naturkosmetik of Germany, as U.S. AOR for PR. The organic personal care company is launching its first U.S. push this summer through Target and CVS stores.


Blue Heron Communications, Norman, Okla./Thompson/Center Arms Company, part of Smith & Wesson, for outdoor media relations and marketing communications. BH serves as day-to-day point of contact for all media inquiries for the company, which produces firearms for the sporting market.


The Bateman Group, San Francisco/Kapow Technologies, Palo Alto-based web data applications, and Solace Systems, Canada-based content networking and messaging middleware equipment, as AOR for PR and social media marketing.


WPP, New York/LG, for global PR via WPP firms Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton and Ogilvy PR under a entity called LG-One led by Ogilvy’s Luca Penati. Billings are in the low seven-figure range.

Internet Edition, June 24, 2009, Page 6


The U.K.’s Newspaper Licensing Agency is implementing a system to charge businesses, including PR pros, for forwarding and linking to web content from newspapers starting in January.

The group has alerted the Chartered Institute of PR, the U.K.’s top PR group, of its plans to rein in aggregator sites and media clipping businesses with the creation of license charges.

Starting next January, PR pros would have to pay license fees to send and forward hyperlinks to newspaper content as part of their work, as well.

“While we can understand the NLA’s proposal to charge fees to specialist online cuttings agencies in order to level the field with traditional print cuttings, we oppose any levying of individual fees on our members for, effectively, forwarding potential customers to a newspaper website,” said CIPR director general Colin Farrington in a statement to O’Dwyer’s.

Farrington said CIPR succeeded through meetings with NLA in getting changes made, including a delay of its introduction until January. He added CIPR remains “fundamentally opposed to the charges” but will continnue in talks with the group.

“It is noticeable however that the NLA is not including Google in its charging plans,” he said. “Could it be that it fears Google might have very deep litigation pockets?”

The NLA was set up by U.K. papers in 1996 to oversee collection of copyright fees for print and digital copying of content. The group, which now represents 1,400 publications, says its new license fees are an effort to apply its efforts for print content to the web.

The group is also investing £2 million in a media monitoring/content database of all newspaper content called eClips that it will license to media monitoring companies.

Managing director David Pugh told the U.K.’s Press Gazette that the license applies to organizations circulating hyperlinks to articles as part of a business model and there is no attempt to regulate the use of hyperlinks that is not part of a “chargeable” service, like private individuals or as the results of queries by Internet search engines like Google News.


Patricia Paul, principal of ButtonWood Associates, was elected president of the Chicago Chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute, her third year on the organization’s board.

“Now more than ever, the role of investor relations in the local and national economy is critically important, Paul said in a statement.

Maryellen Thielen, senior manager of financial communications at Allstate, was elected executive VP.

Appointed as VPs were Elizabeth Higashi (programs), principal at Sard Verbinnen & Co.; William Pfund (treasurer), VP of IR at WMS Industries; Steven Eschback (membership), VP of IR at Integrys Energy Group, and Jeffrey Goldsmith (communications), regional VP at Curran & Connors.



NBC Universal has moved its executive VP of communications into a newly created position overseeing intellectual property protection and the media company’s efforts to strengthen and build support against piracy.

Cory Shields, who has headed communications for the company since 2006, is charged with building alliances with other “IP-intensive” businesses, labor unions and other groups with a stake in preserving and protecting IP rights.

“The lifeblood of a media company is its intellectual property, which is why I’ve asked Cory to take on this crucial challenge,” said president and CEO Jeff Zucker in a statement. Zucker said it “makes sense” to have a high-level communications exec in the role.

Shields came to the company from another sector hit hard by copy protection and IP issues – the music industry. He was senior VP of corporate communications at SONY BMG Music Entertainment after serving as chief communications officer at J. Walter Thompson.

At NBCU, he reports to EVP and general counsel Rick Cotton.

Cotton said Shields’ PR background will help the company “shape government policies, industry actions, and public opinion” to strengthen IP protection.


Kaitlyn Sweeney, who directed PR and social media work at Success Communications Group, to The Marcus Group, Little Falls, N.J., as an A/E.

Sharon Grosser, former manager of community affairs at Grumman Aerospace Corp. in a 30-year career there, to Madison National Bancorp, Hauppauge, N.Y., as director of external affairs.

Kelsey Tyree, media relations rep for the City of Sn Diego Fire-Rescue’s Lifeguard Division, to J PR, San Diego, as a publicist. She is a former intern of the firm.


Esty Pujadas to partner and director, global technology practice, and associate director, New York, at Ketchum. Mike Doyle and Nick Ragone were also promoted to associate directors in N.Y.

Jared Adams to practice director of government relations at Merritt Group, Reston, Va. He has been with the firm since 2007 and MG said he oversaw a 52 percent rise in the GA practice last year. Michelle Schafer was upped to director of its security practice group. She has been with Merritt for five-plus years.

Chris Shigas to VP of digital and social media, French/West/Vaughan, Raleigh, N.C. The four-year veteran of the firm has counseled Coca-Cola, Canada Post and WaterPartners Int’l, among others.


Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner of Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Grand Rapids, Mich., was named to Michigan State University’s College of Communications Arts & Science Board of Directors.
He has a B.A. in advertising and comms. from MSU and is active in its alumni and Varsity “S” Club.


Internet Edition, June 24, 2009, Page 7


The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which is playing a key role in the banking crisis, spent $7.6M through January on its 75th anniversary PR push and a public service campaign with Weber Shandwick and Porter Novelli.

The figures were provided to this newsletter from Kenneth Thomas, lecturer in finance at The Wharton School, who filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the data.

Both PR firms are still under contract with the FDIC. The anniversary campaign wraps up at the end of this month but PN will continue working with the federal agency on an extension.

The FDIC began work on the campaign in March 2008 and it launched on June 16 of that year, the anniversary of the agency’s creation by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The advertising and PR effort included events across the country as part of a “Face Your Finances Roadshow” to educate the public about deposit insurance and “instill confidence in the stability of the insured banking system,” according to FDIC documents provided by Thomas.

The PR tab as of January was at $1.2M and about $4.5M went to paid media and creative work. The PSA effort rang in at more than $1.9M.

Porter Novelli has received an extension to support the FDIC’s “EDIE the Estimator,” an online deposit insurance calculator that has been revamped.

WS was paid about $5.7M, while PN billed just under $2M. Both figures exclude payments to subcontractors, which were not listed in the FDIC documents.


Cognito is handling the re-launch of Bernie Madoff’s market-making business unit as Surge Trading, a venture led by former TD Waterhouse executives.

Dan Simon, managing director of Cognito’s U.S. operations, and former Citigate VP Loretta Mock are handling the account.

Surge has been renamed from Castor Pollux Securities and launched on June 18 to execute trades and provide other services for broker-dealers. Press materials note its roots under Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, where it gets its proprietary trading platform acquired in an asset sale on June 17. Former sales traders and client services specialists of BLMIS have also been hired by Surge.

Frank Petrill, former CEO of TD Waterhouse, has been hired to head the venture. Former Fidelity Brokerage Services president Robert Mazzarella is non-executive chairman.

Surge, which is based in Madoff’s former business home – The Lipstick Building on Third Avenue in Manhattan — has locked up venture financing from Fairhaven Capital Partners.


Praco, one of Colorado’s largest integrated agencies, has changed its name to Vladimir Jones to signify a new philosophy of business that “represents a fusion of discipline and soul, of precision and emotion.”

Meredith Vaughan, president, said the name and philosophy change have helped the agency to “forge unprecedented conversations with clients…it’s almost like someone new — and terribly interesting and insightful — has entered the conversation.”

She said clients are bringing the firm to the table more frequently and asking the firm to consult in new areas.

“We’ve engaged with prospective clients in an entirely different way, successfully getting and staying on their radar.”

Founded in 1970, the firm has 14 PR staffers among total staff of 70 and does more than $2 million in PR fees.

It has clients in travel and resorts, healthcare, real estate, transportation, government infrastructure and consumer products.

“Is Vladimir Jones a real person?” asks Vaughan, who answers her own question as follows: “The answer is yes. Vladimir Jones is the very real person inside everybody who struggles with the great dualities of our business.

“Is it an art or commerce? Do we use the right brain or left? Research or gut? Vladimir Jones is our way of saying we choose both. He represents the fusion of discipline and soul, of precision and emotion.”

June is the first anniversary of the name change.

“Meanwhile, existing employees have taken ownership of the company’s new direction, and have risen to the challenges posed by the agency’s new brand attributes: “smart, eclectic, focused, curious, fearless and soulful.”

The firm, she said, went through an audit of where it had been and where it wanted to be. “At no point can you sit back and take for granted your positioning in the marketplace. We challenge our clients to combat complacency, so this is us practicing what we preach. Though it was a big job, we’d do it all over again. Ask us in another 40 years.”


SOAR Communications has won PR duties for the Ogden Weber (Utah) Convention & Visitors Bureau following an RFP process.

Competing firms were not released. The bureau has previously worked with Florida tourism PR firm Geiger & Associates and Salt Lake City-based Intrepid Group.

The Draper, Utah-based firm specializes in outdoor sports and recreation clients (SOAR stands for sports, outdoor, athletics and recreation), a background which attracted the CVB. Sara Toliver, president and CEO of the bureau, said the firm’s experience “is a perfect fit with our growing reputation as an outdoor recreation mecca.”

Men’s Journal in May named Ogden among its “Best Neighborhoods in the West,” noting it is “in the midst of a comeback” with galleries, restaurants, outdoor sports and a commuter rail link to Salt Lake City.

The rebound started when the city hosted events for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

SOAR is an affiliate of tech PR firm Politis Communications.


Internet Edition, June 24, 2009, Page 8




The Economist, almost alone among magazines, is thriving (ads up 25% in 2008) while Time and Newsweek are floundering, losing ads and trying to copy The Economist’s formula of thorough research and sharp analysis, says the July/August Atlantic.

We’re heartened to see that even in the Age of Twitter there’s a substantial audience out there for those who want facts and analysis high and hard.

Sophisticated readers want stories put in historical context. They want analysis and well-buttressed explanations.

Time and Newsweek, in a fight for their lives, are now copying The Economist’s approach, says the Atlantic.

They’ve switched from being “newsweeklies” to “analysisweeklies.” Lengthy articles, laden with historical background, help readers to “get a grip” on a subject. Time/Newsweek know that readers are now getting spot “news” almost minute-by-minute on the web or via hand-held devices.

The PR industry, parts of which are obsessed with Twitter and other social media, also serve specialized media like The Economist that have sophisticated audiences.

“General interest is out; niche is in,” says the Atlantic. We agree.

This tracks with what we see in PR. PR firms are thriving that reach specialized audiences and media in healthcare, technology, financial, food/beverages, travel, beauty/fashion, celebrities, etc.

PR pros in these areas have to be experts in order to deal with experts in the media and those who write for the media. Knowledge of subject matter, not “strategy,” is key.

Economist editors have a strong sense of what is right and wrong, of how politics gets in the way of rightful actions. The magazine is an “arbiter of right-thinking opinion…its main articles urge politicians to solve complex problems,” says the Atlantic.

We take the same tack with the PR Society, which is about to pick new members for its board.

Fundamentalist APRs, not unlike the mullahs who have lots of sway in the MidEast, have ruled the Society since the 1970s.

They remind us of the regimes of Fidel Castro, in power in Cuba since the 1950s, and Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since the 1960s. Both leaders, to remain in power, have done great economic damage to their countries.

Just as hard to dislodge are the APRs, who while claiming the loftiest of ethics, have wrecked the ethical underpinnings of the Society including abandoning the enforceable ethics code in 2000.

APR, geographic, PR professor and staff politics riddle PRS while what is good for members takes a back seat.

Were it not so intent on minimizing the power of New York, the annual conference would be in the city every second or third year since that location loses the least amount of money. For one thing, it saves the expense of transporting 35 staffers to a distant city for five or more days.

Were it not so intent on minimizing the power of New York, there would be about a dozen veteran members working at h.q. If the PR professors were not so powerful in PRS, students from any of the 4,000 colleges could join PRS directly, raising lots of funds. The profs in the 300 colleges “recognized” by PRS only want their students to be able to put “Member, PRS,” on their resumes since competition for jobs is already hot enough.

Direct student membership has been blocked from even coming to the floor of the Assembly since 2001. Similarly blocked is any proposal removing APR from the bylaws. Politics triumphs, members lose.

There’s no doubt about the doctrinaire, rigid, anti-modern, anti-media and anti-communications beliefs of the APR mullahs.

PRS leaders have no insight into how similar their policies are to dictatorships which regularly frustrate, imprison and murder journalists.

One would expect PRS to show some interest in the plight of fellow communicators including the two American female journalists who have been sentenced to 12 years at hard labor by North Korea.

Last year, at our suggestion, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters without Borders, International News Safety Institute and International Women’s Media Foundation were asked to solicit PRS leaders for contributions. PRS is not listed as a donor on their websites.

The Society didn’t even have the courtesy to reply to any of them much less contribute a nickel. Had there been any real interest in obtaining member comments on the dozen or so new bylaw proposals, especially major ones such as removing the power of the Assembly to elect board and officers, PRS staff and leaders would have put them one at a time on the first page of the website and allowed a debating free-for-all.

Instead, Dave Rickey’s bylaws committee dumped all of them at once in the new PRSAY portion of the website and in a special governance section open to members only.

What happened? Almost no comments whatever. The minutes of the April 17-18 board meeting in Washington, D.C., have this telling comment: “PRS Bylaws Rewrite: Mr. Rickey reported on the status of the Bylaws Rewrite project. At this time the conversation has been light.” Duh.

Staff is at odds with members and leaders on ethics. While the bylaws tout ethics as the supreme duty of members, zero staff time has been spent on ethics in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Total spending on ethics was $2,317 in 2008 (two-thousandth of one per cent of total spending of $11.4M ).

PRS spending on lawyers, outside CPAs, and consultants such as Tecker is well over $100K but not a nickel is spent on outside PR counsel which is what the mullahs need. PRS leaders have found that there are plenty of lawyers, CPAs, assn. people, management consultants and even PR pros who will sing their tune when money is waved in front of them. It’s possible no major PR firm would take this account since the politics are simply too fierce.

APR fanatics have, in effect, made it into a religion. They rhapsodize about it endlessly. Currently they are saying that APR is the equivalent of “more than 20 years of PR experience with increasing levels of responsibility.” If you’re not APR, that’s what you have to prove to get on the national board. The “new” APR test (multiple choice, computer administered) is six years old as of June 30 and the results are dismal. Almost no one takes it either within PRS or outside of it (eight other groups are supposedly members of the “Universal Accreditation Board” but only two of them are more than nominal participants).

As of the end of March 2009, 821 PR people in all nine groups had become APR. Based on past second quarters, we would estimate 60 more will be APR in Q2 for a grand total of 880 in six years.

That works out to an average of 146 yearly. Since PRS members account for 80% of those passing the test, that works out to 656 PRS APRs or about 110 yearly. At least 18,000 of PRS’s members are non-APR so less than 2% of them pass this test yearly (pass rate is about 70%).

--Jack O'Dwyer


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