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Internet Edition, August 5, 2009, Page 1


Interpublic’s second-quarter profit plunged 71 percent to $27.8M compared with Q2 of ’08 as the ad/PR holding company said it felt the effects of the global economic downturn.

The company has instituted expense management, cut thousands from its ranks and implemented other cost controls since last year. “All of our agencies are competitive in the marketplace and we are active in major pitches at the local and global level,” chairman and CEO Michael Roth said in a statement.

Second quarter revenue of $1.47 billion was down nearly 20 percent from Q2 of ’08. For the first half of the year, IPG revenue of $2.8B is down 15.7% from last year. Salaries are down 12.2% from Q2 last year.

The company paid out $120M in severance expenses over the past nine months as 4,100 staffers (9%) were cut. It anticipates more cuts during the current quarter.


Hill & Knowlton is helping client Denny’s push back against a lawsuit backed by activist consumer watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest which accuses the restaurant chain of offering meals that are “dangerously” high in sodium.

Denny’s, via H&K, blasted the suit filed by a New Jersey man as “frivolous and without merit,” saying the company will fight it “aggressively” in court.

The suit, filed in Superior Court in New Jersey by a 48-year-old frequent Denny’s customer with blood pressure problems with the support of the CSPI, aims to force Denny’s to publish the level of sodium in each meal and place a notice in menus warning about high sodium levels. The CSPI was in talks with Denny’s over sodium levels that broke down earlier this year.


Medialink has reached a deal with note holders threatening to try to block its acquisition by TheNewsMarket, paving the way for the deal to be consummated in September.

The company last month paid $1.59M of debentures worth $2.65M to the note holders – Iroquois Master Fund, Rockmore Investment Master Fund, Portside Growth and Opportunity Fund and Smithfield Fiduciary.

Medialink reached a new agreement with those entities last week by paying another $525K, including a $515K settlement payment and a $10K warrant payment to repurchase share warrants for Medialink stock which would likely never have vested.


Simon Sproule is leaving Microsoft after a brief tenure as VP of corporate communications to return to Nissan in that same title for the Renault-Nissan Alliance in Paris.

Frank Shaw, who heads the Microsoft account at Waggener Edstrom, is moving in-house at the client at the end of August, he announced on his blog.

Sproule was in the auto industry for 18 years before making the switch in March. He joined Nissan in 2003 after posts at Ford, Aston Martin and Jaguar, among others. Executive VP Pam Edstrom takes the reins on the Microsoft account at WE.


Rogers & Cowan has picked up trendy candy boutique operator Dylan’s Candy Bar following a competitive search process.

DCB has three locations in New York State, including its flagship Manhattan outpost, along with Orlando and Houston. Several department stores and clothing retailers also sell its candy.

Founder Dylan Lauren (daughter of the clothing designer Ralph and author Ricky) said the company aims to create a retail experience that merges candy with the worlds of art, fashion and pop culture.

R&C senior VP Maggie Gallant oversees the account from New York, focusing on lifestyle media relations and entertainment outreach for the company.


Lambert, Edwards & Associates has acquired fellow Michigan firm John Bailey & Associates, a Troy-based shop with extensive auto sector experience.

LE&A, based in Grand Rapids, bucked a downward trend last year in posting a 22 percent revenue jump to $3.8M with 24 staffers. The combined firm is said to pass the $6M mark with a combined staff of 40, although terms of the deal were not disclosed. Both agencies retain their names.

Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner of LE&A, said the firms share a “Midwest mentality that has translated well when we’re competing nationally against the biggest and the best.”

John Bailey, chairman of JB&A who becomes a partner of the combine by inking a long-term contract, said the move is a chance for the combination to “move up the ranks” among U.S. PR agencies.


Internet Edition, August 5, 2009, Page 2


Edelman, the biggest independent firm, reports a 5.9 percent dip in first-half fees to $218.6M as clients retrench to cope with the economic downturn.

CEO Richard Edelman reports that on a “fixed rate” basis the firm dipped a mere 0.5 percent to $227.5M.

Edelman says his firm is “doing a lot better than it did during the prior recession” when the tech bubble burst, tossing the PR business into chaos.

Consumer products, healthcare and technology remain strong, while the financial sector is down.

Edelman notes the Washington PA scene has turned out to be less than what was expected. A weak point: association spending is down as trade groups lose members and fees.

The independent firm’s revenues dipped 2.6 percent in the U.S. to $144.6M. Europe showed a 12.3 percent drop to $43.8M, while Asia/Pacific was down 11.7 percent to $18.1M. Edelman has trimmed staff by four percent. He said: “All-in-all, things are working out better than I thought.” The CEO remains bullish on the future due to the “secular rise of PR” vis-à-vis other communications disciplines.


Tom Grimmer, who spent more than a decade at Credit Suisse Group, is now managing partner at Kreab Gavin Anderson’s China operation. He is based in Beijing. KGA is part of Omnicom.

At CSG, Grimmer was Asia/Pacific senior communications chief in China’s capital city, and prior to that had headed regional corporate communications for Credit Suisse First Boston in Hong Kong.

Richard Constant, KGA CEO, said Grimmer will counsel multinationals seeking investment opportunities in China as well as Chinese companies looking to expand outside the People’s Republic.


The Embassy of Poland paid BGR Group $200K during the first-half of 2009 to be its eyes and ears in D.C. The former Barbour Griffith & Rogers shop advised and monitored U.S. policymaking processes regarding Poland, according to its federal filing. It also arranged meetings between U.S. and Polish officials.

BGR chairman Ed Rogers leads the team. Other members include Stephen Rademaker (ex-National Security Council) and Robert Blackwill (ex-Ambassador to India), among others.


David Bass, a PR executive and former deputy publisher of The Weekly Standard, has opened Raptor Strategies in D.C., a media, government and policy consulting shop.

“Washington is a different place now,” the right-leaning Bass said.

He was VP/chief development officer at Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research in D.C. and earlier served as managing director at Qorvis Communications.


Footwear brand Teva is looking for background information from PR agencies to potentially pitch its media relations account for 2010.

The company, part of Deckers Outdoors Corp., will select three firms to pitch its account – ranging from $5K to $7,500 a month — from those responding to a request for information.

Jaime Eschette, a Deckers PR staffer, is handling the RFI, which asks for nuts-and-bolts information like clients and offices, as well as strategic guidance on social media use and adoption of client-relevant “voice.”

Firms are invited to submit information until Aug. 15. Eschette is at [email protected].


Marina Maher Communications has rebranded its healthcare unit as MMC Health, a unit headed by executive VP Megan Svensen. It complements MMC Well-Being, which is led by Diana Littman, group senior VP.

The independent shop also has forged an alliance with AXON Communications, the medical specialist with offices in Toronto, Montreal and London. AXON will establish a beachhead at MMC’s New York office.

MMC Health has backstopped its expertise with a five member medical advisory board comprised of doctors with expertise in family practice, women’s health, epidemiology, neurology and dermatology.

The unit has added VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies to its line-up that includes companies like Merck, Pfizer and Novo Nordisk.

MMC Well-Being targets OTC, nutrition and personal care products clients. Clients include Dynova Laboratories’ Sinus Buster and Allergy Buster nasal sprays and Zestra Essential Arousal Oils.


Robert Schenkein, who founded and built up a large Denver PR firm before selling it, has been named VP of marketing for Colorado Public Radio.

The non-profit CPR operates two FM stations — KCFR (news) and KVOD (classical). Like other public and private radio entities, it has struggled through the down economy and instituted pay cuts among staff this year.

Schenkein will handle branding, PR and media relations, partnerships and online initiatives among his tasks to grow community support, fundraising and the profile of the organization.

Schenkein founded the firm in 1973 building it up to a 30-staffer firm with around $3M in revenue at its peak. He sold the firm to two staffers in 2003 and it closed down in January amid the economic doldrums.


The Nevada Commission on Economic Development has moved its PR account to The Ferraro Group following an RFP process.

The $80K a year pact was handled by Carol Infranca & Associates for the past four years and entered a mandatory review in May. New contract runs to 2011.

Ferraro, led by former R&R Partners public affairs and government relations exec Gregory Ferraro, has offices in Reno, Carson City and Las Vegas.


Internet Edition, August 5, 2009, Page 3


Scott Donaton, former editor and publisher of Advertising Age, has been hired by Interpublic to manage its branded entertainment unit, which is called Ensemble.

The venture houses IPG's Universal McCann and Initiative units, plus an alliance with consulting firm Media Link.

Donaton’s job is to "bridge the gap" between marketers and the entertainment sector.

Donaton is author of "Madison & Vine: Why the Entertainment and Advertising Industries Must Converge to Survive," which was published in 2004. He left the Entertainment Weekly publisher post in April.


The Washington Post Co reports that 220 staffers at its flagship paper accepted a Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program package, a move that resulted in a $56.8M second-quarter charge.

The company anticipates a $20M savings in wages and benefits from the exited employees. A year ago, 231 people left the company via the incentive program.

The newspaper division posted an $89.3M second-quarter loss, and a $143.1M first-half deficit. Those comparable numbers are $96.7M and $95.5M.

During the six-months of `09, daily and Sunday editions of the Washington Post declined by 1.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.


Ben Silverman is leaving his co-chairman slot at NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios to join Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp.

The NBC network is being placed under the management of Jeff Gaspin, who was in charge of cable, digital and Spanish language TV operations.

Silverman is responsible for developing hits such as “The Office” and “Ugly Betty” during his two-year rule.

NBC’s primetime audience declined 15 percent for the season ended May.

The Wall Street Journal praised Silverman as a “colorful executive” whose departure ends “one of broadcast TV's high-profile experiments in re-inventing itself as its dominance continues to wane.”


Tonic, a media website focused on activism and social good, has signed former CNN anchor Daryn Kagan as a video contributor.

Kagan will host the Tonic Minute, a segment that features celebrities making a difference and local unsung heroes.

She is a 12-year CNN veteran who reported live from Iraq, traveled Africa with U2's Bono to report on AIDS and famine, covered red carpet events at the Academy Awards and reported live during the 9/11 attacks. Sunshine, Sachs & Assocs. reps Tonic.


Time Warner Inc. has repurchased the five percent stake that it had sold to Google for $1B. The New York media giant paid $283M for the troubled Internet company. The search engine partnership arrangement between the two companies is set to expire at yearend `10.

AOL recently installed Tim Armstrong as CEO. He had headed U.S. sales for Mountain View, Calif.-based Google. TW plans to spin off AOL.


Cablevision’s board approved the spin-off of Madison Square Garden, “the world’s most famous arena,” in a move designed to maximize value to its beleaguered shareholders.

CEO James Dolan believes the spin-off will offer “enhanced strategic flexibility” as the two separate entities will have a “defined business focus and clear investment characteristics.”

Shares of the cable TV programmer/operator were up more than $1.50 to $20.51 on the news. The stock traded as high as $33 during the past year. It hit a low of $9. Shareholders of the new MSG will own the woeful New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Liberty, plus entertainment venues such as Radio City Hall (and the Rockettes) and The Beacon Theatre.

The spin-off is to be completed by yearend.


The New York City Economic Development Corp. issued an RFP looking for a home for its “NYC Media Lab,” a component of Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s effort to retain and expand media jobs in the city.

The Media Lab is to serve as a research center for companies and universities to create advanced new media technologies.

Patterned after programs at MIT and Stanford University, the Media Lab will maintain a database of existing projects and serve as a hub for networking events and a place for lectures/workshops.

NYCEDC wants an institution to “host, develop and manage” the Lab, according to the RFP. A consortium of groups to run the Lab is acceptable.

The proposal is posted at Deadline for submissions is Sept. 21.

NYC’s media business employs 300K, which is 10 percent of the city’s workforce, and generates $30B in annual revenues.


A week after it agreed to sell Congressional Quarterly, The Times Publishing Company, St. Petersburg, Fla., said it is peddling Governing magazine and its related properties.

Governing is the third and final unit from the company's CQ division. In addition to Roll Call, it sold CQ Press to Sage Publications last year.

The monthly Governing covers state and local government with an audited circulation topping 80K. It also operates and the Public Officials of Year Awards.

The Times Co. has hired investment bank Jordan Edmiston Group to help sell the property.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, August 5, 2009, Page 4


Catherine Mathis, long-time spokesperson for the New York Times Co., is quitting her senior VP-corporate communications post at the end of the month.

She is shifting to Standard & Poor’s, the McGraw-Hill financial information specialist. Mathis will head up its marketing & communications operations.

Janet Robinson, CEO of the NYTC, credited Mathis, a 12-year veteran, for serving the media company during “some of the most challenging chapters in our history.”

Mathis, according to the “Dear Colleagues” memo, was “actively involved in managing the reputation of the Times brand, a massive accomplishment, given the massive amount of coverage the Times Co generates on a daily basis.”

Ethan Riegelhaupt, VP-speechwriting and internal communications, is taking over Mathis’ NYTC post on an interim basis.


Patty Briguglio, president of Raleigh, N.C.-based PR firm MMI Associates, created a splash July 30 when a photo of her with a finger-wagging President Barack Obama appeared on the front page of the New York Times.

The Times said the owner of the 19-staffer PR firm, a self-described "raging Republican," challenged the president to name a government-run program that would be a model for success for Obama's healthcare overhaul plan.

The paper later reported in a blog post that the moment captured in the photo occurred as the president was leaving and Briguglio and Obama had this exchange, according to the PR exec: "He said to me, 'The tax credits would more than offset any tax increases.' And I said, 'I'm holding you to that.' And he laughed and said, 'O.K.' And I said, 'No, I mean it — I expect you to keep your word on this.'"

Briguglio said the president’s PR showing was “very impressive,” but she thinks he hadn't done enough to reach small business owners.


Karol Nickell, former VP and editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens, has moved to The Reader's Digest Association, as VP and editor-in-chief for its home & garden unit.

Based in Milwaukee, she oversees Birds & Blooms, Country, Farm & Ranch Living and Reminisce. The four magazines have a combined circulation of 4.5M. The unit also publishes branded “bookazines,” calendars, newsletters and books.

Her tenure at Better Homes and Gardens ran from 2001-06. She was founding editor-in-chief of Traditional Home and held several posts at Meredith Corporation.


South African Tourism has inked a three-year media monitoring pact with Dow Jones & Company as the company draws the interest of the global community with the approaching 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

DJ’s PR and Corporate Communications Solutions unit will monitor mainstream, web and social media in eight languages for the tourism entity, in addition to providing analysis and evaluation services across the country’s 15 target markets arond the world.

South Africa expects more than 450K travelers for the World Cup, as well as billions of TV viewers. “The eyes of the world and its media will be on South Africa,” said Roshene Singh, chief marketing officer of SAT.

DJ is owned by News Corporation.


Platinum Equity, Warburg Pincus, OpenGate Capital and financier Bruce Wasserstein are among those taking a look at BusinessWeek, which owner McGraw-Hill has put on the auction bloc.

BW columnist Jon Fine reports the potential sale has attracted at least a half dozen suitors, including on foreign entity.

Evercore Partners is handling the transaction.

PE, earlier this year, purchased the San Diego Union-Tribune. OpenGate assumed control of TV Guide. Wasserstein owns New York Magazine, The Deal and part of Penton Media.

Bloomberg, Time Inc. and Thomson Reuters remain on the sidelines, though Fine reports a BW deal could provide them with efficiencies.

BW's ad revenues are expected to drop more than 40 percent this year to the $60M range.


Lance Williams, who reported on the BALCO steroid scandal at the San Francisco Chronicle, has joined the Center for Investigative Reporting for its California Watch program.

Williams is a reporter with more than 30 years of experience. He authored "Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports" with Mark Fainaru-Wada.

He is to cover the economy, healthcare, education and environmental beat for CW.

The project is bankrolled by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, James Irving Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


Conde Nast is no longer paying for individual newspaper subscriptions for its staffers as part of a cost-cutting move. The publisher of high-end magazines also will not reimburse people for single-copy purchases.

Staffers were told to access newspapers at the fourth-floor library of its 4 Times Square headquarters. If a periodical needed for business purposes is neither available at the library nor online, a staffer may expense its purchase.

BRIEF _________________

Joe Ortiz, a Madrid-based correspondent for Reuters, has moved to Dow Jones Newswires as a columnist based in London. He covers financial services, debt and equity capital markets, as well as advisory work by financial institutions.

Internet Edition, August 5, 2009, Page 5


Public trust for business to do what is right has climbed 12 percent from a low of 36 percent in January to 48 percent now, according to Edelman’s midyear global Trust Barometer.

Trust in government is also on the upswing from dismal numbers earlier this year as Edelman reports a 12 percent hike in the U.S. to 42 percent and 13-point lift to 55% in India, where trust in business is the highest at 75%. China is second for trust in business at 60%.

Trust across every industry in the U.S. experienced a double-digit upswing, Edelman reported. Tech was already on solid ground and rose to 80%. Previously battered sectors like pharmaceuticals (up from 39 to 53%) and automobiles (32 to 46%) were notable jumps.

Actions contributing to the rebound of trust in companies cited among respondents included paying back bailout funds, reducing CEO pay and firing incompetent management.

President and CEO Richard Edelman said “it’s a stakeholder, not a shareholder, world” and noted customers (70%) are the key stakeholders, followed by employees (58%) and investors (49%).

Edelman said while trust in business and government previously moved in opposite directions, expectations that the two institutions collaborate among the global economic downturn has the trust in both moving in synch.

A significant 55% of the public says business hasn’t done enough to cooperate with government to solve the crisis, while only 38% say the same of government.

The survey found that treating employees well, having transparent business practices and communicating frequently and honestly were among the tasks cited that can boost trust in business over the long run.

Fewer than half of Americans think their country is headed in the right direction, a more optimistic view at 47% than the British (37%) and French (31%).

Amid the downturn, however, trust is usurped by cost among consumers. Edelman found that 53% say they switched brands in the past six months for a lower cost, while 45% switched because they lost trust.

Complete results are at


PRSourceCode last week released its fourth annual Top Tech Communicators as voted on by IT journalists.

Top five small agencies were Dodge Communications (Roswell, Ga.), Amendola Comms. (Scottsdale, Ariz.), C. Blohm & Associates (Cottage Grove, Wis.), Sterling Comms. (Los Gatos, Calif.) and The Bernard Group (Austin).

Complete list is at

BRIEFS: Taylor & Ives, New York, has revamped its website, ...The Haft Group, New York, also has a new site,, which includes commentary and other data on emerging public companies. ...Calypso Communications, Portsmouth, N.H., won a bronze award at the 23rd Annual Report Competition Awards. The firm was noted for its work for the 2009 Babcock Power annual report.


New York Area

Middleton & Gendron, New York/Diamond Beverages, for national PR roll-out of its luxury vodka label Diamond Standard Vodka (retail: $80 for a 750ml bottle). The launch covers six months, with introductions in Illinois, Nevada and California slated for summer following an earlier kickoff in Florida.

Stanton PR & Marketing, New York/Pine Brook Road Partners, investment firm focused on the energy and financial services sectors. Work includes media relations, executive visibility, thought leadership development, transaction announcements and investor relations. PB closed its first private equity fund in April with commitments topping $1.43B.

5W PR, New York/Taglit-Birthright Israel, educational trips to Israel for young Jewish adults, for PR.

HWH PR, New York/Sonoro Audio, German designer of audio products; DNA2Diamonds, creator of diamonds from pet or human carbon, and Ergo-Tilt, laptop stands, for PR and social media.

Nancy J. Friedman PR, New York/Cafe Gitane at The Jane, The Maritime Hotel, and Second Porch, a social network vacation home aggregator.

Hill & Knowlton, New York/Tourism New Zealand, for tourism PR in the U.S., which is the country’s third largest travel market.

Corbin & Associates, New York/Shecky’s Media, online consumer beauty and fashion site and events company, for PR.

Strategy+Communication, Weston, Conn./The Connecticut Optics and Photonics Association, for PR, including traditional and online efforts.


Matter Communications, Newburyport, Mass./Agion Technologies; BatchBlue Software; ExaGrid;, and Unbound Technologies, for PR services.

Widmeyer Communications, Washington, D.C./Arizona Board of Regents; National Inventors Hall of Fame, and Connecticut College.

BKSH & Associates, Washington, D.C./Janel World Trade, freight logistics and other services, for legislative affairs and political strategy for its environmental projects division.

Merritt Group, Reston, Va./Teradata Corp., for PR to reach business and IT audiences, and Modus21, for media strategy to reach corporate and government circles.

Relations PR & Marketing, Tampa, Fla./Gemological Appraisers of America, for PR, including media relations, social media and community outreach.


Brendy Barr Communications, Oakland Township, Mich./Hudsonville Ice Cream, for Detroit-area PR as it expands in southeast Michigan.


Sterling Communications, Los Gatos/Knome, personal genomics, to create a communications strategy.

JS2 Communications, Los Angeles/The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, for PR following a hiatus after the firm worked on the retailer’s account from 2003-06.

Internet Edition, August 5, 2009, Page 6


PR Newswire has acquired The Fuel Team after a five-year alliance between the companies for developing and managing PR and IR websites for clients.

PRN parent, United Business Media, paid $2.5M in cash for the acquisition, which could stretch to $4.5M over three years if earnout potential is realized.

TFT’s flagship service with PRN is MediaRoom, which allows PR pros to manage media websites, and IR Room, a similar service for investor relations. Clients of eight-year-old TFT include Delta Airlines, Dow Jones Enterprise and Siemens.

Revenues for the company in 2008 were $3.5M.

Ninan Chacko, CEO of PRN, called the move a “natural extension” of PRN’s business.

Its three co-founders and staff of 16 based in Denver are joining PRN.

SILVER LINING: Broadcast PR company West Glen Communications says the decrepit TV advertising market has been a boon to public service announcements in the first half of 2009. WGC says PSA usage is up 30 percent compared with the same period of ’08.

Annette Minkalis, executive VP at West Glen, says everyone knew fewer ads means more time for PSAs, but she says her company was “stunned” by the dramatic increase.

She added that PSAs are also airing in better time slots as ad sales for prime time and other premium day parts are down providing an opportunity for non-profits to get a message on air on a limited budget.

PR PORTAL: Marketwire and New Jersey PR firm Green Room PR have launched a news content distribution site for journalists,, to host material for TV, print, radio and online reporters.

The content, which can range from PR and matt releases to VNRs, SMTs, fact sheets and backgrounders, is optimized for social media use.

Marketwire VP Bernadette Lee says the site is intended to help journalists who have to “do more with less.”

ON POINT: Cision has signed cruise ship operator Holland America Line and UCLA’s office of media relations as clients for its PR software.

HAL’s Seattle-based communications department is using the CisionPoint software for various PR tasks and is also utilizing Cision’s social media monitoring platform. UCLA’s 13-person media relations office is using CP for tasks like media research, monitoring and analytics.

PROMOTED: Business Wire has promoted nine-year BW veteran Raschanda Hall to global media relations manager for the company. Hall has served on the boards of the National Association of Black Journalists, Black PR Society of Chicago and The Publicity Club of Chicago. She is a former field producer and studio crew supervisor for Fox and WB affiliates in San Antonio.



Jim Blundell, VP of corporate and public affairs at Edelman Seattle, to Nyhus Communications, Seattle, as VP of PA. He’ll also help the firm open a D.C. outpost in the coming year. Blundell, an attorney who was house counsel in the Washington State House of Representatives, was formerly VP of external affairs at Alltel Wireless and Western Wireless.

Larry Irving, CEO of his own consulting firm and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information during the Clinton administration, to HP, Washington, D.C., as VP of global government affairs.

Whitney Van Wyk, managing director, iCommunity, to Environics Communications, Washington, D.C., as an A/E. She was previously PR coordinator for Washington Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the Washington Wizards.

Teresa Valerio Parrot, previously with Simpson Scarborough, to Widmeyer Communications, Washington, D.C., as a VP in its higher education practice. At SS, she handled media and marketing projects for Baylor University, Augustana College and the University at Buffalo, among others. She previously worked with the Univ. of Colorado system for a decade, including assistant secretary of the university helping the system navigate two back-to-back crises that attracted national and global media attention.


Brendan Hodgson to senior VP for North American digital corporate and public affairs, Hill & Knowlton. He splits time between the firm’s U.S. and Canadian operations after serving as VP of its Canada digital comms. group.

Claire Koeneman to GM, MWW Group’s Chicago office, overseeing its IR, financial comms., public affairs and PR operations for the Midwest. She continues as president of the firm’s Financial Relations board unit as well.

Andrew Rossi to creative director, M Booth & Associates, NewYork. Also, Nova Halliwell to A/S, corporate, Andrew Betts to A/E, consumer, and Alyssa Galella, Kimberly Persad and Elise Meyer to AA/Es.

Crystal DeCotiis to A/E, R&J PR, Bridgewater, N.J.

Shannon Joyce to A/E, Focused Image, Falls Church, Va.

Patricia Macht to director of external affairs, CalPERS, the $180 billion pension fund for California public employees. A former journalist, she joined the fund in August 1995 as chief of PA after directing PA for the California Integrated Waste Management Board. The deputy slot is a new position. Brad Pacheco, assistant PA chief, heads that office until a replacement for Macht is named.


Internet Edition, August 5, 2009, Page 7


Criticisms of the administration of Florida International University have multiplied in recent days driven by Facebook groups including one called “No to Maidique’s Campus” and another started by student Kevin Gurley.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that nearly 3,000 have signed online petitions protesting the Trustees’ decision to rename the campus in honor of departing 23-year president Modesto Maidique and award him a $100,000 bonus.

The bonus would come from the FIU Foundation rather than the school’s $630M operating budget.

The Chronicle said Maidique’s compensation in 2007-2008 was $562,000 including $40,000 in retirement funds and $50,000 performance bonus.

He is also to receive his original salary of $478,000 for five years after retiring this month, said the Chronicle.

A posting on the “Say No” Facebook blog quoted as saying that “the number of administrators at the nation’s 25th largest university (and probably its most Hispanic) has nearly doubled in the past six years from 377 to 742” and that during that time the number of professors and those who work in classrooms rose by only one percent—from 928 to 933.

FIU has about 38,000 students. It offers a number of online courses including “Global Communications,” which is being taught by Associate Prof. Rosanna Fiske, who is seeking to be chair-elect of the PR Society.

Another posting called attention to a charge by the Dept. of Energy that $50 million was missing in funds raised for the Hemispheric Center for Environmental Technology.

A settlement for $11.5M was reached. Maidique, in a response to the DE, was quoted as saying the DE made an exaggerated claim but FIU was able to reduce it.

The Miami Herald, which is covering the students’ campaign, questioned the travel practices of Maidique in 2006.

A posting on the “No to Maidique” blog by former student “Osley” July 31 charged that Maidique, who had the nickname “Mitch,” traveled in “luxury.” The student said he would not contribute to FIU if the campus were named after the outgoing president.

Some students said Maidique should decline the offer to have the campus named after him.

The “No to Maidique” blog noted that FIU received $2M for naming rights to the Law School Building and a projected $10M for the proposed Medical School Building but is receiving nothing for the naming rights of the main campus and instead is paying Maidique $100K.

The trustees “should not determine the name of our campus,” said the blog.

FIU’s funds from Florida were cut 15% or more than $20M because of current economic conditions. Other state universities received similar cuts.


Mark Thomas, former PR manager for Remington Arms Company, has moved to the National Shoot Sports Foundation, a trade group for the firearms, hunting and shooting industry, to oversee marketing communications.

Thomas takes the title of managing director for the Newtown, Conn., group.

His career has included various stops in the outdoors industry, including PR manager for Stren Fishing Lines and that same role at Remington, the firearms maker. He later headed marketing communications for Outboard Marine Corp and most recently led marketing for Invisible Fence Brand.

He leads a staff of nine at the 4,000-member NSSF reporting to senior VP Chris Dolnack, who praised Thomas’ knowledge of traditional and new media.

The NSSF, with interests closely aligned with the National Rifle Association, runs a blog to “correct inaccuracies about firearms, the firearms industry and the shooting sports” and has posted a communications kit to its website that includes talking points, brochures and a PowerPoint presentation encouraging members to give presentations to local groups.


Congressman Ed Markey has launched an investigation into a forged letter from a now-former temporary staffer at Bonner & Associates, a grassroots lobbying shop, that urged a revamp of the recently passed global warming bill.

The missive used the letterhead of Creciendo Juntos, a Virginia-based Latino social service group, and urged Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) to push for changes in the bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions.

The letter rapped the existing legislation as anti-consumer because it is going boost electricity bills.

Jack Bonner told the Washington Post the forgery is contrary to his firm’s policies. He noted that B&A uncovered the forgery via internal checks and then fired the author. CJ was also notified of the letter.

Perriello wound up voting for the global warming measure.

In a statement, Markey said: "This fraud on Congress shows that some opponents of clean energy have resorted to forgery and theft to block progress." He urged all Members of Congress to "be on the lookout for other suspicious and illegal materials."

Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, chairs the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which is investigating the matter.
Bonner maintains that his firm does not have any clients on the climate change issue.


The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a key focus of efforts to overhaul financial regulation in the U.S., has a new public affairs director.

Scott Schneider, communications director for the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, has moved to the CFTC to fill the post. Schneider advised committee chair Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and served as the entity's primary spokesman. He previously was press secretary for her re-election campaign.


Internet Edition, August 5, 2009, Page 8




This year is the 20th anniversary of Michael Moore’s shocking “Roger and Me” film that depicted General Motors as the heartless corporate giant laying waste to Flint, Mich., and other cities.

The dominant image of the film was Moore’s failed attempt to get past guards and PR staff in the lobby of GM h.q. in Detroit in order to interview CEO Roger Smith.

He later gave an on-camera interview to Moore but this ended up on the cutting room floor. There were other flaws in the Moore film but it was definitely rock ‘em, sock ‘em journalism.

The U.S. auto business was at that time just entering a period of decline that would lead to the financial collapse of the “Big Three.” GM’s employment plunged from a high of 880,000 to the 38,000 expected in the “new” GM.

PR’s role in this slide is something worth examining.

We noted in October 1990 that a new corporate setup left the GM PR department without its own VP for the first time in 50 years. PR was integrated with marketing and another level of management was added between PR and the chairman.

U.S. autos had a big image problem in the 1980’s rooted in word-of-mouth that American cars were inferior to those from other countries.

This became a huge political/PR football. Separating the politics from the PR would be difficult but it would be worthwhile.

“Free traders” and “protectionists” battled it out in Washington, D.C., with Ford and Chrysler fighting to keep quotas on foreign car imports and protect the U.S. car industry which was hobbled by soaring labor costs.

Smith’s big mistake was favoring the removal of quotas on imports, saying GM would “meet the discipline of worldwide competition” through “technological innovation and industrial modernization.” He was wrong.

An analysis by Gregory Hilton said sales of small cars by Toyota and Honda “skyrocketed” because GM could not compete on “price or quality.”

Public opinion went against U.S. cars and PR was unable to stop it. Expensive foreign cars became fashionable. Marketing mistakes were made by GM such as blurring the lines between its five previously distinct lines—Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Chevrolet. Each put out a variety of models. Chevrolet eventually marketed more than 50. Cadillac’s share of the premium market fell from 85% to 15%. Chevrolet sold high-end cars while Cadillac put out compacts.

Thousands of words were traded in the past week or so about the worth of the PR Society’s 45-year-old APR program.

Harsh criticism came from two partners of Peppercom, a $13 million PR firm noted for its creativity.

Steve Cody hammered the APR process as “worthless” and Ed Moed added that PR skill is not something measurable on a test but is “learned through hands on, real life experience.” He looks for candidates who are “smart and creative.” As a final knock, Moed echoed Cody’s comment that no client ever mentioned APR.

Their arguments fell on deaf ears at PRS. Chair Mike Cherenson wondered on PRSAY why anyone should even listen to the two agency principals. “We find it fascinating that the heads of a single big-city agency presume that their views are somehow defining for others,” said Cherenson. This is the vintage PRS attitude—unless there are pickets outside PRS h.q. and thousands of letters and e-mails are arriving, there is no need to make any changes or listen to anyone. Arguments by individuals don’t count—only mass demonstrations.

Cody and Moed are also knocked for being against “self improvement, learning and recognition for those efforts.” This begs the question since the issue is whether the APR process involves learning much that is worthwhile and whether APR deserves any recognition.

But the salient part of Cherenson’s defense of APR was this sentence. APR is “a community of professionals who are dedicated to mentoring, sharing and building the industry’s knowledge base.”

Right! It’s a political party, a brotherhood/sisterhood within PRS that has had tight control of board and officer posts and PRS spending since the mid-1970’s. It blew $2.9M on the APR sacred cow from 1986-2002.

We had to laugh at Cherenson’s mention of APRs meeting standards of “ethical decision-making.” The APRs are the single most unethical group we have ever encountered in the business world. Principles of democracy and good communication are disregarded. Member requests for information are ignored. The Ethics Board is non-functioning. PRS’s lack of interest in ethics is shown by the spending of $2,317 on it in 2008. Staff time spent on “ethics” in the past three years is zero.

Were Cherenson to live up to the PRS code’s promise of respecting “all opinions” and supporting “the right of free expression,” he would hold a public meeting with Cody and Moed and debate the merits of APR.

Instead, Cherenson, like previous chairs Jeff Julin, Rhoda Weiss and Cheryl Procter-Rogers, mostly avoids not only the press but members. We know of no open chapter visits by Cherenson and few by the others. Julin did not address a single chapter until August of his term.

The point Cody, Moed and others are trying to make is that PR is a performing art or occupation and not a collection of rules. No one would use a multiple-choice test to “accredit” advertising copywriters, ballet dancers, musicians, lifeguards, actors, singers, comedians, etc.

We covered advertising eight years and an ad executive once urged us to take a copywriter test that would be given in an agency’s offices.

We would be shown various products and asked to provide, within a time limit, ideas for copy platforms and strategies as well as possible jingles, catch-phrases, story boards for commercials, etc.

The average person “off-the-street” who wanted to be a copywriter might come up with 5-10 ideas, the ad exec noted. Better yet would be 15 or 20. But a real creative person would spout dozens of ways to catch the attention of an audience, he explained.

Controversy continues at Florida Int’l University, employer of Rosanna Fiske, PRS candidate for chair-elect.

Nearly 3,000 have signed online petitions criticizing the naming of the main campus after retiring president Modesto Maidique, said the July 24, website of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

FIU Junior Kevin Gurley, in a Facebook group opposing the name change, said Maidique should be “humble” and turn it down.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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