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Friday, December 31, 2004

Ergotron Selects Maccabee Group

Ergotron, Inc., the Saint Paul-based global manufacturer of ergonomic computer and video hardware management solutions for the healthcare, office and home entertainment markets, has chosen Minneapolis public relations agency Maccabee Group to perform publicity for its new product introductions across Ergotron’s industry trade and consumer markets.

Ergotron has five subsidiaries in Europe, 2004 revenues exceeding $65 million, 250 employees worldwide and representation for its products in 65 countries worldwide.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

IABC Event for 2005

If you are at work this week you may be bored and looking for something to do. Maybe you should take some time and layout your resolutions for next year. Here is an idea -- In 2005 I am going to brush up on my business writing skills.

If this sounds like a good resolution idea I have the perfect event for you.

Thursday, January 13, 2005 IABC is hosting a program titled Crafting the Message – Building Effective Writing Skills for Business. Here is a description of what the event will cover:

Reaching the target audience is never easy, but remains a critical aspect of communications success. Effective writing plays a significant role in achieving this business-critical task. To be successful, communicators must understand how to write clearly and concisely, and engage the reader.

This month, IABC presents a writing skills seminar hosted by Stephen Wilbers, a writing consultant, author and syndicated columnist. The seminar will offer participants an opportunity to learn how to write more clearly, engage their audiences and integrate key strategies into their communications. During the seminar, Stephen will offer tips for improving writing skills and effectively communicating through writing. Attendees also will be able to participate in a series of writing exercises that can immediately be applied to both personal and professional writing.

Location: University of St. Thomas

Click here to obtain driving directions, maps and parking locations.

Cost: Pre-Registered: $80 members; $60 students; guests: $125;
After 1/11/05: $100 members, $70 students; guests: $145.

Here is the promotional code -- WS05 -- for MNPR readers who sign up through IABC's site. You will get the member rate.

Register By: Monday, Jan. 11, 2005, to receive the discounted rate.

To Register: Watch the programs and events page at for online registration or call the IABC office at .

Contact: For registration questions, contact the IABC office at . For questions regarding this meeting, contact Samantha Hetzel at .

Thursday, December 23, 2004

End-of-year Report

As I head into the holiday season, I suspect that my time will be limited for blogging here so I wanted to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays) and a Happy New Year!

This has been a ground-breaking year for this blog. Readership is nearly five times what it was last year and I now have a loyal readership of around 40 people every day. While many of my co-workers and friends still consider blogging to be a bit nerdy, I think many have come to except the reality that blogging has .

So what next? Well, in the blogging world next year I predict Podcasting will explode in popularity as iPod prices drop and more people jump on the bandwagon of .

Also, I think video and photos will take on new popularity as they are integrated into RSS feeds more readily.

Of course, if you want to know the latest, continue to visit Minnesota Public Relations Blog.

Thanks for your support and don't forget to click on the Google links to the right. It's the only way this site makes any money. Have a happy holiday season.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

New Approach to Marketing via the Web

A New York Times article published today highlights something that bloggers have known for a long time -- Web sites can be more than just traditional company information, they can be highly-valuable, unique marketing tools.

Using sites like, Burger King's Subservient Chicken as an example the Times lays out how companies are choosing to use specialty Web sites to shatter the bonderies set by more conventional corporate sites.

Some other sites listed in this article include:
Alaska Airlines -
Best Buy -
Microsoft/Intel - Digital Joy

Get the full story here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Twin Cities Business Monthly's Annual Survey on Business Issues

Minnesota PRSA and Twin Cities Business Monthly present:
What Business ThinksTM
January 11, 2005
Join , Minnesota PRSA, and MDA Leadership Consulting for a breakfast and briefing on the results of the 2005 What Business Thinks™ survey regarding corporate reputation. The presentation will answer such questions as, “Which are the most highly reputable Minnesota businesses?” and “Can actively managing the corporate reputation as an asset give your business an edge?”

Meeting Specifics

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
7:30 - 8:00 a. m. continental breakfast
8:00 - 9:00 a. m. briefing

3M Auditorium, Carlson School of Management
, Minneapolis

For reservations contact Twin Cities Business Monthly at or
Admission is free but reservations are required

Monday, December 20, 2004

Minnesota Blog Top Dog

Time Magazine has named Minnesota's own Power Line Blog 2004 Blog of the Year.

Get the full story from the Star Tribune.

Friday, December 17, 2004

New Hires at Weber Shandwick

The Twin Cities office of Weber Shandwick today announced new appointments in the consumer marketing, financial services and IR/Technology groups.

Andres Ybarra joins the IR/Technology group as a senior account executive and is primarily working on the Honeywell account. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, Ybarra was a sports writer and desk editor for the Minneapolis bureau of The Associated Press, where he wrote national and local feature stories. Before that, he served as a public relations assistant for the El Paso Electric Co. in Las Cruces, N.M., and as a reporter for Santa Fe's daily newspaper, The Santa Fe New Mexican. An El Paso, Texas native, Ybarra received his bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University in 2001.

Andrea Faiad joins the financial services group as a senior account executive and is working on the Federal Reserve Bank account. Before joining Weber Shandwick, Faiad worked for six years at the Rochester Post-Bulletin as a senior features reporter and spent one year at Words at Work, a Minneapolis business-to-business marketing firm. She also worked for 18 months as editor-in-chief of the Kiev Post, an English-language daily newspaper in Ukraine. Faiad received her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.

Kris Olesen joins the consumer marketing group as an account executive and will support the Ferrero and Polaris accounts. A Minnesota native, Olesen previously worked in New York City for Gibbs & Soell Public Relations and Rubenstein Public Relations. Olesen earned her bachelor's degree in Sociology from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.

Cell Phones in the Air

Having spent most of the last week in an air plane flying around the country, I have come to have a new appreciation for both sides of the cell phones on planes debate.

Before this week I was vehemently anti-cell phone use on planes, but as I was flying from Tampa back to Minneapolis on my way to Oklahoma, I found myself wanting to check my voicemail.

On the other hand, it was nice to be able to say, "Sorry, I didn't get back to you sooner, but I was in transit." I think this quote from today's USA Today sums it up best, "There are so few places these days where we can escape cell phones, pagers, BlackBerrys and CNN. Please let my airline flight be the last comfortable, quiet cocoon that is left to me where I can get lost in my own thoughts."

Get the results of the USA Today cell phone poll here.

Fleishman-Hillard Launches FH Out Front

Fleishman-Hillard Inc. announced the launch of , a new team designed to reach the gay and lesbian community, one of the largest untapped audiences in the communications marketplace. “This practice is another example of Fleishman-Hillard’s commitment to continually offering our clients comprehensive communications services that reach a variety of audiences,” said John D. Graham, the firm’s chairman and chief executive officer. “FH Out Front represents a structured, strategic approach to communicating with a large group that has unique needs and interests as well as tremendous purchasing power.”

“Research estimates the buying power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) community—which is estimated to be as much as 10 percent of the U.S. population—at $450 billion annually. New developments in the marketplace—including the launch of the first gay cable channel, Logo, next year and the continued growth of advertising directly to gays and lesbians—as well as work we are currently engaged in for several major consumer brands encouraged Fleishman-Hillard to launch the new practice,” Graham said.

With nearly 100 Minnesota-based corporations extending domestic partner benefits to all employees, the Twin Cities has become one of the most rapidly growing metro areas in the country. According to Lavender Magazine, Minneapolis ranks in the top 10 U.S. LGBT populated cities.

FH Out Front is intended to be the most comprehensive gay and lesbian public relations/marketing practice at a major public relations firm in the United States, and currently includes more than a dozen communications experts in seven major U.S. markets: Washington, D.C., San Diego, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Kansas City, and San Francisco. This growing capability draws on professionals from a variety of Fleishman-Hillard practice groups, including marketing communications, healthcare, corporate reputation, public affairs, and litigation support.

“FH Out Front is a simple, instantly recognizable name that describes who we are, how we operate, and why we know the community,” said Ben Finzel, co-chair of the FH Out Front practice. “We are members of the community, which allows us to offer our clients expertise, reach, depth, and insight into the unique needs and interests of gays and lesbians.”

Finzel, a senior vice president in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office, chairs the practice along with Phillip Sontag, a vice president in the San Diego office. FH Out Front adds to the agency’s multicultural focus, which helped drive the introduction last year of FH Hispania, a national team with bilingual/bicultural professionals strategically located in each of the major U.S. Hispanic population centers, including California, Texas, New York, and Florida.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Bad news story turned good story!

On Tuesday, December 7, ran after the station found that fish being advertised as walleye on the menus of several Twin Cities restaurants wasn't walleye, but a related species from Eastern Europe called zander.

One of the restaurants in the expose was Majors Sports Cafe, who responded to the story by hosting a "Goodbye to Zander" event at their restaurants Friday night. Store managers apologized for the confusion and gave free walleye to customers.

Story Development:

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press: Gander shows that walleye is zander.

From the Star Tribune: This big fish story was on the menu.

From KARE 11: , Get the .

MPR's "Sound Money" Loses Producer

The Twin Cities Business Journal reported yesterday that Minnesota Public Radio's Sound Money lost producer Kathryn Scott to a Los Angeles radio station.

Scott will move to Los Angeles in January to become senior producer of 's newest national program, Weekend America.

Get the full Business Journal story here.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Inoculate Yourself Against Bad PR

Are you protecting yourself, your company, your client from bad PR? Do you even know what bad PR is? Well, maybe its time you find out...check out this article from Robert A. Kelly of

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


As a PR professional and member of Toastmasters, I strive to articulate messages clearly, so when I caught myself saying "Dude" in a business meeting the other day it was a real wakeup call.

But now I can rest easy, because a linguist from the University of Pittsburgh has determined "dude" is much more than a catchall for lazy, inarticulate surfers, skaters, slackers and teenagers.

From AP news:
An admitted dude-user during his college years, Scott Kiesling said the four-letter word has many uses: in greetings ("What's up, dude?"); as an exclamation ("Whoa, Dude!"); commiseration ("Dude, I'm so sorry."); to one-up someone ("That's so lame, dude."); as well as agreement, surprise and disgust ("Dude.").

Kiesling says in the fall edition of American Speech that the word derives its power from something he calls cool solidarity — an effortless kinship that's not too intimate.

A Wireless World Leads to What?

There is an interesting article in today's Star Tribune that highlights some of the questions facing the "Wireless youth" of today -- like, is our wireless culture leading to anti-social behavior?

In a recent discussion with a friend, he told me he gave up his cell phone, that allowed him not only to talk and text-message but to e-mail people, because he found he was always checking his messages and not paying attention to his those around him. In other words, he was ignoring his "live" friends in favor of e-mailing his "virtual" friends.

From the Strib:
While their time spent in front of the computer and online has grown, teens are spending less time on other social activities. In a 2004 survey of people aged 13 to 18, White said the number of teens going to the mall and out on dates dropped by 5 percent, compared with 1997. Those going to dances decreased by 10 percent.

Chris Saribay, 17, of Hawaii, quit the regular school scene altogether for an all-online public high school, where he watches video lectures and frequently instant messages or e-mails his teachers. But the junior is anything but lonely -- he has friends all over the world and has maxed out the allowed instant messaging buddy list of 200.

He became close friends with Clark Mueller, 18, of Columbia, Mo., after Mueller solicited Saribay, a.k.a. hawaiiansuperman, in an online community forum for Macintosh enthusiasts, for some Hawaii sightseeing tips a few years ago.

The strangers-turned-pals haven't met in person. But they have watched each other eating while talking online, using a popular video conferencing program that piggybacks on AOL Instant Messenger.

Get the full Star Tribune story here.

Are you addicted to e-mail and virtual communication? Vote here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Mitsubishi parts with Interpublic

Mitsubishi North America has parted with Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Deutsch Los Angeles, its agency of four years, according to the company. Get the AdAge story here.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Twins Change TV stations

The Twin Cities Business Journal reported today, the Minnesota Twins have switched television broadcast partners.

From the Business Journal:
Next season Eden Prairie-based WFTC-TV Channel 29, a UPN affiliate, will air the games, instead of KSTC-TV Channel 45.

Next season, Channel 29 will air 28 games in 2005, including two spring training contests, the home opener and telecasts on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fox Sports Network North will continue to simulcast games for viewers outside of the Twin Cities market that don't get Channel 29.

WFTC is part of a Minneapolis duopoly with KMSP-TV Channel 9, a Fox affiliate. As a Fox owned-and-operated station, KMSP-TV has rights to Major League Baseball, which has included regular season Twins games on Saturday afternoon and postseason Twins games.

Channel 45 is owned by St. Paul-based .

Thursday, December 02, 2004

New PR JobMart

has launch a new with free listings of available jobs in PR and communications.

Here is a sample of the jobs listed:

Classic Residence by Hyatt
Chicago, IL

Classic Residence by Hyatt, a national leader in luxury senior living, has an outstanding opportunity for an energetic communications professional to develop and implement strategic public relations plans and corporate communications programs. In addition to managing the internal and external day-to-day operations of the PR function, this successful individual will identify PR opportunities to generate sales leads for our 19 luxury senior living communities. In addition, you will manage all communication vehicles (e.g.,corporate newsletters, press releases, communications aspects of company Intranet ).

Requires a minimum of 6 years of PR experience (agency preferred) at the account supervisor level. Excellent communications skills and the ability to partner with business departments across the organization is a must. Knowledge of Intranet design is a plus. Bachelor’s degree required.
If you possess these qualifications and are ready to merge your talents with our Company’s brand and product, please send your resume and salary history to

To learn more about senior living at Classic Residence by Hyatt, visit

Classic Residence by Hyatt is an equal opportunity employer.

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Work for Fallon

Fallon Worldwide posted a position on today.

From Monster:
Department: Corporate Communications

Experience: 3-5 years of advertising or public relations agency experience, Bachelor’s degree in public relations, advertising, or journalism.

Qualifications: Excellent writing ability, ability to deal with an ever-changing workload,

Scope of responsibilities:

• Media relations, proactive and reactive: including direct and support responsibilities for entire agency network (MSP, NY, and Int’l). Tasks include developing and writing press releases, making pitches, preparing supporting materials (reels, print materials)., and media list development and maintenance (60 %)

• Clearinghouse for press clip/tracking, as well as public relations archives (10%)

• Facilitating all agency biographies and photographs (5%)

• Supporting public relations updates and changes to corporate communications vehicles, including:,, and Fallon Fact book (5%)

• Support/development of an agency speaker’s bureau. Seeking (10%)

• Counterpoint for creative submissions, including to, Print, Archive, Communications Arts, etc. (5%)

• Facilitating submissions for publications ( Agency of the Year, Campaign of the Year, etc.), as well as all agency directory listings for AAAAs, Gunn Report, etc. (5%)
Get the full posting here.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Brokaw Signs Off


Long time NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw sign off tonight handing the desk and chair to Brian Williams after tonight's 5:30 p.m. network newscast.

In addition to “Nightly News,” Brokaw anchored The Brokaw Report (1992-93), a series of prime-time specials that examined critical issues facing our nation. He also co-anchored the prime-time news magazine Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric (1993-94). In addition, Brokaw has played an active role in many other prime-time NBC news specials and in-depth reports. In June 1997, he anchored the “Dateline NBC” documentary special, Tom Brokaw Reports: Why Can’t We Live Together, which examined the hidden realities of racial separation in America’s suburbs. Brokaw earned an Alfred I. duPont- Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcast journalism for this special report.

Read Tom's Bio here.

View MSNBC's "Tom Brokaw Eyewitness to History" here.

Deficit Projected

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press Minnesota faces a projected $700 million deficit for the two-year budget period that begins July 1.

The deficit prediction annouced today, does not include any general provision for inflation in spending items, and is worse than the approximate $400 million revenue shortfall predicted at the end of last spring's legislative session.

Get the St. Paul Pioneer Press article here.

Read the Star Tribune's take

Other sources:
State budget deficit climbs to $700 million -- Grand Forks Herald
State budget deficit climbs to $700 million -- InForum

Hear audio from Gov. Tim Pawlenty here.
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