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Internet Edition, September 9, 2009, Page 1


California will release a mid-September RFP for its $1M a year tobacco control PR account, according to Dept. of Public Health media specialist Jennifer Mansfield.

The DPH oversees the Golden State’s Tobacco Control Program to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco use and secondhand smoke.

The Rogers Group, Los Angeles, is the incumbent for the account.

The RFP covers an initial three-year contract starting in March 2010 with two year-long options that could stretch the pact to 2015.

The state says about $1M a year is available to fund its PR contingent on the governor’s budget.

The RFP is slated to be released on Sept. 17 with proposals due by Oct. 13. The documents will be posted at

A bidders’ conference is slated for Sept. 30 in Sacramento.


Rhode Island’s capital city Providence is reviewing its six-figure travel and tourism PR account and is seeking qualifications from firms through the end of September.

Lou Hammond & Associates, New York, is the four-year incumbent. The firm made a presentation to the Providence Tourism Council in late June outlining its work and received a three-month extension. The board then voted to issue an RFP for the contract because it had not been reviewed in four years.

According to the request for pitches, the Council expects a firm to get earned media to position the city nationally as a tourist, convention and meeting destination. Crisis and community relations are also included in the planned three-year contract.

The city's most recent PR pact is worth $240K a year.

Providence, one of the oldest cities with its founding in 1636, counts about 176K residents, more than a tenth of Rhode Island's population topping 1M.

But its proximity to southern Massachusetts and locale on Narragansett Bay make it an attractive location for tourism and conferences.

It also has a large higher education presence anchored by Brown University and Providence College among five other institutions.

RFQ statements are due by Sept. 30. Susann DellaRosa is overseeing the process ([email protected]).


The state entity overseeing California's dream of a high-speed rail line delayed final approval Sept. 3 on a five-year, $9M PR contract with Mercury Public Affairs, which is owned by Fleishman-Hillard, following an RFP process initiated in July.

The communications and public information pact was put out for bids by the California High Speed Rail Authority to boost the $40 billion project.

The rail link would run from San Francisco and Sacramento in the north to Los Angeles and San Diego in southern California.

Mercury beat out eight other firms in the selection process. Deutschman Communications Group was previously advising the Authority.

Some in the Golden State have criticized Mercury's ties to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Authority postponed the award as board members said they needed more information to okay such a lucrative pact.


Qorvis Communications is handling PR duties and web development work for all-terrain vehicle armor company Plasan SASA.

Plasan, located at Israel’s Kibbutz Sasa, provides mine-resistant and ambush-protection kits for U.S. Army all-terrain vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a key subcontractor on Oshkosh Corp.’s $1.06B pact announced July 31 to deliver 1,700 all-terrain vehicles to the Army by February. That pact is a follow-up to the $1.05B contract for 2,244 vehicles won by Oshkosh Defense on June 30.

The Israeli press reports that Plasan’s share of each contract is worth “several hundred millions of dollars.”

The bulk of Plasan’s production comes from its facility in Connecticut.


PR Society chair Mike Cherenson, responding to 30 criticisms of the proposed bylaws including charges that they are a “power grab” by the executive committee and board, discussed two of the criticisms last week and in both instances rejected them.

Cherenson, in a posting on the governance e-group of PRS, said that proxies would be used at the Assembly Nov. 7 and that the board would continue to position the Assembly as dealing with “issues of the profession.”

Senior members had posted in the same e-group last week that PRS bylaws, PRS tradition, Robert’s Rules and a specific mention in the Assembly Handbook had all forbade the use of proxies.

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, September 9, 2009, Page 2


Brunswick Communications and Edelman are working eBay's $2.75B deal to unload a 65 percent stake in its Skype Internet phone service to an investor group.

Former e-Bay CEO Meg Whitman acquired Skype in 2005 and was criticized for overpaying for the venture that did not pan out.

Skype generated $551M of eBay's $8.5B in revenues last year. It had more than 400M users at yearend '08.

eBay CEO John Donahoe said in a statement that Skype though a “strong standalone business does not have synergies with our e-commerce and online payments businesses.”

Following completion of the transaction, Skype “will have the focus required to compete effectively in online voice and video communications and accelerate its growth.” eBay had planned to spin Skype off via an IPO in 2010. That plan is now dead.

Silver Lake, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are lining up as the new owners of Skype.

Brunswick (Mike Buckley and Anisha Patel) represents eBay in the transaction, while Edelman (Rich Myers and John Dillard) answers to the investment groups.


The Rendon Group, the D.C. and Boston PR firm that’s a favorite target of critics for its government contracts, is pushing back against “misleading or inaccurate information” it says has been reported by some major media and blogs.

The second response from the firm in as many weeks, which came from global strategies director Bryan Rich, is notable because TRG rarely grants interviews or discusses its work.

The latest flare-up of scrutiny was sparked by a Stars and Stripes article which reported on a Rendon pact with the Pentagon to analyze war reporters’ coverage of Afghanistan. Some reports suggested the military was weighing Rendon’s reports in decisions to approve requests for embedded duty reporting on the war.

In a statement emailed to this website, posted online and disseminated via PR Newswire, the firm denied that charge. “We assumed any reporters we were asked to research would be interviewing or embedding with the U.S. military,” the firm said, pointing to a USA Today report that noted only 2 of 143 requests to the 101st Airborne Division were denied. Those two denials were reportedly for inaccuracy and release of classified information and USAT said both media outlets were later accepted for the embed program.

In its Sept. 3 statement, the firm also revisited the 2005 Rolling Stone article on Rendon’s role in the second Iraq war. Pointing to the Department of Defense Inspector General and Associated Press, Rendon said it "had no role in shaping U.S. public opinion leading up to the Iraq war" and no ties to the Iraqi National Congress or Ahmad Chalabi.

The military said late last week that it was canceling the Rendon contract for Afghanistan because it had become a distraction.


Samsung Electronics has shifted its North American consumer electronics and North American corporate account from MWW Group to sister Interpublic firm, Weber Shandwick, as part of its periodic review of communications partners.

Samsung's Jose Cardona told O’Dwyer’s that five firms were considered for the business, but three presented. MWW declined to pitch. It continues to represent Samsung Telecommunications America, developer and marketer of wireless headsets and other gear. Weber Shandwick also picks up the global visual display division, which Cardona calls a “new PR business opportunity.”

WS’ duties include strategic counsel, corporate marketing, sports, sponsorships, events, online media as well as promoting home theater systems, Blue-ray players and HDTVs. Another IPG firm, Current Lifestyle Marketing, is in the mix. CLM was selected to build consumer awareness for Samsung's home appliances.

Edelman remains Samsung’s global agency of record and PR firm for the company's North American semiconductor operation. R&J Public Relations continues as agency for Samsung's digital imaging products.

Samsung had 2008 revenues of $96B.


The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is looking for a PR firm to guide internal and external communications for its massive eight-year effort to implement a Missouri River Recovery Program.

The recovery effort, encompassing several states from Montana to Missouri, aims to restore the river’s ecosystem while maintaining congressionally mandated uses for the aquifer for consumption and irrigation. Initial planning started last year and follows a four-part schedule to develop and select a plan through 2016.

The senior team overseeing the project says it places a “high priority” on its public outreach and communications.

The PR effort will include various tasks from web production and brochures to press kits, releases, community outreach and mailings on a year-long contract.

The Corps is looking for a firm with experience in working with diverse groups on natural resource issues. Responses to the RFP are due Sept. 10. The RFP has be accessed via


Tesla Motors, the luxury electric vehicle maker, has recruited YouTube’s Ricardo Reyes to serve as VP for communications.

The 35-year-old Nicaraguan native heads global comms. and public affairs at the Google Internet video unit and is slated to join San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla on Sept. 14. He earlier handled litigation, competition and policy communications at Google.

Before his term in Silicon Valley, Reyes was in D.C. handling auto restructuring comms. among other efforts leading crisis work at law firm Bracewell and Giuliani. Reyes also worked in for the U.S. Trade Representative as a deputy assistant and spokesman for trade policy during the first term of George W. Bush.


Internet Edition, September 9, 2009, Page 3


Columbia Books & Information Services has acquired 36-year-old Association Trends from Martineau Corp.

Jill Martineau Cornish, executive editor whose father, Frank, founded the title in 1973, said Columbia will give the publication additional resources to better serve the association community.

"This is a great day in the life of Trends and I am very excited to be a part of taking us to the next level," said Cornish, who has worked on the title for 25 years.

The deal includes the print publication, its website and events like the Salute to Association Excellence and the Association Executive of the Year.

Columbia publishes the National Trade and Professional Associations Directory and the Washington Area Non Profit Compensation Survey.

Martineau says it will continue as an independent consulting, association management and communications shop.


Charlie Gibson, anchor of ABC’s “World News” since May 2006, is stepping down in January. The 66-year-old will be replaced by Diane Sawyer, 63.

Gibson had been discussing retirement with ABC News president Dave Westin for a couple of weeks.

In an email to staffers, Gibson noted that ABC has been his “professional home for almost 35 years” and the decision to retire was not an easy one. He called the ABC news department “second to none.”

Sawyer, anchor of “Good Morning America,” expects to do some reporting for World News after she assumes the anchor role.

A replacement for Sawyer at the lucrative GMA has not yet been named.


News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch is negotiating with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to purchase a stake in his Rotana Media.

The Wall Street Journal reports that News Corp. may buy a 20 percent stake in Rotana, which airs Fox channels in Saudi Arabia and owns rights to a library of more than 2,000 Arabic movies.

If the deal is pulled off, it will be News Corp’s initial foray into the Arab World. Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding, owns a 5.7 percent stake in News Corp.

Known as the “Saudi Warren Buffet,” the Prince is a major investor in Citigroup. He has made investments in Apple, AOL and Motorola, Euro Disney, Four Seasons hotel chain and New York City's Plaza Hotel.

Forbes, in March, put Alwaleed on its billionaire list. He ranked No. 22 with assets of more than $13B.


Sitrick and Company is handling Freedom Communications, which on Sept. 1 became the latest media company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Irvine, Calif.-based publisher of the libertarian Orange County Register and 33 dailies, has revenues in the $700M range and is struggling under a $770M debt load which could be cut to $325M under its revamping plan. The company will essentially be turned over to its 27 lenders led by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The family and two private equity investors are expected to see their stakes slashed to a combined 2% with an option to buy back 10% Union Bank of California, JPMorgan Chase and SunTrust banks.

The WSJ reports that a Chapter 11 filing is a blow to private equity firms Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners, which acquired a 40 percent stake in Freedom in 2004.

Freedom also owns several affiliates -- five CBS, two ABC and a single CW TV station -- that reach more than three million households.

Sitrick executive Robert Emmers says Freedom is continuing to work on its balance sheet issues.

The company says it will not sell its assets.

CBS, SI TO SHARE CONTENT and its high school sports portal,, have entered a content partnership with The Sports Illustrated Group to share and distribute digital and print assets. content will be featured on’s high school page and will become the engine for SI’s “Faces in the Crowd” feature.

Also, SI writers David Feherty and Seth Davis will be syndicated across, which will feature links to other SI writers like Peter King (football) and Tom Verducci (baseball).

In turn, will link to video from CBS for programs like “SEC Live” and “Fantasy Football Today.” managing editor Paul Fichtenbaum said the deal will provide “an outstanding service to users as well as shine a brighter light on our collective efforts.”


Alexandra Postman, executive editor of Elle magazine, has moved to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as editor-in-chief of Body + Soul magazine.

The magazine’s editorial team is relocating from Watertown, Mass., to New York to join the rest of the MSLO operation by November.

Alanna Fincke, EIC since February 2006, is staying in Boston and will stay on as a contributor.

Postman, who oversees content for B+S magazine and its site, was previously at Conde Nast Women’s Sports & Fitness, Redbook, Random House and Working Woman.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, September 9, 2009, Page 4


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette launched a premium website that includes a team of bloggers and writers for the paper providing an “insider’s guide” to the city’s news and events.

The site, PG+, costs $36 a year or $3.99 a month. Subscribers, which the paper is calling “members,” get access to social networking, chats, videos, special events, blogs, and deals on entertainment, sports and shopping.

PG president Christopher Chamberlain said the site will add a “richer dimension” to the paper’s existing products without taking away from its current print and online offerings.

“It’s a website for people who want a deeper connection to the Pittsburgh community and the best the PG has to offer,” he said.


Three cigarette companies are taking a legal stand against an act in Congress to further regulate advertising.

Lorillard, Reynolds American and National Tobacco filed suit in U.S. District Court (Bowling Green) against the Food and Drug Administration to block enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Among other tenets, the act would require cigarette companies to put a graphic of a diseased lung on half the front and backsides of a pack of cigarettes.

The intent of the law is to protect children from tobacco advertising.

It also bans color ads in magazines that have 15 percent readership from people under 18, meaning popular titles like Sports Illustrated and People would fall under that restriction.

Lorillard pushed back with an ad last week in the Wall Street Journal stating:

“While we realize that many do not deem commercial messages about a product that is as widely vilified as cigarettes as deserving of these protections, it is precisely this kind of controversial speech that the First Amendment protects.”


Lauren Sombrotto, who founded NorthStar Media Public Relations in 2007, has joined Bank of America's Merrill Lynch unit in New York office.

She has financial PR experience gained from stints at Brunswick Group, Abernathy MacGregor, GolinHarris and Gavin Anderson.

Prior to establishing Northstar, Sombrotto was PR chief at Liquidnet, the online institution trading firm.

Merrill, mid-month, is adding Kerrie McHugh, BNP Paribas' senior press officer, to its press shop. McHugh once worked at EuroRSCG Magnet.

Pinat Rond, formerly of Koteret PR and Fleisher Communications & PR, joined the brokerage unit on Aug. 31. Jefferson George, a former business reporter for the Charlotte Observer, moved to ML in July.

McHugh and Rond work out of NYC.

George is based at BA’s headquarters in Charlotte.


Walt Disney Co. has agreed to acquire comic book giant Marvel Entertainment in a blockbuster $4 billion deal in the media sector.

The agreement represents a premium of about 29 percent on Marvel shares and puts iconic (and lucrative) characters like Iron Man, the X-Men and Captain America under Disney’s roof.

“Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of [5,000] characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses,” said Ike Perlmutter, Marvel’s CEO.

Perlmutter will oversee the Marvel properties at Disney.


Brad Garlinghouse, a former Yahoo executive, has been named president of Internet and mobile communications at AOL.

Heading its Silicon Valley operations, he is charged with growing AOL’s e-mail and instant-messaging services and will lead AOL Ventures, its start-up and spin-off arm, on the West Coast.

Garlinghouse was the senior VP of communications & communities at Yahoo and notably penned a memo known as the “peanut butter manifesto” that outlined problems at the Internet company, which he said was spread too thin.


Members of a U.K. environmental effort stripped down and invaded the lobby of Edelman’s London office on Sept. 1 to protest the firm's work in support of a coal-powered power plant in the country.

Edelman works with Kentucky-based energy company EON, which is building a plant in Kingsnorth through its U.K. subsidiary.

The company says it is replacing the existing coal-fired units with “cleaner coal” units, a switch which will reduce carbon emissions by two tons a year.

The protestors said climate activists, partially nude, occupied the roof and lobby window of Edelman's Victoria Street U.K. headquarters at around 8:45 a.m.

Edelman U.K. CEO Robert Phillips said the firm offered coffee and to sit down and talk with the protesters but they declined.

“We are happy to engage in constructive conversation,” said Phillips, who tweeted about the experience as it unfolded. “Everyone all around the world is concerned about a balanced energy policy but the fact remains that someone has to keep the lights on.”

Alice Fielding, a protestor, said in a statement: “Edelman PR [is] nothing more than new coal spin doctors intent on making profit out of EON's activities at the expense of the global climate.”

EON, which devotes a section of its website to CCA, says it respects the right to protest as long as it is done peacefully and within bounds of the law.

CCA demonstrations also hit the Bank of Scotland were picked up by several media outlets, including Reuters, the BBC, Sky News, CNBC, and the Financial Times.

Internet Edition, September 9, 2009, Page 5


New York-based Kaplow has aligned with India’s Torque, which has four offices in that country.

Kaplow, which posted revenue of $10.1M in '08 with nearly 60 staffers, works with clients like Target and Skype said it can offer full coverage of the Indian market through Torque’s presence in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

Supriyo Gupta, managing director at Torque, said the alliance will enable both firms to give clients a presence in “the world’s two most competitive markets.”

Liz Kaplow, CEO of the New York firm, said the relationship lets her offer global brands India representation in consumer and corporate communications.

Kaplow is aligned with Trimedia International for Europe.


Bender/Helper Impact, Los Angeles, has created a digital marketing division, B/HI Buzz, headed by the firm’s technology account lead Matt Meeks.

The unit handles services like social media audits, blogger relations, social networking, SEO, events and meetups, among other tasks.

Meeks said while traditional PR strategies remain “very effective,” the firm has found success integrating clients into conversations already occuring across the web. Meeks co-founded the Denver web marketing firm

B/HI principal Dean Bender said the new unit is a response to audiences moving away from traditional media and turning to the social web to share news and entertainment.


Hill & Knowlton is handling media surrounding PetroChina's blockbuster $1.9B deal to acquire a 60 percent stake in two oil sands projects in Alberta.

The deal with privately held Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. is China's biggest energy investment in North America. Alberta's oil resources represent the largest reserve position outside the Middle East.

Don Martin of the Calgary Herald sees the Chinese government pushing itself “shovel deep into Canada’s energy motherlode” and grabbing so-called “‘dirty oil’ that Americans increasingly find unworthy of fueling their plans, trains and automobiles.” He believes it’s “too bad” that Washington will not be "pleased at having a massive supply of secure energy on their northern doorstep slipping under Chinese ownership.”

Bill Gallacher, chairman of AOSC, said PetroChina already operates “world class heavy oil facilities” in northeastern China.

In his statement, Gallacher believes Alberta and the rest of Canada will benefit from AOSC’s alliance with PetroChina, “one of the world's largest energy companies.” The deal gives China access to 5 billion barrels of oil.


New York Area

Stern & Co., New York/NXT Nutritionals, marketer of Susta Natural Sweetener, a sugar substitute marketed to diabetics and other individuals for whom sugar is not viable, for a national media relations and PR campaign to introduce the product.

DKC, New York/The Sorgente Group, Italy-based real estate investment company, and East Egg Realty, real estate start-up, for PR in the New York market.

Leach Communications, New York/Enalasys Corporation, energy efficiency measurement and data verification, for strategic communications services.

Marina Maher Communications, New York/Priscilla of Boston, designer collections, and Post Foods, ready-to-eat cereal brands, for PR.

Hill & Knowlton, New York/Insphere Insurance Solutions, start-up backed by The Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, for corporate communications and media relations.

Robin Leedy & Associates, Mount Kisco, N.Y./Union Springs Pharmaceuticals, Kentucky, for a 12-month social media campaign to launch its MyClyns personal germ protection spray to consumers in the fall.


Crosby-Volmer, Washington, D.C./Hampton Hotels, part of Hilton Hotels Corp. and based in Memphis, as AOR for global brand development. The PR effort aims to position Hampton as the premier midscale franchise in hospitality.

Ogilvy Government Relations, Washington, D.C./Vero Capital Management, asset management firm, for D.C. representation.

E. Boineau & Company, Charleston, S.C./Edisto Chamber of Commerce, as marketing and PR agency of record for the summer retreat south of Charleston.


Sweeney, Cleveland/My Yoga 2 Go, home instruction yoga system, for PR and social media campaigns.


Rose & Allyn, Scottsdale, Ariz./El Mirage, Arizona city, for PR to replace Policy Development Group. The $12,500 a month pact is on a month-to-month basis. The city is trying to protect Luke Air Force Base from encroachment and wants to burnish its overall image.


WebVixxen Design, Venice, Calif./Cloutier Agency; Electronic Arts; Thomas Whitelaw; Endemic, Division-E Apparel; Deco Fabric Imports, and Fenix Management, for web design assignments.

Bob Gold & Associates, Los Angeles/Latens, software security and networking solutions for subscription TV, for PR focused on the North American telecommunications and cable TV markets.


APCO Worldwide, London/Western Union, for communication AOR duties for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, following a competitive pitch. The corporate affairs assignment includes media relations, thought-leadership efforts, public affairs and stakeholder management.

Internet Edition, September 9, 2009, Page 6


The Charlottesville Albemarle (Va.) Convention & Visitors Bureau has issued an RFP for electronic PR services and is taking pitches through Sept. 22.

The CVB is funded by and covers the city of Charlottesville and the county of Albermarle. It has a single staffer that handles PR and media and operates one visitor center.

The entity wants a provider of electronic PR and media services, including a database of media outlets, digital tracking of earned media, press release distribution, “through PRWeb, PR Newswire or other credible outlets,” among other tasks.

The CVB stresses that its not seeking PR pitches, but pitches for the services outlined above.

Crystal Weller is overseeing the process. She is at [email protected].


The New York Chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute said it will open its 2009-10 program season with a Sept. 23rd “Fireside Chat” event at the Nasdaq Market Site in Times Square.

Frank Hatheway, chief economist of the Nasdaq OMX Group, is slated to cover the state of the economy, trends affecting the equity markets, and what it means for public companies in the next year.

Hatheway was finance professor at Penn State University and a researcher in market microstructure and has authored academic articles in the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Intermediation and other leading finance journals.

“The state of the economy continues to be top of mind for investor relations professionals,” said Felise Glantz Kissell, president of NIRI-NY and senior VP of IR and strategy at HSN, Inc.

Registration and networking begins at 5:00 p.m., with the program at 6. A networking reception will follow the hour-long program. Cost is $50 for members and $75 for non-members. Info: [email protected] or 212/551-1013.

BRIEFS: The San Francisco Business Times is seeking nominations for its annual Bay Area Most Admired CEO Awards. Nominees must be CEO of a private or public company based in the Bay Area. CEOs of divisions or wholly owned subsidiaries of companies based elsewhere also qualify for nomination. Info is at Deadline is Sept. 18. says that while the average size of a bumper sticker has been shrinking, their influence has not. Jeff Nicholson, who runs the Vermont-based promotional sticker company, says clients and PR pros should realize that while they are basically “mini-billboards,” stickers are not necessarily perceived by consumers as advertising. “Stickers applied in visible locations are personal recommendation and literal ‘signs’ of support for a business or organization. Nicholson says size and design are key to acceptance as stickers have moved from bumpers to helmets, skateboards, windows and lockers.



Ben Finzel, senior VP for Fleishman-Hillard in D.C., to Widmeyer Communications, as a senior VP in its public affairs unit. The energy communications guru handled accounts like Exelon, PG&E, Chevron and the American Wind Energy Association at F-H. He was a presidential appointee at the Dept. of Energy during the Clinton administration and was previously a staffer for two House Democrats.

Cheryl Procter-Rogers, 2006 president and CEO of the PR Society, has moved to DePaul University in the new post of VP for PR and communications. Procter-Rogers, 51, had been working as an independent consultant via her own shop, Step Ahead PR. Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, president of DePaul, said he has asked Procter-Rogers to coordinate the many messages the 24,000-student school sends and to make the university “better known through the nation.” She had been professional advisor to the PR Student Society chapter at DePaul for several years and has served on its College of Communication advisory board since last year. She was previously Midwest regional corporate affairs director at HBO and director of public relations and advertising for Nielsen Marketing Research.

Steve Sigmund, who heads public affairs for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has taken a leave from the bi-state agency to head communications for Garden State Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat who is locked in a tight re-election battle against Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie. He takes over at the Corzine campaign for Deborah Howlett, a former Newark Star-Ledger reporter. Sigmund was a VP at Robinson Lerer & Montgomery.

Christine Ciccone, VP of government relations for Honeywell International, to USEC Inc., Bethesda, Md., as senior VP of external relations for the global supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power. She was previously special assistant to President George W. Bush for legislative affairs.

Juan Iramain, VP of corporate comms. and public affairs for Turner Broadcasting System in the Southern Cone region of South America, to Hill & Knowlton, as GM of its Argentina operations, based in Buenos Aires.

David Waller, partner at U.K. financial PR firm Maitland, to GLG Partners, London, as the U.S.-listed asset manager’s first director of comms. He was previously group head of external relations for Allianz Group and was previously a journalist at the Financial Times.


Jennifer Byrd to national PR director, The Salvation Army, Alexandria, Va. She previously directed PR at the SA’s San Francisco-based Golden State division, which she joined in 2002. Byrd started out as a reporter for California Law Business and the San Francisco Daily Journal before moving into agency PR.


Internet Edition, September 9, 2009, Page 7


Current bylaws, members noted, say that the bylaws can only be changed by a “majority vote of the members of the Assembly present and voting.”

Parliamentarian Colette Trohan had told Cherenson during an Aug. 24 teleconference that the bylaws were about “the rights of members” and the “flow of authority” from the members to the board and vice versa and were not to be used to give assignments to the members.

Said Cherenson Sept. 2: “The intention of the task force… is to create an assembly of leaders who deal with issues of the profession, rather than meeting once a year to wordsmith piecemeal changes to an outmoded document.” He said the Assembly would become a “thought leadership group” that would take on “big broad issues” such as “the definition of PR.”

Some members expressed puzzlement over the proposed role of the Assembly since one of the new rules is that delegates would only serve one year and could be “elected” or “appointed.”

Current rule is that they are “elected” for three years in order to give them experience as delegates.

Recordings Available?

Cherenson told the p.m. session of the Aug. 24 delegate teleconferences that the sessions would be recorded starting with that session.

However, neither he nor VP-PR Arthur Yann respond to questions about whether and when such recordings will be made available to the full membership.

Member suggestions that the delegate calls be audiocast live on the PRS website and archived are unanswered.

Further calls on the bylaws (a.m. and p.m. sessions) are set for Sept. 10, Oct. 1, Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.

Members have also suggested that the 2009 Assembly be audiocast live and the recording and transcript made available to members. There has been no response to those suggestions.

Still unpublished by PRS is IRS Form 990 that was originally due May 15. Non-profits can delay filing until Nov. 15. Last year’s 990 was filed in late September.

The form contains the salary and benefits of COO William Murray and legal and occupancy costs.

Murray has received a new contract but neither he nor the board will reveal anything about it. The previous contract runs to approximately Jan. 22, 2010.

Topics Not Addressed by Cherenson

Among topics not addressed by Cherenson that were among the 30 raised in the governance e-group were the shift of election power to a “quorum” of 500 members that could vote in-person or by proxy; the possibility that volunteer leaders could be paid for “services actually rendered”; power of the board to create new categories of members and new categories of Assembly delegates (with no provision for Assembly approval); installing a board member as head of the nominating committee; letting the board expel a member “at its sole discretion,” and allowing anyone in “communications” to join as long as he or she agrees to abide by the PRS code.

Cherenson did not respond to the request for funds for the senior members so they could hire their own law firm and make some changes to the current bylaws rather than creating an entirely new set of bylaws.

The bylaws should be written “from the perspective of rank-and-file members and not the executive committee and the board,” said the posting this week by senior members. Cherenson has said the entire Assembly may be taken up with discussion of the new bylaws with voting taking place on each of the 15 articles.

Amendments may be made from the floor and do not need to be filed in advance, Cherenson and Trohan noted on the Aug. 24 teleconference.

Senior members said it would be much quicker and easier to revise the current bylaws, leaving the Assembly to take up other matters.

Cherenson said PRS leadership has “worked so diligently to encourage free and open debate on this subject through phone calls, blog posts and this very forum” (governance e-group).

He did not address the complaint that neither he nor bylaws chair Dave Rickey have presented themselves to any chapter memberships or the PR trade press for in-person, on-the-record discussion of the bylaw proposals.

New York chapter leaders have been asked if they have any intention of inviting Cherenson and Rickey to an on-the-record meeting in New York about the proposed bylaws at which members and PR reporters would be present. Their response indicates that no such meeting will be called.

Rickey talked by phone about the bylaws to 20 members of the North Florida chapter Aug. 20.

Five major areas were discussed and the members voted against the proposed changes in all of the areas (Assembly make-up; eliminating district directors; makeup of nominating committee; membership classes, and qualifications for board/officer service).


Mark McClennan, Northeast district chair of PRS has sent a bylaw amendment that would strike the proposal that says: “The full membership shall vote for the election of directors and officers of the Society.”

The proposed bylaw had further explained that the “full membership” could be represented by a quorum of 500 members voting “in person or by proxy.”

Proxies were not allowed in the Assembly until 2005 when 81 proxies were part of the vote that defeated a move to bar proxies.

New York State law allows proxies unless there is specific wording in bylaws blocking them. PRS leaders deemed that the Assembly Handbook, which said “Delegates must be present for all votes during the day of the Assembly,” could be circumvented because that sentence was not in the actual bylaws, only that delegates must be “present” (which apparently was interpreted to mean in person or by proxy).

McClennan said Sept. 3 in the governance e-group of PRS that it would be “irresponsible to replace a longstanding method of electing our national officers and board with a new method without knowing or having the ability to approve the specifics of direct elections.”

Cynthia Sharpe, former chair of the Sunshine district (seven Florida chapters), said in a governance e-group posting that a deliberative body such as the Assembly “needs to fully vet and debate its ideas face-to-face at a meeting. It’s what is at the core of the Assembly and the deliberative process.” Sharpe, a member of bylaws re-write, says that this year’s Assembly should be a “working session” that would provide “meaningful, specific discussions on the ideas” in the bylaws proposals and that action could be postponed until the next Assembly in 2010 or to a special session of the Assembly.


Internet Edition, September 9, 2009, Page 8




An extensive, point-by-point critique of the proposed PR Society bylaws, which had been earnestly sought by chair Mike Cherenson and bylaws chair Dave Rickey, has been sent to them by a group of senior members but to no avail.

Cherenson took up one of 30 topics that was mentioned and dismissed the members' plea to block the use of proxies at the Assembly Nov. 7.

Cherenson and Rickey, in an Assembly delegates' conference call Aug. 24, pleaded for members to send in any possible suggestions for the new bylaws as soon as possible but definitely no later than 30 days before the Assembly.

Parliamentarian Colette Trohan said the Assembly must not take up the bylaws in numerical order but according to the "biggest items."

Leaders need to know what items are attracting the most opinions, the most "controversy," she said.

That's an easy assignment and we hope she will take our reading which is based not only on common sense by members' opinions such as expressed in the 30 criticisms posted by several senior members.

1. State positively that proxy voting is completely forbidden.
2. No direct election of board/officers without more details.
3. Keep ten district reps on national board.
4. Board cannot create new types of members or Assembly delegates.
5. Eliminate executive committee from bylaws.
6. Stop equating "communications" with "PR."
7. No board power to expel members "at sole discretion."
8. Remove APR from bylaws; PRS service only criteria for office.
9. No board member on nominating committee.
10. No Assembly voting machines unless all votes are roll call.

There's more objections but that's a start. We don't know how far any objections will go because PRS is a very stubborn organization.

Cherenson's refusal to deal with the 30 objections voiced by some senior members is one sign.

Trohan warned the Aug. 24 delegate teleconference that, "Since you've put so much work into it so far that we would hate to suddenly see it all go crazy at the meeting."

She is seeking as much input as possible as early as possible.

Fine, but that should have started in March with PRS putting on the main page of its website one proposal at a time and debating it for a couple of weeks. Instead, it dumped a dozen on the members in the PRSAY section all at once.

Trohan also said that if "three or four different constituencies" are seeking changes in the same area that the committee could help them to achieve a "consensus."

Trohan warned in the afternoon teleconference Aug. 24 that she didn't want to see the Assembly get "bogged down or lost on something that was unforeseen or have to take a recess to research something."

Despite the plea of senior members to bar proxies, Cherenson on Sept. 2 said, "Delegates who cannot attend the Assembly can make their voices heard by proxy."

The proposed bylaws say that amendments can be made at an Assembly by "delegates present in person or by proxy…"

The current passage says "delegates present and voting."

What obviously happened in 2005, when proxies (81) were allowed for the first time in the history of the Assembly, was that PRS lawyers deemed that "present and voting" could be interpreted as allowing proxies since the words "in person" were absent.

That was a mangling of the intent of the bylaws since the Assembly Handbook specifically called for delegates to be "present" for all votes and Robert's Rules, which were used by the Assembly for many years, are categorically against proxy voting in a deliberative body.

Merriam-Webster defines "present" as being "at the meeting" and "being in view or at hand."

PRS lawyers who said New York State laws "trump" PRS's bylaws are talking legal doubletalk. There is no law against common sense, no law that over-rules the intent of the Assembly to have its delegates present when voting.

Cherenson and other PRS leaders on Aug. 24 described elaborate plans for the use of proxies which would include boxes to be checked off and which would be both directed (for elections, setting of dues ) and undirected (for passage of amendments to the bylaws and/or voting on the bylaws as a whole).

The critique by the senior members is right in saying that "All references to proxies should be stricken from the revised bylaws" except to state positively that "proxies are not to be used."

Rickey claimed in the Aug. 24 p.m. teleconference that he and others would "talk to anyone, anyway, anytime" about the bylaws.

Would that were so!

Almost all of the discussion has been in restricted e-groups, teleconferences, or private meetings such as the "Leadership Rally" of chapter presidents-elect not open to the general membership or press.

Cherenson and Rickey have failed since March when the bylaw proposals were first announced to have a press conference or even face one chapter membership with the press present or the session recorded and available for listening by the entire membership.

Most of the discussion has been in the governance e-group which is a dysfunctional, frustrating way to discuss anything.

Imagine talking to someone and having to wait a day or more for the reply. That's the governance e-group in which fewer than 20 members are participating to the best of our knowledge. Most of those in this group are leaders or staff.

Current "communications" practices seem to preclude fact-to-face discussions.

Facing an Assembly that could easily deteriorate into chaos, Cherenson, Rickey and others should hold a press conference in New York this month to hash out a lot of the details and objections to the new bylaws. An alternative would be a meeting with members with the press present.

Rickey mentioned his Aug. 20 telephone "visit" to the North Florida chapter on the Aug. 24 delegate conference. What he did not mention is that the 20 members present voted against bylaw changes in five major areas-allowing the board to create new categories of membership and new categories of Assembly delegates; eliminating district directors; allowing sitting board member on nominating committee, and qualifications for board/officer posts (APR, Assembly service, leadership posts and 20 years in PR posts with increasing levels of responsibility).

Leaders are asking members to send in requested changes but who knows when there will be replies? This is a dysfunctional way to debate these bylaws which should be done in the open, in-person and on-the-record.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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