Contact O'Dwyer's: 271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471; Fax: 212/683-2750
O'Dwyer's Inside News of Public Relations & Marketing Communications -
ODWYERPR.COM > Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter return to main page

Return to NL Archives Index

Jack O'Dwyer's NL logo
Internet Edition, November 10, 2010, Page 1


The 73-year-old organization that manages the downtown business district of Long Beach, Calif., is seeking pitches from PR firms to evaluate and improve its internal and external communications.

The private entity, known as Downtown Long Beach Associates, handles collective marketing and economic development for the area, which includes 1,300 companies, 15,000 residential units and one million square feet of retail space.

The DLBA issued an RFP Oct. 28 open through Nov. 19.

Scope of work includes tasks like producing a communications audit and development of messaging and communications protocols within a timeframe of three to four months.

Download the RFP at


The Mexico Tourism Board wound down work with APCO Worldwide on June 1, according to the independent PR firm’s federal filing.

The firm had provided counsel on trade, security, border, and tourism issues under the $1.4M pact agreed upon in 2009.

APCO had 15 people handling the work. The firm received $705,113 in professional fees from Mexico during the six-month period ended Sept. 30.

The Mexico Tourism Board has a separate one-year pact worth $330K pact with Qorvis Communications.


The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a state-backed, $3 billion embryonic stem cell research institution, has renewed its relationship with Fleishman-Hillard, following a competitive RFP process.

Don Gibbons, chief communications officer for the CIRM, said seven proposals were received after an RFP went out in late May.

F-H has worked with the CIRM for the past two years.

The institute, the first of its kind in the country, sought pitches to handle traditional PR, social media and other outreach on an 11-month contract capped at $125K/year.

Forging ties with thought leaders, patient advocates and the public are all on the agenda.

The CIRM was created by statewide voter referendum in November 2004 with the passage of a $3B bond issue, following the Golden State’s creation of the first law to permit such research in 2002.


The National Museum of American Jewish History has retained Podesta Group to obtain federal outlays to support its programming as it readies for its grand opening this weekend in Philadelphia. VP Joe Biden will preside over the ceremony.

The new $150M five-story complex is located on Independence Mall, across from the Liberty Bell, and a block from the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall. The goal is to explore the more than 350 years of American-Jewish experience via exhibits, interactive displays, lectures and performance art.

In July, the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution that recognized the NMAJH as the only U.S. museum “dedicated exclusively” to the “American Jewish experience.”

The grand opening events include a panel on “how the meaning and rhetoric of freedom have changed for Jews throughout their history in America” and performances by Bette Midler and Jerry Seinfeld.

Podesta’s Israel Klein, ex-communications director for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Dale Oak, former staff director on the House Appropriations Committee, represent the NMAJH.


Allison Gollust, executive VP of corporate communications for NBC Universal, will step down when the company’s megamerger with Comcast is consummated, likely at the end of the year.

NBC CEO Jeff Zucker had previously been told by Comcast that he will not be retained.

Comcast in early October brought in Abernathy MacGregor Group president Adam Miller as a senior advisor as the $30 billion deal moves toward fruition.

COO Steve Burke has worked with Miller for more than a decade and said he will be a great asset to the company, an endorsement that could put Miller atop the media giant’s corporate communications apparatus.

Gollust is a 14-year veteran of NBC.


PRSA/West Michigan chapter president Robin Luymes of Davenport University has yet to reveal any decision on a complaint made to the board by Jack O’Dwyer.

O’Dwyer asked the board to reject charges by board member and Assembly delegate Derek DeVries that he had lost touch with reality (like John Nash as portrayed in “A Beautiful Mind”), and that he was a “legendary curmudgeon,” or had inaccurately described a “Flash Mob” of delegates that attacked him at the Assembly.

(continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, November 10, 2010, Page 2


The Northeastern Ontario region of Canada, a 103,000-square-mile area above the Great Lakes which is facing a declining population, is trolling for proposals to create a marketing and promotion campaign to attract immigration.

The region’s four major cities – Sault Ste Marie, Timmins, North Bay and Sudbury – have issued an RFP under the Timmins Economic Development Corp. for a campaign to steer people and, in turn, development to the area.

“The initiative is to work as a collaborative partnership to enhance the national and international profile of the region,” reads the RFP, which has a deadline of Nov. 12. “A joint marketing campaign can only strengthen North Ontario as a destination for relocation.”

The population decline – nearly nine percent since 1996 – has led to a labor shortage and coincided with paltry new investment, while straining existing business in the rural region. Sudbury, for example, will tout its access to North American markets and proximity to New York, Detroit and Chicago.

The outreach campaign will include French-language marketing targeting major cities like Montreal and Quebec. RFP is at


Gephardt Group Government Affairs represents Switzerland’s SICPA Product Security, which wants to affix its digital stamp on American cigarettes to counter smuggling.

Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett has been pushing the Smuggled Tobacco Prevention Act, which requires a digital stamp, as a tool to recover lost federal tax dollars. It also is a way to combat organized crime and terrorism (Hezbollah). The Treasury Dept. has called cigarette smuggling a threat to national security.

SICPA’s American headquarters is based in New York. Turkey, Brazil and California use SICPA’s digital tracing system.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt is working the SICPA business with his former Congressional chief of staff Tom O’Donnell and ex-government affairs director at Hartford Financial Services Group Joel Freedman.


GolinHarris has named Clint Schaff VP in its Dialogue digital and interactive media group in Los Angeles. He reports to Jeff Beringer, Dialogue practice leader, and Judy Johnson, western region managing director.

Schaff is the former new media director at Roll International, home of brands such as POM Wonderful, Fiji Water, Teleflora and Wonderful Pistachios, which made its mark during the World Series with an ad featuring former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich as pitchman.

The Dialogue group has handled projects such as McDonald’s “Happy” program for BlogHer, launch of PetSmart’s Martha Stewart for Pets line on Facebook and “Smash It” video program for Texas Instruments.


The University of Virginia’s Tayloe Murphy Center has issued an RFP for community engagement and media relations to support the center, which develops programs to spur entrepreneurship in downtrodden areas.

The TMC, affiliated with the school’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, was renamed and re-launched in 2009 amid “low existing awareness,” a reality blamed on earlier iterations of the center with different missions that caused confusion.

Tayloe Murphy is an attorney and former state assemblyman and Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources.

Media engagement, events, marketing strategy and other tasks are outlined in an RFP released Nov. 3.

Deadline for proposals is Nov. 22 with a pre-proposal conference slated for No. 16.

Download the RFP at


Schramm Inc., the Pennsylvania hydraulic drilling company that vaulted into the public eye as it assisted the rescue of 33 miners in Chile last month, has brought in DeFazio Communications to help with PR.

DeFazio, based in Conshohocken, Pa., is tapped as agency of record to handle an international media relations program telling the story of how the company’s rig contributed to the rescue effort, which drew global attention.

The firm picked up the assignment for West Chester-based Schramm through the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, an economic development engine supporting manufacturing companies in the region.

Firm president Tony DeFazio said said his firm is “honored” to represent a company “that has galvanized the world’s attention around the power of American ingenuity and tenacity.”

Schramm had several rigs in Chile when the mine collapse occurred on Aug. 5. Pennsylvania’s governor, Ed Rendell, wrote a letter to Chile’s president offering the services of Schramm, an offer which was accepted.

Schramm, which is privately held with annual sales of around $100M, provided four rigs for the rescue.


Long Island PR firm Harrison Leifer DiMarco is making an anti-bedbug pitch for new client Bargoose Home Textiles, which has created protective bedding covers to ward off the critters wreaking havoc on hotels in the New York area.

HLD’s PR division is reaching out to editors in the hospitality and healthcare trade press about the “bedbug barrier bedding” with the goal of reaching purchasing managers for those institutions.

HLD’s marketing unit is redesigning the product's packaging with a “how-to” guide for using the product.

Julie Gross Gelfand, executive VP and director or PR at HLD, told O’Dwyer’s that the assignment was landed when a Bargoose principal who is on the board of the Greater Five Towns Jewish Community Center in Cedarhurst, N.Y. viewed a marketing pitch from HLD to the center, which is now a client.


Internet Edition, November 10, 2010, Page 3


Tribune Co. creditors filed lawsuits against real estate mogul Sam Zell and his advisors who engineered the $8.2B takeover of the publisher of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune that is now in bankruptcy.

The suit calls the leverage buyout transaction “among the worst in American corporate history.” It was designed to “cash out the large shareholders of the Tribune and to line the pockets of defendant Zell,” it maintains.

The suit alleges that Zell “acted grossly negligently” in pushing for the deal.


News Corp reports that 105,000 people are paying to read the online versions of The Times and The Sunday Times of London. Half are regular readers, while the rest are occasional viewers.

Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News International, says the figures show that “large numbers of people are willing to pay for quality journalism in digital formats.”

The Times and Sunday Times lost more than 40 percent of their online readership since the paywall was erected during the summer.


Twitter has hired its first Washington staffer Adam Sharp as the company seeks to bolster ties with political and policy leaders.

Sharp, who was an aide to Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, is to manage government and political partnerships, according to a tweet from the company's general counsel, Alexander Macgillivray.

Twitter has been working with the State Dept. to use the microblogging platform as a communications tool.

Most recently, Sharp was an executive producer at C-Span.


MSNBC has lifted its two program suspension of Keith Olbermann, which was put into place Nov. 5 after news hit that he donated to three political candidates, a move that violates the network’s ethics policy.

Network president Phil Griffin issued a statement Nov. 7 that said “after several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night's program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy.”

Olbermann’s suspension triggered a wave of protest, including a protest petition by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee that garnered more than 300K signatures.

The "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" host gave $2,400 each to Democrats Jack Conway, who ran for the Senate seat in Kentucky, and Arizona Reps. Paul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords.

Network policy requires prior approval from NBC News president Steve Capus for any donations or political activity.

Olbermann said he did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election cycle.


Unification Church head and Washington Times founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon backed by a collection of fired staffers have bought the conservative paper from Moon’s oldest son, Preston, for $1 and assumption of millions in debt and liabilities.

Ex-WT president and publisher Thomas McDevitt, chairman Douglas Joo and finance chief Keith Cooperrider are returning to their posts. They had been ousted by Preston Moon, who took control of the paper four years ago.

Circulation of the WT is about half of the 87K weekday circulation that it last reported in 2008. The paper employs about 130 people.

Restored management wants to expand sports, metro and entertainment coverage that had been sliced under Preston Moon's ownership.

Joo said the brand has had many ups and downs, but is now ready to blossom.


Clare Reckert, who had a 44-year career at the New York Times and who performed for 29 years in the “Financial Follies” of the New York Financial Writers Assn., died Nov. 4 at the age of 100.

She was the first female financial writer at the NYT and for many years used the byline “C.M. Reckert.” Publisher Orvil Dryfoos, after meeting her one day in the composing room and discovering her gender, told her to use her full first name.

She started at the paper as a secretary for the financial desk and got into writing by preparing press releases for use by reporters who were out on assignment.

Reporters thanked her and gave her tips on writing.

Helping her to win an editorial berth was a shortage of male reporters during World War II. She said financial editors called on her to do numerous chores including financial writing.

Randy Forsyth of Barron’s, a former NYFWA president and a nephew of Reckert, reported her death. She was in good health and mentally alert until recently, he said. Her run in the “Follies” started in 1975, the first year that NYFWA allowed women members, and continued through the 2004 show.

Reckert, who retired in 1981, said she received “pretty nice treatment” from NYT editors but she also felt she had to work twice as hard as a man to prove herself. Her major assignments included covering the feud that developed between Howard Hughes and TWA and Ford Motor Co.’s first earnings report.


Social media users “adopt” fewer than five companies online on average, whether by “liking” on Facebook or following on Twitter, according to a study by Cone.

New media users demonstrate affinity for only 4.6 companies online, the cause marketing firm found, calling that “club” one of the “most exclusive to which a company can hope to gain access.” An estimated 33% of users do not follow any brands and only 8% follow 10 or more companies. Full report at

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, November 10, 2010, Page 4


A blue chip crowd of more than 1,000, paying up to $50,000 for a table of ten, will attend the annual Awards Dinner of the Committee to Protect Journalists Nov. 23 in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria.

Chairman of the event is Sir Howard Stringer, chairman, CEO and president of Sony Corp. Host is Brian Williams, anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”

CPJ raised $3,852,513 in 2008, its latest available financial report. This was a steep decline from $6,307,423 raised in 2007. It lost $3.8M in the stock market in 2008 and saw its net assets dip to $9.3M from $12.9M.

While CPJ is mostly concerned with physical violence and jailing of journalists abroad, a topic of conversation at the dinner is bound to include the steep decline in employed journalists in the U.S. coupled with an increasing hostility to much of the press in business and political circles.

U.S. journalists were especially miffed by the ridicule heaped on them by TV figure Jon Stewart at his “Rally to Restore Sanity” that attracted more than 200,000 to Washington, D.C., last month. He said the country’s “24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator” may not have caused certain problems but “its existence makes solving them that much harder.”

“Distrust of the media was laid down throughout the rally by video montages of ranting broadcast bobble heads,” wrote New York Times columnist David Carr Nov. 1.

Politicians ‘Mad’ at Media

A NYT story Oct. 31 headlined: “Politicians Seem to be Fighting Mad This Election Year at the News Media.”

Sarah Palin was called one of the leaders of the attacks on media. She has referred to “the lame-stream media” and referred to an unnamed reporter of the Congressional Quarterly as “You idiot reporter!” She said the reporter falsely reported that she had sought a speaking engagement in Iowa.

Republican consultant and Burson-Marsteller counselor Dana Perino, who was White House press secretary from September 2007 to January 2009, said the press has long been attacked for its perceived liberal bias but that “I do think there’s something larger going on.”

Journalists are well aware of the love affair that business is having with social media. Those who see mainstream media as biased and unfair now feel they have a way to bypass such media and go directly to target audiences via SM.

Estimates are that about half of U.S. journalists have lost their jobs since 2001.

Chair of the CPJ board is Paul Steiger, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and now editor-in-chief of ProPublica. Honorary chair is Terry Anderson, a former AP correspondent who was a captive for seven years until 1991 of the Shiite Hezbollah during the Lebanese civil war.

The nearly 300 donors to CPJ include such blue chips as Altria Group, American Express, Blackstone Group, Bloomberg, Citigroup, Dow Chemical, Ford Motor, GE Foundation, Goldman Sachs & Co., Johnson Foundation, Microsoft Corp., NBC, New York Times Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Prudential Financial, Samuel Newhouse Foundation, Sony Corp. of America Foundation, Time Warner, Viacom, and the Washington Post.

There are no press tickets to the dinner. Reporters may purchase a ticket for $500 to $1,000 or sit in the balcony and not take part in the dinner.

PR Is Mostly Absent

Absent from the list are any of the major PR firms, the ad conglomerates, or any of the more than 15 PR associations. The only PR firm listed is Brunswick Group.

Some individual PR pros are listed including Lois Whitman and Peter Verengia. Also listed is Carl Spielvogel, former ad columnist of NYT who became head of Interpublic.

Honored at the dinner will be Mohammad Davari of Iran, who exposed abuses in the Kahrizak detention center; Nadira Isaveva of Russia, who reported on violence in North Caucasus; Dawit Kebede of Ethiopia, jailed for reporting on 2005 election violence; Laureano Marquez of Venezuela, “the scourge of left wing president Hugo Chaves,” and Arveh Neier of the U.S., who will receive the Burton Benjamin Award for a lifetime of achievement in press freedom. He founded the Human Rights Watch in 1978.

CPJ Tracked 838 Murders Since 1992

CPJ has tracked 838 murders of journalists since 1992 including 539 who were “murdered with impunity.” Some journalists are killed in battle but most of them are hunted down and murdered. Little or no investigations follow. Another 454 journalists have been sent into exile since 1992.

CPJ investigates violations of press freedoms including lawsuits against them, imprisonment, the denial or limiting of reporters to news events; materials confiscated or damaged, and cases where “freedom of movement” is impeded.

It investigates the denial or suspension of “credentials” of reporters.

'Credentials' Condemned by INSI

The International News Safety Institute, Brussels, which tracks abuses of journalists worldwide, is strongly against the “credentialing” or “accrediting” of journalists.

“The exercise of journalism and journalist freedoms is not made dependent on accreditation,” says Principle 11 on “Use of Accreditation Systems.”

Should there be an accreditation system in place, “accreditation should normally be granted,” it says.

“Accreditation should not be used for the purpose of restricting the journalist’s liberty of movement or access to information…” says the Principle.

Journalists should not have to grant “concessions” in order to obtain accreditation, it further says.

Other groups that help journalists who encounter obstacles to their coverage of news include the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

— Jack O’Dwyer

Internet Edition, November 10, 2010, Page 5


ICR is providing financial communications support for China-based tutoring services company Xueda Education, which went public with a $127.6M initial public offering on Nov. 2.

William Zima and Michael Tieu, managing directors for ICR/Asia, are handling the assignment.

Xueda, which runs 157 learning centers in 44 cities, sold all 13.4M of its American depository shares at the top end of the offering of $9.50 a piece. The company said it will use about $90M to shore up its operation platform and technology, and to develop new services.

Xueda shares rose as high as $14.73, a 55 percent gain, in the first day of trading before settling at $12.50.

Goldman Sachs was global coordinator for the offering.

Xueda tutored 54,000 students in the first half of 2010.


Burson-Marsteller has re-entered the Malaysian PR market after 12 years with an office in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The outpost, which staffs six consultants under the direction of Fleishman-Hillard vet Joycelyn Lee, is in addition to the firm's Malaysian affiliate, Essence Communications.

Bob Pickard, president and CEO for B-M's Asia-Pacific operations, noted the country was one of the first in Asia where the firm opened an office. That operation ran from 1973 through 1998.

Lee, a former journalist for publications like The Sun and The New Straits Times, was an acting GM and VP for F-H in the country.

The re-opening in Malaysia follows the firm's re-entry into Jakarta 2006 after pulling the plug there in 1996.


Longtime IR and financial sector consultant Stan Altschuler has set up New York IR shop Strategic Global Advisors to handle services like investor outreach, perception studies and financial media relations for small cap companies he says are underserved by larger firms.

Altschuler said his firm is "seizing on the opportunity that many of the bigger investor relations agencies are ill-equipped to service their small cap clients adequately because their staffs don't understand all of the intricacies involved."

He's worked with companies across the world like Linc Energy (Australia), AT&T Latin America, Boots & Coots, an oil and gas services company that was acquired by Halliburton, and Quality Care, a home health care company.

RFP: International - domestic marketing and tourism PR for The Maldives Marketing and PR Corp.; deadline 11/24/10. RFP is at

EVENT: PRSA/N.Y. half-day workshop, “Crisis Preparedness for Corporate Communicators,” Tues., Nov. 30; 12:45 p.m. (registration). Info:


New York Area

Dera, Roslan & Campion PR, New York/Reader’s Digest Media, for PR, media relations for its magazine and book publishing divisions. Founder/CEO Joe Dera said the firm picked up the work from a referral from a consultant who worked with DR&C client HGTV and Scripps Digital Network.

Dentsu Communications, New York/The Siemens Foundation, science, technology, mathematics and engineering education support, as AOR for PR.

Nancy J. Friedman PR, New York/Duane Street Hotel (Tribeca, NYC), for PR for its re-launch in the North American market.

G.S. Schwartz & Co., New York/School Choice International, educational consulting service; USA Toy Experts, consultancy, and Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business, a longtime client of the firm, for a PR project.

Gibbs & Soell PR, New York/Investment Program Association, direct investment trade group, as AOR.

Martin Media, New York/Vilkri, creator of a virtual financial coach at, for PR.


March Communications, Boston/Affle, Singapore-based mobile media company, for U.S. PR for its cross-platform messaging application, Pinch iMessenger.


Attention, Alpharetta, Ga./NRG Laser, stress reduction therapy, for PR.

TransMedia Group, Miami/SkyShop Logistics, private postal network in Latin America, to publicize its expanding cross-border online shopping and delivery services in Latin America.


Martin Flory Group, Gurnee, Ill./Raritan, maker of marine appliances like toilets, water heaters and icemakers, for PR.

Buzzphoria, Novi, Mich./ArtJen Complexus U.S.A., manufacturer and distributor of weight-loss supplement Mirafit fbcx, as AOR for social media.


Hunter Outdoor Communications, San Antonio/Blue Ryno Foundation, non-profit for critically ill children and their families, for PR and marketing on a pro bono basis.


Rogers & Cowan, Los Angeles/GenAudio Inc., developer of AstoundSound 3D sound localization cue software for motion pictures, concerts, videogame and consumer electronics applications, as AOR.

The Rogers Group, Los Angeles/Dole Food Company, for PR and social media for its first Rose Parade float in January. TRG is working with HQ and PrizeLogic on the campaign.

Spelling Communications, Los Angeles/CASA/LA, foster child advocacy non-profit, for community and media relations.

Susan Bejeckian PR and Somerville Associates, Los Angeles/San Diego Marriott La Jolla, to publicize a renovation and introduce new products and services at the 360-room hotel.

— Greg Hazley

Internet Edition, November 10, 2010, Page 6


Cision said it has enhanced its Twitter monitoring tool JournalistTweets, which tracks reporters on the microblogging service, adding more countries and topic feeds to its scope.

The PR software company said it has added Twitter content from France, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and India to its tracking of the U.S., Canada, the UK, Germany, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Australia.

The service is also providing a "Klout Score," which measures overall online influence based on several variables like followers and retweets.

Brett Safron, senior VP of business development, said the service gives PR users the ability to make new industry connections, find new sources for story research, and better understand the breadth and nature of breaking global media coverage.


Synaptic Digital has beefed up its U.S. sales team to coincide with its first major product launch, a "communications command center" known as MediaCentre.

Byron Carlisle, formerly of Clean Focus, Slide, and MeeVee, has been tapped to head Synaptic's San Francisco operations as VP of client solutions for the Northwest.

Tom Morrissy, executive VP of North America sales said it became evident that the company needed to “aggressively” grow its U.S. team as it enters a period of “rapid growth.”

Phil Schulz, previously with web video marketing company Turnhere, was named director, client solutions, also in San Francsico. Also, Deirdre Willits, who worked in Medialink’s D.C. office, carries that same director title out of Denver for Synaptic. And Robert Foster, who worked the digital video space at Narrowstep, and Whitney Siavelis, sales leader for MediaNet, have joined the company in New York as VPs, client solutions.


Bill Wagner, chief marketing officer and four-year veteran of Vocus, has been promoted to executive VP and chief operating officer of the company.

Under CEO Rick Rudman, Wagner handles day-to-day global operations in sales, service and marketing, primarily focused on its growth in the U.S., Europe and China.

Rudman said the company now has more than 30,000 customers and about 700 employees. He said Wagner was upped to support such growth and Vocus expansion beyond PR software into marketing and social media.

“I’m confident he will provide even more depth to the executive management team in his expanded role,” said Rudman.

Wagner was CMO of mobility and security software company Fiberlink and was previously at AT&T for 11 years in various sales and marketing posts.

Vocus also promoted of CFO Steve Vintz to executive VP/CFO. His duties overseeing financial, legal, HR and administrative areas remain unchanged.



Suzanne Andora Barron, who once helped manage the global communications program for Samsung Group at Edelman, has joined Reputation Architects in New York. She began her career as a staffer on Rep. John Dingell’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee and worked at the Korean Foreign Trade Assn.

Cameron Reed, intern at PRStreet, to Howard, Merrell & Partners, Raleigh, as an A/C handling Butterball and BASF Plant Science.

Brittany Richardson, an intern at HMA Public Relations, Phoenix, has been hired as an A/C.

Leslie-Anne Frank, contributing writer for Essence Communications, and Zayda Rivera, formerly of Arcos Comms. and The Ave Magazine, to Lagrant Communications, Los Angeles, as multicultural communications strategists on the firm’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation account targeting African-American and Hispanic consumers and media.


Brian Besanceney to head of public, government and industry relations for World Disney World, Orlando He adds the duties of Shannon McAleavey, who stepped down as VP of public affairs in September after a five-year stint. Besanceney, a former deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, oversees media relations, internal and external comms. for the Florida resort and leads government and industry relations for Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide.

Jeff Holland to associate director of PR and social media, American Suzuki Motor Corp., Irvine, Calif. Holland, a GM vet who joined the company in 2008 as senior manager, PR, reports directly to Koichi Suzuki, EVP, American Suzuki Automotive Operations.

Louise Kehoe and Dan La Russo to co-leaders of the Western region of Ogilvy PR Worldwide's U.S. technology practice, based in San Francisco. Kehoe joined five years ago while La Russo is a 10-year vet.

Porter Novelli has restructured its global healthcare practice with new roles for existing staffers and hires in New York and London. Chief medical officer Barbara DeBuono leads the practice as global director of health and social marketing. She works closely with Shipra Singh, healthcare leader for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Susan Hayes, who had been working for her own shop, has re-joined PN to serve as partner in New York managing its Novartis business. Cheryl Nigro has joined as an EVP to lead its Merck business from N.Y. And Kimberly Santiago joined in London from Hill & Knowlton as associate director handling men’s health care brands. Sarah Schapira has also re-joined the firm in London from Tonic Life Comms. an account director on women’s healthcare brands.

— Greg Hazley


Internet Edition, November 10, 2010, Page 7

PRSA W. MICH. MUM ON REQUEST (cont’d from 1)

Luymes said the request would be taken up by the board at its regular meeting Nov. 3.

Postings in the DeVries Twitter space indicated the board did not take the request “seriously.”

One participant in the DeVries Twitter space said he was “trying not to laugh about the Flash Mob story, but it IS quite funny,” adding the question: “Is the ‘trial’ as serious as it sounds?”

DeVries replied: “Nope—he asked us to discuss the conduct of WMPRSA’s delegates (i.e., me) and we did. He also demanded we endorse/promote his products.”

O’Dwyer had asked the board to recognize that the O’Dwyer Co. has five excellent products that are in competition with Society products.

Prof. Penning Sees “Harassment”

Responding on the DeVries Twitter area was Prof. Tim Penning of Grand Valley State University, who said O’Dwyer e-mails to him and other chapter members were O’Dwyer’s “MO—harassment.”

O’Dwyer said such a comment is odd because Penning, in a nearly full page article in the September 2008 Tactics of the Society, waxed eloquent about the need for PR pros to “listen as well as communicate to their publics,” saying they should “seek opposing views for the good of the public.”

Quoted in support of listening to others’ viewpoints and taking part in free and open debate were John Milton, John Stuart Mill, Alexis de Tocqueville, Scott Cutlip, Allen Center and Glen Broom, and James and Larissa Grunig.

O’Dwyer said the last reply he received from Penning was more than a year ago in which Penning claimed he was bogged down with 18-hour work days and had no time for O’Dwyer materials.

Financial Times Takes Poisoned Tylenol

The venerable Financial Times of London, has become at least the seventh media victim this year of the myth that Johnson & Johnson acted quickly and ethically in removing Tylenol capsules from store shelves in 1982 after seven people were murdered with poisoned capsules.

Columnist Michael Skapinker enthused Nov. 1 that ever since 1982 “J&J’s decisive action (after the murders) has been held up as the model of corporate crisis management.” He asked that the Tylenol story be “retired” because it was a “more straightforward” case and that current PR crises (such as BP) are a lot “messier.”

Prof. Tony Jaques of RMIT University, Australia, pointed out earlier this year that the five days J&J waited before ordering a recall is not “quick” or “immediate” or “decisive” by any stretch of the imagination, even in 1982.

Jaques said the easily-doctored capsules should never have been marketed in the first place and certainly not after they were used to murder seven people.
What J&J did quickly was rush back onto the market six weeks later with the flawed capsules in “tamper-resistant” packaging.

Far from ordering an “immediate” nationwide recall, J&J initially removed two small lots from the marketplace and only ordered a full recall after another person was poisoned (not fatally) in Oroville, Calif., five days after the initial murders.

J&J then offered a $100,000 reward for information after the first murders, an amount some critics say should’ve been in the millions.

The same uncollected $100K was offered after Diane Elsroth, 23, of Peekskill, N.Y., died of poisoned Tylenols in 1986. The FBI initially found that the triple seals on the Tylenol bottle had not been compromised.

A sidelight is that J&J fought the families of the 1982 victims in court for eight years, dragging out their misery before settling on the day before a trial was to begin.

Scott Bartz, a nine-year employee of J&J who knows its distribution channels and is writing a book about the crisis called “Tylenol Mafia,” has raised doubts over whether the poisoning took place outside of J&J as claimed by the company. At the very least, he deserves a hearing.

2010 Tylenol ‘Victims’ Listed

--New York Times in a May 3 story by Natasha Singer praised J&J for its “fast and adept” handling of the 1982 murders.

--Christian Science Monitor said Jan. 15 that J&J’s actions in 1982 are still “regarded as a shining example of corporate social responsibility.”

--The Economist said April 10 that J&J/Tylenol is the “gold standard of crisis management.” Staffer Adrian Woolridge wrote that under the name, “Schumpeter.”

--The Motley Fool ( on May 6 said J&J “has always been the poster child for how to handle a crisis.”

--Advertising Age columnist Al Ries wrote May 3 that the Tylenol brand is “so strong that even seven murders could not inflict much damage on it” (either that or the business press is so weak—editor’s note). says “J&J’s “quick response” in 1982 “has become the gold standard for corporate crisis management.”

Previous Tylenol victims include Fortune magazine on May 28, 2007, which hailed J&J/Tylenol as the “gold standard in crisis control” in a full-page feature, and Tactics of PRSA, which devoted a full page to the subject, praising J&J’s actions as “an enduring example of crisis management done right.”


Rubenstein Communications is handling the pre-packaged Chapter 11 filing of the fabled MGM Studios, home of the Wizard of Oz, Ben Hur and James Bond.

Creditors have approved a plan to forgive more than $4B in debt in a revamped MGM that will be run by Spyglass Entertainment co-founders Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum. Spyglass movies include “The Sixth Sense,” “Invictus” and “Get Him to the Greek.”

Barber and Birnbaum said MGM is “emerging from one of the most challenging periods of its storied history.” They are ready to lead “one of Hollywood’s most iconic studios into its next generation of unforgettable filmmaking and global TV production and distribution.”

New York-based RC is headed by Steven Rubenstein.


Internet Edition, November 10, 2010, Page 8




A panel titled “Financial Journalism under Fire” was one long hue and cry by journalists who say they discover scandals but find their stories are ignored.

One panelist suggested they give themselves a “Cassandra Award” named after the Greek god who was able to predict disasters but could find no one who would believe her.

“Exhibit A” in the journalists’ tale of woe was the “outing” of mega thief Bernie Madoff by Erin Arvedlund in Barron’s in 2001.

She checked with option traders who said Madoff could not possibly get the results he was reporting.

Arvedlund’s major piece, the result of months on the story, ran May 7, 2001 under the title “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It highlighted the secrecy that marked the Madoff operations.

“There was no reaction,” she moaned, adding, “I wish I had followed up…I wish I had proceeded further.”

She then expressed sympathy for the people who lost billions (total was about $65 billion), saying further stories by her might have prevented it.

Her book, “Too Good to be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff,” was published this summer (Penguin). A blurb on the front cover says the book is by the “author of the groundbreaking 2001 Barron’s article on Madoff.”

Kandel Calls for Follow-Up

Moderator Myron Kandel, former CNN financial editor, said it was not enough for journalists to expect action just because they wrote a story that appeared on the front page of a major medium.

Arvedlund should have pressed her case with SEC commissioners and gone over their heads to the legislative and executive branches of the government, he said.

Kandel is on the right track.

Reporters can learn a lot from PR pros, many of whom have switched from just “getting ink” to getting “results” or “outcomes,” as they also call it.

Arvedlund should have asked herself, “What is my goal?” The goal was to save investors from being bilked out of billions.

She and her editors should have called a press conference. Barron’s should have shared its research with other media.

Big companies, many of them fierce competitors, often band together in trade associations to push their causes.

They not only work via their trade associations but create “coalitions of coalitions” in Washington, D.C.

Journalists and their organizations tend to be “lone wolves.”

Avredlund’s “trade association” was the New York Financial Writers Assn., which Kandel headed in 1986-87. She should have made speeches to financial and general audiences and tried to obtain time on TV and radio.

She could have become a “Joan of Arc” dedicated to leading the financial reporting press corps. She could have sought the help of a PR firm. One panelist noted that editors rarely let a reporter concentrate on one story to the exclusion of others.

Kandel said failure to follow up on stories and seek action was a major flaw of financial journalism.

As evidence that financial journalism mostly failed in warning about financial abuses he noted that no Pulitzer Prizes were awarded for financial journalism in 2008-09.

Henriques Cites Cassandra

Diana Henriques, NYT senior financial writer who is writing a book about Madoff, asked, “What do you do when what you report is ignored?”

“Remember who Cassandra was,” she said. “She was able to predict disasters but no one would believe her. What is the appropriate media response when a story like Erin’s and other fine stories…are ignored by policymakers and lawmakers…at what point does the subject for criticism become a dead horse…you keep saying it over and over again?”

Kandel noted at the beginning of the panel, which took place April 30, 2009 at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism (and which we just discovered) that good stories “were rarely followed up.” He said reporters incorrectly believe that people are going to read their stories and “do something.” He noted that financial fraud investigator Harry Markopolos complained to the SEC for years about Madoff and was ignored.

Markopolos called the SEC a “captive of the industry it regulates that is afraid of bringing big cases against the largest and most powerful firms.” He said that as he dug into Madoff’s affairs he began to fear for his life because he was convinced that Russian mobsters and Latin American drug cartels were Madoff clients.

Avrelund’s article focused on the wall of secrecy around Madoff. After months of compiling details about him, she finally caught up to him on a “scratchy international telephone line” while he was traveling on a boat in Switzerland. He wouldn’t go into “details” and did not tell her “anything of note.”

Avrelund talked to more than 100 people in researching Madoff but fewer than five ever met him.

Reporters Lack Knowledge

Jon Friedman, columnist, said many financial reporters were lacking in basic knowledge about such financial instruments as credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations.

Kandel asked those in the audience how many were familiar with such devices and only a few raised their hands. Sal Nuccio, a life active member of the NYFWA who has written on insurance for the NYT, said the credit default swaps were actually insurance used as a “gambling device” and the CDOs had “no backing whatever,” providing a “false sense of security.”

Markets were doing so well that no one wanted to look too closely at what was happening, he said. One producer told Susan Lisovicz, CNN stock market correspondent, “We know financial news is important but try not to make it seem like medicine.”

— Jack O'Dwyer


Copyright © 1998-2020 J.R. O'Dwyer Company, Inc.
271 Madison Ave., #600, New York, NY 10016; Tel: 212/679-2471