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Internet Edition, March 24, 2010, Page 1


The communications office of the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-based science and technology office which executes and promotes programs for the Navy and Marine Corps wants pitches through the end of the month for a media monitoring and analysis vendor.

The Office of Naval Research’s corporate strategic communication unit is on the hunt for a web-based PR monitoring and crisis communication service via an open solicitation issued in January. The pitch deadline has been extended three times and now sits at March 31.

A contracting official told O’Dwyer’s that the call for pitches is a new requirement and, as such, there is no incumbent.

Among the needs of the ONR are media aggregation, distribution of clips and analysis, as well as the maintenance of a public website for daily public affairs use and a “dark site” for events and incidents.

A one-year contract with four year-long options is expected. Info:


Helene Ellison, president and founder of Healthstar PR, has moved to Burson-Marsteller to head its global healthcare practice in a third stint with the firm.

Gail Cohen, who led B-M’s healthcare division since 2008, left in February for WeissComm Partners.

Ellison, who is based in New York and started her career at the WPP-owned B-M, was previously EVP, GM and head of healthcare for Edelman’s PR21 unit, a predecessor to Zeno Group, and was a GM at Edelman. She was also VP/healthcare in a second stint at B-M.

Ellison has been named global chair of B-M’s healthcare practice with oversight for a division that has staff in every region of the firm’s global footprint.

HealthStar executive VP Erinn White, the firm’s second employee dating back to 2003, is slated to take over as president and CEO of the specialty healthcare agency that posted nearly $9M in revenue in 2007.

Newsom’s PR Chief to B-M/S.F.

Nathan Ballard, who stepped down as San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s communications director in February, has landed at Burson as a managing director.

Ballard left the high-profile mayor’s office after two years to re-start his PR firm Earned Media and spend more time with his family. He was a spokesman for the presidential campaigns of Sen. John Kerry and Gen. Wesley Clark in California and Missouri, respectively, as well as the state’s largest labor union, the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.


Marissa Shorenstein, press secretary for embattled New York Governor David Paterson has resigned due to her “unwitting involvement in recent news stories,” says her statement.

The New York Times reported Shorenstein intervened in an effort to have domestic violence charges dropped against David Johnson, who was Paterson’s top aide.

Shorenstein, a former spokesperson for the New York Jets football team, says she can no longer do her job effectively in the aftermath of the news reports.

According to the statement, Shorenstein believes she has performed her duties professionally and with integrity, “basing my actions on what I believed to be true at the time.”

Paterson has tapped Morgan Hook, upstate press secretary, to replace Shorenstein, whose departure follows the exit of Peter Kauffmann, communications director, earlier this month.


Sony’s PlayStation brand has expanded its relationship with Voce Communications and signed on Ketchum and its Access Communications unit for its PR business.

Voce, which was handling social media for PS since 2007, adds corporate communications and the PlayStation Network online gaming service to its duties, following an RFP.

Access Communications will handle PlayStation’s hardware while parent Ketchum works software PR, the firm said.

Porter Novelli previously handled the account while SparkPR worked on its PlayStation Portable business.

Bragman Nyman Cafarelli and Omnicom’s InterActive PR handled the launch of the PS3 system in 2006.

Hill & Knowlton and BNC guided the PS2 launch and Fleishman-Hillard launched the first version in 1995.


The Arthur Page Society (the “W” has been dropped) is looking for a successor to Thomas Nicholson who has been executive director since April of 2007.

The search for his successor, who will have the title of president, is being handled by Richard Marshall of Korn/Ferry International.

(Continued on page 7)

Full table of PR firms ranked by 2009 revenue in high-tech and food/beverage categories on pg. 4.


Internet Edition, March 24, 2010, Page 2


A small group of black PR and communications firms, with the backing of the Florida Black Chamber of Commerce, has filed a discrimination suit against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, the state’s purchasing division and a four-firm partnership involving Ketchum and Moore Consulting Group, which was awarded a key part of the Sunshine’s State’s wide-reaching $2.1M census PR account last month.

The plaintiffs are led by Tallahassee-based N-Tersections Communications and include Steele Communications Group (also of Tallahassee), Medium Four (Ft. Lauderdale), Circle of One Marketing (Miami), and the chamber.

They are suing for damages and relief citing racial and ethnic discrimination based on what they claim is the state’s failure to award contracts to African-American vendors in violation of the so-called “One Florida” initiative, a program implemented by former Gov. Jeb Bush to prohibit discrimination in state contracting. The groups say not enough black-owned firms are winning contracts as lead bidders.

The African-American portion of the census account was broken down into two contracts worth a combined $420K. While local media have reported that Ketchum-Moore hired two minority firms to subcontract the work, Terrie Ard, senior VP at Moore Consulting Group, told O’Dwyer’s that contention is false and said the four firms are equal partners on the account.

RFP Process Questioned

“Those who dare to stand on their own as prime contractors are typically excluded in sizeable contracts such as this,” said Gene Franklin, president and founder of the black chamber in announcing the suit.

The plaintiffs claim that one of the judges in the RFP review whom, they said, gave disparate scores to black-owned bidders, has a professional affiliation with several bidders and should have recused herself.

The firms in the suit, noting Bush’s executive order was never rescinded, said that African-American spending by the state has dropped from $450M under Bush to $100M now, an 88 percent decline. Most “minority-owned” contracts are going to women-owned businesses, which account for about 44% of state spending, they said, recalling the state’s Jim Crow past.


Andy Barnett, who led Fleishman-Hillard’s digital practice at its St. Louis headquarters, has moved to Elasticity, a word-of-mouth digital firm launched in 2009 by F-H vets.

He adds social media strategy, online research and search engine marketing expertise to the firm led by Brian Cross (ex-global digital comms. leader at the Omnicom firm), Dan Callahan and Aaron Perlut.

Elasticity, part of the St. Louis-based agricultural marketing agency Osborn & Barr, also hired Christine Schmidt Ryder, who worked for AOL and iVillage in Chicago, to lead its marketing-to-woman practice.


Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher is handling Lionsgate as the studio fends off a hostile takeover bid from corporate raider Carl Icahn.

The company dismissed Icahn’s inital partial takeover offer of $6 a-share as “financially inadequate and coercive” and not in the best interest of shareholders. Icahn’s effort to bolster his current 18.9 percent stake to nearly 30 percent is a way to “veto” matters that “need to be approved by a special resolution of shareholders, which consist of several fundamental decisions including certain acquisitions, business combinations and reorganizations,” Lionsgate said.

The company is considering the purchase of film libraries of Walt Disney’s Miramax and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; both moves are opposed by Icahn. It already owns 12,000 motion picture and TV titles.

Lionsgate currently has nearly 20 shows on 10 different networks, including “Mad Men” and “Weeds.” Its feature film business has generated more than $400 million at the North American box office in the past year.


Todd Irons, a seasoned D.C. PR pro recently a deputy for the Republican National Committee, has moved to the right-leaning digital public affairs shop David All Group in the capital as a VP.

Irons was deputy director of communications at the RNC, stepping down shortly after the late 2009 exit of comms. director Trevor Francis following GOP wins in gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey.

Irons joined the RNC from the PR agency realm. He was a VP in four years at GOP communications firm ViaNovo, managing director at Qorvis Communications and an account manager at Porter Novelli.


Edelman is handling New Delhi-based financial services powerhouse Religare Enterprises, which has mapped out a plan to make “thoughtful acquisitions” in the U.S.

Religare has targeted the asset management space, according to Edelman’s contract that is worth $15K a-month, plus a 10% service charge on expenses.

Edelman is to get the wheels rolling by developing relationships and an understanding of Religare’s “business and value proposition” with reporters and editors at top tier business/financial outlets and trade press.

The No. 1 independent firm is to provide transaction support around acquisition announcements including planning and strategy development, support in drafting/editing materials, and media coordination.

Edelman is charged with working “seamlessly with bankers, lawyers, advisors and other communications agencies to provide consultancy support at all stages of the deal.”

Thomson Reuters reported on Religare’s global ambitions on March 13 noting Religare Capital Markets has applied to the U.S. Financial Regulatory Authority for a license to operate here and is on the prowl for a CEO.


Internet Edition, March 24, 2010, Page 3


Financial reporters are moving their focus toward how financial institutions are working to repair their images and communicate effectively, a year after probing the causes and immediate aftermath of the sector’s near-collapse.

One-fourth of financial reporters say financial services firms’ PR efforts have been “fair” or “poor” in the wake of public resentment over taxpayer bailouts and industry bonuses, according to a survey by Boston’s BackBay Communications and Marketwire.

Fifty-four percent graded financial institutions’ communications efforts as “fair” while 21 percent hit them as “poor,” said the poll of 107 journalists in the space. That compares with 21% who said PR efforts in the sector have been “good” and only 2% who rated them “excellent.”

Bill Haynes, president, of BackBay, said the results show “the extent to which trust has been lost and needs to be rebuilt.”

That poor performance was outlined by respondents who said the greatest challenges facing financial institutions right now are overcoming the credibility gap with their constituencies, managing crises and responding to regulatory changes. The credibility gap has especially come into focus as it was named by 82% of reporters, up from 66% last year.

Turning the lens on themselves, just over 40 percent of financial reporters said they deserve a “fair” grade for effectiveness, while 12% said they earned a “poor” rating for performance.

Half of reporters responding said finding the time and resources to cover the news is their biggest challenge. Forty-four percent cited the ordeal of getting financial institutions to communicate in a downturn, while another 41% said its challenging to know who to believe in such a situation.

But ducking and mislead the press will have a negative effect on coverage, they said. Evasive responses were cited by nearly 80% of journalists as among the most common mistakes, while 78% cited a failure to respond to calls or emails. Seventy-three percent said failure to communicate “newsworthy” developments promptly and honestly is another frequent mistake.

Reporters said sources for stories primarily come from personal contacts (89%), direct communications from companies (77%) and wire services (52%).


Christiane Amanpour, CNN's top international correspondent, has been named anchor of ABC News’ “This Week.” She joins in August.

ABC News president David Westin said Amanpour will provide international analysis on key issues and host primetime documentaries on international topics.

He praised Amanpour as a “highly respected journalist” who has a "deep commitment to bringing news of the world to the American people.

Amanpour replaces George Stephanopoulos, who took the “Good Morning America” slot in December. Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper anchors “The Week” until Amanpour arrives.

Amanpour spent 27 years at CNN, reporting from hotspots such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Rwanda and the Balkans.

She leaves CNN with the “utmost respect, love and admiration for the company” and everyone who works there.


The New York Times has revamped its political coverage as Adam Nagourney, chief political correspondent, is moving to head the Los Angeles bureau.

Executive editor Bill Keller has assigned new duties to reporters Jeff Zeleny, Matt Bai and Jim Rutenberg.

In his memo, Keller notes “the day of the lone national political correspondent has passed.” He cited the incessant demands of print and web and the mushrooming of competition.

In the new set-up, Zeleny will be day-to-day political reporter, covering breaking news, analysis, profile and blog posts. He had been focused on the White House.
Bai is shifting from the New York Times Magazine to the paper for a new political columnist post similar to the columns of David Leonhardt and Joe Nocera in the business section.

Rutenberg is to concentrate on campaign-related investigative and enterprise stories behind the news, according to Keller’s note to staffers.


The newspaper business has lost $1.6B in reporting/editing capacity since 2000, according to the annual state of the media survey of the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. Working with the Poynter Institute, Pew projects there is $4.4B in editorial capacity left.

Newspapers shed 5,900 staffers in 2010. A third of newsroom jobs that existed in 2001 have been wiped out. Specialty beats such as science, arts, and statehouse governments have been the hardest hit.

Journalism losses in the newspaper business are especially tough, since that sector accounts for 90 percent of editorial budgets in the U.S. media.

Citizen journalism has received much play, but Pew notes that a little more than $140M of non-profit money has gone into new media ventures. That's less than one-tenth of the losses in newspaper resources.

Sand in hourglass

Pew believes the countdown has long ago begun for newspapers to develop business models to recast themselves. It uses the metaphor of sand in an hourglass to describe the state of the newspaper sector. “Unless some system of financing the production of content is developed, it is difficult to see how reportorial journalism will not continue to shrink, regardless of the potential tools offered by technology,” the study said.

Currently, Pew sees little evidence that journalism online has found a sustaining revenue model. Regarding web advertising, Pew notes that 79 percent of online news consumers say they rarely if ever have clicked on an online ad.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, March 24, 2010, Page 4

O’Dwyer’s Ranking of High-Tech PR Firms

Click here for ranking.


The food & beverage category of the O’Dwyer rankings drew entries from 54 firms reporting 2009 revenue, almost the same number as for the previous year when there were 59 entries.

Twelve of the 25 largest food PR practices showed declines while ten had gains and three were even. Food PR firms reported revenue totaling nearly $103M for ’09.

Category leader Edelman had a 5% decline to $51,947,570 while second place APCO Worldwide had a gain of 16% to $6,546,408. Hunter PR, New York, in third place, was about even at $5,669,985.

A newcomer in the No. 4 spot, weighing in at $5,651,110, is FoodMinds, based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

Ranking of Food/Beverage PR Firms

Click here for ranking.

Internet Edition, March 24, 2010, Page 5


Three veteran healthcare pros have set up Evolution Health Strategies in Los Angeles.

Principals include Robert Berra, a co-founder of FischerHealth who was recently with FH/Porter Novelli, Steve Moya, ex-chief marketing officer of Humana and senior VP at LatinWorks Marketing, and Miriam Weber Miller, also a FischerHealth veteran and co-founding senior executive of Chandler Chicco’s Biosector 2.

Berra, who serves as president & CEO of the new entity, said the firm’s charter is to partner with growth-focused early-stage, mid-cap and select mature healthcare clients to “to find clarity in this maze of confusion in order for their companies to continue growing and evolving.”

Berra said three key challenges shaping the market include new populations previously outside the system joining, the indefinite battle over cost and access, and new products and services requiring greater efficiency and patient outcomes.



Ketchum has boosted its partnership with Middle East-based TBWA/RAAD/PR in a joint venture to handle communications work in the region.

TBWA has been a Ketchum affiliate since 2006 covering the Middle East and North Africa.

The new venture creates Ketchum Raad Middle East operating in 14 cities in 12 countries like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Jon Higgins, CEO of international operations for the firm, said the region is increasingly important to clients and carries an “excellent” growth trajectory.


In a merger of political PR firms, Jackson, Miss.-based Meadowbrook Strategies has acquired six-staffer Nashville public affairs shop Flat Creek.

Under the deal, Flat Creek managing partner Allen Fuller operates as managing partner for Meadowbrook Strategies’ Nashville office.

Blake Parsons, Flat Creek’s creative director, becomes a partner as well. Info:


New York Area

Guttenberg Communications, New York/Connectiva Systems, revenue and risk management services for the telecomms. sector, as AOR for PR.

Morris + King Company, New York/StickerYou, online platform for customizing and ordering personalized stickers, for PR and social media.

5W Public Relations, New York/, “rent-to-own” services for business owners across industries like electronics, real estate and furniture.


Duffy & Shanley, Providence, R.I./Delta Dental of Rhode Island, for advertising and social media.

Hill & Knowlton, Washington, D.C./American Airlines, for PR and public affairs related to commercial airline legislation and regulations.

Howard, Merrell & Partners, Raleigh, N.C./National Humanities Center, as AOR for PR for the non-profit.


Get Ink PR, Miami Beach/Altamare and Cobalt at Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, eateries; David Whyko, chef of Delishe catering; Exhale Spa at Epic, and Tacontento on Lincoln Road Lane, restaurant, for PR, marketing and events.


J.M. Glass + Associates, Bannockburn, Ill./Freudenberg Household Products, for launch of its O-Cedar wet floor cleaning system at the IHA International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago.

Maccabee Group, Minneapolis/Shock Doctor, athletic mouthguard marketer, for social media marketing, consumer PR and strategic communications, and sparkhouse, curriculum and design services for the Christian education community, for PR projects.


Bob Gold & Associates, Denver/Alpine Access, home-based customer care and contact center services, for PR for its cable and telecomms. practice.

Turner PR, Denver/Mexico’s Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office and the Estes Park (Colorado) Convention & Visitors Bureau, for media relations and social media counsel.

Preferred PR, Las Vegas/Todd English P.U.B., eatery at Crystals in CityCenter, as AOR, including media relations, publicity, and promotional efforts for its grand opening.


Formula PR, San Diego/Annie Chun’s, gourmet Pan-Asian foods, as AOR for PR and integrated marketing for the brand and its “meal solutions.”

JWalcher Communications, San Diego/Bali Hai, for launch of the 57-year-old, newly renovated eatery; KSDS Jazz 88.3 FM, member-support station, for PR and community relations; EYELEVEL, retail and branding fixtures firm, for a global PR campaign.

RMS PR, Los Angeles/Visionary Apps, smartphone application developer, for PR via the firm’s “iPhone app PR department” to launch the company’s Complete Realty Suite business app.

MAYO Communications, Los Angeles/PERI Software, for branding and media relations.

Internet Edition, March 24, 2010, Page 6


A $35K contract to distribute news releases for the state of California has been put out for bid for a second time after an RFP earlier this month failed to yield acceptable results.

An official from the state’s Dept. of Industrial Relations said the department could not award a contract because no “responsible” bids were received.

Business Wire currently handles the account.

The two-year contract runs from May 1 to April 30. 2012. The invitation for bid requires that companies pitching must have 24-hour customer service, three years of experience with at least four “reputable” clients, including three California state agencies.

Download the RFP at


The National Press Club and Adfero Group in Washington, D.C., have created the “Get PR Smart” series of continuing education events for PR pros, a key membership group of the club.

The series, open to members and non-members of the club, covers topics like how social media has changed PR and using new, inexpensive technologies to get messages out.

William McCarren, executive director NPC, said that many NPC members are “non-journalist communication professionals” so the partnership with Adfero is meant to serve that base.

McCarren said events throughout the year will include three half-day conferences as well as six classroom-style educational seminars.

The first event is March 26 with others running through December. Info:


Monitoring company Visible Technologies said it has enhanced its truCAST Suite with the latest release of truREPUTATION, its online reputation software.

The Bellvue, Wash.-based company said as content from blogs, social networks and consumer review sites become increasingly integrated within search results, marketers need to move beyond simple “ad hoc monitoring and search engine optimization tactics” which it sees truREPUTATION 2.0 as fulfilling.

The service collects and analyzes search results from engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, and incorporates numeric values to signify sentiment of a brand into its analysis.

Components of the service include the search result management (domestically and internationally), weekly, monitoring reports, tracking and reporting, and sentiment scoring, among other features.


Business Wire has tapped Viigo for a co-branded mobile application to deliver content to smartphones running Blackberry and Windows software.

BW content will be categorized by industry, language, subject and multimedia.
The app is available for download at



Michael Szumera, director, PR and marketing comms., Lazar Partners, to MedThink Communications, Raleigh, N.C., as VP, PR practice lead. He was previously a managing director in Burson-Marsteller’s New York healthcare practice and has worked with sector bluechips like Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Novartis.

Amiee Watts, senior A/E, SunStar Strategic, to JCPR, Parsippany, N.J., as an executive VP. Michelle Pittman, A/S, Beckerman PR, joins JCPR as associate content director.

Bill Myers, VP of state government affairs, UnitedHealth Group, to DaVita Inc., Denver, as VP of communications for the Fortune 500 provider of kidney care. He was previously in corporate comms. and government affairs during 11 years at Qwest Communications.

Caroline Craig, who ran her own consultancy, CPC Communications, for eight years, to Landis Communications, San Francisco, as senior counselor, client relations. She was previously PR manager for the The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, and Little Mendelson PC. Jordana Frishman, assistant placement counselor, Town & Country Resources, joins Landis as an A/C.

Alex de Bold, who ran his own consultancy and was co-founder of, to MS&L, Toronto, as VP, social media and digital marketing. He was previously VP of web marketing for Viigo.


Eliza Linford Kelly to VP, global communications, Unitus, global non-profit based in Seattle. She was previously director of marketing comms. in a decade-long career at Cobalt.

John Kautz to director of brand management, Rawle Murdy Associates, Charleston, S.C. Kautz has been with the firm for 11 years. Erin Watson was upped to senior account director.

Robert Berick to senior managing director, Dix & Eaton, Cleveland. Berick, who joined the firm in 2001, is a member of the firm’s leadership committee and heads its investor relations practice. He was previously director of corporate comms. and IR for Scott Technologies and VP and director of IR for Watt, Roop & Co.


Holly Koenig and Michael Cummings, VP and business development manager, respectively, at Kellen Company, New York, will be honored by the N.Y. Society of Association Executives at the group’s Synergy Awards on April 21. Koenig is in line for the “Outstanding Association Executive” award while Cummings will be honored as “Outstanding Committee Chair.”


Internet Edition, March 24, 2010, Page 7

NICHOLSON EXITS PAGE (Cont’d from page 1)

Nearly 200 resumes were sent to Page when word of the opening was announced recently.

Many of those applying are members of Page or PR Seminar or both. About 40 members of Page and Seminar are said to be in the job market.

Nicholson was making $180,000 plus $17,000 in benefits.

Some reports are that the salary for the new post will not go above $200,000 although another school says $250K will be needed to attract the right person.

Nicholson, in a departing statement to Page members, noted that the group has a record high membership and that it had its second straight year of positive cash flow after five years of negative cash flow.

Formerly VP-PR and communications, HSBC North America, and director of PR, all retail formats of Sears, Roebuck & Co., he intends to return to corporate PR.

Page's IRS Form 990 for 2008 showed cash/investment totaling $581,000. The total was $841,277 at the end of 2003.

Page/Seminar Costs Are Issue

Some members of Page and PR Seminar said the employers of the PR executives are uneasy with them attending high-cost meetings in both April and May.

The spring meeting of Page in New York (April 8-9 at the Waldorf-Astoria this year) costs $1,195 plus hotel and meals for at least two days. As many as 200 attend.

The theme of this year’s meeting, ironically say some Page members, is “Becoming Indispensable to Your Organization.” It is the 25th annual spring seminar of Page.

PR Seminar's four-day meeting is held at the end of May in a top-level resort.
Registration per couple last year was $3,350. Almost all attendees bring spouses or companions.

Cost for a couple including hotel, meals and transportation can easily top $7,500.

Page/Seminar veterans said that in recent years executives have been attending one or the other meeting but not both.

Sixty-two of the 127 PR executives at the 2009 Seminar at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Calif., including 2009 Page president Maril MacDonald, are also members of Page. Seminar’s 30-member executive committee includes 21 Page members.

Seminar Had Record Low Attendance

The 127 total for Seminar was a record low attendance caused partly by the recession and partly by criticism of corporate meetings at expensive resorts.

AIG had come under a torrent of criticism in 2008 for meeting at such resorts after receiving billions in federal bailout funds.

Annual dues of Page are $1,095. More than $150,000 is provided in the form of tax-deductible grants to Page which is a 501/c/3 non-profit.

Most organizations in this category are charities such as the Red Cross or United Way or educational or cultural institutions such as ballet companies or symphonies. The IRS description of a c/3 non-profit says it is for “religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, or prevention of cruelty to children or animals organizations.”

c/6's are for “business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards.” Tax law sources further say that membership in a c/3 should be “available to the general public” and that “benefits to members are negligible.” Contributions sought are supposed to be for benefits to the general public. Page got its c/3 status in 1983 by positioning itself as an educational institution.

Members of the public cannot join the 350-member Page which has highly restrictive membership policies even for PR pros. Most of the members are from corporations.

Companies making 2009 tax-deductible contributions to Page included the following that gave more than $10,000 each: Abbott, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, Prudential Financial, State Farm Insurance and Weber Shandwick.

Giving more than $5,000 each were Royal Dutch Shell, Staples, Edelman, Coca-Cola Enterprises, IBM, Manning Selvage & Lee and Western Union.

Nineteen others made contributions of more than $1,000.


Phil Martin, business partner of the Nashville PR pro Walt Baker who “crippled” his firm after he sent out an email which compared first lady Michelle Obama to a chimpanzee, has set up his own firm in the city with several clients and staffers from the previous venture, Mercatus Communications.

“Essentially, Walt’s actions coupled with the intensive reaction has crippled Mercatus to the point where we will close,” Martin told O’Dwyer’s, referring to Baker, with whom he founded Mercatus along with Tom Hannon in 1995.

Martin’s new venture is Phil Martin Affiliates (615-268-8000) handling strategic media, message development and execution, he said.

Martin held top posts including president in 10 years at Ericson PR prior to Mercatus. He was previously marketing and corporate communications director for Winners Corp. and earlier stints included Dye, Van Mol, Lawrence & Ericson, Holder Kennedy & Co., and Burson-Marsteller.

Key clients began leaving Mercatus after Baker’s email was blasted by city officials, PR pros and journalist who received it. Baker apologized shortly after the incident and called the email “political humor.”

“It has been an incredible case study in how rapidly one can fall and be punished in a viral environment,” said Martin.

Sard Verbinnen & Co. is handling Phillips Van-Heusen's $3B acquisition of Tommy Hilfiger BV, a deal that bolsters PVH’s reach in Europe. The combined company will have revenues of more than $4.5B.

Designer Tommy Hilfiger, who has no management role in the company that bears his name, is to remain “principal designer.”


Internet Edition, March 24, 2010, Page 8




In an historic meeting (our first interview with a sitting PRSA chair since early 2006) this writer and O’Dwyer editor Kevin McCauley met with chair Gary McCormick and president Bill Murray for nearly an hour March 19 in O’Dwyer offices.

We think all would agree that no one budged an inch on any of the issues raised.

We again stated our demand that the Society pay us at least $200,000 for the more than 50,000 copies of our articles that it sold up until 1994, when we exposed the practice.

The Society, while admitting no wrongdoing, immediately removed all our articles from the information packets, joined the Copyright Clearance Center, and announced that info pack prices were raised from $20 to $41 for members and $55 to $76 for non-members.

O’Dwyer articles constituted a quarter to a third of some of the 60-70 page packets.

CCC made the Society join its most expensive service, reserved for publishers who set prices for individual articles, because what the Society was selling was not “education,” but “professional development.”

Users of the service hoped to make or save money, hoped to improve their job skills, by using the advice in the articles.

Heavily copied O’Dwyer articles included one on “How to Hire a PR Firm,” copied and sold thousands of times. Packet volume was 3,800 in one year. Other articles told PR firms how to write contracts with clients, how to place stories in general and specialty media, etc.

Thousands of Society members were able to read O’Dwyer articles without paying us a nickel.

Society Saw “No Financial Harm”

Yet Joe Vecchione, 1994 president, wrote to Society leadership: “We do not believe we are in violation of the copyright laws nor have we caused Mr. O’Dwyer any financial harm.”

Both statements were absurd. The Authors Guild made the same comment when we showed them the Society’s practice.

Since then, the Society has been on a flight from reality, embarking on an all-out campaign to vilify this reporter and the O’Dwyer Co. rather than take up the responsibility for the unauthorized sale of hundreds of thousands of copies of works by authors without their permission.

A dozen authors hired a law firm and pressed for a lawsuit. But none of their publishers would back them. The copied authors, unable to afford the $200K needed to wage the suit, were left twisting in the wind.

But the moral obligation to pay them, in the form of money and ads for their books, remains.

M&M Believe We Are Evil Incarnate

McCormick and Murray presented a list of O’Dwyer behaviors that they say are so offensive that the Society will have absolutely nothing to do with us. That includes letting us join or buy ads or having our questions answered by Society staffers.

This vilification has been spread to the 100+ chapters for nearly two decades. No chapter president will talk to us much less buy any O’Dwyer products.

A sure route to ostracism at the Society is for a member to be caught talking to or helping the O’Dwyer Co.

Whether this war has hurt the O’Dwyer Co. is open to question since a lot of our readers like to hear about the almost endless shenanigans of the Society.

It has not done the Society any good because membership is only a little above the 19,800 members it had in 1998. More importantly, the Society has failed to live up to its lofty ethical standards.

We offer to publicly debate McCormick and Murray on these issues with the proceeds going to victims of the Haitian earthquake or the groups that help families of slain and imprisoned journalists.

Alternatively, we would like a trial before 12 PR pros in which we present our copious evidence. Only two should be APR. Others should be corporate and agency PR executives and several reporters.

Biggest Offense: Gail Baker

Pressed for concrete reasons for our ostracism, McCormick and Murray pointed to the full page attack on us in the Sept. 2008 Tactics. We had given them a copy of this attack along with a dozen pages on the copying scandal and the Society’s help to PR Week/U.S. when it was launched in 1998.

The board’s letter, after accusing this writer of stepping “far beyond the bounds of accurate and professional reporting,” specifically referred to our e-mailing and calling superiors of Prof. Gail Baker of the University of Nebraska in early 2008 (although neither Baker nor the University were named in the letter).

Baker had become Ethics Board chair although she had never served on the EB, a break with tradition. She wouldn’t return our phone calls or e-mails, which we consider unethical, especially in an EB chair.

Baker was Engraved Opportunity

Although past EB chairs such as Bob Frause or Dave Rickey worked for themselves or a corporation and also didn’t talk to us, an EB chair at an educational institution represented a golden opportunity to us.

Plagiarism or even failure to properly credit an idea taken from another educator are cardinal sins in academia.

One can imagine what educators would think of the massive copying and sale of articles without their authors’ permission that the Society engaged in for many years.

We presented documentation of this practice by e-mail to University Chancellor John Christensen at 11:55 a.m. on March 20, 2008. Less than four hours later, at 3:49 p.m., staffer Joseph DeRupo e-mailed us that Baker was no longer EB chair. The school had obviously given her a choice: stay as EB chair or stay with U of N.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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