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Posts Tagged ‘Keith O’Brien’

PR Firm Ensures Clients Will Be Savaged By Gawker Media

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Well, maybe not. However, social media focused agency Attention — home to former PRWeek editor-in-chief Keith O’Brien — has taken to internet stunts lately as a way to get noticed, and their latest is a dig at Gawker Media.

The agency launched a web site titled, “What Would Nick Denton Pay For These Things I Found In A Bar.” It plays off the continuing lost iPhone saga, in which Gawker Media chief executive Nick Denton said the company paid $5,000 for Apple’s next iPhone version, after it was found in a Silicon Valley bar.

When visiting, one will find the following messages, for example:




Asked about the site, agency founder Curtis Hougland said, “Talk is cheap. We learn by doing. We want to experiment with new ideas and technologies before we recommend them to clients. Also, we are trying to show that social media does not require a lot of money or production. Just good ideas, and the ability to say yes.”

Denton did not immediately respond to a PRNewser request for comment.

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PRWeek Senior Reporter Tonya Garcia Leaving Publication

Exclusive: PRNewser has learned that PRWeek Senior Reporter Tonya Garcia is leaving the publication. There is currently a PRWeek listing for a Senior Reporter on the PRNewser job board. Reached for comment, PRWeek Executive Editor Erica Iacono confirmed to PRNewser that the listing “is a replacement position.” Garcia could not be immediately reached for comment.

PRWeek has been without an editor-in-chief since Keith O’Brien left to join social media agency Attention in April. Reporter Frank Washkuch recently left to join sister Haymarket Media publication DMNews as News Editor.

UPDATE: Garcia tells PRNewser, “I’ll be a senior account exec with MS&L starting on October 19.”

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.

Search for PRWeek EiC Continues


The search continues at Haymarket Media for new Editor-in-Chief of the U.S. edition of PRWeek, since Keith O’Brien left for a position at the Attention agency in early April of this year.

The ad posted on NYU’s J-school listserv lays out a detailed 12-point job description including (paraphrased):

1. Keeper of the editorial vision

2. Hiring, managing, reviewing editorial staff

3. Responsibility for content in all its forms

4. Work closely with other departments to support the brand including sales, circ, events, and production

5. Remain calm and professional in the face of problems within and outside the company

6. Budgets

7. Be an industry thought leader: speaking, writing, etc.

8. Work with section and features editor to develop all content concepts

9. Plan and manage specials, supplements, and surveys with features & special projects editor

10. Oversee content for PRWeek’s Contact directory

11. Create and develop conferences, webcast and other live events

12. Develop new ideas for content, events, and other brand extensions, in conjunction with publishing and editorial director.

Shortly after O’Brien’s departure, the publication announced that the print edition would go from weekly to monthly, with a weekly digital edition and many of the same web features. PRWeek added guest bloggers, while pulling some of the beat and feature content behind the subscription wall.

Related: Attention! PR Grabs Keith O’Brien from PRWeek

PRWeek Goes Monthly; Weekly Edition Becomes Digital

Attention Hires Kristin Maverick as Director in Consumer Practice


Former Carrot Creative Director of Communications Kristin Maverick has joined Attention as a Director in the agency’s consumer practice. Maverick is the latest of a number of high-profile hires for the agency, which include former PRWeek editor-in-chief Keith O’Brien and former CrunchGear Managing Editor and MWW Group Senior Digital Media Specialist Blake Robinson.

Maverick is also co-creator of Digital DUMBO, a networking event in Brooklyn. “I am excited to bring to Attention and its clients all of the knowledge I’ve picked up along the way. I’m even more excited to learn from the amazing individuals who comprise Attention, all of whom bring their own unique expertise and backgrounds,” she said in a blog post. This PRNewser just quoted Maverick in a recent post on whether or note PR agency CEOs should be Twittering.

Do Former Journalists Make Good PR Pros?


PRWeek editor-in-chief Keith O’Brien left the publication for a position at Attention PR last month. More recently LA Times technology editor Chris Gaither announced his departure for a corporate comm. position at Google. Countless others have either made the move, or at least are considering it, given the state of the journalism job market and growth opportunities.

But the question remains: do these former journalists make good PR pros? “Former journalists make fantastic PR people,” said Matt Shaw, senior vice president and director of communications for the Council of Public Relations Firms. Shaw cited their background in story telling and explained, “Whether it’s new people to the work force or mid-career transfers, people just don’t write anymore.”

Laura Moss, a 25-year-old Account Executive for Stern + Associates, called the news business “a dead end,” and said,”In PR, there’s still a chance to take control of content and write and use your creativity and see it published, even if it’s under someone else’s name.” Despite these ringing endorsements of journalists entering the PR world, we’ve heard from several agency execs who say former journalists aren’t always the best fit. A few reasons they give:

1) Journalists may be good at story telling, but they sometimes lack in key agency functions such as client management and business development.

2) They don’t always feel comfortable making “the push.” Former journalists are – generally – used to getting their phone calls returned. Things are sometimes different on the “other side.”

Have you hired a former journalist for an agency or internal role? What has your experience been?

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Ad/PR Beat Reporters Confirm Moving Back to Manhattan Is Trend

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Manhattan is cheap again. And The New York TimesMichael Grynbaum spoke with AdAge‘s Matthew Creamer and former PRWeek EIC turned Attention PR exec Keith O’Brien to prove it!

Both were quoted in Grynbaum’s story on outer-borough folk moving back into Manhattan now that landlords are forced to fill apartments at much cheaper rents. Said O’Brien, “There’s a part of me that feels like I’m cheating on Brooklyn…but this was a unique moment in real estate history where renters have the upper hand, which seemed unbelievable a couple of years ago. I realized that it would have been foolish not to start looking at places.”

Grynbaum wrote that “For an extra $100 a month, Mr. O’Brien – a seven-year Brooklyn stalwart – is now enjoying a trendy location and a six-minute commute, in exchange for losing half of his living space.” We emailed O’Brien, who confirmed the “trendy” neighborhood is indeed the Lower East Side. Although O’Brien also confirmed that he rolls his eyes and deploys air quotes when using the word “trendy.”

PRWeek Goes Monthly; Weekly Edition Becomes Digital


PRWeek announced a reorganization of its editorial today, which will replace the weekly paper edition with a digital version. It appears they are pulling all content back behind the subscription wall in response to the difficult economy. The trade pub began releasing some items for free in 2004, followed by the launch of a few blogs and a podcast.

There will be a monthly print product with more analysis, interviews, and features according to the announcement.

The trade pub also promises to retain the best aspects of its current weekly in the new digital version to be delivered on Friday. The announcement states that March 2009 was their best traffic month so far. Quantcast–which should be taken with a grain of salt–puts the site traffic at very modest 10,700. UPDATE: The number of pageviews for for March provided by PRWeek was 315,717.

No mention in the story if the annual subscription of $198 will change with the revamp. The subscriber wall goes up on April 27th. Emails to Publishing Director Julia Hood were returned with an Out of Office reply. We’ll update the story once we reach her.

Meanwhile, the search began last week for a new Editor in Chief (see the job posting on mediabistro) when Keith O’Brien announced his departure to Attention PR. Our assumption is that they will go with someone in tune with more 1.0 subscription-supported publishing. More on that tk.

Attention! PR Grabs Keith O’Brien from PRWeek

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Exclusive: Another journalist jumped to a PR agency today as Keith O’Brien leaves his editor-in-chief post at PRWeek to join Attention!PR. O’Brien will focus on the tech and media practices at the roughly 25-person firm when he starts the job on April 29th. The firm handles work for The Daily Beast, Consumer Reports,,, and Mashable among other brands.

I took the opportunity to interview O’Brien to find out what prompted the move, and what he hopes to do and learn in his new life as a consultant. Incidentally, my co-editor Joe Ciarallo interviewed both O’Brien and Attention!’s founder Curtis Hougland in recent months. You can find those here and here.

PRNewser: How do you know Curtis and Attention? What attracted you to them?

O’Brien: I know Curtis through PRWeek. I have high respect for him, think the firm does great work, and has an impressive client list for a relatively new agency. I decided that I wanted to put into practice the things I learned while covering the industry. Attention was the perfect fit.

More after the jump:

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PRN/PRWeek Survey: 80% of Media List Email as Preferred Pitch Method


PRWeek and PRNewsire today released their annual “2009 PRWeek/PR Newswire Media Survey,” the results of which indicated that the “media profession remains turbulent,” among other findings.

On that note, “20% of media professionals report increased responsibilities outside of their official duties, with 70% of respondents indicating a heavier workload this year than last.”

Additional findings include:

Fifty six percent of print magazine professionals suggested that there is a “slight to heavy” influence of advertising on editorial content.

The number of journalists not participating in social media is now a clear minority, with 23% saying they do not have a social network profile. In 2008, the number was 46%.

only 7% of respondents said they would prefer not to be contacted by PR pros at all

The survey polled 2,174 traditional and non-traditional media, including newspaper and magazine journalists, television, radio and online reporters, and bloggers. Said PRWeek editor-in-chief Keith O’Brien in a statement, “It is very apparent that journalists feel the need to break more stories on a variety of mediums than ever before…There is a great opportunity for PR professionals to utilize these multiplying avenues to increase coverage of their clients. But this also means it’s even more imperative for PR pros to carefully consider the needs and schedules of the reporters and bloggers that they plan to pitch.” Read the full report here.