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Internet Edition, August 26, 2009, Page 1


Anticipating federal funding, the state of Utah has issued an RFP for a public information campaign highlighting symptoms and an expected vaccine for the so-called swine flu.

The state said it is starting the bidding process for a grassroots marketing, social media and public service ad campaign because it anticipated a federal grant for $300K to fund the campaign and wants the project ready when the funding is released.

Nearly 270 Utah residents have been hospitalized and 14 have died from the flu, known as H1N1 influenza, which was first confirmed in the Beehive State on May 2.

Pregnant women, children and people with medical ailments are at particular risk from the flu strain.

Part of the campaign will be informing the public about a vaccine in development. The Centers for Disease control is currently conducting clinical trials and it is expected to be available by October.

The state also wants the campaign to educate citizens about the symptoms and when to go the hospital. Doctor’s offices and emergency rooms were flooded when the outbreak was discovered earlier this year, putting such facilities over capacity.

Proposals are due Sept. 1. The RFP has been posted online and can be accessed via


The Intelligent Transportation Society of America, a trade group for public and private-sector entities in the transit space, is calling for pitches to guide PR for its 2010 annual meeting slated for Houston.

The group, which met in Maryland in June and New York last year, will descend on the George R. Brown Convention Center for its three-day confab May 3-5. Exhibitors range from commercial vehicle and freight managers to public transit operators and transportation officials. Two thousand attendees are expected.

Strat@comm handled PR for its '09 conference in National Harbor Maryland.

Sabrina McGowan, director of communications, oversees PR and the RFP process. She’s calling for an aggressive media relations plan and wants the selected firm to begin immediately after a contract is awarded.

Mainstream media are the primary focus while trade press is a “secondary target,” according to the RFP. The request asks for PR budget plans of $50K, $75K and $100K allocated over seven months.

McGowan is at [email protected].

Proposals are due Sept. 18.


Weber Shandwick has picked up MySpace’s PR account after a competitive pitch, according to Tracy Akeselrud, executive director of communications for the News Corp.-owned social network.

Los Angeles-based MySpace, which has undergone internal restructuring and cut 30 percent of its staff this year, had previously worked with Edelman and SparkPR and heard from five firms.

Casey Sheldon, president of global technology at WS, said her firm’s ability to address several different audiences played to its advantage in the account review. “They have a complex business situation,” she told O'Dwyer's. “We need to be able to speak to a lot of different audiences – from advertisers to developers to consumers to the entertainment industry.”

Sheldon oversees the account team, which includes Michelle Gettle Maggs, senior VP at WS in Seattle, who plays a key role. Sister Interpublic unit Rogers & Cowan will also be involved in the account including dealing with talent that provides content for MySpace.

MySpace, which Rupert Murdoch bought for $580M in 2005, has recently been eclipsed by Facebook globally and in the U.S. Sheldon said the coverage of MySpace hasn't been particular in depth and noted the company's veteran status among social networks and significant user traffic ('s nearly 60M unique visitors in July doubled as among narratives that weren't well known.


Gephardt Group has inked a $1.5M contract to provide lobbying and government relations services to the Government of Turkey.

The firm had been a subcontractor to Turkey under an agreement signed last year by DLA Piper. Dickstein Shapiro is now a subcontractor to former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt’s firm, replacing DLA Piper. It receives a $35K monthly fee.

Mercer and Associates and The Caspian Group remain as subcontractors on the Turkey business. They receive monthly fees of $22.5K and $14K, respectively.

Gephardt Group is to promote a positive image of Turkey, Turks and the importance of the U.S.-Turkey relationship. The firm is to “prepare brief analyses of developments in Congress and the Executive Branch on particular issues of concern to Turkey,” and work to enlarge the Congressional Caucus on Turkey. Another priority: Gephardt Group is to obtain invitations for Turkish Embassy staffers to “must-attend” social and political gatherings.


Internet Edition, August 26, 2009, Page 2


Bite Communications has been added to Hewlett-Packard’s long roster of PR firms as it picked up a good chunk of Hewlett-Packard’s corporate business following a two-month competitive pitch.

Tony Hynes, senior VP at Bite who will head the account, said the firm will be handling H-P’s “story” in corporate technology, innovation, research and sustainability. That includes development of thought leadership efforts for the company’s top executives.

Hill & Knowlton, which was H-P’s longtime corporate firm until the tech giant decided to split up the account earlier this year, Abernathy MacGregor (financial) and Public Strategies (public affairs) also handle various aspects of corporate PR work for H-P.

Bite is part of Next Fifteen Communications Group.


Racepoint Group is working with Sony as the electronics giant moves to adopt an open standard for electronic books in competition with Amazon and its buzz-heavy Kindle e-reader.

Racepoint picked up the Sony Digital Reading Business division account in June. The firm is charged with helping the company expand the digital reading market and provide greater access to publications, said a firm spokeswoman.

Sony, which launched a digital book reader a year before the Kindle but hasn’t gained the traction that Amazon’s device has enjoyed, said this month that it will only sell books in the ePub format developed by publishing powerhouses Random House and HarperCollins which is compatible with other readers. Sony also said it will adopt Adobe’s anti-piracy software and nix its own technology.

The announcement will help push the burgeoning e-book industry toward a standard and Sony and Racepoint are pitching the move as an effort to “take the confusion out” of digital book formats.

More than 60 companies participated in the development of the ePub format and it is supported by major trade publishers in addition to mainstream houses.

Amazon took a PR hit last month when it removed unauthorized copies of two novels from Kindle users’ devices.


Los Angeles firm The Lippin Group has notified the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences that it does not plan to continue handling PR for the group after its contract expires at the end of the year.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the firm has had to deal with leaks in recent years of internal Emmy matters and a recent tussle over “time-shifting” certain awards from the telecast. The Reporter published an excerpt of a letter from TLG chairman Dick Lippin saying his firm is proud of the role it has played working with the Academy for 12 years.

A spokeswoman for the firm declined to comment to O’Dwyer’s.

Variety reported that Academy officials had raised the prospect of reviewing the PR account after complaints about the PR for last year’s Emmy event.


Schwartz Communications, the No. 7 independent firm, has acquired boutique U.K. healthcare and "green" agency Hayhurst Media in a move to boost its European reach in those sectors.

Steve Schwartz, CEO, said clean tech and life sciences are two of the firm’s most successful practice areas (his firm posted overall revenue topping $31M last year with 200 staffers) and called the move an "outstanding business and cultural fit."

Hayhurst is a husband-and-wife operation of Richard and Amanda Hayhurst just west of London, where Schwartz has an office in the city.

The two firms have collaborated in the past.

Richard was a founder of De Facto PR, a U.K. healthcare heavyweight now owned by Bell Pottinger.

Hayhurst, which will operate as a division of Schwartz, has worked for GlaxoWellcome, Macmillan’s Nature Publishing Group and UCB Pharma, among other clients.

Amanda is a healthcare PR pro who set up Hayhurst with Richard in 2004.

Both will serve as co-managing directors for Schwartz in the U.K. reporting to European managing director, Kristina Ebenius in Stockholm.


A Tampa-based non-profit backed by the weight-loss surgery industry has blasted a PETA campaign touting vegetarianism, calling out the animal rights group’s “stigmatizing” portrayal of obese people.

The 12,000-member Obesity Action Coalition said last week that PETA’s push featuring a billboard of an illustrated obese woman wearing a bikini and with the tagline “Save the Whales – Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian” is “completely inappropriate.”

“With more than 93 million Americans affected by obesity, this type of unacceptable stigmatization of obese/overweight individuals has no place in today's society,” said a statement from the OAC’s communications director, James Zervios.

The group is demanding that PETA end the campaign and remove the billboard.

Karen Dickerson, a spokeswoman for PETA, told O’Dwyer’s that the group apologizes for any offense the campaign may have caused as that was not its intent.

Dickerson said many people have found the billboard humorous but noted that PETA takes obesity “very seriously,” adding “we think it would be cruel not to tell people about the health benefits of going vegetarian.” Dickerson also pointed to data that says vegetarians have lower rates of various illnesses than meat-eaters.

The OAC is trying to get critics to contact PETA’s president, Ingrid Newkirk, to urge her to pull the plug on the campaign. “This campaign blatantly stigmatizes the overweight and obese. The OAC fails to find the informational value of promoting vegetarianism through the hurtfulness of mocking the obese,” said Joseph Nadglowski, OAC’s president and CEO.


Internet Edition, August 26, 2009, Page 3


FD is serving as communications counsel to the Reader’s Digest Association as the Pleasantville, N.Y., publisher plans a bankruptcy filing brought on by debt from its private takeover in 2006.

RDA skipped a $27M interest payment on Aug. 17 saying it wanted to use a 30-day grace period to talk with lenders about debt from the $2.8B acquisition.

The company said that nearly 80 percent of its lenders have signed on to its restructuring plan, which exchanges $1.6B in debt for equity. That would cut its debt load from $2.2B to about $550M.

Kathy Fieweger, a VP for FD in Chicago who handles bankruptcy communications, is working with the publisher. She didn’t return an email inquiry.

Mary Berner, RDA CEO, said the bankruptcy agreement “follows months of intensive strategic review of our balance sheet issues to financially strengthen the company,” according to a statement. RDA, in March, retained Kirkland & Ellis to explore restructuring options including a Chapter 11 filing.

Berner thanked former owner Ripplewood for its “inspired vision and stewardship over the last two and a half years, including during this process.” Ripplewood representatives have resigned from RDA’s board.

Recruited by Ripplewood in ’07 to put the company back on track, Berner is a former CEO of Fairchild Publishing and publisher of TV Guide and Glamour.

Berner announced plans in January to slice eight percent (280 people) of RDA’s 3,500 staffers as part of a recession plan. She then expressed remorse that the economy plunged just as RDA was in “takeoff plans with its growth plans.”

She still believes RDA has “strong brands and products” and a “solid plan for the future.”

RDA’s overseas units are not part of the expected Chapter 11 filing.


Don Hewitt, veteran TV news producer and the creator of “60 Minutes” whose journalism career spanned 60 years, died Aug. 19 at his home in Bridgehampton, N.Y. He was 86 and had been diagnosed with cancer.

Hewitt stepped down from “60 Minutes” in 2004 and had been serving as executive producer of CBS News.

His career began in the 1940s and he directed heavyweights like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite over the years. He directed his first newcast on May 3, 1948 with Douglas Edwards on screen and was the executive producer for the first half-hour network newscast, “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite,” when it first aired on Sept. 2, 1963.

The New York Times noted, “Mr. Hewitt served as a living bridge — from the birth of television journalism in the long shadow of radio, through its golden-age as an unrivaled fixture in dens and family rooms, to its middle-age present, under siege from the Internet.”

Hewitt, who was uncomfortable with news programming as a profit vehicle, produced and directed TV coverage for the three broadcast networks in the first televised presidential debate – between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy in 1960.

He is credited with implementing the use of cue cards and was the first to use superimposed type in the lower third of the television screen. He also started remote interviews of subjects during newscasts and was the first to utilize various camera techniques still in use in TV news today.

CBS called “60 Minutes” his “magnus opus,” which he created as a kind of Life magazine for TV to break up the traditional hour-long documentary into three segments. The show launched on Sept. 24, 1968 and sits at the top of TV ratings today. It has been the number one show on TV five times, a feat which CBS noted has been matched only by “All in the Family” and “The Cosby Show.”

Asked over the years what the secret to the shows success was, he often said: “It’s four words every child knows: Tell me a story.”

Hewitt won eight Emmys and two Peabody awards. He started out handling PR for the Merchant Marines during World War II.


Syndicated columnist and TV commentator Bob Novak died Aug. 18 in his Washington home after a struggle with brain cancer. He was 78.

Novak is recently remembered for "outing" CIA operative Valerie Plame, which triggered the firestorm that ultimately led to the downfall of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. He was denied a pardon by outgoing President George W. Bush despite pleas by Cheney.

Novak believed his involvement in “PlameGate” undermined a 25-year career at CNN (“Capital Gang” and “Crossfire”) and resulted in a ban from NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Novak began a columnist’s life in 1963 with partner Rowland Evans. Born in Joliet, Ill., Novak launched a journalism career as a sports reporter for the Associated Press. He landed a job with the Wall Street Journal in 1957 before teaming with Evans.

He wrote the “Prince of Darkness” in 2007, in which he defended being the first journalist to identify Plame.

Novak was diagnosed with a brain tumor in `08.


Jim Impoco, former Sunday business editor at the New York Times, is now enterprise editor for Reuters America, a new post.

He is to commission and edit stories and develop multimedia packages for the Thomson Reuters unit.

Impoco played a hand in the redesign and relaunch of the NYT’s Saturday and Sunday business sections.

Earlier, he was deputy editor at Conde Nast Portfolio, assistant managing editor at Fortune, executive editor at Men’s Journal, Tokyo-based reporter for Associated Press and Tokyo bureau chief at U.S. News and World Report.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, August 26, 2009, Page 4


Though business editors at a Los Angeles PR workshop didn’t agree on when the economy would rebound, they did agree that it's a story that is landing on page one. Editors also agree on two tactics: email pitches are best, and news releases are okay.

PR Society’s L.A. chapter and the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the session of editors and reporters from influential SoCal publications, who outlined their needs and how PR pros can effectively get coverage for clients.

“Breaking news is a premium, and everyone is doing it,” said Los Angeles Times business editor John Corrigan. “We are interested in the economy, recovery; but we are also interested in many other issues. We're interested in the digital revolution, social networking, and interested in how people are saving money and changing purchasing habits. We are definitely interested in healthcare and healthcare reform. We try to have a mix of stories everyday on different issues. Clearly the overall economy is a big story, but there are a lot other good stories out there.

“We want experts who are willing to talk about something like the Bernie Madoff fraud case,” continued Corrigan. “We often will get emails from law firms or publicists representing them saying we have a former SEC attorney or a white collar crime expert who can offer guidance, which is really helpful to a reporter on deadline.”

Corrigan prefers email pitches and admitted that a big wave of emails might influence stories covered and their placement.

The Times has two reporters dedicated to writing breaking news in the morning. If it is company earnings, “a short story will be posted online right away and a longer story follows,” he said. “The workload has gotten harder because reporters are writing one version for the web and another for print most of the time. A lot of our stories end up on A-1, because the economy is so important.”

The Los Angeles Daily News is looking for recovery and glimmer of hope stories according to business editor Greg Wilcox: “My newsroom works a little differently than the Times, especially in the business section. Years ago we used to have reporters on various beats. Today, we have an assistant city editor who is in charge of business, and then we have the business staff and that’s me.”

“Everyone knows what tough times it has been, and our paper has gone through some changes,” explained Wilcox.”We don't have a standalone business section anymore. We have one page, or sometimes a page and a half. The best way to pitch is to send an email, but follow-up phone calls don't really help, especially when you do the whole pitch in a phone call and leave the phone number at the back end. Since I am the only business editor I'm really busy focusing on local news stories that impact the San Fernando Valley. We do some trend pieces, but now with the size of the paper and the size of the staff that's gotten harder to do.”

American Banker reporter Kate Berry said, "I don't know if there is a glimmer of hope. Sources from the mortgage industry and banking dispute that. The next big story is how all the banks are going to take the losses on foreclosures coming down the road. If you add up the loss for each foreclosure, they would then have to go back to the government for another bailout."

Berry later said she is open to all story ideas. “It is completely unrealistic for a reporter on deadline to engage new sources who are being pitched to you by a PR person, because you’re not going to use them. You just go to the sources specific to that area,” she said. “As a trade publication we march to different drummer. We cover stories newspapers may not care about, but the industry does. It is mostly national news.”

“We used to have an editor and four staff reporters at the Business Press,” said Chris Sieroty, a contributing writer. “Now it is an editor, researcher and four contributing writers due to the economy; the staff is cut out and they’re all considered contributors.”

Sieroty writes about real estate, government and politics for Riverside and San Bernadino County. For example, he is currently working on a foreign trade piece that Riverside County is trying to fund its respective trade zone and they are having an argument with Washington D.C. over who should pay for it. He prefers email pitches.

Sierorty, who has been at Business Press for five years said they operate much like a daily newspaper with the Internet. “My day starts at 5:30 a.m., because I am talking to an editor at another publication in Washington D.C.” he said, “I start reading press releases sent to me at 6:00 a.m. We do enjoy receiving them, especially when they come from real estate agencies about transactions taking place. I am always open (to PR pros’) phone calls and emails telling me about your business and clients.”

Los Angeles Business Journal, which has nine reporters covering various business beats and prefers L.A. County stories, will consider companies out of state doing business here. Staff reporter Rick Clough said: “Most of our stories come from reporters pitching on Tuesday for two weeks in advance, except when one of our four editors notices a trend. Our deadlines are on Thursday for the following week's issue.

The San Fernando Valley Business Journal, although the smallest among the publications represented covers a wide area of Los Angeles County according to staff reporter Mark Madler. “I do take story ideas from press releases, but generally come up with my own story ideas from sources I've developed. I do prefer email pitches,” he said. Full coverage is at

L.A. Business Press Contacts:

John Corrigan, biz editor
Los Angeles Times
[email protected]

Greg Wilcox, biz editor
L.A. Daily News
[email protected]

Kate Berry, reporter
American Banker
[email protected]

Rick Clough, reporter
L.A. Business Journal
[email protected]

Chris Sieroty, writer
Business Press
[email protected]

Mark Madler, reporter
San Fernando Valley Business Journal
[email protected]

Internet Edition, August 26, 2009, Page 5


Raleigh-based French/West/Vaughan has acquired four-staffer Relations PR & Marketing of Tampa and has merged the firm with its own Tampa outpost.

FWV, which has six people in Tampa following its acquisition of The Glasure Group in 2007 and moved to a larger space in February, will add the Relations staff on September 1. Jack Glasure, executive VP, oversees the office while Relations CEO Robin Adkins Vosler will be his No. 2.

Vosler is a former PR director for the Belleview Biltmore Hotel and VP of sales/marketing for Premier Limousine. She founded Relations PR in 2005.

"Through the due diligence process I’ve developed a great admiration for how she has run her firm and the caliber of people and clients she has been able to attract," FWV CEO Rick French said in a statement.

Relations focuses on real estate and hospitality clients like the Baywalk Shopping Center (St. Petersburg), DeBartolo Development, The Palm and the 13 Ugly Men Foundation.


U.K. PR holding company Huntsworth has acquired Sweden's Sund Kommunikation, a three-office PR and financial communications shop with about 50 staffers.

Huntsworth paid £1.5M (about $2.5M) in cash with potential payouts through 2012 that cap the deal at more than £12.3M, or about $20M. That ceiling is based on a high-water mark of growth of 65 percent. SK had 2008 revenues topping $6M.

SK will be placed under Huntsworth's Citigate & Trimedia unit. Citigate has a Stockholm office. Michael Murphy, CEO of Trimedia International, said Scandanavia is key for any European communications network.

Leif Andersson, chairman of Sund, said the firm's long-term objective is to become the leading PR agency in Sweden.

SK, founded in 2003 with offices in Stockholm, Malmo and Gotebord, joined the Worldcom network of independent firms in October.


CooperKatz & Co., 13-year-old firm that ranked No. 22 in New York in 2008 in the O’Dwyer rankings with fees of $4.6M, up 13%, has a new website whose goal is to provide the maximum amount of information about clients, staff and itself.

More than 90 write-ups of current and past clients are on the site, describing campaigns for them and providing appropriate imagery. Bios and pictures of all staffers are provided along with statements of their personal perspectives on PR and communications issues of importance to them. The employees’ “blog” is open to visitors to the site.

Andy Cooper, who co-founded the firm in 1996 with Ralph Katz, says the aim was to provide a large amount of information, although the practice of some agencies is to limit such information.

About 20% of PR firms in O’Dwyer’s Directory of PR Firms do not provide client lists. Only firms that supply such lists are in the O’Dwyer rankings.


New York Area

G.S. Schwartz & Co., New York/, Las Vegas-based online Dutch auction shopping platform;, New York-based new online service for matching individuals, businesses, employers, job seekers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs; Xlear, pronounced kleer, Utah-based maker of consumer products containing the organic compound xylitol, all for PR.

Redpoint Marketing PR, New York/The Nonantum Resort (Kennebunkport, Me.), as AOR for media relations, social media marketing launch and brand development; Briggs & Riley Travelware, for partnership development and launch of a social media campaign, and the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, for media relations, social media and event management following a $50M renovation.

Padilla Speer Beardsley, New York/BraunAbility, wheelchair-accessible minivan, ramp and lift manufacturer, as AOR for marketing comms.

Krupp Kommunications, New York/Success Media, publisher of Success magazine and parent to the foundation of the same name, as AOR for PR, including brand management, consulting and national media relations.

The Hamilton Group, New York/Madoff Survivors Group, for media training and PR in conjunction with the July sentencing of the Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff. The account is pro bono and the firm said it will provide ongoing counsel.

The Caruba Organization, South Orange, N.J./N.J. Pest Management Assn., for PR for the 15th annual Cockroach Derby, an event for hundreds of pest management professionals at Rutgers University. Roaches will be designated for the state’s two gubernatorial candidates at the event, which features education programs on pest control.


gkBrand, Westport, Conn./Westport Downtown Merchant Association, to promote the arts in the city’s shopping and dining district.

Warschawski, Baltimore/Milestones Achievement Centers of America, as AOR for strategic comms., an expansion of work since May 2009.

MMI Associates, Raleigh, N.C./Saturn of Raleigh and Saturn of Cary, car dealerships, as AOR for PR.

brainstorm2go, Weston, Fla./Leah Orr, author, for launch of children’s book series based on character Messy Tessy. Portion of proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Mountain West

Trippe & Company, Westminster, Colo./Ralston Valley Pom Squad, for logo design on a pro bono basis. Karla Trippe, president of T&C and a former Pom girl, said the firm does so much tech work it sometimes needs a different creative challenge.


The Pollack PR Marketing Group, Los Angeles/Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, for a new PR contract, its fifth year handling the business.

Internet Edition, August 26, 2009, Page 6


Management consultant Jim Carlini says the Twitter frenzy is another fad that will suffer the same fate as Pet Rocks, Cabbage Patch dolls and Beanie Babies.

Beanie Babies, he notes, “were the little plush toys that people would drive around looking for at McDonald’s because they just had to have the purple squirrel. It was worth $1,500. You can now get them at a garage sale for a couple of dollars a bunch.”

Carlini, whose firm is based in East Dundee, Ill., and who has been an adjunct faculty member of Northwestern University since 1986, said he is particularly distressed that professors are now exploring classes in Twitter and other “social media.”

A friend of his who “has a very mature understanding of PR,” has been asked to “fill in a professor on all he knew so the professor could expound on the ‘virtues of learning the craft.’” Carlini worries that schools offering “a doctorate in social media tools” are a distinct possibility. He feels “all these people offering seminars on Twitter etiquette and ‘Twitterology’ are a big joke. It’s the digital snake-oil hype of the 21st century.”

He asks whether people need an “expert” to show them how to sign up on a list and then subscribe to others. A survey at found that only two CEOs have Twitter accounts, only 13 have LinkedIn profiles, and of those only three have more than ten connections. It also found that 81% of CEOs aren’t on Facebook.

While three quarters of the CEOs have a Wikipedia entry, nearly a third of those have limited or outdated information. None of the Fortune 100 CEOs has a blog.

Consultant Mark Sneider of RSW/US has pointed out the “Dangers of Social Media” on his blog, noting it should play a part in any agency's new business development effort, but caution must be taken.


Lynne Farber, assistant professor at Florida International University, will begin teaching "Principles of PR" to an in-person class of 120 starting next week.

She taught the same course online during the summer. Text used is Fraser Seitel’s “The Practice of Public Relations.”

Farber joined FIU in 2006 after a career of more than 25 years in PR in South Florida, mostly for health-related organizations. Her posts included director of PR for St. Francis Hospital, Miami Beach, 1979-86 and the same title at Miami General Hospital, 1983-86. She was director of marketing at Highland Park Hospital, Miami, 1986-87. More recent posts were regional director of marketing for Salick Health Care, Comprehensive Cancer Centers, Miami, 1996-98, and coordinator of student publications, Broward Community College, ‘00-04.

FIU is one of the largest universities in the nation with a total student body of 39,000 including 30,000 undergrads. It has the largest Hispanic population of any college, 23,400 or 59% of the total.

The school has been in the news lately because of a proposal to rename the main campus after just-retired University president Modesto Maidique and award him a parting bonus of $100,000.



David Prichard, who was VP-IR & corporate communications at $4B Corn Products International, has moved to StreetSmart Strategies in Chicago. The 20-year IR/financial communications pro also worked at Modine Manufacturing, IMC Global, The Vigoro Corp., IMCERA Group and Abbott Laboratories. Career highlights include guiding the planned merger of CPI into Bunge Ltd, a deal that ultimately fell apart, and Modine’s shift to the Big Board from NASDAQ. Prichard serves on the National Investor Relations Institute national board of directors and is co-chair of its 2010 conference. Timothy Gerdeman founded StreetSmart in 2003 to provide senior-level guidance and IR counsel to private equity and publicly traded companies.

Molly Carey Poarch, director of communications, National Osteoporosis Foundation, to Spectrum, Washington, D.C., as an account director. She was previously with GMMB.

Kimberly Maki, executive director, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, to cable operator Bright House Networks, Syracuse, N.Y., as VP, corporate comms. She was previously VP, marketing, membership and business development for the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and earlier worked in public affairs for Time Warner, Vision Cable Comms. and the Michigan Cable Television Assn.

Laura Vandiver, project manager, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, to The Vandiver Group, St. Louis, as a senior strategist. Vandiver, who handled employee and customer comms. projects at KP, is a Ph.D. candidate at the Univ. of Colorado Denver. She is the daughter of TVG president and CEO Donna Vandiver.

Terrell Huch, senior director of investor relations for automotive supplier ArvinMeritor, to CF Industries Holdings, Deerfield, Ill., as director of IR and corporate communications. He takes over for Charles Nekvasil, who retired July 31 after heading IR since the company’s IPO in 2005. Huch was previously with Ford Motor.

Linda Segre, managing director,, the philanthropic arm of the search giant, to Diamond Foods, San Francisco, as senior VP, corporate strategy and communications, a new post. She was previously a VP for The Boston Consulting Group. Diamond markets branded foods under the Diamond, Emerald and Pop Secret names.


Keith Decie to senior VP, communications and external affairs, Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in New York. Jed Levine and Michele White were upped to associates.


Internet Edition, August 26, 2009, Page 7


McNeely Pigott & Fox has resigned its work in support of a Nashville convention center project after its open-ended contract became a political football in the Music City.

The PR pact, originally capped at $75K, rose to more than $450K in more than a year.

The contract was suspended earlier this month by the city’s mayor, who has ordered an audit of the communications work.

MP&F partner David Fox submitted a letter resigning the account to the Metro Development and Housing Agency Aug. 17.

“Our 22-year-old company has built a reputation for integrity and quality work, and these misleading claims against us have been very hurtful to us and our 65 very fine employees,” he wrote, adding that progress has been sidetracked by the PR criticism and noting that money spent on predevelopment of the $600M-plus Music City Center is taking up 100 percent of the news reports about the facility.

The mayor told local media that he does not intend to hire another firm.


Wells Fargo & Company has recruited Ford Motor Company’s Oscar Suris to head corporate communications as an executive VP.

Wells Fargo’s long-time corporate comms. chief Larry Haeg, plans to retire in 2010 after 20 years at WF and its predecessor, Norwest Corp.

The financial services company acquired Wachovia in a deal that closed in early 2009 and continues to integrate the two businesses. Suris reports to EVP Patricia Callahan, who oversees the office of the transition for the merger. Callahan said Suris will be involved in the company’s effort to look at its communications efforts as part of a broader effort to boost its “outstanding reputation.”

WF accepted $25 billion in federal bailout funds amid the financial crisis.

Suris, a former business reporter, was director of corporate comms. and development at the Detroit automaker. He recently handled strategic comms. for executive chairman Bill Ford and led the company’s philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. Prior to that, the Cuban native directed corporate comms. for AutoNation after five years as a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal.

WF counts $1.3 trillion in assets through banking, insurance and other financial units.


The Irish Referendum Commission created to boost support for the European Union’s Treaty of Lisbon has renewed a contract with Murray Consultants to build the PR case ahead of the October 2 vote.

The Irish people rejected the treaty last year in a red-faced moment for the E.U. following a big budget but brief campaign led by Murray Consultants to try to push the measure through.

MC was reappointed without a new RFP by the commission this month. The new communications campaign is in the planning stages and a budget has not yet been set.

Olivia Buckley, a former MC staffer, was recently recruited to serve as director of We Belong, a political advocacy group supporting the treaty that is recruiting prominent Irish citizens to back the measure. The London Times reported in May that well-known citizens like Sinead O’Conner came out against the treaty in the media and “dominated the debate” last time around.

The treaty would strengthen the E.U. by fostering more coordination among its member nations on security, climate and economic matters, supporters say. Opponents like the Sinn Fein political party say the treaty puts Ireland’s self-rule in the hands of Europe.

Ireland is the only country of the E.U.’s 27 members to put the treaty to a popular vote and it was defeated, 53%-47%. All other countries have approved it.

The E.U., meanwhile, is taking no chances and hired Edelman in May to lead a four-firm, $2M push to urge Ireland to pass to treaty.


WPP CEO Martin Sorrell is more pessimistic about the economic outlook than his industry brethren, a view that may be hurting shares of Ireland’s biggest ad/PR combine, according to a report in the Financial Times.

While WPP stood still, archrival Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy snapped up digital ad shop Razorfish in a $530M deal this month.

FT notes that Sorrell has been warning shareholders since the June annual meeting that “any green shoots in the economy were not finding their way into marketing budgets.” He also cast doubt about WPP achieving its profit margin targets.

Publicis and Omnicom believe the advertising slump bottomed out last month and things are beginning to look up.

Levy said revenues will be less in decline in the current quarter compared to the second, while Omnicom chief John Wren said his firm is set to climb out of the trough.

Sorrell believes the bottom will be hit sometime early next year, and any second-half growth will be due to lousy numbers in `08.

The FT notes that WPP’s stock is up 17 percent in `09, a performance that lags Havas and Publicis, but tops Omnicom.


Weber Shandwick says work on the Chicago Spire, which is planned as the tallest building in the U.S., has been “put on hold.”

That news comes as Bank of America has filed suit against Shelbourne Development Group, alleging the company defaulted on a loan. The bank seeks payment of nearly $5M.

The Chicago Spire is to have 150 floors, which would top the recently renamed Sears Tower, as the nation's No. 1 skyscraper. The re-christened Willis Tower has 110 floors.


Internet Edition, August 26, 2009, Page 8




The Twitter/social media craze has reached such a high pitch that an opposite school of thought is forming.

Consultant Jim Carlini likens the Twitter frenzy to fads like Pet Rocks, Cabbage Patch Dolls and McDonald’s Beanie Babies (page 6).

Professors are now seeking guidance on how to form courses that may lead to degrees in social media, he reports.

Those offering courses on “Twitterology” and similar topics are the “snake oil” salespeople of the 21st century, he feels.

Do you really need an “expert” to tell you how to sign up on a list and subscribe to others’ lists, he asks.

Consultant Mark Sneider points out that social media are just like any other—you need constantly refreshed good content to hold an audience.

The worst thing that can happen to your blog is for someone to come to it and find it hasn’t been refreshed for days or even weeks.

Some successful users of social media, he noted, are blogging, Tweeting or posting on Facebook at the same time every day, building a “reader” habit.

These internet platforms, which almost anyone can offer, remind us of the newsletter craze decades ago.

Companies and individuals found it was cheap and easy to send around an NL to employees, prospects, and the press.

It was a favorite tool of ad agencies and service firms including the ad agency West, Weir & Bartel. WW&B had its “Grape Vine” NL and printed it in purple ink.

After a year or two almost all the NLs petered out. Attracting and keeping an audience proved to be too arduous over the long haul.

Writers note that everyone has one good novel in them but that a career writer has many.

However, we would not brush off the entire social media trend. With traditional media shrinking at an alarming rate, new media are springing up to take their place.

The profusion of websites that share and propel content (share, bookmark, digg, stumbleupon, speared, delicious, addthis, etc.) is multiplying and, we think, making life for PR pros even more difficult and challenging.

One casualty of the change is much of the PR educational world including those with Ph.D.’s in subject matter that has long gone to the graveyard. The students know more about the new media than their professors.

The new PR textbook should be the web including the many websites that cover the PR industry.

Brian Tierney, former longtime member of the PR Society and head of a local business group that bought the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News for $515 million in 2006, said that social media are not going to do the relentless investigative journalism, “the brawny work,” that newspapers do. He and others fear society will be the victim if media morph into a Vesuvius of hype and promotion. Tierney’s group is now trying to buy the bankrupt newspaper group (it owes $400M) for $35M plus the Inquirer building and land it owns.

The PR Society wants to broaden its membership to include advertising as well as PR people, its new bylaws saying ad people must promise to abide by the code of the Society. However, a study by professors Renita Coleman and Lee Wilkins in 2005 found that ad pros “think about immediate consequences when deciding how to act” and tend not to employ “ethical reasoning.” They “do lack ethics, or at the very least choose not to exercise the ethical reasoning abilities they have,” said the authors. As an example, they noted that ad people would take on a large beer account even though they were personally opposed to the use of alcohol. “Advertising professionals” ranked No. 16 among 20 occupations that were given the “Issues Defining Test” which has been taken by more than 30,000 professionals in different occupations in the past 30+ years to measure ethical awareness.

CooperKatz & Co., New York PR firm with $4.6M in fees in 2008, has a new website ( that sets new standards in disclosure.

The site includes descriptions of work for more than 90 current and past clients, illustrated with appropriate graphics, as well as pictures, bios and statements from all employees on PR issues of importance to them.

An employees’ blog on the site is open to visitors. CooperKatz is one of the 180 PR operations that takes part in the annual O’Dwyer rankings that require lists of executives, staffers and accounts.

Co-founder Andy Katz said he wanted to supply a maximum amount of information.

Stonewalling mars first “APR Boot Camp.” In a move to spark participation in accreditation, the PR Society, with assistance from the New York and New Jersey chapters, will host the first “APR Boot Camp” from Wednesday to Saturday, Aug. 26-29.

Cost is $585 and includes the $385 fee for the exam and $200 for three days of tutoring at PRS h.q.

Participants could also pay $75 for the first day of tutoring or $125 for the second two days.

No one connected with the Boot Camp will reveal the number of registrants.

This includes PRS VP-PR Art Yann; Felicia Blow, Universal Accreditation Board chair; no one from either the NY or NJ chapters, and the three APR tutors, Michele Hujber of PRS/NJ, and Jason Kirsch and Bob Saline of PRS/Central Pennsylvania.

It appears that the first lesson of the Boot Camp is “Stonewall the press.” Only 5% of the questions on the UAB test concern “media relations,” by the UAB’s own measurement. This shows how small a place the press occupies in the UAB’s “universe.”

Asked about the small proportion, UAB leaders said respondents to its questionnaires indicated this was the amount of time they spent on media relations.

That may be true of those working for corporations and institutions but we think agency PR people spend a far greater time on “media relations.”

An average of 119 new PRS APRs have been created yearly since the start of the new computerized multiple-choice test on July 1, 2003. PRS APRs totaled 713 as of June 30, 2009. Taking the test were 1,041 members with 328 flunking it (pass rate of 68.5%).

New PRS APRs averaged 259 yearly in the six-year period from 1996-2001.

The UAB has no ethics code of its own. It says it is guided by the PRS code.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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