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Internet Edition, February 23, 2011, Page 1


The public affairs operation supporting U.S. forces in Afghanistan plans to review its PR support contract with an open competition next month.

SOSi International is the incumbent contract for the media monitoring and PR support pact, which was previously handled by The Rendon Group. SOSi, which is based in Reston, Va., and operates out of Kabul in Afghanistan, won the business in its last open review in 2006, a pact initially capped at $67M but extended in October for an extra six months.

Army contracting will oversee the RFP process. The RFP is slated to be released on or around March 4 with a 30 day open period. A base contract with up to four option years is planned for the upcoming RFP.

The work is strategic communications advisement and support services, as well as foreign media analysis.


Omnicom on Feb. 15 reported a 7.4 percent rise in fourth-quarter net to $246.5M on a 9.8 percent jump in revenues to $3.6B. Full-year profit rose 4.4% to $827.7M on a 7 percent jump in revenues to $12.5B.

OMC’s Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, Brodeur Partners, Kreab Gavin Anderson and Porter Novelli-led PR group showed a 7.9 percent revenue rise in the quarter to $299M. It up was 6.5 percent to $1.1B for the year.

CEO John Wren spent $184M for acquisitions in 2010. Fourth-quarter pick-ups included Ketchum’s purchase of a controlling interest in Greater China and the acquisition of Maslov PR in Russia.

Omnicom ended the year with 65,500 staffers, up from 63,000 at Dec. 31, 2009. Its stock hit a 52-week high of $50.84 on Feb. 18.


Connecture, which markets distribution technology and services to health insurers, is on the hunt for a PR agency of record with an RFP process this month.

“We are looking at a select group of firms who specialize in the health insurance industry,” said Megan Riddle, lead marketing specialist for Connecture.

Its software automates the health insurance sales process for carriers, helps state governments offer coverage, and assists insurance brokers to sell policies.

The company wants an agency that can show a track record in healthcare technology campaigns.


Qorvis Communications is handling media for Bahrain, where at least four people were killed and 100 injured Feb. 17, after riot police broke up a pro-democracy camp at Pearl Square in the capital city of Manama.

Hundreds of police fired shotguns and tear gas at the camp during the early morning hours. Tanks and armored personnel carriers took control of the capital. Miquel Marguez, correspondent for ABC News, was among those hurt. He reports being beaten the thugs with clubs.

Qorvis CEO Michael Petruzzello confirmed via e-mail his firm’s representation of that Middle East tinderbox.

The Washington-based firm began work for Bahrain in August under a subcontract with Britain’s Bell Pottinger.

Its mission was to position Bahrain, home of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, as a key ally in the war on terror and forceful advocate for peace in the Middle East.

Pitches were thrown at top media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Associated Press and Los Angeles Times. Qorvis staffers working the account are Matt Lauer, former executive director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy at the State Dept.; Seth Pietras; Nicole Silverman and Art Swift.


Weber Shandwick has tapped pollster Doug Schoen and long-time Procter & Gamble PR chief Charlotte Otto as senior advisors and members of its corporate strategic advisory board.

With Burson-Marsteller chief Mark Penn, Schoen is founding partner of Penn, Schoen & Berland. He has counseled Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, ex-Indiana Governor/Senator Evan Bayh, Time-Warner, AT&T and P&G.

Schoen is a Fox News contributor and author of 10 books, his latest being “Mad As Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System.” He will counsel clients on issues management, corporate reputation and PA.

Otto stepped down from P&G in 2010 after a 13-year stint as its top global PA and external relations officer. She handed media relations, product publicity, employee/shareholder communications, government affairs and philanthropy under five CEOs of the Cincinnati-based consumer powerhouse.


Internet Edition, February 23, 2011, Page 2


KCSA Strategic Communications handled the Feb. 14 launch of the “Comeback America Initiative” drive designed to educate the U.S. public about the dangers connected to rising national debt and reliance on foreign lenders.

The campaign is funded by the foundation of billionaire Pete Peterson, ex-Commerce Secretary, Lehman Brothers CEO and Blackstone Group co-founder. It is based on the Comeback America book that was published in 2010 by former Comptroller General and Government Accountability Office head David Walker.

Walker’s main point: the U.S. is”headed for a fiscal abyss and must change course to prevent a global economic collapse.”

Members of the Initiative are readying a “fiscal solutions tour” of town hall meetings and conference calls with elected officials who want to engage constituents with the hard choices required to get the U.S. back on track.

The Initiative’s board includes Bill Novelli, ex-president of Porter Novelli; Mel Martinez, ex-Florida Senator and now JP Morgan Chase executive VP; Norm Augustine, ex-Lockheed Martin chief; Harold Ford, former Tennessee Congressman and now Bank of America executive vice chairman; Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union and Josh Weston, ex-CEO of Automatic Data Processing.

Peterson’s foundation, meanwhile, issued a statement that called President Obama’s proposed 2010 budget a “starting point to begin addressing our national's fiscal challenges.”


The International Reading Assn., which bills itself as the world's leading organization of literacy professionals, has issued an RFP for PR and corporate communications services.

The Newark, Del.-based group runs It has more than 70K members who teach reading to learners of all ages. About 90 percent of members are school or university-based. Others work in psychology, speech pathology, publishing, government and non-profit organizations.

More than 5,000 institutions subscribe to IRA publications, such as The Reading Teacher, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and Reading Research Quarterly.

The IRA is currently engaged in a transitional plan that created a new professional development unit and a strategic communications component.

The strategic communications plan calls for lining up external PR expertise to enhance the group’s reputation as a literacy education leader, create a speakers bureau and pitch IRA leadership to TV morning shows and evening news programs. The IRA board has approved a $15.6M operating budget for 2010-2011.

Responders to the RFP face a March `10 deadline. Proposals go to Dan Mangan ([email protected]).


Austin-based PR agency Hahn has picked up U.S. PR duties for Formula 1, the global racing phenomenon that will be setting up shop in Texas for 10 years starting in 2012.

Last year, Austin was awarded hosting duties for the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix from 2012-2021 on a 900-acre track facility under construction. The U.S. race, which first ran in 1908, has not been held since 2007 in Indianapolis, although Formula 1 racing takes place around the world and is considered among the top three global sporting events behind the Olympics and World Cup.

Thirty-six-year-old Hahn was formerly Bonner Inc. and TateAustin and also has operations in San Antonio and Corpus Christi.

Jeff Hahn, a former Motorola communications exec who bought the agency in 2007, told O’Dwyer’s that a number of referrals set up the opportunity for his firm to pitch the account.

Formula 1 U.S. has also hired Austin-based ad agency Exopolis for creative.

Sandy West, VP of corporate affairs for Formula 1 U.S., said the project was looking for agencies that could make a full commitment to the work. “We are creating a world-class business and entertainment destination,” she said.

The bid effort to bring Formula 1 racing to Texas is backed by Clear Channel Communications co-founder Red McCombs and former NASCAR driver Tavo Hellmund.

The Texas track is expected to hold 120,000 fans.


Brett Jewkes, managing partner at Taylor, will move to client NASCAR in April as VP and chief communications officer for the racing league.

The appointment comes nine months after NASCAR began to revamp its communications division after longtime VP Jim Hunter stepped down amid a battle with cancer. He died on Nov. 1.

NASCAR, which has suffered from TV ratings declines in recent years, said it vetted more than 50 candidates and interviewed nearly 20 before deciding on Jewkes.

Jewkes takes up the post atop the league’s new integrated marketing communications unit on April 13 based in Charlotte, N.C., where he previously opened an office for Taylor.

He also founded the firm’s motorsports practice and won a Silver Anvil for handling's Safe Search Schools partnership with NASCAR. Other client experience includes the NFL, MLB and U.S. Olympic Committee, as well as Nestle Purina and Merck.

He'll oversee all of NASCAR’s communications functions, from business and crisis communications, to brand and consumer marketing.

NASCAR CEO Brian France noted Jewkes’ “unique understanding of NASCAR and our industry” in announcing the hire.


Internet Edition, February 23, 2011, Page 3


Viacom, which has filed a $1B copyright infringement suit against Google’s YouTube, has recruited Daniel Mandil, chief anti-piracy official at the Motion Picture Assn. of America to oversee its legal efforts.

He starts April 1, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter. Mandil, who exits MPAA as senior executive VP, joined the group in 2009 from Sony BMG.

Earlier, he was a partner at Covington & Burling. At Viacom, he will report to Michael Fricklas, general counsel.

MPAA, last month, promoted Mike Robinson to the executive VP, content protection, chief of operations. It also named Kevin Suh to the senior VP, content protection, Internet position.

The movie trade group is looking for a replacement for ex-chief Dan Glickman. Bob Pisano serves as interim CEO. Former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd will reportedly take the post.


Former Time correspondent and bureau chief Jay Carney made his White House press secretary debut on Wednesday, drawing praise with a relatively uneventful but well-attended briefing.

Carney's first question from the White House press corps asked how he sees his role as a press secretary and former journalist.

“We obviously all here serve the President. I work for him,” he said. “But the press secretary is a unique position within a White House. And not just because I’m a former journalist, because I think every press secretary understood this and understands it -- I work to promote the president and the message that he’s trying -- the messages he’s trying to convey to the American people.”

Carney added that he also works to help reporters do their jobs. “So I think it’s been said before that the office that the press secretary has is somewhat symbolically located about halfway between the briefing room and the Oval Office, and I think that says something about what the nature of the job is,” he said.

Keith Koffler, the veteran W.H. correspondent who pens the White House Dossier blog, called Carney's debut “smooth and unruffled” and said he “sounded like he'd been press secretary for about six years.”

He added that “overall, as a professional matter, an excellent performance. Carney was under extreme pressure, and he pulled through. Even made it look easy.”

Writing for GQ, Ana Marie Cox called the debut “less a news event than a ritual.”

She wrote: “He performed as well as anyone in the position to can be expected to: He made no news—not-making-news is in the press secretary's job description. He was minimally charming and maximally on point. He wore a dark maroon tie with blue stripes.”

The White House also said Wednesday that deputy press secretary Bill Burton is leaving the administration to set up a political consulting shop with former Rahm Emanuel adviser Sean Sweeney in D.C.


Courtney Simmons has moved from the VP/communications slot at Disney Interactive Media Group to head publicity for Warner Bros.’s DC Entertainment in Burbank, Calif.

WB said last fall moved to integrate DC Entertainment more closely into Warner Bros. to build more platforms for DC Comics characters like Green Lantern and Batman.

Simmons takes a senior VP role to handle PR strategy for DC Comics’ characters, in addition to overseeing media relations and internal communications for the company. She also has oversight of its New York-based publicity team.

She reports to executive VP John Rood, who said Simmons is joining at at time when the company is working the comics business into WB’s films, video games, TV and consumer products.

Other DC properties include MAD Magazine and Vertigo Publishing.

Earlier in her career, Simmons was at Sony Online Entertainment on the PR launch of DC Universe Online, a gaming venture with Warner Bros.

She previously headed media relations and government affairs for The LEGO Group and headed PR for The Six Flags Theme Park in Los Angeles.

WB rival Disney bought DC rival Marvel comics in a $4 billion deal in 2009.


Nancy Carr, senior VP-corporate communications at Hallmark Channels, died Feb. 18 in Los Angeles. She was 50.

She joined Hallmark in 05, departing the VP-communications post at CBS after 15 years at the Tiffany Network.

Earlier, she worked as senior publicity manager at Fox and senior account executive at GolinHarris.

At Hallmark, Carr handled PR/PA, government relations, diversity outreach, media and audience services.

Hallmark is grateful that Carr guided the company’s corporate media strategy for more than five years, according to a statement from its president Bill Abbott.

The company “cared deeply for and about Nancy will never forget her dedication to life’s smallest creatures, as she worked tirelessly for animal rights and animal rescue.”

Carr was active in the Los Angeles chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

(Media news continued on next page)


Internet Edition, February 23, 2011, Page 4


Fox News apologized Feb. 17 for airing a tape from last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference at which boos were heard when Texas maverick Ron Paul was announced as winner of its presidential straw poll.

That old footage aired Feb. 15 during an interview with Paul, who again won CPAC’s poll last weekend before an upbeat audience.

Fox downplayed the error, calling it an “honest mistake.”

Paul made light of the incident -- as he did last year on Fox -- when initially queried about the rough reception. Fox’s Bill Hemmer asked Feb. 15: “Who was in the audience booing you, did you get a name, did you get an ID on those people?” The doctor replied that he wasn’t at “that little ceremony at the end but it shows you that people are not unanimous on this cause of liberty.”

While on air Feb. 17, Hemmer admitted that Fox clearly made a mistake, noting there were audible boos in 2010, but a “lot more cheering this year” for the 76-year-old Congressman from Texas.


The Obama Administration has narrowed access by the mainstream media to an “unprecedented extent,” according to Ann Compton, ABC News White House correspondent. “Access here has shriveled,” says the veteran of seven administrations.

She is among those quoted in an ABC piece called “Obama’s Media Machine: State Run Media 2.0” that was posted Feb. 15 by Devin Dwyer.

The White House press office via its website, blog, YouTube channel, Flickr photo stream, Twitter, Facebook and a barrage of daily videos extolling the president's accomplishments has successful done an end run around the traditional press, according to the report.

Its latest offering, “Advise the Advisor: Your Direct Line to the White House” allows people to offer their opinions/suggestions and promises a prompt response from a senior official.

“While these innovative communications tools ostensibly offer greater transparency and openness, critics say they have come at a troublesome expense: less accountability of the Administration by the independent, mainstream press,” wrote Dwyer.

Heather LaMarre, a University of Minnesota journalism professor, told Dwyer that Team Obama is opening the door to kick the press out of historic events and “opening the door to having a very filtered format for which they give the American public information that doesn’t have any criticism allowed.”

David Perlmutter, director of the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, imagines the outrage if President Nixon was able to put such a propaganda machine in place.

“If Nixon had announced he was going to start the ‘Nixon channel’ and said they were only going to run stuff he approved of people, people would have said, ‘Oh my God, this is like Communist Russia state media.’”

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest says the effort to build an online audience is “intended to supplement the independent press, not supplant it.”

ABC noted that the White House has amassed 1.9 million followers on Twitter, 900,000 fans on Facebook and averages 250,000 visits to its YouTube channel per month, compared with the news organization’s own reach of 1.2 million followers on Twitter, 150,000 fans on Facebook, and 21.7 million unique visitor average per month to, according to ComScore.


Threats by Florida Int’l University athletic officials to boot reporters who asked about rape charges against baseball star Garrett Wittels proved to be hollow at a Feb. 17 press conference.

A “barrage of queries” about the rape charges were fired at Wittels and others and the conference became a “media circus,” reported the school’s student media—

Rico Albarracin, sports writer, said athletic director Pete Garcia at one point looked like he was trying to stop the conference which had turned into a “firestorm.” on Feb. 16 also criticized the PR surrounding the charges against Wittels, saying it was “ridiculous” for Garcia and others to block questioning about the alleged rape and worse to “threaten to revoke credentials for the season because of a question about the rape charges.”

“It’s baffling that a player charged with a felony is even allowed to play,” said ESPN.

Wittels’ 56-game hitting streak ended on Feb. 18, two short of a 1987 record set by Robin Ventura.

New York Times Benches Self

Although yesterday said the rape allegations against Wittels and two other FIU students is “a big story,” the New York Times has not mentioned it, except for a one-paragraph item in a sports column in the Dec. 27, 2010 edition.

The alleged rapes took place at the Atlantis Resort & Casino on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Victims, according to reports, are two 17-year-old women who described themselves as being students at the University of Nebraska. The legal drinking age in the Bahamas is 18 and the age of sexual consent is 16.

The Atlantis is a major advertiser in the NYT, frequently running color, full-page ads in the first news section.

Albarracin reported that Wittels “handled the press conference well. He said the right things and probably handled the questions like any 21-year-old.”

Wittels has not cut his hair since the batting streak began.

FIU coach Turtle Thomas has said that Wittels is “innocent until proven guilty.”

Albarracin also criticized the Athletic Dept. for withholding the decision on letting Wittels play until “minutes before the press conference.”

He asked whether the decision “was that hard to make?”

As for the threats against the media, Albarracin said FIU needs the press more than the press needs FIU.

— Jack O’Dwyer

Internet Edition, February 23, 2011, Page 5


Louisville-based Guthrie/Mayes PR has opened an office in downtown Lexington to serve as a base for expansion into central Kentucky.

Jennifer McGuire, an agency veteran most recently serving as an independent consultant, heads the new outpost. She was previously an account director for Laura Davidson PR in New York and spent four years at Northlich.

G/M handles clients like Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Philip Morris USA and Thomas & King.


Washington, D.C.-based Story Partners has aligned with Runyan Public Affairs as founder John Runyan has relocated the firm inside SP’s Georgetown offices.

Gloria Story Dittus, chairman of SP, said Runyan’s experience leading multi-industry business coalitions will expand the firm’s services.

Runyan previously managed federal government relations for International Paper and was senior government relations advisor to McGuiness & Williams.


Former top Lifetime TV corporate communications exec Josh Sabarra has set up Breaking News PR, a Beverly Hills-based firm focused on entertainment personalities, film studios and other media entities.

Sabarra has recently been producing the cable TV movie “Nancy Grace’s The Eleventh Victim.” Grace is a start-up client of Sabarra’s.

He is a PR veteran of the L.A. studio scene. Before a year-long stint as senior VP at Lifetime Networks that ended amid a large layoff at the company in late 2009, he was senior VP, marketing communications and publicity, for New Line Home Entertainment (“Wedding Crashers”) and VP of media relations for Miramax Films (“Kill Bill,” “Cold Mountain”).

Earlier, he directed national publicity for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and started out in publicity at Buena Vista (Disney).

He said the new firm will also have a New York presence and handle services from publicity and communications to social media, event planning and creative marketing.


Abernathy MacGregor Group is PR adviser to Sanofi-Aventis SA as the French drug company locks up a $20.1B deal to acquire Genzyme Corp.

Genzyme, which focuses on treating rare diseases, works with Publicis’ Kekst and Company.

The $74/share deal was announced by both companies on Feb. 16 following a nine-month pursuit by Sanofi, which made a $17.6B offer last July. The acquisition, which has cleared anti-trust approval in the U.S. and Europe, is expected to close in the second quarter.

Abernathy MacGregor’s New York office is supporting corporate communications for Paris-based Sanofi. Genzyme is based in Cambridge, Mass.


New York Area

The Brandman Agency, New York/Jamaica Inn, resort; Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France, beach hotel; The Surrey, New York hotel, and MSC Yacht Club, Mediterranean cruises, for U.S. PR.

Dera, Roslan & Campion, New York/The 1st New York Wild Film Festival, documentary film festival to feature films about exploration, wildlife and adventure related to the natural world. Work includes all media outreach, development of print, broadcast and social media profiles for the festival and participating films with an April 7 launch date.

GCI Health, New York/North Shore-LIJ Health System, network of 15 hospitals, as AOR for PR.

Columbus PRCo, New York/Gramercy Park Hotel, as PR AOR in North America, as well as an international campaign with the firm's sister offices in London, Paris, and Munich.


Birnbach Communications, Marblehead, Mass./UNIT4 CODA, financial and accounting software, as U.S. AOR.

Environics Communications, Washington, D.C./Design-Build Institute of America, design and construction industry group, for national PR to increase understanding and use of design-build project delivery, and to promote membership and education efforts of the group.

Articulon, Raleigh, N.C./TCAR, the Triangle Commercial Association of Realtors, as AOR following a Sept. 2010 project to create and launch its commercial information exchange, Work includes CRM campaigns, PR, advertising and promotional programs.

Diamond PR, Miami/Rosewood Mayakoba Resort (Riviera Maya, Mexico), and the Sandpearl Resort (Clearwater Beach, Fla.), for PR and social media.


Coles Marketing Communications, Indianapolis/Sponsel CPA Group, CPA and professional services firm, for marketing comms.


Hill & Knowlton, San Francisco/Responsys, cross-channel marketing services, for PR, including messaging and positioning, event support, media relations and digital efforts.

Kahn Media, Reseda, Calif./International AERO Products, as its AOR for PR and marketing, including targeted media outreach, social media marketing, new product debuts, events, advertising and special projects for the launch of the company as it unveils a line of automotive surface care products.

Acorn Woods Communications, Huntington Beach, Calif./H-Bomb Media, production house for action sports and motorsports industry, and H-Bomb co-founder Wes Miller’s Bomb Squad Racing ATC racing team, for marketing comms.


Punch Communications, London/Tommy Walsh, DIY and gardening guru, for integrated search and PR, and social media relations.

— Greg Hazley

Internet Edition, February 23, 2011, Page 6


Broadcast and digital PR service provider West Glen Communications said it tracked a 23 percent increase in PSA airings in 2010 over 2009 as it tracked more than 1.6M airings last year for 205 TV and radio campaigns.

The number was up 36 percent over 2008.

The company also said fewer than one-third of TV PSA airings occurred during the lesser-viewed overnight hours from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. as airings during the so-called “waking” day parts were up 8 percent over 2008. Twenty-four percent aired during the coveted morning and afternoon drive times, WGC said.

While airings showed a positive trend, the company said airings in national and top markets remained consistent over the past three years, with 24% (TV) and 28% (radio) hitting the top 25 media markets.


Latergy, the video PR and marketing boutique founded by MultiVu and Medialink alum Larry Thomas, has partnered with NBTV Studios, a New York-based media production and interactive services company, led by Nick Buzzell, a veteran of social media agency Big Fuel.

The companies said the alliance combines NBTV's global media production, interactive and creative expertise with Latergy's corporate communications, PR and marketing capabilities.

Thomas said that most PR and marketing departments are “under-staffed and under pressure to do ‘more with less’” and sees the combination of the two shops providing a greater value on senior level guidance.

Demo reel is at


Research giant TNS has tapped Microsoft vet Tim Isaac as global marketing director.

He was marketing director for Microsoft advertising in the EMEA region responsible for developing and executing regional marketing for the company's digital advertising business.

He spent nine years at British Airways before moving to the strategy & marketing practice of PA Consulting Group.

He was also head of brand development for Capital One.


John Wittenbraker, managing director of brand & communications for research provider GfK, will move into the role of managing director of corporate innovation for the company, a new position.

He oversees GfK’s Research Center for Excellence and Product Innovation.

James Conrad was tapped as managing director of brand & communications to take over for Wittenbraker. He was president of Canadian research company Hotspex, handling clients like Wrigley, Colgate, Coca-Cola and Molson Coors.

He was also president of Millward Brown (MB) Canada.



Andrea LePain, managing editor, New England Cable News, to Greenough Communications, Boston, as a senior manager. She was previously chief assignment editor at WPRI in Providence, R.I., and a reporter for Lowell Cable News.

Cari Guittard, executive director of Business for Diplomatic Action, to Howard Consulting Group, Washington, D.C., as VP of global affairs. She also held senior positions at the U.S. Department of State. Travis Brown, a political operative and former Republican State Committeeman in Massachusetts, joins as an associate.

Kate Ling, reporter for Energy & Environment Publishing, to Outreach Strategies, Washington, D.C., as a VP. She spent four years reporting on energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill.

Mark Medish, a former senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, to APCO Worldwide, Washington, D.C., to head its executive advisory service, Global Political Strategies, as an executive VP. He was a special assistant to Clinton and also worked under Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. Most recently, he was VP at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Todd McIntyre, senior regulatory consultant in the pharmaceutical sector, to 3D Communications, Washington, D.C., as a senior executive.

Miguel Cano, social media consultant, Sears Holdings Corp., to JSH&A PR, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., as digital and new media director. He was a community moderator for Sears and managed social media efforts for its MyGofer brand.

Roxana Janka, director of PR and client services, BrandCulture Co., to The Phelps Group, Santa Monica, Calif., as a PR specialist focused on financial services clients. She was previously a VP at Southard Comms.

Lee Dawson, former comms. director for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, to LT PR, Portland, Ore., as a director. He previously managed comms. for Dark Horse Comics Inc.


Kristen Vigrass and Emily Venugopal to president and VP, The Brandman Agency, New York. Melanie Brandman continues as founder and CEO. She said both will be “instrumental in moving the agency forward as we celebrate our 10th anniversary in business.”

Sharon Ward to director of public and media relations, Pelican Products, a Torrance, Calif.-based lighting systems and virtually indestructible cases.

— Greg Hazley


Internet Edition, February 23, 2011, Page 7


Israel’s Ministry of Tourism has put out an RFP for PR agencies in the U.K. and Ireland to award a contract for up to five years promoting the country as a tourism destination.

The ministry, which has a London office, wants to reach media, the travel trade, and consumers - both general and Jewish - in the U.K., Ireland and Scotland under the scope of work outlined in the RFP.

Travel to Israel from the U.K. was down 8% through June 2010 in-line with a seven percent decline since 2008.

The ministry wants to boost Christian travel by 25% annually and overall bookings by 15%, according to its goals for the U.K.

The RFP for the U.K. follows a move by Israel’s Foreign Ministry in January to seek PR support in several European countries to pitch the country’s tourism, industry and culture and move beyond the narrative that associates it with its tense relationships in the Arab world.

Agencies that work for Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus and the Palestinian Authority are excluded from the U.K. review process as they are viewed as competing destinations by the ministry of tourism.

The call for pitches asks that PR firms have a London-area office and be “expert in tourism destination management and promotion” with prior experience with a regional tourism organization covering at least an area with 100,000 residents. Agencies must have at least five staffers and have billed at least from £600K-£1.2M in annual PR fees in the target areas.

The tourism ministry is spending about £1M annually on advertising in the U.K. market.

Rubenstein Associates, MWW Group and 5W PR are among agencies that have worked for the Israeli tourism ministry in the U.S. since 2004.


Sard Verbinnen & Co and Germany’s Hering Schuppener Consulting handled the official announcement Feb. 15 that Germany’s Deutsche Boerse is taking over the New York Stock Exchange.

The Germans will control 60 percent of the not yet named venture that will create the world’s leading in derivatives and have revenues of $5.4B.

The partners expect the combination will result in savings of $400M.

DB will appoint nine directors to the 15-member board that will be chaired by DB CEO Reto Francioni, who will be responsible for overall strategy and global relationship management.

NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer will helm the venture that will be incorporated in the Netherlands.

George Sard and Paul Verbinnen are working the deal with HSC’s Alexander Geiser and Simon Steiner.

The deal is subject to European Union and U.S. regulatory approval.


Embattled St. Joe, one of Florida’s biggest private land owners, is using Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher as it moves to fend off an effort by two former directors to oust management due to its lackluster performance.

Investors Bruce Berkowitz and Charlie Fernandez of Fairholme Capital Management, owner of 30 percent of St. Joe shares, stepped down Feb. 14 from the real estate developer's board after six months of service.

They have hired headhunter Spencer Stuart to recruit directors to fill out a seven or nine member board to replace the current directors.

A website,, is under development to get shareholder input. Charlie Crist, former Governor of the Sunshine State, has been put forth as a director by the Fairholme group.

According to Florida law, a majority of shareholders by written consent can remove an existing board of directors.

St. Joe blames the housing slump for the red ink that it suffered during the past 10 consecutive quarters. It lost $13M on $27M during its latest period.

The company on Feb. 8 announced that it has retained Morgan Stanley to study financial and alternative strategies to bolster shareholder values.

Joele Frank and Andrew Siegel work the media for St. Joe.


Glover Park Group has picked up BNSF Railway Co. as Congress takes up reauthorization of the surface transportation bill.

Railroads subcommittee chair Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa) is a key target. He took aim at the Obama administration’s plan to spend $53B over six years for railroad infrastructure projects for high-speed rail.

That money "just prolongs the inevitable by subsidizing a failed Amtrak monopoly that has never made a profit or even broken even. Government won't develop American high-speed rail. Private investment and a competitive market will,” said Shuster on Feb. 8.

GPG’s BNSF team includes Alex Mistri, former chief of staff to Shuster, and Joel Johnson, special assistant for policy and communications in the Clinton White House.

BNSF, the former Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad and a unit of Berkshire Hathaway, announced a $3.5B capital commitment program for 2011 earlier this month. It operates 32,000 miles of track in 28 states.


Yammer, the social networking upstart focused on the internal communications sector, has moved its PR account to Ogilvy PR Worldwide.

Ogilvy’s San Francisco office will manage the business with a focus on positioning Yammer’s service to businesses, IT execs and end-users.

Horn Group picked up the work last year but parted ways with the client three months ago, around the time it raised $25M in venture funding. Former Horn San Francisco office head Dee Anna McPherson is Yammer’s VP of communications.


Internet Edition, February 23, 2011, Page 8




Ethical lapses involving Florida Int’l University and its star baseball player Garrett Wittels are available for all to see on two videotapes.

Wittels can be seen on taking a fastball on his left hand and nearly falling down in pain at 1:55 of the game Feb. 18 in which his 56-game hitting streak ended.

Instead of taking first base as is required under 6.08(b) of baseball’s rules, Wittels told umpire Michael Baker that the ball hit the knob of his bat.

Baker, who had waved Wittels to first base, reversed his decision.

AP writer Tim Reynolds interviewed Wittels after the game who told him that failing to take first base, when runners were needed by his team, was his “worst moment ever” in baseball because he was “selfish” and “didn’t take my base.”

“I don’t really know what was going through my head at the time,” he told Reynolds.

This is a startling admission because Wittels has portrayed himself as a deeply religious person. FIU officials have declared him “innocent” (thus far) of rape charges that have been leveled against him.

He told a press conference Feb. 18 that such charges are baseless and he quickly falls asleep each night because he has a clear conscience.

Local Papers Flop on Story

Ethical lapses on this story also appeared in two Miami papers.

The Miami Herald barely mentioned the hit-by-pitch incident. Writer Adam Beasley reported that “an inside pitch ran in on his hands and appeared to strike him. It cost FIU a baserunner, but ironically helped Wittels, as it extended his at-bat.”

Reporter Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel wrote that “Wittels appeared to clearly be hit in the left hand by (Brandon) Efferson’s first pitch, but the umpire ruled it was a foul ball off his bat. Wittels removed his batting glove and tried to appeal to” (the sentence ends there with words apparently missing).

Copy then continues: “Fans packed into the 2,000-seat ballpark booed loudly as Wittels took off his left batting glove to show the umpire the welt. Coach Turtle Thomas came out of the dugout to no avail.”

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Wittels was trying to get a pass to first base although Wittels told the AP’s Reynolds the opposite.

Ethical, PR Lapses at Press Conference

Ethical and PR lapses are evident in the 22-minute video of the press conference that took place Feb. 16. FIU waited until the press conference itself, two days before the game, to announce that it would let Wittels play.

This gave reporters no time to prepare questions and receive definitive answers on such things as the policy of FIU and other schools on athletes accused of felonies.

Athletic director Pete Garcia brushed aside questions about FIU’s ethics policy, saying violations involving felonies or other charges were handled on a “case-by-case” basis.

Attempts to question Wittels about the rape charges were rejected.

Federal Law Improperly Cited

Rosa Jones, VP of student affairs, told reporters that Wittels was under the protection of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and under no need to answer questions about a “pending legal matter.”

FERPA concerns the right of students to view their educational records and have some control over who has access to such records. It has no relevance to criminal charges such as those filed against Wittels.

Jones left the room after giving her admonition and was not available for questioning.

Sandra Gonzalez-Levy, SVP external relations, did not return either a phone call or e-mail from this website. A staffer directed us to the FIU athletic dept.

It appears FIU corporate PR has little or no influence on how the school is handling the Wittels case.

By coincidence, Rosanna Fiske, elected head of the world’s largest association of PR people, the PR Society of America, is a PR teacher at FIU.

Fiske on Feb. 14 authored a report on the organizational meeting of the PR Society board two weeks earlier that was deceptive, in our opinion. It failed to note that for the first time, the organizational meeting was by telephone.

No self-respecting corporate board would hold its first organizational meeting by telephone nor even a regular meeting.

Bad Mixture: Alcohol & Sex; Duke Redux

The Wittels case, in which two 17-year-old women who had been drinking allegedly had sex five times with Wittels and two other FIU students whom they had just met, puts the spotlight on drinking and sex.

This topic is examined in the Jan./Feb. Atlantic under the headline: “The Hazards of Duke,” which reports on a female student’s descriptions of sex with 13 Duke athletes. Physician Leonard Sax is quoted as saying that, “Drink per drink, alcohol is more dangerous to young women than it is to young men, even after adjusting for differences in height and weight.

“Alcohol appears to damage girls’ brains differently and more severely than the same degree of alcohol abuse affects same-age boys.”

Recent Duke grad Karen Owen assembled 42 slides accompanied by photographs of the men and descriptions of their sexual behavior. She sent this to three friends but they forwarded it to numerous others resulting in a huge audience, writes contributing editor Caitlin Flanagan.

Charges vs. Lacrosse Team Recalled

Flanagan is unstinting in her criticism of Duke, saying it has a “large share of rich students displaying their money in the form of expensive cars and clothing.” She writes of their “huge TV sets” and “love of porn” and says Duke is a “profoundly anti-intellectual university whose thoughtful students are overshadowed by its voraciously self-centered ones.”

She revisits the rape charges placed against three members of the lacrosse team in 2006. There was no trial since the North Carolina attorney general’s office declared the accused innocent of all the charges.

Flanagan says that what the Duke athletes did fell “far outside the realm of what anyone can call decent behavior.”

She said they hired two strippers (at $400 each) who were “desperately poor, one of them a mother of two,” and became angry when “they turned out not to be white, suggesting the women use a broomstick as a sex toy, and then hurling racial slurs at them as they stumbled back into their car.”

The “bungled case,” she wrote, resulted in the Duke players being pictured as “victimized solid citizens.”

— Jack O'Dwyer


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