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Internet Edition, June 2, 2010, Page 1


California is reviewing its $500K-a-year PR contract for the state’s Dept. of Motor Vehicles with an open RFP through June 22.

Katz & Associates is the incumbent having won the last review in 2006 over five other firms, including Ogilvy PR Worldwide, One World Communications, Weber Shandwick, Crocker/Flanagan, and Runyon, Saltzman & Einhorn.

The RFP released May 26 seeks pitches from communications firms for outreach from the agency that claims it touches the lives of more Californians than any other state department. The work includes support of its ongoing “Save Time, Go Online” campaign, new campaigns for its new driver's licenses and ID cards and to enhance alternative service usage, and other image assignments. PR, public service ads, partnership development and social marketing are covered under the pact, which carries an option year.

To pitch, firms must be a “full-service public relations firm” with $3M in annual gross billings from a California office and have an outpost within 60 miles of Sacramento. Two years of experience in handling PR for a diverse audience is also a requirement.

Download the RFP at


Bodden Partners, a full-service advertising agency, has acquired The Hamilton Group, an independent firm founded ten years ago by John Frew.

THG counts National Hockey League, Ladies Professional Golf Assn., Hickory Farms, Turning Stone Resort and Casino and Hofstra University as clients.

Under new management, THG will operate with the name Hamilton Public Relations. Chris Bodden, CEO of BP, says the acquisition of a "PR capability was critical to the service mix we offer our clients."

StevensGouldPincus brokered the deal.

Frew was COO/managing director at MWW Group, part of Interpublic, before going out on his own. Prior to MWW, he was vice chairman/U.S. at Cohn & Wolfe.

Bodden has developed campaigns for IBM, GE Capital, and Israel Ministry of Tourism.

Betsy Plank, a corporate and agency veteran in Chicago, popular PR educator and the first female president of PRSA, died May 23. She was 86 and suffered from a short illness. Plank, who was active with the Arthur Page Society and PRSA until her death is the namesake of The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at the Univ. of Alabama. Obit at


Anne Womack-Kolton, a director for BP’s PR firm Brunswick Group and former press aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, has been brought in-house by the embattled London-based oil giant as head of group media for the U.S.

Kolton joined APCO Worldwide as a VP at the close of the Bush administration in 2008. She was assistant press secretary at the White House, press secretary to Cheney during the 2004 campaign, and served as director of public affairs at the Dept. of Energy during the second Bush administration from 2005-07.

She was plucked out of the Texas Attorney General’s office in 2000 to work as a press assistant on the Bush/Cheney campaign.


The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Assn. has given its PR business to GCI Health, part of Dublin-based WPP.

It is charged with strategic messaging, branding, media relations, digital programming and media training.

Wendy Lund, CEO of GCI Health, says her operation will bolster ASDS’s visibility and “drive exposure to this heavily used specialty.”

The 5,000-member ASDS says its dermasurgeons and board-certified doctors treat the health, function and appearance of skin and soft tissue with both “medically necessary and cosmetic procedures.”

The proliferation of spas, salons and walk-in clinics offering cosmetic procedures performed by non-physicians has put pressure on the group.

ASDS has unveiled an outreach campaign warning people that cosmetic treatments using lasers, chemical peels, soft tissue fillers, high-tech light devices should be done at a fully qualified treatment center.


Hill & Knowlton has tapped corporate and agency vet Daniel McIntyre as its global head of healthcare, based in New York.

The post had been vacated in November by AnnaMaria DeSalva, who left after three years for Pfizer.

McIntyre, who takes a senior VP title at WPP-owned H&K, was recently a partner at PR and advertising agency Global Prairie.

He was previously VP of corporate communications at Wyeth and senior VP and senior partner at Fleishman-Hillard.


Internet Edition, June 2, 2010, Page 2


The Obama administration official who oversees the United States’ image abroad told graduates of Colby College on May 23 that technology can be used to unite or divide people but said human interactions and partnerships are key “to avoid becoming blinded by the superficial differences between people.”

Judith McHale, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, said that her professional experiences at MTV and later heading Discovery Communications were based on “partnerships” with an audience.

In the case of Discovery, she said, the company provided people “what they wanted to know” through programs on the network.

Echoing President Barack Obama’s transition to a more diplomatic approach to the world, McHale outlined for the graduating class what she called a “moral imperative” for the 21st century: “That we must make the necessity to treat people and nations always first as potential partners, and not as potential threats.”

McHale said one-sided PR alone can't build partnerships, adding that the State Dept. is relying on both personal connections and new media to build that trust.

“We do this in the knowledge that no communications technology is ever neutral in its application; it can be used to empower or imprison, to inform or mislead, to enlighten minds or invade privacy, to advance good or spread evil,” she said. “History has taught us that when propaganda becomes the lifeblood of a society, it poisons progress.”

She said cooperation across borders in the scientific and policy communities to contain the SARS epidemic a few years ago is a key example of partnerships overlooking ideological differences and bearing fruit.

“It reflects the hard-edged, utilitarian calculation that in this age of social networking and a borderless economy, of transnational threats and technological promise, when we enter into relationships with those around us and others around the world, we have a much better chance of creating something useful, and maybe even enriching ourselves, through cooperation rather than antagonism,” she said.


Peritus has won tourism PR duties for Gatlinberg, Tenn., a mountain getaway surrounded on three sides by Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Gatlinburg is the latest tourism-dependent destination seeking to capitalize on the 75th anniversary this year of the national park, which draws 10 million visitors each year.

Peritus is based in Louisville but has offices in Nashville, Indianapolis and Columbus.

BCF of Virginia Beach was the incumbent for PR and advertising but did not take part in the review. The firm took over PR duties a few years ago from French/West/Vaughan. PR budget is $250K.


Julia Hood, publishing director of PRWeek and DMNews, has been named to the newly created president post at the Arthur W. Page Society.

The new position replaces the $180K-a-year executive director post, which was vacated by Tom Nicholson, former VP-PR, HSBC North America, earlier this year.

Hood, a former editor-in-chief of Haymarket's PRWeek, will take the slot on July 12.

Nearly 200 resumes were sent Page when word of the opening was announced. More than three dozen in-depth interviews were conducted as Korn/Ferry International was hired pro bono in March to handle the search.

Hood was previously executive administrator for the National Kidney Foundation and worked in corporate communications in the U.K.

“Having covered the industry for so many years, she has a deep understanding of all aspects of the communications field and has worked closely with many Page members either as a reporter or publisher,” said Bill Margaritis, chair of the Page Society and senior VP, global communications and investor relations at FedEx. “She also has the financial acumen and hands-on management experience of running a successful enterprise. We couldn't be more delighted to have her in this new role.”

Page said she'll serve as a strategic partner to the society's chairman and board of directors and will also play a more active role as industry spokesperson.


Western Governors University, a 13-year-old distance learning institution dubbed by Time "the best relatively cheap university you've never heard of," is reviewing its PR account via an RFP process as it seeks an expanded national profile and more placements in consumer media.

“We’re kind of the best kept secret in higher ed,” said Joan Mitchell, director of PR at WGU.

Mitchell declined to name WGU's current firm but said they've done a great job in handling PR for the education sector.

She said the school now wants an agency with national media experience that can reach mainstream consumer press like TV, large newspapers and magazines.

The non-profit and accredited institution, which also has an Arizona outpost, was founded in 1997 by a group of 19 Western state governors to cater to adult students seeking to return to college.

It currently has about 14,000 students working mostly via the Internet at home. Exams are typically taken at local testing centers.

Geographical preference is open but Mitchell noted that WGU will likely look at firms located in major metropolitan areas with large media outlets like Los Angeles, New York or Chicago.

Deadline for proposals is June 8. Mitchell has copies of the RFP and can be reached at [email protected].


Internet Edition, June 2, 2010, Page 3


Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has put Beliefnet, social networking site concerned with religion, spirituality, inspiration, health and relationships, on the auction block, according to Kara Swisher, who blogs on the Wall Street Journal’s “All Things Digital” site.

Fox Entertainment Group purchased the site in 2007. Beliefnet was founded by Steve Waldman and Robert Nylen in 1990 with a start-up investment from Softbank Capital. Waldman is an advisor to the Federal Communications Commission on the future of media and information technology.

Beliefnet also covers news. It reported last week about a Gallup poll finding that a majority of Americans for the first time find gay and lesbian relationships “morally acceptable,” and a New York City bus ad campaign that promises help for those wishing to leave Islam.

Swisher also reports that News Corp. is mulling the sale of Fox Mobile Group. That unit is the former Jamba/Jamster mobile content provider that News Corp bought from VeriSign in 2006.

News Corp declined comment on the possible divestitures. The WSJ is part of Murdoch’s empire.


Walt Disney Co. is killing its SoapNet cable channel, replacing it with Disney Junior aimed at pre-schoolers.

Launched a decade ago, SoapNet is available in 75M households. Anne Sweeney, co-chairwoman of Disney Media Networks, said the original concept of SoapNet-offering soap operas in the evening rather than during the day-is now obsolete because of widespread DVR ownership.

Disney Junior debuts in 2012, looking to lure kids from ages two to five with programming such as “Handy Manny,” “Special Agent Oso” and “Jake and the Never Land Pirates.” There will be spin-offs based on classic Disney films such as “101 Dalmatians” and “The Little Mermaid.”

Disney’s current offering for kids, The Disney Channel, appeals to a crowd aged from six to 14.


John Fairchild, who retired as chairman and editorial director of Fairchild Publications in 1997, has had his satirical social column in W retired by new management. The piece was penned under the pseudonym Countess Louise J. Esterhazy.

Fairchild, 83, told the Wall Street Journal he had no idea that his column was being killed. “They never even asked for a final column,” he said.

Stefano Tonchi, former editor of the New York Times' T magazine, took over the editor-in-chief role at W in March.


Eric Shanks, a top executive at satellite broadcaster DirecTV, has been named president of Fox Sports. He takes over for Ed Goren, 65, who is assuming the vice chairman post at Fox Sports Media Group.

Shanks is in charge of programming, marketing, PR, business and legal affairs. He reports to Fox Sports CEO David Hill.

Goren keeps his executive producer job at Fox Sports.


New Corps went live May 25 with revamped websites for the Times of London ( and Sunday Times. ( They had both shared the TimesOnline site.

A free eight-week trial is offered during the registration process. An online subscription will be sold for about $1.50 daily or $3 for a week. Digital access is free to print subscribers.

James Harding, editor of the Times, says his site will feature live interviews with newsmakers and exclusive videos from the paper's various sections.

The Times has a circulation of 1.8M, while the Sunday edition is read by 3.2M people.


Nearly six in 10 (57 percent) adult Internet users tap a search engine to look up their names to check what information is available about them online, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That's up ten points since 2006.

Younger Internet users are more apt than older people to change their social network privacy settings. More than seven-in-ten (71 percent) of those aged 18-29 have revamped their settings to limit what they share online. That compares to 55 percent of people aged 55 to 64.

Forty-seven percent of the younger group delete comments that others have made on their profile. That stacks up to 29 percent for the 30-49 crowd and 26 percent of people from 50 to 64.

Mary Madden, senior research specialist at Pew and lead author of the report, says search engines and social media sites now play a central role in building one's identity online.

“Many users are learning and refining their approach as they go, changing privacy settings on profiles, customizing who can see certain updates and deleting unwanted information about them that appears online,” said Madden in a statement.

Madden also says that Pew's research shows that “contrary to the popular perception that younger users embrace a laissez-faire attitude about their online reputations, younger adults are more vigilant then older adults when it comes to managing their online identities.”

BRIEFS: Fox Business Network has pulled the plug on “Happy Hour” and will fill the late afternoon slot with “The Willis Report” hosted by former CNN personal finance editor Gerris Willis. Willis debuts June 7 at 5 p.m. ...Wonkette’s Jim Newell will move to Gawker to cover politics on June 7. He was former co-editor for the IvyGate blog. ...Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, son of the New York Times publisher, is moving from the paper's metro staff to its new Kansas City bureau when it opens later this summer.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, June 2, 2010, Page 4


“Exclusives,” “content is king,” and “new media” are ideas that need to be junked in today’s PR world, according to panelists at a May 20 Entertainment Publicists Professional Society workshop held in Hollywood.

Eric Schwartzman, who advises the military and non-profits on online activity, told the audience to become more sophisticated about platforms and figure out how to incorporate social media sites into their own websites.

He believes the idea that a copyright owner is in full control of the content is not valid any more.

“If content is truly king, how did Steve Jobs corner the record industry without owning a single copyright?” asked Schwartzman.

The Apple chief just “made it easier to get music through iTunes than anybody else. Compelling content is critical, but it has to be easy to get,” he said.

PR people who thrive in the social media world think less like Hollywood PR legend Warren Cowan, who died in 2008, and more like “Julie,” the cruise director of “The Love Boat,” according to Schwartzman, who says the key to success is to help a community communicate with members.

Schwartzman was once director of promotions at Rogers & Cowan.

Social media is a world of experience. PR people "shoving information at targeted reporters/bloggers doesn't work anymore," said Dror Mohar, creative director at, an online media company.

Exclusives are things of the past and unless media assets like videos, audio and images are tagged and cataloged, they have little value.

“We know everything, the information is out there,” said Mohar. "It's easy to get access and to make the same pitch that anyone else does. It's even easier to get that context and resurface it. But it's how it feels and how it feels on so many levels – not how it feels to just your customer or client, but how it feels to you."

“Get relevant on Google or you won’t found” said James Hipkin of Red 8 Studios. “The consumer is taking more and more control on how they want to receive information, and when they want to receive it. And that's a key fundamental shift. It's no longer about shouting at consumers. It's now about having the consumer listen to what you say based on when and how they want it.”

Don’t Forget TV, Radio

Panelists agreed that TV, radio and newspapers continue to pack a punch.

“There’s some content that works better down different pipes,” said PR Newswire’s Richard Knafelc. “New media is like an awkward teenager. He makes a lot of noise, but doesn't do much. It doesn’t matter what service or distribution you use, but it comes down to content. We can throw everything under the sun out there for our clients, but if the content is crap in and crap out, it doesn't matter how you get it out there.

“That’s something I've come across quite a bit. We try to educate our clients that just because there’s a new toy out there to play with, it doesn't mean it’s going to cost you more than if you distribute it traditionally going wide,” Knafelc said.

“Social media has not changed the way we gather news,” said Doug Faigin, president of City News Service, a wire service. “Because of the economic difficulty the region is undergoing, whenever we have a rare opening, we get far more resumes and the quality of journalists applying for jobs at CNS are rated higher.”

The problem that Faigin has with online activity is fact checking: “How do you know it's credible, just because it's out there is it right? The old media have credibility regardless how controversial the piece may be. Nevertheless, it's a starting point, and not some blogger out their spouting off his or her ideas that may or may not be based on fact.”

Consider various mixes of media, but distribute content in a private label fashion, said Wylie Stateman, CEO of

“You should be able to analyze who receives it, how they use it, and if they shared it,” said Statemen. “But the most important thing is to develop compelling content. It's important to understand not only the need for content, but the production of content.”

Panelist Contacts

James Hipkin
[email protected]

Richard Knafelc
[email protected]

Dror Mohar
[email protected]

Erick Schwartzman
[email protected]

Wylie Stateman
[email protected]

— George S. Mc Quade III.


The online news start-up Orange County Local News Network has been shut down by its parent company after a brief four-month run.

The site was a mix of original and aggregated reporting under a partnership with the Los Angeles Times Media Group.

OCLNN was a unit of San Diego-based U.S. Local News Network, which has similar sites covering San Diego and Southwest Riverside.

After raising $1M at the end of 2009, on top of $2M previously invested, the company said in January the OCLNN would be launched with four full-time staffers and 15 freelancers.

The company said at the time that it planned to roll out 40 sites in cities across the U.S. over the next two years.

BRIEF: New York Daily News gossip scribe George Rush is one of about 25 staffers that applied to take a buyout from the paper. Rush’s wife and co-columnist Joanna Malloy is sticking around. Senior correspondent David Saltonstall and city reporter Owen Mortiz are also among the buyouts. May 28 was the last day on the job for those taking the offer.

Internet Edition, June 2, 2010, Page 5


Miami-based rbb PR has acquired Haber & Quinn PR & Marketing of Fort Lauderdale.

Geri Haber takes a senior counselor/VP role in the newly created rbb/HQ event division while John Quinn becomes VP/healthcare at rbb.

H&Q, which was founded in 1994 and claimed six staffers last year, has accounts including the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Palm Beach Boat Show, and the Florida International University College of Nursing & Health Sciences, which it recently defended in an RFP process.

H&Q staff will work out of rbb's Miami and Fort Lauderdale offices.

Cleveland-based Dix & Eaton, which recently helped guide Massey Energy through a West Virginia mine explosion and its aftermath, said it has created an energy practice after years of handling clients in the space.

The unit will focus on clients in the sector and those that service it to “establish or enhance” positions among stakeholders.

Senior VP Gregg LaBar, a 12-year D&E veteran and former editor for Occupational Hazards magazine, heads the unit. Energy clients of D&E have included Energizer, International Coal Group, The Timken Company's wind energy solutions business, LVI Services' Power Services Division, and GLWN.

Warschawski, Baltimore, said it expanded its in-house creative unit to handle design, development and coding of mobile websites optimized for smartphones. The firm has also unveiled a mobile version of its own site,, to be optimized for devices like iPhone, Android and BlackBerry systems.

Warschawski said it developed a proprietary and customizable content management system to make it easy for clients to access, manage and update their own sites.

Professional Podcasts LLC, Cherry Hill, N.J., won an Silver Astra Award from the New Jersey Communications, Advertising and Marketing Association for a series of B2B audio podcasts for The ACE Group, a global insurer-reinsurer.

Steve Lubetkin, managing partner of PP, noted: “In all of the excitement over the rise of the social media, many business users have focused all of their energies on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, and forget that creating their own radio and TV shows in the form of podcasts can reach a worldwide audience effectively.”

Trevelino/Keller Communications Group, Atlanta, has launched an organic and sustainable foods and practices specialty within its GreenWorks practice.

Said Dean Trevelino, principal, noted the growing movement of local farmers producing food in its “original spirit” like grass-fed cows and wild-caught fish. “We understand it's unrealistic to expect business to change overnight, but the disruptors of an antiquated industry will influence the marketplace,” he said.


New York Area

Laura Davidson PR, New York/Residence Inn by Marriott, as AOR for PR for the brand with 600 hotels in the U.S, Canada and Costa Rica.

The Morris + King Company, New York/Scarpasa, online shoe boutique, as AOR for PR, including social media.

Rubenstein PR, New York/Organic Avenue, juices, raw foods and cleansing programs, for PR.

JFK Communications, Princeton, N.J./BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.), for PR support of a new diabetes product.

Taft and Partners, Princeton, N.J./The Merck Company Foundation, to create and implement a communications and PR plan for the New Jersey area.


The Simon Group, Sellersville, Pa./Elsys Instruments, U.S. headquarters of Swiss-based data acquisition system developer Elsys AG, as AOR for U.S. PR.

Himmelrich PR, Baltimore, Md./Bebe Paluzza, to promote its Baby & Toddler Expos across the U.S.

Quinn Gillespie & Associates, Washington, D.C./CODA Automotive, all-electric car company, for government relations and strategic communications.

Largemouth Communications, Research Triangle Park, N.C./42nd St. Oyster Bar, for social media and PR. The work includes offering the venue for Tweetups and touting a Foursquare promotion.

Cookerly PR, Atlanta/Fire & Flavor, cooking products, for a strategic PR program, and Summit Resources, direct marketing, for media relations, industry education and client outreach.

TransMedia Group, Boca Raton, Fla./Alexis Dejoria, owner and operator of funny car racing team Stealth Motorsports, for a PR/social media campaign. “I’m excited to work with TransMedia in sharing my story of balancing motherhood and the dangers of drag racing,” said Dejoria, who the firm said was nearly killed a year ago in a crash at the Englishtown, N.J. Raceway Park. Dejoria returns to that track June 10. TransMedia has also picked up Tiffany Woolley Interiors, for PR.


Tunheim Partners, Minneapolis/I-94 Corridor Commission, to draft and implement a strategic communications plan, following an RFP process. Work, pegged at $50K in the RFP, includes renaming and branding the corridor, developing and managing its website, and other tasks.


JohnstonWells, Denver/T1 Visions, touchscreen technology for restaurants, for national media outreach related to its new social technology for restaurants.


Gable PR, San Diego/Cofiroute USA, toll road management and operation, for a strategic marketing comms. program.


Edelman, Spain/IBEROSTAR, hotels and resorts, for global PR. The firm has worked on the U.S. account since 2008 and launched properties in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Internet Edition, June 2, 2010, Page 6


Utah’s Weber State University is searching for a media monitoring vendor with an RFP through mid-June.

The Ogden-based school was founded in 1889 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which turned over the institution to the state in 1933.

The school, which has an NCAA Division I sports program and 23,000 students, wants to track news coverage and mentions on TV newscasts and social media clips in Utah and around the country on a three-year contract with the school. Two option years are also possible.

WSU, according to the RFP, wants to “keep tabs on where and how” it is being covered and use the footage to help development, alumni and athletics share good news about the school with stakeholders.

The RFP issued May 25 carries a deadline of June 15. RFP is at


Scores of agency research heads, PR group leaders and other experts are slated to converge on Barcelona in mid-June for the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication’s second-annual European Summit on Measurement .

The June 16-18 event includes the key goal of establishing standard metrics and measurement techniques for adoption throughout the industry.

David Rockland, partner at Ketchum and CEO of Ketchum Pleon Change, sees the event as the industry’s “commitment conference.”

He added: “This is a very powerful moment in time in the history of public relations. It’s time to replace outdated program measurement models. …Until now, public relations has been undervalued due to its inability to measure itself. The goal of this summit is to establish consistency in order to increase credibility.”

AMEC is organizing the event with the Institute for PR.

AMEC noted it is the first time the leaders of five global professional bodies will share the same conference platform to evolve what will be known as the Barcelona Declaration of Research Principles.

Speakers include John Paluszek, chair of the Global Alliance and senior counselor, Ketchum; Gary McCormick, chairman of PRSA and director of partnership development, HGTV, Scripps Networks; Richard Houghton, president of ICCO and partner of Carrot Communications; Pauline Draper, chair of the IPR Measurement Commission and Tim Marklein, executive VP, Measurement & Strategy, Weber Shandwick.


Vocus has inked the Minnesota Historical Society, a non-profit, for its PR software. Jessica Kohen, marketing communications manager, at the MHS, said the platform had everything it needed for communications and noted "it also helped that Vocus was willing to negotiate with a nonprofit."

Cargo, a Greenville, S.C.-based "idea generation and brand engagement firm," has added Toni Berardi and Pam Huston in Littleton, Colo., and content producer Hunter Clawson in Greenville.



John Blyth, McDonald’s VP-corporate communications, to Fleishman-Hillard as senior VP in its Dallas office. The nearly 30-year veteran of the fast-feeder led an 80-member communications team, responsible for PR, website development, executive communications, events and creative services. Blyth joined McDonald’s in his native Australia as advertising manager after stints at Unilever and DDB.

Ken Kerrigan, communications director at Ernst & Young, has moved to Weber Shandwick as an executive VP in its New York corporate practice. He was managing director of corporate and financial media relations at Hill & Knowlton and VP at Edelman.

Marc Weinstein, senior VP and head of the financial services group at Spring, O'Brien & Co., to Spotlight Financial Marketing, New York, a new firm, as CEO. He was previously with Trimedia (now Intermarket Comms.) and Edelman.

Leah Shearer, an intern with the minor league baseball Vermont Lake Monsters, to Warschawski, Baltimore, as a junior associate following completion of the firm's three month assistant associate program.

Meredith Schneider, who handled accounts at French/West/Vaughn, to Howard, Merrell & Partners, Raleigh, as A/E handling Butterball, LLC and Georgia-Pacific Professional.

Michael Duffield, director of PR, Erwin-Penland, to Porter Novelli, Los Angeles, as VP to manage North American consumer programs for its Almond Board of California business. He previously ran his own firm in Atlanta, was VP and creative strategist for Waterhouse PR, and national PR manager for Whole Foods Market.


Audra Hession to managing director in the New York office of Gibbs & Soell. She joined the firm in 1999 and was named a VP in 2005 after stints at Revlon and Exxon.

Julie Hail Flory to director of PR, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.

Jonathan Heit, Anne Colaiacovo and Phil Carpenter to partners, Allison & Partners, New York. Heit was senior VP, technology and digital media, and a founding staff member. Colaiacovo has been GM, New York, and Carpenter, GM, San Francisco.

Phylicia Fant to VP of media relations for Universal Motown Records, New York. She develops and implements media strategies for artists like Lil Wayne, Stevie Wonder, Kelly Rowland, and Nelly. UMR is part of Vivendi's Universal Music Group.

Paul Hefner, a media and political consultant, to Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Sacramento, as a senior VP in its public affairs practice group to handle accounts like the California High-Speed Rail Authority and California Forward.


Internet Edition, June 2, 2010, Page 7


Lee Levitt, co-founder of PR Aids, which pioneered in a system that sorted out editors by numerous categories, died May 19 in New York.

He was stricken with Parkinson’s about a year ago and died from complications of the disease, said his wife Marian Fay Levitt.

PR Aids, co-founded with Richard Toohey in 1958, created a system for tracking editors by specialty, circulation, geographically and other characteristics. It initially used Addressograph metal plates fitted with tabs to sort the editors into different categories. It switched to an electronic database with the advent of computers.

The company was for many years the leading source of information on editors along with Bacon’s (now Cision), which published the Publicity Checker. It had offices in eight cities and served more than 4,000 clients. Its database included more than 50,000 editors.

PR Aids’ E. 45th St. offices became the central meeting place for New York PR pros through the early 1980s.

Levitt and Toohey, both PR officers of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, met during meetings of the Reserve in the Biltmore Hotel, New York.

Levitt’s background was in industrial and business PR while Toohey had theatrical clients.

Levitt also founded the PR Aids monthly tabloid, Publicist, and the newsletter Publicity Break, which gave tips for dealing with editors.

Disagreements over computerization of the editorial database led to a split-up between the two men. A court in 1988 recommended that Toohey pay Levitt $1.27M plus $400K interest. Toohey argued that Levitt’s stock was worth only from $200-309K in 1984 and claimed PR Aids lost $1.5M between July 31 and Oct. 31, 1984.

Media Distribution Services, founded by Hy Wagner, former employee of PR Aids, offered $3M for the company in 1984 and purchased PRA in 1988.

Levitt was the son of Joseph Levitt, longtime editor of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. He was a graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where he became a national college debating champion.

After leaving PR Aids, which had changed its named to PRA after AIDS became identified with the sexual disease, Levitt built an international consulting practice in PR management, mergers and sales strategies.

He authored “Levitt’s Manual of PR Sales Strategy and Tactics” which was sold worldwide. It became the basis for workshops conducted for clients.

Survivors include his daughter Lisa Levitt, a corporate marketer in Los Angeles, and a brother, Joseph Levitt, Jr., an attorney in Knoxville.

A service will be held later this year.


Revenues of the PR Society, which fell 14% in 2009 to $9,989,101, continue to decline.

Revenues in Q1 of $2,392,366 were 10.6%, or $286,146, below revenues of $2,678,512 in the first quarter of 2009.

Biggest decline was in registration income for the annual conference in Washington, D.C., Oct. 16-20, and seminars/webinars. This fell 39% to $219,656 from $362,388.

The financial report, posted in the members-only area as a link and without an attached story, does not break out conference from seminar/webinar income.

Conference Cost: $1,275

March 1 was the deadline for "early bird” conference registrations at $1,025. Only full registrations are available to members now at $1,275.

Seminar/webinar income fell 48% in 2009 to $703,955 from $1,356,300 in the previous year. Also down in Q1 was sponsorship income, off 21% to $143,014 from $181,091.

Dues income, which declined 7% in 2009 to $4,437,505, fell 5% in Q1 to $1,472,543.

There was a 31% increase in advertising income in Q1 to $83,964 from $63,670.

The loss on publications in 2009 was $899,488 as expenses totaled $1,231,003 and income, $331,515.

Both the monthly Tactics and quarterly Strategist continue to have print versions, although the Society stopped publishing the print version of its members’ directory as of 2006 claiming that printing and postage were too expensive.

Gain of $244,491 Reported

Operating income of $244,491 was reported for the quarter as staff pay/fringes were cut 6% to $1,275,685; depreciation and equipment rental cut to $48,708 from $86,785; postage and shipping cut to $71,154 from $102,521, and several other cuts made.

There are no financial reports in the “press” area of the Society website. Financial reports are not carried on the first page of the Society website. There is a link to the financial report in the members’ area but no text is provided.


FBI agents on May 26 arrested the former administrative assistant to Zenia Mucha, Walt Disney’s powerful communications chief, on insider trading charges.

The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that Bonnie Hoxie and her boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag, sent letters in March to hedge fund managers offering to supply inside information about the media giant.

Undercover FBI agents met the pair and allegedly received “talking points” about second-quarter financials that were to be released in three days.

Hoxie and Sebbag also allegedly peddled info that Disney chief Robert Iger was in negotiations to sell broadcaster ABC.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says the case shows the integrity of the securities exchanges can be compromised “by anyone entrusted with material, nonpublic information.”


Internet Edition, June 2, 2010, Page 8




The “Fat Cats” of PR will take good care of themselves this weekend—corporate biggies spending nearly $1 million on themselves at the Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain, Ariz., and 136 PRSA “leaders” descending on New York with h.q. giving each $550 plus breakfast and lunch June 4-5 and a state dinner Friday night.

Cost is $74,800 just for the “stipends.”

Worst of all is that not a word will escape from either meeting.

Both confabs are hush-hush, confidential, private, etc., and no peons allowed (such as reporters).

Neither group will respond to a single question about its activities and that in itself is a story. They’re supposed to be experts at press relations.

A member of Seminar is Kathleen Matthews, XVP-global communications of Marriott Int’l, and wife of Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball.” She joined Marriott in 2006 after 25 years of covering news in D.C. She was co-anchor of ABC 7 News. She and Chris were married in 1980.

Seminarians Abhor “PR”

The corporate group, made up of PR people who call themselves anything but that, is ignoring consumer protests against Arizona’s new law aimed at cutting down on illegal immigration. We still refer to this group of about 200 corporate PR executives as “PR Seminar” although they now only want to be known as “The Seminar.”

Members are in charge of press and public relations although they have a laundry list of other activities that they hide behind. But if they’re not in charge of the press at their companies, who is?

Seminarians “Economize”

Seminarians, reacting to criticism of corporate meetings at plush resorts (e.g., AIG), bumped their meeting to June for the first time in their 58-year history to get cheaper off-season rates.

They’re paying only $249 a room rather than $409. But the registration fee of $3,350 per couple (almost everyone brings a spouse or companion) totals $569,000 assuming 170 couples will be present and another $400,000+ is spent on travel, meals and recreation including golf at the Jack Nicklaus-designed on-site course.

More than 22 editors of major media have addressed Seminar but none has ever reported even its existence.

John Budd, a 15-year member, says Seminarians are out-of-step with the transparency promised by their employers. The meeting should be in a big city rather than a resort and on the record, he says.

Fenton Communications is handling a drive to persuade baseball to pull its 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix.

The so-called “Leadership Rally” of PRSA this weekend is a case of Society insiders splurging on themselves at a time when the Society can’t even afford its spring board meeting.

The “Rally,” instituted in 1998 as a training session for chapter presidents-elect, now also includes 16 section chairs and 10 district chairs for a total of 136 people. Each gets $550 to help with expenses and at least five meals.

Insiders are treating themselves royally although revenues were down 14% in 2009 to $9.9 million and down another 10.6% in the first quarter to $2.39M.

The meeting should double as an Assembly and wipe out the undemocratic monopoly that APRs have had on governance since the 1970s.

APRs, who make up 72% of the Assembly and about the same percentage at the “Rally,” won’t allow that unless heavy pressure is brought by the non-APRs.

Efforts by the “Committee for a Democratic PRSA” have fizzled. After three weeks, the CDP has obtained only 148 signatures towards its goal of 5,000.

Members Need PR Magna Carta

The CDP is a political party without a platform. It doesn’t say what it would do if it got control of the Society (which will take many years if it follows the script laid down by the APRs).

What it needs is a Magna Carta of PR spelling out rights that members should get forthwith.

1. The right to have the contact points of all the other members in convenient form. This was taken from them in 2005 and could be rectified by a PDF of the membership list. The CDP should be able to e-mail this list just like the staff does almost every day.

2. The right to know who all the Assembly delegates are throughout the year. This was taken from them in 2006. The 300 delegates should be reachable by a single e-mail.

3. The right of members to know what goes on in the Assembly. The last transcript was published in 2004.

4. The right of any member to publish his or her viewpoints prominently on Society media including the web, Tactics, Strategist and chapter websites. The CDP should be able to present its views throughout the Society and not just in private “E-groups.”

5. The right of any member to run for board and officer posts this summer based on stands on key issues. The board should call an Assembly and use proxy votes.

6. The right to know who all 55 staffers are. Only seven names remain on the web.

7. The right to have a list of the 110 chapter presidents and contact points. This was taken away this year and now requires downloading 110 chapter websites.

Substantive issues that need discussing include chapter-only membership; ending the Leadership Rally and turning it into the spring Assembly which the Society had until 1986; moving most offices to another city while retaining a midtown New York info center; PDFing Tactics & Strategists instead of print editions; requiring board minutes to be published within two weeks; requiring the CEO and COO of the Society to face a press conference at least twice a year; audiocasting the Assembly; providing more timely and detailed financial reports with leaders and staff answering questions by members and press, and publishing IRS Form 990 by the initial May 15 deadline (instead of withholding this until October or November).

RFP Sought on Cracking Barriers

The following can be considered a Request for Proposals from PR firms for ways to crack the communications barriers at the Society.

Unless they are demolished, the CDP’s initiative is going nowhere.

It’s possible that a sizable sum could be raised for this purpose and the PR firm could be paid.

Ads might be taken on national and chapter websites. Leading PR figures could speak out. Stories could be placed in major media. Assistance could be sought from other groups that have been able to oust entrenched cliques.

We’re sure many groups have been victimized by excessive cronyism and have fought winning battles against it. Interested PR firms should send proposals in confidence to [email protected].

--Jack O'Dwyer


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