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Internet Edition, July 29, 2009, Page 1


Plans for a $40 billion, 800-mile high-speed rail link in California, once dismissed as a “Buck Rogers fantasy” by a former governor, are progressing slowly and PR is next on the agenda.

California’s High Speed Rail Authority has issued an RFP for a five-year, $9M contract for communications and public information through 2014. The move comes as high-speed trains have been allocated a large piece of the federal stimulus bill.

The state’s proposed high-speed rail system, which has been in the planning stage since 1996, could carry as many as 94M passengers a year by 2030, according to estimates. It could gain a big boost from the federal stimulus law, which allocated $8B for high-speed rail projects. California voters gave the green light last fall for $10 billion to begin financing the project.

The PR work is aimed to educate Californians, legislators and other stakeholders about the massive project through media attention, materials like fact sheets, brochures and newsletters, and videos.

Proposals are due by Aug. 12. The RFP has been posted on the Authority’s website:


The Centers for Disease Control is looking for a firm to develop a social media PR effort to support its Office on Smoking and Health as it prepares to release the 2009 Surgeon General’s Report on tobacco.

The government has released a request for quotations with a deadline of July 29 to develop and utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to disseminate information from the report to doctors and the public.

The CDC says in the RFQ that it wants to reach modern audiences that prefer to receive news, health and other information through social networking sites and mobile phones.

“As fewer and fewer people access newspapers, network television and traditional Internet sites for information, employing a digital multi-site approach increases the reach of communications efforts,” reads the document.

The search for a firm is a “full and open” solicitation, meaning no GSA schedule is involved and businesses of all sizes are open to pitch. There is also no incumbent as it is a new endeavor.

The Surgeon General’s report is scheduled to be released in the fall. The CDC hopes to hire a firm by Aug. 10.


Omnicom posted a 24 percent slide in second quarter net to $233.4M, off from 2008’s $307M.

Worldwide revenue fell more than 17% to $2.87B while its U.S. revenue registered a 13% slide to $1.52B compared with Q2 of ’08.

Revenue at its PR operations, including Ketchum and Porter Novelli, dropped 18.5%, while advertising fell 15.5% and “specialty services” like recruitment advertising and healthcare business took a 20% hit.

OMC’s net is off nearly 23 percent for the first half of 2009.

CEO John Wren called the decline “slightly greater than we had anticipated,” although he expects new business for the second half to top last year’s numbers.


Lisa Sepulveda, who served as North American CEO at Euro RSCG for the past three years, is moving to Weber Shandwick.

Sepulveda becomes president of the Interpublic unit’s global consumer marketing practice on Aug. 3. She made her PR mark at Edelman on the “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” for Unilever. She also worked on the prescription to over-the-counter switches for Advil and Claritin.

Sepulveda reports to WS vice chair Gail Heimann, who once split consumer marketing duties with Cathy Calhoun – now president for North America for the firm.

Heimann and Calhoun were promoted last October.

Euro RSCG is part of Havas.


Felicia Blow, chair of the Universal Accreditation Board, has announced the results of six years of the new computer-based, multiple-choice exam—863 new APRs including 713 from the PR Society, 43 from the Florida PR Assn., 25 from the Southern PR Federation, and 37 from the National School PR Assn.

An average of 119 new PRS APRs yearly were created in the six years, which were completed June 30. The new test cost PRS $250,000 and took four years.

Blow, PA director of Cox Communications, Chesapeake, Va., said she was encouraged by the fact that the number of candidates participating in the Readiness Review increased in the second quarter from 72 last year to 83 this year. Candidates passing the exam fell 28% to 41 in the quarter from 57 in the 2008 quarter.

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, July 29, 2009, Page 2


The Department of Defense clearly attempted to favorably influence public opinion for Bush administration war policies by using retired military officials in media appearances, but the public affairs-run effort did not violate the federal prohibition on propaganda, according to a report from the General Accountability Office’s top legal official.

The New York Times’ David Barstow penned a front-page piece which ran April 20, 2008 about the Pentagon’s PR effort to boost support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by having retired military officials appear on TV to defend its policies.

The use of retired officials did not cross the line because the officials were not paid, the materials they were given were clearly marked as coming from the Defense Dept. and the program was not concealed from the public, the report concludes.

The report to Democratic House and Senate leaders was penned by GAO general counsel Daniel Gordon and commissioned with the passage of a defense authorization bill passed in May 2008.

“Although the prohibition on the use of appropriated funds for publicity or propaganda has been in effect, in one form or another, for decades, we have rarely found violations of the prohibition,” Gordon wrote. “This reflects the wide discretion that we have historically recognized agencies have in their informational activities and defense of their policies.”

But Gordon said legitimate questions were raised by members of Congress and the press regarding “the intersection” of DoD public affairs and possibly compromised procurements as a result of ties between the retired officials and military contractors.

Past Violations Outlined

Gordon said the GAO identified three categories of communications that are restricted by the propaganda ban – covert, purely partisan and self-aggrandizement, or “puffery.”

In 1987, the State Dept. engaged in a PR effort to push the public and Congress to back the Reagan administration’s Central America policy, an effort which violated the propaganda ban. The 2004 controversy over the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services PR efforts to use video news releases that were not marked by origin was another violation, as was the 2004 Dept. of Education PR push with Ketchum and Armstrong Williams.

The RMO program was different, Gordon said, because the retired officials, identified in documents as “surrogates,” were not paid for their advocacy and the DoD did not hide the program from the public nor ask participants to conceal the program or the source of their information.


Sard Verbinnen & Co. is speaking for snack maker Stella D’oro Co. as the company has taken a beating in the press from the union at its Bronx, N.Y., bakery.

Stella D’oro was purchased by the private equity firm Brynwood Partners in 2006 from Kraft, which bought it from the founding family. In a statement via Sard, the owners blasted Kraft/Nabisco by saying the brand suffered a steady decline in sales and profits when it was bought by the food giant. The private equity firm also challenged media reports that said it was taking money out of the company in the form of fees and other equity as it attempts to turn it around.


Former President Clinton counselor Lanny Davis is working for business interests in Honduras who oppose many of the policies of now-ousted leftist President Manuel Zelaya.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met with Zelaya and has demanded the return of the democratically elected politico to power.

Talks between Honduran acting President Roberto Micheletti and Zelaya’s people broke down last night. Those negotiations were geared to creation of a “truth commission” to probe why a pajama-wearing Zelaya was ousted from his home in an early morning June 28 raid and then put on a plane to Costa Rica.

Davis’ firm, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, has been hired by the 21-member Honduran Latin American Business Council to provide “facts relating to the removal of Mr. Zelaya,” according to lobbying records. Davis was a key advocate for Clinton and was among his most vocal supporters during the Lewinsky crisis.


Joel Sawyer, communications director for embattled South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, is stepping down Aug. 5 to get a job in the private sector.

He handled hundreds of media requests about Sanford’s whereabouts in the aftermath of the Republican’s disappearance last month.

Sawyer initially released the statement from Sanford that had the Governor hiking the Appalachian Trail. That was reversed after news broke that Sanford was conducting an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina. Sawyer, a former newspaper reporter, says Sanford’s affair had nothing to do with his departure.

“The public nature of my job might lead some to speculate about my reasons for leaving, but I want to be crystal clear that my departure is purely about what’s best for me and my family on a personal and financial level,” said Sawyer in a statement.

Ben Fox, Sanford’s cabinet director, takes over.


The restaurant chain hit by a lawsuit from a 50-year-old man who says he bit into a condom while eating French onion soup at one of its locations has brought in Orange County PR firm Gladstone International.

A Mission Viejo man sued Claim Jumper restaurants June 21 in O.C. Superior Court for unspecified damages over the incident which occurred in April. He claims the condom contained female DNA.

CJ responded with a statement on June 22 saying that it found no evidence to support the allegations from Zdenek Philip Hodousek after hiring an independent investigator in April. We thoroughly investigated Mr. Hodousek’s claim,” the company said. “We do not believe Mr. Hodousek’s lawsuit has any merit and will fight this allegation.”

GI is the 20-year-old Laguna Beach, Calif.-based PR firm of Joan Gladstone.


Internet Edition, July 29, 2009, Page 3


D.C. publisher Roll Call Group said it has agreed to acquire Congressional Quarterly from the Times Publishing Company to form “the largest and most experienced newsroom covering Washington.”

Both publications will continue to publish but Robert Perry, president and editor-in-chief of CQ for the past 12 years, is out.

RCG, part of The Economist Group, will create a new company called CQ-Roll Call Group headed by Laurie Battaglia, who is managing director and executive VP of RCG and takes the title of “executive leader” of the new enterprise.

CQ has covered Congress since 1945, while Roll Call was founded in 1955 and acquired by Economist Group in 1992.

The “great majority” of CQ staff will make the move, according to a news release.

The acquisition comes as the up-start Politco has gained traction in print and online covering the inside news of Congress and D.C.

The Times will continue to publish Governing Magazine.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.


The Associated Press’ board of directors said July 23 that the news collective will build a “registry” to tag and track all AP content online to assure compliance with its terms of use by 2010.

The board said the system will register identifying information about each piece of content distributed along with its terms of use. A “beacon” will be built into the content to notify the AP about its use and the data can also be used for metrics on content consumption and other measurement.

“What we are building here is a way for good journalism to survive and thrive," said Dean Singleton, chairman of the board and vice chairman and CEO of MediaNews Group Inc., in a statement. He said the registry allows the AP to protect its work online and assure its continued operations.

The registry will initially cover AP text content online with plans for extension to all member content by early 2010. Photos and video are expected to be covered down the road.

The news collective believes the registry will become self-sustaining after 2010.

The registry will function by using a “microformat” developed by the AP which is essentially a “wrapper” that indicates how its publisher permits its use online as well as tracking information.

The AP board also said it voted to reduce local TV members’ basic text assessments by 10 percent next year. Earlier this year, rates for member newspapers were cut for the second year in a row.


Mark Rosenthal, who once headed Interpublic’s global media operations, took the CEO post at Current Media, the holding company of Al Gore’s cable/satellite TV venture.

He brought more than 25 years of experience when joining Current Media on July 27.

Rosenthal, who sat on Current Media’s board for the past four years, was in charge of IPG’s Initiative, MAGNA Global, Universal McCann and a raft of specialized shops dealing with media buying, programming, content development, retail and barter.

Earlier, Rosenthal served as COO of Viacom’s MTV Networks, where he counseled on integration of brands such as Country Music TV, Spike TV, Noggin and Comedy Central.

Current TV reaches more than 60M households. Its operation registers more than seven million viewers each month.


Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos posted a stark apology on an Amazon message board last week after the company removed illegal copies of books from users’ Kindle e-book readers.

“Our ‘solution’ to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles,” he wrote.

“It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission,” he continued, signing the note “with deep apology to our customers.”

The action has sparked a movement among users, librarians and other interested stakeholders to urge Amazon to give up control of the content that users load onto their Kindle devices.


Janice Min is leaving US Weekly with the expiration of her contract on Aug. 1. The 39-year-old former editor-in-chief of the Wenner Media property is itching to launch another career.

She is credited with driving the circulation of the entertainment magazine from 800K to 1.9M.

Min assumed the helm of US Weekly, which is No. 2 to Time Inc.’s People, from Bonnie Fuller.

Michael Steele, executive editor, takes over for Min in the acting editor-in-chief capacity.


Texas Tribune, the non-profit public media group set to launch in the fall, has acquired Texas Weekly, a government and political newsletter.

With the acquisition, TW editor/owner Ross Ramsey becomes managing editor of the Tribune.

Prior to taking over TW in 1998, Ramsey served as associate deputy comptroller for policy and communications director in the Lone Star State’s Comptroller of Public Accounts office.

Earlier, he was Austin bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle and business reporter for the Dallas Times Herald.

Evan Smith, CEO of the Tribune, called Ramsey “whip-smart” and “one of the three most respected reporters” covering the state's capital.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, July 29, 2009, Page 4


Advance Publications has officially closed the Ann Arbor News, which had been in business for 174 years. Plans to shut down the paper became public in March.

The college town’s only daily is replaced by There will be print editions on Thursday and Sunday.

Laurel Champion, AAN publisher, told Editor & Publisher, that a “seven-day-a-week print model just is not sustainable here.” She cited a very transient population and low home ownership rates as big drawbacks.

A dozen people will put together the online news site. The AAN, which had a circulation of 45K, employed a total of more than 270 people.


Michael Kelly, former head of AOL Media Networks, is the new CEO of Weather Channel Cos. He is responsible for the cable channel that is available in 100M homes and websites that attract more than 40M unique visitors each month.

Kelly joins from private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson. WCC is owned by a consortium of NBC Universal, Bain Capital and Blackstone Group.


Conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats have convinced Manhattan Congressman and Ways and Means Committee chief Charlie Rangel to remove the "advertising and PR marketing tax" on Rx communications as a revenue-generating scheme, according to Michael Durand, a veteran of Porter Novelli and Ogilvy's healthcare operation.

Rangel saw the provision as a means to fund healthcare reform. The powerful Democrat believed that disallowing the business tax deduction on medical device and pharmaceutical advertising could have generated $37B for the cash-starved Treasury.

Durand believes spirited opposition from the 4A's, American Advertising Federation and a ton of letters from individuals helped Rangel see the light.

Any celebration, however, is premature because "it ain't over til it's over."

Said Durand: "Members of Congress still must find nearly a trillion dollars to fund reform and it seems every major revenue suggestion, such as taxing employee health benefits and a surtax on high income earners is trashed by one faction of congress or another."

There is a possibility the marketing tax could make a comeback so Durand urges all to keep a close watch on the Potomac.


Publicis Groupe says its exposure to General Motor's bankruptcy is $12.8M, a far cry from its initial $150M estimate made in the beginning of June.

The French ad/PR conglomerate says it is now in a better position to assess the impact of GM's Chapter 11 filing.

The firm has now ironed out pacts with both "Old GM" (Saturn, Saab and Hummer) and "New GM" (Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC).

According to a statement from Publicis: "Old GM has signed agreements with some of our agencies and assumed and assigned contracts with other of our agencies to New GM."

The firm has "received payment of the bulk of our fee receivables as of the date of the bankruptcy, and GM has committed to us our remaining pre-petition fee receivables over the next few months."

Interpublic last month projected a $20M exposure to GM. It has not revised that estimate.


Twitter, which was initially banned by censors in some Middle Eastern countries, is catching on at a rapid clip in the region.

Spot On PR of Dubai reports that there were 12,266 Twitter users in the Arab world at the end of Q2, led by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE is tops with nearly 5,000 users or about 60 percent of users in the prominent trade bloc of six Gulf states known as the GCC. Saudi Arabia has more than 1,400 users.

In contrast, Spot On noted in its survey, GCC countries had less than a thousand Twitter users in total last year. Twitter use in the Middle East and North Africa rose 261% during the second quarter, enough to raise the eyebrows of marketers, according to the PR firm. That compares with 100% growth in Q1 and less than 25% in Q4 of ’08.

“The exciting news for marketers is that MENA’s Twitter community is set to move from thousands to tens of thousands,” said Carrington Malin, managing director at Spot On.

The firm found that last year most Twitter users in the region were Internet professionals, but the service has lately been embraced by a wider demographic of communications, media and marketing professionals.


Boston-based Marlo marketing/communications has created a stir with client Zoo England as budget cuts in Massachusetts threaten to severely slash funding for two zoos.

The firm drew national interest for its client's plight this month when it suggested that animals may have to be euthanized if the operating budgets of the zoos – Boston's Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Mass. – were cut by $4M as the governor requested. That claim drew the ire of Gov. Deval Patrick.

The Boston Globe ran a story and headline about potential animal euthanasia above a photo of children watching monkeys at the Boston zoo.

Marlo Fogelman, who heads mm/c, declined to comment on the reaction to the PR approach before a resolution is reached, but told O'Dwyer's that his firm has been agency of record for Zoo New England since 2006.

ZNE backtracked from the possibility of having to destroy animals after the backlash.

The goal of the PR effort is to trigger a legislative override of the governor's cuts.

Internet Edition, July 29, 2009, Page 5


MS&L Digital has unveiled a proprietary software tool called Multiloguer to measure new media results and quantify online conversations.

The service calculates an “impact score” based on comments, trackbacks and page views for a particular hit. It also provides monitoring reports directly to clients via a dashboard.

The service “not only lets us track who the truly powerful influencers are, it allows us to more effectively manage those valuable relationships and measure the success of our new media outreach.”


Members of ICR, Westport, Conn., in collaboration with Amanda Flanagan, widow of ICR executive John Flanagan, have set up the John Patrick Flanagan Foundation in his memory.

Flanagan, a founding partner of ICR, died Dec. 24, 2008, at his home in Fairfield, Conn., at the age of 44 after a bout with cancer.

More than 15 members of ICR and 57 members of Flanagan's family took part in the Fairfield Half Marathon and 5K race on June 28 to raise funds for the Foundation.

Each staffer made a commitment and trained in order to pay tribute to Flanagan, while maintaining everyday client calls, work and duties, said the firm.

BRIEFS: Ogilvy & Mather, part of WPP, has acquired a majority stake in its Vietnam PR affiliate, T&A Communications. The acquisition of the Ho Chi Minh City-based shop follows a seven-year affiliation and coincides with WPP CEO Martin Sorrell’s visit to the country. The firm will be known as T&A Ogilvy JVC and counts 57 staffers with clients like Amway, Boeing and VietJet Air. ...Red Sky PR, Boise, Idaho, has joined the Pinnacle Worldwide network of independent firms. The firm was founded in March 2008 and works with the state of Idaho, Meridian Development Corp. and Ski Idaho, among other clients. Jessica Flynn, former communications manager for Idaho’s Tamarack Resort, is president. ...Elias/Savion Inter@ctive, Pittsburgh, recently deployed five new websites for clients including Amachi Pittsburgh, The Event Group, Galliker’s Dairy Co., SRS Energy and Velocity Broadcasting. ...Mercury Media, Santa Monica, Calif., has launched an Hispanic direct response advertising practice. Marcelino Muyares directs Mercury en Espanol. ...Consensus Planning Group, Los Angeles, has changed its name to Consensus Inc. The 23-year-old firm cited the “monumental changes occurring in the world of communications.” ...Trevelino/Keller Communications Group, Atlanta, has kicked off a social media initiative to support restaurants and retailers in local markets. Called Dine and Shoppe, the service uses the Ning social networking platform to deliver content and services, as well as a community for restaurateurs and retailers to exchange ideas and insight. Members also have access to TK’s fixed price slate of PR services for small business on tight budgets.


New York Area

Trylon SMR, New York/People Capital, lending portal for students to find private loans for higher education, for media relations.

The Marino Organization, New York/Horizon Engineering, “green” commissioning of real estate and construction projects, for PR for its 11 offices in the U.S.

M Booth & Associates, New York/American Headache Society, trade group of healthcare providers, to build awareness of the group and increase understanding of migraine headaches among healthcare pros and the public. The firm has also picked up, a listing service for rental housing owned by eBay Inc., for PR support.

Resolute Communications, New York/Salix Pharmaceuticals, as AOR for PR for the developer and marketer of prescription drugs for gastrointestinal diseases. Salix was a client of the firm but the drug maker had not previously had an AOR.

Stern + Associates, Cranford, N.J./Robert H. Schaffer & Associates, management consultants, for media and speaking engagement support, and Fisher & Phillips, for PR for the law firm’s Murray Hill, N.J., operations.

S3, Boonton, N.J./SentryBlue C.I.M., incident management solution for special needs schools, for online marketing, social media and PR to reach special needs school communities.


Schubert Communications, Downington, Pa./EXTOL International, business integration software, for social marketing and PR.

Nieman Group, Philadelphia/Dietz & Watson, deli meats and artisan cheese distributor, for advertising PR and digital comms. following a six-way pitch.

Environics Communications, Washington, D.C./The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, for PR and media outreach for its annual meeting and exposition in November in Los Angeles.

Exemplar Strategic Communications, Falls Church, Va./Economic Policy Institute, Keys to Literacy, Progressive Learning and WETA Learning Media, for PR and public affairs.

The Brandon Agency, Myrtle Beach, S.C./Lakewood Camping Resort, for PR and marketing.

Trevelino/Keller Communications Group, Atlanta/Paymetric, secure enterprise payment acceptance services, for PR following a competitive pitch. The work includes media placement, analyst relations, conference and trade show strategies, among other tasks.

The Zimmerman Agency, Tallahassee, Fla./, Australia-based price comparison website, and Intelity, in-room solution for hospitality industry, both for PR.


Liggett Stashower, Cleveland/Flood, wood finish brand, for a regional PR campaign.


AGK/dubroWORKS, Los Angeles/Ava Living, social network for interior designers and clients, for PR.

Internet Edition, July 29, 2009, Page 6


PR services company Cision posted a 4.6 percent slide in first-half revenue amid a company-wide restructuring and divestment of unprofitable units in the face of effects from the global recession. Net loss for the first half widened to about $4M from $1M for the same period of ’08. [Cision reports its earnings in Swedish Kroner, which we converted to dollars via]

North American revenue for the first half rose to $58.5M, up from $50.1M in ’08. Europe and its Nordic & Baltic operations were down from ’08.

The Stockholm-based company, which markets the CisionPoint monitoring and analysis platform, slashed 485 staffers – including 127 in staff reductions and 358 in divesting Nordic businesses – to tally under 2,000 total by the end of the first half of ’09. Cision said it saw an increased impact of the recession in the second quarter in most markets, particularly in monitoring services, but cost controls in North America helped boost margins in the region over Q1.

CEO Hans Gieskes is optimistic that unloading Nordic and U.K. businesses will help Cision emerge strong from the downturn. The company unloaded its U.K.-based Print Monitor business during the recent quarter and took a charge in a move it says will return its U.K. operations to profitability by 2010. Gieskes noted the successful rollout of CisionPoiint in the U.S. and the transition of its U.K. business to a fully digital operation.

Cision also benefited from exchange rates resulting from a strong dollar during the first half.


PR software company Vocus posted second-quarter revenue of $21.1M, a 10-percent rise over Q2 of 2008, as the company said it has reached a level of consistency in the tough economic environment. Net loss was $343K.

“Although we’re not seeing the average selling prices, renewals or sales productivity we enjoyed in a good economy, we are now seeing some consistency in our metrics quarter-to-quarter,” chairman and CEO Rick Rudman said in a conference call, noting “PR and marketing budgets continue to be scrutinized and tightly managed.”

Asked about 2010 by an analyst, Rudman responded: “In a normal economy it’s too early to talk about next year, and in this economy, it’s way too early to talk about next year.”

The company added 203 net new subscribers for Q2, including the NHL and General Dynamics.

Sales and marketing continue to absorb a large portion of revenue – 44 percent or $9.2M, up from $7.8M last year. The company’s sales force of 148 is expected to grow as high as 165 by the end of the year.

For the rest of the year, Vocus expects a similar run. “We’re expecting what we saw in the first half to pretty much stay the same in the second half of the year,” said CFO Steve Vintz.

Vocus sees mid-sized and small business (under $5M) as its key growth area in the U.S., an untapped market that it believes separates the company from competitors like BusinessWire which are focused on large clients.



Elisabeth Handler has returned to PRx Communication Strategists, San Jose, in the role of president and chief operation officer. She had served as chief information officer for the Santa Clara Family Health Plan for the last three years. She was previously a senior VP at PRx and held the same title at The Bohle Company.

Jeff Lungren, Special Assistant to President George W. Bush for legislative affairs, to the Galen Institute, a non-profit healthcare think tank based in Alexandria, Va., as communications director. He previously handled messaging and comms. for the House Judiciary Committee during the Bush terms.

Leonard Markidan, previously with Devine Mulvey in Washington, D.C., to Skadaddle Media, Sausalito, Calif., a creative marketing studio, as communications manager overseeing external and internal relations programs, managing copywriting projects and marketing comms. efforts for clients.

John Ford, managing editor of e-newsletter Legal Bisnow, to Hellerman Baretz Communications, Washington, D.C. An attorney, Ford takes on a senior A/S role with the firm, which handles legal and professional services clients.

Beth Van Duyne, who sits on the city council of Irving, Tex., is now a public affairs director in Burson-Marsteller’s Dallas office. She reports to Mike Lake, U.S. PA practice chief. As founder of BCI Marketing Group, Van Duyne has handled various assignments for clients like Verizon and SAP. Elected in 2004, the Republican has testified on the state and federal level on topics including energy, economic development, water resources and transit.

Mark Dybul, former director of the U.S. Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, to APCO Worldwide’s International Advisory Council. Dybul was President Bush’s pointman for HIV/AIDs relief. He has recently been co-director at Georgetown Univ.’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health.


Bryan Brignac to A/E and Bill Brozak to senior account representative, Tunheim Partners, Minneapolis. Brignac joined the firm in April 2006 and handles accounts like U.S. Energy Services and Mystic Lake Casino. Brozak has been with Tunheim since Feb. 2007 and also works on USES, along with DTN, among others.


Alia Faraj-Johnson, VP for Florida’s Ron Sachs Communications, has been appointed to the Florida Elections Commission. Gov. Charlie Crist announced the appointment, which carries a term through Dec. 31, 2011. Faraj-Johnson was comms. director for Crist’s predecessor, Gov. Jeb Bush, for three years after serving for two years as his press secretary.


Internet Edition, July 29, 2009, Page 7

UAB SAYS 863 APRS CREATED (cont’d from 1)

Said Blow: “We are pleased that utilization of the process is increasing from previous years. And we are confident that the candidates will be better prepared in the coming months with the enhanced resources and new processes being rolled out by the various participating organizations.”

One program, being conducted by the New York and New Jersey chapters of PRS, is a four-day, $585 APR “Boot Camp” which involves three days of intensive study at PRS h.q. and then the 3.5-hour test at the Prometric Testing Center, 1 Penn Plaza.

July 24 was the deadline for registering.

Arthur Yann, VP-PR of PRS, has been asked what the total registration is.

Yann, who is not APR, posted a stout defense of it when Steve Cody of Peppercom called the program “worthless” and “useless, useless” on his blog July 24.

Cody had received a pitch to sign up for the Boot Camp and said this caused him to “take off the gloves” about the subject.

Said Cody: “An APR is worthless. It’s never meant anything to any client organization I’ve ever encountered. Nor has it ever made one iota of difference in considering a prospective employee’s strengths and weaknesses…because PR is an art and not a science, there are no hard and fast rules, regulations, practices, policies or procedures that a PR professional must study and then prove competence in some sort of ‘bar exam.’”

Yann’s rebuttal traced the history of APR dating from 1964, named top execs who are APR, and said APR “reflects a strong commitment to professional excellence and provides a distinction that can open doors to career and salary advancement.”

The previous PR Society test, which required an afternoon of writing, created more than 300 APRs yearly from 1986 to 1992 when there were about 14,000 members (vs. 22,000 now).

In 1996, when there were 17,004 members, 352 became APR.

No APRs were won during the six years by members of the Agricultural Relations Council or the Religion Communicators Council. No one applied from the ARC and one took the test from RCC but failed.

Two from the Texas PR Assn. passed the test while three failed. Other UAB members are PR Assn. of Puerto Rico (one pass, three fails); Maine PR Council (eight passes, three fails), and National School PR Assn. (37 passes, 11 fails).

APRs are won after going through the Readiness Review in which materials the candidate says he or she worked on are examined, an interview is conducted and the candidate takes a 3.5-hour computer test at a Prometric Testing Center.

The previous test, which was used until June 30, 2003, involved a morning of answering written questions about the history and practice of PR and an afternoon of solving PR problems.

Among the assignments was preparing a PR campaign to address a PR problem or marketing opportunity.

The exams were then graded by an outside service at an annual cost of about $100,000.

Canadian APR Requires Writing

The Canadian PR Society, which also has an accreditation program, subjects candidates to an oral test and then a 3.5-hour written test involving several types of essays including a description of a full-fledged PR program. Candidates must have at least five years in PR positions and are required to have five letters of recommendation including three from APRs and two from non-APRs and several “seconders who can supply character and professional references.

An extensive description of the CPRS accreditation process is on the group’s website but it is accessible only by members. CPRS puts its entire audit in the public area of its website.

Its policy is to defer dues income until earned over the course of the dues year. Its balance sheet showed $786,959 in cash and investments as of March 31, 2009 and deferred dues and conference registration income of $425,620. Dues totaled $387,288. Expenses for the year were $846,962.

Soaring costs of the previous APR program at PRS had resulted in creation of the multiple-choice exam. Almost all of the funding of the UAB is supplied by PRS. In the years from 1986 to 2002, PRS lost $2,926,080 on the APR program.

Costliest year was 2000 when the total cost reached $591,541 and the net cost was $441,467 or $1,794 for each of the 246 new PRS APRs that were created. In 1986, 338 new APRs were created at a net cost of $89,115 or $263 per APR.

PRS staffer Kathy Mulvihill works on APR. Her salary and fringes were $88,337 in 2008. APR salaries and fringes in 2000 were $123,978; “professional fees,” $207,147; travel, $30,212, and “overhead,” $140,363. PRS removed “overhead” allocations for 13 categories of spending as of 2006. APR’s cost in 2008 totaled $164,322. Income was $199,483.


Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign’s admission of an extramarital affair with a staffer has resulted in churn among his communications staff and the announcement that a D.C. PR firm exec will be taking over as chief of staff.

Ensign confessed last month adding that he paid thousands of dollars to the wife of a staffer and her family after having the nine-month affair. He resigned as head of the Republican Policy Committee, a key party post in the senate, but said he intends to keep his seat.

Aaron Cohen, VP of government and political affairs at Kimbell & Asssociates in Washington, D.C., who previously worked for Ensign, will return to take over as chief of staff for Ensign with the departure of John Lopez in August. Tony Mazzola, comms. director, is leaving that post to work for the National Republican Congressional Committee in New Hampshire as a northeast communications director, Ensign's office said.

Rebecca Fish, Ensign's comms. director at the RPC and National Republican Senatorial Committee, will take over for Mazzola in the senator's office.


Internet Edition, July 29, 2009, Page 8




The new multiple-choice, computer-administered accreditation exam of the PR Society and affiliated groups was six years old as of June 30 and it’s time for a review of this process.

The new test, which debuted on July 1, 2003, after four years of study and a cost of $250,000 (virtually all PRS money), has resulted in only a thin stream of new PRS APRs (713 in total or 119 yearly). Previously, more than 300 new PRS APRs were created yearly.

Although administered by the Universal Accreditation Board which has eight other members, about 80% of test-takers are PRS members.

APR started out as an educational program but turned into a political party through which non-New York based PRS members exercise control of h.q. Only APRs have been allowed on the PRS board for 35 years.

Few New Yorkers ever take the test. Only one New Yorker is on the 17-member board, Lynn Appelbaum of CCNY. She agreed to serve after no one else showed up from New York in 2008 after two nomcom deadlines had passed.

Francis Onofrio of Bethany, Conn., was the previous “New York” representative on the board.

PRS attempted to spur interest in APR by scheduling a $585 four-day “APR boot camp” Aug. 26-29.

One mistake it made was sending Steve Cody of Peppercom an invitation to sign up for the camp on the last day of registration, July 24.

This was the last straw for Cody, who heads a PR firm that did $13.5 million in fees in 2008.

He said on his blog that he has been reluctant to comment on APR because he didn’t want to offend some industry leaders.

But the “boot camp” drove him to write that “An APR is worthless. It’s never meant anything to any client organization I’ve ever encountered…and is based on a false assumption that a PR pro should master rules and regulations in the same way a doctor or lawyer must.”

The announcement of the boot camp said recruits would get instruction in 60 KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities). We’d like to see those and we’re sure Steve would, too.

While discussing the APR test, we heard from several PR pros who said the APR test of the Canadian PR Society is far superior.

Unlike the multiple-choice U.S. test, CPRS requires 3.5 hours of on-the-spot writing (including creation of a PR program). There is a 45-minute oral exam on the day of the test as well as questions about PR that are answered in writing. There are no multiple-choice questions.

Before being allowed to take it, candidates must show five years in full-time PR positions and must submit five letters of recommendation including three from APRs and two from non-APRs. Cost is $400.

Non-APRs can be board members but officers must be APR.

CPRS has about 1,800 members and 485 are APR or 30% of those eligible. CPRS puts its full audit on the website in the public area.

The website of Florida International University, the employer of PRS chair-elect candidate Rosanna Fiske, is a good example of freedom of speech in action. “Freedom of thought and expression” is the first item on the school’s “Values Statement.”

So when the FIU trustees on June 12 renamed the main campus after Modesto Maidique, who headed FIU for 23 years, it set off a howl of protests (and some defenses) on the school’s website.

Students, who voted against the change by a nine-to-one margin on the school newspaper’s website, complained that neither they, the faculty nor the alumni had been consulted.

Many of the 69 postings as of July 24 rapped the trustees for a number of things, one charging “cronyism, nepotism and corruption” at the school and another saying 20 programs were cut last year and 11 this year and it’s no time to be naming the campus after Maidique.

The sharpest criticisms came from The Beacon, student newspaper.

Online editorial director Rick Martinez said on July 1 that Maidique “hasn’t earned the respect” of the student body and that a $100,000 bonus to Maidique plus paying him his original salary for five years after leaving the presidency in August is inappropriate and “unwise.”

The editorial charges that students are treated like “trash” and there is “bureaucracy,” “politics,” and “closed doors all around the campus.”

Sandra Gonzalez-Levy, chief spokesperson for FIU, did not return his call, he noted.

In its failure to run major decisions by key audiences, FIU sounds just like PRS. Members (including the Assembly) didn’t hear about the 15-year relocation of h.q. downtown or the cancellation of the printed members’ directory until these had been accomplished.

They are kept in the dark about numerous other things including the identity of their own Assembly delegates. Months go by before minutes of board meetings are posted on the website. Transcripts of Assemblies are kept under lock and key.

FIU has one thing that PRS lacks—freedom of speech. The 69 postings on the FIU website are remarkable for their candor. Almost all of them are anonymous, needed if a debate is to take place when remarks could cost a participant his or her job or career.

PRS created PRSAY blog in January but it’s mostly a lot of positive-sounding announcements by leaders and members. Participants must identify themselves.

There has been almost no debate about the proposed bylaw changes.

FIU has a big PR problem and we think this puts Fiske on the spot. She should be there giving advice to the trustees, telling them to recognize the existence of students, faculty and alumni and stop running over them roughshod.

How can a university teach “PR” if it doesn’t practice it itself?!

The proposed new bylaws for the PR Society contain this snake-in-the-grass: non-APRs can seek national office if they have more than 20 years of “experience with increasing levels of responsibility” or headed a chapter, district, section or national committee.

What’s left out is “served in at least one Assembly as a voting participant.”

Keeping this in would open the floodgates to non-APRs seeking office since scores of the delegates are non-APR (non-APRs being allowed since 2005).

This is something the APRs will not tolerate. The bone they throw is that a non-APR candidate must show 20 years in ever higher PR posts.

For one thing, this would eliminate just about everyone on the current board.

For another, a PR executive that successful would probably have no time for PRS. The proposed bylaws do nothing to “broaden” participation in the PRS board.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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