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Internet Edition, May 5, 2010, Page 1


Hawaii, the most fossil fuel-dependent state in the country, is looking for a PR firm to support a sweeping push called the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, a program led by the governor’s office to reduce foreign oil dependence and change how the state’s citizens consume energy.

An RFP issued April 27 calls for PR pitches for an account capped at $500K and funded by the federal stimulus act to encourage behavioral change via strategic media relations – traditional and social — and a comprehensive communications plan boosting renewable energy to Hawaiians. Research, article writing and events are among other tasks outlined in the RFP.

Fossil fuels power 86% of the state’s energy needs and 97% of its transportation fuel comes from foreign oil, according to the governor’s office.

The energy initiative, to be implemented under a deal signed with the U.S. Dept. of Energy, sets a goal of moving Hawaii to a “clean energy economy.”

A contract running through the end of April 2012 is expected to be awarded with five option years.

Download the RFP at


Democratic PR strategist Mark Fabiani has been counseling Goldman Sachs as the bank pushes back against political, media and public pressure in the wake of an SEC civil suit.

Fabiani bolsters a PR roster for the bank which includes the Republican-heavy Public Strategies Inc.

Fabiani has been a partner in Fabiani and Lehane in La Jolla, Calif., with fellow former Clinton administration PR operative Chris Lehane after serving as a communications deputy for Al Gore's losing presidential bid in 2000.

The Harvard Law grad has worked for former Gov. Gray Davis and the San Diego Chargers in the football team's bid for a new stadium. He was also deputy mayor of Los Angeles and chief of staff to Mayor Tom Bradley.


Cheryl Heinonen, a former global stakeholder communications chief at Visa, has taken the managing director/corporate & financial communications post at Burson-Marsteller's San Francisco office.

She worked at Visa from 1997 to ’08. In the stakeholder post, Heinonen handled employee/client communications, focusing on business literacy, training and preparing the company from its shift from private association to a publicly traded one.


Interpublic CEO Michael Roth reported a $70.3M first-quarter net loss, down slightly from the $73.6M deficit in last year’s period. Revenue slipped 1.2 percent to $1.3B.

Harris Diamond, CEO of IPG’s constituency management group, told O’Dwyer’s that PR enjoyed a “good quarter” as revenues jumped in the 6.5 percent range.
Weber Shandwick and GolinHarris were stand-outs in the PR group that includes MWW Group, Rogers & Cowan and DeVries PR.

Healthcare, corporate and consumer clients stepped up spending in both digital and traditional off-line sectors. Harris expects business to strengthen through the year as PR is normally the “first-in and last-out” of an economic downturn.

Roth’s buoyed by the “broader economic stabilization” that helped IPG trim the percent of organic revenue decline to 2.9 percent. U.S. organic revenues increased three percent.

He’s pleased by “another quarter of significant sequential improvement in our organic revenue performance.” He believes that “shows the economy is recovering” and anticipates more progress during the remainder of 2010.

IPG reduced operating loss from $81.9M to $59.4M. The company took a $5M “hit” from Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, an expense related to the transition to inflationary accounting in that country.

The ad/PR firm, which shows $1.9B in cash/marketable securities, launched a tender offer to buy up to 370K of its Series B stock, convertible into 27.1M shares for $400M. It currently pays a $19.4M dividend on those shares.


Repeated citations of Johnson & Johnson’s handling of the 1982 Tylenol murders as the “gold standard of crisis PR” neglect key facts surrounding that tragedy, says a study of “iconic” PR crises in the winter online “PR Journal” of the PR Society of America.

That phrase was used in the April 10 Economist to describe J&J's handling of the murders.

Tony Jaques, lecturer at the School of Applied Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, says “misleading or inappropriate lessons can easily be drawn” from such cases as Tylenol and Exxon-Valdez.

He notes that J&J achieved fame for its nationwide recall of Tylenol capsules but its first move was to withdraw two small lots from the Chicago area.

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, May 5, 2010, Page 2


The Rendon Group is fighting a subpoena by State Farm Insurance which wants documents related to the PR firm’s work for attorneys who sued insurers following Hurricane Katrina.

Rendon, a Washington, D.C.-based agency which did PR work for a law firm representing thousands of homeowners affected by the hurricane, is contending among its three-point legal argument that communications to and from PR professionals in the context of a legal strategy and litigation are subject to attorney-client privilege.

The legal tussling is related to a case against State Farm backed by the U.S. Justice Department and brought on by two sisters – Kerri and Cori Rigsby – who worked for an insurance adjuster after the Gulf Coast was decimated by Katrina and claimed that State Farm minimized or ignored damage to avoid paying claims. The case is known as a qui tam action, which allows individuals like the Rigsbys to bring civil action on behalf of the federal government, and is scheduled for trial in December 2010.

The Rigsbys' documents and claims were barred from court in 2008 when a judge said they were paid to be witnesses by Scruggs Katrina Group, the lawyers who hired Rendon and were representing victims of the hurricane suing State Farm and other insurers. [Richard Scruggs, a prominent trial lawyer leading the case, was indicted in ’08 for trying to bribe a judge and in ’09 for mail fraud.]

Rendon filed its motion to quash the subpoena for its PR records on March 9 and a hearing was held last week, although no ruling has yet been made on whether the firm must turn over the documents.

In its filing, Rendon's lawyers at D.C. firm Cohen Mohr argue that the subpoena requires documents to be produced which may be irrelevant to the case and subject to attorney-client privilege. It also says the documents contain confidential commercial information and/or trade secrets and that the subpoena provides an undue burden and expense on the PR firm.
The Rendon Group declined to comment on the case citing the ongoing legal matter.


Caplan Communications reps Mobile Baykeeper, which bills itself as the top environmental advocate in the Gulf Coast, as oil from BP’s spill begins to wash ashore.

Casi Callaway, executive director of MB, promises to keep close tabs on BP and U.S. Government clean-up operations that may post a further threat to one of the world's most productive fisheries. Seventy percent of U.S. shrimp and oysters come from the region spanning from the Mobile Bay Estuary to Galveston Bay.

Callaway rips BP’s post rig explosion “containment plan” because “if they had one at all, it has failed the Gulf of Mexico and all those who benefit from its pristine waters and wildlife.”

MB fears that an “ongoing hemorrhage of oil” could last for several months.


The federal government has put out a feeler for agencies that can put together a communications strategy for reaching out to faith-based organizations with the goal of getting to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and their families.

The Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services’ office of external affairs has issued a “sources sought” notice asking for PR agencies that can handle such a task.

CMS notes that an executive order signed by President George W. Bush in 2001 (13198) encourages federal agencies to expand partnerships with faith-based groups to meet social and community needs. The federal agency said that such groups can be the “most credible and reliable partners” in educating beneficiaries.

The notice issued by CMS does not commit the government to issue an RFP, although that could be the result. Responses are due May 13.

Details are at


Fleishman-Hillard is handling hometown St. Louis brokerage house Stifel Financial Co. in its bid to acquire San Francisco's Thomas Weisel Partners Group.

SFC is a conservative investment house that advises middle-market deals and underwriting, while Weisel was among hottest boutique bankers in Silicon Valley's heyday.

The Wall Street Journal reports SFC has added 3,200 staffers since ’04, and has been "eagerly cherry-picking from the recent Wall Street carnage." It leases Manhattan real estate once occupied by Bear Stearns and scooped up wealth management branches from UBS.

SFC's $300M stock deal values Weisel at $7.60 a-share, off its $23.40 high during the tech boom. Thomas Weisel, a 40-year veteran of Silicon Valley, is to serve as co-chairman of the firm. He reports to SFC CEO Ron Kruszewski and sees "virtually no overlap" between the two marriage partners.

Fleishman's Tim Beecher reps SFC.


Financially strapped Greece is on the hunt for a global PR firm amid its troubles.
Bloomberg first reported that financial PR heavyweights Brunswick Group, FD and Maitland Consultancy are among firms under consideration for the assignment.

Greece’s finance minister George Papaconstantinou scrapped a plan to meet firms on a recent trip to New York as the country’s financial woes intensified, according to the news agency.

The International Monetary Fund has taken the lead in putting together a rescue plan for Greece, which some fear could drag Europe back into a recession.

The IMF and European Union reached a bailout deal with Greece on May 2 which includes 110B euros over three years.

The country will have to drastically cut spending to avoid defaulting on its loans.


Internet Edition, May 5, 2010, Page 3


PR man Brian Tierney is out as chief of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News as a creditor group led by hedge fund Angelo, Gordon & Co. won the media properties at a bankruptcy court auction.

The winning investors, which include Credit Suisse and GE Capital, offered $105M in cash, which was $10M more than the bid of a competitor group spearheaded by Tierney, Revlon CEO Ron Perelman and his philanthropist father, Raymond.

Tierney, leading a local group called Philadelphia Media Holdings, purchased the papers for $560M in 2006 from McClatchy Cos, which acquired them in the Knight Ridder takeover.

He took the loss in stride, joking to the Daily News that he planned to “go home tonight and sleep like a baby, which means I’ll wake up every hour crying.” Tierney has promised to aid in the transition to new ownership.

Bob Hall, the 65-year-old former publisher of the Philadelphia papers from 1990 to 2003, consulted the new owners and will be COO. He says employee contract concessions are a priority.

A bankruptcy judge must approve the deal. A hearing is set for May 25. Closing could happen in June.

Osberg Named Pub of Philly Papers

Greg Osberg, former president/publisher of Newsweek, has been named publisher of the Inquirer and Daily News.

He takes the job once the Angelo, Gordon & Co. deal closes.

Osberg exited Newsweek two years ago to run Buzzwire, which provides streaming media to mobile phones. Customers include Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

He is expected to concentrate rebound efforts at the Inquirer and News on delivery of digital data.

He headed Newsweek from 2000-08.

Osberg also did a two-year stint as president at CNET, the tech site.


E.W. Scripps is selling its United Media Group licensing group to Iconic Brand Group for $175M.

UMG is the home of the Peanuts characters created by the late Charles Schulz. Its licensed merchandise generates more than $2B a year with more than 20,000 new products approved annually.

Peanuts items (Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus) account for the bulk of the revenues. Scripps unveiled the Peanuts comic strip in 1950.

New York-based Iconix owns or has ventures covering brands such as London Fog, Joe Boxer, Mossimo, Candid's, Ed Hardy and Danskin.

Rich Boehne, CEO of Scripps, says he is selling UMG "in recognition of changing times and news strategies." Exiting the license business enables Scripps to "advance our focus on being an innovative leader in the rapidly evolving news industry."

Scripps has ten TV stations and community papers in 13 markets.

Meanwhile, Scripps has named Chris Doyle, president/publisher of the Naples Daily News, as VP/content for the newspaper division.

The 42-year-old Doyle is to work with Bruce Hartmann, VP-sales, on product development and alliances within and outside Scripps. Their goal is to find new ways to connect with readers.

Doyle joined Scripps in 2006 at the Naples paper. He began a newspaper career as a crime and court report for the Key West Citizen.


The Financial Times has unveiled a new technology platform and a dedicated section of the website solely earmarked for videos.

There also will be more video material embedded in its stories and analyses.
The effort is to win more placement of FT material on mobile devices including Apple’s iPad.

FT’s video section includes guidance such as “editor's choice” selection of the videos considered “must watches” and a “most popular” reference.

Its technology was developed with Brightcover, the cloud-based online platform.

Steve Pinches, lead product manager for, expects videos to be “extremely popular to both users and advertisers.”


CBS has tapped Zander Lurie for the senior VP/strategic development position to stand at the center of next-generation content initiatives. The job is to spearhead new methods of distribution and monetization.

Lurie was executive VP/CFO of CBS Interactive, which made a big splash with the acquisition of CNET Networks in 2008. Lurie has been in financial and planning roles at CNET.

Earlier, he was at JPMorgan in New York and San Francisco, handling mergers and acquisitions in the Internet sector.


Shirley Powell, a veteran TV sector PR executive who stepped down as senior VP of corporate communications for Turner Broadcasting Systems this year, is moving about 10 miles to the north in Atlanta for the top communications slot at The Weather Channel Companies.

Powell takes the reins as executive VP of corporate comms. serving as its chief spokeswoman, and she guided external PR and comms. for the company, which includes the network, digital properties like and its B2B division.

Powell guided the launch of the Cartoon Network in 1992 and later was VP of media relations for NBC in Burbank, Calif.

She held that same title for the Disney Channel and Toon Disney.

At Turner, she led PR for properties like CNN, TBS and TNT.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, May 5, 2010, Page 4


A series of recent legal and criminal inquiries have stoked the debate as to whether bloggers should be treated under equal terms as traditional print, TV or online journalists.

In one case, authorities revoked a blogger’s rights to news gathering materials that are granted to members of the press, an act experts claim is illegal under the Privacy Protection Act.

Police on April 23 raided the Fremont, Calif., home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, seizing personal computers as well as hard drives and a digital camera. Chen had previously landed a scoop in the blogosphere when he published an exposé detailing the prototype of a new, yet-to-be-released model of Apple’s iPhone, complete with photos.

The story came under dubious circumstances. Chen allegedly obtained the phone by paying an undisclosed third party $5,000. The seller, whom Chen has so far refused to identify, claims the phone was found at a bar in nearby Redwood City.

The story was enough to catch the ire of Apple, a company that enacts notoriously iron-fisted research and development policies. The company’s lawyers contacted Gizmodo, and the blog eventually returned the iPhone. Gizmodo claims it had previously tried to give the phone back to Apple but received no response.

Chen has not been arrested for any crime.

Lucy Dalglish, executive director for The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and former media lawyer, said that if police were not investigating Chen for breaking the law, their search warrant is illegal and they didn’t have the right to confiscate his personal property.

Specifically, the property seizure was a violation of the Privacy Protection Act of 1980, which protects news gatherers from being searched and having the materials they use to present a story (in this case, an iPhone) confiscated.

“This was a screw up and they’re getting very defensive about it. Congress passed a law 30 years ago to protect journalists against these circumstances, and thankfully (Chen) has a very good lawyer,” she said. “In a situation like this there’s a Federal law that says if you want news gathering materials, you need to supply a subpoena.”

Gizmodo is owned by Gawker Media. In a letter to authorities, Gawker Media chief operating officer Gaby Darbyshire reiterated the claim, stating that under both “state and federal law, a search warrant may not be validly issued to confiscate the property of a journalist.” She referred to Chen as “a journalist who works full time for our company.”

Dalglish said the only time the Privacy Protection Act does not protect journalists against search and seizure is under "very narrow circumstances" where a journalist is considered the perpetrator in a criminal act.

If authorities believe Chen committed a criminal act in the course of acquiring the phone, experts have speculated that Chen’s profession as a journalist may not be called into question as much as whether he knowingly received stolen property, in which case its use could be rendered immaterial.

This could prove to be a pointless debate however, as the warrant used to search Chen’s home did not reveal him as a suspect in a criminal act.
“This was a classic fishing expedition,” Dalglish said. “(Police) could have asked for (the iPhone), but by the time they searched his house he’d given it back.”

Though many headlines have said otherwise in recent weeks, Dalglish said Chen’s ordeal has absolutely nothing to do with current state shield laws, which effectively strip journalists of any binding legal obligation to reveal their sources under subpoena.

Shield laws vary state-by-state (there is currently a proposal Federal law on the floor of the U.S. Senate), but under California state law, Chen may invoke this qualified privilege if asked to reveal the identity of the individual who sold him the phone, though this scenario has not been discussed by authorities at this time.


Students who abstained from social media and cell phones reported experiencing "withdrawal" symptoms, according to a recent April study conducted by the University of Maryland.

A class of 200 UM journalism students took part in the study, which was administered in the form of an “assignment” that stipulated students spend a 24-hour period free of all media — no iPhones, iPods, laptops, televisions or radio. Students got to choose which day they would spend media-free, and were then asked to write about their experiences, their successes and failures.

Students participating in the experiment reported a number of withdrawal symptoms not unlike those suffering from chemical addictions, listing specifics like anxiety and “fidgeting.”

“Although I started the day feeling good, I noticed my mood started to change around noon. I started to feel isolated and lonely,” wrote one student. “By 2:00 p.m. I began to feel the urgent need to check my email … I felt like a person on a deserted island …. as if I was addicted to my iPod and other media devices.”

While students reported abstaining from mediums like TV or newspapers with relative ease, they found that becoming technological teetotalers from devices like Blackberries or iPhones was noticeably more difficult.

“I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening,” said another student. “I feel like most people these days are in a similar situation, for between having a Blackberry, a laptop, a television, and an iPod, people have become unable to shed their media skin.”

Internet Edition, May 5, 2010, Page 5


The Caribbean Tourism Organization, which represents 34 governments in the region, is reviewing its U.S. PR account with an RFP through the end of May seeking pitches from New York-based firms.

Lou Hammond & Associates is the incumbent. Annual budget is $125K, including fees and expenses, and a one-year contract is planned with an option year.

The CTO wants a firm to handle media relations, issues and crisis management, events, social networking and other tasks, as well to liaison with the PR agencies of CTO members.

Firms must have at least five years of experience in the travel/tourism sector.
Download the RFP at


Porter Novelli said it has reorganized its life sciences practice with the recent exit of Carin Canale Theakston, who stepped down for a start-up in the sector but will remain a consultant to the PR firm.

PN said the practice will be driven from three locations – Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

Virginia Amann heads Chicago, while Betsy Merryman handles Los Angeles and Stig Albinus will oversee New York for the division.

“The evolution of our Life Sciences practice enables us to structure unique service offerings across the Porter Novelli network that match the needs of large and growing clients in such critical areas as reputation, crisis and issues management and product, science and technology communications,” said CEO Gary Stockman.


Euro RSCG Worldwide PR said it kicked off two new initiatives: the Center for Account Management Excellence and SoMe Central, a think tank for social media trends in PR.

Senior VP Ann Hemingway heads CAME, while SoMe is led by senior VP Ana Cano as chief marketing officer Stacy Mackler oversees both entities.

CEO Marian Salzman said the initiatives are part of a broader push to develop in-house “thinking campaigns” to generate ideas and approaches.

Last month, Euro launched a push to connect marketers with teens called The Sisterhood.


Michigan’s transit entity for the capital region around Lansing is on the hunt for a firm to guide its four-year-old public education campaign centered on air pollution called Clean Commute Options.

The area has made improvements in air quality by EPA standards and is looking to hold on to grants and other benefits that come with those inroads.

The Capital Area Transportation Authority, which handled 11.4M passenger trips in 2009, wants an agency with new ideas for reaching the public about options like car pooling, riding the bus or walking. The work includes press outreach, social media, newsletters brochures, public service ads and collateral materials.

RFP is at


New York Area

Makovsky + Company, New York/BioNJ, biotechnology trade group for New Jersey, to redevelop the group’s website.

Rubenstein PR, New York/Iconosys, mobile application support, for media relations.

Stanton PR & Marketing, New York/Berkline, home furnishings manufacturer, as AOR for PR.

Abelson Group, New York/mediabistro, for PR for the Think Mobile Conference in September in San Francisco.

ABI, New York/DayGlo Color Corp., as AOR for PR and strategic comms. planning in North America.

Squeakywheel Promotions, New York/Anita Int’l, German bra manufacturer, for PR in the U.S.

Hayden IR, New York/, financial services media properties and search websites, to develop an investor relations program.

Robin Leedy & Associates, Mount Kisco/Conair, for social media to introduce new hair products, and Fleming Pharmaceuticals, to target blogs for its Ocean nasal saline products.

Relevant PR, Staten Island, N.Y./My Metabolic Makeover, nutritional approach to weight loss, for PR.

Interact Marketing, Paramus, N.J./England Furniture, for Internet marketing and online PR. IM is part of PR agency Rosica.


KCSA Strategic Communications, Boston/Honey Dew Donuts, coffee and donut shop chain with 145 locations in New England, as AOR.

Vitamin, Baltimore, Md./IZI Medical Products, for PR, product naming and branding, and integrated marketing.

Qorvis Communications, Washington, D.C./O’Reilly Media and UBM TechWeb to serve as PR partner for the Gov 2.0 Expo May 25-27 in D.C.

rbb PR, Miami/Baltus Collection, high-end furniture from Spain, as AOR as it opens a Miami showroom, and the 2010 American Institute of Architects National Convention, both for brand management counsel, PR and media outreach to consumer and trade audiences.

TransMedia Group, Miami/The Water Club, as AOR for PR for its opening on May 28. Media relations and events support are part of the assignment for the dining and entertainment facility, and Buffalo Wings & Rings, casual dining restaurant, for PR for its Coconut Creek, Fla., location.

NewsMark PR, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./BallenIsles, country club, for strategic outreach.


Sanderson & Associates, Chicago/MFV Expositions, for PR for the Nov. 5-7 West Coast Franchise Expo in Los Angeles.

Bader Rutter, Milwaukee/Catholic Knights-Catholic Family Life Insurance, as AOR for brand dev.


Walt & Company, Campbell, Calif./The Brix Group, parent company of American Wireless and Pana Pacific Research Corp., as AOR for PR and social media.

Internet Edition, May 5, 2010, Page 6


Canadian news wire company CNW Group has acquired its monitoring software company partner dna13.

Ottawa-based dna13 has attracted more than $7M in venture financing and made inroads into a crowded U.S. media monitoring field. Edelman is a key user.

The move puts CNW in deeper competition with companies like Cision and Vocus that combine news dissemination with monitoring tools and clipping services.

Fifty-year-old CNW has marketed dna13’s software in Canada for the past five years as MediaVantage while it carried the dna13 brand in the U.S.


VMS unveiled an upgrade of its flagship media monitoring platform on April 29 that includes web video and social media, as well as a new development known as “conceptual search” that aims to identify issues and themes before they would normally hit the PR radar.

VMS developed conceptual search capabilities with its U.K. software developer partner Autonomy to be a proactive form of monitoring and kind of digital crystal ball for marketers and brands.

“Clients want to be able to anticipate what the emerging trends are before they’re front page news so they can either capitalize on something that’s positive or protect their brands or minimize the damage from something negative,” VMS president and CEO Peter Wengryn said. “Social media is a great early warning system.”

Wengryn said such a system could have brought McDonald’s into the obesity debate before it was essentially dragged into it.

The April 29 launch of the service, as well as an upgrade of its Insight platform that includes real-time tracking across all forms of media – Internet video and audio and social media, as well as traditional print, TV and radio – in a single service and follows months of beta testing the conceptual search process, Wengryn said.

Other additions include the incorporation of visual analysis tools like tag clouds (VMS calls them “idea clouds”) cluster graphs, which groups themes among large sets of data, and heat maps, which show clusters of search terms and phrases and adds color to indicate positive or negative sentiment. Spectrographs show how a story develops and narratives offshoot, from early media hits to the current time of a search.

“This is a game-changer that will make other monitoring tools obsolete,” added Wengryn.


Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s office is reviewing its press clipping account with an RFP through May 18.

Jindal, a former Congressman and rising star in the Republican Party who was elected as governor in 2007 at the age of 36, has become a national political story beyond the Pelican State.

A one-year contract calls for monitoring local and national media. Metro Press Clipping is the incumbent.

The governor’s office, based in Baton Rouge, says it generates about 7,800 clips per year. Download the RFP at



Josie Martin, head of GolinHarris’ public affairs practice, to Ketchum, Washington, D.C., as senior VP, public affairs, and director of business development in the D.C. office. She was previously VP of the Federation of American Hospitals and held senior comms. posts at the American Red Cross, Health Insurance Association of America and the National Cable TV Assn.

Suzanne O’Leary Lopez, assistant VP of PR and corporate comms. at Thornburg Mortgage, to Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Chicago, as executive VP and group director of the firm's Windy City corporate practice. Nathan Friedman, who held the post, was promoted in January to managing director. Lopez was previously with Weber Shandwick and Ruder Finn.

Laurie Mobley, director in WeissComm Group's Washington, D.C., office, to Brand Resources Group, Washington, D.C., as VP. She was with Ketchum for seven years, including as VP, group manager in healthcare in D.C., and led Cohn & Wolfe's healthcare practice. Earlier stints included the Centers for Disease Control, Fleishman-Hillard and Burson-Marsteller.


Rick Murray, who headed Edelman's digital practice, to president of Edelman Chicago, the firm's 500-plus-staffer co-headquarters. He takes over for co-presidents Janet Cabot and Mark Shadle who are shifting into new roles - Cabot as head of its U.S. food and nutrition unit, and Shadle as leader of the corporate affairs division at its Zeno Group unit. Nancy Ruscheinski, president and chief operating officer for Edelman U.S., will lead the digital unit until a successor is named "in the very near future.

David Reuter to director, corporate communications, Nissan North America, Nashville, Tenn, effective May 10. He succeeds Fred Standish, who retired as of April 1 after 18 years with the company. Reuter, a Ford veteran who recently headed comms. for the Americas arm of Bentley Motors, reports to VP/corporate comms. Scott Stevens.

Dan MacDonald to VP of community and corporate relations, Bridgestone Americas, Nashville, Tenn. MacDonald takes over for Christine Karbowiak, who was upped to chief administrative officer in March. Bridgestone has also hired Elizabeth Lewis from Dye Van Mol & Lawrence account as PR coordinator, and former Tennessean reporter Angela Patterson as digital media coordinator.

Sonia Sroka to senior VP, U.S. Hispanic practice leader, Porter Novelli, New York. She joined the firm in Los Angeles in 2006 from Weber Shandwick's Axis multicultural unit. PN also said that Guillermo Villarreal, a member of Edelman's Hispanic unit, has joined the agency as an account manager in the Hispanic practice.


Internet Edition, May 5, 2010, Page 7


The nationwide recall only came five days after the first death was attributed to poisoned Tylenols, he says.

In today’s environment, he adds, “It is difficult to conceive that seven deaths would not lead to an immediate national recall.”

He quotes B.A. Olaniran of Texas Tech University and D.E. Williams, formerly of TTU, as questioning why J&J waited until the murder of 23-year-old Diane Elsworth of Peekskill, N.Y. in 1986 “before replacing the demonstrably vulnerable capsules with tamper-proof solid product.”

They wrote in PR Review in 1994: “It is uncertain whether, but quite possible that J&J based its decision not to withdraw capsules purely on financial reasons.”
Jaques commented that “If true, this would, at the very least, color the much-vaunted ‘gold standard’ response to the first poisoning and the apparent management learning.”

J&J often cites its “credo” that allegedly puts the welfare of its consumers first.

Tried to ‘Hide’ J&J Involvement

Jaques, an issue and crisis management specialist, said “a lesser known feature of the Tylenol story” is that J&J initially focused attention on its McNeil subsidiary, deflecting attention away from itself.

Early announcements and news reports “provided all mention of the company as McNeil,” he writes.

Some of the ads telling how to exchange capsules for tablets only referred to “the makers of Tylenol,” he notes.

Writes Jaques: “The concept of a parent company using a subsidiary identity to protect its name during a crisis, or obscuring its identity entirely, was effectively demonstrated, though this is not usually part of the ‘fable.’”

Another flaw in the Tylenol story, says Jaques, is that J&J VP-PR Larry Foster at first said there was no cyanide present in company plants but later reversed himself and won praise for “volunteering this information to reporters.”

Actually, wrote Jaques, the AP found out about the cyanide and Foster only discussed it after reporters raised the question.

J&J portrayed itself as a “victim” and “product friendly" news media of the time gave it “unchallenged media opportunities to tell its own story and promote its new packaging.”

This quote is attributed to Carole Gorney, retired professor emeritus of Lehigh University, a Fellow of PRSA and longtime leader of the Society.

Now with The Cline Group, Bala Cynwyd, Pa., she was in the five-member Philadelphia Assembly delegation in 2004. All five voted against non-APRs being allowed in the Assembly although that bylaw change passed.

Gorney, in PR Strategist of PRSA in 2002 decries the “mystification” of the Tylenol crisis and feels it has become “almost mythical in both the mass media and PR literature,” says Jaques.

Some Perpetuate Tylenol Myth

Washington, D.C., counselor Eric Dezenhall, described by Jaques as a “contrarian,” has “cynically asserted that many parties have a vested interest in perpetuating what he called the Tylenol legend,” writes Jaques.

Dezenhall’s 2004 book, “Damage Control,” is quoted as saying, “The media love the story because it validates the canard that ‘fessing up' is the best form of crisis management.

Business schools worship the model because it’s teachable and had a happy ending for the manufacturer. PR firms use it to sell spin as the answer to industrial woes.”

Concludes Jaques: “Deeper examination of the Tylenol and Exxon Valdez incidents indicates how easy it is to be led to wrong or inappropriate lessons from highly exposed cases.”

Exxon, held to be tardy and insensitive in handling the oil spill in Alaska, is usually portrayed as the polar opposite of Tylenol, he notes.

“As literary fables are fictitious or legendary tales intended to convey a moral, so too are some of the iconic crisis cases have become little more than shorthand references, or Burkian ‘representative anecdotes,’ intended to encapsulate a supposed maxim of crisis management or crisis communication,” he writes.

He wants current managers and schools to analyze new case studies that “can provide the basis for genuine learning.”

A big lesson that oil companies learned in 1989 “was not to identify the owning company in the names of oil tankers.”

The Exxon Valdez was renamed the “Sea River Mediterranean.”

The 16-page paper of Jaques including 49 references is at


Minnesota’s Twin Cities are looking for PR help as the region was selected as one of four communities for a federal program to build a network of bike lanes and pedestrian pathways as alternatives to motorized transportation.

Minneapolis was tapped in 2005 - Sheboygan County, Wisc., Marin County, Calif., and Columbia, Mo., rounded out the quartet - to get $21.5M in federal transportation funds for the project and to study its effect on traffic, energy use, health and the environment.

Transit for Livable Communities, a St. Paul-based non-profit, was designated to administer the program in the Gopher State and projects in the program in Minnesota are approaching completion.

PR assignments include support for three key projects in the program opening this year, as well as similar unveilings in 2011 and 2012.

The account is in the six-figure range and funded from the federal allotment. TLC said it plans to award a two-and-a-half-year contract from June through the end of 2012.

Proposals are due May 12. Hilary Reeves, ([email protected]) communications manager for TLC in St. Paul, is overseeing the process.

Download the RFP at


Internet Edition, May 5, 2010, Page 8




Courageous Australian PR professor Tony Jaques has “outed” Johnson & Johnson’s spin on its 1982 Tylenol recall, criticizing the company for not immediately switching to “tamper-proof” tablets and for claiming quick action when it actually took five days to recall the “vulnerable” capsules.

A casualty of J&J’s marketing-oriented tactics is the fabled J&J “credo” which says the company puts the public first.

Its behavior relative to Tylenol showed that it put profits first, the Jaques paper says.

The paper, carried in the online PR Journal of PRSA hosted by Prof. Don Wright of Boston University, is a gutsy piece but a lot of hard facts and context are needed to flesh out this tragic story that resulted in the murder of 23-year-old Diane Elsworth in 1986.

J&J’s public image is that of a cuddly teddy bear dedicated to helping babies and their mothers.

But the business world knows J&J as a ferocious lion of a competitor whose lust for sales and profits sometimes causes it to cross the ethical line.

While the public thinks of it as a single company, it is made up of more than 230 subsidiaries, most of them purchased. It was 150 companies in 1982.

It’s a hugely profitable enterprise, with net in the first quarter of 2010 totaling $4.5 billion or almost as much as its entire sales were in 1982 ($5.76B). Profit on sales of $61.8B in 2009 was $12.2B. Ranked No. 33 by Fortune, its profits were exceeded by only five other companies in the top 33. It netted almost as much as AT&T which had net of $12.5B on sales of $123B.

The Wall Street Journal, looking in 1982 for possible enemies of J&J, noted it was an “aggressive, even predatory marketer that frequently used litigation to stymie competitors.”

Accused of Kickbacks

The U.S. Justice Dept. in January 2010 accused J&J of paying tens of millions in kickbacks to nursing homes to boost the sales of its drugs. said nursing home patients are “often treated much like prisoners, mentally shackled with chemical restraints known as pharmaceuticals.”

This is an angle that has particular resonance in the PR community since Denny Griswold, founder of PR News and known as the “Queen of PR, was held incommunicado in a Connecticut nursing home for the last five years of her life. Her countless friends were unable to contact her by phone, letters or visits.

The motive for Griswold’s imprisonment? Leaders of the PR Society were asking her to donate her 85th st. townhouse to the Society for a library and schools were seeking her 50 years of PR memorabilia for their libraries. A niece got wind of this and no one from the PR world was able to contact her until her death five years later in 2001. Not a nickel of Griswold’s estate nor any of her papers ever went to anyone in the PR community.

A state ombudsman found Griswold strapped in bed and without her hearing aid.

Treatment of those in senior homes remains an area that needs plenty of investigation.

The “PR” lesson of Tylenol is that a corporate giant, with the acquiescence of the business and general press and PR academia, was able to stand a set of facts on their head, spinning them like a top.

J&J’s success in this, described by J&J CEO James Burke and VP-PR Larry Foster to the 1983 PR Seminar, had a telling impact on the 120 blue chip corporate PR execs at the meeting.

They learned that a company in crisis could “get away with” having no press conference; could distance itself from a mishap by shifting some attention to a subsidiary (McNeil Laboratories in this case), and could shift attention away from the real problem to a phony one with enough PR and advertising.

The real problem was the easily spiked capsules and not whether they were in “tamper-resistant” bottles or not.

The PR industry was just recovering from the PR of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident that was so disastrous that no new nuclear plant was ever ordered after it. PR executives were anxious for a success story and Tylenol seemed to fit the bill, even though a lot of shoehorning would be needed.

Foster and the other PR executives at the meeting, believing that more “PR for PR” was needed than was being done by the PR Society, decided to create a public face for the secretive Seminar. They started the Arthur W. Page Society, dedicated to “telling the truth.” Seminarians could do PR for the industry without giving up their private four-day wingding each year at a plush resort.

Page was chartered in December 1993. More than half of those on its current 30-member board are also Seminarians including president Bill Margaritis of FedEx; Ray Jordan of J&J; Jon Iwata of IBM and Gary Sheffer of General Electric. Twenty-one of the 30 people on the 2009 Seminar board are also members of Page, which has a total of about 360 members, almost all of them in corporate jobs.

PR/Press Gap Widened

Under the influence of PR Seminar/Page, the gap between PR and the press has widened to Grand Canyon proportions.

Secretive Seminar obviously believes that the best press relations is no press relations. Executives and editors of virtually all the major media who attend this annual blast (June 2-5 in Tucson this year) go along with this. None have ever reported even the existence of Seminar.

This no doubt encourages the executives in the belief that major media can be “handled.” The acceptance of the Tylenol myths by the New York Times, Fortune, Economist, etc. indicates this.

The power of PR to squelch and twist stories has multiplied in recent years and is one factor in the decline of newspapers and other media.

Regrettably, the PR Society actively preaches avoidance and distrust of the press. Going along with this policy is Gary McCormick, the head of the Society, who works for Scripps Networks Interactive, a spin-off from the E.W. Scripps newspaper empire. No one from SNI, E.W. Scripps or the Scripps Howard Foundation, which is “dedicated to the cause of the free press,” will say anything. Also silent is the Society of Professional Journalists.

Casualties of the false Tylenol story are the “ethics” codes of J&J itself, E.W. Scripps, the Scripps Howard Foundation, Page, the PR Society, and the SPJ. These codes and credos have been shown to be not worth the paper they’re written on when the chips are down.

--Jack O'Dwyer


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