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Archives: August 2009

Gawker Pitches a Tent Over Mark Penn, Again


Gawker obtained an internal Burson-Marsteller email that plainly asks senior management to use CEO Mark Penn’s latest Wall Street Journal “Microtrends” column as a marketing tool to pitch potential clients.

This particular column was about “Glamping,” i.e. glamorous camping. BM EVP and former Bill Clinton speechwriter Josh Gottheimer sent an email to the very top people suggesting they use the column as an excuse to call the national campground association, Coleman, “or emi ll beam etc.” and set up meetings for “mjp.” I assume he meant L.L. Bean, and either REI or EMS.

Illustrating what I call the “Denton Model” of blogging, former PRWeek reporter Hamilton Nolan weaves solid reporting with a full-dredge of all negative news Penn has been involved in, most notably his being spun out of the Hillary Clinton campaign for conflicts of interest. Once you’re in Gawker’s crosshairs, you can’t get out.

Business development is a bare knuckle game so we can’t really fault Gottheimer’s tactic. Nolan also takes a shot at Dow Jones and their Code of Ethics, and makes a stronger a point about the business of these softer trend op-eds.

What never fails to surprise me about these emails though, is the needless typos and errors for the sake of looking really, really busy. It’s better to be clear.

The Ticker: Teens Hate Twitter, PR Industry Reputation, Career Tips for Journos…

Ted Kennedy, 1932 – 2009


Senator Edward Kennedy died last night at the age of 77 due to brain cancer. Details and reactions can be found in the Washington Post.

Family, friends, colleagues and rivals have all issued statements, some simple, some with issues folded in, such as Nancy Reagan’s mention of stem cell research. Others include John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Sarah Palin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nancy Pelosi, Mike Bloomberg and more.

President Obama is scheduled to speak live about Kennedy’s passing any moment. Refresh TVNewser today for details on how the networks are handling the news.

For the readers of this blog, beyond the hundreds of bills he authored, Kennedy was known as an empathetic campaigner and communicator, and a fiery orator.

Check out his clips from his 1980 “Dream shall never die” speech:

And from his DNC speech delivered exactly one year ago today:

Spin the Agencies of Record


[Teen star Aaron Carter to face off against The Hammer and others on Dancing with the Stars; photo via Wikimedia commons]

Account wins in this addition of Spin the Agencies of Record include a wine bar, a teen star, a wireless performance measurement company, a digital AV and security company, and a mattress “firm”:

Calysto Communications measures up for Metrico Wireless Chooses

Kay Renz uncorks PR campaign for Vino DeSantis

Xanthus’s PRforPeople division adds five

Digital multimedia company AVerMedia sharpens its image with KLR Communications as agency of record

Mattress Firm shacks up with FKM for social media and PR, as well as strategic planning, broadcast media planning and execution, and traditional creative

Teen star Aaron Carter hooks up with “it” Girl PR again for his next conquest, Dancing with the Stars (vs. Tom “The Hammer” Delay?)

The Ticker: Agency Screening Afghan Embeds, Managing the Stream, Luring Mustang Fans…

Cataloging Hacks-Turned-Flack


Journalists leaving their posts to take up careers in public relations is not a new thing, though it seems to be accelerating lately with the doom and gloom hitting the media business.

My co-editor Joe Ciarallo recently asked “Do Former Journalists Make Good PR Pros?” Most of the numerous comments offered a resounding yes, though most were in fact, former journalists. The writing, research, adherence to deadlines, dealing with a variety of people, are all important skills. Though, one agency head who requested anonymity said, “never ends well.” “Journalists would prefer to hang up on difficult clients. You can’t do that on this side of the fence.”

Moving from one side to another is both an interesting topic for PRNewser, and firmly fits mediabistro’s M.O. to help media people retrain, reinvent, and find the jobs they want.

Without further adieu, we’re adding a “hack turned flack” category to keep track of those who make the leap. I won’t go in to depth about the word “flack” though I don’t believe it’s pejorative, and hack-turned-flack is a lot catchier than journalist-turned-strategic comm consultant.

Here’s an alphabetical list of a few of the hacks-turned-flacks who have made the jump recently:

Dan Abrams, MSNBC anchor and general manager to found Abrams Research, then starting his own content play Mediaite with mediabistro’s Glynnis MacNicol & Steve Krakauer joining HuffoPo’s Rachel Sklar and the Daily Show’s Colby Hall on the masthead.

Chris Gaither from the Los Angeles Times, to Google corporate comm

Mike Hegedus, CNBC correspondent to McKinley Reserve

Keith O’Brien, PRWeek editor-in-chief to Attention

David Patton, to Waggener Edstrom’s Studio D division

Blake Robinson, founder of Crunchgear to MWW Group, on to Attention

Richard Wolff
, Newsweek to Public Strategies, Inc.

Photo credit: Me, wearing a fedora.

Nuptials and Vows

Here’s a sampling of marriage announcements of people in the PR business today. Note the parenthesis indicate a name change when there was one:

Nino Kader, 37, founder of International Reputation Management marries the firm’s co-founder and Chief Strategist, Christine Schiwietz, 37. (Washington Post)

Elizabeth Mann, associate at Goldman Sachs marries Micah Lasher, 27, executive director of public affairs and lobbyist at the New York City Department of Education (New York Times)

Stephen Geller marries Brooke Hudis (Brooke Geller), VP at Rogers & Cowan (New York Times)

David McBride marries Sharon Kelly (Sharon McBride) 32, communications director for Human Rights First (New York Times)

Robert Melstein marries Jennifer Slaw (Jennifer Melstein) 32, management supervisor at Marina Maher Communications. Mr. Melstein, 34, is a senior writer for “Showbiz Tonight,” on HLN cable news (New York Times)

The Ticker: Cargo PR, BusinessWeek Bidders, Dateline Tweeting…

“Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz” Author to Streak Through Times Square


It’s hard for me not to open an email pitch from David Seaman, author of “Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz: How to Attract Massive Attention for Your Business, Your Product, or Yourself”. After a few good ones–including Social Media Jesus–I was compelled to read the book and review it.

He wants to sell his book so bad he promises to run naked through Times Square tomorrow if his book doesn’t make it on to Amazon’s top 100. It’s a hard sell with the book barely cracking 200,000, and I don’t want to go for the play on David’s last name (though CNBC’s Jane Wells seemed temped in her column about the stunt)

“I’m willing to take a risk here… This book is worth my reputation, and possibly a couple nights in prison.”

See you on Smoking Gun, and whichever site features naked authors!

Vote for These (PR and Marketing Related) SXSW Panels

More than 2,000 panel ideas have been submitted for consideration to be included in the 2009 SXSW Interactive conference. Lets make sure some good ones make it through until the end. We scoured the conference website and came up with these five recommendations. Please feel free to add to this list in the comments.

1) Designing the Agency of the Future (Josh Jones-Dilworth)

2) What Are Analytics? A Guide To Practical Data (Blake Robinson and Marshall Kirkpatrick)

3) The Processes and Management of The Barbarian Group (Rick Webb)

4) Future of News: CNN Is So Yesterday. (Marian Salzman)

5) Bada-Bing! Microsoft’s Bing: The Engine That Could (Ian Schafer)