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Archives: December 2010

A Snapshot of the D.C. Scene

Left to right: BrandLinkDC's Jayne Sandman and Barbara Martin. Photo: Andrew Councill for The New York Times

‘Tis the season for events, a topic we visited recently with Peppercom’s Maggie O’Neill, and one that the New York Times turns to in its gushing story about BrandLinkDC.

The article says the firm’s principals, Barbara Martin and Jayne Sandman, have managed to capitalize on the luxury companies heading to the D.C. area and the social scene that the Obama administration sets.

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WikiLeaks’ Former Spokesperson Publishing Memoir

GalleyCat is reporting that WikiLeaks’ former spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg will be publishing a book next year, Inside Wikileaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website. The book is set to hit shelves on February 15.

According to the GalleyCat post:

“In his book, he will reveal the evolution, finances, and inner tensions of the whistleblower organization, beginning with his first meeting with Assange in December 2007 at the Chaos Computer Club in Berlin. He will also describe the circumstances that lead to his withdrawal from Wikileaks in September, 2010, including his disenchantment with the organization’s lack of transparency, its abandonment of political neutrality, and the increasing concentration of power by Assange.

It was also announced that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has signed a $1.5 million book deal.

AT&T Video Warns Against ‘TXTNG & DRIVNG’

AT&T has released a 10-minute documentary to educate teens about the dire consequences of texting while driving. The video is the latest from the company’s “It Can Wait” campaign, which launched in March. AT&T plans to distribute the short film to government agencies, educators, policymakers, and others.

AT&T also has a network of organizations, such as AT&T’s Teen Advisory Council, which will feature the documentary. The campaign has a website and more information can be found on the company’s YouTube page and AT&T’s official Facebook page. The news release for the documentary says tens of thousands have made the pledge not to text and drive since the campaign’s launch.

“Our message is simple, yet vital: When it comes to texting and driving, it can wait,” the AT&T site says.

CNN Publicist Heads to NBCU

PRNewser has learned that Christine Pietz, a publicist at CNN, is leaving the network for a similar post at NBCUniversal. New York-based Pietz, who is the primary publicist for CNN’s American Morning will be joining the communications group at NBCU’s TV distribution unit.

It’s a return of sorts for Pietz, who joined CNN from CNBC in 2006. In her new role, Pietz will work from the CNBC campus in Englewood Cliffs, NJ where NBCU’s TV distribution group is based.

The CNN morning program is undergoing other changes. TVNewser reported earlier this month that the show’s co-anchor John Roberts will be moving to CNN HQ in Atlanta and that executive producer Jamie Kraft is leaving CNN to become senior broadcast producer for NBC Nightly News. Pietz’s last day at CNN is Wednesday, she’ll join NBC on January 10.

Gibbs’ Christmas Eve Tweet Conference

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs hosted an impromptu Tweet conference on Christmas Eve, answering questions about everything from what the President’s reading to taxes and the deficit. A sample of the Q&A from ABC News’ Political Punch blog:

@MichaelShatz: China and Europe invest twice the percentage of GDP as we do, in infrastructure; how will we compete?

Gibbs: US must invest more in infrastructure – from roads and bridges to high speed rail – will also put folks back to work

@wrightus: How’s the president’s basketball injury?

Gibbs: His lip is fully recovered and i’d guess he’ll be back on the court in Hawaii

@patriot_4_ever: Why does your admin continue to lie that tax cuts cost $$$? You can’t spend money you don’t have.

Gibbs: Regardless of your views, you have to admit extending tax cuts above $250k adds to the deficit

You can read more on Twitter, @PressSec.

James Franco’s Granny Can Hack It. Can You?

The squeamish have steered clear of James Franco‘s latest film 127 Hours, about the stranded hiker Aron Ralston who was forced to chop off his own arm. According to the Daily Mail, some have even passed out during the infamous scene.

Now there’s the “I Kept My Eyes Open for 127 Hours” campaign, which features a website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed dedicated to the celebration of those who watched the movie from beginning to end and enjoyed it (bone crunching aside).

Below, Franco’s grandma shows her mettle. Warning: If you’re at work, you might want to turn down the volume.

Politico Wants to Know What You’re Reading

According to today’s Playbook’s “What’s on Your e-Reader?” column:

Trey Ditto, Managing Director, KCSA Strategic Communications: “Decision Points” and David Sedaris’ “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary.”

PRNewser likes books too, so we want to know also. What are you reading these days? What should the PR industry be reading?

The Ticker: Snowpocalypse coverage; BofA; Oprah’s OWN; WikiLeaks

Roll Call: MSLGroup, CBS, ArnoldNYC, CooperKatz, and Atari

MSLGroup has appointed Kyle Farnham as MD of the firm’s Atlanta office. He joined the agency in 2000 and has been Atlanta’s acting MD since July.

CBS Marketing has promoted Colleen McKenny to VP. Kenny leads the strategic comms function, manages messaging, and supports corporate branding and tech outreach.

ArnoldNYC has hired Beth Fetzer as SVP, director of integrated planning, effective January 3, 2011. She was previously SVP, director of account planning at Draftfcb.

CooperKatz & Company has promoted five staff members including Meredith Topalanchik, who is now VP, director of client services, and Jason Wallace, now director of creative services.

Lucas Bean has joined Atari as senior director of online marketing, responsible for strategy in North America. He was previously senior director of marketing at, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s online video network.

Conde Nast’s PR Team Has A New Direct Report

WWD reports that Condé Nast’s department will now be reporting to the editors and publishers at different titles rather than Maurie Perl, SVP of corporate communications and chief comms officer. Perl will continue to function as the media company’s chief spokesperson.

According to the story, the move is an effort to allow “each publication to manage its own business.”