FirstStreet Research, a relatively new lobbying product from CQ Press, has been sold to Leadership Directories, Inc. All 24 of its employees are still on the payroll, but it’s uncertain whether that will hold. Employees are not being told they need to reapply. Decisions will be made in coming weeks.
Publicist Lori Rosen, of The Rosen Group, told FishbowlDC: “CQ Press assets First Street and some of their Staff Directories (Congressional Staff Directory, Federal Staff Directory, Judicial Staff Directory, Federal-State Court Directory, Directory of State Court Clerks and County Courthouses) were sold by SAGE to Leadership Directories, Inc. Leadership will make its own announcement later this week. We cannot confirm the number of employees who will be terminated as the company will be offering some positions at CQ Press and at SAGE Publications as well as with the new owners at Leadership Directories. The company hopes to place as many people as possible and final decisions will be made over the next few weeks.”
CQ Press’ FirstStreet Research debuted in May 2011 with a pretty promising launch party at Art and Soul that included a bunch of D-listers such as Steven Weber, Andrea Bowen, Rachel Leigh Cook, Gloria Reuben and Wilder Valderrama, as well as Creative Coalition’s Robin Bronk and CQ Press FirstStreet’s President John Jenkins. Their goal was to be a one-stop shop for journalists, lawyers and Joe Q. Public to navigate Washington’s lobbying industry.
A call to CQ Press proved futile but entertaining. I was greeted by a friendly enough male voice who wouldn’t give me a name of a single person I could speak with at FirstStreet Research. When I told him I was a journalist who needed to speak with a spokesperson he directed me to a sales rep at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. I asked who I would speak with, could he give me a name? Nope, no name. “Anyone there should be able to help you,” he said. When I pressed once more for a name, he asked, “Are you okay?” Had I phoned a 911 operator by mistake? I replied, “Yes, emotionally I am okay. I would like a name and don’t understand why you can’t give me the name of a person to talk to.” Click. The line went dead.
UPDATE: A source tells FBDC, “I am friends with several of the CQ Press staffers and can tell you definitively that they have been told their last day is July 23. Blaise Simqu, the head of SAGE, flew into D.C. on Monday and as I know first hand, this is never a good sign. Many people were completely blindsided. However, SAGE let go all of the CQ Press production staff, and the entire finance and customer service departments will be gone in the fall. They have all been offered severance packages.”
UPDATE #2: Some minor confusion among some readers. CQ Press is not part of CQ Roll Call. CQ sold CQ Press to Sage Publishing in 2007.