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Internet Edition, January 5, 2011, Page 1


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans has issued an RFP to review its pool of PR and advertising agencies for use over the next seven years.

Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Ketchum and Porter Novelli are winding down five-year pacts awarded in 2006.

As assignments arise, the CMMS will get pitches from its selected group for firms in a process known as indefinite delivery indefinite quantity, or IDIQ.

The work includes targeting Medicare recipients, their family and friends, people who will soon "age in" to the program, as well as healthcare influencers and other populations. The sweeping healthcare reform law passed this year includes several changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Agencies selected will get year-long pacts with extensions that could stretch to seven years. Proposals are due Jan. 26. A series of documents for the solicitation can be downloaded at


Andy Cunningham, a pioneering high-tech PR executive, has been named chief marketing officer at Rearden Commerce, an e-commerce platform company.

The 54-year-old exec got her start at Burson-Marsteller, but made a splash at Regis McKenna Inc., where she led the launch team for Apple's Macintosh computer. She founded Cunningham Communication in 1985 and sold it to Huntsworth in 2000.

Prior to joining Rearden, Cunningham was CEO of CXO Communication, a brand strategy and communication outfit that works with top corporate executives.

Rearden develops systems for companies in the travel, procurement and finance sectors.


John Engler, CEO of the National Assn. of Manufacturers, is taking the helm of the Business Roundtable advocacy group.

The three-time Michigan Governor will join the group Jan. 15 after his seven-year run at NAM. He succeeds John Castellani, who is becoming CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Engler, 62, says he's excited for the chance to “advocate for American innovation and job growth on behalf of the country's top business leaders.”


Lanny Davis & Assocs. has quit a $300K three-month pact signed last month to provide “substantial documentary evidence that President Laurent Gbagbo is the duly elected president” of the Ivory Coast.

Gbagbo wants the bulk of the money that it paid upfront to LD&A returned.

The resignation comes as the United Nations and U.S. call for Gbagbo to step down following his Nov. 28 electoral defeat and African nations mull military intervention in the Ivory Coast to oust the strongman.

Gbagbo, who has the support of Ivory Coast’s military, claims the international community has declared war against his country, where nearly 200 people have been killed in post-election rioting.

In his resignation letter, Davis, who was President Clinton’s legal counsel and said the resignation was “difficult,” said he quit because Gbagbo refused to cooperate in a plan to arrange a call with President Obama.


The Port of Los Angeles’ PR division has put out an RFP for an employee communications program open through Jan. 28.

The work includes conducting and analyzing an internal communications survey of the City of Los Angeles' Harbor Department and its 500+ staffers, and then implementing a communications program to improve the division's collaboration, engagement and job satisfaction.

The 7,500-acre Port of L.A. is the country’s busiest container port and No. 8 in the world.

Download the RFP at


DeVry Inc., the publicly traded for-profit educational company, has tapped Holland and Knight to “enhance and improve relationships and awareness of higher education issues with the U.S. Congress.”

The $30B for-profit college sector, which accounts for 12 percent of U.S. undergraduates and earns nearly a quarter of federal Pell grants for low-income students, faces an array of investigations.

DeVry’s team is led by Moises Vela, ex-dir. of management and administration in the office of Vice President Joe Biden, and Shawna Watley, legislative assistant to ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey.

DeVry received an image boost Dec. 16 with the release of a report by McKinsey & Co. that cited it along with seven other colleges for successfully combining effective educational practices with good management.


Internet Edition, January 5, 2011, Page 2


California's Travel and Tourism Commission is on the hunt for a public affairs firm to build the group's "corporate brand" and promote public awareness of the Golden State's travel and tourism sector.

The commission kicked off an RFP process on December 22 for a $100K pact asking agencies to respond with an intent to bid by Dec. 29. Proposals are due Feb. 2.

The work will target key decision makers as well as the public, in addition to burnishing the image of the commission and tourism sector among destination marketers, media and elected officials.

Development Counsellors International is the commission's consumer PR firm on a $300K a year contract through 2012. Sapient handles interactive and MeringCarson is ad agency of record. More than a dozen agencies work overseas for the CTTC.


Rubenstein Associates is working the legal PR defense of Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was found guilty of embezzlement in a Moscow court on Dec. 27.

In a scathing statement issued through Rubenstein senior VP Charles Zehren -- a former Bloomberg finance editor -- Khodorkovsky’s chief defense lawyer said: “The conviction in this 22-month mock judicial process confirms the subservience of the judicial system in Russia to corrupt officials who continue to view Khodorkovsky as a threat and who seek to prevent his scheduled release in 2011.”

Khodorkovsky is the former chief of Russian oil giant Yukos and was once considered the country's richest person. He was convicted late last month with his business partner Platon Lebedev after serving an eight-year sentence for tax fraud.

Critics say the cases brought against Khodorkovsky are politically motivated by allies of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. His legal team has mounted an ongoing PR battle to amplify such accusations.


Doug Heye is stepping down as communications director of the Republican National Committee after 10 months in the slot under chairman Michael Steele.

Steele is seeking re-election atop the RNC in a five-way race, but support has been tepid.

Heye, who took the RNC post amid a shakeup in February 2009, was Steele’s comms. director during his failed 2006 Senate bid in Maryland and previously held that title for Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

Heye told Politico he wants to make a “clean transition” ahead of the election for chair.

Steele is squaring off against Ann Wagner, former ambassador to Luxembourg, Reince Priebus, a Wisconsin GOP chair, Maria Cino, a former RNC staffer, and Saul Anuzis, an ex-Michigan GOP chair.


Ireland’s WPP has acquired Blue State Digital, the shop responsible for President Obama’s fund-raising success during the 2008 election.

The Washington-based firm raised more than $800M for the “Obama for America” campaign. It has 130 staffers in D.C., New York, Boston, Los Angeles and London.

Founder, partner and chief technology officer Jascha Franklin-Hodge was director of software development for AOL’s music division before joining Howard Dean’s ’04 presidential bid.

Franklin-Hodge and chief creative officer Joe Rospars worked with Dean when he helmed the Democratic National Committee.

BSD says it chalked up $12.8M in ’09 revenues. It has run programs for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, HBO, American Red Cross, Harvard and AT&T.

WPP says BSD is an attractive acquisition target due to its expertise in online fundraising, advocacy, social networking and constituency development.


Tropicana Las Vegas plans a PR campaign to herald a $180M makeover and spring opening of the world's largest Nikki Beach.

Dubbed the ultimate beach club concept for a "unique blend of gorgeous people" from throughout the world, Nikki facilities are currently located in Miami Beach, Cabo San Lucus (Mexico), Marbella (Spain), Saint-Tropez (France), Saint Barths (French West Indies), Cabarete (Dominican Republic), Marrakech (Morocco) and Koh Samui (Thailand).

Shelly Mansholt, VP-PR at Tropicana, says the complex is to have “new best-in-class rooms and suites, new casino, restaurants, conference center and many other South Beach theme inspired changes, including the world's largest Nikki Beach set to debut in the spring.”

Mansholt has distributed an RFP to west coast PR agencies and is now in the selection process. A firm is expected to be hired by the end of January.


Statue Cruises, which runs ferry service to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for the National Park Service, is on the hunt for PR help to launch a hybrid vessel.

The hydrogen-powered ferry was a key component of SC winning the contract in 2007 from the incumbent Circle Line Downtown. It is under construction in Connecticut with an eye on launching in April 2011.

SC, owned by San Francisco-based Hornblower Cruises and Events, has issued an RFP for agency pitches through Jan. 12, 2011. It is looking for a firm to help leverage earned media for the vessel's launch, as well as create promotions, “hype and attention” for the cruises.

“We have two agencies who work for us now,” said Tegan Firth, manager of corporate PR for Hornblower. “We’re looking for short-term support of the launch of our new vessel.”

Quinn & Company works with Circle Line.


Internet Edition, January 5, 2011, Page 3


Gerry Spector, 63, is leaving the chief operating officer post at bankrupt Tribune Co., parent of Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.

He joined Tribune as executive VP and chief administrative officer following the $8.2B takeover of the media combine by real estate mogul Sam Zell.

Spector was a “tireless champion of efficiency and innovation,” according to a statement from Tribune’s executive council.

He “helped re-focus our efforts during a very difficult 2008, when the economy took a downturn and the advertising environment became extremely challenging.”

Spector held financial posts at Zell’s holdings before signing on at the Tribune in 2007. Zell plans to cut ties with the Tribune when it emerges from Chapter 11 in the spring.


Citadel Broadcasting, the No. 3 radio group with more than 200 stations in 50-plus markets, has rejected a $2B takeover bid by Cumulus Media, the second largest radio operator.

Las Vegas-headquartered Citadel blistered the surprise offer as “nothing more than a heavy-handed ploy to advance its own interests at the expense of Citadel and its shareholders.”

Its financial advisers, Lazard and JP Morgan Securities, studied the offer and determined it “was neither credible nor at an appropriate valuation.

They also worry about the “uncertainty surrounding what would be a lengthy and complex regulatory review process.”

Citadel, which uses Sard Verbinnen & Co. for media work, remains open to “carefully considering any credible acquisition.”

Atlanta-based Cumulus, which has about 350 stations in nearly 70 markets, says its $31 per-share offer represented a 71 percent premium to what Citadel shares had been trading.

CEO Lew Dickey is puzzled why Citadel chairman John Sander is “unwilling to engage with us to explore a transaction” that would benefit shareholders of both companies. He also counts plusses like national network expansion, corporate overhead reduction and increased scale.

Dickey and his financial team want to meet with Dickey to discuss the proposed deal “in conformity with your fiduciary duties.”


The Middle East PR Association, a trade group for the PR sector in that region, has for the first time fined a member firm for an ethical breach.

MEPRA said it fined Dubai-based d'PR 15,000 dirhams (about $4,000) for editing a photograph from the group’s annual awards banquet – at which the firm won Agency of the Year honors – and sending that image to the press. The agency apparently removed the logos of sponsors from the MEPRA-supplied photograph like Hill & Knowlton and Grayling and inserted d’PR’s own logo into the shot.

D’PR won the group’s Agency of the Year honors and three other awards at the event.

MEPRA issued the fine and banned the six-year-old firm from its awards competition next year for the breach of its ethical code.

The firm has been placed on 12-month probation and staffers are also being required to sign MEPRA’s ethics code of conduct and receive training. They are required to attend a May symposium on ethics and the firm has sent letters of apology to sponsors of the awards event.

D’PR managing director Camilla d’Abo said she is “absolutely devastated at the situation” and apologized to the group for the “undeniable mistake.”

“We now realize that this action jeopardized the position of the sponsors and the code of practice of MEPRA,” she said.


Wendell Potter, author of “Deadly Spin,” a criticism of PR practices in the healthcare industry, will speak in New York at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 10.

His appearance, an addition to his previously announced schedule, is being sponsored by Physicians for a National Health Plan, a group of 14,000 physicians backing single-payer health insurance.

It will take place at the Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, 25 W. 43rd St.

Members of the PNHP also include 4,000 medical students and health professionals.

The Murphy Institute is sponsored by New York City labor unions and the City University of New York. It provides educational services to union members and is an “academic resource on issues of concern to the labor movement.”

Offices are across the street from h.q. of the Arthur W. Page Society and the Council of PR Firms, which share space on the 23rd floor of 317 Madison ave. at 42nd St.

E-mails about the appearance of Potter have been sent to William Murray, president of PR Society of America; Arthur Yann, VP-PR of the Society; Julia Hood, president of Page, and Kathy Cripps, president of CPRF.

They have been asked whether they or representatives of their groups plan to meet with Potter when he speaks at the Murphy Institute.

Potter on Tour of 20+ Cities

Potter, who worked at Cigna for 20 years, is on a tour of more than 20 cities to promote sale of his book, which is critical of PR tactics used in the industry.

Cities included Washington, D.C., on Nov, 9; Philadelphia, Nov. 15; Seattle, Dec. 8; San Francisco, Dec. 9; San Diego, Dec. 13, and Pasadena, Dec. 14.

Appearances in 2011 include Atlanta on Jan. 4, Austin, Jan. 7; Raleigh, Jan. 11; Memphis, Jan. 13; Chicago, Jan. 18; Minneapolis, Jan. 19; Denver, Jan. 20, and Salt Lake City, Jan. 21.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, January 5, 2011, Page 4


Stung by unemployment, a sluggish economy, product recalls and bailout fatigue, 61 percent of Americans say corporate America failed to meet its expectations in 2010 as 82% graded the country’s business institutions at a “C” or lower, according to polling from Edelman’s StrategyOne unit.

Part of that dour outlook likely comes from the 88% who feel corporations have recovered from the economic recession faster than American families. As such, 85% said companies have better prospects for 2011 than families and six in 10 believe that those higher expectations for 2011 will be met, according to the poll of 1,081 Americans.

StrategyOne senior VP Bradley Honan said the results show consumers are “highly dissatisfied” with U.S. business, which need to go “back to basics” to mitigate such perceptions.

“Explaining not only ‘what’ they do for the country, but ‘how’ and ‘why’ they do it needs to be the game plan for how to rebuild corporate reputation,” he said, adding that consumers are not seeking a corporate “utopia,” but want business to make a more positive difference.

The path to rebuilding that reputation, more than 80 percent of respondents said, involves businesses improving the economy, reducing unemployment, promoting ethical behavior, paying back bailout funds, making products with fewer recalls and fewer mistakes overall.

Forty percent of respondents assigned corporate America a letter grade of “D” or “F,” while only 17% gave out “As” and “Bs.”


By John N. Stewart

In December, Google released the 2010 edition of Zeitgeist, its annual report on search engine trends. As a search engine guru, I always find Zeitgeist staggering because it captures a year in time in a way others can’t. By analyzing what people are searching for on the web, the Google study offers a unique perspective into the needs, wants, concerns, and fears of society.

However, as I read this year’s results I was admittedly disappointed. It wasn’t that I expected something other than “chatroulette” to be the fastest rising search term, but that Zeitgeist failed to capture how rapid advancements in the mechanisms carrying out searches have structurally affected search behavior and what people search for.

A lot going on behind the scenes

While hundreds of millions use Google everyday, few understand how it works. Google’s algorithms are vastly complex and their core algorithm is updated approximately 500 times a year. This means that every 18 hours you become either a guinea pig or a control subject. Google then takes this data, analyzes it, and alters its approach accordingly.

The world of search advanced further in 2010 than ever before. To begin with, vastly more searching is occurring on mobile devices. Aside from the fact that 20 percent of all searches are related to location, search results now are increasingly being customized by the location of the searcher.

Google fully implemented its new index, dubbed “Caffeine,” back in June. While largely unnoticed by users, this monumental development allows Google to index new information almost in real time.

Shortly after “getting caffeinated,” Google released what has become known as the “May Day” update and began preferring more recent and specific content.

Some change apparent to users

While most search engine developments occur under the hood, one change in the fall was noticeable to even the casual web surfer using Google. "Google Instant" now allows the search engine to show results and suggest search terms as users type in each letter and word of their queries.

The release of Google Instant could not have been more impeccable.

Not only did it counter Microsoft’s multi-year, $100 million dollar campaign to brand Bing as a “decision engine," but it also killed any hype surrounding the Yahoo!-Bing search alliance.

It’s not a coincidence that the New York Times Nov. 26 expose on’s search marketing practices surfaced when it did. Approximately a month earlier, Google merged its local index with its standard index.

This update not only made all searches “local” in theory, but it also placed more emphasize on elements that influence local search results, like customer reviews.

The owner of DecorMyEyes had seized upon this glitch in Google. He actually boasted through a blog post on consumer advocacy site that the more negative negative online chatter about his company, the higher his site appeared in search results and the more business he received.

As of last month, Google finally confirmed that it is starting to factor social elements into ranking search results.

Moving from ‘search’ to ‘find’

In the past year there have been ground-breaking advancements in search. In fact, the case could be made that we’re moving from a world based on “search” to one governed by “find.”

Despite this, Zeitgeist neither captured how the ability to search on the go affected what people search for, nor did it address the complications when one’s reputation is largely tied to what appears in search results for their name.

In the coming year we'll witness a significant trend in search results becoming more local, social, and current.

Online reputation management will surge in importance as more and more people search for everything from a place to eat to the names of their friends to companies that make the products in which they're interested.

Outside of Google’s appearance, I would be stunned if the world of search a year from now would have been recognizable back in 2006.

John N. Stewart is president of Monument Optimization, a search engine marketing and online reputation management firm in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at [email protected].

Internet Edition, January 5, 2011, Page 5


Melanie Wells, executive editor for Forbes Media, is slated to join New York-based DiGennaro Communications in January as managing director to develop a thought leadership division as chief content officer of the firm.

The firm has also hired former Steve & Barry’s marketing and PR chief Howard Schacter as president.

Wells has been at Forbes since 1999, when she joined the magazine as a senior editor after stints at USA Today and Advertising Age. Schacter headed corporate communications at Live Nation and Interpublic’s Draft.

DiGennaro, a five-year-old independent firm, was set up by former J. Walter Thompson global communications manager Samantha DiGennaro. Clients include ad and creative agencies, media and tech companies.


An Illinois-based national non-profit trade group for the “affordable” assisted living sector is on the hunt for a PR firm via an open RFP.

The Affordable Assisted Living Coalition wants pitches for its PR and marketing account through Jan. 28 with a decision expected in the first quarter.

The Springfield-based group notes that while the sluggish economy has hurt many membership groups like itself, the AALC has seen an upward trend.

The scope of work includes advocacy, PR, government relations, education and networking, among other tasks like media training to support the group and its Supportive Living Program.

Download the RFP at


Ogilvy Financial handled the U.S. market debut of China-based film distributor Bona Film Group Limited, which went public with a shaky IPO on the NASDAQ Dec. 9.

The WPP firm handled counsel and corporate communication support in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York focused on the investment community. Ogilvy also created its corporate and investor relations websites, a “roadshow” video production and its global media outreach strategy.

Bona shares fell 22 percent in the debut, which sold 1.7M American Depository Receipts at $8.50. Shares are currently trading around $6.10.

The Wall Street Journal noted Bona’s debut, along with another China-U.S. IPO, Sky-mobi [CCG Investor Relations handled that assignment] were the steepest first day declines on New York exchanges since 2007.

The company’s chairman, Dong Uy, and other executives, along with Chinese actress Gong Li, rang the opening bell of the NASDAQ the day of the IPO.

BRIEF: The Moroccan American Center for Policy has tapped Blank Rome Government Relations to promote the interests of Morocco with U.S. foreign policy decision makers and opinion leaders. A key focus is to seek support for a resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara, where the Polisario Front independence movement has been fighting to gain political control of the region from Morocco.


New York Area

Cornerstone, New York/Reader's Digest Media, to execute PR strategies for its 100-city RV tour, “We Hear You America.” Work includes on-site media in each location and oversight of the national campaign and social media.

Rubenstein PR, New York/Century Properties, real estate developer in the Phillippines, and Can Can Casino and Resort, a French-themed village on the Gulf Coast, for PR.

5W PR, New York/Dotmenu, online food services operator of and, for PR. Dotmenu recently posted its 15 millionth order.

Whitegate PR, New York/ Ann Fry's We Are Booming Project, for PR for the initiative to “raise the voice” of the “baby boomer.”


Vitamin, Baltimore/Gill-Simpson, electrical engineering and construction company, for messaging and web development; NIKA Architects + Engineers, to revamp its messaging and corporate identity, and develop collateral materials and a new website, and Wiencek & Associates, architectural design firm, for messaging and copywriting services, as well as to design and develop a new website and print collateral.

919 Marketing, Raleigh, N.C./Consumer Education Services Inc., also known as CESI Debt Solutions, a national not-for-profit that helps people manage debt and develop money management skills.

Grapevine Communications, Sarasota, Fla./ Sudaco Physician Solutions, billing, collections and electronic medical records service for physicians; Suncoast Communities Blood Bank, not-for-profit; The Jim Soda Group of Prudential Lakewood Ranch Realty; Women's Resource Center, not-for-profit; Venice Golf & Country Club, and Gurley & Associates, construction and surety law firm, for adv., mktg. and PR.

TransMedia Group, Boca Raton, Fla./Lynn Henchman Design, interior design firm, for PR, and Los Angeles School of Gymnastics, to publicize the LA Lights Rhythmic Gymnastics Tournament of Champions 2011.

The Gab Group, Boca Raton, Fla./Butlers in the Buff, for PR to market its “male order” service which provides butlers outfitted in skimpy attire.


Black Dog Promotions, Tempe, Ariz./MedToGo, medical tourism company, to manage a national media relations and publicity campaign. The company arranges travel for Americans to Mexico to get surgical procedures.


The Placemaking Group, Oakland/Userlytics?, a remote website user testing service, for PR, including branding, website content and media relations.

j.simms agency, San Diego/, new and entertainment portal, for PR outreach and development of a a full-scale marketing program.

Cook + Schmid, San Diego/Silicon Biosystems, Italy-based molecular and cell biology tech company, for launch of the company’s U.S. operation and ongoing marketing support.

— Greg Hazley

Internet Edition, January 5, 2011, Page 6


PR Newswire has tapped RR Donnelley & Sons exec Chalmers Fitzpatrick as divisional VP of business development, a post among its senior management team to key in on financial business in the Bay Area.

She’ll focus on connecting clients in the northwestern U.S., particularly Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, with the company’s Vintage Filings services for events like IPOs and M&As.

Fitzpatrick reports to Bob Seiler, senior VP of global sales and marketing at PRN.

Seiler noted her strong relationships with public and pre-IPO companies and contacts in the Bay Area. She recently served in sales for RRD&S’ global capital markets group.

Launches Author, Publisher Service

Separately, PRN has launched an “affordable” PR service for authors and publishers to promote books.

The so-called “toolkit” is aimed at smaller and independent publishers and authors “that currently lack the resources to raise awareness and generate buzz for their books,” PRN said.

The service includes tips to promote books to the media, advice on how to write effective press releases, promotion and marketing pointers and how to launch an economical public relations plan. It also lets users tap PRN services like ProfNet Connect and it media contact database MEDIAtlas.



Monitoring services company VMS has inked client agreements with Zoll Medical, a publicly traded debrillator and medical device maker, and the General Services Administration, the federal procurement entity.

VMS said Zoll signed a long-term contract for media monitoring and analytics.

Zoll is based in Chelmsford, Mass., and its shares trade on the NASDAQ. Sales for 2011 hit $444M.

GSA's office of communications and marketing, along with its public affairs office, will use VMS’ Insight 3 software to help disseminate information to the press, public and within the government.

That includes providing nearly 500 staffers mobile, Internet and email access to news coverage and daily summaries.

David Stephens, president of VMS, called the GSA “an agency that keeps every aspect of our federal government running.”


Business Wire was given a 2010 Commendation of Excellence from the Society for New Communications Research in the “integrated initiatives/use of multiple platforms/corporate” category.

BW picked up the award at the SNR’s November confab at Stanford University. It got the nod for its content marketing and social media outreach supporting free webinars, podcasts and other content for the communcations industry.



Doug Levy, PR pro and former health reporter for USA Today, to Columbia University Medical Center, New York, as executive director of communications and public affairs, following a national search. Previous stints include the University of California San Francisco, Fleishman-Hillard and The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Annie Howell, senior VP of comms. and public affairs at Discovery Comms., to Crown Media Holdings, New York, as senior VP, communications and media relations for the parent company of the Hallmark Channel. She had been serving in the post for a three-month, interim stint and joined Discovery in 1999 from Powell Tate. Earlier, she was at Ogilvy Public Affairs in D.C.

Linda Powell, manager of press relations for the Freedom Group Family of Companies, which has firearms brands like Remington, Marlin and Bushmaster, to Mossberg, North Haven, Conn., as director of media relations for the 90-year-old gun marketer.

Stuart Smith, head of Hill & Knowlton’s Europe, Middle East and Africa corporate unit, to managing director of Ogilvy PR Worldwide’s global corporate practice, starting Feb. 1, 2011. Previously, he was CEO of Edelman’s U.K. operation.

Amanda Schinder, who handled travel accounts at Susan Magrino Agency and M. Silver Associates, to Nancy J. Friedman PR, New York, as a senior A/S. Jenna Newmark, formerly of Murphy O’Brien and Wagstaff Worldwide, joined as an A/S.


Jennifer Sabatelle to VP, communications, CBS Sports, New York. She had been a director since 2007. Gerard Caraccioli, director since 2006 handling publicity for the network’s NFL and U.S. Open coverage, was named exec. director, comms., CBS Sports.

Edward Reilly to global CEO and Geoffrey Pelham-Lane to global president of FD, the strategic comms. arm of FTI Consulting. The posts are effective Jan. 1, 2011. Reilly was CEO of FD/Americas and Pelham-Lane was CEO of the its U.K. operations.

Gentry Brann to VP, investor relations and corporate comms. management, The Shaw Capital Group, Baton Rouge, La. She joined the engineering company in 2009 from ICF International.

Mark Annick to EVP for news and PR, Androvett Legal Media & Marketing, Dallas. That includes oversight of media training, crisis communication and litigation PR, as well as coordinating the firm's law-related content channels. Scott Parks was named VP for marketing and client services. Annick joined in 2001 while Parks is a three-year vet.

— Greg Hazley


Internet Edition, January 5, 2011, Page 7


America’s standing as the global leader in initial public offerings is under siege, according to a survey of 50 securities attorneys conducted by New York-based KCSA Strategic Communications.

Seventy-one percent say a strict regulatory environment is why the U.S. is losing its share of global IPOs to foreign money centers.

Joshua Bonnie, partner of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, also notes that foreign stock exchanges are more sophisticated and liquid than they once were. Another factor for doing IPOs overseas: foreign companies are choosing to list on home exchanges.

Jeff Corbin, CEO of KCSA, says the survey shows that “transaction activity continues to erase geographic boundaries.” It is “imperative that companies take into account the various audiences with whom they communication,” said Corbin in a statement.

Survey respondents believe China, at least for the near term, will list with U.S. exchanges due to the perceived stability and prestige of American markets.

More than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents expect next year’s IPO market will top the 2010 level due to a strengthening economy and pent-up demand for new equity.

Eighty-one percent do not expect the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law to have an impact on the IPO market. Technology is predicted to be the must bullish IPO sector in 2011. It is followed by life sciences, consumer/retail and natural resources.


Mary Cusick, who was senior VP of restaurant marketing for Bob Evans Farms and former president of PRSA, left BEF in December after starting out as PR director in 1982.

Cusick, 55, rose through the ranks at the Columbus, Ohio-based restaurant and packaged foods company, which has 710 locations under the Bob Evans and Mimi's Café banners.

Cusick was named VP of corporate communications for the company in 1990 and elevated to senior VP, marketing, in 2005.

The Ohio native also held various regional and national posts at PRSA, including serving as president in 1998. In an email to friends and colleagues, Cusick said she had a “wonderful career” at Bob Evans and is “looking forward to ‘next!’”

Margaret Standing, director of corporate communications for Bob Evans, said VP Dee Hadley replaced Cusick, effective Jan. 1.


A Maine ethics panel has moved to fine a Portland PR pro $200 for his role in creating a critical website about a gubernatorial candidate who lost a close race in November.

The Maine Governmental Ethics & Election Practices Commission voted unanimously, 5-0, on Dec. 20 to assess the civil penalty against Dennis Bailey, the head of Savvy Inc., who was referred to by the commission as John Doe II. The issuance of the fine is pending any appeal.

The website, The Cutler Files, was critical of independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler and was cited as some media as an issue in the 2010 campaign. It went offline in November, when Cutler lost a close race to Republican Paul LePage for the Maine governor’s office. The ethics panel said Bailey violated Maine’s election laws for not having a disclaimer on the site that said it was not paid for or connected to a candidate or party.

Bailey, a former journalist, owned up to involvement in the site in a blog post on Dec. 23, claiming that the site's intention was to “set the record straight” on Cutler, who Bailey said was “fudging his record, misleading the voters and being less than candid about his past.”

A second person involved, referred to by the ethics panel and by Bailey as John Doe I, has not been identified but was cleared by the panel.

Bailey worked at Maine dailies before entering the political arena in 1990 as press secretary for Rep. Tom Andrews (D-Me.) and later Gov. Angus King. He set up Savvy Inc. in 2000.


Hill & Knowlton has acquired a majority stake in 21-year-old Turkish PR firm Global Tanitim, an affiliate of rivals Fleishman-Hillard and FD.

H&K parent WPP said the firm's 2009 revenues were 4.8M Lira, about $3.1M. Clients include Ernst & Young, RIM and Siemens. Staff numbers 28.

WPP said Turkey is one of the fastest growing markets in the world.

“The time is right to make this step into a country which is certain to play an important role in the region's wider economic development, and which has shown impressive growth over the last years,” said Dave Robinson, CEO of Middle East, Turkey and Africa for H&K.

The firm’s full name is Global Tanitim Halkla Iliskiler Arastirma ve Ozel Egitim ve Danismanlik Hizmetleri A.S. That will be changed to Global Hill & Knowlton.

It was founded in 1989 by Ceyda Aydede, a former president of the International PR Association.


Annie Tomasini, deputy press secretary for Vice President Joe Biden, is leaving the administration for a post in Harvard University’s communications office.

Amy Dudley, press secretary for Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), is taking over Tomasini’s slot under communications director Jay Carney, the vice president’s office said.

Tomasini, who worked for Biden when he was in the Senate and on the campaign trail, will direct intergovernmental relations for Harvard, handling its relationships with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and the state legislature.

She started out in PR at Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications.

In a statement, Biden said: “Annie has been a trusted and loyal member of my inner circle, as well as a source of support for the entire Biden family.”


Internet Edition, January 5, 2011, Page 8




Mysteries surround a story that broke during the holiday period — the alleged rape of two women (reportedly 17-year-olds) by three Florida International University male students at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

One of the accused is a star athlete of national and international repute — 20-year-old Garrett Wittels, who has hit in 56 straight baseball games. Wittels and two schoolmates, Jonathan Olberti and Robert Rothschild, both 21, have been charged with rape in the early morning hours of Dec. 20 and are free on bonds of $10,000 each.

National media covered Wittels’ hitting streak in the spring and media in Israel have compared him to Joe DiMaggio, who had a 56-game streak, and Sandy Koufax, star pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wittels has been “billed as the next great Jewish baseball player,” said the Broward Palm Beach News which headlined Dec. 27: “Deeply Religious FIU Baseball Star Garrett Wittels Arrested on Rape Charges.”

Wittels, a second baseman, takes a “travel mezuzah” with him to baseball games and kneels in the outfield while reciting the Shema, a prayer declaring the unity of God that believers are commanded to recite twice a day, said the blog of Bob Norman of the Palm Beach News.

This story echoes the travails of golf idol Tiger Woods in 2009 after his sexual exploits came to light. An added element is the public profession of religious beliefs by Wittels.

One Story for Two Papers!

This reporter, who happens to be on vacation in the Miami area, was astounded to find that two competing newspapers — the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — carried the same slanted stories on this topic written by Herald staffers Siobhan Morrissey and James H. Burnett III.

The papers have separate owners, McClatchy for the Herald and Tribune Publishing for the Sun-Sentinel, and compete for the most part. Circulations are 162,000 and 149,000, respectively.

Local residents say the papers do some sharing in order to save money. Stories Dec. 28 and 29 (after the Palm Beach News broke the story the day before) sound like a legal brief in support of the accused FIU students. As of press time, no further stories had appeared in either paper.

The two young women (who are always referred to as “girls”), are portrayed as being sexually reckless and apparent lesbians (“kissing” while at a bar in the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island); liars because they were drinking at the bar when the legal age in the Bahamas is 18; the aggressors since they “gestured for the young men to join them,” and cooperative with the men since they willingly went to the room of one of them where five used condoms were later found by police.

One of the women vomited on herself and one of the men offered her his T-shirt, said the stories.

Still unidentified in the media are the two women or the father of one of them who made the complaint to police.

Anonymous 'Sources' Quoted

Five anonymous “sources” are quoted in the Dec. 27 story and six in the Dec. 28 story. The quotes, almost all of them negative from the viewpoint of the women, apparently are either from the Atlantis or the police.

Reference is made to a videotape that showed the women were “occasionally kissing each other” and that they were “drinking at the resort’s Dragon’s Ultra Lounge.”

Atlantis is one of the resorts owned by Kerzner International, headed by Solomon Kerzner, described by Wikipedia as the “billionaire real estate tycoon and operator of destination resorts.”

It frequently takes full page ads in the New York Times and other papers. A brief item on the Wittels story appeared in the Dec. 27 NYT as part of a column by Michael Schmidt in the sports section. The AP was credited with the story.

Readers who have posted more than 200 comments on websites of the Herald, Sun-Sentinel and Palm Beach News, say the five condoms indicate at least one of the women had sex three times.

Bloggers are incredulous that any woman would have three sexual episodes with men whom she had met only minutes or possibly an hour before unless her judgment was impaired by alcohol or some other drug.

The Herald, quoting “sources,” said “Wittels & Oberti each separately engaged in sex with one girl, and Rothschild had sex with both.”

Most of the bloggers say that Wittels is innocent of any wrongdoing.

The Herald said, “The rape charges stem from the girls having been drinking; it was believed they might have been so impaired that they were unable to consent to sex.”

Also amazing is the false headline put on the Dec. 29 stories in the Herald and Sun-Sentinel: “Drugs ruled out in athlete’s rape case.” The stories say blood tests given to the women “showed only that they had been drinking” and were not given a “date-rape drug.” This ignores the fact that alcohol is a drug and the one most used to encourage sexual activity.

The Dec. 29 Herald story does not mention the amount of alcohol found in the blood of the alleged rape victims. A “source” was quoted as saying: “There was no evidence found of any drugs — just alcohol.”

The Herald stories include a quote from Dr. Michael Wittels, father of Garrett, who impugned the motive of the complaining father by saying: “The next morning, they found out who [Wittels] was and that was the road they took.”

Dr. Wittels, according to an item on, believes that the successful career of Garrett in making NCAA history is what “motivated the girls to take advantage of the situation.” That quote is from the site and is not a direct quote of Dr. Wittels.

Dr. Wittels operates the Wittels Orthopedic and Sports facility in Bar Harbor. He is quoted indirectly as saying that his son will be vindicated. “Anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time,” he told the Herald.

Student Newspaper Carries Brief Mention, the student journalism site at FIU, carried a brief item by sports director Joel Delgado on the rape charges on Dec. 27, saying it was “a developing story” and advising students to “stay tuned for further developments.”

Dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, Ph.D., a journalistic leader.

She is a past president of the Assn. for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and has received the Wells Award of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The Columbia Scholastic Press Assn. gave her its “Joseph M. Murphy Award for Outstanding Service in 2003 in ceremonies at Columbia University.

Rosanna Fiske, chair of PR Society of America, is an associate professor at FIU. Fiske presumably could call on the other 16 members of the Society board for advice on this situation or any of the numerous crisis experts that are members of the Society.

This is also an opportunity for Kopenhaver’s department to practice journalism since so many facts are missing from this story.

— Jack O'Dwyer


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