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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - May 2, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 17 (download PDF version)

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Robert Kenny, acting Federal Communication Commission press secretary, has moved to Mercury Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.

His job is to provide media relations duties surrounding issues in the healthcare, high-tech and telecommunications categories.

The FCC last week named Tammy Sun, founder and CEO of PR agency Let it Shine, as communications director head of the office of media relations, effective April 29. Neil Grace was tapped as press secretary to Chairman Julius Genachowski, effective May 2.

Sun was deputy communications director for the William J. Clinton Foundation, press secretary for the Democratic Leadership Council and spokesperson for Sen. Joe Lieberman’s 2006 re-election campaign.

Grace was recently director of Burson-Marsteller's issues and crisis practice, starting with the firm in 2004. He started in PR with the National Restaurant Association. Kenny moved into the shoes of chief spokesman for FCC chair Julius Genachowski after Jen Howard departed in December. He had been handling the FCC’s public safety and homeland security bureau.

Omnicom owns Mercury.


The Los Angeles Times won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its exposure of corruption in Bell, Calif.

The Times team reported a series on Bell officials who used city treasury funds to pay themselves large salaries. The reporting resulted in arrests and reforms, Columbia University noted in announcing the 95th annual Pulitzers.

Paige St. John of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune was awarded the prize for investigative reporting as she examined “weaknesses in the murky property-insurance system vital to Florida homeowners.”

Mark Johnson, Kathleen Gallagher, Gary Porter, Lou Saldivar and Alison Sherwood of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won the prize for explanatory reporting as they covered an effort to use genetic technology to save a four-year-old boy afflicted by an unknown disease.

The national reporting Pulitzer went to ProPublica’s Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein for their coverage of questionable practices on Wall Street that contributed to the nation’s economic meltdown. The New York Times’ Clifford Levy and Ellen Barry won the Pulitzer for international reporting as they covered Russia’s justice system “remarkably influencing the discussion inside the country” the prize board said.

Other awards included a Chicago Sun-Times team for local reporting, Amy Ellis Nutt of the Star-Ledger for feature writing, the New York Times’ David Leonhardt for commentary, and Sebastian Smee of the Boston Globe for criticism.

Joseph Rago of the Wall Street Journal was honored for editorial writing, Miek Keefe of the Denver Post won for editorial cartooning, and Carol Guzy, Nikki Kahn and Ricky Carioti of the Washington Post won for breaking news photography for coverage of the Haiti earthquake.

Full list of winners is at


The White House has threatened to cut the San Francisco Chronicle from pool coverage in the Bay Area after political reporter Carla Marinucci posted a video of protesters disrupting a fund-raising breakfast, where donors paid up to $38,500 each to hear a re-election pitch President Obama at the St. Regis Hotel on April 21.

Fund raising breakfast
View the footage

The protesters stood and sung in support of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier who allegedly leaked U.S. documents to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks outfit. The Justice Dept. has promised to prosecute Assange if he ever steps on American soil.

White House advisors said Marinucci broke the rules of pool reporting. As part of a “print-only pool,” she was supposed to provide only text for distribution. Marinucci sent the written pool report, and used the video in her online story on the Chron and a political blog.

Chronicle editor Ward Bushee said the White House rules are too restrictive. He finds the White House media policy “objectionable and just not in sync with how reporters are doing their jobs these days,” according to a report in the April 29 Chron.

The policy is “not in the spirit” of the Obama Administration goal of being the most transparent White House in U.S. history.

The White House had no comment.


Meredith Corp., publisher of magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, and Family Circle, said April 27 that fiscal third quarter revenue fell to $340.7M from $353.3M a year earlier amid declines in advertising and circulation revenue.

Net earnings declined 7.4% to $30.8M compared with Q1 of 2010.

CEO Stephen Lacy said ad revenues were down due to “belt-tightening” by advertising clients facing sharply higher commodity prices. He sees ad revenue declines “moderating” as the company moves into its fiscal fourth quarter.

During the quarter, Meredith launched iPad versions of BH&G, Parents and Fitness, along with tablet editions of Successful Farming, Siempre Mujer and Wood.

Meredith said it generated $140 million in cash flow from operations in Q3 and reduced its total debt by $75 million to $225 million.


Greg Schumann is the new publisher of Southern Living, the Birmingham-headquarters lifestyle magazine that is owned by Time Inc.

The former group publisher of The Parenting Group led marketing efforts at magazines such as Babytalk and Parenting.

Schumann worked at Time’s Teen People and exited as eastern ad director before joining TPG in 2003.


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