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Archives: August 2009

Edelman Moves New York Office to Downtown Location

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Edelman officially announced today the agency’s move to a new office and global co-headquarters in New York. The new office is located at 250 Hudson Street in Lower Manhattan. 500 Edelman employees have been moved to this location from previous Edelman offices in Times Square and Park Avenue South.

“Over the past decade, Edelman’s New York operation has grown significantly. The time had come for new space that reflected the full-service communications consultancy we are today,” said Matthew Harrington, U.S. President & CEO in a statement.

Going with the new and popular “open layout” trend, the new office doesn’t have “offices,” per se. However there are “numerous private areas to provide staff members with a place to go for more focused, solitary work,” said the company in a release. Click continued to view pictures of the new office layout and its rooftop space.

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The Ticker: Pfizer and Twitter, Parents and Social Networking, Jenna Bush Joins ‘Today’

Pentagon Cancels Rendon Contract Over Profiling Flap

The Pentagon canceled its contract with the Rendon Group today, a week after Stars & Stripes first reported the firm’s controversial journalist profiling conducted for the military. An email from Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, a senior communicator in Afghanistan noted that the decision was his alone, and that the issue had become a distraction.

The Defense Department tried to downplay the timeline, and the nature of the profiles, till they started surfacing online. The DoD also denied that journalists were refused embed spots because of them. Though on Friday, a public affairs officer with the 101st Airborne Division said he had used the conclusions contained in Rendon profiles in part to reject at least two journalists’ applications for embeds.

Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker, military spokesperson for U.S. forces in Afghanistan said the practice of denying reporters embed positions is “flat out incorrect,” on NPR’s On the Media today. You can listen to the interview here:

Related: Journalist Obtains His Own “Rendon Report”

Brian Tierney’s Business & PR Plan for Philadelphia Papers

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The PR man-turned media mogul Brian Tierney is hoping to save his Philadelphia Daily News from extinction, and keep ownership of it, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and combined site Philly.com local, through a restructuring and PR push, according to an interview with PoynterOnline.

Tierney, with homebuilder Bruce Toll and a group of his former clients bought the papers from McClatchy in 2006 for $562 million. We all know what happened to the newspaper industry since then. The new group hoping to save the papers includes Toll as well as an unnamed “rich guy” referred to as “Penn Matrix.”

The former head of Philly’s biggest agency Tierney Communications (now part of Interpublic [NYSE: IPG]) filed a plan that promises to generate $92 million in revenues, while also running full page ads and launching a Twitter feed and Facebook Page to “Keep it Local!”.

As Poynter’s Rick Edmonds points out, the audience for this PR campaign comes down to one: the bankruptcy court judge.

Related reading on FishbowlNY: Local Newspapers Fight To Survive, But Are They Going About It The Right Way?

Journalist Obtains His Own “Rendon Report”

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Since the Stars & Stripes article on Monday about the Rendon Group’s evaluation of potential war embeds, there has been some back-and-forth about when the profiling was conducted, and for what purpose.

The denials about timeline and evaluation of slant are debunked now that war reporter PJ Tobia has published a copy of his own Rendon report on True/Slant. In it, Tobia’s Afghanistan reportage is characterized as “neutral to positive” while older work, including “Afghaniscrewed: How I Spent My Fall Vacation” for the Village Voice was negative-to-neutral. Tobia’s source at Rendon told him that those with a “negative” grade are more likely to a platoon that guards sandbags.

Journalist groups including the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, the Military Reporters and Editors association and the International Federations of Journalist have expressed deep concern about the profiling and barring of writers for the tone and chosen topics of their previous work.

The Rendon Group drew a lot of attention to itself in the runup to the Iraq war in 2003, for its role in creating the Iraqi National Congress who in turn fed the U.S. false information about WMDs. The CIA-funed INC was in fact, named by John Rendon in the 1990s after the first gulf war.

Evaluating and advising on journalists looking to take on an embed assignment is part of Rendon’s $1.5 million contract with the Department of Defense. The Rendon pie chart obtained by Stars & Stripes was clearly part of their media analysis offering. The firm also boasts something called the “Early Warning Radar” to ID the bad stuff before it happens.

[via FishbowlLA]

The New York Times Picks Up Gawker’s Mark Penn/WSJ Story

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The Times digs in to on Gawker’s story by Hamilton Nolan about Burson-Marsteller using CEO Mark Penn‘s Wall Street Journal column to directly drum up new business for the agency, and secures what Nolan could not. A statement from Penn himself:

In a statement, Mr. Penn, who declined to be interviewed, said that he had not seen the message until after it was sent, and that “nothing was done nor likely to be done as a result of it.” He said that none of the companies mentioned in his column were Burson-Marsteller clients.

“I had no business motive in writing it whatsoever,” he said. But, he added, “We will continue to distribute the columns to friends and clients alike, and assured The Journal they will not be tied to any specific marketing efforts.”

We do agree with WSJ spokesman Robert H. Christie, who told the Times, “the reality is that freelancers do use their columns as ways of marketing themselves.” However it is telling that when asked to elaborate if The Journal was comfortable with this practice, Christie declined to respond.

[image cred]

Yet Another Reality Show About PR? This Time It’s Kim Kardashian

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First it was Lizzie Grubman‘s “PoweR Girls.” Then we heard about Kelly Cutrone‘s upcoming show “Kell On Earth.” The latest entry into the PR reality show ring is none other than Kim Kardashian, who will be producing “a new untitled reality TV show about public relations,” according to People.com.

“The proposed series follows Kardashian’s pals, PR gurus Jonathan Cheban and Simon Huck of the bicoastal agency Command Public Relations,” writes People.com’s David Caplan. Ok, so right now it’s just a pilot, but it has been shot at an “undisclosed cable network,” that is looking to debut the show sometime in 2010.

Will the “undisclosed cable network” see this project all the way through? Your guess is as good as ours. We’ve actually been following Cheban on Twitter for a few weeks, and the publicist’s Tweets are definitely heavy on the “OMG LOL” style of writing, if you catch our drift.

[image: Kim Kardashian and publicist Jonathan Cheban]

Publicis Promises to Double its PR Revenue in Three Years

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Olivier Fleurot, chief executive of the PR and events units of Publicis told a Reuters reporter in Shanghai this week that the global agency plans to double its PR revenues through acquisitions within the next three years.

One deal is final because Fleurot went on to say that they acquired one of their China affiliates that will double their headcount there to 300.

Fleurot joined Publicis in 2006 and was upgraded in May of this year upon the departures of Mark Hass and Eric Giuily to head the PR, corporate comm and events management unit, which includes among others, MS&L, Freud, and Publicis Consultants.

Publicis’s spending spree isn’t limited to PR either. The conglomerate already owns interactive shop Digitas, and still plunked down $530 million to buy its competitor Razorfish from Microsoft earlier this month.

WPP PR Revenues Down 8.2%

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Holding company WPP Group reported interim results for the first half of 2009 yesterday. Like for like revenues in the Public Relations & Public Affairs division dropped 8.2%. Consumer insight saw the highest like for like revenue drop at 10.3%. Overall, profit dropped more than 48%.

Layoffs are on the way. The holding company shed 2.8 percent of its staff in the first half of 2009 and plans to shed 7,000 more jobs by end of year. As AgencySpy notes, WPP’s stock price went up in advance of the earnings call, with one of the potential reasons being a “leaner and meaner WPP…”

WPP’s PR agency holdings include Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe.

The Ticker: PN Partner Comments on Kennedy, Imus Nearing TV Deal, Unilever Reality Show Death…

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