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In memoriam

RIP Cohn & Wolfe Co-Founder Norman Wolfe

Cohn and Wolfe

Cohn (L) and Wolfe in 1995

Today brings news that Norman Wolfe, who in 1970 co-founded Cohn & Wolfe with fellow newspaper veteran Bob Cohn in Atlanta, has passed.

Wolfe, whose journalism career peaked with a position as Executive Editor of the Orlando Sentinel, started the firm with Cohn in order to act on his passion for public affairs; he ran crisis comms at C&H before his retirement in 1992 but continued to counsel various clients after that date.

A statement from current CEO Donna Imperato after the jump.

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Mediabistro Course

Presentation Writing: Design and Delivery

Presentation Writing: Design and DeliveryLearn how to use storytelling techniques and visual content to create and deliver successful pitches and presentations! Starting August 6, Amanda Pacitti, the manager of learning at Time Inc., will teach you the best practices for presentations, from using software like Prezi and Powerpoint, to writing your script, and using images, audio, and video to drive your points. Register now! 

Remembering Former Hill+Knowlton Chairman/CEO Bob Gray


Over the weekend we learned of the passing of Bob Gray: Nebraska-born author, lobbyist, presidential adviser, founder of Gray and Co. and onetime CEO/chairman of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. He was 92.

While Gray began his career in politics before joining H+K, he is best known as “first flack” for President Ronald Reagan. Gray worked on Reagan’s campaign, co-chaired his inaugural committee and went on to become the prototypical lobbyist.

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Journalists Pay Tribute to Late Baltimore Orioles PR Chief


[Pic via Gene Sweeney Jr. / The Baltimore Sun]

The sports PR world suffered a tragic blow last week as Monica Barlow, head of PR for the Baltimore Orioles, passed away after a battle with lung cancer at the age of 36.

Barlow was, by all accounts, a consummate professional—and the days since her death have witnessed an outpouring of fond remembrances from both Orioles reps and the journalists who covered the team.

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Uh-Oh, SpaghettiOs: Social Media & Pearl Harbor Fail

spaghettios-tweetOver the weekend, Campbells Soup did something that was not so mmm-mmm-good. Some social media and art directors within the organization got together to produce a winning recipe to honor the mor veterans who died defending our shores off the coast of Oahu, Hawai’i 72 years ago.

The picture is there. Soak it in. A happy-go-lucky pasta holding the American flag saying, “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.” Only, Pearl Harbor wasn’t exactly a happy-go-lucky experience.

Naturally, SpaghettiOs deleted the tweet and thought they could get by with the crafty move but not-so-fast because Twitter trolls jumped on this noodle like a homeless Italian. Of course, we would like to share some of this #PRFail and #SocialMediaFail. So, mangia!

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Nelson Mandela’s Death Should Breathe New Life into PR


“Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.” ~Nelson Mandela (1918 — 2013)

He was a Nobel peace prize winner. He is the sole reason millions of oppressed South Africans live free from apartheid. He was the global emblem of human rights for decades. He was the former president of South Africa, and the liberator of a nation.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was known as “Madiba,” “Tata,” “Khulu,” “46664″ and a father figure to the world. And PR agencies can learn a thing or two from the enormous footsteps he left for us to follow…

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Disney Loves to Kill Parents and Make Your Kids Watch

Whelp. Only if that dream is to see your Mom and Dad die for the holidays.

Whelp. Only if that dream is to see your Mom and Dad die for the holidays.

I’m done. Out. The next time there’s a Disney animation film, my beloved children are going to have to wait for Netflix or Redbox because I’m not wasting another dime on Mickey’s prepubescent brainwashing and parental genocide again.

Have you seen Frozen?

Yeah. Yeah. (Way too much) singing. A cute snowman and reindeer. Pretty artwork. Princess saves the world. Blah. Blah. Blah. I have always joked about this to my family and anyone who will listen — Disney hates parents! They must. It’s a running theme in its movies that parents have to die. And my question is, “For the happiest place on Earth, where the hell is this sinister mom and dad ire coming from?” 

More importantly, where is the PR on this?

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Does Commemorating JFK’s Death Bring Dallas Good PR or Bad Mojo?

Source: The Dallas Morning News It was 50 years ago today that America stood still and dropped to its knees in sorrow — the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

While hundreds of thousands of people will descend upon Dallas to pay their respects and watch the ceremony, and millions more will watch from afar, I can’t help but wonder if the people that operate my fare burg are hoping for some good PR out of the looming cloud hanging over Dealey Plaza all day today.

Why do I ask? You should see the place. Aside from the red, white and blue bunting and the tons of barricades everywhere (no kidding, it takes an extra hour just to drive home from work), things are looking particularly spruced up near the Grassy Knoll. And it’s not like “JFK50″ has been a big surprise. The City of Dallas has been planning for this moment since last year.

And what has taken place may not sound like much to outsiders, but in town, even JFK may not recognize the place…

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#MediaFail: Westboro Baptist ‘Church’ Thinks JFK is in Hell

westboroAs the world plans on descending on Dallas next week for the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, guess who else is coming to my fair burg? Westboro. (As a seminarian, I refuse to call these nefarious douchenozzles a church.)

With all the goodwill in Dallas, conspiracy nuts coming to town in their unmarked white vans and global press, why is Westboro coming to…oh, wait a minute. And there lies the rub. Media, this is your fault.

Here’s an example: Westboro has posted on its website that JFK has been in hell for 50 years. Why? November marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK.  You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, than the JFK Whitehouse. (Someone see Darth Vader around here because that smacks of a rejected line from a ‘Star Wars’ script.)

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The ‘Man on the Moon’ is Still Alive, According to ‘His Daughter’

Used (to prove my point) from "Life in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman"

Used (to prove my point) from “Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman”

Hollywood truly is “Hollyweird.” So, if you’re a publicist, fasten your seat belts for this outer atmosphere story. In case you didn’t get the 70s, 80s…hell, even the 90s reference, the “Man on the Moon” refers to the 1999 biopic about the offbeat, kooky and late Andy Kaufman.

The guy was a certified nut. We’re talking suit him for a padded room, nut. Nonetheless, thanks to his erratic schtick on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in the 70s and more famously, his “acting” on the  legendary TV sitcom “Taxi” (TRIVIA: The great Bob James wrote the iconic intro song to that show called “Angela,” jazz lovers.) Even pro wrestling fans know this guy when Jerry Lawler put his stamp on Kaufman’s career by giving him a “piledriver,” landing Andy flat on his noggin and sent his odd duck tail straight to the ER.

So, he died in 1984 of lung cancer. Another SNL guy bites the dust too soon. That is, until this report from FOX News came out today creating “WTF” thought bubbles among the many who loved that show.

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Veterans Day: The Best CSR Campaign Ever

VA posterIt’s June 28, 1919. Our commander of the U.S. Allied Forces is inside a lovely palace called Versailles in France. A 440-article, 15-part treaty named after that palace was signed that day to end “The Great War,” more commonly known as World War I.

(Never mind those hundreds of articles jacked-up trade for Germany so badly, it kinda led to the rise of Nazis and another world war, but that’s another story.)

Although the Treaty of Versailles “officially” ended World War I, seven months earlier — the 11th month, the 11th day on the 11th hour (no kidding) — an armistice was reached. The temporary halt of hostility was considered “Armistice Day.”

The following November, President Woodrow Wilson made a national address with these words:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

And that, dear Americans, is how this day came to be. That was then, and this is now. Are you reflecting? Filled with solemn pride? Or just pissed the banks are closed?

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