A New Jersey Sikh group has hired MWW Group to launch a national PR campaign to educate Americans about the religion that was founded in India more than 500 years ago. There has been at least one hate-based killing of a Sikh and many other reported hate crimes against Sikhs in the aftermath of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. There are 400,000 Sikhs living in North America.
The Air Transport Association, which represents air carriers, hired PR giant Burson-Marsteller to develop issue ads in support of the group's lobbying activities. ATA is seeking from Congress a $17.5 billion rescue package consisting of cash and loan guarantees for the airline industry, in the wake of its collapse following last week's attacks. Airlines are said to be losing $200 million a day because of disruptions in air traffic and the public's general unwillingness to fly.
Boeing is using Interpublic's Powell Tate unit to build PR support for President Bush's missile defense system. Bush's request for $8.3 billion for missile defense was expected to be sliced due to the vanishing surplus, but now has gotten new life in aftermath of last week's terror attacks. This contradicts Kevin McCauley's prediction in last week's O'Dwyer's PR Daily. McCauley wrote that the terrorist attacks "killed Bush's missile defense program.
Supporters of the Center for Media & Democracy have just been mailed the third quarter 2001 issue of PR Watch. It examines the strategies employed by corporations such as Philip Morris and BP/Amoco, and their PR firms such as Burson-Marsteller, to defeat environmental activism through partnerships and co-optation. Articles include "Keep America Beautiful: Grassroots Non-Profit or Tobacco Front Group?" by Walter Lamb; "Corporations 'Get Engaged' to the Environmental Movement" by Andy Rowell; and, "Endangered Wildlife Friends Are Here" by John Stauber.
The U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center recently hired PR-firm Hill & Knowlton for a 5-year, $2-million-dollar contract to promote the Center's "morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) programs." According to a Center spokesperson, H&K's work on 250 various MWR activities will include concerts (Miller Genuine Draft Army Concert Tour), sporting events ("Bowl Hog Wild" tournament featuring a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as grand prize), theater, and social/health/education programs.
As the number of people sick from E. coli strain O157:H7 in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, climbed past 150 last Friday, public officials hired the PR firm Zigman Joseph Stephenson to help with media and an anticipated crush of lawsuits. The outbreak is being blamed on children not washing their hands after visiting the petting zoo at the Ozaukee County Fair. The Ozaukee County Board's Administrative Committee approved hiring the PR firm for up to $12,000 in expenses.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former Communist Youth Leader leader turned Russian billionaire with ties to the Russian mafia, is paying APCO Worldwide to restore investors' trust in his scandal-plagued company, Yukos.
O'Dwyer's PR launches a new awards program to "recognize outstanding efforts at educating the public about issues, products or services." "We've heard complaints for some time that certain firms have come to dominate too many of the awards programs," said publisher Jack O'Dwyer. As an example, he noted that four PR firms took 18 or 43% of the 41 Silver Anvils awarded by PRSA in June out of a field of 736 entries. Many smaller PR firms have been critical of the elaborate and expensive entry process for other PR awards.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which reported that the New York City Police Department used improper racial profiling and which found serious flaws in the Florida voting process, is now facing criticism for spending $135,000 on public relations. The Holmes Reports writes that according to a Scripps Howard story, "payments made during the current fiscal year are more than double the amount that the panel is allowed to pay to outside consultants, according to the requirements of its 2001 spending allocation from Congress."
With fewer journalism jobs available, many reporters and editors are looking at PR jobs to pay the bills. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 31-35% increase in PR jobs, versus a 0-9% increase in journalism, which also pays less than PR. For journalists worried that flacking means selling out, PR Week advises that "many believe it's an inevitable career progression." PR Week quotes Lou Colasuonno, a former editor at the New York Post and New York Daily News before turning PR practitioner, who says, "I had accomplished all I could in [the journalism] field.