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Internet Edition, November 24, 2010, Page 1


Hill & Knowlton has announced it is merging with powerhouse sister WPP lobbying shop, Public Strategies Inc., a government relations firm with 175 staffers in Austin, Dallas, Mexico City and Washington, D.C.

Jack Martin, founder and chairman of PSI, becomes executive chairman of the combined entity that springs to life on Jan. 1.

H&K Paul Taafe assumes the global CEO slot, while PSI CEO Dan Bartlett, a former counselor to George W. Bush, becomes CEO of H&K USA and remains at the helm of PSI.

Each firm will retain its brand for the immediate future in the operation with 2,300 staffers in 44 countries.


Brian Tierney, the Philadelphia PR maven who tried to turn around the city’s top daily newspapers, has moved back into the PR game.

Tierney, who was ousted as the newspaper group CEO in April after it filed for bankruptcy, has started Brian Communications Group, a King of Prussia, Pa.-based holding company for Brian PR and digital marketing shop Realtime Media, the latter being an acquisition.

“I have a rather unique background and I’m finding that CEOs, corporate boards and top communications officers are seeking out this type of counsel,” Tierney said.

His previous agency, Tierney, continues to carry his name and Interpublic owns the rights to the name Tierney Communications after buying his firm in 2001.


Jim Manley, a longtime Senate press aide and key PR professional for Democrats in that chamber, is stepping down as spokesman and communications director to Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Manly spent more than two decades in the Senate as a PR and communications staffer for Reid and Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and George Mitchell (D-Me.).

Reid, in a statement, called Manley “one of the best communicators I have ever had the fortune of working with.”

Reid, who was re-elected this month, announced a revamp of Democratic communications in the Senate this week that includes merging his own messaging operation for the party led by Manley with the Democratic Policy Committee, a combined entity to be led by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).


New products of PR service companies will be highlighted starting in January in a new “New Products Section” of O’Dwyer’s magazine.

“PR pros are very interested in the many new services that can help them do their jobs better,” said publisher Jack O’Dwyer.

The January issue includes the annual “PR Buyer’s Guide,” which is used all year long by the PR industry.

“New PR Products” will be a paid advertising section like the PR firm profiles each month. Cost is $150 for 200 words. Pictures or artwork are $50 extra.

The section will also appear on and the news will be picked up in this NL.

Send copy and images to John O’Dwyer at [email protected].

Deadline for the inaugural section is Friday, Dec. 10.


India has tapped Podesta Group to keep eye on the U.S. political scene, maintain contacts with Congress/staff and work with reporters and non-governmental organizations. A formal contract outlining terms of the arrangement has not yet been finalized.

Podesta is to build on the warming ties between the U.S. and India gained from President Obama’s trip to New Delhi, where he “bonded” with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, earlier this month. Following a joint-press conference, the two warmly embraced.

India’s PM is among a handful of world leaders to publicly back U.S. economic policy. Obama expressed support for a permanent India seat on the United Nations Security Council. The countries announced a U.S.-India Partnership on Open Government and pledged cooperation on nuclear control issues.


Dissident members of PR Society of America, dissatisfied with information-witholding practices of current leadership, are studying the protest against such practices waged by the Houston chapter in 1985.

The chapter in January of that year voted to withhold national dues until leaders provided more information. National president Dave Ferguson met Jan. 13, 1985 with the board which was dissatisfied with his “evasive” answers to some questions.

Houston, headed by Dave Dodrill, demanded written answers.

(Continued on page 7)


Internet Edition, November 24, 2010, Page 2


Huntsworth announced today that 2010 revenues will fail to meet management expectations as contract negotiations with large international accounts are taking longer than anticipated. Its stock fell 7.1 percent to 71.75p on the news.

CEO Peter Chadlington remains confident the delayed revenue will hit Huntsworth’s books next year. This year’s profit is in line with expectations.

He notes that Huntsworth has made the “very difficult transition from being a series of loosely affiliated companies into a streamlined, efficient international communications business.”

For instance, Grayling, which accounts for 49 percent of group revenues, has picked up big wins such as Hilton Worldwide and Volkswagen Middle East.

Huntsworth also announced that Tymon Broadhead, group finance director, is leaving the company and board of directors, during the first-half of 2011 to “pursue other career interests.” He will be replaced by Colin Adams, who will join from Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.


PepsiCo has created a new global reputation post and tapped APCO executive VP and seasoned corporate communications veteran Timothy Cost to fill it.

Cost takes the reins as executive VP, global corporate affairs, for the beverage and snack company on Dec. 1 reporting to chairman and CEO Indra Noovi. His mandate, according to the company, is “strengthening and protecting PepsiCo’s corporate reputation” and aligning its communications, policy, foundation, IR and other agendas.

“As the role of corporations in society continues to evolve, it is critical that we be very thoughtful, strategic and consistent in how we reach out to our many different stakeholders,” Noovi said in a statement.

Cost was EVP at APCO after serving as senior VP, corporate affairs, for $22 billion drug giant Wyeth, now part of Pfizer. He held similar roles as executive VP and senior VP at Aramark and Pfizer, respectively. Other stints included Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Centocor.


Ronni Chasen, a longtime Los Angeles publicist and former senior VP of global publicity at MGM, died Nov. 16 after reportedly being shot five times and crashing her Mercedes-Benz in Beverly Hills.

Chasen, 64 and a veteran Hollywood PR pro who worked on campaigns for “Driving Miss Daisy” and “On Golden Pond,” has run her independent PR firm Chasen & Co. for years. She was tapped for the MGM post in 1993.

L.A. news station KTLA-5 reported that police received multiple calls about gunfire and a vehicle accident around Sunset Boulevard and Whittier Drive and found a female driver with gunshot wounds in the wreckage of her car at around 12:30 a.m.

She had apparently driven into a light pole and was later pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.


The U.S. Leadership Coalition has hired Glover Park Group to stave off cuts to the U.S. international affairs budget as Republicans get set to control the incoming 112th Congress with cutting on their minds.

The Coalition, in the aftermath of this month’s election, issued a statement to say that though it recognizes “budget realities” it is critical to support the Defense Dept. which calls for “greater investments in the civilian side of our global engagement tools.” It looks forward to working with expected Speaker of the House John Boehner to forge “cost-effective programs which are critical to building a better, safer world.”

In September, the Coalition released a poll that found nearly 90 percent of military officers agree that public diplomacy and a strong military are critical to U.S. security. Eighty-three percent say food/health/education assistance and economic development funding are important to national security.

The Coalition also favors federal programs to support exports, saying each dollar spent returns $40 to the U.S. economy.

The Coalition includes more than 400 companies and non-governmental organizations like General Electric, Northrop Grumman, Wal-Mart, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Pfizer, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Microsoft, Mars Inc. Better World Campaign, Lockheed Martin, Mercy Corps and International Rescue Committee.


The U.S. Navy is looking for a PR software and media management vendor through an RFQ process with a short turnaround.

The Office of Naval Research’s corporate strategic communications office issued the RFQ on Nov. 17 with a Dec. 3 deadline for quotations. It wants a web-based PR software platform with a media database and plans to award a year-long contract with four option years.

Download the RFQ at


Mark Seifert, a senior advisor in the Commerce Department, and Erik Hotmire, former SEC staffer and Senate communications director, have joined Brunswick Group's Washington, D.C., outpost.

Hotmire, who takes a director slot at Brunswick, headed external and internal communications for the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman and senior officials since 2008, a term which included scrutiny from the financial crisis. That posting followed a stint at Clark & Weinstock.

He also managed communications for the Bush administration’s USA Freedom Corps and held PR posts for Sens. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.).

Seifert, an attorney and partner at Brunswick, has been a senior adviser to the Dept. of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Agency during the Obama administration, following time in the House and at the FCC. He worked the Kerry-Edwards and Wesley Clark presidential campaigns.


Internet Edition, November 24, 2010, Page 3


The Washington Independent, the non-profit investigative website, is closing after a three-year stint, according to a post from its editor Aaron Wiener.

TWI, which sent reporters to Afghanistan and Guantanamo, “was not just a journalistic experiment, but a financial one, and ultimately, the successes of the former couldn’t sustain the strains of the latter,” he wrote.

The site relied on donations from “foundations seeking to promote journalism in the public interest,” but those donations began drying up long ago,” according to Wiener.

More than 20M people visited TWI’s website since its launch.

Wiener believes the “crisis in the world of journalism today isn't really about journalism - it’s about the bottom line.”

“Reporters and editors everywhere are trying to find a way to keep their very good work alive,” he said. “We thought our model had a chance. It put up a good fight.”


Forbes Media CEO Steve Forbes and COO Tim Forbes are exiting the publishing company.

Mike Perlis ex-CEO of Ziff Davis publishing and president of Playboy Publishing Group, takes the CEO reins Dec.1.

Steve Forbes stays as editor-in-chief of Forbes, while Tim assumes the chair of Forbes Digital.

The Forbes family sold a big chunk of their ownership position in 2006 to Elevation Partners, a Silicon Valley investment firm, for $250M. Perlis has been a partner in Softbank Capital for the last ten years.


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather is publishing his memoir, “Summing Up,” that will cover his career from the Kennedy assassination, Watergate to his messy departure from the once “Tiffany Network” over the piece about George W. Bush’s military service.

The 79-year-old Rather, who currently has an hour-long program on HDNet, wants to give readers “an honest perspective on the present and more important, on the future of news.”

The book is expected to be out in 2012. It will be published by Grand Central Publishing, which is part of Hachette Book Group.


PBS NewsHour has launched “PBS NewsHour Science” (, a site for the latest in science, engineering and technology.

Features will be compiled by NewsHour science correspondent Miles O'Brien, digital reporter Hari Sreenivasan and reporter/producer Jenny Marder.

There will be a weekly “Just Ask” section in which viewers' questions are answered by top researchers/scientists; twitter feeds; story links, and podcasts.

The site is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Science Foundation, Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


American Media, the Boca Raton-based publisher of titles like the National Enquirer, Star and Men’s Fitness, filed a prepackaged chapter 11 bankruptcy plan last week listing debts between $500M and $1B.

The company said the move is the next step in an ongoing financial restructuring that includes a play to “significantly de-lever” its balance sheet.

David Pecker, chairman, president and CEO, said the move will give AM the ability to “compete even more aggressively with our peers in the industry.” He said there will be no impact on its staffers or operations.


Seven-year American Media veteran Tara Kraft has been named editor-in-chief of Shape.

Kraft, who takes over for Valerie Latona, was beauty and fashion director of Star, including its 2004 re-launch as a glossy mag.

Latona has left the company. Kraft reports to AM president and CEO David Pecker.

“It will be an empowering, must-read, that not only inspires women to set life-improving goals, but gives them the tools to reach them,” said Kraft.


Maryam Ayromlou, a 16-year broadcast journalist, is now at Ruder Finn as senior VP in its New York office.

She joins from CBS News/“The Early Show,” where she was supervising producer responsible for planning interview-driven segments.

Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of RF, says Ayromlou’s experience in knowing how the media think and operate and her knack of crafting stories that build credibility will be big plusses for the independent firm’s clients.

Ayromlou also worked at MSNBC and Fox News Channel. At MSNBC she worked eight years as primetime senior producer on programs such as “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.”

She was on loan to NBC in 2003 and traveled to Iraq for the start of the war and went to Iran with Tom Brokaw to cover the presidential election.

While senior producer at Fox, she helped launch “Happening Now,” a daytime news show.


Oxbridge Communications’ MediaFinder database is offering a free newspaper app for the iPhone and iPad that links to data on more than 8,000 U.S. and Canadian newspapers.

The MediaFinder app lets users to find newspapers by title and city/state to get descriptions of the publications and links to their websites.

Trish Hagood, president of said travelers and researchers can find local news, publishers can research competitors and PR people and advertisers can find new outlets with the service.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, November 24, 2010, Page 4


Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Robert Thomson is moving Washington bureau chief John Bussey to New York to write a weekly column on international business. He is upped to assistant managing editor and executive business editor.

The Journal and Newswires bureaus are now merged under bureau chief and Capital Journal columnist Jerry Seib and two deputy bureau chiefs.

Matthew Rose is responsible for daily coverage at the Journal, while Newswires’ Rob Wells “will have an enhanced role overseeing real-time reporting,” according to Thomson's memo to staff.

Thomson praised Bussey for “restructuring the bureau, promoting emerging talent and developing coverage at a time when our audience has grown significantly.”


MSNBC suspended Joe Scarborough, the former Congressman and current “Morning Joe” host, after he informed management of his political contributions, a violation of NBC ethics policy.

Scarborough made eight contributions between 2004 and 2009 to local candidates running for office in Florida.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin said of Scarborough in a Nov. 19 statement: “He will immediately be suspended for two days without pay and will return to the air on Wednesday, Nov. 24. As Joe recognizes, it is critical that we enforce our standards and policies.”

Scarborough agrees with Griffin's decision, but noted that he gained nothing personally, politically or professionally from these donations.

The money went to his brother and three family friends and was considered by Scarborough to be "simple acts of friendship."

Griffin suspended Keith Olbermann, host of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” last month.


Sandy Johnson, a 30-year staffer at the Associated Press, has moved to the Center for Public Integrity as managing editor for politics and government. Johnson headed the AP's 120-member Washington bureau from `98 to `08.

Center executive director William Buzenberg touted Johnson's "sterling editorial instincts and proven leadership skills."

Johnson, for the past two years, produced state news for AARP Bulletin.


Sam Dealey, editor at the Washington Times since early this year, has left the paper as new ownership takes command.

Christopher Dolan, managing editor, is now acting editor of the paper owned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon and three former Times staffers bought the paper from Preston Moon for $1.

A national search is underway for a new editor.


News Corp.’s HarperCollins Publishers sued Gawker Media for posting excerpts from Sarah Palin’s book, “America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag,” that was officially released Nov. 23.

The material has been removed from the site.

HCP claims the posting of 21 pages of the book is a copyright violation, while Gawker says it is protected by fair use doctrine.

A Nov. 30 court date is set.

Palin had initially complained about the posting via Twitter.


Consumer Reports kicked off a holiday public education campaign Nov. 22 singling out 10 “naughty” and “nice” companies based on consumer policies for returns and fees.

A full-page ad in USA Today on Nov. 22 was backed by a Facebook campaign inviting consumers to list their own positive and negative feelings toward company policies.

Tod Marks, senior editor for CR, said the goal of the effort isn’t to endorse or hit one company or another, “but to call out specific policies that we think put consumers first or put them behind the eight ball.”

The top three “naughty” companies are electronics retailers. tops the list for its no returns policy for TVs larger than 27 inches, as well as not giving a phone number for customer service on its website.

CompUSA follows for its “punitive restocking fees” of up to 25 percent and Best Buy is third for a 14-day grace period for returns of several electronics.

Spirit Airlines was whacked at No. 4 for charging $30 for carry-on bags in advance and $45 at the gate, and Verizon was jeered for doubling its smartphone termination fee to $350.

On the flip side, Southwest Airlines is lauded for its lack of charges for two pieces of checked luggage, including golf clubs or skis.

LL Bean got the No. 2 “nice” slot for its 100% satisfaction guarantee, which lets consumers return any item at any time for any reason.

Shoe e-tailer gets plaudits for its free shipping and free returns, while Costco, U.S. Cellular and Orvis also placed high in the ranking.


The New York Times debuted a membership-based film club Nov. 22 offering opportunities to attend screenings of new previews and restored classic films in New York and Los Angeles.

Membership costs $100 and the Times plans to host discussions with its journalists, film industry professionals and experts after screenings in 2011.

The first Times Film Club red-carpet screening will feature the digitally remastered “The Godfather” at The TimesCenter in New York on January 5.

Info is at

Intel, Marc Jacobs, Nespresso and Tourneau/TAG Heuer are sponsors of the endeavor.

Internet Edition, November 24, 2010, Page 5


Publicis Groupe has inked a deal to acquire 16-year-old Beijing-based PR agency Eastwei Relations, which will be folded into its MSLGroup division.

Eastwei, which works for Sony, IKEA and Porsche, among other clients, has 120 staffers across its Beijng base, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

Publicis has 3,700 staffers in 50 Chinese cities. MSLGroup CEO Olivier Fleurot said Eastwei will become a key hub for the PR unit in the Chinese market.

Johan Bjorksten, a media personality in China, is founder and chairman of Eastwei.

The deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions in the Asia region – including a move in India by Publicis earlier this year – by global PR agencies.


Groundfloor Media Communications, a Denver-based PR firm, has won an RFP process to guide a statewide campaign to increase the number of Centennial State residents with post-secondary degrees.

Gov. Bill Ritter introduces the campaign Nov. 8.

The effort, dubbed Complete College Colorado, is led by the office of Gov. Bill Ritter with private and public-sector support from entities like Qwest Communications and The Piton Foundation.

GroundFloor media, working on a six-figure contract, was tasked with launching the campaign’s website, blog, Facebook page and YouTube channel, as well as events and other PR efforts like media outreach. Key points of the campaign are highlighting the impact of a degree on the state’s workforce and economy, financial aid resources available, and programs available to help adults complete degrees.

Ritter announced the effort on Nov. 8 with a press conference in Denver noting the state’s ability to compete economically will depend on preparation "which will increasingly require a college degree."


Cossette Communications, the Canada-based advertising and PR conglomerate acquired in a private equity deal at the end of 2009, is being restructured into two entities – an integrated agency focused on Canada and a group of specialty firms for the U.K. and North America.

The holding company is also taking on the new name Vision7 International.

Claude Lessard, chairman and CEO of the Quebec City organization, said the move is intended to keep it ahead of an industry “that is experiencing a major reshuffling of its global business landscape.”

The integrated Canadian operation will retain the Cossette name and operate as a streamlined agency under CEO Brett Marchand.

The second entity, named Esprit de Corps Communications and containing its PR and social media operations Paine PR, Optimum PR and Band & Brown, among other units, includes specialty operations for the U.K., U.S. and Canada led by Gregor Angus in Europe and Colin Schleining in North America.

Cossette was taken private in a $115M acquisition led by Lessard and Mill Road Capital in December 2009.


New York Area

Makovsky + Company, New York/CW Financial Services, commercial real estate finance and investment management; Sica Wealth Management, financial planning, for media relations and social media; Wong Diversified International Investments, leader in the distressed real estate market, for comms. during its expansion, including brand positioning, corporate identity, website design and development, and a thought leadership program.

Bullfrog & Baum, New York/Lourdes Castro, director of the Culinary Academy at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla., and Chef Julian Medina, along with Medina’s restaurants, Toloache and Yerba Buena, for PR.

Carolyn Izzo Integrated Communications, New York/Los Cabos, Mexican vacation destination, a renewal of a 10-year PR relationship.

Susan Magrino Agency, New York/Eataly, artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in New York City, for media relations for a series of holiday season events.

Relevant PR, Staten Island, N.Y./Bella Media Group, parent of BELLA magazine, for PR.


March Communications, Boston/Affle, for PR in the U.S. for its cross-platform messaging application, Pinch iMessenger, including strategic consulting, product reviews, awards, event support and strategic SMS-based campaigns to drive adoption rates.

Devaney & Associates, Baltimore/Payce Payroll, payroll services, for marketing tools and strategic media outreach in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., metro area.

Sonata Venture Solutions, Westminster, Md./OpenTravel Alliance, travel-sector consortium focused on adoption of information standards, for marketing, branding and PR.

Gibraltar Associates, Washington, D.C./Vertichem, green tech based in Toronto, as AOR to include investor and media relations, shareholder comms., branding and social media. Executive VP Mike Smith manages the account.


E. Boineau & Company, Charleston, S.C./WSI B2B Marketing, digital agency, for media relations and marketing communications strategy.

TransMedia Group, Boca Raton, Fla./American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, to publicize the non-profit trade organization comprised of more than 22,000 medical doctors and health care professionals worldwide.

French/West/Vaughan, Tampa, Fla./FIMC, membership-based benefit programs, for PR targeting the automotive aftermarket industry.


The Loughlin/Michaels Group, Sunnyvale, Calif./ViVu, venture-backed startup that makes videoconferencing software, as AOR for PR.

The Sturgess Company, Newport Beach, Calif./Doctor Evidence, medical evidence and literature technology, for medical marketing.

— Greg Hazley

Internet Edition, November 24, 2010, Page 6


Monitoring services provider VMS has been tapped by the National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics for media monitoring and analytics services.

Celtics VP of corporate partnerships and business development Ted Dalton said the club will track its PR activities and “further quantify this for our corporate and community partners.”

“The Boston Celtics is an historic franchise, and we’re pleased an organization with such a storied history sees the power our media monitoring provides,” said VMS president David Stephens.

The Celtics have won 17 NBA championships, tops among the league’s franchises.

VMS has also signed a deal with New York-based Hunter PR.

GM Amy Coles said the service “allows us to provide better reporting and more placements for our clients.”


PR software provider Vocus has hired M&A executive James Bruno as senior vice president of corporate development for the company.

Vocus made three acquisitions this year -- HARO (U.S.), BDL Media (China) and Datapress (France) -- and said more are likely in the works.

President and CEO Rick Rudman said the market is “laden with opportunities” and said Bruno will help the company identify targets.

Bruno had been in the pharmaceuticals sector, working as VP of sales Remedi Senior Care for the past two years and senior VP of commercial operations for Arpida.

Previous stints included marketing and PR posts at Medimmune, Pharmacia and GlaxoSmithKline.

Vocus’ third quarter revenue was up 17% to $24.7M.


News dissemination and media contacts service MyPRGenie has unveiled a new version of its platform that embraces social tools like “follow” and “like” options that companies can incorporate into their newsrooms.

Miranta Tan, CEO, said MyPRGenie 5.0 represents the “first business social network designed solely for companies to promote themselves.”

New features include sharing buttons for social media, an iFrame which shows a company’s website in a press release and profile, along with greater search optimization for content.

UPCOMING: Wed., Dec. 1 -- IABC Web Seminar, Building a Case for Social Media: Why it’s Vital to Your Brand’s Success and How to Get the C-Suite on Board," with Paolina Milana, Marketwire’s EVP of Marketing, Media and Editorial Operations. Cost: Member Site License/$219.00. Info:



Jennifer Little, former executive VP of Amies Communications, to Rubenstein PR, as a VP for the firm's financial and real estate clients. She was previously at Kitchen PR. Sara Gramling, former A/S at Kaplow Communications, joins Rubenstein as an associate VP in the firm's consumer and lifestyle units. She previously handled accounts at Keith Sherman & Associates.

Margaux Caniato, VP of marketing and advertising, Liz Claiborne Inc., to Veeder+Perman, New York, as a partner and chief innovation officer. The agency has been renamed VP+C to reflect the addition. She was previously director of PR/corporate marketing for Claiborne.

Jim Dissett, GM and director of PR for Riester in Salt Lake City, to Vladimir Jones, Denver, as director of brand communications. He held senior posts at GroundFloor Media, Vanguard Communications and Ogilvy PR Worldwide in Denver.

Adam Singer, who handled social media and SEO campaigns for TopRank Online Marketing, to Lewis PR, San Francisco, to lead its U.S. social media practice. Singer, who founded the marketing blog, reports to senior VP Lucy Allen.

Pippa Isbell, VP of corporate communications at Orient-Express Hotels, to CEO of PRCo Ltd, London, effective Jan. 2011. Isbell built up and sold her own agency, PIPR, in 1998, when she joined Orient-Express.The firm has offices in New York, Paris, Moscow, Munich, Milan and Dubai.


Jay Leveton, CEO of Burson-Marsteller’s Proof Integrated Communications and managing director at Penn Schoen Berland, to executive VP, worldwide, for B-M. The WPP-owned firm said he will work closely with senior worldwide management and U.S. CEO Pat Ford to focus on growth in the U.S. He continues to oversee Proof and is serving as the interim chair of the U.S. brand marketing practice. Richard Powell, COO, Worldwide, at B-M takes the additional role of global corporate practice chair to build the marketing and growth of B-M’s global corporate business. EMEA CEO Jeremy Galbraith, based in Brussels, was named global public affairs practice chair. Don Baer, worldwide vice chair, gets a larger role as chief strategy officer and a member of the firm’s senior management team. He’ll also head the expansion of the firm’s global strategy team.

Denyse Smith Mesnik to VP, corporate communications, Beasley Broadcast Group, Naples, Fla., a publicly traded radio station operator. BBG owns 45 stations mostly in the southeastern U.S.

— Greg Hazley


Internet Edition, November 24, 2010, Page 7


The chapter, with 450 members, is currently the ninth biggest and was similarly ranked in 1985.
The ban was lifted in

March when answers were obtained. Ferguson had also threatened to drop boycotters from the 1985 members’ directory.

Current chapter president is Stephanie Dedeaux, communications lead at Hess Corp.

What Would 1985 Houston Do?

Rank-and-file members currently are not allowed to see the national list of Assembly delegates, know how they vote, or know what they say while in session.

Transcripts and tapes of Assemblies have been withheld since 2005. Suggestions that the Assembly be audiocast are ignored.

Publication of the members’ directory was stopped in 2006 on the ground that it was too expensive and quickly out-of-date.

Members said a PDF of the directory would be up-to-date and not involve any printing or mailing by h.q. but leaders refuse to discuss this.

About 48 Staff Names Removed

As of this year, members can’t see the names and contact points of the 55 h.q. staffers. Only seven names remain.

For the second year in a row, leaders withheld IRS Form 990 from the Assembly.

It contains pay/benefits of the top eight staffers and other information not in the audit (such as legal costs which were a record $124K).

Current pay (2009-10) of COO Bill Murray is withheld. Pay/benefits and nontaxable benefits totaled $373K in 2009.

Houston Fought All Year

Houston/1985 fought all year long with national leaders.

The Society’s current “Media Policy” ( says no volunteer leader or even rank-and-file member may speak with the media "as a representative of PRSA and/or on PRSA's behalf" without the permission of VP-PR Arthur Yann or one of his staffers. Not even the elected chair can give permission for an interview.

Houston/PRSA in the 1980s complained that directors, district and section heads had no business being in the Assembly and thus voting on their own proposals.

The major issue in 1985 was the possible move of h.q. from New York to one of seven other cities whose chapters made extensive pitches for it-Houston, Dallas, Denver, Chicago, Indianapolis, Memphis and Atlanta.

Oddly, Washington, D.C., the most logical city for Society h.q. after New York, was not allowed to pitch.

National Capital chapter president Paul Forbes said no one at h.q. asked him for anything. He said he felt strongly that D.C. is the “only logical place” for the office and would be “amazed” if another city was chosen because it made the “best presentation.”

Most trade groups have either moved to D.C. or have a branch there, he noted. NCC currently has by far the largest number of members in its area-1,350+ or about double the 767 in the New York chapter.

Twenty-five Houston members including the entire board sent a petition in August 1985 to the national board demanding that any relocation decision be made by the Assembly.

The Society’s lease at 845 Third Ave. (52nd St.) was up in April 1987.

Staff Threatened to Quit

However, the board voted 7-5 at its meeting Aug. 16 to keep h.q. in New York. One factor was that virtually the entire staff of 40 said it would quit and it would cost $200k in fees to recruit new staff.

Houston Chapter president Margot Dimond, currently a principal in DoubleDimond PR of Houston, ( accused h.q. of “railroading” the issue and member Wellington Osterloh said the board's action “without even waiting for discussion by the Assembly is an outrage and unprofessional.”

Dimond said the issue would be pressed at the Nov. 19 Assembly in Detroit.

The board told the Assembly it would reconsider its decision after a 126-20 vote to ask for such reconsideration. The board not only stuck to its decision but chopped the rebellious Assembly in half-permanently cancelling the spring Assembly on the ground the Society couldn't afford it. One beef of Assembly delegates was that the board refused to come up with projected costs for staying in New York.

Payroll costs rose from $1,027,652 in 1987 to $5,368,206 in 2009. Occupancy costs rose from $160,741 in 1987 to $755,982 in 2009.

Anti-New Yorkers Got Their Way

Assembly delegates, all APR, miffed at their quest to move h.q. from New York, shifted the offices out of midtown to midtown south (17th St.).

The APR program, meanwhile, lost $2,926,080 from 1986-2002. Only 55 of the 767 members of PRSA/NY are APR.

The losses on APR were $104,781 in 1987, $120,000 in 1988, and $150,410 in 1989.

Such losses mounted to $205,771 in 1997, $329,235 in 1999, and $441,467 in 2000 which was more than the occupancy costs that year of $393,586.

Offices were shifted further away from the New York PR/ad/media community in 2004 when a 13-year lease costing $5.6 million was signed. The roomy new offices had 22,000 sq. ft. vs. 14,000 sq. ft. at 33 Irving.

PRSA/NY, after decades at h.q., was evicted in 1992 on the ground that the Society needed the space.

The 2010 Assembly, which rejected a roll call vote on allowing non-APRs on the board, cut off debate after 30 minutes, and then trounced the APR reform by nearly a two-to-one margin.


Sard Verbinnen & Co. and Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher are working the $485M acquisition of electronic payment systems provider Hypercom Corp. by European rival VeriFone Systems.

The deal, announced Nov. 17, has been approved by the boards of both companies. VeriFone CEO Douglas Bergeron said his company made the deal to establish itself in Europe, where Hypercom is entrenched in the secure payments market.


Internet Edition, November 24, 2010, Page 8




Bill Margaritis of FedEx and PR pro-turned author Wendell Potter want to restore trust in corporations but from different viewpoints.

Margaritis, chair of the Arthur W. Page Society, whose guiding principle is “Tell the truth,” told the Institute for PR Nov. 11 that a poll by Frank Luntz for FedEx found almost 40% of Americans have “little or no trust” in “corporate America and 47% have little or no trust in CEOs. Such numbers “have never been worse,” he said.

The Margaritis approach, emphasizing the positive, calls on CEOs to lead the way in bridging any gap between a company’s lofty ideals and actual practice.

He calls for the development of “reputational intelligence” which he defines as creating a “holistic approach to managing culture, brand, and reputation and the interdependencies among them, in a multidisciplinary framework with all internal stakeholders at the table.”

Margaritis asks for “good old fashioned truth and candor” and “getting past a mania for control which is simply not realistic in most circumstances today.”

Companies “must teach and empower even junior communicators to respectfully question and probe business practices, standards and proposed actions with their business-side counterparts,” he said.

Potter Lives in Different World

The world of Potter, who we heard for two hours on Nov. 16, the day his book, Deadly Spin, was published, is a completely different one. It is almost entirely negative although the ex-Cigna chief spokesperson does concede that “PR has also been used to great and positive effect for deserving individuals, organizations and causes.”

While the Margaritis speech is mostly abstract, Potter’s book is loaded with facts, figures and individual cases.

His big beef is the soaring cost of healthcare, an issue that is the No. 1 complaint of PR firm owners, according to Rick Gould of StevensGouldPincus.

Annual cost of a mid-level family plan by Oxford, the most popular insurer in New York, reached $25,068 this year. Individual cost is $8,040. Average Cost of a non-group family plan rose 13% to $52,248, said the New York State Insurance Dept.

No Recession for Healthcare

The Great Recession that caused untold misery for millions of Americans and businesses was unnoticed by insurers who had boosted group health plans by 97% for families and 90% for individuals from 2000-2008 which was 3.3 times as fast as the rise in wages and 4.6 times faster than general inflation, says Potter.

The five largest insurers—Wellpoint, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Cigna and Humana—had profits of $12.2 billion in 2009, up 56% from 2008.

One result of the high cost of a family plan is a sharp decline in marriages.

Only half of Americans are getting married now vs. 72% in 1960, a Pew study showed.

A recent college grad with a spouse and children would carry a $25K healthcare bill that has got to be paid by the employer one way or another.

The Obama health plan failed to obtain the government-run “public option” that the President once said was needed “to keep insurers honest,” notes Potter, although he is in favor of the plan as better than nothing.

The plan will force millions to buy coverage by HMOs. The U.S. remains the only industrialized nation without a single player plan.

Front Groups Targeted

Also a main target of Potter’s is “front groups.” He says corporate sponsorship is often masked by companies that use their PR firms to “launder” money that goes to the groups. PR firms may not list such groups among their clients if they have a public list of clients at all.

Potter says that if he had his way he would file “felony” charges against groups that mislead the public.

He says it is “perfectly legal for them to mislead and misinform.” Those who pay insurance premium dollars often are not aware how some of their dollars are being spent, he says.

Potter decries the simultaneous gain in PR jobs and decline in journalism posts. He quotes a 2008 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report as saying PR people now outnumber journalists by nearly five-to-one—240,610 “PR specialists” to 50,690 “reporter/correspondents.”

UNITY Layoff Tracker said that 45,559 jobs were lost in journalism from Jan. 1 2008 to late 2009—three times the rate of job loss in other industries. Some estimates are that half the journalists working in 2001 no longer have full time jobs in that industry.

Almost all PR people in the past two generations have gone directly into PR “without first steeping themselves in the hard-and-fast rules of journalist and its ethics,” Potter writes.

Journalists are “Shouted Down”

Potter describes “attack PR,” saying there’s an “unsettling effort to shout down legitimate traditional sources of news” and that “inflammatory, often outrageous rhetoric is used recklessly to inspire anger or even incite violence in an effort to gain financial power.

Calculated dishonesty uses the news media as a whipping boy in order to instill mistrust of the ‘mainstream media’ and turn audiences toward alternative, biased ‘news’ sources with barely disguised agendas.”

That comment struck a responsive chord in us since a PRSA Assembly delegate shouted a stream of obscenities at us in front of the Washington Hilton Oct. 16.

We had been barred for the first time from recording or taking pictures of the Assembly or having the assistance we needed since only note-taking was allowed.

We were also blocked from the Assembly lunch. PR Society press policy can be summed up as: brainlessly nasty.

Potter, a longtime member of the PR Society, lamented that it dropped enforcement of its Ethics Code in 2000.

He describes the activities of numerous “front groups” and urges readers to be wary of groups with positive-sounding names that provide no physical addresses on their website nor full details of their sponsors.

— Jack O'Dwyer


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