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Internet Edition, July 1, 2009, Page 1

Happy Fourth of July to all our readers. The next issue will be July 15. Follow breaking news on


California has issued an RFP for a PR campaign to tout its low-cost auto insurance program intended to reduce uninsured drivers in the vehicle-centric state.

The 10-year-old program provides insurance to low-income drivers in good standing and was expanded over the last decade from Los Angeles and San Francisco Counties to encompass the entire state.

The state plans to award a year-long contract with three possible option years and wants to hear from PR and advertising agencies with plans to reach low-income and economically eligible consumers, particularly uninsured drivers and seniors.

Maximum budget is $1.2M, which includes the costs of any ad buys and expenses. Firms are required to have a Golden State office and five years of PR experience, including at least three examples of running a statewide public awareness campaign.

Proposals are due by July 28. Lori Nelson ([email protected]) is point of contact.


Qorvis Communications is doing media relations, strategic PR and Internet consulting for the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq.

The firm is charged with educating and informing the U.S. media about the restive energy rich section of Iraq, which is locked in a dispute with Baghdad over control of oil fields. Qorvis’ job also includes changing travel advisories of the State Dept. when KRG deems them inaccurate.

KRG lauded State’s June 17 update that noted the Kurdish region is “more stable than the rest of Iraq, experiencing fewer terrorist attacks and lower levels of insurgent violence.”

Cassidy Assocs. and BGR Group have represented KRG. BGR had a three-year contract worth $700K annually that expired Jan. 31.


Crisis PR pro Larry Kamer has joined politically savvy Glover Park Group in Washington as managing director and PA chief.

He had been at Fleishman-Hillard as west region director and co-chair of its corporate communications group. Earlier, Kamer was president/North America at MSL Worldwide and founder with Sam Singer of Kamer-Singer, the high-tech outfit. GCI Group acquired K-S in `99.

Nike, Home Depot, Reebok, Harvard University and General Motors have been advised by Kamer.


Charlotte Otto, global external relations officer at Procter & Gamble, will step down this month into a scaled back role as the consumer products giant transitions to a new CEO.

Otto, 55, plans to retire in February 2010.

She recently chaired the meeting of top PR executives known as PR Seminar at Laguna Nigel in California and has been with P&G for 33 years, the last 13 heading external relations.

Nine-year CEO A.G. Lafley stepped down last month from the company and will serve as chairman.

Otto will serve on “special assignment” reporting to Lafley, supporting his board role as well as his chair role of the 2009 Cincinnati community United Way campaign.

Christopher Hassall, also 55, has been named to replace Otto. He is currently VP of corporate communications and reputation, and head of North American external relations.

Hassall will serve two bosses – Robert McDonald, P&G’s new president and CEO, and Marc Pitchard, global brand building officer.

Hassall has worked for P&G across the world and headed its cause relief program following the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China.

P&G’s brands range from Crest toothpaste to Duracel batteries. 2008 revenue topped $83 billion.


Arthur W. Page Society president Maril MacDonald and 62 other Page members attended the 2009 PR Seminar May 20-23 at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Calif. Attendance was a record low 127 PR executives, down from 162 at the 2008 Seminar at Four Seasons Troon, Scottsdale, Ariz.

A record class of 46 “freshman” was inducted, indicating high turnover in a group that at one time only admitted a half dozen new members a year. Seminar, faced with low attendance, opened the door wide to new members.

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, July 1, 2009, Page 2


The American Chemistry Council, the trade group for the chemical industry, has tapped a new partnership of firms – Racepoint Group, Digital Influence Group and Squier Knapp Dunn – to guide its communications efforts with a new emphasis on social media as part of a multimillion-dollar PR account.

Racepoint and DIG are part of Larry Weber's W2 Group. The account is in the $8M-$12M range and the W2 firms will get a significant portion of the budget, according to Jackie Lustig, senior VP at Racepoint.

The new agencies -- hired in May as a partnership known as W2SKD -- are part of a shift for the trade association away from its current advertising and PR push -- a $20M a year effort known as essential2 handled by Ogilvy PR and Ogilvy & Mather-- toward newer forms of communications.

“We’re going to be de-emphasizing the essential2 ads you see on television and billboards and will focus more on advocacy and social media,” Randy Dearth, who chairs the ACC’s communications committee, told the chemical industry trade journal ICIS, which first reported the hiring of the three firms. “You’re not going to see our message on CNN or CNBC, but Facebook and Twitter, for instance.”

SKD is the Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm that played a key role in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Racepoint and Digital Influence Group are based in Waltham, Mass.

The ACC has been working to engage more in the digital realm, especially after it was outmaneuvered in a crackdown on the compound bisphenol A in a handful of U.S. cities in the past year.

The trade group hosted its second annual blog summit last month and has embraced outlets like Twitter and Facebook of late.

The hiring of SKD also has an eye on Obama administration efforts to re-enforce the Superfund tax as the 33-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act is headed for a revamp.


Mexico will pay APCO Worldwide $1.4M under terms of its one-year contract that officially went into effect April 1.

Washington’s biggest independent firm has assigned 15 staffers to work the Mexico Tourism Board business.

Senior VP Charles Krause is project manager of the team that includes former Congressman Don Bonker, APCO Insight president Mark Benson, APCO online director Evan Kraus, and New York managing director Nelson Fernandez.

The pact calls for focus groups, phone surveys of the general public and interviews with “political elites” about their perception of Mexico. Other components are outreach to journalists and “rapid response media relations.”

APCO staffers meet weekly or as often as required with Mexico’s Ambassador or his designees.

They also coordinate communications made on Mexico’s behalf by other ad agencies or PR firms.

APCO bills monthly and assesses an 18 percent late charge on invoices outstanding for more than 30 days.


Ketchum is the lead PR firm on a multi-agency, global campaign kicked off June 23 by the United Nations in support of its climate change conference in Copenhagen in December.

The campaign, dubbed “Hopenhagen,” was launched at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in France June 23 with the backing of the International Advertising Association, Ketchum (PR), Ogilvy & Mather (creative), and Colle+McVoy (digital strategy).

The campaign will complement the U.N.’s “Seal the Deal!” campaign in support of a global treaty and is modeled as an “open source campaign” which will include content from users generated online and off.

A consumer launch is slated for September but ads started to run last week in Cannes, JFK Airport in New York, Los Angeles International Airport and London Heathrow.


Atlantic City, which has seen casino revenue and hotel occupancy plummet in the economic downturn, has released an RFP for media relations help.

The A.C. Convention & Visitors Authority, the non-profit agency that promotes the New Jersey seaside resort, is seeking proposals for media relations support through July 9.

Lou Hammond & Associates has handled the account for the past two years and will pitch to defend it. Weber Shandwick was its previous firm.

The account is worth about $150K a year.

Even though the tourism entity feels Atlantic City has fared better than other destinations in the current economic climate, the RFP notes that 2008 proved to be one of the most challenging years in recent memory for the city, a reality which intensified in early 2009. Hotel occupancy fell from 92% in 2007 to less than 87% last year. Casino revenue plunged 15 percent in May to its lowest levels since the 1990s.

The RFP can be downloaded at Firms must register to do business in New Jersey to be eligible to bid.


Stanton Public Relations & Marketing represented Bain Capital in the bidding war to invest in Gome Electrical Holdings, the big Chinese retailer.

BC edged private equity rivals Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Warburg Pincus, reported the June 23 Wall Street Journal. Brunswick Group reps Gome.

Bain is to inject about $420M into Gome, which translates into a stake of up to 24 percent based on conversion of bonds and shareholder response to the offer.

The investment adds some stability to Gome, which suffered the November arrest of its CEO and biggest investor, Huang Guangyu, by Chinese officials for alleged “economic crimes.”

WSJ says the Bain connection adds “capital and credibility to Gome, hoping to capture returns” if the retailer can reverse its revenue and profit slides.

SPR&M is the former Stanton Crenshaw Communications.


Internet Edition, July 1, 2009, Page 3


Journalism Online, the venture that plans to get online newspaper readers to pay for content, expects 10 percent of viewers will do so, according to the Associated Press.

The AP says the projection is optimistic since industry analysts predict only two percent of readers will pony up.

JO wants to serve as a clearinghouse that offers paid access to readers of a broad array of papers. It will split revenues with publishers.

The online venture could help print editions as many people will go back to buying papers if that content is not available free of charge on the web, according to the AP.

JO was founded by Steve Brill, who launched Court TV and American Lawyer, Gordon Crovitz, ex-publisher of the Wall Street Journal, and Leo Hindrey, a cable TV veteran.


Jeff Weiner, once in the running to succeed Jerry Yang as chief of Yahoo, is now CEO of LinkedIn, the professional social marketing site.

He exited Yahoo last year after it became embroiled in a takeover fight with Carl Icahn.

Weiner joined LinkedIn in January as interim president. Co-founder Reid Hoffman will take the executive chairman post.

LinkedIn has 42M members.


Viacom’s MTV Networks is dropping 75 people from the payroll to deal with the harsh economic environment.

The cutback represents less than one percent of its total workforce, according to an MTV spokesperson.

The retreat comes after news that programming chief Brian Graden is leaving the company at the end of the year.

He is president of MTV Networks Music Group and chief of Logo, which is aimed at gay people.

NYT CO. SYNDICATES BREAKINGVIEWS.COM is going to be offered to members of the New York Times Syndicate.

The financial/business commentary already graces the pages of the New York Times and its International Herald Tribune property.

Cristian Edwards, president of NYT News Services, lauded Breakingviews for providing “quick but very deep insight into the world of business and finance.”

Breakingviews sells its material to investment banks, hedge funds, corporations, sovereign wealth funds, law firms and PR shops.


The leftist Nation magazine has New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson on its July 6 cover in a feature that lauds the 53-year-old as "the most important financial journalist of her generation."

Dean Starkman, who penned the profile, hails Morgenson as being at the “height of her career, read and feared in the corridors of power running from Wall Street to Washington.”

Her byline has appeared on must-reads concerning American International Group, Goldman Sachs, Countrywide Financial, Merrill Lynch and Washington Mutual.

Morgenson “breaks business-press taboos constantly. Her prose is blunt; some say even crude,” according to the piece.

Starkman writes it's impossible for business reporters and editors not to have an opinion of Morgenson. “Some cheer her tell-it-like-it-is style; detractors call her simplistic and agency-driven. In certain Wall Street and business circles, she is flatly detested.”

Aaron Elstein, a Wall Street reporter for Crain’s New York, is quoted as saying Morgenson “rules. She grasped that the game was rigged way before it was fashionable to do so.”

Jim McCarthy of PR firm CounterPoint Strategies told Starkman that the consensus view of the Times reporter is “pure contempt.”

Said McCarthy: “Her work has a sort of drive-by, potshot quality to it that leads to habitual mistakes and ideological laziness. She is reflexively opposed to free markets and assumes bad faith in almost every subject or person she examines.”

Morgenson describes herself as a moderate Republican who believes in capitalism. She tried to talk Starkman out of the profile, saying other journalists were more important in covering the mortgage mess. She also feared the “attention might impair her effectiveness.”

Starkman reveals that Morgenson opposed NYT executive editor Bill Keller’s decision to hire the Wall Street Journal’s Larry Ingrassia as business editor.

Ingrassia says he has “quite a good working relationship now” with Morgenson. In turn, Morgenson says Ingrassia “has been extremely supportive of my work this year.”


Michael Dukmejian, executive VP at SourceMedia and a 26-year veteran of Time Inc., has moved to Bloomberg Markets magazine, as publisher of the monthly.

He oversaw SourceMedia’s professional services divison and held several roles at Time in sales, marketing and publishing, culminating as group publisher for Fortune and Money Group, as well as

The Washington Post has unveiled a local news site focused on D.C.-area swim leagues called The site includes Post reporting, a wiki platform, and a public forum.

Sports reporter Amy Shipley heads the site, which includes up-to-date coverage and analysis of local swimming, sortable and searchable results from across the D.C. metro area, and customizable team pages that are open, unmoderated, wikis.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, July 1, 2009, Page 4


The rise of the Internet has fostered the growth of transparency and openness, Howard Brodwin, managing director, Team Marketing Systems, told a recent Entertainment Publicists Professional Society media workshop in Los Angeles.

Publicists must be as upfront as possible, and avoid "spin" at all costs, he said. If bad information goes viral, it will surely come back to bite you, Brodwin warned the 75 publicists at the International Cinematographers Union Local 600 auditorium in Hollywood.

Seth Burton, assistant director of communications for the Los Angeles Clippers, says the team considers its website its primary news source. “There’s just not enough space in newspapers,” he said. The Los Angeles Times sports section is little more than a pamphlet these days, he added.

The Clippers also struggle to get a fair share of ink from their National Basketball Association rival and world champion, Los Angeles Lakers.

When there is Clipper news, Burton is sure to post it along with video and audio interviews of key players.

Twitter is another favorite option, though Burton has had to deal with fake accounts, such as one posing as a player and demanding a trade. “We also use Facebook to drive traffic to our website,” he said.

“We offer a lot of tickets and programs through the new media platforms to give fans a sense of ownership that drives them there,” said Burton, who handled media relations for the Washington Redskins and Galaxy soccer team before signing with the Clippers.

“The Internet is a chief way to get the word out,” said Janette Baxa, director of publicity, Nederlandar Concerts, which employs Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
Baxa keeps close contact with Perez Hilton, and and said she knows a lot of targeted writers and editors are also working the 'Net "so I have established relationships with them online to get word out about my shows." To Baxa, the great thing about pitching online: they can turn it around right away and post it.

Madelyn Hammond of Madelyn Hammond & Associates said it’s hard to keep up with the fast-paced 'Net. “Everybody is writing a blog,” she said. “The blogs that I come in contact with are based on excellent research and feature strong writing.

“I’ll send a comment and it just keeps going. It’s viral marketing, but it is still like the pebble in the stream. You start something and then someone else tells somebody else and the circles keep getting bigger and bigger. And what you hope is that it will inspire someone to actually go out and purchase a book or product.”

Brodwin added: “Depending upon the target audience, it is better to have five really good blogs or websites then to blast 500 sites.”

Contact info: Janette Baxa, [email protected]; Howard Brodwin, [email protected]; Seth Burton, sburton@ and [email protected] and Madelyn Hammond, [email protected].


Nokia Siemens Networks is refuting a Wall Street Journal article that claims the company’s technology has helped the Iranian government spy on and censor Internet activity in the simmering country.

Ben Roome, head of media relations for Nokia Siemens Networks in London, said in a statement that the company has in the past provided lawful intercept capability for monitoring local voice calls in Iran – a legal requirement for telecoms. providers also in the U.S. and European Union – and denied it has provided web censorship or filtering capabilities.

That response came as consumers mobilized online to boycott and criticize NSN products and services in the wake of the Journal report.

The Journal cited experts in and outside of Iran claiming the Iranian government is using a technique known as deep packet inspection which allows authorities to block, monitor and gather information about individuals. The paper said the capability was provided “at least in part” by Nokia Siemens Networks, which is a venture between Nokia Corp and Siemens AG.

Roome specifically said in the statement on June 22 that NSN has not provided deep packet inspection capability to Iran, although the Journal article quotes him as confirming just that.

“The restricted functionality monitoring center provided by Nokia Siemens Networks in Iran cannot provide data monitoring, internet monitoring, deep packet inspection, international call monitoring or speech recognition,” said Roome. “Therefore, contrary to speculation in the media, the technology supplied by Nokia Siemens Networks cannot be used for the monitoring or censorship of internet traffic.”

The statement, which attracted dozens of comments online, added that NSN sold its intelligence solutions business in late March.

The Journal has stood by the story.


Australian agency CumminsNitro won the PR Lions Grand Prix in Cannes last week, receiving accolades for its “Best Job in the World” campaign for Tourism Queensland.

The online and offline effort was aimed to highlight the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef and was said to garner $100M in global media coverage on a $1.2M budget.

The centerpiece was a caretaker job for the Islands which pays $110K a year.

More than 34,000 people applied for the job and finalists mounted their own PR efforts to win the contest, an effort which resulted in hordes of additional publicity.

Tim Bell, chairman of Chime Communications, chaired the jury and said the decision was unanimous.

This is the first year PR was honored at the fabled advertising awards in France.

U.S. firms to win included Ketchum (Haagen-Dazs), New York-based Taylor (Guinness), MS&L (P&G) and New York-based Droga5 (Jewish Council for Education and Research).

Internet Edition, July 1, 2009, Page 5


GolinHarris, Porter Novelli and Cohn & Wolfe has joined Wal-Mart’s PR roster as the discount chain works to retain shoppers won during the economic downturn.

Mike Duke, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. told shareholders at the June 5 annual meeting about the "new normal," which has brought a "fundamental shift in consumer attitudes and behavior." Consumers, he said, “want to save money and are getting smarter about saving money."

That mentality is supposed to work in Wal-Mart's favor.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based chain, according to Duke, has improved the “store experience” and reemphasized “price leadership” because customers are not going back to the old spendthrift days.

The shops are owned by conglomerates Interpublic, Omnicom and WPP respectively. They will be called to compete on retail assignments.

Edelman handles Wal-Mart’s public affairs duties.


Tanner Friedman, following a lawsuit filed in federal district court, has gained control of a Twitter account bearing its name after the anonymous user published malicious tweets about the Farmington Hills, Mich.-based firm's personnel and clients.

While the user of the account -- @tannerfriedman -- has not yet been determined, the account was found to have been accessed by a computer at rival firm, Marx Layne Communications.

Top executives of Tanner Friedman left Marx Layne 12 years ago to set up their own agency in a parting that was competitive. But despite that history, Marx Layne's managing partner said there is no excuse for any such tactic.

“We don’t condone these actions in any way," said Mike Layne. “It wasn't done with my knowledge or authority.” Layne told O’Dwyer’s that he is looking into the matter (the agency has 35 computers with open access to the Internet) and will take "appropriate" action.

“I think this is a rogue attempt by someone who had a bone to pick with Tanner Friedman,” he said. “Our official policy is not to comment on our competition.”

Don Tanner, founding partner at TF and a former partner at Marx Layne, said TF is talking to its attorneys and considering legal options to determine its course of action, if any is to be taken.

He said the content, scope and style made him suspect the account was controlled by a competitor.

“It’s disappointing that anyone would do this especially considering the big roles we’ve played in each others' careers," he said. “We’ve long moved on [from the agencies' history] but someone over there still has an ax to grind and a lot of time on their hands.”

Twitter turned over account information related to @tannerfriedman under subpoena on Monday.

The federal suit filed in late May was against “John Doe” and sought the person's identity as well as control of the account.

Now under TF's control, the Twitter account's first tweet reads: “Yes, it's really us.”



Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has rejected all bids for its six-figure PR account as result of the economic crisis.

David Magana, manager of public affairs for the seven-runway airport, told O’Dwyer’s that proposals from its March RFP were tossed out "based on new and upcoming economic reality."

Burson-Marsteller, which heads the account and received a $220K extension in March, will work through the end of June.

Magana said DFW plans to redraw the RFP and re-bid the contract for the fall.
Burson works with local sister firms Ware & Associates and ATS on the airport account.

Fifty-two firms competed in the last RFP in 2004, when B-M took over the account.

New York Area

Hanna Lee Communications, New York/Lowell International Foods, yogurt importer and producer, as AOR for PR, including media relations targeting trade and consumer press, website consulting and trade show support which started at the Fancy Food Show in N.Y. in June.

CKPR, New York/Direct General, auto insurer in Southeast U.S., for a campaign titled “We’ll Do Right By You” timed with the summer travel season, supported by PR and advertising.

DKC, New York/The Climate Group, global non-profit, for strategy and outreach for its Climate Week NYC, slated for Sept. 21-25. DKC previously worked with the group for two earlier events in Chicago and Midwestern states.


Greenough Communications, Boston/Quick Hit, developer and publisher of free online sports games, for PR targeting gamers, sports fans and sponsors as it releases its first game, Quick Hit Football, in Sept.

Duffy & Shanley, Providence, R.I./Magnivision, non-prescription reading glasses brand owned by FGX International, for consumer PR. D&S already works for sunglass brand Foster Grant, also owned by FGX.


Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Grand Rapids, Mich./The Inventure Group, snack food maker, for public and investor relations counsel.


Brooks & Associates, Howe, Tex./Microsoft Corp., for PR for its U.S.-based chemicals industry group. The firm has worked on Microsoft’s oil and gas and utilities industry business for seven years.


Bailey Gardiner, San Diego/NTN Buzztime, for national media relations and social media for its “25 Years of Trivia” competition, and Jer’s Handmade Chocolates, for national PR.


Renmark Financial Communications, Montreal/
Wescorp Energy, oil and gas operation services, for investor relations to bolster its internal team.

Internet Edition, July 1, 2009, Page 6


The YMCA of the USA is the most valuable non-profit “brand” in the country, according to an analysis by Cone. The Boston PR firm estimates the YMCA’s image at nearly $6.4 billion, ahead of The Salvation Army ($4.7B), United Way of America ($4.5B), the American Red Cross ($3.1B) and Goodwill Industries International ($2.5B).

Cone, which conducted the study based on five years of data with Intangible Business, also ranked the organizations on “brand image,” which was based on a national survey of familiarity and personal relevance, as well as media coverage and percentage of revenue from public support.

Based on that analysis, the American Cancer Society topped the list, even though it was listed at No. 8 for brand value at $1.4B. The ACS was followed by The Salvation Army, United Way and Habitat for Humanity in the image ranking.

Cone said the discrepancies in image and value among some groups like The Humane Society, Special Olympics and Make-A-Wish Foundation of America could mean they are leaving millions of dollars in potential revenue on the table.

The PR firm said “surprise” non-profits on the list were Catholic Charities USA ($2.4B) and The Arc of the United States ($1.2B), both of which scored low among the image survey (53 and 96, respectively).

Cone also noted that non-profits without a clear mission in their titles had lower consumer perceptions rankings – National Cancer Coalition vs. City of Hope.

A complete listing of the 100 non-profits ranked is at


West Glen Communications, New York, has launched a new four-tiered service for satellite media tours targeting both TV and online publicity.

The service, called SMT 4.0, includes placement on TV station websites and exclusive placement on 11 news/talk radio station sites in top markets.

Ed Lamoureaux, senior VP at WestGlen, noted that TV news is “no longer confined to our TV set” in explaining the importance of placements on the websites of both TV and radio outlets.


Civolution, the company spun off from Royal Philips Electronics to run the Teletrax video monitoring platform, has inked Mexican broadcaster Televisa to verify its advertising content.

Televisa is working with Spanish systems integrator Tedial to incorporate the Teletrax verification system into Televisa ads.

Teletrax was developed by Philips and Medialink.

The Center for Communication Compliance, an education company that helps PR pros understand healthcare regulations, has aligned with CommCore Consulting Group to combine CCC’s regulatory training and CommCore’s speaker training and message development services.



Lippert/Heilshorn & Associates has hired Adam Handelsman to lead the PR practice of the New York-based investor relations firm.

Handelsman played a role in the building of Ronn Torossian’s 5W Public Relations, which ranked as the fastest growing firm in the O’Dwyer rankings for three straight years.

He joins L/H&A after a stint at Cohn & Wolfe, where he served as executive VP/national director of strategic media relations.


Jason Newberg, marketing communications manager, Fidelity Investments, to The Castle Group, Boston, as VP of PR. He was previously with the firm for two and a half years before joining Fidelity. He was previously with Intermarket Communications.

Chris Raymond, VP of government relations, National Council for Higher Education Loan Programs, to the National Restaurant Association, Washington, D.C., as VP of political affairs. David Koenig, tax policy director for the American Forest and Paper Assn., joins as director, tax and profitability, to handle public affairs in those areas. Caitlin Donahue, executive director of candidate advocacy, Business Industry Political Action Committee, joins as director of the association’s political action committee.

Julie Cram, deputy assistant to the president and director of public liaison, to DDC, Washington, D.C., as a senior VP. She was previously director of PA for Burson-Marsteller.

John Dunagan, co-founder of CrossLink Strategy Group, also joins DDC as a SVP. He was previously with Edelman and Powell Tate.

Jeremy Yohe, editor of land title publication The Title Report, to the American Land Title Association, Washington, D.C., as director of communications. The ALTA is a 10-year-old trade group of more than 3,000 title insurance companies, agents and others in the field.

Lyndsi Thomas, former news analyst at the Media Research Center and blogger for its site, to David All Group, Washington, D.C., as an A/E focused on Web 2.0 work and blogging for clients.

Brent Gilroy, former VP at Powell Tate and Burson-Marsteller, to Depth PR, Atlanta, Ga., as a D.C.-based consultant affiliated with the firm.


Lori Russo to managing director, Stanton Communications, Baltimore, Md. She joined the firm in 1999 and returns to Baltimore, where she started her career, from D.C.


Internet Edition, July 1, 2009, Page 7

PAGE HEAD AT PR SEMINAR (cont’d from page 1)

Tradition is that as long as members keep their jobs, they can continue to attend the meeting.

They may attend for one year after loss of job.

Registration was $3,350 per couple (almost all attendees bring a spouse or companion). Hotel, travel, meals and sports activities were extra.

Meetings of business people at expensive resorts have been under heavy fire since AIG executives met at such a resort last year after being awarded billions in federal aid.

PR counselor John Budd specifically criticized the PR Seminar meeting.

AIG is in line to receive up to $170 billion in bailout funds.

Peter Sussman, a member of the Ethics Committee of the Society of Professionals Journalism, speaking only for himself, found that the PR Seminar meeting, which always includes journalists from major media as speakers, violated more than 10 articles in the SPJ Ethics Code.

Alan Murray, executive editor, Wall Street Journal Online, addressed the 2009 Seminar.

No media except O’Dwyer publications has ever mentioned the existence of Seminar.

MacDonald was sent the criticisms by Sussman but has not commented on them.

AIG Exec Led Discussion on Meltdown

Nicholas Ashooh, SVP of communications, AIG, led a discussion of the “Global Financial Crisis” with Michael O’Neill, SVP of corporate affairs, American Express, which has received $3.4 billion in government aid.

Both Ashooh and O’Neill refused to supply any of the remarks they made.

PR executives who attended last year but not this year and whose companies have received bailout funds were David Palombi, SVP, corporate and marketing communication, Freddie Mac, which has received $44B in bailout money; Charles Greener, SVP, Fannie Mae ($15B); Joseph Evangelisti, head of media relations at JPMorgan Chase (which was sent $25B but says it is giving it back), and Debra DeCourcy, VP, director of corporate communications, Fifth Third Bancorp ($3.4B).

Attending 2009 Seminar were Donna Peterman of PNC Financial Services, which has received $7.6B in aid, and Toni Simonetti, GMAC, which has received $5B in aid.

Steve Harris, VP of global communications, General Motors, a member of the 30-member governing committee of Seminar, did not attend this year. A $33.3B loan has been approved for GM.

Twenty-one members of that committee are members of Page.

[O’Dwyer publications mostly refer to Page/PR Seminar rather than “PR Seminar” because Page members are so dominant in Seminar].

Fourteen of the 30 trustees of Page are members of Seminar.

The list of the 46 new members is on Only three have “PR” in their titles.


PR Society treasurer Tom Eppes, who led a move to block Rhoda Weiss from influencing the nominating committee, has decided not to run for chair-elect.

Weiss, 2007 chair, heads the 2009 nomcom.

Running instead are Rosanna Fiske, 2007 treasurer who unsuccessfully sought nomination for chair against Gary McCormick, and Leslie Backus, head of her own firm in Davie, Fla., which is about 20 miles from Fiske’s employer, Florida International University.

Eppes, who sold his Charlotte, N.C., firm several years ago to Eric Mower and Assocs. of Syracuse, N.Y., has been replaced as office head by Matt Ferguson and has said he is job-seeking.

Also making the motion in 2008 to bar Weiss from “actively campaigning for or against any candidate” and from “participating in the deliberations for any candidate” was Dave Imre, who heads Imre of Rowson, Md.

He is running for secretary against Francis Onofrio, who has his own firm in Bethany, Conn., and who was on the 2007-08 boards as Tri-State director.

Gerard Corbett, a previous board member who unsuccessfully sought the treasurer’s nomination against Anthony D’Angelo, is again running for treasurer against director Phil Tate.

Previously with Hitachi, he now heads Redphlag, San Bruno, Calif.

Also running for secretary is Gail Winslow-Pine, who earlier this year removed a website advertising her own firm while employed full time by Catholic Medical Center, Manchester, N.H.

Crockett Competes with Nall

Ray Crockett, director of communications, Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta, is running for Southeast director against Mickey Nall, managing director, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Atlanta, and Mitch Edwards, director of communication, Alabama Dept. of Education.

Crockett was on the 2007 PRS board as a “senior counsel.”

Ofield Dukes, a Washington, D.C., counselor who appears to be the only African-American seeking a board position, is running for director-at-large against Lea-Ann O’Hare Germinder, counselor in Kansas City, Mo.; Prof. Steve Iseman of Ohio Northern University, advisor to the PR Student Society; Michelle Lantz, counselor in Grand Ledge, Mich.; Elizabeth Pecsi, director of executive communications, Unisys Corp., El Cajon, Calif., and Barbara Whitman, counselor in Honolulu.

Lewis, Pippin, Whitaker Compete in S.W.

Running in the Southwest are Blake Lewis, counselor in Richardson, Texas, and former head of the Universal Accreditation Board; counselor Marilyn Pippin of Dallas, and Suzanne Whitaker, director of communications, Metairie, La.

Running for North Pacific director is Bob Frause, head of the Society’s Ethics Board, former chair of the College of Fellows, and former head of the certification task force.

Opposing Frause, a counselor in Seattle, is Ronele Klingensmith, counselor in Reno, Nev.


Internet Edition, July 1, 2009, Page 8




Arthur W. Page Society members left their principles at the door when they attended the 2009 PR Seminar May 20-23 at one of America’s fanciest resorts—the Ritz-Carlton at Laguna Niguel.

This was the “meeting from hell” because it’s another black eye for the PR industry, especially the corporate side.

Proof of this is that half of those at the 2008 meeting decided that pampering themselves at a plush resort for four days at a time of economic meltdown was sending the wrong message. Attendance was a record low of 127 and this included a record high total of 46 newcomers.

PR veterans have been urging Seminar either to cancel the meeting or shift it to a city like Chicago or New York.

Those who run Seminar decided against change.

Who runs Seminar? Members of the Arthur W. Page Society whose bedrock principles are “Tell the truth” and “Let the public know what’s happening.” Page’s “mission” statement says it is to “emphasize the highest professional standards.” Is ducking the press a “high professional standard?”

Twenty-one of the 30 governing committee members of Seminar are Page members. Page president Maril MacDonald was at 2009 Seminar.

Page, founded in 1983 as a 501/c/3 charitable and educational group (some charity!), is an offshoot of Seminar, which was founded in 1952 by corporate PR executives.

Page’s position so far is that it really has nothing to do with Seminar although 85 of the 162 people at 2008 Seminar are also Page members.

Suppose all 366 Page members currently listed on its website were members of Seminar and that only Page members went to Seminar. We bet that Page would still say it has nothing to do with Seminar even though members were exactly the same.

The PR Society nominations would turn the clock back on attempts to have the board dominated by directors from big companies instead of solo or small firm practitioners.

Gary McCormick of Scripps beat PR instructor Rosanna Fiske last year for chair-elect but she has returned, backed by the nominating committee headed by 2007 chair Rhoda Weiss.

The other choice for chair-elect is solo practitioner Leslie Backus who has far less experience on the board than Fiske and is considered no match for Fiske, who has emphasized her Latino heritage.

Unless there is a floor fight at the 2009 Assembly, Fiske will be chair-elect in 2010.

Such a fight, although necessary, would further burden the Assembly which already has its hands full fighting for its survival. Bylaw proposals would rob the Assembly of the power to vet and elect directors and officers; allow 25 national committee chairs to join the Assembly which is already “packed” with 17 national directors, 19 section heads and 10 district chairs, and would turn the body into the “Leadership Assembly,” meaning it would “advise” the board on PR initiatives. The board would not have to follow any such advice.

The Assembly will be tasked with doing the “PR for PR” that no one on the national staff is doing even though $827,099 was spent on “media relations” in 2007-2008.

A problem with the Weiss candidates is that there is only one African-American based on our knowledge—Ofield Dukes, who is running for director-at-large against four others. The all-white 2009 PRS board is an embarrassment as is PRS’s record of only three blacks on the board in 62 years.

Seven 2008 PR Society candidates, led by chair-elect McCormick, answered questions we sent them last year, defying the formal boycott against this website that was announced in a full page in the September 2008 “ethics” issue of Tactics.

The others answering were Don Kirchoffner, Steve Grant, Catherine Huggins, Lynn Appelbaum, Marisa Valbona and Vince Hazleton.

The seven signaled the possibility of a new era in which PRS would stop ducking the press. Elected heads Cheryl Procter-Rogers, Rhoda Weiss, Jeff Julin and Cherenson have refused to meet with us, talk to us, or answer any of our questions.

A new set of questions has been sent to the 19 candidates and we’ll see how many answer them.

A major disappointment in the nominations is the withdrawal of expected candidate for chair-elect Tom Eppes after four years on the board. His withdrawal throws away four years of experience. His official “line,” which we doubt, is that he lost his job at Eric Mower Assocs. and needs to job-hunt. This was confirmed by Mower which said he has been replaced as head of the Charlotte office by Matt Ferguson.

But what better place is there to job hunt than being chair-elect when you can travel partly or mostly on PRS’s dime and network with lots of people?

Who will turn down a call from the chair-elect of the Society, who will have an almost unlimited expense account the next year and the power to appoint some 25 national committee heads?

PRS, which deprived its 22,000 members of the printed directory in 2005 with no prior announcement on the PRS website and input from only a few insiders, can start to rectify that unfairness by making the members’ list available in PDF form. The formerly 1,000-page directory would be a big PDF but it could be chopped into digestible sections.

The geographic section, of prime use to jobseekers including recent grads and members who can’t afford to pay their dues this year, was only 184 pages in the 2005 directory. It could be set up to contain links to full entries of members.

Another place to shop, the organizational index, was only 184 pages and could be set up the same way. Members and others should be easily able to break out categories like tech, healthcare and financial.

The main listing of members occupied 420 pages in the 2005 directory but this could be chopped into several parts for distribution by PDF.

Professors last year blasted the “autocratic” PRS that ditched the directory without any general discussion. “It’s ludicrous to eliminate modes of communication and relationship building in an association of professional communicators who build relationships for a living,” they wrote.

PDFing the directory is an easy and cheap solution. Let anyone, including non-members, who want this directory print it out at their own cost, section by section if necessary.

As for “Mother Hen” PRS protecting the “privacy” of members, where is the privacy of editors who are pitched non-stop by every known means of communication by most of the 22,000 members? It’s “open season” on editors, who are available by numerous categories via media list services that also allow PR pros to keep track of editor usage of materials, pet peeves, educational and job backgrounds, etc. The PR pros make notes of whether editors are approachable, what editors to contact and those to avoid, etc.

Editors should be able to build the same information about PR pros including those who are helpful and those who are not.

Without the directory, professors say they interact less frequently with other members, which is what we think staff and leaders want. They prefer that leaders and staff talk a lot to each other.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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