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Internet Edition, January 6, 2010, Page 1


The National Institutes of Health has put out a feeler for agencies as it considers how to disseminate information on breast cancer research without causing a panic.

The move by the NIH’s Institute of Environmental Health Science comes more than a month after a federal task force sparked confusion and controversy by recommending women start breast cancer screening at age 50, not at 40, as it previously said.

An RFP could be issued as early as February 2010.

The NIH has issued a “sources sought” notice calling for firms or companies to indicate interest and capabilities for helping the federal entity develop processes to provide breast cancer research information to citizens “without inciting undue health concerns,” according to the notice.

The federal agency wants help in convening two or three panel discussions of risk communication experts who would develop messages to be disseminated via outlets like breast cancer communications toolkits and local breast cancer organizations.

The contract, which would begin in late September 2010 and run two years with possible options, would be funded by the federal stimulus law.


Weber Shandwick’s Minneapolis office beat seven firms to win a high-six-figure contract to guide public outreach for the 2010 census in Nevada.

WS teamed with Reno-based Ferraro Group.

The pact through April 2010 is worth $886,055, according to the contract, which covers PR, social media, partnerships, PSAs and other outreach.

The Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller said in a statement that WS/Minneapolis has “extensive” census experience. The Interpublic unit is already working on a large federal contract for the 2010 count.

Other bidders for the Nevada pact were Katz & Associates (Sacramento, Calif.), and in-state firms Faiss Foley Warren, WG Communications, CLM Design Advertising and Interactive, Media Directions, Glen Group, and Greg Mason Advertising.

R&R Partners of Las Vegas handled the 2000 census marketing for Nevada, an effort which improved its dismal 1990 response rate more than any other state.

Several states have begun assembling RFPs, conducting searches and awarding contracts to educate the public about the federal count, which determines distribution of about $400 billion in federal aid and congressional representation, among other outcomes.


General Motors has recruited John Montford to take over government relations and global public policy duties from Ken Cole, who joined the automaker in 2001.

Montford served as president/external affairs at Southwestern Bell and senior VP/state legislative affairs at AT&T under Ed Whitacre, GM’s CEO who was brought in after the U.S. bailout of the automaker.

Montford was Texas Tech University’s first chancellor and CEO of the Lone Star State’s university system before joining SWB. He also served in the Texas Senate for 14 years.

Cole is to remain as an advisor at GM until he retires later in 2010.

GM also has hired Bob Ferguson from Public Strategies Inc. for the VP-government relations post. He is another AT&T veteran.

Simonetti Bails Out of GMAC

Toni Simonetti, chief communications officer for financially troubled lender GMAC, has moved to Medicaid health plan operator Centene Corp. as senior VP of public affairs.

She is charged with leading the company’s newly aligned corporate marketing and comms. unit and will develop an integrated PR plan for Centene and its subsidiaries.

Simonetti, a former Detroit journalist, was VP of comms. for GMAC before moving into the CCO slot for the auto and mortgage lender, which is getting another $3.8 billion from the U.S. Treasury (on top of $12.5B previously) to boost the government’s stake to 56 percent.

Earlier, she was executive director of media relations, financial and public policy comms. for GM.


PR Society leaders announced just before the Holiday break that it was closing the Multicultural section after 26 years because the 73 members (paying dues of $60) were far below the minimum of 200 required for sections.

Also shut for the same reason was the Corporate Social Responsibility Section. The Travel and Food Sections were merged. Multicultural memberships were shifted to the diversity committee of the board.

Multicultural leaders howled that they were not consulted about the dissolution and complained that the diversity committee does not have a vote in the Assembly.

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, January 6, 2010, Page 2


AT&T has dropped embattled golfer Tiger Woods, according to a statement from the telecom giant. “We are ending our sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods and wish him well in the future,” said AT&T.

The 33-year-old golfer won the AT&T National tournament this year at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD and has served as its host since the event was created in 2007.

PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said that since Woods is on indefinite leave from professional golf, he will not serve as host for the 2010 AT&T National slated for Aronimink Country Club outside Philadelphia June 29 to July 4.

The Tiger Woods Foundation will continue to be the beneficiary of the AT&T National, under a contract that runs through 2014, Votaw said.

AT&T joins Accenture in severing ties with Woods. Gillette and Tag Heuer have scaled back sponsorships with Woods.

Two U.S. professors have estimated the loss to shareholders of companies associated with Tiger at up to $12 billion. University of California, Davis, economics professors Victor Stango and Christopher Knittel studied the stock market for 13 days after Woods crashed his car outside his Florida home on November 27.

They focused on nine sponsors: Accenture, American Express, AT&T, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf (Electronic Arts), Gillette, Nike, Gatorade, TLC Laser Eye Centres and Golf Digest.

Their calculation is based on a comparison of returns for Woods’ sponsors to those of the total stock market and of each sponsor's closest competitor.


Gary Sheffer, who joined General Electric in 1999, is now one of its 190 corporate officers.

The 49-year-old former executive director of communications & PA has been promoted to a VP slot. He handles global external/internal communications and strategic PA for GE executives.

Sheffer spent 17 years in journalism and government communications before joining GE, which is represented by Edelman.


Spirit Media, an Oregon-based ad/PR agency, trumpeted its Hawaii resort client as the “Winter White House” as the First Family vacationed at the Oahu retreat for the second time.

The Paradise Point Estates got national exposure as the Obamas returned to the swank resort for a 10-day retreat after first staying there in December 2008.

“The Obama Winter White House overlooks spectacular views of Kailua Bay,” read press materials about the resort, also noting that "young Barack and his grandfather would often make the short trip to Kailua Beach to swim...”

Hawaii's tourism entity, Go Hawaii, also cashed in on its most famous tourist with a section of its website tracking the president's activities there. Photos depicting the president body-surfing, eating shave ice with his kids and golfing are prominently featured.


Utah’s Salt Lake County is seeking a PR firm for a year-long contract to help smooth the implementation of a fee to pay for law enforcement in the unincorporated county, which is facing an $11M budget gap.

A decline in sales tax revenue led to the police district covering the area to move from a tax to a fee structure, which requires payments from tax-exempt organizations like churches, as well.

The Salt Lake Tribune has noted alternatives were to raise property taxes or lay off police officers. The paper editorialized that the fee is "unfortunate," but not unfair.

The public awareness effort will be developed at the behest of the Salt Lake Unified Police District, which funds local law enforcement in the county. The fee, intended to raise $12.5M of the region’s $21.5M police tab, will be higher for those who place a larger demand on law enforcement, the district said. It would be about $175 per year on a single-family home.

The district wants a public education and awareness campaign targeting fee payers. The resulting contract will carry three year-long options.


Asbury Automotive Group, which is moving from New York to Atlanta and had 2008 revenues of $4.6 billion, has wound down its work with RF|Binder.

Melissa Corey, manager of PR and communications at Asbury, told O’Dwyer’s that the company wanted to find a new agency with a strong presence in the Atlanta market as it leaves the Big Apple.

“Over the last few months, we spoke with a number of local agencies, and explored our options through a typical review process,” she said.

PN/Atlanta took the PR reins in January handling various aspects of its communications from internal and customer comms. to media relations and social media strategies. Brad MacAfee, partner and managing director at PN, led the pitch team.

Publicly traded Asbury, now based in Duluth, Ga., runs 81 retail auto centers covering 37 brands, mostly foreign.


Picard Kentz & Rowe has inked a $30K monthly pact to improve the image of Serbia and to promote investment there.

The firm also is to play matchmaker for Serbian and American companies looking for business partners from the other state.

PK&R’s agreement also calls for creating stronger ties between U.S. policymakers and opinion leaders with the Socialist Party of Serbia, which was founded by former stronger Slobodan Milosevic who ruled Serbia from 1990 to ‘97. The SPS is currently part of the coalition government.

PK&R’s contract is with the Agencija Za Konsalting Sigma Team Plus. The engagement letter is signed by Edward Rowe, a PK&R partner who has experience working in Serbia’s neighbor, Bosnia-Herzogovina.


Internet Edition, January 6, 2010, Page 3


Shirley Powell, senior VP of corporate communications for Turner Broadcasting, will step down in early 2010 to “take a bit of a break.”

The 43-year-old executive exits after six years as senior VP at the Time Warner unit and has worked for the company since the early 1990s. Based in Atlanta, she recently supervised PR for the CNN News Group and the various Turner Entertainment Group networks like TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and, TCM.

A replacement has not yet been named. Executive VP Kelly Regal, to whom Powell reported, will oversee communications during a transition period.

The Los Angeles Times has noted a key part of Powell’s role has been to keep Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent – described as "something of a recluse when it comes to media" – out of the press.

She previously held posts at Disney and NBC.


Electronic press kits, the digital form of traditional media releases, have dropped in cost with advances in technology, but PR pros need to follow protocol to use them effectively, according to a Dec. 10 Entertainment Publicists Professional Society media panel.

“The costs really depend upon the distributor and what their resources are as they can run from a couple of thousand dollars to 150K,” said David Naylor, president, The DVD Group. “The notification of movie distribution comes partly from studios, the EPK vendor and the publicists themselves. It is more profitable to have everything in one group getting a better bang for your buck.”

In the '80s and '90s, EPKs were expensive and satellite feeds didn't work well. Today instead of mailing a hard copy of video content, many upload to a server.

“My first piece for the movie ‘Cujo’ (1983 Steven King thriller) cost Warner Bros $25,000,” said Reba Merrill of Reba Merrill Associates, an Emmy award-winning producer. Three movies she worked on in the old days cost $130,000 and generated a profit of $13,000. “It was mass appeal, I did four pieces and I got $40,000,” she said.

Merrill says what has changed are the distribution and formats, thanks to the digital age. Snail mail with postage cards and video tapes have been replaced by online marketing and servers.

“If I’m working with someone who's got a literary property and they’re trying to promote the author and the book, we're working in concert with notification and distribution teams to promote both,” said Rod Dovlin, The Cannery.

“Obviously everyone still loves to see their properties end up on big syndicated TV shows like ‘Extra,’ ‘Access [Hollywood]’ and ‘Entertainment Tonight,’” said Naylor. “But certain people, like my video game producer, want [for example, his] skateboarding video on ESPN not on ET.”

The panelists agreed that a piece should run from one to three minutes on the web. It may go up to five minutes if the material highlights a specific part of the film, an interview with the director or a very big stunt.

“You know there are social networks that have groups that deal more with various aspects of it,” said Dovlin. “I just did a mixed martial arts film, and most of my marketing and outreach was getting it to these sites people never heard of.”

“I think the more you try to push and deliver goods that really look like you’re trying to really push, that movie can be rejected,” said Mark Herzog, president/CEO, Product Entertainment. "Word of mouth spread is what you really want out of social networking."

The verdict is still out on format changes behind the scenes, too. “I’m more concerned about getting the best footage I can for an EPK,” said Brian Dzyak, EPK Cameraman and author of “What I Really Want To Do On Set In Hollywood.”

“I’m still using HD cameras and mixing managing media on the set, which isn’t the best method, but the bigger challenge is managing the media afterwards,” said Dzyak.

“Media management on the set can be a real problem, because sometimes the cameras used are better quality than the movie cameras,” said producer Craig Byrd, Mobscene Creative + Productions. “The idea for us is to shoot the best possible quality that we can. If the EPK was shot on standard def because the client wanted to save money, it can come back to bite you if you have to distribute the EPK in high def. That's why as an agency we try to sit down and look at every possible outlet.”

The EPPS event was sponsored by the International Cinematographers Union Local 600 in Hollywood.

Panelist contacts:

David Naylor:
[email protected]
Reba Merrill:
[email protected]
Rod Dovlin:
[email protected]
Mark Herzog:
[email protected]
Craig Byrd:
[email protected]
Brian Dzyak:
[email protected]


Sard Verbinnen & Co. is advising Citadel Broadcasting, the nation's largest "pure play" radio company, as it works through Chapter 11 under a crushing $2.1B debt load.

The Las Vegas-based company syndicates Don Imus' program and owns 165 FM and 58 AM stations, including WABC in New York and WLS in Chicago.

Citadel reports that it has agreed with more than 60 percent of its lenders on a financial restructuring that would cover $1.4B in debt.

Farid Suleman, CEO, says he looks forward to working with the remaining lenders to "ensure a complete and expeditious restructuring." He promises business "will continue as usual and the company will work to emerge from the restructuring process as quickly as possible."

Citadel says revenues have been hurt by a sharp drop in advertising from the auto, banking and restaurants sectors. U.S. radio advertising will hit $17.4B in `09, down from $19.2B in `08.

Citadel is the country's No. 3 radio company, behind Clear Channel and CBS. It provides programming to 4,400 affiliates.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, January 6, 2010, Page 4


Fifty-six percent of Floridians consider TV their primary source of news, according to a poll conducted for Ron Sachs Communications.

Newspapers still top online as the No. 2 source of news by a 20 percent to 16 percent margin. That balance of power is shifting as the senior market (65 and older) is the most dependent on newsprint for information. Thirty-two percent of seniors report newspapers as primary info source vs. 10.7 percent of Floridians aged 18 to 34. Nearly eight-in-ten (79 percent) of seniors read a paper every day compared to a third of younger people polled.

TV enjoys strong support across all age groups. Fifty-four percent of seniors, 60 percent of people aged 50 to 64, 58 percent of respondents aged 35 to 49 and 52 percent of people aged 18 to 34 say TV is their primary source of info.

The poll shows “television is still king of media,” said Michelle Ubben, COO at RSC. “Moreover, its reign appears likely to last several more decades as its dominance spans all age groups.”

Mason-Dixon Polling & Research conducted the survey of 625 Floridians in early November. The poll found that more than half (55 percent) of young Floridians have a Facebook page. Thirty percent of the respondents overall do Facebook.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents go to YouTube, four percent are on the LinkedIn networking site, three percent Tweet and two percent use the Flickr photo-sharing site.


Media columnist Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, reviewing media news of the past decade, said credibility in the media took a sharp dive south as reporting failed in the crucial tests of the Iraq war and housing bubble.

He called these “the two biggest disasters of early-21st century press coverage.”

Media “failed to challenge the Bush Administration’s case for invading Iraq” and after “cheerleading” the tech bubble “fell way short on the housing and lending bubble,” he said.

“Sky-high expectations” were fostered for President Obama “which inevitably crashed into the messy reality of governing,” he noted.

Major media boo-boos included the “breathtaking fabrications of Jayson Blair at the New York Times and Jack Kelley at USA Today.”

Media bias was revealed in the “prime time parade of Republican lawmakers and commentators on Fox” while Democratic lawmakers had MSNBC as their turf.

What Kurtz does like is the “huge storehouses of knowledge that are available at the click of a mouse” and “striking observations about the news, zingers in ongoing debates, and perhaps a funny line or two” via Twitter, Facebook and other places in Blogville.

Media, he notes, must figure out “how to get people to pay for what we produce rather than Googling it for free.”

Frank Sees ‘Low, Dishonest Decade’

Tricking the public was a major occupation of both the government and business in the past ten years, argued Wall Street Journal columnist Thomas Frank on Dec. 23.

“Ensuring that the public failed to get it,” he wrote, “was the common theme of at least three of the decade’s signature foul-ups: the hyping of tech stocks by Wall Street analysts; the accounting scandals of 2002, and the triple-A ratings given to mortgage-backed securities.”

“Regulators were sabotaged and their agencies turned over to the regulated,” said Frank, arguing that “the press and politicians were asleep at the switch.”

He singled out Citibank’s “long struggle against the Glass-Steagall Act” whose erasure paved the way for the banks’ financial crisis.

Glass-Steagall was overturned in 1999 at a cost of $300 million in lobbying fees, economist Joseph Stiglitz has estimated.

“The problem was not so much that newspapers were dying,” he said, “but that they failed to do their job in the first place, to scrutinize the myths in a way that might have prevented the catastrophes like the financial crisis or the Iraq war.”

He fears banks are being “bailed out” while not being subjected to new oversight.


John Ward Anderson, contributing editor at Politico, will move to Podesta Group in D.C. in January as a principal.

Anderson will handle PR and media strategies, in addition to helping the firm started by former White House chief of staff John Podesta and his brother, Tony, in 1988 grow internationally.

Anderson was a 27-year veteran of the Washington Post before moving to Politico. At the Post, he started out as night secretary and eventually became of foreign correspondent for 6 years, including a stint as Paris bureau chief and postings in Iraq, India, Mexico, Turkey and Israel.

His wife, Molly Moore, is a former Post reporter and is a senior VP at D.C. PR agency Sanderson Strategies Group.

Tony Podesta heads PG.


Newsweek said Dec. 17 that it has inked a deal with Fletcher Asset Management to sell Budget Travel magazine.

Newsweek, part of The Washington Post Co., acquired BT in 1999. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Under the pact, Fletcher will support the current management team responsible for the day-to-day operation of magazine and website. Newsweek said the firm has indicated that it intends to keep “essentially all of Budget Travel’s employees.”

:We are delighted that under the ownership of Fletcher, Budget Travel's legacy will carry on and its staff will continue to do their great work,” said Tom Ascheim, CEO, Newsweek.

Internet Edition, January 6, 2010, Page 5


Resnicow Schroeder Associates edged three firms in an RFP process to raise the national and global visibility of the Samuel P. Horn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Fla.

Lou Hammond & Associates, CKG Indi PR and Stuck in My Head Media also pitched.

PR budget is just under $70K with another $50K set aside for labor costs.

The museum is owned by the Univ. of Florida and marks its 20th year in 2010. It is planning to open a 26K-square-foot Asian art wing in 2011.


The Houston-Galveston Area Council, the planning entity for 13 counties on Texas’ Gulf coast, has tapped a quartet of firms to share in its $375K budget for PR in 2010.

The council issued an RFP in October to give out two-year PR contracts each carrying two option years for work ranging from logo design and Internet marketing to media relations and press release writing.

KGB Texas, EC Productions, Tribe Creative Agency and BQR emerged from a field of 24 proposals.

Other firms that pitched included Pierpont Communications, Naumann Blanchard, Vollmer PR and Allyn Media, among others.


NLO Strategies, the New York firm of Rudy Giuliani’s former communications director and legislative aide, is touting Erie County Executive Chris Collins for a potential Republican bid for governor of the Empire State.

Giuliani decided not to run earlier this month, throwing his support behind Rep. Rick Lazio, a Long Island Congressman and former senate candidate who was handily defeated by Hillary Clinton in 2000.

NLO, formerly Nicholas & Lence Comms., is led by George Lence and Christyne Nicholas. The latter was president and CEO of NYC & Company, the Big Apple’s tourism company, and served as communications director for Giuliani when he was mayor. Lence was a lobbyist for Giuliani who worked with Nicholas at NYC & Co. Bill O’Reilly, a former Linden Alschuler & Kaplan VP, and Jessica Proud, ex-deputy director of PA for the New York State Senate majority’s office, round out the NLO team.

INTERNATIONAL: Brunswick Group is driving the proposed takeover of Ford Motor’s Volvo Car unit by the fast-growing Zhejiang Geely Holding Co. of China. Geely emerged as Ford’s “preferred bidder” in October, and the partners expect to have an official agreement in place during the first quarter of 2010. Brunswick partners Tim Burt (London) and Anders Fogel (Stockholm) work the Geely business. ...The PR Global Network has added new member firms in Toronto and Germany to its ranks, which now total 40. The additions include Frankfurt-based cometis AG, a nine-year-old financial and corporate comms. shop, and Toronto-based PR firm Fantail Communications.


New York Area

Stanton PR & Marketing, New York/Seedco Financial Services, national non-profit funding and providing tech support for small businesses in underserved communities, as AOR for PR.

Robin Leedy & Associates, Mount Kisco, N.Y./Coty’s, for PR and social media rollout for the launch of its Jovan fragrance brand for men and women, and Pedia-Lax, for PR/SM to support its dietary fiber supplement for kids, Fiber Gummies.

ICR, Westport, Conn./Seneca Foods Corp., canned produce, for shareholder communications support.


Aloysius Butler & Clark, Wilmington, Del./Nixon Uniform Service & Medical Wear, medical apparel, linens and other products, for a web redesign; Omega Medical Center, occupational health services, for web development, and Radian Group, mortgage insurer, for print collateral and online work.

Sawmill Marketing PR, Baltimore, Md./The Classic Catering People, caterer serving D.C./Baltimore area, for a PR and social media campaign.

Exemplar Communications, Falls Church, Va./Big Picture Learning, for public affairs for the high school redesign company; National Cable Television Association, for strategic planning for its Cable in the Classroom program, and the Univ. of Colorado at Boulder, as AOR for its Public Interest Center in partnership with Arizona State University’s Education Policy Research Unit.


communications21, Atlanta/HD Supply, wholesale distributor, for internal comms.; Men Stopping Violence, for marketing, PR, social media planning for 2010, and infinitee, ad agency, for media relations, content creation and social media.

TransMedia, Boca Raton, Fla./Gold Solutions Marketing, for introduction of credit cards backed by gold bullion under the Visa or MasterCard brand. CardWorks is the credit card service company managing the cards and will be included in the campaign.


SS | PR, Glenview, Ill./QuamTel, Dallas-based telecomms. technologies, to manage PR. Subsidiaries include DataJack and WQN.

Harris Marketing Group, Birmingham, Mich./ALTe, electric vehicle powertrain supplier, for PR. The system is designed to retrofit V-8-powered vehicles to boost fuel efficiency.

Leonard & Finco PR, Green Bay, Wisc./Recoveron Restoration Services, commercial and residential property restoration from incidents like fire, water and mold, for PR.

Maccabee Group, Minneapolis/CaringBridge, non-profit providing free websites to link families during a serious health event, and LOGIS/Local Government Information Systems, consortium of local gov’t units sharing tech services, both for PR.


Wall Street Communications, Salt Lake City/NOA Audio Solutions, for PR to develop and maintain a trade press presence for the audio archiving company in broadcast, government and education media.

Internet Edition, January 6, 2010, Page 6


AdMedia Partners acted as financial advisor to Triad Digital Media as it secured “significant” growth capital from H.I.G. Ventures.

The M&A advisory firm also counseled Monitor Group in its Dec. 4 sale of its Strategic Oxygen research unit to Forrester Research.

The Triad deal was announced Dec. 3.

Triad manages digital advertising and other content for large retailers and e-commerce sites for their portals, including and

Financial terms of both deals were not disclosed.

AdMedia said the Forrester deal particularly is an example of strategic buyers returning to the market.


Ketchum’s Zocalo Group research and measurement unit has developed Recommendation Index to gauge which brands are most recommended across a varierty of consumer word of mouth activity.

Zocalo says that unlike other metrics that only ask “Would you recommend this brand?” the new index attempts to gauge why, where and how often brands are suggested and how they compare to others in the same category.

“Once marketers truly understand why and how brands recommended in their category, they can adjust their messaging, communications – and even their operations – to ensure that they become and stay the most recommended,” said Zocalo president/CEO Paul Rand.

The index ranks recommended brands positively and negatively and creates a score to compare brands of similar categories.

The RI initially focuses on the casual dining sector noting the top brands are California Pizza Kitchen, Texas Roadhouse, Outback Steakhouse, Applebee’s and the Cheesecake Factory.

BRIEF: Business Wire said it has enhanced its global distribution platform to include a wider range of mobile outlets and increased measurement reporting. The new features took effect on Jan. 4. The company said an “expansive” deal for mobile distribution with a major worldwide news organization is set to be announced in the first quarter. It already has deals with AP Mobile, Viigo, Yahoo Finance! Mobile, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and others.

EVENTS: Atlanta, Thurs., Jan. 21 -- PRSA/Georgia luncheon, “H1N1 and the Inside Communications Story," 11:30 p.m., Maggiano’s Cumberland, 1601 Cumberland Mall S.E., Atlanta; panel discussion with representatives from CDC; Gwinnett County, Georgia’s largest school district; and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, outlining best practices of communications for the flu epidemic. Info: ...Denver, Jan. 20-22 -- “True Spin: A National Conference on Media Relations for Progressives,” Curtis Hotel, 1405 Curtis St., Denver, Colo. PR practitioners from progressive advocacy groups around the country gather for two days of panels, practical workshops, and networking. Info:



John McCook has returned to Rubenstein PR, New York, as senior VP. He had been at Burson-Marsteller working on the Transition Optical account and doing media relations training. At Rubenstein, McCook will handle the Simon Wiesenthal Center, City Harvest (food rescue program), Florisity Floral Designs and Timothy Chase, a cosmetic dentist. He was previously at RPR for eight years and did stints at Hill & Knowlton and Cairns + Assocs.

Shane Johnston, a marketing exec for Nortel and Sprint, to Capstrat, Raleigh, N.C., as VP and A/D.

Daniel Gagnier, former chief of staff for Quebec Premier Jean Charest, to Hill & Knowlton Canada, as part of its KHDP group of consultants in Quebec.

Adam Rabiner, who handled business development for Business Wire in British Columbia, to Red Metal Resources, Thunder Bay, Ontario, as director of corporate communications.

Mike Kennedy, a media relations staffer for the Minnesota Twins, to the Milwaukee Iron, Arena Football team, as director of media services. He was previously with Potawatomi Racing.

Kelly O’Shea, A/S, G.S. Schwartz & Co., to Duffy & Shanley, Providence, R.I., as a senior A/E. She was previously an A/E at RLM PR.


John Mechem to VP of public affairs, Mortgage Bankers Association, Washington, D.C. He joined in 2006 from the American Forest & Paper Assn. Michael Sorohan, director of electronic comms. for the MBA, was named associate VP.

Christina Teagarden to VP, Jetstream PR, Dallas. She joined in 2004 and was dubbed a “pillar” of the firm by president and founder Tony Katsulos. Teagarden handles healthcare and tech clients.

Bari Seiden to VP, global corporate communications, The Estee Lauder Companies, New York. She joined the company in 2001 handling its Aramis and designer frangrances. Seiden’s duties include comms. strategy, leading its breast cancer awareness campaign, comms. of Leonard and Evelyn Lauder, and social/digital media efforts.

Gary Pinkham to head of corporate affairs and communicatins in North America, Ericsson, based in Washington, D.C. He was head of global investor and analyst relations. The telecom has tripled its NA staff since early 2009 to more than 14,500 employees following its acquisition of Nortel and other expansion.

Jill Bratina to VP, Volkswagen Group corporate comms. and Volkswagen brand communications. She had been director of corporate comms. and is a former comms. director for Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida. Anna-Maria Schneider was upped to VP, industry and gov’t relations.


Hulus Alpay, director, IR, Medidata Solutions; Mary Beth Kissane, principal, Walek & Associates; Andrew Kramer, director, IR, Interactive Data Corp., and Michelle Levine Schwartz, director, IR, JDSU, to four-year board directors of the National Investor Relations Institute.


Internet Edition, January 6, 2010, Page 7


Arthur Yann, VP-PR of PRS, who called one member “ignorant” and “irresponsible” after the member said PRS was going back to the “1800s,” said the Multicultural section had been given warnings two years ago.

Kerri Allen, of Revolucion, New York, Hispanic brand communications firm, co-chair of the executive committee of the section, said in a statement: “On the eve of 2010, what organization would scrap its multicultural initiatives? What's next on the chopping block? That silly social media thingy?”

Members who posted more than 20 times on Twitter blasted leaders and staff for announcing the decision just before the staff took an 11-day break from Dec. 24, 2009 to Jan. 4, 2010, leaving no way to reach the staff until Jan. 4. Bloggers said that there was no mention of the possible closing of the section at the section council meeting at the conference in San Diego in early November and that section leaders were told on Nov. 18 in a teleconference that its membership numbers were “on par” with those of other sections.

Allen said, “If their social media section were down a couple of members, would they tell them the day before their office was closed for two weeks for the holiday after 26 years of involvement?”

‘Physical Disabilities’ Now Included

PRS CEO Bill Murray said Dec. 22, that the definition of "diversity" is being expanded to include “not only racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, but the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transsexual community and individuals with physical disabilities, all of whom can be better accommodated and served under a single umbrella.”

[Editor's note: the staff and leaders of PRS refused three requests for better seating arrangements or use of earphones which were made by editor Jack O'Dwyer of this NL at the Assembly Nov. 7 and the opening conference session Nov. 8 featuring Arianna Huffington. O’Dwyer said he has a hearing loss and was unable to hear much of the proceedings. With assistance of several organizations, including the National Assn. of the Deaf, O’Dwyer is exploring whether PRS violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Title III covers hotels, theaters and other public places and non-profit as well as for-profit organizations. It says that efforts must be made to accommodate handicaps of any type. Those who are hard-of-hearing must be given "assistive hearing devices" or other aid of their own choosing as long as it is not financially prohibitive. O’Dwyer asked to sit up front or use available earphones].

The Corporate Social Responsibility Section is now a “Council of Experts” without a vote in the Assembly. Its library will be available free to all members, said Murray.

Rejected African-American Candidate

The PRS nominating committee this year rejected an attempt by Washington, D.C., counselor Ofield Dukes to become an at-large director.

He would have been the only African-American on the 17-member board and only the second African-American male on the board in 63 years.

Gary McCormick, 2010 chair, has appointed Dukes and Wynona Redmond, former president, National Black PR Society, Chicago, as non-voting "senior counsels" to the board.

“Preliminary discussions” have been held with Ivette Zurita of the Hispanic PR Society to develop initiatives, he said.

Debra Miller and Cheryl Procter-Rogers are the only African-American women to serve on the PRS board. Ron Owens of Kaiser-Permanente was elected to a three-year term in 2004 but quit after six months.

The nomcom headed by Rhoda Weiss picked Barbara Whitman, Honolulu counselor, instead of Dukes. Weiss has spent much time in Hawaii working for St. Joseph’s Hospice.

New York counselor Michael Paul, who blasted the all-white PRS board earlier this year, had tried to set up a meeting with PRS staffers and officers but this was rejected.


A 2008 survey by the PR Society found that members give a “very low priority” to diversity issues, Lynn Appelbaum, national board liaison to the diversity committee, said in a statement on the PRS website Dec. 23.

Appelbaum, associate professor, advertising and PR program director, City College of New York, said the 73 section members paying the annual fee of $60 was “far below the 200 minimum.”

“The board concluded that a committee would be more effective at reaching more Society members on multicultural topics than continuing the section,” she said.

Chair of the diversity committee is Sonia Sroka, VP of Hispanic marketing, Porter Novelli, New York.

Vice chair is Joseph Carleo, executive producer, Advanced Language and Media Services, Matthews, NC.

Sharp criticism greeted the end-of-the-year move including a Twitter post by Prof. Richard D. Waters of North Carolina State University that said, “Taking voting away from minorities/multicultural members sounds just like the 1800s.”

Other Twitter posts, among 20, complained that the Multicultural Section had no chance to defend itself-the decision was presented to it as a fait accompli just as the PRS h.q. staff was shutting down for 11 days until Jan. 4.

Estimates are that only a few dozen African-American and Hispanic PR pros are among the Society's 21,000 members.

Veteran members say that with multiculturals making up less than one percent of members, PRS leaders are involved in wishful thinking and false promises when they talk about paying more attention to minorities and other diverse groups.

“This is like all their talk about the Strategic Plan, APR, bylaws revision, advocacy and ethics that goes nowhere and is just time-wasting hot air,” said a senior member.

More than 1,000 black PR pros are in the National Black PR Society and local black PR groups in cities including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Los Angeles.


Internet Edition, January 6, 2010, Page 8




There’s no doubt that what they are now calling “The Great Recession” is largely due to a lack of transparency in financial dealings.

Vast movements of money including gambling large sums without adequate back-up helped to inflate the financial bubble.

It was the “Decade of Hype” in which expectations about lots of things including housing prices and even President Obama were raised beyond practical levels.

Among the victims of this imbalance, suffering in terms of lost jobs, lost homes and lost educations like everyone else, are none other than PR people.

Those in the industry of hype appear to outnumber those in the newsgathering industry. Certainly, those in the former are paid more than those in the latter.

Even now, bankers, brokerage houses and accountants are battling full exposure of off-balance sheet entries as well as trading in derivatives and other dangerous financial instruments.

The public is getting little for its trillion-dollar bailout of banks and others. The financial industry spent $300 million in overturning Glass-Steagall in 1999 and shows no signs of wanting it back. Citigroup led the march on that economic safeguard, instituted after the 1929 debacle.

Pundits Frank Rich of the New York Times, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post and Thomas Frank of the Wall Street Journal did a good job in the past few days of dissecting what Frank called, “A low, dishonest decade.”

Rich saw Tiger Woods as the “Person of the Year” because he typified the “decade’s flimflams” including the run-up to the Iraq war and the overheated housing market.

Kurtz echoed Rich in saying “permanent stains” on journalism are its failure to challenge the falsehoods about Iraq and failure to unmask banks’ imprudent and quickly off-loaded housing loans.

Media credibility took a sharp dive downward, wrote Kurtz. Pew Research found only 29% of Americans feel media report accurately, down from 55% in 1985.

The double whammy of hype and stonewalling hit the economy.

NYT columnist Floyd Norris said CPAs let the nation down by allowing off-book cubbyholes to hide debt and that politics at the U.S. and international Financial Accounting Standards Boards is blocking reform.

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter said a few hundred bankers are guilty of “what may well turn out to be the greatest nonviolent crime against humanity in history.”

Looking back on our 40 years of covering PR, it’s easy to discern a complete flip-flop in the attitude of PR pros to the press-from enthusiastic help and cooperation to cold, resistant, officious behavior. Hard sell replaced soft sell.

PR has become marketing and hype, which organizations need to prosper, but has pulled back on its duty of helping the press to cover topics in depth.

Democracy runs on good information and the info pipelines have become clogged by lawyers, marketers, financiers and association people who are not keen about public discussion and debate.

The group with the gold-plated PR name is the Public Relations Society of America. This name has both PR in it and America and many PR pros see this as a desirable thing on their resumes.

In most cases, their employers are paying the tab so they don't much care what goes on at the Society.

However, do we find examples of openness and transparency at this Society? Cooperation with the press? Regular press conferences? Regular meetings of officers and staff with rank-and-file members? Complete and timely financial reporting? Broadcasting of the annual Assembly to members? Providing a transcript of that Assembly to members? No!

Only three “PR” people are allowed among the 55 or so staffers and the three are kept under lock and key. PR is unwelcome in its own house.

The new board is headed by Gary McCormick of the HGTV unit of Scripps Networks Interactive, a spin-off from Scripps newspapers.

However, McCormick now has his hands full as Cablevision of New York has refused to pay a 300% hike in fees for Scripps HGTV and the Food Network. This points up the need for at least a half dozen senior PR pros working at headquarters.

Scripps has the most elaborate ethics code of any journalistic enterprise in the U.S. It promises “Compassion,” “Courage,” “Excellence,” “Fairness,” “Integrity” and “Respect.”

Employees go through an ethics lecture that sounds like a Bible-belt revival.

Sports editor Nick Gholson of the Wichita Falls Times Record News on Nov. 10, 2006 wrote of sitting through a “three-hour ethics presentation” that had him “walking out the door singing, ‘Glory, glory, hallelujah, His truth is marching on.’ Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me.”

Gholson concluded that the session was inspirational but “all we really needed was the Golden Rule.”

Instead of leading the march for more transparency by practicing it itself, the 100 or so people who have taken control of PRS (we find it hard to use the “A” standing for America) are steeped in secrecy and undemocratic practices.

An example is its insistence on doing something about “diversity” (page one story).

This takes the form of naming new people to committees and seeking outreach with black and Hispanic groups.

But probably less than one percent of PRS members are minorities and this is not likely to change given the $290 first year membership fee and $225 yearly after that. Black and Hispanic groups are typically $50 a year so this initiative is going nowhere.

The Society, not realizing what it was doing, got African-American counselor Ofield Dukes to be a non-voting (?!) member of the board after the nomcom headed by Rhoda Weiss picked Barbara Whitman to be at-large director over Dukes.

Dukes at first turned down McCormick's invitation to sit in the “back-of-the-bus” of the board.

Dukes no doubt realized the image of a black not having a vote was nothing short of horrific.

We advise Whitman to step down and let Dukes be the voting member.

PRS will not like it if national media get on its case for depriving a black of his vote.

The rejoinder we get from Society leaders is that it's better to be part of a group you criticize than be on the outside and unable to make changes.

Okay, so why don’t U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan join the Taliban where they can be more influential? Why don’t Republicans join the Democratic party and vice versa. Joining a group is not the only way to reform it.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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