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Archives: December 2007

For Immediate Release Fridays


(Paris Hilton, boning up for a round of job interviews)

In this special edition of FIRF, we look at last-minute attempts to get in those New Year’s stories likely to run this weekend and on Monday:

CareerBuilder expects slower but steady hiring lists ten possible cities to visit for New Year’s eve, and 10 alternative ‘hoods in each to save money on hotels

Free e-book promises to show you how to keep your resolutions

The Times Square ball drop is a 100 year-old tradition, powered this year by Philips LED lights:


And in shameless keywording news, a company called Shimmering Resumes offers to write Paris Hilton’s resume, for free! In case you missed it, Barron Hilton pledged to give his billion-dollar fortune to charity, and grandgurl Paris still stole the headlines.

Apple & Netflix | Military Paper Still Digging | Help the Fed Speak | Why Do We Break Up So Soon? | Wire Me Up

FEMA Hires New Director of External Affairs; John “Pat” Philbin Responds to PRNewser


(FEMA’s staged press conference, October 2007)

Beginning 12/31, FEMA will have a new Director of External Affairs to replace John “Pat” Philbin, two months after the press conference scandal that cost Philbin a position at ODNI.

We again contacted Philbin for comment. Philbin wished Jonathan Thompson luck, and reiterated his feelings on the situation:

“The continued reference by the media to the FEMA press briefing as ‘staged’ is simply not accurate because it is not what I authorized or condoned, and this was affirmed in the DHS-led inquiry. Anyone who knows me will attest to how I do business. I understand the appearance that resulted; however, I was the person in charge of the staff–not the one who orchestrated it.

I would liken it to a CEO of an organization or captain of a ship who delegates authority but retains responsibility–often with devastating consequences. This is a fundamental tenet of leadership.”

Stay tuned for more on FEMA as we learn more from our sources.

SF Bay Guardian: Former Journos Moving to Dark Side of Media Relations

Where do all of the journalists go if they get laid off? PR, of course. San Francisco has been one of the hardest hit cities, with big layoffs at the San Franisco Chronicle gaining headlines earlier this year.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian’s G.W. Schulz lists some of the big moves:

Chronicle City Hall reporter Charlie Goodyear is now working for the high-powered SF flack firm Singer Associates.

Former Chronicle reporter from the paper’s Sacramento bureau, Lynda Gledhill, is now a spokesperson for State Senate.

San Jose Mercury News capitol reporter, Kate Folmar, is working for the press office of Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

Chris Lopez, an editor of the Contra Costa Times who was laid off by parent company MediaNews Group last year, took a job as a communications director for the Denver host committee of the Democratic Party’s 2008 convention.

Paul Feist, formerly the Sacramento bureau chief for the San Francisco Chronicle, was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger earlier this year to serve as a communications secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

Tom Honig, who recently departed as the longtime editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, accepted a job with Armanasco Public Relations, an affiliate of Hill and Knowlton, which represents such illustrious clients as McDonald’s, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and Starbucks.

Read the full article here. The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club gives their take here.

Is E-mail Always “On the Record?”

(image cred)

It can be a PR person’s worst nightmare. You email a reporter or blogger, somehow thinking the conversation is off the record, only to find, “Company spokesperson John Smith said – insert damaging quote here” in an big story the next day.

These days, it seems everything is on the record.

Have you considered adding something like this to your e-mail signature?

“this email is: [ ] bloggable [x] ask first [ ] private”

I’ve seen this on more and more e-mails lately, and it makes sense to me.

Hat tip to Ross Mayfield for starting the trend, and yes, Julia Allison for reminding me to post something about it.

Another Day, Another Social Media “Privacy Issue”

Facebook can breathe a sigh of relief as they sit back and watch Google deal with some social media privacy backlash. CNET sums up the situation nicely and to the point:

Last week, Google tweaked Google Reader so that your shared items are automatically made available to your Google Talk contacts.

But, as anyone who uses instant messaging knows, not all of your IM contacts are friends. Many are acquaintances or people you barely know and with whom you may not want to share a reading list.

According to Bulldog Reporter:

Google’s initial response to complaints was weak. In a statement, a spokesman tried to argue, “With Google Talk, the parties have mutually consented to chatting with each other,” Helft reports. Then, on Wednesday, Google posted a workaround on its Google Reader blog, which had little impact in quelling critics.

Read the response they posted on their blog here.

Personally, we haven’t had any issues with Google Reader. Will people soon forget about this dent in the Google armor? We’re betting on yes.

A Change at the Top ? | McClatchy’s Talking Points | Spinning String Theory | More on Startups | China’s New Energy Plan

LaunchSquad PR Profiled in “Mac@Work”


(LaunchSquad at work)

LaunchSquad PR, a 30-person firm based in San Francisco with a small office in New York is the subject of’s Mac@Work profile this week.

As the name implies, the firm focuses on small startups and does its best to act like one and really get in to its clients businesses. Reading between the lines of the profile, you can infer that LS never got around to building a network and buying servers as was the norm in 2000. Remember the Slammer, ILOVEYOU, and Melissa? Good times. I bet LaunchSquad was online then, and spent zero dollars on repairs.

LaunchSquad’s growth based on O’Dwyer’s, Holmes, and Council of PR Firms listings looks pretty good. We’ll keep an eye on them in 2008.

Writers’ Strike Update: WGA Bolsters PR Support

From Variety:

The Writers Guild of America has retained veteran Democratic political consultants Bill Carrick and Kam Kuwata to provide assistance on the strategic and PR fronts of the 8-week-old strike. “We both have friends in the WGA,” Kuwata told Daily Variety. “And we have landed a lot of times on the sides that are pro-labor.”

For more details, our sister blog FishbowlNY has a copy of WGA President Michael Winship’s membership letter, sent on 12/23.

Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo: PR Dating Game?


That’s what the Boston Herald alleges today: Jessica’s dad Joe Simpson set up her relationship with Tony Romo to, “whip up publicity for his little girl, who has a new country album coming out.”

He told Tony that (a romance) would be a good opportunity for both of them, PR-wise,” a spy tells the tab. “It isn’t hard for them to look like the perfect couple – they’re like a real-life Ken and Barbie. They’re both attractive and have Texas in common.

It’s too bad Cowboy’s fans don’t seem too happy with Joe’s PR work.

Meanwhile, TV Guide’s Ken Fox writes that Jessica’s new film “Blonde Ambition” had an opening day gross of $384 (Yes, you’re reading that correctly, $384), “it may be one of the lowest grossing theatrical films ever.” Ouch.

Looks like Jessica needs more PR help than just Romo.