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Internet Edition, October 27, 2010, Page 1


Next Fifteen Communications Group, parent to firms like M Booth, Bite Communications and Text 100, has acquired San Francisco-based The Blueshirt Group, an IR firm founded in 1999 by Morgen-Walke Associates alumni.

The deal is estimated to be $11M, including $3M in cash on completion of the transaction and earn-out payments over four years estimated to total $8M.

Blueshirt, which caters mostly to technology clients, also has a New York operation.

Next Fifteen said the deal, which includes an 85% stake, will provide opportunities for “cross referrals” in the U.S. and open up a new revenue stream.

Chairman Will Whitehorn said NF “continues to explore organic growth opportunities supported by selective acquisitions of specialist agencies in growth sector.”

Next Fifteen reported an 11 percent rise in revenue for the end of its fiscal year July 31 to £72.3M ($113.6M). Profit rose to £3.7M ($5.8M), up from £2.3M ($3.6M) for the previous year.

M Booth, the anchor in NF’s push to build a global consumer PR agency, contributed $11.5M to revenue and $1.7M to profit before tax from Aug. 3, 2009 to the end of the fiscal year July 31, 2010, NF said.

“The group is experiencing an improvement in trading conditions, particularly in North America and Asia but it will continue to manage the business in a way that reflects the general uncertainty that surrounds the pace of economic recovery,” said Whitehorn, adding NF has seen “good momentum” and the board remains optimistic about the prospects for the year.


Linda Blakley, who was senior director of PR and brand reputation at Wal-Mart, has joined GolinHarris as senior VP new business development. She reports to Ellen Ryan Mardiks, vice chairman.

At the Bentonville giant, Blakley was in charge of promoting products, services and seasonal campaigns.

She spent 16 years at Sears, Roebuck before joining the No. 1 discount chain. Titles at Sears included PR manager, community relations manager and director of corporate PR and reputation management.

Blakley, at the Interpublic unit, will handle prospect development, outreach and new business initiatives.

GH, Cohn & Wolfe (WPP) and Porter Novelli (Omnicom) picked up chunks of Wal-Mart's consumer business last year.

Edelman handles Wal-Mart's PA and environment efforts.


The Tourism Authority of Thailand has moved its PR account to Lou Hammond & Associates, following a competitive review. Geoffrey Weill Associates had the account since mid-2008.

New York-based Hammond is charged with brand positioning, social marketing and media relations for the Thai authority, which uses the tagline “Amazing Thailand.”

Thailand faced international scrutiny earlier this year when dozens were killed and more than 1,800 injured in a police crackdown on political demonstrators in the capital, Bangkok, in May.

The Royal Thai Embassy in D.C. inked an $80K-a-month, three-month pact with Podesta Group in June following that outbreak for message development, media outreach and media training.


The University of South Carolina has put out an RFP for its advertising and PR work stretching up to the next five years. Deadline is Nov. 4.

Cyberwove, Chernoff Newman and Carnegie Communications are among firms that have worked with the school in recent years.

The work covers various marketing communications assignments, including earned and paid media.

The university’s flagship campus is in Columbia, with four-year campuses in Aiken, Beaufort and Spartanburg-Greenville, in addition to four two-year campuses. The school, which touts that it endured the Civil War and Reconstruction, was founded in 1805 and permanently chartered in 1906. Undergraduate enrollment topped 20,000 in 2009 and 28K including its graduate schools. The RFP is at


Derek DeVries, PRSA Assembly delegate who spearheaded the “pen gifting” to Jack O’Dwyer Oct. 16, says O’Dwyer “completely missed the mark” in covering the incident in this NL Oct. 20.

DeVries, a Western Michigan delegate who teaches at Grand Rapids Community College and has his own firm, said no praise at all was due to O’Dwyer except for his “tenacious (if occasionally misguided) work to cover the Society.”

Rather than any “official” act of the Society or even the delegates themselves, it was just a “bunch of goofballs” trying to “liven up” the Assembly by orchestrating a “flash mob,” he says.

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, October 27, 2010, Page 2


The General Accountability Office ruled Oct 19 that three 30-second ads created by Porter Novelli for the Dept. of Health and Human Services to promote President Obama’s healthcare law were not propaganda.

Darrell Issa, the top Republican Congressman on the House Committee on Oversight and Government, and David Camp, ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, demanded a probe to see if PN’s ads “violated the prohibition on publicity or propaganda.”

The spots featured 84-year-old actor Andy Griffith, TV’s sheriff of Mayberry, N.C.

This is the full script from the second ad:

“Hi, Andy Griffith here. Our new healthcare law sure sounds good for all of us on Medicare. Starting next year, we’ll get free checkups, cancer screenings, lower prescription costs. And better ways to protect us and Medicare from fraud. So it will stay strong for our kids and grandkids. Now, that is music to my ears.”

In another ad, Griffith predicts, “I think you’re gonna like it.”

In the other, changes in healthcare law are “worth looking into.”

HHS paid $3.3M for the production and airing of the ads. HHS placed the first ad on the main page of Medicare’s website. The three ads ran on YouTube.

The GAO ruling, written by acting general counsel Lynn Gibson, says “communications are purely partisan, if they are completely devoid of any connection with official functions and are completely partisan in nature.”

In the ads, HHS “has established a connection to official functions, that is, its responsibility to provide Medicare beneficiaries information about the program.”

Gibson concludes: “Because nothing in the advertisements constitutes communications that are purely partisan, self-aggrandizing, or covert, we conclude that the advertisements did not violate the publicity or propaganda prohibition.”

Griffith volunteered his services for the ads.


Omnicom has acquired a majority stake in Moscow’s Maslov PR, which was Ketchum’s partner on work for the Russian Federation. Ketchum received $7M from Russia and its Gazprom energy operation during the year ended May 30.

Maslov now becomes Ketchum Maslov, led by Michael Maslov and Serguey Chumin, his business partner.

The Moscow deal is joined by another OMC PR move: acquisition of Amsterdam’s Excerpta Medica, the pharmaceutical communications division of publisher Reed Elsevier Group.

Excerpta Medica (events, education, customized publishing) becomes part of Adelphi, a unit of OMC’s diversified agency services operation.

Meanwhile, OMC CEO John Wren reported today that PR revenues rose 5.1 percent to $280M during the third-quarter.

The ad/PR combine registered a 5.4% rise in Q3 net to $174.6M. Revenues rose 5.5 percent to $3B.


Healthcare PR pro Paul McDade died in a head-on car crash the morning of Oct. 19 in Patchogue, Long Island. He was 44.

McDade was worldwide director/health and pharmaceuticals at Hill & Knowlton from 2000-04, where he counseled clients such as Pfizer, Roche, Novartis and Sanofi.

Among highlights were global PR supervision for Actonel, the osteoporosis treatment marketed by Procter & Gamble and Sanofi , and the relaunch of the WPP unit’s biotech division in the U.S. and EMEA.

Earlier, McDade was senior VP at Edelman and worldwide healthcare practice chief at Ruder Finn.

Most recently, he ran the New York office of Corinth Marketing & PR, based in South Boston.


The public affairs office for the U.S. force in Afghanistan has given a six-month extension to its foreign media monitoring and analysis vendor SOSi International.

“Disruption or loss of this service will directly affect the war effort in Afghanistan,” said a document justifying the move to add six months to the pact without putting it out for bids. The value of the extension to March 31, 2011 was redacted in the document.

SOSi won the contract in an open competition in 2006, a process which outlined a contract with options through 2010 worth up to $67M. Its latest assignment was set to expire on Sept. 30.

The federal government said in July that it intended to extend the contract by six months and it received no response from other vendors, making the move effective Oct. 1.

SOSi’s media operation is based in Kabul. Its analysts track reporting and identify media trends related to the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan.

The federal government said it plans to review the pact in a competitive process in the near future, possibly two to four months, but cited delays caused by the review of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

The Rendon Group previously handled the media analysis work before the 2006 review.


RF|Binder is handling the Malaysia Kitchen Food Truck that is doling out free food in Manhattan and Queens through the end of November to introduce New Yorkers to the cuisine of that southeastern Asian nation.

The Wall Street Journal featured the truck last week on the first page of its Greater New York section, saying the campaign aims to make Malaysian food as appealing as Japanese and Thai cuisine is in the Big Apple.

The truck is to be stationed at various high traffic locations, beginning at 7 a.m. for breakfast samples and 11 a.m. for lunch. It keeps busy until the food runs out.

Malaysia’s government is footing the bill for the tour, hoping the country’s food is incorporated into more restaurants and everyday cooking. The WSJ notes the food tour may also result in more trade with Malaysia and a tourism boost.


Internet Edition, October 27, 2010, Page 3


Noted liberal billionaire George Soros has donated $1M to Media Matters, a watchdog group that keeps a close eye on the doings of Fox News.

In his Oct. 20 statement, Soros says he decided to support Media Matters because it is “one of the few groups that attempts to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information that they so often broadcast.”

He wants to “more widely publicize the challenge Fox News poses to civil and informed discourse in our democracy.”

Soros and his Open Society Foundations also announced on Oct. 18 a $1.8M grant to National Public Radio to support an initiative to improve coverage of the 50 state capitals.

The gift is to offset the dramatic decline in news coverage of state legislatures.

NPR’s “Impact of Government” program will be built on the talent of reporters, editors and analysts from its nearly 800 members stations.


Tom Shales, long-time TV writer for the Washington Post, is going to exit the paper when his contract expires at the end of the year.

Since last summer, the 65-year-old served as at-large culture critic of TV and other subjects. Hank Stuever is WaPo's lead TV critic.

Shales has been with the paper since 1971.


News Corp. has shelved plans for a digital newsstand designed to bolster online revenues for the media industry.

“Project Alesia” aimed to develop a single web destination at which publishers could sell subscriptions for tablet users such as Apple's iPad.

More than 100 News Corp. staffers in the U.K. were working on Project Alesia, which was killed because it failed to attract the “critical mass” needed for it to launch.

The workers are to be reassigned within News Corp.


Nielsen Co. released its first “Connected Devices Playbook” to find people are comfortable with paying for content and receiving ads to get free access to paid content.

The research house found that more than six-in-ten (63 percent) owners of Apple’s iPad have downloaded a paid app.

Paying for games at 62 percent of downloaders tops the list.

That is followed by books (54 percent), music (50 percent), shopping (45 percent), news/headlines (45 percent) and celebrity/entertainment news (44 percent).

Nielsen reports that 57 percent of iPad customers are “okay” with ads in return for access to paid content. About half (48 percent) aren’t particularly fond of viewing ads, but don't mind seeing them either.


New York Post columnist John Podhoretz apologized Oct. 22 for calling New York State gubernatorial candidate Kristin Davis a “hooker” in his Oct. 19 column.

The mea culpa comes as Davis threatened to sue Podhoretz for “irresponsible statements” that were “reckless, false and defamatory.”

Davis ran an escort service and spent four months in Rikers Island for the crime of promoting prostitution.

In accepting Podhoretz’s apology, Davis issued a release saying that she never “worked as a call girl” and “approached the escort business strictly as a business.”

She is “no longer involved in any illegal business and has tried to use my notoriety as a positive force for issues I believe in,” says the release.

Podhoretz wrote that “he had wrongly assumed that the hooker business was like other business in which ambitious go-getters with spunk rose through its ranks from rough and tumble frontline work to the more genteel managerial responsibilities that go with the hotly desired executive title of ‘madam.”

Davis appeared in Oct. 18’s gubernatorial race with Andy Cuomo, Carl Paladino and a parade of others.

Podhoretz praised Davis for providing “comic relief” during that session in which Paladino bolted the stage for a bathroom break.


National Public Radio has dropped long-time news analyst Juan Williams for his remark about being nervous at airports when he sees people dressed in Muslim garb.

Williams made the remark during an Oct. 18 appearance on Fox News’ “The O'Reilly Factor.”

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller and senior VP-news Ellen Weiss issued a statement to say that Williams’ remark is “inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices.”

The pair also believe Williams “undermined his credibility” as a news analyst. In axing Williams, Schiller/Weiss called him a “valuable contributor to NPR.” Their decision was “not made lightly or without regret.”

Williams later defended himself on Fox, saying he did not make a bigoted statement. He does get nervous when seeing Muslim attire at airports “given what happened on 9/11.”

On the O'Reilly show, Williams also said blaming all Muslims for extremism is like blaming all Christians for born-again Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Following his firing, FOX gave Williams a multi-year contract with the network.

Fox News chairman Roger Ailes said: “Juan has been a staunch defender of liberal viewpoints since his tenure began at FOX News in 1997. He’s an honest man whose freedom of speech is protected by FOX News on a daily basis.”

Williams joined FNC in 1997 as a contributor.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, October 27, 2010, Page 4


Susan Goldberg, editor of The Plain Dealer, has been tapped by Bloomberg News as an executive editor to oversee the expansion of state and local government reporting, the company said.

Goldberg is based in San Francisco.

Prior to the Plain Dealer, Goldberg was executive editor and VP of the San Jose Mercury News and held editorial positions at USA Today, the Detroit Free Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


Washington Post Co. has retained well-connected Democratic firm Elmendorf Strategies to protect the interests of key moneymaker Kaplan Inc., its for-profit education operation.

The General Accountability Office in August issued a critical report of for-profit schooling and the Dept. of Education is drawing up rules that will hit companies that graduate students with scant job prospects and heavy debt.

The Post Co. on Sept. 9 released a response to the DOE’s “notice of rulemaking.” That statement maintains that “students at for-profit institutions graduate at a higher rate, with greater increases in salary, and at a fraction of the cost to the taxpayer than students at comparable non-profit institutions.”

States such as Florida are also investigating for-profit colleges for alleged misrepresentation in areas such as recruitment, financial aid, graduation rates and job placement.

Kaplan is WPC’s largest business unit with second-quarter revenues of $638M, or 61 percent of its $1B total sales. It accounted for $109M, 67 percent of $163M overall operating income.

Steve Elmendorf, who worked a dozen years for former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, leads the push for Kaplan. He is assisted by Rob Cogorno, ex-floor director for now Democratic leader Steny Hoyer; Jimmy Ryan, ex-advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Stacey Alexander, former chief of staff for Utah Democrat Jim Matheson, a leader in the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats.


Fay Shapiro, former publisher at Bulldog Reporter’s “Daily ’Dog” and O’Dwyer’s, is launching, which is billed as a "content hub" that organizes news, tools, trends and training information for communications people.

Officially debuting Nov. 1, CommPro isn't going to be "another online trade journal," according to Shapiro. She envisions a "convenient one-stop-shop for news and services."

Shapiro wants to partner with online publishers to provide them "another platform to share their content and sell their products."

The free site will feature channels such as social media, "flick-it" headlines (customizable breaking news), original content (deskside interviews), store (webinars, e-books, reports) and an interactive calendar.

Shapiro is joined by Brian Pittman, who was director of content at Daily 'Dog. Todd Fabacher, of software developer Fabacher Interactive Group, is technical guru at the start-up.


Editor & Publisher, which was acquired by Duncan McIntosh Co. earlier this year after it was shut down by Nielsen Co., has replaced its editorial staff, ousting editor and 26-year E&P employee Mark Fitzgerald, along with managing editor Shawn Moynihan and senior editor Jim Rosenberg.

“We understand what this magazine means to the industry and the responsibility we took on when we bought it,” said president Duncan McIntosh. “We are committed to fulfilling that responsibility and improving the quality of content both in print and online.”

Jeff Fleming, an associate editor for DMC, has been named editor-in-chief, Boating World managing editor Kristina Ackermann was named managing editor at E&P, and Deena Nenad was tapped as associate editor.


James Marcus, editor-at-large for the Columbia Journalism Review for the past three years, is slated to join Harper’s Magazine as deputy editor, starting Nov. 1.

Marcus will be “second-in-command” to editor Ellen Rosenbush.

He has been responsible for assigning and editing the “Ideas + Reviews” section of the bimonthly CJR.

Marcus was previously a senior editor at and News.


The New York Times said it will produce an expanded Texas report in collaboration with The Texas Tribune, a non-profit news organization.

“Our intent is to roll out these expanded reports in several key markets around the country, working with local journalists and news organizations in a collaborative way,” said Scott Heekin-Canedy, president and general manager of The Times.

Bill Keller, executive editor of the paper, said the deal will allow the Times to expand its coverage of the state with “sophisticated reporting by local journalists who have deep roots in the community.”

The Texas pages will appear on Fridays and Sundays in the front section of copies of the Times distributed throughout Texas.

The coverage will be led by chief executive and editor-in-chief Evan Smith, who launched The Texas Tribune in 2009 after serving as editor and president of Texas Monthly magazine.

The Times launched added pages called “The Bay Area” in the San Francisco area in October, 2009, and has published a Chicago area report since November, 2009.

Mark Russell was promoted to editor of the Orlando Sentinel, taking over for Charlotte Hall, who retired this month. Russell has been at the Sentinel since 2004 after stints at the Plain Dealer and Boston Globe.

Internet Edition, October 27, 2010, Page 5


Denver-based Volume PR has set up a division focused on the medical marijuana sector, a burgeoning industry pegged as high as $14 billion.

Volume, a nine-year-old firm headed by Elizabeth Robinson, has dubbed its new offshoot Grow Room Communications.

Robinson told O’Dwyer’s the entity was formed because the medical marijuana sector deserves the focus and attention of a separate firm, and also that the work requires comprehensive communications, from advertising and media buys to digital, where Volume has always been solely focused on PR mainly in the tech and telecom sectors.

Robinson, a former Ogilvy PR and Boeing corporate comms. hand, also said she didn’t want to make any Volume clients “uncomfortable” with the medical marijuana side of the business, which, she noted, carries significant public “misunderstanding.”

Robinson said because the industry is at such an early stage the opportunity exists to create a climate and environment for those businesses that are out to provide patient care for people that are sick and “not just trying to be a pot shop.”


Tennessee frozen vegetable marketer Pictsweet has brought in Prism Public Affairs to handle PR for the recall of 24,000 pounds of frozen peas recalled Oct. 15 because packages may contain glass fragments.

The voluntary recall includes 12-ounce packages of frozen peas and mixed vegetables distributed only to Kroger stores in the Southeast and to Wal-Mart stores throughout the country. No injuries have been reported.

Anne Tyrrell, a senior VP at D.C.-based Prism who was previously with Blackwater and Shirley & Banister PA, and Prism partner Richard Ades, a Powell Tate alum, are handling communications for Pictsweet involving the recall.

Tyrrell told O’Dwyer’s that Prism was brought in specifically to handle the recall.


Publicis Groupe posted a 26 percent jump in third quarter revenue – including 12% organic growth in North America – citing an upturn in the global advertising market and payoff from investments in digital and emerging markets.

Third quarter revenue rose to 1.3 billion euros (about $1.8 billion), including 666M euros ($932M) in North America. Publicis said operations in the so-called BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – saw revenue rise 15.6%.

“Despite traditional fourth-quarter uncertainties, we are confident about how the year will end,” said chairman and CEO Maurice Levy, who said digital now accounts for 44.4% of Publicis’ overall revenue in North America. For the first three quarters, Publicis revenue is up 18.5% over 2009.

Levy said the October 1 acquisition of Indian PR agencies 20:20 Media and 2020Social makes its MSLGroup PR division “India’s leading player in the discipline.”


New York Area

Nike Communications, New York/Interparfums, for PR for its portfolio of brands, including the Spring 2011 launch of Jimmy Choo’s first fragrance; Clarins, an expansion on its Skin Spas work, beginning in January; Riedel Glassworks, for PR for its Riedel, Nachtmann and Spiegelau brands; American Express, for new card member benefits of its Platinum Card being launched in December; Bacardi USA, adding Dewar’s and Bombay sapphire to its work for other Bacardi brands; Remy Cointreau USA, for launch of Remy Martin V and to represent Cointreau Liqueur and brand ambassador Dita Von Teese, and Constallation Wines, adding Ruffino to its work for the Robert Mondavi brand.

Hanna Lee Communications, New York/Conway Family Wines, boutique winery in Arroyo Grande, Calif., for PR, including trade and consumer media relations, influencer outreach, event management and tradeshow support.

The Dennis PR Group, West Hartford, Conn./China Education Resources, for strategic communications, investor relations and media relations services for the online learning and training company.

Travers Collins & Company, Buffalo/Hudson Valley Holding Corp., parent to Hudson Valley Bank, for investor relations targeting institutional investors and the financial community at large.


Barton Gilanelli & Associates, Philadelphia/Motorcoach Council, to promote public awareness about the “availability, selection, usage and benefits” of motorcoach transportation. MC cited the firm’s work on the “Go RVing” campaign as key to the selection.

Susan Davis International, Washington, D.C./Homes for Our Troops, strategic communications counsel and media relations services as it kicks off of a multi-year fundraising campaign to build 100 homes for wounded veterans across the country; LUNGevity Foundation, for comms. counsel, media relations and branding for the grassroots lung cancer research non-profit; Code of Support Foundation, for outreach to non-profits, military support organizations and major corporations; Armed Forces Services Corporation, for comm. planning support.


GreenMark PR, Mundelein, Ill./GreenChoice Bank, for integrated comms. services, including marketing, and media and PR.


Penman PR, Austin, Tex./Sapling Learning, to promote its learning and assessment services to the higher education marketplace.

Mountain West

Wall Street Communications, Salt Lake City/Bittree, A/V patching components, for PR targeting the broadcast, post production, and professional A/V trade press worldwide.


SANSONE+, Oakland/, interactive video advertising platform, for PR.

— Greg Hazley

Internet Edition, October 27, 2010, Page 6


United Business Media, the U.K.-based parent company to PR Newswire, said revenue for the first nine months of the year rose 3.9% over 2009 to £642.9M ($895.4M).

Revenue for its targeting, distribution and monitoring division (PRN) was up 10.1% to £134M ($187M), although the unit’s profit was essentially flat at around $43M, which, UBM said, reflected investment in product development and IT.

David Levin, CEO, said the results have the company on track to meet expectations for the year, but he acknowledged wider economic “uncertainties” remain.

UBM said U.S. newswire volume distribution to date is up 5.1% over September 2009. PRN’s multimedia and broadcast division, MultiVu, is up 26.6% this year and its financial printing and filing services rose 34.6%.

PRN Widens Scope

PRN last week acknowledged an overarching trend in PR that the media release will likely not be the key cog in dissemination that it’s been in the past.

The company is kicking off a marketing push to its highlight multimedia options for getting messages out to audiences beyond the press – bloggers, consumers, shareholders -- under the tagline “Engage Opportunity Everywhere.”

CEO Ninan Chacko noted that communications pros are “re-imagining” how they develop and deliver content given an “increasingly fragmented communications landscape.”

PRN has released a series of whitepapers on PR, IR and marketing.

“Never before have communicators had so many opportunities to develop and deliver their content in such a multitude of ways that can have an impact across so many media and consumer groups, investor targets and industry influencers," he said.


The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication at Penn State University has launched a new homepage -- -- that includes new features like a searchable database of Page's speeches, an experts list and the electronic acceptance of applications for Arthur W. Page and Robert Wood Johnson Legacy Scholar grants.

The center, which is now on Twitter at @ThePageCenter, said the new site aims to be a public, electronic repository for the Center with video interviews and transcripts with leading PR pros.

The database of Page's speeches is expected to be complete in November.


Strauss Radio Strategies has opened a Los Angeles office under the direction of Strauss veteran Jeff King.

Richard Strauss, the former Clinton White House radio director who heads the company, noted SRS is marking 15 years in 2010 and sees the move west showing the key role radio plays in integrated campaigns.

Jeff King is at (323) 343-0300 or [email protected].



Kate Wark, senior VP for Middleton & Gendron, to Carolyn Izzo Integrated Communications, Nyack, N.Y., as a senior VP handling travel, tourism and luxury lifestyle clients. She started out at CIIC in 2001.

Ilene Smith, senior VP at Ketchum and associate director of its food & nutrition practice, to Porter Novelli, New York, as executive VP, director of food & nutrition. She spent two years in private practice as a nutrition and fitness consultant.

Steve Clemons, writer of the Washington Note blog and senior fellow at the New America Foundation's American Strategy Program, to Fenton Communications, Washington, D.C., as a managing director. Clemons was a senior advisor to Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).

Melissa Gong Mitchell, director of industry relations and strategic outreach at the U.S. Travel Association, to High Lantern Group, New York, as a director. She was formerly executive director of the Travel Business Roundtable and an associate at Prime Policy Group.

Sloane Imrie Magny, A/S at Lippe Taylor PR, to Bullfrog & Baum, New York. She was previously at Edelman and PainePR. Krisse Mansfield, a freelancer who worked at Shecky’s Media and Formula PR, joins as media relations strategist, consumer, while RF Binder’s Jessica Rosen has signed on as a senior A/E and Scott Ziegler, community manager at Foodist Colony, joins as a new media specialist.

Jessica Kiefer, content producer for WTHR-Channel 13, to BohlsenPR, Indianapolis, as a media specialist.

David Prichard, former director of IR for Corn Products International, to Spectrum Brands Holdings, Madison, Wisc., as VP, investor relations and corporate comms. He was previously VP of IR and corporate comms. at IMC Global.

Amber Valero, PR manager for Girls Scouts of San Jacinto Council in Houston, to Nevins & Associates, Hunt Valley, Md., as an A/E.


Mike Valdés-Fauli to president, The Jeffrey Group, Miami. He takes over for Jorge Ortega, who has resigned after five years as president to pursue other interests, the firm said. Juan Sanchez, a former VP, has re-joined the agency as a senior counselor. Jeffrey Sharlach is founder and CEO.

— Greg Hazley


Internet Edition, October 27, 2010, Page 7

GOOFBALL DELGATES (Continued from page 1)

3,000 attendees were urged to give O’Dwyer a “disposable” hotel pen if they “see him in the hall.”

Instead of praising O’Dwyer, DeVries said the pen-gifting compared him to schizophrenic John Nash who was given pens by Princeton faculty in “A Beautiful Mind.”

“Both Nash and O’Dwyer have had difficulty matching their version of reality with the version experienced by others,” said the DeVries blog. O’Dwyer was also called a “curmudgeon” who is “exasperating” and “frustrating to interact with.”

O’Dwyer responded to DeVries that the “inaccuracy” in the initial reading of the pen-gifting was caused by the delegates themselves who walked rapidly away and refused to explain what was happening.

One delegate only explained that it was a “flash mob.” The “mob” was set to go off at 2:45 p.m.

Questions by O’Dwyer about the meaning of the pen-gifting brought explanations that it was a take-off on the 2001 “Beautiful Mind” movie that starred Russell Crowe. Nash was given the pens after he had won a Nobel Prize.

Although other PR trade reporters were given free press passes, O’Dwyer and two staff reporters were asked to pay the full $1,275 fee if they wanted to cover any of the sessions.

O’Dwyer challenged DeVries or anyone connected with the Society to show him anything inaccurate in Society coverage. DeVries says Society members “occasionally disagree” with O’Dwyer’s “interpretation of the conference/Society happenings.”

O’Dwyer is Society’s No. 1 Competitor

O’Dwyer posted on the DeVries blog that the reason for the Society’s bashing of the O’Dwyer Co. is that the company is the Society’s No. 1 competitor.

Cited were the O’Dwyer website which as of Dec. 31, 2010, will have ten years of searchable PR stories, editorials, databases, etc. The October O’Dwyer magazine had 60 pages including 18 full page ads and 12 partial pages. The current Strategist of the Society has 50 pages and 10 full page ads.

While the Society talks about PR in general, each issue of the O’Dwyer magazine includes a focus on a specialty such as healthcare, tech or financial and provides documented net fee rankings of the leading firms in each category. Other O’Dwyer products not matched by the Society are its Directory of 1,700 PR firms, PR Buyer’s Guide to 1,000 products and services in 57 categories and weekly newsletter.

O’Dwyer said the Society has many services the O’Dwyer Co. does not provide and that both organizations should be working together for the advancement of PR people.

O’Dwyer Also Verbally Assaulted

Besides the pen-gifting incident described above, O’Dwyer was verbally assaulted while waiting to be picked up in the front of the Washington Hilton Hotel late in the afternoon of Oct. 16.

A tall, heavyset man came out of the hotel and directed a string of profanities at O’Dwyer which was witnessed by a hotel doorman.

The complaint was that O’Dwyer had improperly “kissed” new Society Western director Marisa Vallbona when she walked through the hotel lobby the day before.

O’Dwyer said that he and Vallbona had exchanged 48 e-mails since Aug. 13 (including 43 from her) and that he regarded her as a close friend. One e-mail to Vallbona gave her a chance to see the web story about her nomination before it appeared on the web.

One of her e-mails said: “I know you are so frustrated that they [Society leaders and staff] aren’t responding to you and I don’t blame you for being frustrated.” She said O’Dwyer had to get answers from them and not from her.

“I came over to Vallbona as she passed me in the lobby and embraced her lightly and gave her either an ‘air kiss” or brushed her cheek lightly,” said O’Dwyer, adding, “There was nothing wrong about this.”

An e-mail to O’Dwyer Oct. 22 by Society VP-PR Arthur Yann said: “Following the Assembly, you got into a verbal (and by some accounts, physical), altercation with an Assembly delegate, which was observed by a board member and other conference attendees.”

The indication from this is that Yann knows who the person is who assaulted O’Dwyer, the definition of assault being “violent verbal or physical assault.”

O’Dwyer said there was no physical contact between him and the delegate.

Vallbona, in her candidate presentation, had criticized the Society for its lack of diversity. She said it is “dominated by a specific type of member” and that she is “Hispanic and can count on my two hands the number of Hispanic members I’ve met in the Society over the past two decades.”


The PR Society reported nine months operating loss of $581,822 vs. a loss of $1,033,389 for the same 2009 period. There was a gain of $119,135 on investments resulting in a net loss of $462,687.

IRS Form 990, originally due May 15, was filed Sept. 16 and as with last year was not available to Assembly delegates.

A printed copy was received at the O’Dwyer Co. Oct. 15. There is as yet no electronic version on GuideStar or Foundation Center 990 Finder or the Society website.

The Independent Sector, a group of 800 non-profits, recommends that non-profits post their audits and 990s on their websites early in the year and avoid seeking extensions. The audit of PRS is dated April 4, 2010.

Form 990 shows that COO Bill Murray, after receiving a $50,000 raise in 2008, received a $10,289 raise to $323,068 in 2009. He also received $32,500 in retirement/deferred compensation and $18,050 in nontaxable benefits.

Terms of his two-year contract that started in January 2010 are not available.

VP-PR Arthur Yann, with the Society since August 2008, has become the fourth highest paid employee at $137,687. He receives more than VP-special events Karla Voth, with PRS since at least 1991, who was paid $135K; professional development director Judith Voss, a staffer since at least 2000 ($115K), and VP-membership Jennifer Ian, a staffer since at least 2003 ($121K).


Internet Edition, October 27, 2010, Page 8




The more than 250 delegates at the PRSA Assembly Oct. 16 were deeply divided about what PR’s role will be in 2015.

The split mirrored the divide among delegates about the worth of the APR program.

A move to let non-APRs on the board for the first time in 30+ years was defeated but it was argued long and hard in a Society e-group. The vote was 173 against the change but 104 in favor of it.

Delegates, who were given the entire afternoon of the Assembly to discuss the future of PR, were split about the importance or non-importance of the press.

A large majority saw a decline in press size and credibility and some suggested the press is destroying its own self because of lack of “fairness and objectivity.”

A slide summed up this view:

“News is no longer vetted [meaning subjected to thorough and diligent review—ed. note] and gate-keepers [such as us] increasingly are being eliminated.

“The concept of ‘news’ and its corresponding ‘news values’ as they have evolved over the course of nearly two centuries is being diluted if not dissolved.

“Much, if not most, of the content in the new media has become once again ideological with no attempt at fairness and objectivity according to the traditional concept of news and its news values.”

The slide also says the new media are “creating a healthy skepticism about the truthfulness of media, refocusing responsibility on the consumers of these media.”

Patrick Jackson, 1980 Society president, was briefer in 1994 when he told Morley Safer his practice with the press was “duck ‘em, screw ‘em, and go direct.”

Another slide talked about the “deprofessionalization of traditional media and arguably, PR.”

“We Desperately Need” the Press

Several delegates objected to minimizing the role of the press and to the view expressed in another slide that said PR people must “Embrace IMC (integrated marketing communications) to reach highly distracted publics in a competitive communications environment.”

The slide urged PR people to work with traditional and new media but also work with advertising and marketing to achieve “strategic goals.”

However, one delegate said, “Don’t write off the traditional press.”

“Reporters are now living in different worlds where they continue to serve as experts and they represent a voice that we desperately need,” said the delegate.

Another said reporters and editors are losing their jobs for one reason or another but they are learning to adapt to the new economics and technology and “will be back stronger than ever.”

Mike Cherenson, 2009 Society chair, said the New Jersey chapter held a meeting that featured an international speaker and only eight people showed up.
But a session featuring reporters drew 80, he said.

Bleak Job Picture Painted

Prof. Donald Wright of Boston University said the PR job market is “saturated” and that beginners are lucky to get $35K in New York.

PR people have to move around a lot to make more money, he said, because the conglomerate-owned agencies limit raises to 3% every 15 months.

A delegate said information technology was not only supplying the hardware but “taking control of content.”

Another thought expressed was that the profusion of new and old media is causing PR pros to “lose control of their audiences…your audiences are shifting and you’re not going there with them.”

A delegate said “the words public relations can’t be expanded to include communications and we must deal with that.”

A professor complained that college PR courses are often years behind what is happening in the markeplace because “it takes a long time to change a curriculum…by the time the changes are made, they’re outdated.”

A delegate said the Society “led the way” in offering seminars and webinars on social media but that such courses now flood the Internet, providing stiff competition.

Where Are We Now?

A delegate wanted to know how the PR study groups could talk so much about where PR will be in five years when there is no description of where PR is now.

His question went unanswered.

We had our own thoughts after watching this debate for nearly three hours.

Regrettably and unprofessionally, the Society wouldn’t let us tape this dialogue and thus far has said it won’t offer a tape of the Assembly (which was made) to members.

Up until 2005, transcripts of the Assembly were available for the asking. Last year, the Society wouldn’t even make a transcript.

Society members as well as non-members should be able to study what was said Oct. 16—just like sports fans get to see interesting plays in super slow motion. This is one of the reasons sports are so popular these days. Almost all sports (with the exception of baseball) have embraced the new technologies and have expanded their audiences.

The reactionary culture of PRS is nowhere more evident than in its refusal to audiocast the Assembly or provide a transcript of it. Also hidden is the voting record of the delegates.

Proxies were again allowed in violation of Robert’s Rules but there is no word on the number of proxies voted, who voted them or how they were voted.

The reporting we’ve done above is not as complete as we would like because the Society forbade us from making our own recording. We’re hoping the Committee for a Democratic PRSA will stay alive and push for an Assembly transcript and delegate voting record. These documents belong in member hands.

Third Party Endorsement Unmentioned

The delegates could not say where PR is now and there was little mention of PR’s past.

But PR pros had a firm grip on what their job was in the 1960s, 70s and part of the 80s—make as many press friends as possible and boost the image of employers and their products by obtaining “third party endorsements.” Also, pick up any “skinny” the reporters might have.

Socializing by PR pros and their spouses with reporters and their spouses was the norm. We were guests at more than 30 homes of PR pros and reciprocated.

There was a parade of lunches, dinners and entertainment events thrown by companies, ad agencies, PR firms and trade groups such as the Ad Club of New York and Ad Women of New York. Reporters were invited to the Silver Anvil Awards dinner of the Society and served as judges of the awards (including this reporter three times).

PR people would be better able to predict the future of the industry if they studied the past and what is happening now.

— Jack O'Dwyer


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