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Internet Edition, January 12, 2011, Page 1


MWW Group president and CEO Michael Kempner has led a management buyout of the agency from Interpublic, 10 years after the advertising and PR conglomerate acquired the New Jersey-based firm.

“With the support of my management team, we’ve decided to regain our independence by purchasing back MWW and unleashing the talent, creativity and spirit of this great organization,” Kempner said in a statement, adding that the agency will return to its “roots” as strategic management consultants and become more “nimble” in the process.

The deal also includes the Financial Relations Board, which has been under Kempner’s purview since 2005. The firm said the majority of executives involved in the buyout were staffers of the firm during its original sale and during its early growth years.

Kempner said changes in the media and the PR industry made the timing right. “The media and business landscape is continuing to rapidly change and PR is at the forefront of the revolution, helping brands and companies maintain relevance and build a level of trust that can no longer be earned just through traditional marketing and advertising,” he said.

Kempner founded the firm in 1986 after serving as legislative director for New Jersey Democratic congressman Robert Torricelli, building up a respected public affairs and lobbying shop and branching out to consumer and tech PR.
In addition to its East Rutherford, N.J., base, the firm has nine other offices, including a London outpost.


Robert Gibbs is leaving the White House press secretary job after President Obama makes his State of the Union speech on Jan. 25.

Gibbs is setting up a consulting business and will serve as a pundit to support the administration’s strategy and re-election.

Gibbs has been working for Obama since his successful 2004 run for an Illinois Senate seat. He previously was press secretary for Sen. John Kerry’s ’04 presidential bid and served as comms. director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

A replacement has not yet been named, although candidates suggested in media reports include Vice President Joe Biden’s spokesman Jay Carney, as well as White House communications staffers Bill Burton and Josh Earnest.


The FDNY Foundation plans to host PR firm and ad agency executives at two lunches (Jan. 27 and Feb. 9) to provide a briefing on plans to mark the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks at the World Trade Center.

In his invitation letter, Bob Zito, former New York Stock Exchange PR man and member of the Foundation’s board, writes that the goal is to talk about “plans we are making for 2011 as we commemorate the heroism and sacrifice of 343 of our firefighters.”

Zito believes there may be opportunities for communicators or clients to participate in the FDNY commemoration.

Fire Dept. commissioner Salvatore Cassano will be on hand at the lunches prepared by firefighters at Engine 10/Ladder 10 and Engine 8/Ladder 2.
While at the Big Board, Zito launched the NYSE Fallen Heroes Fund. He joined the Foundation’s board in 2004 and serves on its executive committee.

Info: Jean O’Shea, [email protected].


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.

RFP info is at


Howard Opinsky, a 10-year Powel Tate exec and former press secretary for Sen. John McCain’s 2000 presidential bid, has left the Interpublic unit for a new post at JPMorgan Chase in New York.

Joseph Evangelisti, managing director and head of worldwide corporate communications and media relations for the investment bank, told O’Dwyer’s that Opinsky joined the company on Jan. 3 as managing director in its corporate media relations group.

The D.C. veteran will split time between the capital and New York.


Internet Edition, January 12, 2011, Page 2


Jefferson Waterman International is doing PR for Ivory Coast politico Alassane Ouattara, who defeated strongman Laurent Gbagbo in the Presidential election that was held Nov. 28.

The Voice of America reported last week that Gbagbo, who failed to turn over the reins of power, has agreed to lift the blockade around the hotel where Ouattara has been holed up for weeks. The Economic Community of Western African States has issued a statement, saying that Gbagbo is open to negotiate a peaceful solution to the political stalemate.

Charles Waterman, a former CIA operative and vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, heads JWI. Ouattara, in an engagement letter to Waterman, writes that JWI is to handle Ivorian national interests in categories such as economic/financial, military/security, trade/investment and PR.

The goal is to "marshal maximum support" from the U.S. executive/legislative branches, media, think tanks and NGOs.

JWI may also operate as Ouattara's “consultant and advocate” beyond the borders of the U.S. Its compensation is to “await the full and effective establishment of my powers and those of my government.”

Lanny Davis, President Clinton’s former legal counselor, signed a three-month $300K contract with Gbagbo last month, but has ended that relationship.


Peter Henshaw, a top PR and government relations executive for U.K.-based oil and gas giant BG Group, is in line to take over communications for BP as the company rebuilds its image.

Henshaw worked in communications for BP for nearly 30 years, recently handling BP’s rocky Russian venture before joining BG in 2009.

His Russian experience was alongside of BP’s new CEO, Robert Dudley.

The appointment follows the exit after a year of media relations chief (and former Financial Times editor) Andrew Gowers late last year.

The move is part of a continuing realignment of BP’s overall and communications operations that included the ouster of CEO Tony Hayward following the Deepwater Horizon disaster.


Kosrae Island, which bills itself as the "jewel of Micronesia," is looking for a PR firm to generate a buzz in the U.S.

The 42-square-mile island is one of the four Micronesian states. It is known for its virgin reefs, white coral beaches, mountains, mangrove forest, diving, abundant wildlife and archeological ruins.

Kosrae is about 3,000 miles southwest of Hawaii.

The Kosrae Visitors Bureau is interested in a full-scale PR campaign, including social media and direct marketing.

The Visitors Bureau has set Jan. 23 as the deadline for pitches.

Grant Ismael (691/370-2228 and [email protected]) is handling the search.


The Constitution State has opened an RFP process for an agency to develop a two-year “counter-marketing” and media campaign to cut youth smoking in Connecticut, where one in four middle and high school students use tobacco.

The push will be aimed statewide and at the local level focused on youth 12-17 and young adults, 18-24 years old. That latter demographic has the highest smoking rate in the state, although Connecticut overall is below the national average.

Cronin and Company is the incumbent.

Anticipated budget for the public service and social marketing campaign is $950,000 with a contract anticipated to run through April 30, 2013.

Proposals are due Feb. 24 but a letter of intent must be submitted by Feb. 1.

Download the RFP at


Sean Darcy, spokesperson for former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine who was defeated in 2009 by Republican Chris Christie, is now spokesperson for ex-New York Governor David Paterson.

Andrew Cuomo has just replaced Paterson as Empire State chief.

The New York Daily News reported that Paterson was searching for someone to handle his PR and “not finding any takers” reached out across the Hudson to take on the New Jersey counselor.

Darcy, who has not been reached, did a nine-month stint as Corzine’s communications director.

Earlier, he was communications director for the Garden State’s Dept. of Community Affairs, press secretary for Gov. Richard Codey and traveling press secretary for Gov. Jim McGreevey.


Shripal Shah, who led digital efforts for the NFL's Washington Redskins, has moved to New York sports and entertainment PR firm Catalyst as senior VP of digital.

Shah held a handful of posts over five years with the Redskins, including senior VP of digital strategies, VP of web strategy and VP of marketing strategy and consumer experience.

His work included developing the team’s Facebook fan page, the first NFL team badge on foursquare, and the first pro sports team iPad app, among other projects.

At Catalyst, he’ll oversee the agency's digital strategy for clients.

Managing partner Bret Werner, one of the former executives from sports PR agency Taylor who set up Catalyst five years ago, said Shah will play a key role as the firm prepares to further its role in areas like social, community, mobile and live video.

Shah was previously manager of content engineering at He has also spoken and been a panelist at events like the Social Media Examiner Facebook Success Summit, Digital Content Monetization, SXSW, Sports Marketing 2.0, and Princeton Sports Symposium, among others.


Internet Edition, January 12, 2011, Page 3


Ellen Weiss, NPR’s senior VP for news who handed the firing of analyst Juan Williams, Jan. 6 announced her resignation as law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges completes its probe of the affair.

Williams, who is now with Fox News, was axed after he expressed unease at seeing Muslims in traditional garb at airports.

The review found that Williams’ ouster was based on solid legal footing, and not a result of outside pressure from special interests or donors. NPR’s board has adopted new internal procedures to deal with how analysts and correspondents are treated in the aftermath of on-air comments.

The board also slapped NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, expressing “concern over her role in the termination process and deciding not to award her a 2010 bonus. It did express “confidence in Vivian Schiller’s leadership going forward,” according to a statement.

In a note to staff, Schiller praised Weiss as a “strong journalist” who has made “meaningful and lasting contributions to the evolution of NPR and our newsroom.”

Margaret Smith, VP-programming, has been tapped as acting senior VP- news until a replacement is found for Weiss.


Betsy Morgan, who was CEO of The Huffington Post for two years, is now president of Fox News Channel personality Glenn Beck’s website.

The Blaze, which was launched in August, features news and opinion pieces designed to appeal to Beck’s conservative following.

A recent sampling includes “Joy Behar Wonders if Constitution-Loving is Getting Out of Hand,” “Bachmann on '12 Run: ‘I’m Committed to Doing Whatever I can to Oust Obama,” “Union Boss Trumka Admits Main Goal is Using Unions to Fundamentally Change America into His Progressive Vision, Not Negotiate Member Salaries” and “Discovery Channel Launching Exorcism Series.”

At HuffPo, Morgan grew the site from 4M to 22M unique visitors, incorporated more than 3,000 blogging contributors to the site and raised $25M in new funding.

Before joining Arianna Huffington’s team, Morgan spent 10 years at CBS News, where she was VP-digital news, senior VP of CBS Interactive and GM of

She looks forward to establishing The Blaze, which is named after the Old Testament’s Moses and the burning bush, as a “premiere digital network curating content, community and debate and further leveraging Beck’s loyal audience.”

The Blaze is owned by Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts, which co-produces “The Glenn Beck Program,” radio’s No. 3 rated show,” “Glenn Beck” on FNC, Beck’s live stage appearances and

Morgan lauded MRA as a “powerful multimedia brand with a great business upside.” She is eager to help develop its “businesses around topical content in all areas to engage audiences and drive a healthy national debate.”


Richard Powell Jr., chief operating officer for Burson-Marsteller, has been named chief communications officer for Bloomberg L.P., based in New York, to oversee the expansion of the media company's communications strategy and infrastructure.

He takes the post vacated by Judith Czelusniak last year after six years.

Powell, a former managing director for Quinn Gillespie & Associates, reports to Kevin Sheekey, head of government relations and public affairs. Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg, cited among Powell's assets his experience in international communications and finance.

Powell returned to Burson in 2007 after a previous seven-year stint during the 1990s.

In a statement, B-M offered congratulations to Powell, who will be leaving the firm in mid-January. B-M said he has been a "trusted counselor" to CEO Mark Penn and has also helped lead and grow its relationships with several key global clients.

Powell's duties will be distributed among two vice chairs, Don Baer and Karen Hughes, executive VP Jay Leveton, regional CEOs, the firm's CFO and global HR team. He handled public affairs and corporate communications assignments for QG&A for clients like Bank of America, HP and Zurich Financial Services. He also managed its international business and played a role in its acquisition by WPP in 2004.

Bloomberg counts 12,500 employees across 137 offices globally.


Hearst Corp. has entered exclusive negotiations with France’s Lagardere to purchase its international press and magazine businesses in an all-cash deal. Deadline to complete a deal is set for Jan. 30.

Elle, Women’s Day, Road and Track and Car and Driver, are the top U.S. properties published by Lagardere’s Hachette Filipacchi Media unit.

Hearst publishes more than 200 magazines including Cosmopolitan, O, The Oprah Magazine and Good Housekeeping.


Dunstan “Dusty” McNichol, the Star-Ledger reporter who broke the influence peddling scandal that led to the downfall of former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, died Jan. 4. He covered the Jersey Statehouse for ten years and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for its McGreevey coverage.

McNichol was working for Bloomberg News in Trenton at the time of his death.


John Roberts, who was anchor of CNN’s “American Morning,” is moving to Fox News Channel as senior national correspondent in Atlanta.

Roberts joined CNN in 2006 after 14 years at CBS News, working as White House reporter and weekend anchor.

CNN is revamping “American Morning.”

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, January 12, 2011, Page 4


Turner Broadcasting has added 16-year Cox Communications vet Amy Cohn as VP of corporate communications.

Cohn, who was executive director of corporate reputation management and public affairs at cable giant Cox, is based in Atlanta and reports to Misty Skedgell, the senior VP who joined the “semi-autonomous” Time Warner unit last June after the exit of Shirley Powell for The Weather Channel Cos.

Cohn handles day-to-day management of the company’s internal communications and corporate messaging group and serves as a strategic communications partner to executives and groups across TBS, Inc.

Turner units include CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network, among others.


ProPublica, the non-profit investigative reporting outfit, is now accepting advertising on its website, according to an announcement from its general manager Richard Tofel.

Ads are coming for its daily email, which goes to 40,000 people, and iPad application.

Tofel says advertising will generate revenues to promote “sustainability.” The Sandler Foundation is the biggest of ProPublica’s more than 1,300 donors. It kicked in 3.8M last year or 38 percent of total cash raised. Tofel eyes a $5M budget in 2011.

Other financial backers include Carnegie Corp., Ford Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and Pew Charitable Trusts.

Cleary Gottlieb provides pro bono legal commercial work, while Davis Wright Tremaine is press counsel.

ProPublica is now part of the Public Media Interactive Network and is repped for web sales by National Public Media, which Tofel calls an offshoot of NPR and PBS.

Tofel’s group will reject advertising that it knows or believes is “misleading, inaccurate, fraudulent or illegal, or that fails to comply, in ProPublica’s sole discretion, with its standards of decency, taste or dignity.”

Advertising that blurs the separation between news and ad content in an effort to confuse readers also will be rejected.


Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is paying former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein $2M a year under a five-year contract inked Jan. 3, according to a Securities and Exchange filing. The pact calls for a $1M “signing bonus.”

As executive VP and chief of News Corp’s newly minted and yet unnamed educational unit, Klein is eligible to a minimum $1.5M annual cash bonus and a car allowance of $1,200 per-month. Klein is signed up for profit-sharing, pension, insurance and an array of perks.

If terminated “for cause,” Klein is entitled to base salary and bonus earned but not yet paid for. He does not receive any additional compensation for serving on News Corp.’s board of directors.

Klein earned $250K as NYC education chief.


Playboy Enterprises announced Jan. 10 that it has agreed to be taken private by founder Hugh Hefner in a deal worth $207M.

The board nixed a competing offer by FriendFinder, parent company of Playboy’s arch-rival Penthouse.

Hefner, 84, launched Playboy in 1953. Circulation, which peaked at 7.2M in 1972, has been on a downward spiral. The company cut its guaranteed rate base from 2.6M to 1.5M last year.

The deal, according to Hefner, enables Playboy to “come full circle, returning to its roots as a private company.”

Despite the sales decline, Hefner believes the Playboy brand “resonates today as clearly as at any time in its 57-year history.”

Playboy CEO Scott Flanders will remain in the top spot and take an equity investment in the deal. He sees an opportunity to strengthen Playboy’s balance sheet, streamline operations and invest in new ventures.

Hefner’s $6.15 per-share offer represents an 18.3 percent premium over the stock's Jan. 7 close. Hefner proposed the offer July 10, and a special committee of the board has now determined the buyout is “fair to and in the best interests” of Playboy’s stockholders.


Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas has come out of a seven-month retirement to resume a weekly political affairs column for the Falls Church News-Press, a Virginia paper in the D.C. area.

Thomas resigned in June 2010 as the longest serving member of the White House press corps in the aftermath of saying that Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go to Germany and Poland.

The UPI fixture was working as columnist for Hearst Newspapers.

“I am proud that a journalist of the stature and professionalism of Helen Thomas is re-launching her career, in her ninetieth year no less, in my newspaper,” said Nicholas Benton, owner and editor of the paper. “She more than deserves – and I am honored to help provide her – the proverbial ‘second chance.’”

Thomas, 90, started out in 1942 and had covered every U.S. president as a White House correspondent since 1960.

In a statement published in the News-Press, Benton wrote that, having known Ms. Thomas since 1991, “She is progressive, and following my more than eight hours of direct, one-on-one talks with her since the events of last June, I remain firmly convinced that she is neither bigoted, nor racist, nor anti-Semitic.”

In the aftermath of last year’s incident, Thomas expressed a “heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance.”

Her speakers’ bureau, Nine Speakers Inc., had also dropped her following her remarks.

Internet Edition, January 12, 2011, Page 5


Burson-Marsteller has forged a partnership with digital public affairs shop Targeted Victory.

TV uses technology to manage political awareness and engagement campaigns. Clients have included Marco Rubio for Senate and Mitt Romney’s Free & Strong America PAC.

TV co-founder Michael Beach said the alliance will enable the firm to continue to grow and solidy its place among digital advocacy firms.

B-M and TV will collaborate on digital strategies that incorporate online advertising, mobile communications, social networking, and integrated data management.


Omnicom’s Ketchum has taken a majority stake in its 22-year-old China PR affiliate Newscan.

Previously known as Ketchum Newscan, the agency becomes Ketchum Greater China with a staff of more than 200, following the deal.

Simon Dalby, head of Omnicom’s Diversified Agency Services, which houses Ketchum, called the China market a “critically important region.” DAS CEO Tom Harrison and Ketchum CFO Robert Lorfink will join the Ketchum Greater China board of directors.

Ketchum’s clients in the region include the China National Offshore Oil Corp., known as CNOOC, King Stone Energy, as well as the firm’s global clients like FedEx and Visa.

Jon Higgins, Ketchum senior partner and CEO of international operations, noted, “Every major client or prospective client places Greater China at or near the top of its geographic priorities.”

Newscan founders Kenneth Chu and Betty Lo remain as CEO and president to head the China region for Ketchum, part of Omnicom.

Their Hong Kong-based agency has offices in Beijing, Shanhai, Guagzhou and Taipei and was founded in 1980.

Ketchum, like several large agencies, has increasingly looked overseas for expansion. Last year, it completed a merger with Europe’s Pleon and in October 2010 acquired Maslov PR in Russia, in addition to other affiliate deals.


New York Area

JS2 Communications, New York/Brandon Green, realtor and CEO of Brandon Green Companies of D.C., and Cassandra Corum, wellness expert, trainer and chef, for PR.

Cornerstone, New York/Ernie Ball, guitar strings, for PR to support ongoing initiatives and new product launches.

Alison Brod PR, New York/Via Spiga, shoes and accessories brand, as AOR for PR.

The Morris + King Company, New York/Susan G. Komen For The Cure, for creative and strategic counsel and execution of its PR, as well as communications support and strategic media relations.

5W PR, New York/Dauphin Media Group’s HOLMES: The Magazine to Make it Right, for PR for the shelter publication edited by Kelly Beamon, formerly of This Old House, Interior Design and Dow Jones.


Nancy Marshall Communications, Augusta, Me./Church’s China, U.K. retailer of royal commemorative items, to market its line of royal wedding memorabilia for the nuptials of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton. The agency will be promoting the products to the U.S. and Canada by working closely with the Internet sales division of Church’s.

MWW Group, East Rutherford, N.J./, remote movie ticketing, to develop and implement a media relations and social media strategy.

Boscobel Marketing Communications, Silver Spring, Md./Access Systems, information technology and management solutions, for branding and RFP positioning.

Sage Communications, Washington, D.C./American Council for Technology - Industry Advisory Council; Federal Citizen Information Center; Group W, and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, for PR.

MMI PR, Raleigh/Academy Solar, solar energy system design and installation, for a strategic PR campaign including media relations, social media and community relations.

TransMedia Group, Boca Raton, Fla./NXT Nutritionals Holdings, for PR to support its SUSTA Natural Sweetener and Healthy Dairy Yogurt Smoothies brands.


Liggett Stashower, Cleveland/Bearing Distributors Incorporated, industrial goods and services, for comms. strategies; Bosch Power Tools, for a trade and consumer PR program for a variety of new product launches in 2011, and Knauf Insulation, for a trade media and retailer outreach strategy.

Mountain West

Adventure Media, Fort Collins, Colo./South Expeditions, Quito, Ecuador-based adventure travel company, for PR.

GroundFloor Media Communications, Denver/Intelligent Office, staffed office space provider for mobile execs and small businesses, for media relations, social media, and B2B/trade press outreach.

— Greg Hazley

Internet Edition, January 12, 2011, Page 6


Business Wire has named two key overseas appointments, reflecting plans to pursue expansion in areas like Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Dick Bromley, a nine-year veteran of BW, was upped to group VP, EMEA region. He had been VP for Europe.

“We haven’t even scratched the surface of the EMEA region,” said Bromley. “It represents huge potential for Business Wire and I couldn't be more thrilled to oversee our aggressive growth.”

BW has named London office vet Kim Deonanan to regional manager, Northern Europe. She joined the company in 2002 with a focus on sales within the UK and Ireland.


Legal PR firm Jaffe PR, Washington, D.C., has launched PRessPlay, a media relations audio and video service for flip-style and smart-phone video and camera technology aimed to deliver multimedia news stories to the legal and business press.

Michelle King, director of client services, said journalists must function in a “multimedia world,” producing video, audio and other digital content to complement their print stories.

The PRessPlay service is intended to provide them with such content.

Terry Isner, creative director, said YouTube is the second most popular search engine behind Google, adding: “Video and audio files are quickly becoming the preferred method for content sharing.”


Los Angeles-based Neotrope, which owns the Send2Press service, said it is donating $36,000 in free PR and newswire services to non-profit and charitable organizations to mark its 28th anniversary.

The firm donated $25K in services in 2009.

Organizations can apply for the program at

“Many smaller non-profits have been suffering from lower revenues the past couple of years, due to the economy and less visibility than some of the larger charities with Fortune 500 sponsors; and it's been harder than ever for these orgs to raise awareness,” said Neotrope CEO and co-founder Christopher Simmons. “We’ve always taken corporate social responsibility very seriously, and we decided many years ago that it was better to use our expertise to help these causes versus simply writing them a small donation check.”

Past recipients included Children Awaiting Parents, Girls Write Now, Paws of Life Foundation and Native Voices Foundation.

BRIEFS: Handle Your Own PR, a “do-it-yourself PR” website that has media lists for sale, is offering 40% off any list purchase through the end of January with the code “NEWYEAR2011.” Info:



Mark O’Connor, senior VP of media relations, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, to Zeno Group, New York, as executive VP, media. He started Jan. 10. He was VP of PR for Food Network and held positions with MSNBC, CBS and CNN.

Michelle Ponto, who handled wine and spirits clients at Talbert Communications, to Colangelo & Partners PR, New York, as an account director. Hilary Ruesch, former marketing manager for Prestige Wine Imports Corp., joins as an A/E.

Lise Bang-Jensen, senior policy analyst and communications manager, Empire Center for New York State Policy, to the New York State Bar Association, Albany, as director of media services and public affairs. She co-hosted “Inside Albany” for 19 years after serving as a capitol reporter for the Knickerbocker News.

Kate Brown, media relations manager, New America Foundation, to Foreign Policy, as director of PR. She was media relations manager for the Washington Times and was a freelance producer for the BBC.

Nora Jacobs, former executive VP, Edward Howard & Company, who retired in 2009, to crisis specialist Hennes Paynter Communications, Cleveland, as a VP.

Sara Croft, social media coordinator, Easter Seals Crossroads, to BohlsenPR, Indianapolis, as a media specialist. Kate Franzman, content producer, Raidious Digital Content Services, joins as an A/E; Megan Giannini, media relations specialist at BLASTmedia, joins as media specialist; Mark LaFay, who worked in the music industry, as an A/E, and Jeremy Riffle, a former senior A/E at Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, as a senior A/E.

John Shaw, a management consultant and veteran of Financial Relations Board and Sitrick & Company, to wind turbine system producer Sauer Energy, Newbury Park, Calif., as director of corporate communications handling investor, public and media relations. He was VP of corporate comms. for Loudeye Technologies and Digital Media Campus.


Lisa Robinson to VP, corporate comms., corporate branding and culinary marketing, McCormick and Company, Sparks, Md., following a revamp of the company to create a "new global communications function aimed to align its consumer and corporate messages. She joined McCormick in 2001 and held a series of marketing positions with McCormick, recently leading its efforts in social media and online ads. Former VP/corporate comms. and community relations John McCormick was named VP, government relations and community rels.

— Greg Hazley


Internet Edition, January 12, 2011, Page 7


Matthew Freud has bought back a majority 50.1% stake in U.K.-based Freud Communications from Publicis, which acquired the firm in 2005.

The 25-year-old FC employs about 200 staffers and handles blue-chip clients like Best Buy, PepsiCo and Warner Bros.

Freud and then-sister agency MSLGroup picked up lucrative PR duties for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games in March.

The move is Freud’s second buy-back from an advertising and PR conglomerate. The agency was sold in 1994 to ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers. Freud bought back the firm in 2001 after AMV was acquired by Omnicom.

The London Times had reported that, under initial acquisition by Publicis, the French ad/PR conglomerate was required to buy Freud’s remaining shares at a premium on Jan. 1, 2011. The New Year’s Eve deal nixes that obligation.

Terms of the buy-back were not released, although Freud posted a pre-tax profit up 28% to £6.7M in 2010. It was valued between £70M and £80M when Publicis bought the 50.1% stake in 2005.

Media reports out of London over the past few months had speculated that the separation from Publicis was pending as Freud was frustrated with the parent company’s support of expansion plans.

Freud is the son-in-law of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch. Sigmund Freud is his great-grandfather.


The National Sleep Foundation, a D.C.-based non-profit focused on improving health and safety by studying sleep and sleep disorders, is on the hunt for a PR agency via an open RFP.

The foundation wants pitches from agencies for a national awareness program, said Tom Clifford, director of development. The group has not had a retainer agency is several years, he said.

Proposals will be accepted through Feb. 1. Copies of the RFP can be obtained from Clifford at [email protected].


MSLGroup has picked up Encore Capital Group, the debt collection agency with stock that recently hit a 52-week high of $24.31.

The San Diego-based company is a top purchaser of distressed consumer debt buying and recovery. It buys defaulted consumer loans from banks, credit unions and utilities and works with consumers to get them to repay their loans and bills.

MSLGroup is charged with media relations, government affairs, IR and reputation management. Peter Harris, senior VP and North American corporate practice director, leads the effort. He is bolstered by MSLGroup’s sister Publicis companies Kekst & Co. and Hanmer MSL in India. Encore owns a large operation in New Delhi.

Hard economic times have bolstered Encore’s financial standing as nine-month `10 net income soared 41 percent to $35M on a 20 percent revenue boost to $282M.


Former Fleishman-Hillard Los Angeles GM Doug Dowie has been ordered to begin a three and a half-year prison sentence after his 2006 conviction in an overbilling case with the city of Los Angeles.

Dowie had been free pending appeal, which he lost last month. F-H colleague John Stodder was also convicted in the case and given a 15-month sentence, although his appeal is still pending.

A third exec, Steve Sugarman, pleaded guilty and received three years probation. The execs were accused of bilking $300K from the city's Dept. of Water and Power, a client.

Dowie, 61, who fought the charges for years and racked up more than $3M in legal bills, part of which was paid by F-H, was ordered last week to surrender to police on Feb. 4.

F-H paid nearly $6M in fees and services to the city to settle a lawsuit over the account.


Tony Burgess-Webb, a 25-year veteran of Hill & Knowlton, is stepping down in February from the chief marketing officer spot.

MaryLee Sachs, marketing comms. director, is also exiting the firm.

CEO Paul Taaffe credits Burgess-Webb for pushing the WPP unit into the digital arena during the 1990s and coordinating cross-border business to the level where 60 percent of H&K’s business is transnational.

At H&K, Burgess-Webb managed its European marketing, tech and healthcare practices. He founded the Netcoms digital practice in `94 and assumed the CMO position in `05.


Barry Zorthian, U.S. spokesperson in Saigon during the Vietnam War, died Dec. 30 in Washington, D.C. He was 90.

Presiding over the first U.S. war without official censorship, Zorthian created the daily briefings that came to be known as the “Five O’Clock Follies,” where military officials gave battlefield summaries and fielded questions from reporters.

The Associated Press noted those briefings, which often turned into shouting matches, were the only regular forum at which American and South Vietnamese officials spoke entirely on the record. The “Follies” ran for a decade.

As head of the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office, Zorthian served as media advisor to three successive U.S. ambassadors to South Vietnam — Henry Cabot Lodge, Maxwell Taylor and Ellsworth Bunker — and to then-U.S. military Commander Gen. William Westmoreland.

Zorthian also was in charge of coordinating psychological warfare operations. His office dumped tons of propaganda leaflets and mounted loudspeakers on airplanes to broadcast funeral dirges in an effort to scare enemy troops.


Internet Edition, January 12, 2011, Page 8




PR pros and students should follow closely how a number of institutions are handling a red-hot story-rape charges against one of the most famous male college athletes, 20-year-old Garrett Wittels of Florida International University.

Wittels, who has a 56-game hitting streak going (if you don’t count summer league games in Alaska), was one of five nominated by ESPN for its “Best Male College Athlete” award. It went July 14 to NBA first round draft choice John Wall.

Wittels spent a month with the Peninsula Oilers, of the Alaska Baseball League, Kenai. He went 0 for 3 in the third game. The NCAA does not count summer league baseball games.

Wittels can therefore seek to extend his streak when FIU plays the UMASS Feb. 18.

Whether FIU will allow him to play is not yet known. The school has refused any comment on the incident.

While the institutions involved are mostly not even acknowledging receipt of e-mails or phone calls from this NL, there's plenty to be found on the web.

Reporters for the Miami Herald wrote Dec. 29 that no date-rape drugs had been administered to two 17-year-olds-"only alcohol."

That statement, which became the headline on the story, ignored the fact that not only is alcohol a drug, but it is the leading drug involved in cases of sexual misbehavior.

All Calls Were Once Returned

A couple of decades ago, it was unthinkable that a PR pro would not return a press call.

Almost all institutions and PR firms had outreach programs that sent their staffers to the desksides of reporters or concocted other ways of personal interaction such as company lunches, dinners, Broadway shows, ballets, symphonies, golf, tennis, baseball, basketball and other sports outings, holiday parties, etc.

PR pros routinely brought their spouses to such events.

Some reporters wondered if they were mere "props" since the PR pros and their spouses could not claim the events as a business deduction without a reporter being present.

Ducking a press call would be a hostile act that ended any relationship with the reporter involved.

Today's solution is to avoid building any relationships with reporters since this is something that could later haunt the PR pro. Almost all PR entertaining of reporters has vanished in New York.

Wittels Palled with Kobe Bryant

Wittels whose games attracted national TV coverage in the spring, palled around with other sports superstars this past summer including the NBA's Kobe Bryant, tennis star Serena Williams, and Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, according to the June 28, 2010 Miami Herald. Bryant was hit with rape charges in 2003.

There was a press feeding frenzy that was rivaled by coverage of the Duke lacrosse team rape charges in 2006.

The married Bryant was arrested on charges of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee Kate Faber July 1 at a hotel in Cordillera, Colo. He said it was consensual sex but Faber said she asked him to stop and he refused to do so.

Lawyers for Bryant uncovered a number of negatives about Faber including the fact that she had entered a hospital as a “danger to herself” four months prior to the alleged rape.

Faber elected not to testify at a trial after the prosecution had spent more than $200,000 preparing its case. Bryant could have been sentenced to anything from parole to life in prison. Maximum penalty for rape conviction for the first time in the Bahamas is seven years.

Faber filed a civil suit against Bryant which was settled out of court for an unknown amount.

Duke Athletes Were Exonerated

The 2006 rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players were dismissed but only after extensive testimony and media coverage.

Lawyers for the three players launched a campaign aimed at discrediting stripper Crystal Mangum who had been hired for $400 and who claimed she was held in a bathroom and raped.

Prosecutor Michael Nifong’s motives were impugned-- attributed to a desire by him to win re-election.

Various irregularities were also found in the way he presented the case.

Nifong said he was hit with a "stonewall of silence" by the Duke team and that there was "no doubt in my mind that she had been raped."

A nurse who examined Mangum found "blunt force trauma" that was "consistent with the sexual assault that was alleged by the victim."

Semen of one of the Duke students was found beside the toilet at about the same spot where Mangum said she had spat out semen from someone who orally raped her.

Semen of another Duke student was found on a rag in the hallway near his bedroom. Mangum claimed that someone had wiped her vagina with a rag. The defense said the semen in each instance came from something unrelated to Mangum.

No DNA of the 46 white members of the team was found on Mangum, a huge setback for Nifong.

1,850 Pages of Evidence Disclosed

A lengthy article in the Aug. 25, 2006 New York Times said the defense, “by disclosing pieces of evidence favorable to the defendants, created an image of a case heading for the rocks. But an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered in the four months after the accusation yields a more ambiguous picture.”

The article, by Duff Wilson and Jonathan Glater, said there were “big weaknesses” in Nifong's case but also evidence to “support his taking the matter to a jury.”

There is a possibility Mangum was given a date-rape drug. Kim Roberts, a stripper also hired that night at $400, said that Mangum was “clearly sober” at first but became glassy-eyed, “talking crazy” and “basically out of it” within the hour.

Both strippers had been given mixed drinks when they arrived but Roberts did not drink hers. No test was given to determine if Mangum had been drugged in any way.

Nifong, accused of various irregularities in pursuing the charges, was disbarred and served one day in jail. No charges were ever brought against Mangum.

While authorities in Colorado and North Carolina started immediate investigations of the rape charges, the first court date for Wittels and two other FIU students is not until April 18.

— Jack O'Dwyer


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