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Internet Edition, September 23, 2009, Page 1


California has delayed the planned release of an RFP for its $1M a year tobacco control PR account. Approval to release the RFP is expected this week.

This NL reported earlier this month that the RFP was expected in mid-September covering the state’s Dept. of Public Health, which oversees the public education effort. The Rogers Group of Los Angeles is the incumbent.

A three-year pact with two year options is planned starting in March 2010 with a budget slated for $1M a year. Proposals are due Oct. 13 and a voluntary bidders conference is set for Sept. 30 in Sacramento.

Firms must have a California office and been in business since at least 2005 with $2.5M in annual PR billings for two of the past three years.

The RFP will be posted online at


Liz Van Lenten, who was external communications director at Abbot Laboratories, has shifted to Ogilvy PR Worldwide as executive VP and group director of its Chicago consumer marketing practice.

At Abbott, Van Lenten developed consumer campaigns and supported pharmaceutical outreach using both traditional and social media PR tools.

Earlier, Van Lenten chalked up more than 20 years of consumer and brand marketing experience at MS&L, Burson-Marsteller and GolinHarris.

Ogilvy credits Van Lenten for work on accounts such as Kellogg’s, Energizer, McDonald’s, P&G, Levi’s, General Mills and the Florida Dept. of Citrus.

Mike Hatcliffe is managing director of Ogilvy/Chicago. Barby Siegel leads the WPP Group’s global consumer marketing operation.


Jody Powell, a top aide and press secretary to President Jimmy Carter who helmed the public affairs powerhouse Powell Tate in D.C., died on Sept. 14 at his home in Maryland.

The Georgia native was 65 and suffered a heart attack, according to Harris Diamond, CEO of Weber Shandwick, which oversees PT.

“Jody was the ultimate professional and helped create the modern practice of public affairs,” said Gerald Cassidy, founder and executive chairman of Powell Tate sister firm, Cassidy & Associates.


The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq has agreed to pay Qorvis Communications a $40K a-month retainer under its one-year media relations, strategic PR and Internet consulting agreement.

The pact can be renewed for another year as long as the retainer is increased a minimum five percent.

Qorvis CEO Michael Petruzzello is the partner in charge of representation of the restive energy rich northern section of Iraq.

Matt Lauer, managing director, handles day-to-day activity. He was previously exec. director, U.S. Advisory Committee on Public Diplomacy, at the State Dept.

In the agreement, Qorvis explains that it has no control over KRG’s PR material once it is released to the press and no control over whether the media will provide an “accurate presentation of information supplied by us.” KRG agrees not to request that Qorvis create a campaign or publicity material that it deems “untrue, indecent, libelous, unlawful or otherwise prejudicial to your interest, or ours.”


El Al Israel Airlines has signed Ronn Torossian’s 5W Public Relations as its agency of record. Ruder Finn had the business.

5W is to work on various communications initiatives in the U.S. such as strategic/creative planning and media relations.

El Al is more than 60 years old and offers the most non-stop flights between New York (JFK/Newark) and Israel. It has the only direct link between Los Angeles and Israel.

With revenues in the $2B range, it flies to more than 40 locales from Israel and serves 22 other American cities via partnerships with other carriers.


The PR Society has made available to members audio of the two bylaws teleconferences Sept. 10 and the tapes are circulating among members.

A link provided on allows the recordings to be listened to or downloaded for use on an iPod or MP3 player. Users can move through the hour-long files from start to finish, stopping when needed, or replaying sections as desired.

Chair Mike Cherenson announced at the start of the teleconferences that the sessions were being taped and that anyone who took part in the sessions gave permission for such recording.

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, September 23, 2009, Page 2


Libya’s Mission to the United Nations has hired Hopps & Assocs. to handle PR as the clock ticks for the hotly anticipated appearance of the country’s leader Col. Gaddafi before the world body.

The U.N. General Assembly kicked off Sept. 15, helmed by Ali Treki, a veteran Libyan diplomat.

Treki, Libya’s Minister of African Affairs, was elected president of the U.N. in June. He will serve until next September.

Gaddafi is to attend the U.N. for the first time on Sept. 23. His lodging plans shifted from a Bedouin tent in Englewood, N.J., to the swanky Pierre Hotel in Manhattan to Libya’s U.N. mission.

H&A has so far received a $50K payment from the Mission.

The firm will engage in marketing consulting services including advertising, PR, event management and new business development including trade and investment delegations.

H&A plans to work for the Libyans on an “as needed basis” through December 2010 or longer pending a written agreement, according to its Justice Dept. registration.

Keith Hopps heads H&A. He reports to Abdul Hamid Yahya, assistant to Libya’s Ambassador to the United Nations.


The Arthur Page Society has awarded E. Bruce Harrison, a frequent contributor to O’Dwyer’s, its 2009 Distinguished Service Award to honor the “dean of green PR.”

Harrison burst onto the PR scene by spearheading the Chemical Manufacturers Assn.’s response to Rachel Carson’s devastating “Silent Spring,” the book that warned about the threat that pesticides posed to the environment. He went on to the corporate VP post at Freeport Minerals (now Freeport McMoRan), handling PR, IR and international government relations for the company’s huge copper mine in Indonesia.

With wife, Patricia, Harrison founded E. Bruce Harrison & Co. in Washington in 1973. That “corporate greening” specialist was acquired by Ruder Finn in 1996. Harrison wrote “Going Green,” the seminal work on environmental PR in 1993, and “Corporate Greening 2.0” in 2008. He now runs EnviroComm International in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, the Page Society named Bill Margaritis, senior VP-global communications and IR, its president. He succeeds Maril MacDonald on Jan. 1.


Allison Ross, VP-director of global communications at Publicis Groupe’s MS&L Worldwide is leaving the firm to travel and spend time with her family. She took that post in 2000.

Nancy Brenner, senior VP and director of media relations in the firm’s corporate group, is handling Ross’ duties for the moment.


The chief executives of six companies including Dow Chemical, Exelon and Duke Energy are being blasted as “carbon criminals” in a wanted poster campaign by

Alexandria, Va.-based Advocacy Ink is handling PR for the effort, which is targeting a handful of CEOs the group says are lobbying in support of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation currently in Congress.

JS is headed by Steve Milloy, a conservative-libertarian and fierce critic of the environmental movement. His group is whacking the CEOs – James Owens of Caterpillar, Jeff Immelt of General Electric, Robert Lane of John Deere round out the group – as being part of a “gang of large corporations and Park Avenue environmental groups that have joined forces.”

“If you see one of them,” Milloy said, “approach with caution and shake your head in disgust.”

The Senate is taking up the bill shortly with the hopes of passing it ahead of President Obama’s December trip to the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen.


Two New York public affairs firms are working with embattled grassroots organization ACORN, which again is facing national scrutiny amid a district attorney’s probe in New York.

Employees of the group, a popular target of Republicans critical of government-funding it gets to register voters and perform other services, were caught counseling two undercover activists for a conservative blog – who were posing as a prostitute and pimp – to lie on tax and mortgage documents.

Scott Levenson, president of The Advance Group, a Democratic-leaning PR shop in New York, serves as a national spokesman for ACORN. He is a former aide to ex-N.Y. public advocate Mark Green.

Jonathan Rosen, a principal at BerlinRosen, is serving as a spokesman for ACORN’s New York operation.

Levenson told O'Dwyer's his shop has represented ACORN in various capacities over the years.


The American Wind Energy Association is ramping up its profile in Washington with a revamp of its government affairs team and plans to tap a public affairs chief in the near future.

“This is an historic time for energy legislation in America and there is a lot at stake,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the 35-year-old trade group.

AWEA has tapped Chris Chwastyk, former chief of staff to Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Tex.) in an 11-year Hill career, as VP of federal legislative affairs.

Rob Gramlich, who was recently promoted to senior VP for public policy, said Chwastyk was hired because he guided Edwards to victory in a tough conservative district. “Those skills will be very valuable to Chris in putting together winning lobbying campaigns for us in the future,” said Gramlich. Republican operative Jim Martin was recently named director of strategic policy initiatives for the group.

The Rosen Group’s D.C. office handles PR.


Internet Edition, September 23, 2009, Page 3


The Washington Post expects to complete the merger of its print and online operation on Jan. 1, according to an email from publisher Katharine Weymouth.

That means the online staff will move from Arlington to the paper's Washington facility, which is undergoing renovation.

Weymouth believes the consolidation will make the paper a more nimble media company distributing information on multiple platforms.

The newspaper is in the midst of a redesign and the revamped Sunday magazine is slated at the end of the month.


The Minneapolis Star Tribune is expected to emerge from bankruptcy Sept. 28 as a New York judge has approved its reorganization plan.

The paper declared Chapter 11 eight months ago, burdened by the crushing debt connected with its $530M `07 acquisition by private equity firm Avista Capital Partners.

The Strib doesn't expect to turn a profit until `13, according to its financial projections.


Nick Goldberg has been upped from deputy to editor of the Los Angeles Times’ editorial page, taking over for Jim Newton who wants to wrap-up his book on Dwight Eisenhower.

He assumes charge of the editorial board, op-ed, Sunday opinion, letters and online operations on Sept. 28. Newton will become editor-at-large, a new masthead position.

Goldberg joined the LAT in ’03 from former sister publication, Newsday. At the Long Island paper, Goldberg covered Albany and the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. He also served as Middle East correspondent from ’95 to ’98.


A coalition of Hispanic, immigration reform and media activist groups last week kicked off a campaign to pressure advertisers to pull the plug on CNN's Lou Dobbs. An unrelated action has targeted Fox News’ Glenn Beck.

Specific beefs are spelled out on the site. For the last three years, Dobbs has been attacking immigration reform efforts, and more specifically Mexico. He has declared Mexico an “enemy” of the U.S., an eager supplier of drugs to this nation, and the brains behind a “reconquista” plot to regain control of places like Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California.

More recently, Dobbs has aligned himself with the “birthers” by demanding President Obama’s birth certificate, and alleging a nefarious Obama plot to turn control of this country to shadowy “czars.”

The coalition includes National Council of La Raza, National Puerto Rico Coalition, MediaMatters for America, Hispanic Institute, Netroots Nation, Southern Poverty Law Center and Reform Immigration for America.


Mary Berner, CEO of Reader’s Digest Assn., has shuffled the management ranks in a bid to jump start growth.

Suzanne Grimes, food & entertaining president, is now head of a new group called “U.S. affinities” that combines her group with the home & gardening operation.

The U.S. affinities unit includes brands such as “Every Day with Rachael Ray,” “Taste of Home,”, “Birds & Blooms” and “The Family Handyman."

Alyce Alston, who was responsible for home & gardening and beauty & wellness is now chief of “emerging businesses.”

That operation is to create, test and grow new businesses from incubation to launch.

The “Reader’s Digest Community” operation remains in the hands of Eva Dillion. She keeps control of the flagship magazine, books, music and digital offshoots.


Jonathan Landman, deputy manager editor of the New York Times is moving to the culture editor position. The 56-year-old had been working to integrate the print/web editions of the newspaper.

Bill Keller, executive editor, said since the integration is now complete it was time for a new position for Landman.

Sam Sifton, who was handling the culture beat, recently took on the restaurant critic post.

Landman had served as acting culture editor from 2004 -05 before moving to the print/web integration spot.

He joined the Times as copy editor in 1987.

He has been metropolitan editor, “Week in Review” editor, assistant editor for enterprise reporting and deputy editor of the Washington bureau.


Time Warner’s CNN unit has launched a commercial self-service online storefront that is intended to enable journalists, publishers and media organizations to license individual stories.

CNN Wire charges $199 for a one-time use of a story.

Susan Grant, executive VP of CNN News Services, says the service meets the need of a changing business landscape.

“CNN Wire provides an opportunity for a new platform to make CNN’s stories easily accessible, and for the first time, on a per-story basis to any publisher, anywhere on their own timetable,” says her statement.

CNN’s pitch to publishers: use our story to bolster your own outlet’s healthcare, entertainment, political, investigative and hi-tech reporting.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, September 23, 2009, Page 4


The print media is far from dead, but must be reinvented for a world in which "content is everywhere," according to a panel discussion Sept. 15 sponsored by Kaplow Communications at the Algonquin Hotel in New York.

Sree Sreenivasan, professor at Columbia Journalism School and former TV technology reporter, spoke against the “gloom and doom talk about the media that makes it feel like a person is attending a wake.”

Noting that enrollment at CJS is up 40 percent, Sreenivasan said journalism will thrive by marrying traditional and technical skills. To him, media have entered the world of the “tradigital journalist.”

“Journalism isn’t going out of style,” agreed Lesley Jane Seymour, editor-in-chief of More, the magazine targeted at 40-plus women. “Good content rises to the top.”

Seymour senses a backlash against the “roving masses of bloggers” and believes today’s harried Americans need “editors to cut through the garbage.”

Lincoln Millstein, senior VP-digital media at Hearst Newspapers, is more confident of the future now then he was 18 months ago. After rounds of cost cutting, Hearst newspapers have just recorded their best week in quite some time, he said.

Millstein likened the newspaper business to the transformation made by IBM when the mainframe giant was besieged by nimbler competitors such as Wang Laboratories, Prime Computer and Digital Equipment during the ’80s and ’90s.

IBM brought in an outsider, Lou Gerstner, a veteran of McKinsey, RJR Nabisco and American Express, as CEO in ’93 to be a “disruptive force.” Gerstner revamped the mainframe focus of IBM to that of a global services company that even had the temerity to incorporate software of the competition into their offerings.

The CEO had to fire half the sales force to make IBM work. The result: Wang, Prime and DEC are now history.

Millstein said newspapers were once the “disruptive force” that put the pamphleteers of Colonial America “out of business.” He knocked the notion that papers faced a “defining moment.” There have been many defining moments in various business cycles. The newspaper business model must simply be overhauled.

For instance, Millstein noted Connecticut has 25 daily newspapers. Long Island, which has an equal population to the Nutmeg State, has a single daily, Newsday. The Connecticut media’s traditional small town orientation is out-of-step with today's digital age, according to Milstein.

Millstein wants a timeout. The “death of newspapers” story has been “oversold and overtold,” he said.

The real story, he said, is about mega-deals gone bad. Those acquisitions were made by buyers who thought the industry was at rock bottom.

Millstein cited real estate maven Sam Zell’s acquisition of Tribune Co., Rupert Murdoch's purchase of the Wall Street Journal and PR man Brian Tierney's group acquisition of the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News as questionable deals made just prior to the recession.

To survive the digital age, Millstein believes the newspaper industry must work together to get people to pay for online content. They will pay for content as long as newspapers are not perceived as offering “commodity news.”

People pay for cable TV, for instance, because there is a perception that channels like HBO have value.

Millstein noted that the print media is not going to go belly-up any time soon because the huge “Baby Boomer” generation still buys papers.

A big problem faced by newspaper ad reps: 30-year-old media buyers overwhelmingly favor digital buys.

Millstein believes that is a big mistake. He said Hearst’s Houston Chronicle sells 500K copies each Sunday. Advertisers just love it when their preprints fall out of the paper and a person has to pick it up. That is advertising that works, said Millstein.


Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes outearned News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, 78, in fiscal 2009 (ended June), according to the media giant's proxy statement.

Ailes, former President Reagan’s media guru, scooped up total compensation of $23.7M, up 19 percent from the $19.9M haul of ’07. Murdoch's comp slipped 27 percent to $20M.

The 69-year-old Ailes has a contract through fiscal ’13. Under that agreement, he is to serve as Fox News Channel chief, Fox Business News CEO, editor-in-chief of and chairman of Twentieth TV. He is guaranteed a base of $5M and $1M bonus through ’10. The bonus jumps to $1.5M from ’11-’13.

Murdoch earned $8.1M in salary in ’09, an equal amount to former COO Peter Chernin, who left with the expiration of his contract.


The New York Observer has launched a new quarterly magazine, Observer Playground, a glossy lifestyle pub focused on parenting in New York City.

The magazine has been inserted free in the Sept. 16 edition of the Observer newspaper.

Parental advice on nutrition, fashion, education and other topics on navigating the city with children are a focus. Lynn Stern, an author who founded the website Divalysscious Moms, is editing the publication. “Weeds” actress Mary-Louise Parker is on the first cover.

Observer Media Group publisher Jared Kushner said “sophisticated people with children” are a cornerstone of Observer readership. OMG launched Commercial Observer, a weekly covering real estate, last month.

Internet Edition, September 23, 2009, Page 5


MDC Partners, a publicly traded network of marketing and communications firms, has acquired a stake in New York-based Attention Partners, a social media-savvy PR firm.

Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Attention was set up in 2006 by Curtis Houghland, a Middleberg and Ruder Finn veteran. Houghland said the deal gives Attention the resources to grow its business with the autonomy to run the firm and preserve its “entrepreneurial culture and DNA.”

MDC’s chairman and CEO Miles Nadal noted several of its agencies have worked with Attention for more than a year.


Global Communicators has picked up U.S. PR duties for the "Southeast Asia Youth Engagement Summit" set for Malaysia in November.

The conference is expected to attract more than 6,000 young people from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Laos and Brunei. They will hash out ways to create change to better the world.

GC CEO Jim Harff says Barack Obama and his overall message of "change" is a key inspiration for YES 2009.

The Yes 2009 website features a photo of Obama with the caption “our reason for being.” It hails the American President as the “No. 1 citizen on the planet this year, he gave birth to a renewed sense of hope, confidence, self-worth and empowerment to many across the globe.”

The site also makes clear the “movement is not about President Obama; it’s about the youth of southeast Asia.”

Speakers at the event include Sir Bob Geldof, founder of Live Aid, Gary Kasparov, chess champion, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, and Amitabh Bachchan, Bollywood mega-star.


Financial “brands” took a battering in the latest index of brand values since 2008 by Interbrand and BusinessWeek.

The value of the top 100 brands fell 4.6% overall since last year's tally.

Seven companies fell off the list, including Merrill Lynch (34 last year), AIG (54) and ING (86). UBS dropped 31 places to No. 72, a loss of 50 percent of its “brand value,” according to the index. Google, Amazon and Zara were the top gainers.

Coca-Cola, with a brand value calculated at $68.7B, topped the index for the ninth straight year and was up three percent over '08. IBM (+2%), Microsoft (-4), GE (-10), Nokia (-3), McDonald's (+4), Google (+25), Toyota (-8), Intel (-2) and Disney (-3) rounded out the top 10.

American Express tumbled 32 percent to No. 22 with an estimated brand value around $15B. Harley-Davidson plummeted 43% to $4.3B.

Complete list of 100 is at


New York Area

M. Young Communications, New York/“The Italian Wine Masters,” wines of four regions of Italy, including Runello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Nobile di Montepuliciano all of Tuscany, and Conegliano-Valdobbiadene in Veneto, for PR. Events are slated for Chicago and New York.

The Morris + King Company, New York/Univ. of California, San Francisco Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Care and Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative, for PR for, a clinical trial matching service for breast cancer patients.

Porter Novelli, New York/2009 BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Las Vegas, as AOR for PR for the Oct. 15-17 event. The Omnicom-owned firm will work with independent shop Shift Communications on media outreach, on-site support and “creative contributions.”

Trontz PR, New York/3DIcon Corp., developer of next-generation 3D projection and display technologies, as AOR for strategic communications for its CSpace technology.

5W PR, New York/Network Media Holdings, owner of sites like,, and, as AOR for PR.

Greenough Communications, Boston/1366 Technologies, silicon solar cell designer and maker, for PR to build awareness of its innovations among manufacturers, investors, and green industry “influencers.” The firm’s green unit handles clients like Northern Power Systems, Advanced Electron Beams and the U.S. Department of Energy’s ECOCar Challenge.

Warschawski, Baltimore/Buster Sports, fan website for college football and basketball, for brand positioning and communications targeting fans of the two sports.

French/West/Vaughan, Raleigh/Parelli Natural Horsemanship, for PR counsel, development of a media relations campaign, social media, as well as advertising, event marketing, and partnership dev.

Kleber & Associates, Atlanta/Danver Stainless Steel Cabinetry, for integrated marketing comms., including “branding,” PR and social media.

TransMedia Group, Boca Raton, Fla./My Coupster, text-message marketing company, for PR. The company texts coupons to cellphone users in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach county.

JCEC PR, Los Angeles/YWCA Greater Los Angeles, for a three-year integrated marketing comms. plan, including advertising, PR, direct marketing, events, community and talent relations.


GolinHarris, Hong Kong and Beijing/Habitat for Humanity China, for PR support of the 2009 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, the Mekong Build. GH staffers in China are handling media relations for the Sichuan project, slated for Nov. 15-20, which will also be launched simultaneously in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Internet Edition, September 23, 2009, Page 6


Christy Oliff has left Trevelino/Keller Communications to serve as team leader for media relations at Washington, D.C., broadcast PR firm zcomm.

She manages media relations and social networking for the firm’s clients like Beveragette, Ponds, and One A Day Vitamins.

She previously handled assignments for Raving Brands, Beazer Homes and Delta Community Credit Union while at T/KC.

Oliff is a former PR assistant and special event manager for Saks Fifth Avenue in Atlanta.


The International Association of Business Communicators' New York Chapter has named Sally Susman, senior VP & chief communications officer at Pfizer, its "2009 Communicator of the Year."

Susman is lauded for taking a "leadership role in helping the company and the pharmaceutical industry build a constructive, open dialog with stakeholders on healthcare reform," according to the statement of Robert Noltenmeier, IABC/NY head.

Susman joined Pfizer in February '08 after seven years at Estee Lauder Cos., where she was executive VP for global communications. Earlier, she was a top communicator at American Express, deputy assistant secretary for legislative and intergovernmental affairs at the Commerce Dept. and legislative assistant at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Susman receives her IABC honor during a Nov. 12 gala at the Metropolitan Club in New York.


The PR Society is asking for industry comment on its set of recommended metrics and approaches intended to move the industry toward a standard of measurement.

The guidelines were put together by a group of staff that considered input from members, the group said. Ketchum partner and managing director David Rockland heads the group.

It is asking for comments via one of the Society’s blogs:

BRIEFS: Kevin Smith, principal for IT staffing solutions provider Matrix Resources, has moved to interactive marketing agency Definition 6, as VP of sales. He covers its Atlanta base and New York office. ... Noting more than 400 companies have filed their first exhibits in the XBRL reporting format with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Business Wire has put together a Sept. 24 webinar, “XBRL Update: Guidance for Successful Filings.” David Blaszkowsky, director of the SEC’s Office of Interactive Disclosure; Campbell Pryde, VP, doman and chief standards officer at XBRL US; Clare O’Leary, a CPA at Pfizer, and Ali Paksima, XBRL accounting manager for BW, round out the panel discussing lessons and tips of transitioning to the format. Info/registration:



Michael Cover, senior VP at Ogilvy PR Worldwide, to Spectrum, Washington, D.C., as senior VP and practice leader for disease management. Cover handled large federal accounts for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Dept. of Health and Human Services, among others, at Ogilvy. Kevin Walsh, director of online strategy at, has also joined Spectrum as VP of digital strategy.

Jennifer Beeman, an 11-year veteran of Dix & Eaton, has moved to the corporate side as director of corporate communications and investor relations for Akron, Ohio-based A. Schulman, a global supplier of plastic compounds and resins. Prior to joining D&E in 1998, she worked at an IR shop in Cleveland.

Karen O’Shaughnessy, media director, The Bomstein Agency, to Sage Communications, Vienna, Va., as VP of its media services unit.

Nancy Ferguson, copy editor and columnist for Gannett Newspapers’ The Ithaca Journal, to the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del., as PR manager. She’ll handle, media, industry, member and public communications for the 3,000-company trade group for produce and floral suppliers.

Irine Krass, A/E at JMPR Public Relations, to Novom Marketing, Hollywood, Calif., as an A/E focused on travel and resort accounts in Mexico and Arizona. She is also a master’s candidate at California State Univ. in communication studies. She previously worked at Pop Culture PR.


Cristina Villa to lead A/E for JB Cumberland PR’s green divsion in New York. VP Marie Cacciato continues to manage the unit.

Melissa Matson to A/S and Alison Zemanski to senior A/E in GolinHarris’ D.C.-based public affairs unit. Matson is a nearly five-year staffer of the firm and has handled The Meth Project, the Foundation for Community Empowerment in Dallas and Kent State Univ. Zemanski has worked on the Games for Health Project and Century 21. The PA unit has also added Kathryn Seck, communications and outreach director for Democratic Mass. Sen. John Kerry’s Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

John Burness, former senior VP for public affairs and government relations at Duke University, has been named a member of D.C.-based Widmeyer Communications’ higher education advisory panel. Burness held the top PA slots at Cornell, Univ. of Illinois and Stony Brook.

Morgan Field and Danielle Bickelmann to A/Es, Michael A. Burns & Associates, Dallas. Field, a two-year PR veteran, handles accounts like Future Food, ASSA ABLOY Hospitality and Thompson Realty Corp. Bickelmann works on Warwick Int’l, 6 Day Dental & Orthodontics and NexBank.


Internet Edition, September 23, 2009, Page 7


The teleconferences, including six more that are scheduled, are a move to build consensus among Assembly delegates and the membership for a complete revision of the current bylaws. Members are asked to send in their suggestions for new bylaws.

Debates about many sections of the proposed bylaws are taking place in the governance e-group of PRS and in PRSAY, a blog on the PRS website that is open to non-members as well as members.

PRS leaders have long emphasized that the Society represents not only members but the entire industry worldwide (“world’s leading advocate for communications professionals”).

Members have criticized proposals to end district representation on the national board (all directors would be at-large); that only those who have served as directors could be officers; that “direct” voting by the 22,000 members would elect board and officers (a “quorum” being 500 members voting in person or by proxy); directors could serve four years in a row; a board member would chair the nominating committee, and the board could expel a member at its “sole discretion.”

Member Questions Start at 22:20 of Recording

Member questions did not start until 22:20 of the p.m. session when a delegate from San Diego asked if it were true, as stated in an e-mail to the chapter from Jack O’Dwyer of this newsletter, that advertising people would be sought as members.

One of the answers, by 2007 chair Jeff Julin, was that PRS is trying to “grow the discipline of building relationships” and that if ads were aimed at that purpose they would become “a powerful PR tool.” There would be no reason to reject an advertising copywriter if the ads worked to build relationships, he said.

In the first 22 minutes, Cherenson welcomed those on the call and gave the rationale behind some of the changes. He said that by broadening PRS to include advertising and other communicators, PRS could become “even bigger and better.” (12.00).

Cherenson: Make Them Part of Us

Cherenson, at approximately 30.00 in the session, said the aim is to make PRS more “inclusive” and that “If we can make them part of us, we can make them better.”

He sees the new bylaws as “an opportunity to improve the entire communications community…a huge opportunity for us.”

Cherenson said that anyone who joins PRS will have to agree to abide by the code.

He then said (34.00) that he doubted that journalists could sign the code because they may not “safeguard confidences.”

Said Cherenson: “A reporter, for example, might have a difficult time signing our code of ethics because, for example, safeguarding confidences, where the reporter may [say] ‘I’m going to publish what I hear,’ and so I’m thinking they may not be able to join because they might not be able to adhere to our code of ethics. So while they may be communications professionals, that’s one group, for example, because our code is written specifically for PR professionals, they may be a communications discipline that just won’t be able to join. So if you read it through, if I am a reporter, can I sign this code of ethics? I don’t see how I could. Not that they’re unethical. They abide by a different code.”

A PRS member then commented that an “unethical” reporter could sign the code. Cherenson said that was “another issue.”

Upright Hits “At-Large” Board

Bonnie Upright, 2008 chair of the Sunshine district (7 Florida chapters), at 1:05 said districts will lose a “pipeline” to national if each of the ten districts do not have their own representatives on the board.

Both Cherenson and Rickey responded that what is important is “strong” leaders and that geographical location should not trump such skills. “Just because you’re from a geographical area, does that mean you’re naturally going to be a good leader and you’re going to serve your district well?” asked Cherenson.

Upright, who heads Upright PR in Orange Park, Fla., said, “Every district absolutely has folks that are capable and would be fantastic leaders at the national level.” She said there are only a couple of districts that have trouble fielding candidates and the rest of the districts should not be “punished because of that.”

Districts that have had such trouble include Southeast, Southwest, Northeast and Tri-State (N.Y., Conn., N.J.). Lynn Appelbaum, Tri-State director, only agreed to serve for 2009-10 after two nomcom deadlines had passed. Her predecessor, Francis Onofrio, was from Bethany, Conn. No one from New York sought the post.

Another caller said PRS leaders have offered “no compelling argument” for depriving the districts of board seats. He said the board could wind up with directors from the two coasts and no one in between. He cited a poll of members that found that 75% want to keep district representation on the board.

Senior members have long said that the 35-year bar against non-APRs serving in national posts is the main cause of the shortage of candidates.

At the 38:00 mark, Cherenson said that members should not complain about “vendors” being members because the role of vendors in the PR industry has changed over the years.

Some PR newswires were once considered vendors but they are “now part of strategic communications,” he said.

“Let’s face it,” said Cherenson, “most agencies are in a vendor capacity as well looking for corporate clients and often hawking their wares and trying to secure clients.”

APR No Test of Leadership

When several callers decried the proposed removal of APR as a requirement for national board service (42:00), Rickey and Cherenson noted that the APR exam does not test for leadership skills.

“APR does not mean you are going to be a great leader,” said Rickey.

At 53:00 Rickey noted that the trend in associations is not to demand any particular credentials for leadership posts.


Internet Edition, September 23, 2009, Page 8




Accounting rules that let banks hide depressed assets in off-book cubbyholes and financial writers who talked about “subprime” loans when a better phrase was “predatory lending,” are faulted in commentaries in the New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review.

NYT accounting columnist Floyd Norris, in a Sept. 11 column with unusually harsh language (it was headlined “Accountants Misled Us Into Crisis”), blamed banks that hid “dubious assets off their balance sheets” and the accountants who let them do this. He is by no means assured that this might not be repeated.

Special aim is taken at the Financial Accounting Standards Board and its international equivalent, saying they are racked by “politics” and unable so far to make needed reforms.

Banks had large losses from assets they did not even report owning, he wrote, because of a loophole called “Qualified Special-Purpose Entities” which were supposed to “operate automatically with others owning the securities.”

FASB wants to pull the plug on this device although the move is “years too late,” says Norris.

He also reports that FASB and its international equivalent are having trouble coordinating on “fair value” and other rules and that both boards “have been forced by political pressure to back down on some specifics.”

CJR staffer Elinore Longobardi, writing in the Sept./Oct. issue, says newspapers and other media were bamboozled into using “subprime” as the name for loans to the unqualified when terms such as “predatory lending” or even “liar loans” were more accurate.

Homeowners were led down the garden path when they started dipping into their “home equity” when what they were really doing was taking “second mortgages.”

The PR Society Assembly Nov. 7 in San Diego could “go crazy,” parliamentarian Colette Trohan has warned.

It certainly could and one of the chief causes will be Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. (RONR–$21.47 via

We have covered at least 35 Assemblies and have seen debate descend into chaos because few delegates knew RONR and especially the Order of Precedence of Motions (11 of them).

The chair will shout “out of order” to anyone who violates this order, rattling the delegates.

Besides studying the proposed bylaws, a bald attempt to give greater powers to the executive committee and rob the Assembly of its right to vet and elect officers and board, delegates must study RONR and books that simplify it.

RONR imposes a rigid straightjacket on gatherings and those who know the rules have a distinct advantage.

The rules are aimed at encouraging fairness but there’s a reason that “parliamentary maneuvers” has entered the language. The rules can be enforced, ignored or falsely stated. For instance, at the 2003 Assembly, a motion to reconsider dropping APR for the Assembly was allowed for the losing side when only the winning side has the right to do this.

The PRS Assembly is still governed by RONR although leaders have opted to ignore the following statement in the newest edition that was aimed at states like New York that accept the 1987 Revised Model Non-Profit Corp. Act that calls for an explicit prohibition of proxies:

“If the law under which an organization is incorporated allows proxy voting to be prohibited by a provision of the bylaws, the adoption of this book as parliamentary authority by prescription in the bylaws should be treated as sufficient provision to accomplish that result.”

What could be clearer than that? RONR is against proxies because they violate the “fundamental principal of parliamentary law that only members physically present can vote” in a legislative body. RONR also adds that proxy voting violates “the principle of one member, one vote” since one member may have “numerous votes.”

PRS leaders cite Section 609 of the NYS Not-for-Profit law which says “Every member” may authorize another to “act for him by proxy.” But this refers to “regular” members and not to elected delegates.

Any group of five or ten people who tried to discuss something using RONR would soon head for the nearest bar.

In fact, under Robert’s, the motion that has precedence over all other motions is “Fix the time to adjourn,” followed by “Adjourn,” followed by “Take a recess.”

In other words, “Let’s just blow this whole thing off” is the most important thing in Rober’s, requiring only a motion, no second, allowing no debate, and only needing a majority to pass.

No. 4 is “Raising a Question of Privilege,” which actually means you dislike the sound system, the air-conditioning or some other matter involving comfort.

If a single person is affected, a point of “personal privilege” can be raised.

Assembly delegates tend to confuse this with “Point of Order” which is for claims that rules are being broken.

Few delegates will have the knowledge (or the nerve) to announce, “Division of the Assembly,” which means the chair is required to call another vote on something. The request does not need a second and is not debatable. The chair may use a “standing” vote or a roll call.

Assembly delegates need to study RONR because there are 75 major sections in it.

Motions are broken down into those that are main, subsidiary, incidental, or privileged. Members can request that motions be reconsidered, rescinded, renewed or ratified or classed as “dilatory, absurd or frivolous.”

They need to know the meaning of “lay on the table” (end debate until this decision is reversed), “orders of the day” (keep to agenda unless there is a suspension of the rules), “commit or refer or recommit,” “call of the house” (bring members to the floor), “committee of the whole,” and “informal consideration,” among many others.

PRS leaders have signaled their intention to use electronic voting devices for the tenth year although such devices were never approved by the Assembly. They are not used by either the ABA or AMA. Unless a roll call vote is sought, and there has been only one in ten years at the Assembly, the devices block who votes for what. Since the voting devices are numbered and assigned to individuals, there is an immediate electronic record of how everyone voted including who voted the proxies and how they voted.

PRS has not revealed how proxies were voted since they were introduced in 2005 when 81 were voted (out of a total of 240 votes). PRS that year stopped releasing a transcript of the Assembly to reporters and others.

Senior members say members who elect the delegates should know how their delegates vote. They also say it should be known how the 17 national directors, 10 district chairs and 20 section heads voted last year when a motion was made at 5 p.m. to continue the Assembly. The motion lost because only 52% favored continuing and a two/thirds majority was required.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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