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Internet Edition, July 22, 2009, Page 1


Steve Harris is retiring as VP of communications for General Motors, again.

Harris has been around auto PR for more than 40 years and originally retired from the top GM slot in 2004. He returned to the company in 2006 at age 60.

Amid GM’s emergence from bankruptcy, the company said last week that Chris Preuss, currently VP of communications for GM Europe and global product communications, will take over for Harris on Oct. 1.

Preuss, 43, has worked for its Cadillac division and handled public policy and other communications assignments since joining GM in 1998.

Harris, 63, spent all but two years of his career in auto PR, starting at GM out of college in 1967 and moving to American Motors, which was later sold to Renault and later Chrysler, where he worked for several years.


The USA Cricket Assn. is looking for a PR firm to promote the launch of a professional Twenty20 league and to broaden the appeal of the game here.

Nigel Rushman, who heads a London-based sports management/events outfit, is handling the search for a firm that will do PR, identify corporate sponsorships, develop a social media strategy and create merchandising opportunities.

Cricket is currently played in the U.S. largely by people from the Caribbean, Sub-Continent and members of the British Commonwealth.

The U.S. is the No. 2 pay-per-view market for cricket behind India. Twenty20 is a shortened version of the game. The match lasts about 3 ½ hours.

The RFP is available at The deadline to respond is Aug. 7.


The J.M. Smucker Company has retained Marshall Consultants to fill two high-ranking communications posts at the Orrville, Ohio-based company.

It is seeking a manager of PR to guide its $5M marketing publicity budget and oversee its agencies, including Cohn & Wolfe.

The post requires from 6-10 years of PR experience in a food-oriented consumer packaged goods environment. The second post – manager-corporate communications – covers issues and crisis communications and general corporate comms. Both positions pay in the $100K range.

Resumes go to Larry Marshall ([email protected]).


Weber Shandwick is counseling 101-year-old bank holding company CIT Group, which is on the ropes after the federal government rebuffed its efforts to get a second bailout of $2 billion.

CIT, which primarily loans money to small business and retailers, said July 15 that it is seeking alternatives as “there is no appreciable likelihood of additional government support being provided over the near term.” That message came three days after it sent out a dispatch to reporters saying that talks with regulators were ongoing. Shares of the company plunged 75 percent to about $1.25 on news that the talks collapsed.

WS’ New York office handles the account. MS&L has also recently worked with CIT.

Curt Ritter, VP and director of external communications for CIT, did not return an email.

Media reports stress that a bankruptcy filing would be the first by a large bank since Lehman Brothers and investors are worried that could create a ripple effect across the economy. The federal government has already pumped $2.3B into the company.


Casey Aden-Wansbury, senior director of communications at the Children's Defense Fund, has been tapped as newly minted Sen. Al Franken's communications director.

Aden-Wansbury moved to the CDF in 2006 after handling communications for five years for Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). She handled communications for his duties in the senate and followed Lieberman when he went out on the trail in a bid for the presidency in '04.

Aden-Wansbury started out at Podesta Associates and Simon Strategies before serving as deputy press secretary for the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 campaign.

Ed Sheeleby is press secretary for the CDF.


Boards of associations should reflect the demographic makeup of their memberships, PR Society consultant Jean Frankel of Tecker Consultants has told this NL. Frankel, a principal partner of Tecker Consultants, Yardley, Pa., who has more than 25 years of management and consulting experience, commented on the fact that the board of the PR Society is 100% APR while the membership is only about 20% APR.

She said “It does not make a whole lot of sense to eliminate non-APRs from the Society’s board.”

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, July 22, 2009, Page 2


Cosmetic surgery company Lifestyle Lift will pay $300K under a settlement with New York’s attorney general after a probe of the company’s publishing of fake consumer reviews online.

LL has agreed to pay the penalty and will refrain from posting anonymous positive reviews on Internet message boards and other websites, under the deal with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who believes the case is the first in the U.S. aimed at “astroturfing.”

“This company’s attempt to generate business by duping consumers was cynical, manipulative, and illegal,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The A.G. said LL’s president believed that negative Internet posts had significantly hurt the company’s reputation. LL employees then “bombarded” the ‘Net with positive reviews and comments to impersonate satisfied customers.

Employees were also said to “attack” legitimate comments criticizing the company and tried to get such postings removed.

Cuomo said the practice constitutes deceptive commercial practices, false advertising and fraudulent and illegal conduct under New York and federal consumer protection law. The company also created standalone websites like to appear as independent sites.

The A.G.’s office released excerpts of internal emails that showed management directing employees to the scheme.

One e-mail said: “Friday is going to be a slow day - I need you to devote the day to doing more postings on the web as a satisfied client.”

Another internal email directed an employee to “Put your wig and skirt on and tell them about the great experience you had.”

LL said it supports the A.G. ruling, calling it a “reasonable compromise.”


Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Assocs. has signed a $1.7M contract with Kenya, a country marred by corruption and haunted by the violence in the aftermath of the `07 Presidential election that left 1,500 people dead.

President Obama “snubbed” Kenya, his father’s birthplace, in favor of Ghana in his just completed tour of Europe and Africa.

CLS&A is to develop a comprehensive research program including in-depth interviews and focus group discussions to arrive at the “right message for the overall campaign,” according to the contract.

Media outreach will include brown bag lunches with reporters and a “Kenya Safari Day” in New York.

The pact includes a “drumbeat initiatives” component comprising of a “Did You Know” teaser series, speakers bureau, Kenya “voices” tour and small business breakfasts.

The firm, which is part of Omnicom, also will serve as liaison between Kenyan political figures/analysts with the media.

CLS&A, which has a two-year pact, is to support Kenya’s Washington embassy and the Office of President Mwai Kibaki.


The Dilenschneider Group is handling Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel in Cherokee, North Carolina, which is undergoing a $650M expansion.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for a new 21-story 532-room hotel took place July 10.

The planned tower features a 3,000-square-foot auditorium, 16,000 sq. ft. spa and will effectively double the casino floor to 150,000 sq. ft.

Dilenschneider’s travel & lifestyle chiefs Joan Bloom and Joan Brower handle the three-year PR effort. They want to position the client as running the most lavish gaming/vacation site on the east coast.

The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian tribe owns the facility that is managed by Harrah’s Entertainment.

Michael Hicks, principal chief of the Eastern Cherokees, told The Smoky Mountain Times that he has no reservations about the merits of expanding the gambling hall during rocky economic conditions.

On the contrary, Hicks believes the expansion is perfectly timed.

He is certain the economy will have rebounded by the time the job is completed in December 2010.

Harrah’s also says that it had arranged financing for the construction well before the credit markets dried up.


Mapping giant Rand McNally has tapped Ogilvy PR Worldwide for its PR account following a competitive pitch with a handful of firms.

The Chicago-based company brought in Ogilvy’s Windy City office to guide PR for its enterprise, consumer products and education divisions.

Ogilvy’s travel and economic development unit will head the work.

RM has recently worked with The Reynolds Group. The account resided at Ketchum during the 1990s, when current Ogilvy/Chicago executive VP Jim Heininger handled the account at the Omnicom unit.

The 153-year-old RM traces its roots to William Rand’s Chicago printing shop opened in 1856. Irish immigrant Andrew McNally took a job with Rand two years later.

Ogilvy is part of WPP.


The body of PR woman Beverly Spano, 44, was found by boaters in the Passaic River near Elmwood Park (N.J.) July 6.

Spano, who leaves three children and a husband behind, was reported missing three days earlier after a relative found her unlocked minivan parked at the Elmwood Park marina, according to media reports. Her purse and key were inside the vehicle.

There was no sign of foul play. Police suspect Spano committed suicide.

Spano had been running Spano Communications since 1993. SC handled corporate communications, media relations and internal PR.

Earlier, Spano was VP/PR manager at PaineWebber, prior to its takeover by UBS. Spano continued to work for UBS on a freelance basis.


Internet Edition, July 22, 2009, Page 3


The cash-strapped New York Times Co. is unloading WQXR-FM, which is New York City's only classical music station, for $45M.

Buyers are public station WNYC and Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.

The deal upsets classical music fans who will now find their station having a weaker signal. The transaction has WQXR trading its 94.3 spot on the dial with Univision property WCC's 109.5 spot. That means WQXR, which now becomes listener supported, is trading a 6,000 watt signal for a 600 one.

Laura Walker, CEO of WNYC, reassures classical music lovers that she is committed to that art form. She says WNYC will lessen its classical music programming to focus on WQXR.

The NYTC has owned WQXR since 1944. It broadcasts concerts from the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera and has about 20 staffers who must re-apply for their jobs.


McGraw-Hill Cos. says it is exploring strategic options for BusinessWeek due to the “recession in print advertising,” according to a memo from BW's president Keith Fox.

Industry analysts like Peter Appert of Piper Jaffray Cos. say McGraw-Hill will receive a minimal amount for the 80-year-old publication, and the company may just be happy to find somebody to take it off its hands.

Fox noted the media industry is facing “unprecedented challenges” as the growth of “digital innovation has created new entrants and entirely new business models for media companies. He wrote of an “urgency on the need for change.”

Evercore Partners is mulling BW’s future, which could include a sale for as little as $1 to Bloomberg, Mansueto Ventures, News Corp. or a private equity firm like Opengate Capital, according to the Financial Times. OpenGate bought TV Guide for $1.

BW's ad revenue tumbled 33 percent during the first-half to $77.8M. Its circulation is more than 935K.


The legions of digital-savvy mothers that make up the coveted "Mommy" blogging demographic are debating a proposed week-long "blackout" from running PR content, a boycott which would put the kibosh on product reviews and other press release materials sent their way.

Trisha Haas, founder and administrator of the popular portal, said on July 13 that mom bloggers are suffering from “bloggy burnout” and suggested a one week “PR Blackout” in August, challenging bloggers to not blog giveaways, reviews and press releases for that time frame.

Her suggestion received dozens of comments of support, along with some responses questioning the need for such a move and others defending PR.

“I’m not sure what a one-week boycott proves,” Mark Hass, head of MH Group Communications and former CEO of Manning Selvage & Lee, told O’Dwyer’s via Twitter. “No doubt product promos will be back in a big way on Monday of week two.”

Haas, the blogger, clarified her original post in a follow-up on July 14: “A break, a PR blackout if you will, may show some mom, even just one, that she can live without the false sense of fake visitors entering her contests.

“That her turning down a PR release or a product won't in fact put her at the bottom of a bloggy blackball list for the future and her online life won't suffer if she doesn't fall to her knees every time she receives a request.”

Matt Churchill, of Edelman's digital unit in the U.K., followed up Haas' blackout suggestion with a defense of PR: “We don’t aimlessly fire out press releases for irrelevant products. We try and build relationships and help our clients to add value to communities; be that blogs, forums or on Twitter. ...There is a big educative process and discussion that needs to occur, and it is occurring within the PR industry to change the old ways of communicating. Unfortunately, and I'm not trying to make excuses, this will take time.”

FTC, Diluted Credibility Loom

Haas believes that by “taking out the tirade” of PR content, mom blogs could be seen as more authentic: “We become more real, our audience becomes more trusting, and the advertising of these products for those that accept them produce more results for the companies overall.”

The crux of the PR content debate is two-fold. As the New York Times highlighted on July 13, the Federal Trade Commission is scrutinizing social media content through a lens of truth-in-advertising disclosure rules, posing potential implications for product pitches and reviews online. It could take action as early as this fall, following public comments.

Bloggers themselves are also debating whether utilizing PR content dilutes the authenticity of their blogs.

Katie Allison Granju, mamapundit blogger and director of social media at Ackermann PR, thinks bloggers can cross the line with such material.

“It’s my belief that bloggers who do an excessive number of product reviews and endorsements likely don’t wield the same kind of meaningful influence with their audience as the ones who do very few or more judiciously chosen paid reviews and endorsements,” she said, adding that in her capacity at Ackermann, she doesn’t always target the largest blogs as many smaller publications can have more credibility and are therefore more valuable.

‘Mommy’ Blogger Joins F-H

Jessica Smith, who founded the blog Jessicaknows, has joined Fleishman-Hillard as VP in Sacramento.

Her blog earned a spot on the “power pack” in Nielsen’s Power Mom 50 list, according to a release.

Smith’s site covers business, marketing, social media and work/life balance issues. It earns up to 65K page views per month from more than 1,000 subscribers.

At the Omnicom unit, Smith supports its FH Moms practice that was established in January.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, July 22, 2009, Page 4


Financial Times editor Lionel Barber expects “almost all” newspapers to charge for their online content within a year.

The challenge, he told Britain’s Guardian, is to figure out whether to charge a subscription rate or a fee for each article.

The FT charges readers based on a “frequency model.” There is access to a limited number of articles before a charge kicks in. The paper has enjoyed “sustained and growing revenue” based on that model.

The FT has 110K paying subscribers and 1.3M non-paying registered users.

Barber expects people will willingly pay for specialist or niche publications. The place not to be is the “mediocre middle,” according to Barber.

He also disputes the notion that the Internet has “dumbed down journalism.”

On the contrary, Barber credits the ’Net with “smartening up” journalism.

BREAKINGVIEWS TALKS TAKEOVER, the financial community website, is talking acquisition with Thompson Reuters.

The London-based site is syndicated in newspapers throughout the world including the New York Times, Le Monde (Paris) and Daily Telegraph (London). It was founded in 200 by two staffers of the Financial Times.

The Times of London reports that Breakingviews hired Perella Weinberg Partners as its financial partner.


Atlanta’s Cox Enterprises has sold the Grand Junction (Col.) Daily Sentinel, the biggest paper between Denver and Salt Lake City, to Manhattan, Kan.-based Seaton Publishing.

The Nickel, a shopper, also shifts to Seaton.

Family-owned Seaton has newspapers in Arkansas City and Winfield (Kan), Spearfish (S.D.), Alliance and Hastings (Neb.) and Sheridan (Wyo.).

Jay Seaton, son of chairman Edward, is moving to Grand Junction to oversee the new property. The Sentinel and Nickel employ more than 200 people.

Last summer, Cox announced plans to sell papers in Colorado, North Carolina and Texas. It is keeping Florida, Georgia and Ohio properties.


Lynn Dickerson left the VP-operations post at struggling McClatchy Co. on July 17. The former publisher of the Modesto Bee assumed the corporate post in 2006. She was responsible for 11 newspapers in Texas and the southeast.

CEO Gary Pruitt says McClatchy's transition to a new business model requires smaller senior staff. He credited Dickerson for “working hard to help us navigate through the recent economic downturn.”

Dickerson's responsibilities are divvied up between VP's Bob Weil and Frank Whittaker.

McClatchy lost $37.5M on $365.6M first-quarter revenues. Its stock trades in the 50 cent range.


Time Inc. has relaunched as a value destination to help women keep tabs on the pocketbook and “enjoy life for less.”

The site pairs money-saving tips with coupons, daily discounts and budget recipes for meals under $2.

Sections include “Style for Less,” “Budget Home,” “Diet and Fitness,” “Supermarket Smarts,” and “Community" (advice from 23,000 “reality checkers”).

Advertisers supplying coupons include Minute Rice, Carvel Ice Cream, Arm & Hammer Odor Eliminating Vacuum Bags and Excedrin.

All You magazine was launched in 2004 with a rate base of 500K. It is now 975K and will grow to 1.025M in January.


Hollywood publicists are playing catch-up with in comes to new media, according to chatter at an Entertainment Publicists Professional Society mixer.

Legendary publicist Julian Myers, who used to wake up a partied-out Marilyn Monroe to attend celebrity events, says it’s exciting to quickly get an online buzz, but the big question is how do you measure it?

The 90-year-old pro added: “The basic concepts of publicity are always the same. Be honest, and think of new ways to make first yourself, second your client famous.”

“New media definitely has it’s time and place,” said Tiffany Bradshaw, a marketing consultant and head of Bradshaw & Co. Business Consulting. “A lot of people still don't quite understand it the way they should. They often think it takes the place of traditional marketing.”

The basics of new media still require networking, presentation and market research savvy, said Bradshaw.

“I’m a little behind the times with the new media,” said entertainment publicist Ellen Giurleo. “I’ve been resisting getting on Facebook because it will take all this time, but all the people I’ve talked to tell me that I have to do it, or at least get a business page up. Probably not a personal page, though.”

“Oddly enough, I spent a lot of time on Twitter today learning how to do it,” said TV Guide’s Chad Sandhas. “I’m only 34 and I feel like I am catching up, so new media, I think, is scary for all of us.”

Agreeing with Sandhas was Eileen Salmas of “I don’t Twitter. I don’t text. I’m trying to figure out how to use new media for my company. It's a little bit daunting.”

Hard Times Hit Hollywood

The mixer was sponsored by the International Cinematographers Union ICG Local 600 and Motion Picture & TV Fund, which is scheduled to close its hospital and end its acute long term care unit due “a $10 million loss,” at the end of 2009.

“We are an 89-year-old charity in Hollywood, created by Hollywood for Hollywood and it takes care of people who have fallen on hard times,” said Ken Scherer, director, MPTF. “Everyone thinks that everyone in Hollywood makes $20 million, which is simply not true, and so we provide financial assistance, medical care and all kinds of support including retirement care.”

Internet Edition, July 22, 2009, Page 5


MWW Group is harkening back to its public affairs roots to fill a niche it sees as overlooked in the social media space.

The agency has created D.Advocacy, a practice that implements social media tools into PA and government relations efforts, two disciplines that MWW believes have not utilized digital outreach to its full potential.

“People are talking about and utilizing social media for consumer and corporate communications, but they’re not thinking about it as much for public affairs,” said Joe Becker, group VP and leader of MWW’s DialogueMedia digital unit. “It’s a new concept for a lot of people, as well.”

Becker, who interned in the Clinton White House and later moved on to Hill & Knowlton, IBM and Peppercom, said integrating social media into PA and government relations was done on a large scale with the Obama campaign and the administration’s efforts to tout the federal stimulus program. But, he said, there has been little implementation on more local levels.

He used the example of a telecom provider seeking to erect towers in a town. Typically, that company would send representatives to lobby local officials and other decision makers, with little to no outreach to residents. “More often than not they’re just thinking about city hall and not the people voting for city hall or those who will be impact by its decisions,” he said, adding that outreach to local blogs and Twitter communications, for example, could make the case that such a project would add jobs and service to the community.

MWW CEO Michael Kempner is a former Democratic aide in New Jersey and started the firm as a public affairs shop in 1986.


New Jersey-based holding company @aquila has acquired 12-year-old New York PR firm PJ Inc.

PJ president Pamela Johnston, an agency veteran who started the firm in 1997, remains at the helm but @aquila chair/president/CEO David Palmieri takes on an acting CEO role of the firm.

Johnson also takes the title of chief marketing officer to oversee marketing for both the holding company’s online unit mIQ and its travel consulting unit Coriolis Partners, formerly known as @aquila Consulting.

BRIEFS: Brian Johnson, PR counsel to Honda Marina from 2005-09, has opened Bonefish Communications in Gainesville, Ga., to target PR for the recreational and commercial boating industries. Product launches, local and national PR, email marketing and corporate comms. consulting are among Johnson's services. Info: ...Hispanic PR firm RL PR + Marketing, Los Angeles, won two awards for its role with the California Milk Processor Board. The firm nabbed a Media Idea Bronze Effie for the “White Gold” campaign and a 2009 David Ogilvy Silver Multicultural Award for Consumer and Health for its work on the “Toma Leche” campaign.


New York Area

CooperKatz & Company, New York/The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, a 239-year-old Fortune 300 company based in New York, for a national PR campaign focused on small businesses after a review. Richard Jones, senior VP and chief comms. officer at Guardian, told O’Dwyer’s that the mutual life insurer identified a small number of firms that competed for the business. CK's B2B savvy was a key reason for the hire. Jones said Guardian continues to work with Oakland, Calif.-based Harden Partners as well.

Lou Hammond & Associates, New York/Tourism New South Wales, Crave Sydney, month-long festival slated for October; Air Platinum Club, private travel membership club that includes jets, watercraft, cars, condos and concierge services, and Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, non-gaming hotel, all for PR.

HWH PR, New York/Classical Archives, online marketplace for information, purchasing and listening to classical music, for PR.


Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, Boston/Cambridge Consultants, for national media relations outreach; Iron Mountain, info storage, for federal government relations regarding electronic medical records; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for strategic comms. related to its annual tech conference in Sept., EmTech; Paine College, for PR and federal gov’t relations; PowerSat Corp., solar energy, for PR message development and third-party outreach; R.W. Beckett Corp., oil burner manufacturer, for fed gov’t rels. regarding energy legislation; Second Nature, non-profit, for PR, and Sky Vegetables, urban commercial hydroponic farms developer, for strategic comms., including PR and gov’t relations.


Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Grand Rapids, Mich./ExpressJet Holdings, parent of regional aircraft operator ExpressJet Airlines, for campaign to attract new investors and communicate its corporate strategy to shareholders, the investment community and financial media.


Blanchard Schaefer Advertising & PR, Arlington, Tex./Lone Star Film Society, for PR to support various events this year culminating with the festival Nov. 11-15 in Fort Worth.


Gable PR, San Diego/OcumatRx, for public, media and investor relations as the company is developing a medical device for treatment of glaucoma. The device, called the CaPRI, has been in research for five years and is advancing toward clinical trials. Tom Gable, CEO, and Liz Dill, A/E, manage the account at Gable PR.

Monday & Associates, San Diego/Tucker Sadler Architects, for PR for several projects, including Ka Makana Ali’i master plan in Hawaii, San Diego Convention Center and US Grant Hotel, and “Single to Soulmate,” a new book from Vantage Press.

Internet Edition, July 22, 2009, Page 6


Monitoring company VMS has aligned Autonomy Corp., a U.K.-based enterprise software company in the so-called meaning-based computing space.

Meaning-based software recognizes data like audio, video or text – therefore eliminating the need for manual tagging of content – and can trigger a response, whether it is an automatically generated email or the listing of news articles pertinent to the subject of the data, for example.

VMS said in a statement that the deal will enable it to provide services that "understand any hidden meaning behind every piece of content, and automatically act on that information."

Autonomy works with thousands of companies like news organizations (Bloomberg, BBC), law firms (DLA Piper) and federal agencies (NASA). Its software will be integrated into VMS' Vantage monitoring and measurement platform.

Autonomy’s U.S. CEO, Stouffer Egan, said the partnership can provide PR customers with real-time results and dismissed competing services for carrying a "myopic view that is overly reliant on one set of dated information."

HEALTH CZAR: New York digital and broadcast PR company D S Simon Productions has promoted its Midwest director to VP of healthcare.

Jim O'Reilly, a Chicago-based TV news veteran who joined Simon in 2000, continues to oversee its Midwest operations while adding oversight for new video productions in the health space.

He noted the "significant" opportunities in healthcare PR and said the work "can be done ethically within the regulatory environment."

Reilly was managing editor at Philly TV and held managing and production posts at KYW (17 years) and WGAL.

PRN HIRE: James King, co-founder and CEO of GlooMedia, has joined PR Newswire as a senior VP charged with expanding reach via the company’s digital services like its journalist website and ProfNet. He was global CIO and CTO as a senior VP at wireless company Brightpoint and previously held posts at McGraw-Hill, Microsoft and Reed Elsevier.

GIVE IT AWAY: Online press release distribution service eReleases said it is giving away a notebook PC each week and a $399 release distribution every day for the next 11 weeks leading up to its 11th anniversary in October.

Any business with a Twitter, Delicious, blog or website can enter. Check out for information.

WIDER SCOPE: PRWeb, the online news release service owned by Vocus, said it has added four additional distribution partners including Docstoc, an online community for professional documents; State Newslines, localized Web properties; Trust Earned Travel, site for travelers and the travel sector, and Visibility Magazine, online marketing publication.



Jack Krumholtz, who founded and led Microsoft’s government affairs office for 14 years in Washington, D.C., to The Glover Park Group, as a managing director of its GA unit. He earlier worked in legislative affairs at Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson, and Hand.

Rebecca Goldberg, editor-in-chief of boutique DESIGN magazine, to DMD Insight, New York, as senior associate on its media relations team.

Amy Leahing, account manager at Fleishman-Hillard, to Widmeyer Communications, New York, as an A/M focused on health and wellness accounts. The D.C.-based firm has also promoted Kyle Gunnels to A/E in its Pre-K-12 education unit in New York.

Rebecca Wu, reporter and weekend morning anchor at KSDK-TV in St. Louis, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as a public affairs specialist in its St. Louis division, which includes five offices.


Hilary Smith to senior VP, communications, NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, a newly created position in New York. She had been VP of corporate comms. for NBC Universal, which included heading comms. for Women@NBCU, a female-targeted sales and marketing push by the media company. The W&LEN unit includes Oxygen Media, iVillage and Bravo Media, among other properties.

Kate Coyne, Michael Goodwin and David Rosen to group VPs, Makovsky + Company, New York. The firm has also upped Joshua Baldwin to A/S; Kristin D’Ambrosio, Liz Pierce, Travis Ferber and Olga Oksman to A/Es, and Janet Yoo to AA/E.

John Barry to VP, investor relations and corporate communications, Corn Products International, Westchester, Ill. He joined the company in 1998 as director of corporate accounting and assistant controller.


Julian Read, chairman of the Texas PR powerhouse Cohn & Wolfe Read-Poland, said he’ll retire at the end of the month after 58 years in the business. Read, 82, said he’ll continue to counsel some C&W clients as well as a select few on his own, in addition to continuing his blog on Texas politics and government, “Texas ‘Off the Record’” and possibly penning a memoir. Read started out as a sportswriter for the Fort Worth Press and is a former advisor to ex-House Speaker Jim Wright and Texas Governor and Treasury Secretary John Connally. He started his firm in 1951 in Fort Worth at age 24. GCI Group acquired Read-Poland in 2001, the 50th anniversary of the firm. The name changed again when GCI was folded into C&W last year.


Internet Edition, July 22, 2009, Page 7


All sectors of an association’s membership should be represented on the board, she added.

Frankel has been involved in large scale planning and organizational changes for companies including American Express, Motorola and AT&T. She also has had functional responsibility in strategic planning, marketing and sales, information technology, customer service, engineering, manufacturing and human resources.

Tecker, which is more than 25 years old and not currently employed by PRS, lists hundreds of clients in a dozen categories ranging from agricultural and commercial to government, manufacturing and philanthropic. Its website is

Frankel had told the Assembly Oct. 25, 2008 that associations were moving away from placing any requirements except regular membership on members who wanted to run for office.

She also said, and reiterated July 16, that representative bodies such as the Assembly were moving away from concentrating on legislative matters and “micro-managing” their associations and instead becoming involved in improving acceptance of the industry and more involved in industry “issues.”

Assembly Nixed Power Move in 2006

The PRS Assembly in 2006 turned down a proposal by the Central Michigan chapter to make the Assembly the “ultimate policy-making body” of PRS, patterning it after similar bodies at the American Medical and American Bar Assns.

Bylaws of both groups were cited in the proposal.

ABA and AMA “Houses of Delegates” not only have power over their boards, but their meetings are conducted by members of the representative bodies rather than by board members.

Their staff COOs, who have the title of executive VP (“president” is reserved for the elected head), are always members of the respective profession.

Central Michigan said it wanted to change PRS from being a “top-down corporation” to one that was “membership-driven.”

PRS leaders, who fought the proposal, said director insurance would have to be purchased for all 300 or so Assembly delegates and that the Assembly already had the power to tell the board what to do.

The dissidents said both claims were false. Venable, the Society’s law firm, told succeeding Assemblies that any Assembly resolution directing the board to do anything would be ruled out of order because the Assembly could not, under New York law, tell the board what to do. With heavy opposition from national leadership, assisted by the staff, none of the other 109 chapters voiced any support for the Central Michigan proposal and it was defeated by a large margin.

National Capital led the opposition, saying the proposal would be too disruptive to the governance of the Society.

A current proposal of the bylaw committee of the Society, headed by Dave Rickey, is to remove from the Assembly the power to elect board members and officers.

Another proposal would require all chapters to send as part of their Assembly delegations either the chapter president or president-elect. Nearly half the chapters only have one delegate.

PRS each year hosts the chapter presidents-elect at a weekend in June in New York, providing a $500 cash stipend to each to help offset expenses. A Friday night dinner for the presidents-elect is paid for by the Society.

A bylaw proposal would allow non-APRs on future boards but they would either have to show more than 20 years in positions with “increasing levels of responsibility” or have headed a chapter, section, district or national committee.


Rosanna Fiske, who is running for chair-elect of the PR Society, answered a number of questions about her candidacy and PRS in a telephone interview July 14.

On the question of whether the Society should drop APR as a requirement for national board or office posts, as recommended by the 1999 Strategic Planning Committee, she said she would leave that up to the Assembly.

Asked about the proposal to eliminate district directors and have all directors “at-large,” she said she is in favor of some district representation but the question is too complicated for a yes or no answer.

She feels that the Society’s financial reporting meets all the standards required in this area.

Asked why PRS has never had a PR firm as outside paid counsel, although it uses legal, accounting and management consulting firms, she said that the Society already has many leading PR people who are members and who give the Society PR counsel.

She would favor journalists being able to join PRS if they are interested in PR.

However, she would not say whether any staffer of the O’Dwyer Co. should be able to join. PRS does not allow this.

On the question of whether it’s ethical for a member to supply information from the members’ area of the PRS website to an O’Dwyer reporter (since O’Dwyer reporters are banned from joining), Fiske said that she would not feel “comfortable” doing that.

Only one other of this year’s 19 candidates answered questions sent to them—Gerard Corbett, candidate for treasurer. Leslie Backus, candidate for chair-elect, e-mailed that she would not answer the questions and Ofield Dukes, candidate for at-large director and the only African-American among the candidates, said he was too busy with pro bono work for victims of the recession to answer.


Philip Bonaventura, who joined the PR Society in June 2007 as chief financial officer, re-registered as of June 1, 2009 with the New York State Education Dept., Office of the Professions, and can again use the initials “CPA” after his name.

The Office of the Professions said that Bonaventura completed the required courses to bring himself up-to-date with accounting changes and again became registered as of June 1. His registration is good until May 31, 2012.

Under New York law, “To practice within New York State, a professional must be licensed and REGISTERED (NYS capitals).

When a professional informs the Dept. at the time of re-registration that he or she will not be practicing in New York, the record is marked INACTIVE as of the start of the next registration period.”

Bonaventura’s “license information” had been marked INACTIVE when it was checked in June 2007 and thereafter.


Internet Edition, July 22, 2009, Page 8




The PR Society board meets Friday in New York and based on precedent may give COO Bill Murray another contract, possibly for three years starting Jan. 22, 2010.

This must not happen. The 2010 board should not be saddled with a COO of the 2009 board’s choosing.

This costly error happened on July 30, 1999, when the executive committee headed by Sam Waltz gave an unprecedented five-year contract to Ray Gaulke. Director Frank Stansberry, angered that the contract was not brought before the full board, left the meeting in Vancouver and returned to Florida.

The 2000 board did not want Gaulke and arranged for him to join the PRS Foundation in 2001 while still owing him about $1 million. We understand PRS made a $250K settlement. With no time to search for a COO, the board suddenly converted Catherine Bolton into an executive heading a staff of more than 50 although she had been hired as chief PR officer.

We hear lots of praise for the administrative abilities of Murray but PRS is a communications society and it needs a career communicator as staff head.

The legal, medical, accounting and advertising societies wouldn’t dream of having any but one of their own professionals as staff head.

Their staffs also have large numbers of their own professionals while we see only two PR pros among the 58 staffers at PRS h.q.

If the reclusive Murray had presented himself regularly to the New York chapter membership for questioning we might have a different opinion of him. Murray has either gone along with or has not been able to change various abuses at PRS including its insistence on conducting elections as though it were the 1950s and the internet did not exist.

We fault both the board and Murray for failing to reveal details of his contract when he joined Jan. 22, 2007. Members have to wait towards the end of the year to learn of the previous year's pay.

It took until Sept. 29, 2008, for PRS to file IRS Form 990 that showed his salary as $262,515 in 2007 plus $29,500 in benefits ($292,055 total plus $21,338 in expenses). This year's filing has yet to be made.

Neither Murray, staff or elected leaders will answer any questions about his contract which flies in the face of the spirit of Form 990.

Under Murray’s reign, PRS has continued its penchant for secrecy: transcripts of Assemblies are withheld; the PRS website does not have a true search engine; there is no published list of Assembly delegates; the board continues to ignore criticisms of its financial reporting; pleas by members for a PDF of the members’ directory are ignored; suggestions that the “Leadership Rally” or Assembly be audiocast are ignored, etc.

Rhoda Weiss, 2007 chair who defeated a move led by treasurer Tom Eppes to block her from having any influence on the 2009 nominations, has gotten her way bigtime as 2009 nomcom head.

Eppes, refusing to step up as usual to chair-elect, instead is quitting the board. The reason given, that he has lost his job at Eric Mower & Assocs., is not believed by us. Why would a firm fire someone about to head PRS, a post that supposedly provides huge prestige and definitely provides an almost unlimited expense account and power to appoint some 25 national committee heads?

It’s an ideal place to job hunt! We would like the views of Eppes but he hasn’t talked to us in years.

Only two 2009 candiates have responded to our 11 questions and they didn't say much.

Chair-elect candidate Rosanna Fiske and treasurer candidate Gerard Corbett mostly said they would follow the Assembly's wishes.

Leslie Backus, also seeking chair-elect, told us she would not answer any of our questions.

Ofield Dukes, the only African-American candidate, said he was too busy with pro bono work to answer our questions. He should withdraw.

Both Fiske and Backus should also withdraw. It’s obvious their main qualification is that they’re women!

After three men in a row as chairs (Jeff Julin, Mike Cherenson, Gary McCormick), the PRS reasoning is that it’s time for a female chair.

This is no way to pick someone who is supposed to lead not only the Society but the entire PR industry.

Fiske came on the board in 2005 after stressing her Hispanic background and using the words “diversity” and “diverse” 13 times in one section of her 2008 pitch for chair-elect. She also noted she was the first Hispanic woman national officer of PRS and previously noted she was the first Hispanic woman president of PRS/Miami.

Such “identity” politics is in very bad odor these days. While her Hispanic background is stressed in pitches to PRS, Fiske's bio in various web sources notes she is also French, Chinese and Jewish. Why are these ethnic strains left out when she is seeking a PRS office?

During a 40-minute telephone interview with Fiske last week, we asked her why PRS has outside legal, accounting and management consulting firms but has never had an outside PR firm.

She said that with so many PR professionals in the Society it doesn’t need an outside PR firm.

We believe that no PR firm would allow itself to be identified with the press-dodging, undemocratic, gender and geo-politics ridden, rigid leadership and staff of PRS.

No PR firm would refuse to meet with us if we asked for a meeting. PR firms often get into one scrape or another but don't get permanently mad at us when we cover such incidents.

PRS has refused to meet or talk with us for decades. It ignores not only our advice but the advice of its own 1999 Strategic Planning Committee (erase APR from the bylaws); its own nomcom reform committee (board is not to influence nomcom); its own members who want a PDF of the members' directory; accounting professors who criticize the PRA audit, and currently, its own management consultant, Jean Frankel, who says the PRS board is unrepresentative of the membership because the board is all-APR and the membership, only 20% APR.

PRS continues to have blatant anti-competitive practices in spite of signing a 1977 FTC consent decree that forced removal from its “Ethics Code” of articles that forbade contingency fees and members pitching each others' accounts or jobs.

Blocking anyone but members from access to the 22,000-member database is anti-competitive. Leaders and staff want this database as the exclusive hunting ground for pitching PRS seminars, teleconferences, etc.

There are numerous other companies now offering such tutorials and they have every right to pitch the PRS membership list which was created over the years with public money since PRS is a tax-free organization.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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