Weber Shandwick Worldwide has regained its status as the biggest PR firm following Interpublic's decision to fold BSMG Wordwide--a former True North unit--into WSW. The move creates a PR colossus with $535 million in combined fees, according to rankings compiled by the Council of PR Firms. WSW beat out Fleishman-Hillard, who reported $343 million in fees to the Council, for the number one spot.
A new UK environmental group called the Scientific Alliance has formed "in response to the growing concern that the debate on the environment has been distorted by extreme pressure groups," reports The Guardian.
Pacific Lumber Co. announced it had been blessed by the American Forest & Paper Assn's "Sustainable Forestry Initiative" (SFI). Conservationists questioned Pacific Lumber's claims of sustainability, saying it reveals SFI to be little more than greenwashing. "To call Pacific Lumber's ongoing liquidation of ancient forests 'sustainable' exposes the self-serving nature of this program," commented Paul Mason of the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC). The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is the timber industry's program for certifying sustainably managed forests.
To journalists in Las Vegas, the proliferation of public information officers (PIOs) within local government is a cancer on the body politic. The city of Las Vegas has the same number of PIOs as the press office of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. As a result, says veteran Vegas TV reporter Hank Thornley, the days a reporter could easily directly inspect public documents or directly contact public officials are long gone. "You're referred to public relations," he says.
Fenton Communications, a PR firm that's made a name for itself supporting public interest campaigns, has put together a booklet that outlines "the nine laws of successful advocacy communications." According to O'Dwyer's PR editor Kevin McCauley, "'Now Hear This' is an indispensable primer for NGOs looking for more professional ways of getting their messages across to the public. Of course, the 32-page book is a must-read for corporate and agency PR execs that must neutralize noisy protesters."
The Government of Chile picked top-dog PR firm Fleishman-Hillard to guide its effort to win a Free Trade Agreement with the US. Rory Davenport, F-H Senior VP in Washington, DC, expects the White House and Chile will iron out negotiations for an FTA by the end of the year. "The Congressional focus will be next year," he said. Also at this link, the most recent Foreign Agents Registration Act filings.
PR trade newsletter The Holmes Report credits good public relations as part of the nuclear industry's come back, noting that ongoing campaigns in Washington DC have been very successful in winning the support of opinion leaders. Companies have also been active on the "grassroots" front. The Exelon Corporation, which owns almost one-fifth of the nation's 103 nuclear facilities, points to its open houses and media roundtables for building industry credibility.
The Association for Competitive Technology, which was created and funded by Microsoft to defend its interests against charges of antitrust violations, has applauded last week's appeals court ruling reversing the order to break up Microsoft. "From the outset of this trial, the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) has consistently argued that preserving the right of a company to add features to their products is the central issue in this case," states an ACT news release.
The Edelman PR firm has been conducting seminars driven by the realization that "Non-governmental organizations affect business like never before. From the WTO protests in Seattle to the battle over genetically-modified organisms and food, NGOs have become the new 'super brands' in global governance.
Fenton Communications is helping the Rainforest Action Network respond to a conservative non-profit group's claims that RAN illegally uses tax-deductible donations to fund its advocacy campaigns. In a move that could begin what the Wall Street Journal called a "war of the non-profits," Washington, D.C.-based Frontiers of Freedom, which bills itself the "antithesis" of the green movement, has urged the Internal Revenue Service to revoke RAN's tax-exempt status.