Contact O'Dwyer's : 271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471; Fax: 212/683-2750
ODWYERPR.COM > Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter return to main page

Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter
Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter
The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Subscribe today


Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, October 21, 2009, Page 1


United Airlines has begun an RFP process with the aim of hiring an agency of record for PR.

Robin Urbanski, manager of media relations, told O’Dwyer’s that the airline seeks a partner “to further build the United brand.” Requests have already gone out to the agencies in the process.

The Chicago-based airline, owned by UAL Corp., has worked with several firms in the past, including Abernathy MacGregor Group, Edelman and APCO Worldwide, but has not had an AOR.

UAL shuffled its communications apparatus in February with the recruitment of GM’s Tony Cervone to serve as senior VP of corporate comms.


Edelman has won a $13.8M contract with the National Highway Safety Administration to handle marketing, advertising and PR for the federal agency’s safety programs and campaigns.

The independent firm works with the NHSA’s office of communications and consumer information in support of, new vehicle safety ratings and various other programs. The year-long contract carries four option years.

Strat@comm handled a similar contract since August 2007, but the work has changed and the federal agency’s communications plan has changed enough that the NHSA did not consider that firm an incumbent.

Fourteen firms submitted proposals.


New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., famously knocked by ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani as “the only bookie joint in New York that loses money,” is looking for PR counsel amid a restructuring and media scrutiny.

The public benefit corporation, unloaded by Mayor Mike Bloomberg onto New York State in June, has been ordered by Gov. David Paterson to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in order to reorganize its money-losing, but cash-rich operations.

OTB, facing an aging clientele and a constricting formula for sharing its $1B annual handle, has issued an RFP with a deadline of Oct. 26 and met with firms in New York in a pre-proposal confab last week.

A one-year contract with three option years is planned. Sam Amorese, chief contracting officer for OTB ([email protected]), is handling the RFP.

The New York Post and N.Y. Times have hounded the gambling agency for its fiscal woes this year with the Post editorializing: “Time to pull the plug.”


Sard Verbinnen & Co. is representing Galleon Group, whose billionaire founder Raj Rajaratnam is charged with running the biggest inside trading scandal involving a hedge fund. He allegedly traded on non-public information involving the stock of IBM, Google and other top companies.

Galleon Group, according to its statement, was “shocked” to learn of the arrest of Rajaratnam. It “had no knowledge of the investigation” before Rajaratnam was arrested at his swank Sutton Place digs in Manhattan. The firm intends to “cooperate with the relevant authorities.”

The statement also stresses that Galleon Group “continues to operate and is highly liquid.”

George Sard leads the charge at the hedge fund that once had $7B in assets under management. He is assisted by MD Dan Gagnier, and Renee Soto, principal.


Qorvis represents, a financial services industry-backed organization that is trying to fend off the U.S. Government takeover of the college loan business.

The House passed the Student Aid & Fiscal Responsibility Act last month, a measure that supporters claim will save taxpayers up to $87 billion and direct up to $10 billion back into the Treasury to cut entitlement spending. PSC says it will kill 35K jobs in the loan market and trigger chaos as the feds assume loans for 6.5M students.

President Obama said the bill will “end the billions upon billions of dollars in unwarranted subsidies that went out to banks and financial institutions.”

PSC offers an alternative, Student Loan Community Proposal.


Anthony D’Angelo, 2007 treasurer of the PR Society, speaking for himself as well as 2005 PRS president Judith Phair on a bylaws teleconference on Oct. 15, attacked a proposal to have a sitting board member chair the nominating committee.

This would lead to political pressure on board members who might have an interest in running for office, he said. He quoted Phair as saying that there would be a “chilling effect” on board discussions if directors interested in officer posts became afraid of offending chairs and chairs-elect who would soon be heading the nomcom.

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, October 21, 2009, Page 2


Black Bear Communications, which ran a media relations campaign for the runner-up in Afghanistan’s flawed August election, is hoping for a return engagement if a re-vote is on tap, says Jonathan Sember, a BBC spokesperson.

A re-vote could be as early as next month.

Sember described Black Bear as a Native American-owned outfit that picked up work for Abdullah Abdullah “through an intermediary,” which he would not identify. He says Black Bear is staffing up and will have a feature-rich website within 45 days.

The press campaign operated from a central command center in Goddard Claussen’s Washington, D.C., office, according to Black Bear’s federal filing.

Black Bear’s action plan for Abdullah called for a $40K campaign aimed at American media elites and opinion leaders.

That outreach “can often be a difficult and vast undertaking. But because of Washington, D.C. beltway print newspapers, public affairs programming, 24-hour cable news and talk radio it is an easy and accessible audience,” according to BBC’s agreement with Abdullah.

The effort was heavy with five-to-10 minute satellite interviews with Abdullah and his representatives from studios in Kabul.

A picture of Abdullah was on the front page of the Oct. 16 Wall Street Journal with a story about how the odds of his run-off against Hamid Karzai are “looking up.”

The United Nations-based Afghan Electoral Complaints Commission on Oct. 15 completed its audit of votes from the first round of August election.


The U.S. Olympic Committee has tapped the VP of communications for Chicago’s failed 2016 Olympic bid as its chief communications officer.

Patrick Sandusky, who was essentially on loan to the Chicago bid from its PR firm, Hill & Knowlton, had worked on Olympic bid teams since 2006 for both the London 2016 Games and the Windy City’s bid, which ended this month.

At the USOC, Sandusky will report to acting CEO Stephanie Streeter and start at the end of the month in the lead-up to the 2010 Vancouver Games serving as acting chief comms. officer through the Paralympic Winter Games.

Sandusky, who earlier worked at Kemper Lesnik, was VP of H&K’s sports marketing unit and handled Wimbledon, the Rugby World Cup and NASCAR events among others outside of the Olympic circle.

Meanwhile, Darryl Seibel, who was acting comms. chief of the USOC until resigning in May, has moved to 776 Original Marketing, a sports marketing firm started by ex-USOC CEO Jim Scherr.

Colorado Springs-based 776, which shares the home city of the USOC, announced its formation Oct. 14.

Former George W. Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who runs a sports PR firm, had been filling in as communications chief at the USOC since Seibel’s departure.


Minneapolis’ Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which owns the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, has brought in Tunheim Partners after an RFP as it mulls a remodel of the facility or the construction of a new stadium for the NFL’s Vikings.

Tunheim edged Type Communications, Carmichael Lynch and Padilla Speer Beardsley for the communications consultant contract.

The Vikings, riding a resurgence with quarterback Brett Favre, and Major League Baseball’s Twins have shared the Metrodome since the late 1970s, but the Twins are moving to the new digs of Target Field for the 2010 season and the Vikings’ lease expires in 2011. That leaves the Vikings’ 10 regular season home games a year, along with about 200 college and amateur events per year for the aging dome.

Fleishman-Hillard previously worked for the MSFC for the past two years. It beat out Tunheim and Padilla Speer Beardsley in a 2007 RFP.

The MSFC, comprised of seven political appointees, operates a $13.5M budget with about half of those revenues coming from the Vikings.

Himle Horner works for the Vikings.


Washington, D.C., firm Reingold and Ogilvy PR Worldwide have been tapped for a $615K contract for PR support of The Nation’s Report Cards, the independent assessment funded by the Dept. of Education.

Communication Works of D.C. previously handled the contract, which covers public outreach and communication support for the National Assessment Governing Board, as well as the release of the report cards. The report cards are used by lawmakers at various levels to gauge the performance of American students.

Reingold, formerly J.R. Reingold & Associates, won the RFP process and subcontracted with Ogilvy to handle the PR work. The firm has worked with the Dept. of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and the State Dept., among other federal entity clients.


Texas State University, the nearly 31,000-student institution between Austin and San Antonio at San Marcos that is the largest of the Lone Star State’s university system, is seeking pitches from PR firms to develop and implement a PR component to its marketing plan.

An expected 18-month contract starting in January 2010 is capped at $100K.

The alma mater of President Lyndon Johnson and singer George Strait has issued an RFP that runs through mid-November.

Texas State posted a record enrollment of nearly 31,000 students for the fall ’09 semester and landed at No. 2 on U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of public universities in the west. It also has a Division I athletic program (the Bobcats) and is the backdrop for the NBC series “Friday Night Lights.”

Questions on the RFP are due by the end of the month and proposals must be in by Nov. 17.

Download a copy of the RFP at


Internet Edition, October 21, 2009, Page 3


The New York Times Co. has decided to hang on to the Boston Globe as the $35M bid plus assumption of nearly $60M was a fraction of the $1.2B price paid for the paper in 1993.

Chairman Art Sulzberger and CEO Janet Robinson wrote a memo to Globe staffers to say their givebacks have put the paper on a more secure financial footing.

Labor costs have been trimmed by $20M a year, while the consolidation of print facilities will result in another $18M in annual savings.

The Globe and have “solidified their positions as the leading media vehicles in the region,” wrote the duo.

Times management undertook a “long and painful process” and made the decision to keep the paper “after careful consideration and analysis.”

Sulzberger and Robinson continue to study “strategic alternatives” for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

The New York Times launched the Bay Area report Oct. 16 to cover public affairs, culture and lifestyle in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and the East Bay.

Long-time staffer Felicity Barringer will edit the section that will include a political column by Daniel Weintraub, a veteran of the Sacramento Bee, and a local column by journalist and novelist Scott James.

The Times also unveiled “The Bay Area” blog to stimulate online conversation.


Thomson Reuters is buying Breakingviews, the business commentary website that runs in 15 leading newspapers such as the New York Times, Le Monde, National Post, and Daily Telegraph.

Breakingviews has 15 staffers. They will combine with Thomson Reuters’ commentary team of 20 people under the direction of Hugo Dixon, editor-in-chief of Breakingviews.

Breakingviews distributes its content to 400 financial institution clients. Its website has about 15,000 subscribers.


Bloomberg has won the bidding war for Business Week, offering $5M in cash and assuming $10M in liabilities for the 80-year-old McGraw-Hill publication.

The purchase puts Bloomberg in the consumer media market as its mainstay financial terminal business faces troubles with the scaled back Wall Street.

Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg L.P., called BW “one of the business world’s most recognized and trusted sources of news and insight.”

BW lost $43M in ’08. The magazine is on track to lose more than $60M this year. BW employs a staff of about 425. Bloomberg has more than 2,200 journalists.

After the deal closes by the end of the year, BW will be re-christened Bloomberg Business Week.

“Online, and will have more unique visitors than any non-portal business and financial site,” BusinessWeek publisher Keith Fox told staff in a memo. He added that Bloomberg is expected to build TV content around the BW brand.


The Star-Ledger, which took buyouts from 150 staffers in '08, has launched another round of cutbacks.

Publisher George Arwady penned a memo to staffers in which he wrote “the revenue situation at our newspaper has worsened this year, and we expect a further significant revenue decline next year.”

Arwady sees the need to cut at least 50 heads. Staffers can apply to receive two weeks’ pay for every year of completed service, up to a half-year of pay.


The Interactive Advertising Bureau has slapped the Federal Trade Commission enforcement guidelines requiring bloggers to disclose whether they received payments or free services/goods from marketers they are blogging about.

The rule makes a “constitutionally dubious” distinction between online and offline media, wrote IAB CEO Randy Rothenberg in an Oct. 15 open letter to FTC chair Jon Leibowitz.

Rothenberg notes that journalists and free-lancers from newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations have long gotten freebies for the purpose of reviews. “We’re saying the new conversational media should be accorded the same rights and freedoms as other channels.”

The IAB chief notes that IAB staff wrestled with whether a blogger’s statement on a personal blog would qualify as an “endorsement” and thus subject to disclosure requirements. “Does the FTC really intend to probe America's opinion-mongering apparatus this closely,” asks Rothenberg.

He raps the FTC’s “expedition from Oceania—that's the place Big Brother ruled—should be worrisome to all Americans, and to all viewers, readers, listeners, users, and providers of any communications medium.”

The FTC rule is a “grave concern” to the 400 members of the IAB because of the implication that online social media represent a separate class of communications channels with less Constitutional protection than corporate-owned newspapers.

The FTC staff rebuffed IAB’s earlier offer to “develop practical guidelines and self-regulatory mechanisms to protect consumers from real harm,” wrote Rothenberg. The IAB now urges the FTC to “retract the current set of guides and to commence a fair and open process in order to develop a roadmap by which responsible online actions can engage with consumers and continue to provide their invaluable content and services.”

Bruce Wasserstein, the financier who owned New York Magazine, died Oct. 14. He was 61.

Wasserstein, CEO of Lazard, bought the mag in 2004 for $55M with a last-minute bid topping a group that included New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman and filmmaker Harvey Weinstein.

Wasserstein met with NYM editors monthly to chat about current events, politics and news. He was “more likely to ask questions than give directions,” according to an appreciation in the magazine.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, October 21, 2009, Page 4


A group of journalists pointing to the recent demise of Gourmet magazine and ongoing struggles for newspapers have set up an online food and drink news site, Zester Daily.

Corie Brown, a former Los Angeles Times writer, has recruited ex-colleagues and other reporters and writers for the venture "to create a national network of professional writers who can address the intensely personal, as well as broadly political aspects of food and wine."

Other writers include author Clifford Wright ("Mediterranean Feast", Mary Engel (former L.A. Times writer), cookbook author Martha Rose Shulman, and Phil Gallo, former Variety editor who covers food TV and other media.

Full list of contributors and bios is at

Brown stresses that the group is a "professional association" supported by advertising.


Seattle Times columnist Jonathan Martin, annoyed when an employee of Waggener Edstrom said Martin would be “inaccurate” if he quoted the employee by name, instead wrote a column calling attention to the accusation.

The Oct. 9 column told of Martin’s attempts to speak to T-Mobile CEO Robert Dotson about employee Joe Mallahan, who is running for mayor of Seattle.

T-Mobile, a cell phone company with 36,000 U.S. employees, is part of Deutsch Telekom of Germany. Both T-Mobile and WE are based in Bellevue, Wash.

Martin wanted to interview Dotson about the candidacy of Mallahan but an e-mail from WE staffer “Danielle” said that no such interview would be allowed.

“We respect Joe’s efforts to run for public office,” said the e-mail, adding that “beyond that T-Mobile has no further comment.”

That was o.k. with Martin but what struck him was this order from Danielle: “Please note that if you plan to use this statement I am not a T-Mobile spokesperson and to use my name would be inaccurate. If you are required to include attribution please do so to a ‘T-Mobile Spokesperson.’ Thank you and have a great weekend.”

Wrote Martin: “To be clear, the statement is from a ‘T-Mobile spokesperson,’ but the spokesperson has no name, and saying that the spokesperson does have a name would be ‘inaccurate.’”

Martin said co-worker Craig Welch recently received the same type of reply from a Starbucks PR person—an order to use only “A Starbucks spokesperson” and not the PR person's name.

Martin said he sought comments about what Mallahan did at T-Mobile from several current and fellow employees. He got some replies but none from those who supervised Mallahan.


Venture capital investment in U.S. companies fell six percent in the third quarter from Q2 as $5.1 billion was injected through 616 deals, according to research by Dow Jones VentureSource.

The third quarter was down 38% from the same period of 2008, when VCs showered $8.2B with 663 deals.

VCs are focusing on later stage companies rather than start-ups as 40 percent of capital investments were directed toward the former and only 27 percent to the latter. That split was 33-35 for the third quarter of 2008, according to DJ.

Jessica Canning, director of global research at DJVS, said the slow recovery that was apparent for VC has "faltered." DJ said the current pace will likely continue through 2010 if limited partners like pension funds and university endowments, which supply venture firms, continue to scale back activity.

Funding that did flow in Q3 was led by information technology at $1.9 billion, which surpassed Q2’s leading sector, healthcare, where $1.7 billion was invested in the third quarter.

Canning noted that Web 2.0 investments surpassed the software sector for the first time in Q3. Software funding hit its lowest quarterly mark since 1996 with $581M across 106 deals in Q3, according to DJ. In contrast, information services, which includes Web 2.0, was up 11 percent in Q3 from the previous quarter.

Healthcare is down 25 percent from last year and Canning said 2009 could be the sector’s worst VC year since 2000. Biopharma deals actually increased to 83, compared with 73 last year, but the value of the deals fell 32% compared with '08.


PepsiCo issued an apology via Twitter last week after an uproar rose around its “Amp Up Before You Score” iPhone application released on Oct. 9 intended to promote a new energy drink.

The application offers users several categories of women, from “cougar” to “tree-hugger,” and tips on how to “score” with them.

Twitter opinions on the application ranged from support (“It’s not bad taste or controversial. Get some humor”), critical (“Pepsi keeps digging a sexist PR hole”), and a few suspected the controversy was intentional.

Shortly after its release and online discussion ensued, PepsiCo posted a message on Twitter with the tag #pepsifail: “Our app tried 2 show the humorous lengths guys go 2 pick up women. We apologize if it's in bad taste & appreciate your feedback.”

Some suspected the controversy could have been planned. PR blogger Kevin Dugan noted that Pepsi’s app was competing with 76,000 others in the iTunes store: "AMP knew it needed to push the envelope to stand out. Perhaps they planned for controversy to fuel that promotion. Mission accomplished."

Get Married Media has launched a quarterly magazine integrated with the "Get Married" TV show and website.

Editorial covers wedding trends and products and targets young women. The first issue (Oct. 1) can be downloaded free at

Internet Edition, October 21, 2009, Page 5


Rubenstein Communications switched from launch to crisis mode with “paperless postal system” start-up Zumbox as the company drew the legal fire of mailing industry heavyweight Pitney Bowes a few weeks after its unveiling.

Pitney Bowes said on Oct. 13 that it filed a lawsuit against Zumbox accusing its paperless mail system of infringing on PB patents. Matthew Broder, VP of external communications, noted that PB is traditionally known for its expertise in physical mail but has expanded to include online communications, spending more than $200M on R&D. PB cites two patents in its challenge.

Zumbox issued a statement via Rubenstein senior VP Jody Fisher later on Tuesday, saying it believes it is on firm legal ground but suggested it was caught off-guard with the suit. CEO Donn Rappaport noted that Zumbox had no knowledge of the lawsuit until it was filed and PB announced it in a press release earlier in the day, and he said his company was “just now” reviewing the lawsuit.

“We are confident that Zumbox is not in violation of, or infringing on, Pitney Bowes’ patents in any way,” Rappaport said.

Rubenstein handled the launch of Zumbox on Oct. 1 in New York with the help of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said the city would engage a pilot project to test the system of sending digital mail instead of paper. That kick-off followed launches in San Francisco and Newark, N.J., a week earlier.

BRIEFS: Hispanic market PR firm Formulatin, New York, won the PRemio Award for Best Sports Campaign of the Year from the Hispanic PR Association. The firm was recognized for its work on Univision’s 2008 “Tecate Premios Deportes” sports awards show honoring Hispanic atheletes. The two-month PR push garnered nearly 300 placements and an ad value equivalent translating to a 34:1 return on investment, Formulatin said. Tecate has been a client since 2005. ...Crosby Marketing, Devaney & Associates, Baltimore, and Sandy Hillman Communications were the top winners at PR Society’s Maryland Chapter “Best in Maryland 2009” awards earlier this month. Hillman took Best in Show honors for the 2008 World Series of Poker and won seven awards in total. Crosby won 11 awards while Devaney took home seven. ...Howard, Merrell & Partners, Raleigh, N.C., has set up an Hispanic marketing group to handle advertising, direct mail, PR and social media for that market. President and CEO Jim Cobb said clients have been asking for such services for the past few years. VP Jim Stevens-Arce is director of Hispanic marketing and oversees two staffers. ...Seven healthcare communications firms have formed The Health Collective Network. Cooney/Waters Group, N.Y., joins Delta Communications, Ottawa, Red Door Communications, London, GD Communications, France, APCO Worldwide, Belgium, Master Media, Germany, Cosmo, Japan, and Haystac, Australia.


New York Area

JS2 Communications, New York/Bryan Batt, film, theater and TV actor who appears on the TV series “Mad Men,” for PR representation. He is releasing a memoir in 2010 and owns a gift and home accessories store in New Orleans.

MS&L, New York/MOUSE, youth development organization that supports students establishing and managing technical support help desks in their schools, for communications on a pro bono basis. The work is the first for MS&L’s Be:CAUSE Community Connected Award and is valued at $100,000.

5W PR, New York/Michael Wildes, managing partner, Wildes & Weinberg PC Law Offices, for PR for the immigration and nationality specialists.

Stanton PR & Marketing, New York/Asta Funding, publicly traded consumer receivable asset management company, for an ongoing strategic comms. program, including investor/financial comms., executive visibility and thought leadership development.

Nancy J. Friedman PR, New York/ICRAVE, architectural and design firm, for PR.


Calypso Communications, Portsmouth, N.H./Zero Carbon Systems, for creation of a brand identity and development of print and online marketing as it prepares for international expansion.

Global Communicators and APCO Worldwide, Washington, D.C./Permanent Secretariat of Nobel Peace Laureates Summit, Nov. 9-11 in Berlin, for PR with APCO’s Berlin office. Three hundred journalists are expected to attend.

Widmeyer Communications, Washington, D.C./The John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center (N.J.), for comms.


McFarland Cahill Communications, Prior Lake, Minn./BODIES...The Exhibition, art display at the Mall of America; MagiQuest, interactive game slated to open a location at Mall of America, and Crave, sushi eatery, for PR for three locations, including the Mall of America. The firm has also added Sara Danzinger, a Weber Shandwick and Jacobson Rost Advertising alum, as a senior media relations specialist.


MWW Group, Dallas/Encore Enterprises, commercial real estate firm, for a brand awareness program, including message development, media relations, financial relations and creative services. MWW’s Chicago, New York and Los Angeles offices are assisting.


K/F Communications, San Francisco/, video application for Twitter users; PactMotion, compliance, audit and security solutions developer, and Covia Labs, interoperability software, for PR.

Bragman Nyman Cafarelli Marketing and PR and Relevant Group, Los Angeles and New York/Village at the Yard, host site for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in January, for PR and event support.

Internet Edition, October 21, 2009, Page 6


Scott Sklarin, who was director of production at broadcast PR company On The Scene Productions when it collapsed earlier this month, has set up his own Huntington, N.Y.-based shop.

Sklarin told O’Dwyer’s he is partnering with former OTSP colleagues at Sklarin Communications to provide the full range of video PR services, including satellite and radio media tours, b-roll and electronic press kits, and web video, among other services.

“On The Scene left a lot of our clients high and dry so we’re trying to fill the void for those services,” he said.

The 15-year pro was previously at Global Communications and Television handling clients like Microsoft, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and former President Bill Clinton. He started out at CNBC and was director of satellite operations at “American Journal” and “Inside Edition.”

At OTSP, where he managed the production staff from New York, he handled a range of music, entertainment and sports clients and personalities from Joe Montana to the Jonas Brothers.


International has put together a PR software suit for writing and distributing press releases, compiling media lists, and measuring pick-up.

The Washington, D.C.-based company, known for its media and PR analysis services, says the addition is geared toward making CARMA a “one-stop shop” for PR pros. Included in the service is unlimited release creation and distribution, media research, editorial calendars and other tenets.

EVENTS: Thu., Nov. 5 (8 a.m.-noon) & Mon., Nov. 9 (2-6 p.m.) -- Communitelligence hosts the first virtual global summit examining New Models of Social Responsibility with participation via any networked computer via WebEx or in-person via Cisco TelePresence (seating limited) at one of these locations: San Jose, Chicago, Boston, NYC, Herndon-VA, Research Triangle-NC, Atlanta and Bangalore, India. $495 for one day, $795 for both; no restrictions on the number who can participate from their organization’s conference room. Discounts available for small businesses and nonprofits. Info and sign-up is at ... Fri., Nov. 20 -- PR Camp New York, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 92 Y Tribeca, 200 Hudson St. Join a select number of PR, marketing and communications professionals for a full day of highly interactive discussions on social media. It will explore how to market, measure and manage the opportunities and challenges that social media presents. "Unconference" format avoids panels or PowerPoint demonstrations. Top agency and brand executives serve as moderators to help participants find solutions to their social media questions. Cost: $199 early bird by Oct. 30; otherwise $249. Info:



Mark Clemente, senior VP and managing partner, GlobalFluency, to Steinreich Communications, Hackensack, N.J., as VP, corporate practice director. He was previously national director of marketing and communications for Alexander & Alexander Consulting Group, director of business development for Coopers & Lybrand, and a VP at Rubenstein Associates.

Joanne Kaniewski, a former A/E for Avalanche Strategic Comms. recently working as an adjunct professor of speech communication, to Beckerman, Hackensack, N.J., as an A/E. Beckerman acquired Avalanche earlier this year. The firm has also hired former intern Jason Heller.

Natalia Garzon, senior A/E, Ruder Finn, to Widmeyer Communications, Washington, D.C., as an account manager. Rob Ungar, A/E, Vineberg Communications, joins as an A/E specializing in social media, and Kevin Donovan, a post-graduate intern at Bristol-Myers Squibb, joins as an A/E. Widmeyer also signed Doug Elwood, a medical doctor, as medical advisor.

Stacey Salsman, marketing senior accounts manager, The Borenstein Group, to Focused Image, Falls Church, Va., as a senior A/E.


Nathan Friedman to managing director of Ogilvy PR Worldwide’s Chicago office, starting Jan. 1, 2010. Mike Hatcliffe, who holds the post and was group director of the Windy City corporate practice, returns to his original role as head of the firm’s U.S. corporate practice. A search is on for a new Chicago corporate group director.

Tom Galvin to general manager, North America, Bite Communications, San Francisco, starting Nov. 1. He’ll combine the role with his current post as a partner at sister firm 463 Communications and takes over for David Hargreaves, who is moving within parent company Next Fifteen Communications Group to set up a new digital venture. Bite has also promoted Tony Hynes to GM/West Coast overseeing Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Sean Mills to GM/East Coast overseeing New York.

Katie Kempner to senior VP, corporate communications, MDC Partners, New York, the publicly traded marketing and comms. network. She was VP, director of agency comms. for one of its agencies, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, since 1996. Erin Bradin to senior associate, Warschawski, Baltimore. She joined the firm in 2006 and handles media relations and account management, among other tasks.

Laura Schoen to chair, Latin America, Weber Shandwick. She speaks Spanish and Portuguese and will focus on Brazil, Mexico, Columbia and Chile for the Interpublic unit. She continues as president of the firm’s global healthcare practice as well. Schoen grew up in Rio de Janeiro.


Internet Edition, October 21, 2009, Page 7


D’Angelo and Phair submitted a bylaws amendment that would install as chair of the nomcom the past chair of PRS twice removed (no longer on the board).

Bylaws chair Dave Rickey, at about 43 minutes of the session which is on, said the bylaws group did a survey and found that “more and more boards are finally becoming the nominating committee.”

He said PRS did not want to go “to that extreme.”

Pressed by D'Angelo for the “rationale” behind having a sitting director chair the nomcom, Rickey noted that COO Bill Murray would also be on the nomcom as a non-voting member to supply “a bird’s eye view of what is going on at the Society.”

D’Angelo said that he appreciated the input of the COO but “I still don’t understand the rationale” for a director chairing nomcom.

Senior members who listened to the call said that having a sitting director head the nomcom contradicts the main recommendation of the 2000 Jack Felton bylaws reform committee that said directors were not to have any influence on election of directors and officers.

“The board is not to pick its own members,” Felton told the 2000 Assembly. He was president of PRS in 1987.

“Real” PR Leaders Forever Barred

A delegate on the call also rapped a bylaw that would restrict PRS offices to those who have already served on the board.

The delegate said such a provision would forever bar leaders in the industry such as the heads of big corporate PR departments or heads of major agencies from heading the Society.

They would have to come in as a director, move up to secretary or some other officer position and then run for chair-elect, a process taking five or six years, it was pointed out.

The proposed bylaw “will completely close out that option,” said the delegate, at the 35-minute mark.

Senior members noted that Rickey at one point said the job of the chair is so time-consuming that it is practically “full time.”

The seniors said that is because there are no more than one or two PR staffers allowed to work at h.q. and too much of the PR work falls on volunteers.

Major Figures Headed PRS

Major figures from such companies as Texaco, American Can Co., Reynolds Metals, Pacific Gas & Electric and Prudential Insurance as well as from big PR firms such as Carl Byoir & Assocs. and Harshe-Rotman & Druck used to head the PR Society, they noted.

Not much of their time was needed, said the seniors, because the staff was mostly PR professionals.

Without PR pros in major positions at h.q. the Society is now spending “thousands of hours” and probably $100,000+ on legalities instead of “PR for PR,” they said.

Chair Mike Cherenson, who was not on the call, has said the bylaws re-write has taken “thousands of hours” of volunteer time.

Patrick Jackson, 1980 president, established the policy of having an h.q. staff comprised of association careerists, they noted.

Lawyer Thomas Not on Call

Delegates asked about the proposed bylaw that would allow the board to expel any member at its “own discretion.”

Rickey and 2007 chair Jeff Julin were at a loss to explain such a bylaw. Rickey theorized that it was an attempt to make the bylaws mirror the Code of Ethics which says a member can be expelled if sanctioned by a government body or convicted in a court of law of an action that is in violation of the Code.

Rickey said he would ask PRS lawyer Ann Thomas the rationale behind the proposed bylaw. She was not on the call.

It was announced at the start of the call that it was being recorded and would be made available to delegates.

Rank-and-file members are not allowed to listen to the bylaws teleconferences either when they are live or in archives.

Names of the approximately 300 delegates were released last week but they are also not available to regular members. Delegates can obtain them by e-mailing to a special address at PRS.


PR Society delegates downloading proxy forms from the PRS website last week were told that only undirected proxies can be given for the bylaws revision because the proposed bylaws “may be specifically amended.”

The proxies can be voted on any motion that is brought to the floor including those involving procedures.

There is no indication that delegates receiving or voting the proxies will be identified. Proxies have been used since 2005 when 81 of them (one-third of the total vote of 240) were used to defeat a motion to block proxy-voting.

PRS is keeping a tight grip on the list of the approximately 300 delegates, asking delegates to e-mail a staffer at h.q. for the list.

In past years, a list of the delegates was in the Assembly packet that was distributed more than a month in advance of the Assembly.

PRS staffer on Aug. 31 had informed members of the governance e-group that no delegate list would be provided until the delegates sat down on Nov. 7 because the list would not be accurate until then. However, delegate pressure led to making the list available to those who asked for it.

Up until now, delegates have been able to download materials related to the Nov. 7 Assembly from the PRS website.

Critical senior members said they know of no legislature or even association “assembly” that keeps its delegate list secret from the general membership.

They attacked as illogical and unreasonable the use of undirected proxies in a matter as complicated as a complete revision of the bylaws.


Internet Edition, October 21, 2009, Page 8




The PR Society says the main reason for its new bylaws is to increase “engagement” of members in their Society.

But discussion of the sweeping changes is almost totally absent from the websites of the 109 chapters. No initiative on this has come from national and chapters are not taking up the topic on their own.

Among the ten biggest chapters, only the Houston website has a suggestion of a discussion. Chapter members are told about the MAJOR (their caps) changes being proposed and are invited to visit national’s website to explore them.

This submissive, non-involved stance at the chapter level says to us that the proposed bylaws will probably pass with flying colors at the Assembly Nov. 7 in San Diego. PRS/New York, the biggest city-based chapter with nearly 800 members and showing ten delegates on its website, refuses to put the bylaws before its members in an open meeting even though PRS chair Mike Cherenson is based just across the river in New Jersey.

There is no mention of the bylaws on the chapter’s website.

The chapter’s board sees no conflict in Stevens voting on the bylaws he helped craft.

The 11-member bylaws committee included 10 APRs and consisted of volunteers, as bylaws chair Dave Rickey told a teleconference Oct. 15.

This “self-selection” was all wrong because the membership is more than 80% non-APR. Bylaws members should have been picked to reflect this as well as to achieve geographic, corporate/agency and other types of balance. It should have been much bigger than 11 people.

PRS leaders refuse to take up the topic of why this historic Assembly is not being audiocast on the PRS website so all members can hear it. Audiocasting is cheap and easy.

Come to think of it, absentee delegates could also listen in and phone those who have their proxies on the Assembly floor and thus provide guidance.

Cherenson is also on record as saying “Every member of PRS was invited to attend” the 2008 Assembly (as told to “For Immediate Release” (

The reason members are barred from listening to the Assembly is that it’s too embarrassing.

Leaders don’t want anyone to see how the group of about 250 delegates is driven from pillar to post like a bunch of sheep.

Last year, instead of a promised discussion of bylaw proposals, the delegates were led through nearly two hours of vapid talk about the relative values of accreditation, government licensing of PR people and certification of specialties.

Another 3.5 hours consisted of leader presentations. All attempts by delegates to raise subjects they wanted to talk about were beaten back by chair Jeff Julin who told them to wait for what proved to be a non-existent “Town Hall.” An hour and 42 minutes was consumed for “lunch” which should have been a box lunch at delegate tables.

What will happen this year is that the 17 national directors will array themselves on a stage looking down on the delegates, who this year are being asked to commit hari-kari since the Assembly will probably lose its power to elect board and officers and suffer further “packing” with 25 or more national committee chairs joining it.

While four major professional groups (ABA, AMA, AICPA and APA-psychologists) have “assemblies” that are run by the delegates, the topsy-turvy PRS lets the board run the Assembly.

Assemblies are representative bodies that are supposed to examine the work of the board and provide further direction. The dominance of the PRS board is illustrated by positioning itself physically above the delegates when the opposite should be true.

The chair, with PRS’s lawyer and parliamentarian sitting close by, runs the meeting with an iron hand.

Any delegate who turns and dares to address the delegates themselves, will be sharply admonished to turn around and address only the chair.

This is ludicrous. The board is a creature of the Assembly since the Assembly elects it and therefore the board should report to the Assembly and not vice versa.

But delegates are wired in so many ways that they accept this degraded status in return for national titles, new business and job tips, “loyalty” to national and the industry, the annual “Leadership Rally” in June and other reasons.
The delegates who will buck national on anything are few and far between.

If any delegate dares request what sounds like an order to the board, PRS lawyer Ann Thomas is ready to pop up and say that telling the board what to do is against New York State law.

If that is so, which we doubt, PRS must move its charter to one of the states used by the ABA, AMA, AICPA and APA since all four groups are bossed around by their “Houses of Delegates” and “Councils” and not their boards.

National Capital, the biggest chapter with more than 1,400 members and 15 delegates, is probably the most loyal to national. Its members come from Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

NCC’s leadership believes strongly in APR. NCC led the fight against Central Michigan’s proposal in 2006 to model PRS governance after that of the ABA and AMA. Georgia, the second biggest chapter with more than 800 members and listing 10 delegates on its website, also has a strong record of loyalty to national.

Los Angeles, with 500+ members and listing seven delegates, is the home chapter of 2007 chair Rhoda Weiss and has long supported national’s wishes in the Assembly. Other “loyal” chapters include Philadelphia, Southeastern Wisconsin and Maryland.

There are “pockets” of resistance in the Northeast district, Sunshine (Florida) and Texas.

At least NY, NCC, Georgia and LA show their delegates on their sites. Delegates are not listed for Chicago (nearly 500 members), Colorado (450) and Detroit (550). Discussions of the bylaw proposal are absent from the websites of these chapters which have a combined total of 60 votes.

We expect the 60 delegates to join with the 46 national leaders in the Assembly (17 directors, 19 section heads, 10 district heads) plus many other delegates who have been heavily lobbied to push through whatever they want.

--Jack O'Dwyer


Copyright © 1998-2020 J.R. O'Dwyer Company, Inc.
271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471