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Internet Edition, February 2, 2011, Page 1


New Hampshire is calling for proposals for federal stimulus-financed strategic communications efforts focused on energy conservation and renewable energy adoption.

The Granite State issued an RFP on Jan. 26 for a pitch process that includes two phases - the first, a short-term grant structure with a deadline of March 30 and the second, a big-budget strategic plan due by June 9.

The second phase has a budget of $250,000 and could be doled out in increments as small as $10,000 or as large as $200,000 to fund efforts through April 2012. The first phase, to be executed this year, is capped at $50K.

Activities deemed “acceptable” for the work include speaking tours, classroom activities for students, PR (no lobbying), video production or other outreach.

Download the RFP at


Middle East airline Emirates has hired Hill & Knowlton, after a review of its U.S. PR account.

M. Silver & Associates was the incumbent for the Dubai-based carrier. Emirates issued an RFP last fall.

H&K’s New York office will lead the account, with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston supporting the airline’s U.S. gateways from which it flies direct to Dubai.

Emirates executive VP Sir Maurice Flanagan said in a statement that H&K “is able to match our rapid expansion” and “get us in front of the right people.”

Emirates is the largest airline in the Middle East and runs a cargo business through its SkyCargo division, as well. It is owned by the Dubai government.


Jonathan Friedland, senior VP of global corporate communications for Disney and a former Wall Street Journal bureau chief, is moving to Netflix as VP of corporate communications for the video content service.

The hire comes as Netflix reported Jan. 26 that it surpassed 20 million subscribers. It has been working with media giants like Disney to ink deals for content streaming. Netflix reached a $150-$200M one-year agreement with Disney in December to stream ABC network and cable channel content to Netflix subscribers.

Steve Swasey is Netflix’s VP/comms., reporting to Friedland.


Bob Barr, former Georgia Congressman and Presidential candidate, is representing Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who has returned to Haiti after a 25-year exile.

The former dictator is being investigated for corruption and embezzlement, stemming from his 15-year rule of the nation.

Barr is spreading word that Duvalier's return is based on his desire to recover nearly $6M assets that have been frozen in a Switzerland bank.

He claims Duvalier is looking to distribute those funds through a third-party, such as the Red Cross, to help rebuild Haiti in the aftermath of its horrific earthquake. Duvalier’s critics say he is broke after a divorce and is looking to pocket the Swiss cash.

A new Swiss law went into effect Feb. 1, making it easier for Duvalier to gain access to the funds as long as he is not charged in Haiti.

Barr told CNN that Haiti is much worse off now than when Duvalier was in power. He is confident that Haiti can emerge from the rubble stronger than ever.
Duvalier denies any political ambitions.

Barr, the Libertarian Party's candidate in the 2008 election, represents Duvalier on international, not legal matters.


Will Whitehorn, non-executive chairman of Next Fifteen Communications Group, the holding company for firms like Text 100 and Bite Communications, is stepping down from that post after seven years.

The company said he will stay on until a “suitable replacement” has been found, likely by May.

Whitehorn is the former group PR manager for Virgin Group who ascended to become president of Virgin Galactic, guiding the civilian space flight unit through its design and investment phase. VG said earlier this month that Whitehorn is retiring from the helm to “pursue other business interests” as the company is now testing flights in New Mexico.

Tim Dyson, CEO of Next Fifteen, noted the company completed six acquisitions and saw revenue more than double during Whitehorn’s term as chair.

Dyson said the company has seen a “strong performance” from its U.S. technology and consumer PR business and expects good organic growth and improved profitability as it posts six-month results through Jan. 31, 2011.


Internet Edition, February 2, 2011, Page 2


BP America has retained all-Republican heavyweight firm Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock to lobby the GOP-dominated 112th Congress on oil and gas production issues.

The move supplements work from Democratic powerhouse shop Podesta Group, which collected $480K in fees last year from the U.S. unit of the British energy giant.

In the aftermath of the midterm elections, the influential National Journal crowned FI&B one of its “new power players.”

The magazine noted that “Isakowitz and Blalock didn't follow the lead of other Republican lobby shops that staffed up with Democrats several years ago in anticipation of a Democratic Congress and White House. Their firm now holds a niche spot in the lobbying world that became a lot more valuable after last week’s elections: it is Republican to the core.”

Union Pacific, Watson Pharmaceuticals and Managed Funds Assn. joined FI&B's roster following the November “shellacking” of Democrats.

They are part of a sparkling client list that includes Ford Motor, JPMorgan Chase, Business Roundtable, Delta Airlines and MillerCoors.

Isakowitz, (aide to former GOP Rep. Paul Gillmor and a member of the Bush-Cheney transition), Blalock, (deputy director of public liaison in the Bush II White House) and Kirsten Chadwick (special assistant to Bush for legislative affairs) handle the BP America account.


Cisco has elevated its top corporate communications executive, Blair Christie, to chief marketing officer, worldwide government affairs.

She takes a slot being vacated by Susan Bostrom, a 14-year veteran who is leaving the company after a transition period at the networking infrastructure giant.

In a statement, CEO John Chambers said Christie’s experience leading Cisco’s global corporate communications has given her a unique understanding of how external audiences view and engage with the company.

“This perspective will be critical as Cisco continues to clearly define the expanding role of the network within the communications and IT industry,” he said.

Christie, who joined Cisco in 1999, retains oversight of corporate communications, while adding responsibility for the company’s marketing organization and government affairs.

She was previously manager, investor relations, at InterDigital Comms. and Aqua America.

Cisco posted 2010 sales of $40 billion with more than 70,000 employees.
The company registered $7.8B in net income, up 28 percent from the year earlier period.

Cisco will announce fiscal 2011 results on Feb. 9.


Adam Belmar, a Bush White House comms. aide and former ABC News producer, has been tapped by Quinn Gillespie & Associates as a director to help build up a PR practice at the D.C. firm.

QG&A chairman Jack Quinn said in a statement that “every legislative problem is in essence a communications problem” and that Belmar will help solve clients' communications problems.

Belmar had recently been VP of communications for R&R Partners in the capital. He was deputy communications director for two years during President George W. Bush’s second term, joining the White House in 2007 after four years as a producer at ABC News, including stints with “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” and “Good Morning America.”

He’ll reside in the Quinn Gillespie Communications division of QG&A.


Jefferson Waterman International has inked a $1.1M contract with Ghana to help that west African nation obtain access to U.S. Government officials and positive relationships with major electronic and print media.

The firm also will arrange appearances for Ghanaian officials at U.S. think tanks.

On the economic development front, Ghana has been courting China for big investments to develop the country's oil, gold, diamond, copper and lead deposits, according to a report in Bloomberg.

Ghana also is a player in the effort to resolve the political stalemate in neighboring Ivory Coast. It is working to make sure that the unrest in Ivory Coast does not spill over the border.

Ghana’s military, however, denies rumors that it is prepared to invade Ivory Coast in an effort to unseat strong man Laurent Gbagbo.

Last month, JWI went to work for Alassane Ouattara, who was elected president on Nov. 28, but has been blocked from taking office by forces loyal to Gbagbo, who likens the political mess in his country to the hotly contested Bush/Gore election in Florida.


GSMA, global trade group for the mobile communications business, has tapped Weber Shandwick as agency of record.

WS president Andy Polansky says his firm is to “advance the mobile industry as it continues to transform the way people around the world work, live and play.”

GSMA represents about 800 mobile operators and more than 200 software/equipment/headset makers as well as media, Internet and entertainment companies.

The organization is gearing up for the Mobile World Congress slated for Barcelona Feb. 14-17.

More than 50K people are expected to attend.

GSMA has announced that Barcelona, Milan, Munich and Paris are short-listed in the competition for Mobile World Capital for the period from 2013-17.


Internet Edition, February 2, 2011, Page 3


News Corporation has set the PR wheels in motion for the Feb. 2 launch of its iPad-format newspaper dubbed The Daily.

Jack Horner, VP of corporate affairs and communications for the media giant, told O’Dwyer’s that Rubenstein Associates is supporting the kick-off.

News Corp. is a longtime client of the agency.

The company has sent invitations to reporters for a launch event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, two weeks after its initial launch date of Jan. 19 was postponed.

The anticipated debut comes after News Corp. worked with Apple and hired a slate of respected journalists to produce the publication, which will cost $0.99 per week.

Apple’s VP Internet services, Eddy Cue, is slated to attend the unveiling.


Mark Whitaker is joining CNN Worldwide as executive VP and managing editor, a new title at the Turner Broadcasting unit of Time Warner.

The former senior VP and Washington bureau chief at NBC News and editor of Newsweek will report to Jim Walton, president. He joins Feb. 14 and will be based in New York.

Whitaker assumes responsibility for the tone and direction of CNN’s reporting over its domestic/international cable networks and digital platforms.

Walton said in a statement that Whitaker’s goal is to “generate reporting and analysis that consistently stands out, sparks conversation and captures the true meaning and relevance of the events in the news.”

Whitaker succeeded the late Tim Russert at NBC in 2008. He was editor at Newsweek from 1998-06. He joined the former Washington Post Co.-owned weekly in 1981.


Judy Fortin, a former CNN medical correspondent and anchor, has moved to the American Cancer Society to direct its national media relations.

Fortin has been VP of Atlanta media consultancy NewsCertified Exchange since 2009, handling media relations training and strategy for clients.

Fortin was a reporter for CNN’s medical unit and spent 16 years at Headline News as an anchor.

Greg Donaldson, VP of corporate communications for the ACS, called the organization the most frequently cited and most trusted source of unbiased cancer information.


Jay Carney, the former Time Washington bureau chief who has directed communications for Vice President Joe Biden since 2008, will take over the White House press podium from Robert Gibbs next month.

Gibbs, a close advisor to President Obama since his Senate days and presidential campaign infancy, is stepping down to focus on political and re-election strategy for the president. Carney, in contrast, knows the press room from a reporter’s perspective and hasn’t enjoyed as close a relationship with Obama as his successor.

Forty-five-year-old Carney was at Time for 20 years serving as Moscow and Miami bureau chief and covering politics for 15 of those years. He moved to D.C. in 1993 to cover the Clinton White House and was on Air Force One with President Bush on Sept. 11, 2001.

Carney, who’s first name is James is married to ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman. At the White House, he’ll report to communications director Dan Pfeiffer. His appointment was announced with a bevy of White House slots. Stephanie Cutter, who was spokeswoman for the Obama-Biden transition and chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama during the campaign, was named deputy senior advisor to the president. She was a comms. deputy during the Clinton White House and ran her own PR shop.


The New York Financial Writers’ Assn., which stages the “Financial Follies” each year, reported cash/savings of $589,120, up $50,000 from the previous year when there was a loss of $30,000.

The report was made at the annual meeting Jan. 26 at the Marriott Marquis when Imogen Rose-Smith of Institutional Investor and AR magazine (previously Alpha magazine) was elected president. AR, which stands for Absolute Return, and which rates hedge funds, is a service of II and HedgeFund Intelligence.

Rose-Smith, with II and AR six years, is a 1998 graduate of the University of East Anglia, England.

NYFWA each year gives ten $3,000 scholarships to students who show an interest in financial writing.

Bylaws of the group forbid investments in stocks or bonds. The cash is kept in money market funds, CDs and U.S. treasuries.

The Follies 2009 show grossed $294,075 and had expenses of $235,526 for a profit of $58,549 according to IRS Form 990 which was filed Aug. 5, 2010. Income for a dinner speaker was $53,951 and expenses were $40,224, resulting in overall profit of $72,276.

Present for the 2010 show were about 1,100 financial executives, working press, PR pros, media executives and representatives of educational institutions such as Columbia University-Knight-Bagehot Foundation.

Rooney & Assocs. hosted nearly 40 financial journalists. Almost all of the major PR firms were represented as well as major Wall Street Houses.

NYFWA reported a gain of 20 members to a total of 397. This includes 90 freelancers, a category that did not exist in 1979. The medium supplying the most members in 1979 was the New York Times with 15. Current members include 276 active; 30 associate; 48 life active and life associates, and 42 students.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, February 2, 2011, Page 4


Goodman Media supported the Jan. 22 return of baseball's San Francisco Giants to New York City after a 53-year hiatus to give fans a chance to take a photo with the 2010 World Series trophy and chat with the great Willie Mays.

Mays, who broke in with the New York Giants in 1951 and capped his career with a World Series appearance with the New York Mets, visited fans at a public school near the site of the old Polo Grounds, where the Giants played in Harlem’s Coogan's Bluff.

The trophy then went on display at the Hilton Hotel and Finnerty's bar, an East Village haunt of S.F. Giants fans.

Tom Goodman said his firm “gave advice on some logistics” and helped with “high-level” media introductions. He called Giants VP/communications Staci Slaughter the “star” of the show.

Slaughter called Goodman “a huge help” in planning the trip. “I had never done media outreach in New York City and he was very helpful in advising me on where to start,” she said. “He was also instrumental in arranging a meeting with the New York Times editorial board.”

Slaughter said the media were “extremely responsive and we received multiple-day coverage in all of the dailies. Not to mention a very entertaining 30-minute show with [talk show host] Chris Russo and our executives and the trophy.” Russo is a diehard Giants fan.

The Giants “really had a great idea and then executed it very well,” according to Goodman, who noted that Mays’ school visit was made during a snowstorm. Mays, 79, got to the school an hour before the start of the event, said Goodman.


A group of 400 rabbis signed an open letter to News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch demanding an apology from Fox News chief Roger Ailes and the sanction of personality Glenn Beck for making inappropriate and insensitive remarks about Nazis and the Holocaust.

The letter ran Jan. 17, Holocaust Remembrance Day, as a full page ad in News Corp.’s Wall Street Journal.

The rabbis note that in the current charged political climate much is tolerated, and much is ignored or dismissed. “But you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organization you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks, and it is not only "left-wing rabbis" who think so.”

They “share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media. But that is not what we have seen at Fox News,” said the letter signed by 400 rabbis from the reform, conservative and orthodox branches of Judaism.

The rabbis are “deeply offended” by Ailes' statement attributing outrage over Beck's use of Holocaust and Nazi images to “left-wing rabbis who basically don't think that anybody can ever use the word, Holocaust, on the air.”

Ailes also branded NPR executives as “Nazis” for their decision to fire Juan Williams, who was given a lucrative contract with Fox. Ailes did apologize to the Anti-Defamation League for that reference made in March.

The rabbis also took issue with Beck’s attacks on philanthropist George Soros, whom Beck referred to as “14-year old Jew hiding with a Christian family in Nazi-occupied Hungary of sending his people to death camps.”

Placed by the Jewish Funds for Justice, the ad calls on Fox News to “meet the standard it has set for itself: to exercise the ultimate sensitivity when referencing the Holocaust.”

Fox dismisses the ad as work from a “George Soros backed left-wing political organization that has been trying to engage Glenn Beck primarily for publicity purposes.”


Gabriel Snyder, former editor-in-chief of, has been named editor of The Atlantic’s news aggregation site TheAtlanticWire.

Snyder had been executive editor of Newsweek Digital since his sudden exit from Gawker last year.

Atlantic Digital editorial director Bob Cohn said Snyder’s skills will help the company as it adds new staff and expands its “ambitions.” Cohn said he “understands how to combine speed, voice, and depth to create great journalism and build audiences.”

Snyder, who’s written for W, Variety, US Weekly and the New York Observer, will be based in New York.

BRIEFS _________________________

Bill Keller, executive editor for the New York Times, will write a column for the Times Magazine about 30 times a year as the front essay in “The Way We Live Now” section.

Betsy Perry, a Bloomberg and Cosmopolitan veteran, joined as editor-in-chief on Feb. 1. She was senior editor at Cosmo and senior producer at “Good Day, New York,” in addition to sales and news posts at Bloomberg.

She was also part of the creative team that launched Premiere Magazine, a reporter for Star Magazine and literary editor for Harper’s Bazaar.

Internet Edition, February 2, 2011, Page 5


KCSA Strategic Communications, New York, has opened a Chicago office under the direction of veteran journalist Stephane Fitch.

Fitch, 43, who takes a managing director role with the firm, was previously Chicago bureau chief of Forbes during a 12-year career that included heading its European bureau and reporting from Los Angeles and New York. He was previously at Dow Jones & Co.

KCSA partner Jeff Corbin said the new outpost is part of the firm's expansion into key U.S. markets and follows its Boston opening last year.


Ogilvy PR is supporting the “Ask Not” public service campaign that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of John F. Kennedy.

The campaign from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum encourages Americans to get involved in public service.

Jimmy Fallon is featured in “Ask Not” ads that urge viewers to refrain from getting caught up in consumerism and opt instead for community service.

In his “café” ad, Fallon said 50 years ago JFK said “ask not what your country can do for you.” The actor wants viewers to stop getting caught up in the “dumb stuff.” Ask not for a “bailout, spray tan, free music downloads, or blanket with sleeves” but rather “ask what you can do for your country,” says Fallon.

Ogilvy & Mather developed the pro-bono spots. The website was created by Kennedy’s son-in-law Edwin Schlossberg, principal at ESI.

Schlossberg and Ogilvy have been working for a year on the project.


Bob Zito, who held top communications posts at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the New York Stock Exchange and Sony, has set up Zito Partners with presences in New York and New Jersey.

Zito’s board of advisors includes former NYSE chair Dick Grasso and Centurion Holding CEO Joe Grano.

Karina Correa-Muury, former director at Topping Media and ex-PR intern for Reuters, is a partner at Zito.

Zito was chief communications officer at Bristol-Meyers Squibb, developing its “Prevail” campagin and operating as the company downsized and moved toward biopharmaceuticals.

ZP has partnered with several professionals and firms. Info:

BRIEFS: Epoch 5 PR, Huntington, N.Y., was named “Best PR Firm” by the Long Island Press for the second-straight year in a reader poll. Firm president Katherine Heaviside was named “Best Publicist” for 2011, as well. ...Dallas IR firm C. Bell & Associates and D.C. firm CounterPoint Strategies are working with Kosmos Energy as the Dallas-based company pursues an inital public offering pegged around $500M. Kosmos is majority-owned by private-equity firms Blackstone Group and Warburg Pincus.


New York Area

RF|Binder Partners, New York/Exent, digital entertainment media and distributor of PC games on demand, as AOR to position and raise visibility of its managed service which powers its games on demand offerings with providers like Verizon and Qwest, as well as the company’s Free Ride Games gaming site.

House of Success, New York/Munaluchi Bridal magazine, African-inspired publication dedicated to women of color which debuted in 2009, to create a strategic PR and brand campaign designed to increase awareness and visibility among consumers and within the corporate marketplace.

Rubenstein PR, New York/Madison International Realty, real estate investment firm and liquidity provider, for PR.

Laura Davidson PR, New York/Trump SoHo, New York hotel, as AOR for PR.
Coyne PR, Parsippany, N.J./Eggland’s Best, as AOR for PR following a review. Weber Shandwick was the incumbent.

R&J PR, Bridgewater, N.J./Aerocrine, Inc., medical technology company focused on treatment of patients with inflamed airways, as AOR for PR for the Aerocrine brand initially surrounding the NIOX MINO hand-held device to measure exhaled nitric oxide to aid in asthma management.


Mason, Bethany, Conn./Shake-Away, Inc., EPA-registered line of predator scent animal repellents, as AOR for marketing, primarily a PR campaign that includes message development, media relations, events, as well as social and digital media programs. Traditional and online advertising are also included.

Clark & Weinstock, Washington, D.C./Seedco, national non-profit economic development organization, for strategic communications and public affairs consulting.


Jeff Dezen Public Relations, Greenville, S.C./Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores, operator of 300 company-owned and dealer ExxonMobil sites in Maryland and Virginia, for PR, including strategic comms. and local media relations, as well as promotions, events and issues management.


PReturn, Chicago/Kenshoo, search marketing and online advertising technology, to manage its U.S. PR program and promote its digital marketing software for advertisers, agencies and marketing providers.

Liebler Group Communication Strategists, Detroit/Mariners’ Church of Detroit; the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry of Michigan.

GlobalHue, Southfield, Mich./CitiFinancial, for re-branding to OneMain Financial slated for summer, 2011.

Mountain West

Wall Street Communications, Salt Lake City/Northern Electric Energy, for PR and to develop and maintain a presence for the company in the solar photovoltaic and alternative energy press in the U.S. and Canada.

— Greg Hazley

Internet Edition, February 2, 2011, Page 6


The United Nations Development Programme’s office of communications is on the hunt for a media monitoring vendor via RFP.

The U.N. agency, based in New York and operating in 166 countries to help nations overcome development challenges, wants a daily clipping service for managers and staff, as well as a custom daily report for internal distribution via email.

The RFP was released Jan. 24. Proposals are due Feb. 7 with March 16 eyed as the date to start a contract.

Topics of interest, in addition to the UNDP itself, include climate change, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and women’s empowerment, among others.

Download the RFP at


Noting the squeeze the financial crisis has put on media, GFC/Net, a network of financial and corporate communications firms, has released the sixth edition of its “Guide to Global Financial Media.”

Martin Mosbacher, chairman and founding partner of Intermarket Communications, a GFC member firm, said the depth and breadth of relevant content in the guide reflects the "complexity and continuing diversity of the financial media."

He said it is no surprise that many print publications have shut down or been curtailed while online content has grown exponentially amid the financial crisis.
“Today, more than ever, only a focused story, tailored to specific journalists and media outlets, will ensure the desired result,” he said.

GFC, which has agencies in 17 countries, had staffers in each market contribute to the guide.

More info and copies of the guide can be obtained from Michael Gelormino at [email protected].


AdMedia Partners served as financial advisor to marketing agency RAZOR through its acquisition by NSI Marketing Services.

The combination creates one of the 10 largest privately held marketing agencies in the U.S. with more than 475 employees and annual revenues in excess of $70 million, the M&A advisor said.

Clients include Rent-a-Center, Domino's Pizza, and Purina.

Frontenac Company, a Chicago private equity firm with a controlling interest in NSI, was NSI's financial partner in the deal.

INTERNATIONAL: The U.K.’s Public Relations Consultants Association said it has partnered with Emirates Consulting and Media Services to make its PR training available for the first time in the Middle East. Under the deal, the the PRCA provides trainers, training courses while ECMS delivers logistical support and regional marketing. Francis Ingham, PRCA’s CEO, said the group has plans to replicate the arrangement in “every mature PR market.”



Smita Gaikwad, VP of corporate communications, WNS Global Services, to business process outsourcing company Firstsource Solutions, New York, as global head of corporate communications. She takes over for Vrinda Walavalkar, who has moved to an IT services subsidiary. She was previously manager, corporate comms., at Principal Financial Group.

Meghan Gross, director of communications for law firm Foley Hoag, to MSLGROUP, Boston, as senior VP in its corporate practice. She was previously with Robes & Gray, Weber Shandwick, Arnold PR and Powell Tate.

Bert Brantley, director of communications for Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, to McRae, Atlanta, to lead its public affairs and issue management practice group. He was previously at the Georgia Dept. of Transportation and the state's Dept. of Economic Development before joining the governor’s office in late 2006.

Tom Carver, senior vice president at Chlopak, Leonard & Schechter and a 20-year veteran BBC correspondent, to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as VP for strategy and communications. Carver joined CLS in 2008 after heading the D.C. office of Control Risks. He is married to the BBC's Katty Kay.

Emily Skor, senior VP, Dezenhall Resources, to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Washington, D.C., as VP of communications and alliance development, starting Feb. 14. She was previously a senior A/E at Cohn & Wolfe.

Brad Chase, director of communications, DaVita Inc., to Capitol Media Partners, Los Angeles, as a partner. He was previously at CarryOn Communication and was a press secretary in the House of Representatives.

Nate Warren, principal, Libertine Creative Concern, to Fusion Marketing Partners, Colorado Springs, as director of PR services. He was previously an A/E at Metzger Associates.

Erin Cechal, comms. specialist for Just Marketing Int’l, to the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, as director of PR and media services.

Mark Morley, head of corporate communications and public affairs for the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority, to Fitch Ratings, London, as senior director and head of corporate comms. for EMEA.


Steve Janisse to general manager, PR, Porsche Cars North America, Atlanta, effective Feb. 1. He oversees all media and PR, as well as social media, internal communications and product placement. Bernd Harling, who held the post for the past seven years, remains with Porsche in a newly created function as principal communications counsel. Janisse was previously with General Motors and Saab.

— Greg Hazley


Internet Edition, February 2, 2011, Page 7


Taco Bell pushed back sternly on Jan. 25 against a class-action suit claiming the Yum Brands unit is not serving “ground beef” as advertised.

The suit, filed by an Alabama law firm, is demanding a “corrective advertising” campaign, not monetary damages. It has become a national story and PR crisis for Taco Bell, which works with Cohn & Wolfe and was already in the news cycle as it pulled its advertising from MTV's controversial show “Skins” last week.

Greg Creed, president and chief concept officer for the Mexican fast-food chain, blasted the suit in a statement Jan. 25. “Unfortunately, the lawyers in this case elected to sue first and ask questions later -- and got their ‘facts’ absolutely wrong,” he said. “We plan to take legal action for the false statements being made about our food.”

Beasley Allen, the Montgomery firm leading the suit, said it is challenging TB’s “practice of representing to consumers that its restaurants serve ‘seasoned ground beef’ or ‘seasoned beef’ filling in its products.”

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in California, wants TB to “properly advertise and label food items” and to engage in a “corrective advertising campaign to educate the public about the true content of its food products.”

Attorney Dee Miles said TB’s product does not qualify as “ground beef” under federal guidelines. He claims that seasonings added are actually fillers and binders that reduce the actual beef content per serving.

Babak Zafarnia a former director in Burson-Marsteller’s issues and crisis unit who now runs her own firm in D.C., said TB’s response was evasive while noting its Facebook and Twitter pages were ignoring the issue.

“Taco Bell needs to revise its crisis management and litigation PR strategy quickly, if it plans to avoid a big corporate black-eye as lawsuit discovery charts its inevitable course,” she said.

Taco Bell, meanwhile, is conveying that its buys beef from “the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket, like Tyson Foods,” while outlining the cooking process and pointing consumers to its website, where it identifies all seasoning and spice ingredients.

TB is based in Irvine, Calif., and has 5,700 eateries.


South Korea has renewed Fratelli Group to a one-year pact worth $300K as the Obama administration pushes for Congressional approval of a Korean free trade agreement.

During his State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to okay the Korean trade deal “as soon as possible.” He claims approval will support 70,000 American jobs. There also are pending agreements with Panama and Colombia.

Working with Korea’s Washington Embassy, Fratelli is to develop specific messages to key Members of Congress and run grassroots campaigns beyond the Beltway. The firm also maintains and updates

Fratelli’s contract runs through Dec. 31.


The wind power industry unveiled the “Windmade” eco-label Jan. 28 during the World Economic Forum in Davos as the first consumer label to identify products produced by wind energy.

The initiative comes from Global Wind Energy Council, Lego Group, United Nations Global Compact, Vestas Wind Systems, Bloomberg, World Wildlife Fund and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The label is designed to capture the eyes and dollars of consumers who consider renewable energy as a way to fight global warming. Its widespread acceptance could boost the global development of wind systems.

Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC and interim head of Windmade, claims that a survey of 25,000 people found that 92 percent of them would buy a renewable energy produced-product, even at a premium.

A key problem: consumers currently have no way to identify goods produced by alternative energy.

Windmade members are currently developing standards for certification set to be ready in March.


Kimberly Jordan, a Bloomberg News veteran, has joined Hill & Knowlton as VP in its energy practice. The Houston-headquartered journalist reports to Elizabeth Northrup, senior VP/PA in Washington.

Jordan covered the energy beat for Bloomberg for more than a decade. As bureau chief of its Houston office, she handled coverage of the oil & gas rich Gulf Coast region and coordinated interviews with industry leaders from companies such as ConocoPhillips and NextEra Energy.

Northrop said in a statement that Jordan’s knowledge of energy space and journalism is a “tremendous asset” for clients that need to translate complex technical and financial stories into narratives that impact policies and markets.


Marine Farms Vietnam, a subsidiary of a Norwegian aquaculture company, has tapped Newton, Mass.-based boutique firm Wanger Associates for a U.S. PR push supporting its farm-raised cobia.

Also known as ling, cobia grow fast and are popular table fare, but they are not predictable, schooling fish, so aquaculture is seen as key to building up a market.

Wanger, founded in 1985, is charged with building up MFV's Vietnam-raised cobia to restaurants, grocery stores, caterers and consumers in the U.S. Scope of work includes social media, a new website, cooking demonstration videos, cultivating recipes developed by professional chefs and media relations, among other tasks.

Firm principal Barry Wanger told O’Dwyer’s that MFV's head of new business development saw his name mentioned in a story about PR and the seafood industry and the account grew from there after a phone call.

MFV farms salmon in the U.K. and sea bass in Spain, in addition to its cobia operations in Vietnam and Belize. Nordic Group of Wakefield, Mass., is its North American distributor.


Internet Edition, February 2, 2011, Page 8




This is the time of year when PR firms have to decide if they’re going to give up their statistics and join the O’Dwyer rankings.

As many as 200 firms have done so, although that figure has dropped to less than 150 in the past two years because of the economic meltdown.

Deadline for submitting fee income and employee counts, supported by tax documents, is Monday, Feb. 21. Rankings form can be downloaded at

Rankings are published in this NL in the first week in March and are final.

There is no better way to win attention in Google searches than being in the main and specialty O’Dwyer rankings, the only ones supported by tax documents. A Google search of PR rankings in general or by specific product category such as healthcare, tech, food, financial, travel, etc., brings up the O’Dwyer rankings at or near the top. We’re the only PR publisher doing rankings by specialties.

Above the O’Dwyer mentions are the paid Google AdWords that can easily cost thousands a month. Some firms are paying those prices for the visibility.

According to Google Analytics, ranking pages get more than 10,000 unique page views monthly with 8,000 of them coming from companies shopping for PR counsel via search engines.

Most of the firms in the O’Dwyer rankings do business with us in one way or another. Starting last year, we made this a requirement for all ranked firms because the rankings are no longer something on a sheet of paper or in a directory, but exist as an interactive electronic billboard on an expensive, highly active, news-oriented website that attracts 30,000 visits monthly.

Ranked firms that enjoy the visibility of their rankings have to support the website where they reside.

One-Third of Financial Writers Unemployed

The New York Financial Writers’ Assn. , which puts on the annual “Financial Follies,” last week reported cash/savings of $589,120, up $50,000 from a year earlier.

Membership rose 20 to 397 including 276 “active” (i.e., employable) members.

What was left out says a lot about today’s journalism picture -- 90 of the 276, or about one-third, are listed as “freelance,” i.e., unemployed or self-employed, in the members’ directory.

There was no such category a couple of decades ago.

What is NYFWA doing about this? Nothing, as far as we can see.

It gives $30,000 a year (about 5% of its assets) to ten students who might go into financial journalism (what, as freelancers?).

Each student gets $3,000 which would pay for about two or three weeks of tuition/board at a mid-level college.

What NYFWA should be doing with the more than half million left over is bankroll a study (by some of its freelancers) of journalism’s failure to warn about the economic debacle of 2008-09 that brought the country to its knees.

Where was financial reporting at the local level where banks were giving home mortgages to anyone with a pulse?

What local press would go up against real estate brokers and banks that were probably among its biggest advertisers?

We didn’t see much investigative reporting about the real estate bubble in our hometown of Greenwich, Conn., where former $45,000 split ranches ballooned to as high as $1.8M.

The Greenwich Time and other papers in Fairfield County are owned by Hearst.

NYFWA members should begin their research with the 576-page tome of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that was published last week.

It lambasted banks, Wall St., regulators including the SEC, former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, rating services such as Fitch, Moody’s and S&P -- just about everyone except financial reporters who deserve some of the blame.

A 2009 panel hosted by NYFWA found that few of the writers in the audience knew the meaning of credit default swaps (nothing was ‘swapped’), collateralized debt obligations, or the many forms of derivatives.

Leader of ‘Flash Mob’ Attack Keeps Defending It

Derek DeVries, self-confessed leader of the "Flash Mob" attack on this reporter at the 2010 PRSA Assembly, keeps defending it, calling it "a combination of an experiment with social media and a prank."

What smoked DeVries out into the open and also PRSA VP-PR Art Yann was an editorial on PR Watch Jan. 13 headlined "Awful PR for PR Society of America."

The editorial by PRW managing editor Anne Landman said this reporter was “besieged by a Flash Mob while in the middle of an interview.”

DeVries, in a posting on PRW Jan. 27, says the 20 “mobsters” were set to attack at precisely 2:45 p.m. on Oct. 16 and it was “simply a coincidence” that I was also interviewing delegate Art Stevens at that time.

Stevens had just seen six-months of work go down the drain as the Assembly overwhelmingly defeated the bid to allow non-APRs as national candidates for the first time 35 years.

Stevens called the blockage of 81% of members from national posts “the Berlin Wall” of the Society that “had to come down.” The 2010 Assembly was an awful moment for supporters of democracy.

DeVries says there was no “deliberate attempt” to disrupt this interview.
Whether deliberate or not, it disrupted it. The polite thing for DeVries and his mob to have done was wait until the interview was over.

Yann Posting on PR Watch Is a Mess

Yann also made some lengthy postings on PR Watch in reply to the “Awful PR” headline and we wonder how he can get paid $137K (his salary in 2009 which was fourth highest at PRSA).

His Jan. 21 posting said “Every day, companies large and small choose the media with which they will interact, whether via invitations to press events, exclusive rights to news announcements, embargoes or, in extreme circumstances, denial of access to information.”

This shows lack of understanding of what journalism is -- the coverage of institutions and people whether they like it or not. Misbehaving organizations don’t have the option of escaping coverage -- not in America, anyway.

There are other flaws in the posting including the statement that the Society gives this reporter credentials to cover the Assembly but not to cover the annual conference.

How can we be credentialed for one and not the other?

The statement was also made that “the Assembly is open to any member who would like to attend.” What, 21,000 members can attend?

Of course they can attend if they were able to listen to the Assembly via an audiocast or read a transcript of the Assembly (which they had until 2005).

The board of the Society should take a close look at the statements of Yann and DeVries that were posted on PR Watch.

— Jack O'Dwyer


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