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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Consumer Confidence Up

From the AP newswire:

Consumer confidence jumped to a two-year high in June

Consumer confidence is highest in two years
Anne D'innocenzio, Associated Press
June 30, 2004 ECONOMY0630
NEW YORK -- Consumer confidence jumped to a two-year high in June, buoyed by an improved job market and softening gasoline prices, the New York-based Conference Board reported Tuesday.

The upbeat news contrasted with early reports this week of a slowdown in retail sales in June. But economists shrugged off those disappointing figures, which were due primarily to cool weather in the South and Northeast, as a temporary setback.

The Consumer Confidence Index, which barely budged in May, increased nearly 9 points to 101.9, up from a revised reading of 93.1 in May. The latest reading was much better than the figure of 95 that analysts had expected.

Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center, said the strong improvement in current business conditions propelled consumer confidence to the highest level since June 2002, when the indicator was 106.3.

The Present Situation index is now 104.8, up from 90.5 in May. The Expectations Index, which measures consumers' outlook over the next six months, rose to 100 from 94.8.

The survey's cutoff for June's preliminary results was June 22, before the relatively smooth transfer of power to Iraq happened.

Mark Vitner, an economist at Wachovia Corp., said he believes the recent improvement in consumer confidence largely reflects improving employment conditions.

He noted that June's lackluster retail sales were "only temporary," due largely to the undesirable weather conditions and the lingering effects of higher gasoline prices, which have come down and are the lowest in two months.

The report Tuesday showed that consumers' assessment of current business conditions improved considerably in June. Those saying conditions are "good" rose to 25.6 percent, up from 22.2 percent. Those saying conditions have worsened fell to 17.5 percent from 21.6 percent. Consumers claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased to 26.5 percent from 30.3 percent. Those saying jobs are "plentiful" rose to 18.0 percent from 16.6 percent.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

MPR Changes Distribution of News

In February Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) to drop Public Radio International (PRI) programming for a new national news distribution model. Today MPR announce what the new distribution model will look like.

On July 1, Minnesota Public Radio will introduce American Public Media, a new division that will produce and distribute its national programs.

Minnesota Public Radio is the nation's second-largest producer of national public radio programs, with offerings including A Prairie Home Companion, Marketplace, Saint Paul Sunday, Sound Money, Speaking of Faith and The Splendid Table, reaching 12 million listeners a week. These programs will now be brought to audiences under the name "American Public Media."

The new division will distribute most of Minnesota Public Radio's national programs to radio stations across the country starting July 1. These programs are now distributed by Public Radio International (PRI), the Minneapolis-based radio program distributor. (Note: PRI will continue to distribute Marketplace and Marketplace Morning Report until June 30, 2005.)

The name "American Public Media" will help distinguish Minnesota Public Radio's national programs from its regional radio services. Minnesota Public Radio broadcasts news, information and classical music to a network of 35 stations in Minnesota and nearby states.
"This name change for our national programming more clearly identifies our programming," said Minnesota Public Radio President Bill Kling. "As we move to a period where people are listening to our programs on the radio, downloading our audio on the Web, and listening to us with devices like the iPod, we think it is essential to have one brand that reflects the national character of our content and one that can be tracked through all these new media."

Read the Business Journals story here.

How to Reach 16 Million Avid Readers with Your Pitch

Five-Star Panel of Consumer Health Editors Reveals How to Reach 16 Million Avid Readers with Your Pitch: Audio Conference coming this Thursday, July 1

If you publicize medical treatments, procedures, devices, nutrition, fitness, or healthcare institutions, practitioners or researchers, you may want to consider attending this Thursday's PR University audio conference, featuring some of the leading editors in health, medicine and fitness including:

  • Julie Bain, health director, Ladies' Home Journal (circ. 4.1 million)
  • Amy Fishbein, senior health editor, Fitness (circ. 1 million)
  • Margaret Guroff, features editor, AARP The Magazine (circ. 2.5 million)
  • Adam Martin, senior editor, Health (circ. 947,000)
  • Christian Millman, health editor, Better Homes and Gardens (7.6 million)

    These editorial leaders will tell you which trends top consumer media are tracking now: What can you expect in the way of disease coverage, diets and fitness, healthy living and prevention, and healthcare products, drugs and devices? How can you get visibility for your medical experts and researchers? How can you establish relationships with these influential editors?

    The event costs $249 and your entire staff can tune in to this discussion and find out what these top consumer health and medical editors want . . . and how best to work with them. Best of allthere will be a Q&A session. Plan to join in Thursday, July 1 at 1PM EDT; noon CDT; 11AM MDT; 10AM PDT.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Reorganization of Pioneer Press

Minnesota newspaper readers may have been caught in the midst of a newspaper cat-fight this weekend after the Star Tribune reported last Friday that the Pioneer Press was planning to cut coverage and shift staff.

The Pioneer Press corrected "the Enemy Newspaper" on Sunday saying, "the report was premature, incomplete and misleading. We are not cutting costs, but rather working to improve the newspaper -- something we work on every day, but every few years we step back and take a more comprehensive look at how well we're serving our readers."

The St. Paul paper also said that it remains committed to keeping a strong online presence at

Check out additional coverage from the Business Journal here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

New Hires at Weber Shandwick

The Twin Cities office of Weber Shandwick today announced the hiring of employees in the financial services and Web Relations groups.

Mary Little has joined the agency as a senior account executive in the financial services group. Little has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from American University. She works on the IRS account. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, she was an anchor/reporter for WHBF-TV, a CBS affiliate in Rock Island, Ill.

Tim O’Regan has joined the agency as a Web development assistant in the Web relations group. O’Regan has an associate’s degree in Multimedia and Web design from the Art Institute International of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in English from St. John’s University. He works on html, flash programming and design for Electrolux, Gander Mountain and Honeywell. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, he worked as a customer service representative for B I Inc.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Marketing agency MoCo expands into PR

The Business Journal is reporting today that Minneapolis advertising and marketing agency MoCo has branched out into media and public relations services by joining forces with Chris Mattson & Associates Inc.

Get more information here.

Ad Fed Golferoo

Ad Fed will host their "Golferoo" at Hill Crest Golf Club in St. Paul on August 16, 2004. The annual golf tournament will award prizes including a pair of Sun Country airline tickets, $750 gift certificate towards a SeaNote boat cruise, and a Dandy professional golf putter.


all inclusive.
$40 dinner only.

Visit for more info and to sign up.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Global PR Blog Week

Weeklong Online Conference Featuring Some of the World's Most Influential
Public Relations, Marketing and Business Bloggers set for July 12-16, 2004

NEW YORK, June 21 /PRNewswire/ --

WHO: Twenty-eight influential public relations, marketing and business bloggers from around the globe will participate in Global PR Blog Week 1.0.

WHAT: Spearheading Global PR Blog Week 1.0 is Australian Trevor Cook and
Romanian Constantin Basturea, who, along with 26 other PR bloggers and marketing practitioners, will assemble remotely across the globe (including Australia, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, UK and the U.S.) to discuss many facets of blogging and communications.
The event is split into five topic sections including: PR in the Age of Participatory Journalism, Corporate Blogging, Making PR Work: Creativity & Strategy, Crisis Management and The State of the PR Profession. Global PR Blog Week will be open to everybody -- for asking questions,
making comments and participating in the discussion through the event's weblog.

WHEN: The event takes place during the entire week of July 12th - July 16th 2004.

WHERE: On the Internet. Information and a schedule are available on The actual event will take place on the Global PR Blog Week weblog that will be available at starting June 28.

WHY: To teach businesses about the interactive communications value of blogging and to discuss a wide variety of topics related to the confluence of public relations and technology. The event will look also into the impact of participatory journalism and personal publishing on the PR practice.
"We want to showcase blogging to help our colleagues and clients understand the value of blogging as a fast, low cost and highly-effective publishing, marketing and content management tool," said Cook, director of the Sydney-based public relations firm Jackson Wells Morris. "With top blogs reaching millions of people daily, and directly influencing journalists and decision-makers, thousands of whom also blog, it is time for blogging to be taken seriously in the marketing mix."

BLOG DEFINITION AND IMPACT: A blog is an Internet publishing tool that allows users with no technical or programming skills to write about a topic and publish to the World Wide Web inexpensively, instantly, and easily. Most current estimates find 3 million blogs amongst an online community of 729.2 million global Internet users, according to Global Reach. Top blogs have readership in the millions, and many have begun to attract mainstream

ITINERARY: The schedule for Global PR Blog Week 1.0 is as follows:

MONDAY 12 JULY -- PR in the Age of Participatory Journalism

Friday, June 11, 2004

Global PR and Blogs


As I , I am participating in Global PR Blog Week 1.0: July 12-16, 2004. This event is already beginning to be notice by those in the PR Industry. This week there were articles published on and PR Week also ran a lengthy article.

In anticipation of this event, I am looking for a few energetic PR practitioners to participate in this event with me. What I am looking for is several people that have ideas about and how it relates to blogging.

My hope is that we could start a discussion on how/if you think blogs are transforming journalism. If you are interested in participating please shoot me an and I will set you up as a guest blogger on this site.


The Twin Cities office of Weber Shandwick today announced the promotion of five employees:

  • The consumer marketing group has promoted Mary Delworth from account executive to senior account executive and Jon Mason from assistant account executive to account executive.
  • The corporate relations group has promoted Mike Teegardin from senior account executive to account supervisor.
  • The financial services group has promoted Brooke Worden from account supervisor to account group manager.
  • The investor relations and technology group has promoted Allison Fox from account executive to senior account executive.

Lubars to leave Fallon for BBDO

The Business Journal reported yesterday that David Lubars is leaving ad agency Fallon Worldwide in Minneapolis to return to New York-based BBDO Worldwide.

Get the full story here.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

May buys Field's

Marshall Field's has been purchased by May Department Stores Co. marking an end to a long history.

May Department Stores will host a at 8:30 a.m. (ET) this morning to discuss the acquisition.

Get more info from today's Star Tribune.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Guthrie gets new head of external relations

Bob Thacker former president of BBDO in Minneapolis is taking over as the Guthrie's new head of external relations.

Thacker retired from BBDO in January of this year, where he had been president and CEO since 1999.

Thacker will lead the Guthrie's development, marketing, communications and the education/community partnerships.

Get more info here.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Minnesota-based PRI to take over Web provider

Minneapolis-based Public Radio International (PRI) will take over Public Interactive, a provider of Internet and Web services for public radio and public television stations.

In a news release making the announcement, Public Interactive President Tom Lix and PRI President Stephen Salyer said, "This merger allows Public Interactive to become stronger financially, to take full advantage of PRI's capacities in marketing, fundraising, and financial services, and to move rapidly toward financial breakeven."

Leading Public Interactive, Lix and Salyer said, will be Debra May Hughes, chief operating officer, and Cindy Shuman, acting chief financial officer. Hughes says, "Our Web tools are the best in the business, and we're excited about the opportunity to accelerate the development of signature products and services for public stations."

Lix announced that he will step down as president of Public Interactive, effective with the completion of the merger. "As founder and president of Public Interactive, I am enormously proud of all we've accomplished over the past five years. I am pleased that Debra May Hughes will continue to lead product and service development, and that PRI is providing support that will enable Public Interactive to reach greater heights."

Salyer added, "Public Interactive would not exist without Tom Lix's vision and commitment. His understanding of the Internet's potential and what it can mean for public broadcasting will continue to inspire our efforts."

For more info catch today's Business Journal.

Pay Per Clip PR

Touted as the risk free way to do PR, some public relations firms are beginning to offer media relations services where you don't pay a thing until the results are delivered.

In a on Monday Stephenson Group announced the launch of PayPerClip(SM).

Calling its new service model Risk-Free Plus(TM), PayPerClip guarantees satisfaction with results, plus clients only pay for placements in media categories they choose from among a full range of print, broadcast and online media.

"Stephenson Group has taken the ultimate step of spinning off a competitive pay for placement model that will take all the risk from the client and place it squarely where it belongs-with the agency," said Richard Virgilio, PayPerClip's managing director, in a company statement.

The new firm is offering a 25% discount on placement fees for new clients joining by the end of June 2004.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Two Minnesotans go to Superstar USA final!


Two Minnesotans are the star of a new show on the WB called Superstar USA. They are about to be famous whether they like it or not.

On the surface the show looks a lot like American Idol, but what the contestants don't know is that they are part of an ellaborate hoax. Where American Idol goes to search for talent, Superstar USA goes to look for the country's worst singers, and it advances only the worst of the worst.

Minnesota's own Jamie Foss of Erskine and Joseph (JoJo) Halling of Minneapolis made the final four.

The seven-episode series, hosted by MTV vee-jay Brian McFayden, follows 12 uniquely gifted, and totally unsuspecting, hopefuls as they're whisked away to Hollywood where they receive superstar treatment - complete with makeovers, dance sessions with a top choreographer, and singing lessons with a respected voice coach. The WB's Superstar USA's conclusion, in which the last singer standing, receives the title of "The WB's Superstar USA," $100,000 and a recording contract, is played out in front of a live audience.
View photos and vote for who you think will win Superstar USA here.

Get the full story from the Star Tribune.


Get video/photos of Superstar and former Miss Minnesota USA contestant Jamie Foss here.


Friday, June 04, 2004

Global PR Blog Week 1.0: July 12-16, 2004

In mid-July a group of public relations professionals will come together online to discuss some key issues emerging in public relations and draw attention to the growing presence of blogging as a PR tool.

For five days PR bloggers, including myself, will cover issues and invite discussion on topics like:
  • PR in the Age of Participatory Journalism
  • Corporate Blogging
  • Making PR Work: Creativity and Strategy
  • Crisis Management
  • The State of the PR Profession

In total there are currently more than twenty bloggers participating in what is being dubbed Global PR Blog Week 1.0.

Stay tuned for more details soon.

Get the event's RSS feed here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

How to Communicate in a Business Turned Upside Down

The Minnesota Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators will host a joint meeting this month on June 17. Author Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D will speak on How to Communicate in a Business Turned Upside Down.

Goman, a renowned author, discusses how corporate leaders communicate ahead of change to build employee savvy and support, how some companies increase employee commitment by including workers in the strategy-development process and the six characteristics you can use as guides to help determine which employees will deal most successfully with change in her .

At this month's meeting you'll catch a glimpse of Goman's book as she discusses how to:

  • Make communicative collaboration the key corporate strategy for your organization

  • Unblock information flow to prevent knowledge-hoarding within an organization

  • Reinforce the value of employee engagement as it relates to your organization's integrated external and internal communications

PRSA Meeting Details:
Registration: 11:30 a.m. - noon Registration and Networking
Lunch: noon - 12:30 p.m.
Program: 12:30 - 1:30 a.m. Panel Discussion

Location: Metropolitan Ballroom and Clubroom, ., Golden Valley

Cost: Pre-Registered: $30 members, $45 guests, $15 students; Walk-ins (after June 14): $40 members; $55 guests; $25 students
Register By: Monday, June 14, to receive the discounted rate.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Colle + McVoy hired by Scripps Health

Bloomington-based Colle + McVoy has been hired by Scripps Health to produce a video, a Web site, advertising, direct marketing and other materials to help the health care provider attract more registered nurses, pharmacists and radiology technicians.

Get the full story from the Business Journal.
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