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Archives: July 2010

Ketchum Panel Looks at What New Legislation, Transparency Mean for IR/PR


Wondering what the new corporate governance regulations mean to you? Ketchum took the issue on in a recent webinar titled Governance Matters: A Briefing on New Corporate Governance Regulations.

Rob Flaherty, Ketchum president and managing director of the agency’s global corporate practice, laid out the pieces of the issue most relevant to the corporate communications community in a recent panel, and charged listeners with understanding the new regulations’ implications as well as the vulnerabilities they create with regard to companies’ reputations.

Among the issues discussed were executive compensation, corporate governance, proxy access and Board of Directors, as well as how to address those issues in an even more transparent corporate environment.

The panel — Kurt Stocker, SEC Disclosure Advisory Board member, Lou Thompson, former president and CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute, Elaine Wolff, partner at Jenner & Block’s Washington, DC office, Sophie L’Helias, head of L’Helias LLC, and Fred Marquardt, senior managing director of Morrow & Co. LLC. — spoke about various aspects of a company’s makeup that will need further explanation.

“The very big point that we hope to make today is that there is a much broader role now for communicators and for the investor relations function within a company. There’s a new obligation that we have. The old model is something that has to be re-examined and changed, and there needs to be a new level of alignment,” Flaherty said.

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Yahoo VP Global Comm. Adam Grossberg Heads To WebMD


Yahoo vice president of global communications Adam Grossberg is leaving the company to join WebMD. “Thanks to Yahoo for three great years…Hello WebMd. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity!” he posted on Twitter.

“I’ll be SVP, corporate communications at WebMD reporting into the company’s CEO,” Grossberg told us via email.

Prior to joining Yahoo, Grossberg was senior director of corporate communications at EMI Group. He previously held communications positions at Lucent Technologies, Intel Corporation and Ruder Finn.

Pioneer Woman, Jezebel Top ‘Influential Female Voices’ Ranking


Figuring out which blogs are influential is trickier since the birth of Twitter and Facebook. Uniques aren’t the only measure, and the term “blogger” encompasses so many different kinds of writers that there really are no best practices in terms of engagement. Whatever works, works.

The major “listening” platforms such as Radian6 all offer some form of influencer identification on their dashboards, while Traackr offers bespoke pay-per-name lists based on highly customized needs.

Rather than go that route, Access Communications built their own scorecard and ranked bloggers using four different measurements, plus a fifth input, their own subjective analysis. They use Yahoo! for measuring popularity, PostRank for engagement, Alexa for traffic, and Compete for rank. The Access Blog Influence Engine, or ABIE, currently has 5,000 entries.

There’s no mention if Access plans to resell its data to other firms or companies.

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VMS To Layoff About 3% of Workforce


Media monitoring and analysis firm VMS will layoff a little under 3% of its total workforce, PRNewser has confirmed with the company.

VMS CEO Peter Wengryn told PRNewser in an interview that 22 people out of almost 800 total employees will be laid off. In addition, several top executives including CMO Michael Giovia have also been told their positions will soon be eliminated, a source close to the matter told PRNewser. PRWeek also heard the same.

Wengryn declined to confirm the executive eliminations to PRNewser.

Many PR professionals may know VMS as the service they use when trying to track down broadcast video clips for their client or company.

Did Viacom Chairman Give Plum PR Job To Unqualified Candidate?


According to the Daily Beast’s Peter Lauria, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone “forced” the Showtime network, which is part of Viacom, to put a “young, apparently unqualified brunette on the public company’s payroll.”

The employee in question is Rohini Singh [pictured in red], who sources speculated to Lauria only got a job because of her association with Redstone. A source told Lauria that Showtime CEO Matt Blank “basically” told Richard Licata, the network’s executive vice president for corporate communications, to “make her happy.”

So what is Singh doing at Showtime? According to Lauria’s sources, “only the most basic entry-level tasks like compiling clips and making phone calls.” Meanwhile, she is receiving a decent salary and also received a substantial amount of Viacom stock.

Are these kind of moves unheard of in the media and entertainment world? Many would argue that they’re not. Nonetheless, when Lauria reached Singh for comment, she seemed defensive, and only stated, “This is not my first job, but I can’t tell you where I worked before. I have to go now.”

It also serves as more fuel to the fire between Redstone and the media. Just last week Redstone left a voice-mail to Lauria in which he said he would be “well-rewarded and well-protected” if he gave up a source to one of his stories about him and another scandal at Viacom.

RELATED: Showtime Hires VP Corporate PR Johanna Fuentes

MWW Group Hires Consumer EVP From Kaplow Communications

david herrick22.jpg David Herrick has joined MWW Group as an executive vice president in its Global Consumer Lifestyle Group, the agency said today.

Previously, Herrick served as executive vice president and general manager at Kaplow Communications where he worked with clients including Skype, eBay, American Express and Timex Group.

Prior to Kaplow Communications, David worked with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company as a consultant responsible for developing an internal communications program. Before that, he led the consumer and corporate communications practice for Ruder Finn’s San Francisco office.

The Ticker: Newspapers’ influence; Old Spice’s sales; Afghan media; Social + search; ‘Free Lindsay’

Vocus Q2: Record Revenues; Developing Paid Version of Help a Reporter Out (HARO)


PR software vendor Vocus, Inc. (NASDAQ: VOCS) reported second quarter 2010 revenue of $24.2 million today, a 15% increase over the same period last year. The revenue numbers are “a new record for Vocus,” said Rick Rudman, President and CEO of Vocus, Inc. on a conference call. However, the company also posted a net loss for Q2 2010 of $1.2 million compared to $549,000 in Q1 2010.

Vocus now counts 7,173 total customers, said Rudman, including 50 customers of its recently launched social media subscription service.

The big news on the call however, for most PRNewser readers, is that Vocus will be developing a paid version of the popular “connect reporters with sources” service Help A Reporter Out (HARO), which the company acquired in June. This is in addition to the free version, which the company will continue to operate as is.

“[We] are seeing demand for premium offerings” in addition to the free service, said Rudman, adding that the company plans to develop these capabilities later this year or in 2011.

In terms of PR budgets, Rudman said, “generally speaking, PR is flat in 2010 versus 2009.” The company has posted full earnings results here.

Roberta Lee Promoted to Director of Publicity,


Roberta Lee has been promoted to director of publicity at WNET.ORG, the parent company of public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21. She had been senior publicist at the organization.

Lee will report to Kellie Specter, senior director, corporate communications for WNET.ORG. In her new role, she will oversee all programming and talent publicity, in addition to working across all WNET-wide production units to promote various projects on-air and online.

Prior to joining the organization, Lee was a SVP/director of media relations at Publicis Consultants PR and a SVP at Linden Alschuler & Kaplan PR.

CNBC: Jersey Shore ‘Handlers’ Said No Interviews After Cast Rang NYSE Opening Bell

The cast of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” rang the New York Stock Exchange opening bell this morning. However, as TVNewser notes, CNBC’s Mark Haines mentioned the cast was not allowed to talk to anyone on the floor, including CNBC. Watch the video.

RELATED: ‘Jersey Shore’ Dudes Not Annoyed After Inadvertently Posing for Village Voice ‘Queer’ Issue Cover