Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Forbes Top 25 Web Celebs...

Forbes compiled this year’s list by looking at a “Web Celeb” as a person famous primarily for creating or appearing in Internet-based content, and for being highly recognizable to a Web-based audience. From the candidate list of 200 Web celebrities each candidate was ranked in five areas:1. Web references as calculated by Google 2. traffic ranking of their home page as calculated by Alexa3. Technorati rank of their primary Web site or blog4. TV/radio mentions and press clips compiled from Factiva5. bonus points if ‘Web Celeb’ regularly published their own videoblog or podcast. For the full list, go to

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" - KYW 1060 Christmas

If you haven't heard it before, the KYW 1060 Newsradio reading by former Philadelphia anchor Vince Lee in his December 1976 recording of ''Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus,'' is just wonderful. I heard it tonight while my husband and I were driving home from my mother's house. It is so beautiful and truly captures the spirit of Christmas. Her'e the link to the KYW page and here's the link to the audiocast:

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Blog Launch: Diabetes Pharmacist Blog

After months of hard work and anticipation, Focus Express Mail Pharmacy of Horsham, PA has announced the debut of their new educational and informational diabetes blog, the Diabetes Pharmacist Blog.

Focus Express Mail Pharmacy is an Internet-based pharmacy with a community agenda and practice that provides expert service, outstanding customer care and convenient home delivery of affordable prescription drugs and medical supplies to qualified patients with diabetes and chronic illnesses. Focus created the Diabetes Pharmacist Blog to provide persons with medical needs a sieve of information on medical breakthroughs, devices, as well as nutritional and health advice.

Follow this link to enjoy a plethora of information on diabetes and other related illnesses. For more information on Focus Express Mail Pharmacy, visit their website at

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Holiday and New Year from Furia Rubel

At Furia Rubel, the holiday season is a time for giving back and showing appreciation and thanks to those who make a difference and impact in our lives; both personally and professionally.

On behalf of the entire Furia Rubel team, we wish you peace, joy and positive publicity in this New Year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Be Aware of Toy Recalls this Holiday Season - It May Save a Loved Ones Life

With the holidays literally upon us, finding that perfect gift for loved ones is an absolute must. But make sure you are getting your family and friends safe holiday gifts this season.

Stephanie Farr of the Philadelphia Daily News paints a perfect picture of why all holiday shoppers need to be aware of recalls of all sorts. The article titled Near-Fatal Attraction tells the story of young, Drexel Hill boy Benjamin Palmer (represented by attorneys at the Feldman Shepherd firm) who swallowed a piece of a Magnetix set and how the recalled toy almost cost the 2-year-old his life. The two swallowed magnets ripped through the boy’s colon and caused a massive septic infection in little Benjamin’s body.

This toy was at one time one of the top selling children’s toys and not all are aware of its harmful effects or its recall last year. According to Philadelphia Daily News article, “In March 2006, unbeknown to Palmer’s mother, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled the toy. Tiny magnets inside the plastic pieces were falling out and being swallowed by young children, which led to horrific consequences. ‘To date, there has been one death, one incident of a child inhaling the magnets through the nose and 27 intestinal injuries reported in connection with the toy,’ said Scott Wolfson, CPSC spokesman.”

With nieces, nephews, cousins and family to buy for this holiday season, I will most definitely be referencing The Consumer Product Safety Commission site before making any quick purchases.

See Philadelphia Daily News reporter Stephanie Farr’s, “Feds urge signing up for e-mail toy alerts” article for more details on toy recalls, The Consumer Product Safety Commission and safe practices handling recalls.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In Memory of DeAnn White - A Special Recognition

Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” I can’t agree more – and one of those thoughtful, committed citizens was DeAnn White.

On December 6, 2007, I was honored by my peers in the public relations industry with the PRSA Philadelphia Chapter award named in DeAnn White's memory. I began my acceptance speech with the amazing words of Margaret Mead. I wish to share my thoughts of DeAnn as I am so blessed to have been touched by her story and memory.

My words were as follows:

The DeAnn White Achievement Award honors the memory of a Philadelphia journalist and PR professional whose life was cut short at age 25 in the tragic Pier 34 collapse. DeAnn was not only one of our peers, but she was a trailblazer for African-American women . . . a true role model. She was an advocate for education, children, her Baptist ministry, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society -- to name a few. Just the thought, let alone the reality, of being bestowed this honor humbles me.

And while I am delighted and honored to be the 2007 recipient of the DeAnn White Award, it is not about me – it is about others. It is about the people who work in public service. It is about the countless hours we all donate to our community. It is about remembering the legacy of DeAnn White. And it is about fostering the ideals of giving back in our community. I share this recognition with everyone in this room – as so many of you give back in so many ways. Since this award is only given once a year, I hold it in trust on behalf of our profession.

This honor is a true testament to how much local public relations professionals value philanthropy and volunteerism. This is an award in memory of a fallen hero, DeAnn White and of our industry’s shared commitment to giving back.

I will keep DeAnn's family and friends in my prayers as I know that love is a true gift from God and her family's loss is one that is incomprehensible.

Challenges of a CEO: Becoming Influential

As new communication channels open up and the communication habits of consumers change, it is getting harder to identify what medium is most effective when trying to communicate with your audience.

In the November 12, 2007 issue of PR Week, Erica Iacono reported that, “CEOs are facing more challenges than ever as they try to establish influence within their industries, communicate effectively with internal and external audiences, and maintain corporate reputation”…and I couldn’t agree more.

85.4% of CEO’s perceive an extreme importance to be known as an influencer in the industry. Here are some tactics CEOs across the country are implementing to maintain their influence among consumers:

-68.1% - offer online tools for customers to interact with each others products
-77.1% - utilize PR as a tool for development of their company’s overall strategy

To find out more information, check out the “True Test of Leadership” article here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

IT Investments: Measuring Your Businesses ROI

I came across a live roundtable webcast, Get Better Results from Your IT Investments, featuring speakers Rob Whitley, Sr. Analyst for Forrester Research and Matt Gowarty, Sr. Product Manager with Fluke Networks along with moderator Sandra Gittlen, Technology Editor from NetworkWorld.

The panel offers some interesting information:

In a 2007 survey done by Forrester Research, Inc., it seems IT objectives are coinciding with those of the business world. Instead of focusing solely on security, IT trends show companies focusing on improving disaster recovery, consolidating multiple programs and upgrading applications to keep up with the changing business demands; all aspects that prove to provide headaches for many business leaders.

Measuring your ROI for your IT needs may not be as hard as you think.

According to the panelists, there are 3 aspects in which to keep an eye out for:

Optimization – Update your site regularly to ensure consistent web traffic
Control – Know your security applications and how to manage them
Visibility: Measure and monitor your activity to see the results you yield

To find out more information on what value can IT investments can bring to your organization, how to increase increase productivity among co-workers and associates, benefits of consolidating multiple IT applications and providing necessary IT security for your business, Register Here to see a free presentation.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Gina Rubel Receives Public Relations Society of America Achievement Award Award

We are proud to announce that Gina F. Rubel has been awarded the DeAnn White Achievement Award by the Public Relations Society of America for utilizing her public relations expertise in the fields of community service and volunteerism.

For more than two decades, Gina has devoted time to helping nonprofits tell their stories. She also encourages all staff to volunteer time during the workday and maintains three nonprofit pro bono accounts per year as a company policy. To her, giving selflessly is her definition of success.

Gina is often overheard saying, "If I were independently wealthy, I'd donate all my time to helping nonprofits raise awareness and money to make this world a better place." In short, that sums up not only why she is so deserving of this award, but that our staff is blessed to be her friend and colleague.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ode to J.K. Rowling

This is an ode to one of my favorite authors of all time J.K. Rowling, who has proven that one voice and one person can make a difference in this world:

Craig Wilson of USA Today reported on something truly amazing - how a fantasy game called Quidditch from the popular children’s series, Harry Potter has made its way into the lifestyle of American college students.

To read more about the Quidditch phenomenon and J.K. Rowling’s effect on American college students, click here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Apple iPhone & AT&T vs. Google gPhone & Verizon

The iPhone made a grand entrance and splash in the consumer product industry in 2007. Since AT&T was the only U.S. carrier able to capitalize on this successful product, it has left a bitter taste in many mobile carriers’ mouth; Verizon Wireless being one of them.

Google recognizes the disdain of many mobile carriers and is looking at Verizon Wireless to help make a splash in the wireless industry. reported that current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart stated, “If Google is going to make a splash, it’s going to have to say (to operators) ‘offer our phones and we’ll share the revenue’.”

If Google truly believes that a long key factor of their growth is in the wireless market, making concessions with America’s large mobile companies is a must. Although Google and Verizon are amidst talks of putting Google applications on Verizon phones, they still have many obstacles to overcome.

Being a Verizon Wireless customer myself, I would love to get a phone equivalent to an iPhone. Word on the street is that Google doesn’t offer much of a financial return for prospective mobile carriers, so I am afraid my dreams will have to be put aside for the moment.

How do you feel about an “all inclusive” phone put out by Google? Do you think it would be as successful as the iPhone and which Google applications do you think would be available?

If you want more information, check out

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Hepatitis B Foundation Launches Corporate Video

We're excited to announce that the Hepatitis B Foundation, located in the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Bucks County, Pa., launched their corporate video. The Foundation is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected with hepatitis B worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy.

The video is a must see. It's a great way to learn about all the wonderful things the Foundation is doing. And of course, we're proud to call them a client. To check out the video on YouTube, click here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cole Silver Launches Legal Expert Audio Series on

Cole Silver, the Legal Marketing Secrets blogger, announced today that they will be launching an expert audio series through He says the audio series will feature

interviews from world renowned experts and advisors that will provide you profitable and incisive information, secrets, and tactics that will help you create the legal career you desire.

The line up includes:

• Dan Janel, member of the public relations team that launched America Online.

• Harry Beckwith, one of the world's most respected marketers and author of What Clients Love.

• Gerry Riskin, world renowned expert in law firm management and rainmaking.

• Jim Hassett, founder of LegalBizDev and author of seven books and more than 70 articles on legal marketing.

• Margaret Grisdela, the author of "Courting Your Clients: The Essential Guide to Legal Marketing”.

• Trey Rider, one of the country’s premier legal marketing experts.

• Hindi Greenberg, author of the best selling, The Lawyer's Career Change Handbook.

• YOURS TRULY . . . Gina Furia Rubel, Esquire, a communications expert, attorney and publicist, is the owner of Furia Rubel Communications (We'll be talking about the advice in my book, Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers, due out mid-December)

• Mike Schultz, Principal of the Wellesley Hill Group and Publisher of

I'll keep you posted about my audio interview. Be sure to check out Cole's blog too!

Do You Want Productivity in Your Life - Read Neen James

There's one productivity expert that I've worked with who has made a huge difference in my life and she's Neen James. Check out her blog at The bottom line is this: if you want to get more done in less time, make more money and sleep better - just give Neen a call.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Two Union City High Schools End an Era and Begin Anew - New York Times

Today I share a great New York Times Story about the end of an era and new beginnings in Union City. Winnie Hu wrote “After 88 Years of Rivalry, the Last as Us and Them.”

Be sure to check out the multi-media program too.

The folks at the Union City Board of Education including the staff within the schools are some of the most dedicated educators I've ever met. This story is a beautiful tribute. If you happen to be near Union City today, it's a must-attend event.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Your Full Time Job – Are You Happy?

Time Magazine surveyed ‘Happiness on the Job’ across America to find what professions make people the most happy.

In the spirit of the PRLawyer blog, we were curious to research the “happiness” factors of lawyers in America. It turns out that 43% of lawyers are “very happy” with their job. However, only 22.8% of legal assistants reported that they were “very happy.”

We sense a need for some internal public relations in American firms to boost morale. There is no better time than the holiday season! Need some suggestions…let us know?

To see where other professions ranked, check out the article here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Green Practices – Giving Your Firm A Competitive Edge

Environmentally friendly trends such as recycling and energy conservation should be a part of our everyday lives. So how can you and your company capitalize on this trend?

In Hamilton Nolan’s, “Green Practices Can Benefit Firms’ Bottom Line,” in the October 1st, 2007 version of PR Week, Nolan incorporates great tips on how your company can save money by being environmentally friendly. Also, adopting “green” practices can be a great way to position your company as condoning revolutionary business practices.

General suggestions for day-to-day practices include:
-become conscience about energy consumption
-use recycled materials
-use energy conserving office equipment

There are many ways other ways to get business green.
-Hire an environmentally conscience cleaning service that uses all natural, non-toxic cleaning solutions like the one we use here in Doylestown, Pa.: Harmony Clean.
-Make sure recycling containers (especially paper) are available in all offices or at least departments in your firm.
-Recycle print cartridges by using the self-mailers that are included in the packaging. (Here’s an article on how to recycle laser and ink-jet print cartridges.) You can even turn you “trash into cash” at

Taking steps to “green” your company’s practices can be as simple as turning off the lights when you exit a room or putting your computer on stand-by when not using it for more than 10 minutes. Post signs around the office to remind your staff to Be Green!

Little changes make a big difference. That concept is what potential clients are looking for – recognizing the little details that matter. In the end, wouldn’t you want your business relationship to care about the details?

If you want more information, check out the article online.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Rock the Vote : Youth Involvement in 2008 Presidential Elections

There is only a year until the voting for the next President of the United States gets underway. Campaigns such as MTV’s Choose or Lose or Rock the Vote have cultivated youth all across the America to stand up, voice their opinions, and vote!

As a recent graduate of Drexel University, I am glad to say that my alma matter supports this movement. Recently hosting the Democratic debates, the student response was overwhelming; inspiring some members of the student body to spar on “who won” the debate. Check the article out here, it’s a great read.

I also urge you to pass on a new youth campaign initiative, that will utilize blogs, podcasts and networking tools that interest America’s youth.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The PR Lawyer Blog Available Via Email

We hope you're enjoying the new look of The PR Lawyer Blog. It is our goal to provide solid information on trends and issues facing lawyers and legal communicators alike. Along with the new look comes some added features.

In the next few weeks, my book, Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers, will be available for purchase via the blog.

And for all of you who find your way here but don't have RSS feed, you can now subscribe via e-mail. Just scroll down on the right and enter your e-mail address.

If there are any other features you'd like to see added, just let us know.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Google Squares Off Against Microsoft

Google has made it quite clear over that it wants to be a prominent contender in the social networking arena. So naturally, when Facebook was taking bids for a developer, Google jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately, Facebook founders chose Microsoft for an undisclosed three year deal.

Google moved on and made an alliance with MySpace for $900 million dollars spread out for more than three years. Interestingly, Microsoft was denied the same deal from MySpace.

Google, being the social giant it is, then harnessed around a dozen additional social network partners such as LinkedIn, Friendster, and their own social networking site, Okrut, to build as big a base as possible. Google also plans to incorporate other applications like Flixster, iLike and RockYou for the music minded users.

Is this just a “I can do it better game” without having any real purpose? I don’t think so. Facebook software is notoriously known as costly and difficult to learn by developers and with Google creating a basic javascript and html code that can be used across most platforms, they offer a much needed remedy for unsatisfied developers.

TechCrunch, a leading blog on social media, “believes that the plan is likely to be a big hit with developers as well as Facebook’s rivals.” TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington states, “Developers have been complaining…Facebook-fear has clearly driven good partners to side with Google.”

I sense a schoolyard gang-up against Facebook. What do you think?

For more information, check out the article here.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

"Make My Logo Bigger" is a Born Classic

There's a great viral campaign online called Make My Logo Bigger. The video is a hoot. All marketers must check it out. It's long but it's great for a laugh!

Friday, November 02, 2007

The PR Lawyer Makeover

We are excited to debut the new look of our blog; feel free to comment!

Also, check out Gina’s cover of her new book on the right hand side titled, “Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers,” which is due out in the next couple of weeks.

Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine Blocks PR People

This past Monday, Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and author of The Long Tail, wrote, a blog entry titled, “Sorry PR people: you're blocked.

In the blog entry, Anderson has this to say:

I've had it. I get more than 300 emails a day and my problem isn't spam
(Cloudmark Desktop solves that nicely), it's PR people. Lazy flacks send press
releases to the Editor in Chief of Wired because they can't be bothered to find
out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they're
pitching. Fact: I am an actual person, not a team assigned to read press
releases and distribute them to the right editors and writers (that's

So fair warning: I only want two kinds of
email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time
to find out what I'm interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that
(I love those emails; indeed, that's why my email address is public).

Everything else gets banned on first abuse.

Anderson went on to publish a list of people and companies who had been blocked from his Outlook during the last 30 days. Just reading the comments took me 45 minutes so, as you can see, see this is a touchy subject.

Anderson posted a follow up yesterday which is well done and a good read for anyone planning to pitch media – especially Wired Magazine. One of the musings struck a personal cord with me. He says:

Amusing secondary effects include people pitching their business in the comments (which I thought was fine, btw), and even PR companies emailing the clients of people on the list and encouraging them to switch firms. "We're not on the list!" is their marketing tactic. Wow. [UPDATE: holy crap!]

I’d like to know how many of the practitioners telling their clients that they’re not on the list have never pitched a story to Wired in the first place?! I’d also like to know when Anderson is going to publish his next book on the crappy conundrums of PR practices. . .

Monday, October 29, 2007

Online Contest a Slam Dunk for Website Traffic

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) partnered with 5W Public Relations in New York to generate traffic to their newly redesigned website. The team devised a web based contest that I thought was absolutely brilliant and fun – check it out!

The web based contest, PetStyle Contest, invited animal lovers to upload their favorite picture of their pets. Piggy backing off of American Idol’s voting tactics, registered users were allowed to vote for their favorite picture. The top 10 pictures won various prizes.

This fun and innovative contest yielded great results for the SPCA:

Coverage by industry reporters on local and regional beats, publications and blogs
Viral penetration by “send a friend email option” which was utilized 9,500 times
Generated traffic – 1.5 million pageviews (doubling previous total)
Created new brand loyalty – 700 people offered to volunteer for SPCA
Active participation in event – 3,650 photos submitted and 12,500 voters

The next time you are thinking of a creative way to drive more traffic to your website and satisfy your customers – remember the SPCA’s creative efforts. It’s not only beneficial to you but also to your audience.

For more information check out

Friday, October 26, 2007

Glossary of Web 2.0 and Social Media Terms by Digital Influence Group

For those of you still trying to figure out all of the new vocabulary used to identify all of the cool tools and features of Web 2.0 and social media, there is a great glossary of terms provided by Digital Influence Group - a company started by Larry Weber. Larry is the author of "Marketing to the Social Web" which is a must read!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Keeping Up With the Blog Conversation

Here are some tools to help you keep up with the conversation on blogs. These are tools you can use now to track what’s being said about you, your industry, your company and your competitors:

Ice Rocket (
Blog digger (
Blog Hop (
Plazoo (
Feedster (
Google Alerts (

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Online Investment – Survival Guide

Take a look at tips from Julia Hood’s “Survival Online Will Require Investment in Measurement,” article published in the September 24, 2007 edition of PR Week. This article succinctly outlines how to make your business survive in the world of online media.

Some of Hood’s tips for online survival include:
  • Invest in internal measurement programs – hiring an external partner will cost you money and enable you to know your audience first hand
  • Provide a clear message – like any branded campaign, messages need to be clear to capture audiences – so invest time in what you want your audience to know
  • Track your audience – by consistently interacting and meeting the needs on your online audience, you will create loyalty among them
  • Analyze feedback – generate new business leads or potential opportunities from data collected

If you take away one concept from this article, let it be the word INVESTMENT. The more time and energy you invest into tracking, measuring and analyzing feedback, the more benefits your company will see in return.

For more information on this topic, click here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mike Rubel, Castle Maker, Dies

My husband informed me today that his distant cousin, Mike Rubel, died this week. Alison Hewitt, Staff Writer for the Whittier Daily News reported that:

“Mike Rubel, a world traveler who, along with friends and volunteers, built a river-rock and glass-bottle castle in Glendora, died this week.

Michael Clarke Rubel, 67, lived in the turreted castle made from recycled materials. (Photo Gallery: Castle Master dies) A heart attack three years ago, from which he never fully recovered, forced him to give up life at "Rubel Pharm and Castle," as it was sometimes known.”

My husband has had the opportunity to visit the Rubel Castle, known as Rubelia. It’s a must see if you’re ever in Glendora, CA.

Our condolences to Mike’s family.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Web 2.0 is the New World of Public Relations

If you haven't read the article "Web 2.0 - The New World of Public Relations," it's a must read written by yours truly, the PR Lawyer.

Some of the Web 2.0 tips detailed in the article include:
  • Registering your office address in Google Maps
  • Creating a profile for your event on MySpace or Facebook
  • Serving as a Wikipedia contributor
  • Creating and managing your own blog
  • Getting Really Simple Syndication
  • Getting LinkedIn
  • Craiging

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Here is an interesting article I found on It's a must read and I hope you all enjoy!

Who wants to be a millionaire?
October 4th, 2007

Make Mine a Million, a contest for women business owners described as a cross between “American Idol,” “The Apprentice” and “Queen for a Day,” is featured in today’s New York Times.

The article by Lisa Belkin cites these two well know statistics:
More than half of today’s startup companies are owned by women. But 43 percent of women-owned businesses have sales of $10,000 or less.

That combination led to the formation of the Make Mine a Million contest, which lets women business owners who want to take their businesses to the $1 million mark and beyond compete for help to get big, including business coaching and a line of credit from OPEN by American Express.

The goal of the contest, according to the founding nonprofit Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence is to inspire a million women entrepreneurs to reach annual revenue of $1 million by 2010.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rudy Giuliani Addresses Italian-Americans at NIAF

My cousin, Arthur Furia, who is an attorney in Miami, Florida, shared this wonderful video clip with me of Rudy Giuliani at National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Gala dinner in Washington this past Saturday night. It's a must see. Giuliani talks about his stint on Saturday Night Live (SNL). Enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fortune's 50 Most Powerful Women

When I came across “Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women of 2007” on I couldn’t help but give a shout out to these powerful and dynamic women.

Let’s draw from each others’ success and use that inspiration to reach our dreams!

I encourage you to check it out, it's truly remarkable what one person can achieve.

"PR Works According to Mark Weiner"

A recent article by Mark Weiner, Senior VP and Global Director of Research at Ketchum, titled PR outshines advertising in return on investment published in O’Dwyer’s PR Report discusses PR myths. His conclusion, as all PR professionals agree is that PR works.

According to Weiner, “Analyses such as marketing-mix and communication-optimization models, have shown in every case that PR delivers among the very best values at par with and frequently much better than advertising, price promotions, trade marketing and all the rest. When mass-marketing advertising yields roughly $1.20 on the dollar and trade marketing yields $2.00 on the dollar, PR generates on average about $6.00 on every dollar invested and as much as $45.00 on the dollar!”

It is safe to say that PR is an effective choice. PR delivers worth, engagement and integrity where others practices fail.

Weiner goes on to talk about the “PR Measurement Conundrum.” .This really is an accurate term as measuring PR success is a constant hurdle for practitioners. He mentions that in the last 20 years emerging realities have reshaped the world of public relations and that these realities are constantly challenging us. We continue to see
- transformations in the media business;
- the declining impact of traditional mass-marketing;
- changing media consumption habits;
- higher levels of access, abundance and speed of information;
- decreasing brand loyalty;
- increasing distrust of large organizations; and
- the increasing desire for greater accountability.

Weiner’s conclusion is optimistic. He suggests utilizing these challenges as opportunities which PR is uniquely qualified to overcome.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ad Age Reports Growth for Yellow Book USA

So many plaintiffs’ attorneys ask me if they should invest in Yellow Page advertising. My answer always depends on what the firm is trying to accomplish and what books are available in their market.

Ad Age recently reported on 2006 net U.S. revenue and growth for the top four Yellow Page companies. Check out the growth of Yellow Book USA. 11.1% growth in net revenue as compared to a loss for the other three. Nice work in a market where naysayers believe it’s the end of the printed directory. Just like the Internet didn’t do away with print newspapers (not yet anyway), printed directories aren’t going away any time soon.

The bottom line: Yellow Pages need to continue to diversify into the digital markets, capitalize on Web 2.0, and keep the medium affordable for advertisers.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Dan Cirucci on Life Celebrations - Philadelphia Inquirer

Daniel Cirucci contributes a brilliant commentary to The Philadelphia Inquirer titled Funerals needn't be so deathly. Dan is a PR guru, colleague and friend. He reflects on the trend toward "life celebrations." I like the idea of a life celebration personally. It makes mortality easier to digest. He says:
Death just ain't what it used to be.

So why not just forget about death altogether. Let's dwell on life and just party on - even in the presence of the corpse. Makes sense, right?

Dan - I love ya buddy! Yes, let's party on! Celebrate life!

Gmail: According to Steve Rubel

Long gone were the days of missed appointments, forgotten birthdays and no time to read the morning paper.

Steve Rubel’s blog, Micro Persuasion had crafted a unique way to utilize Gmail into your personal social networking hub.

Keep updated with your life and your friends’ lives with the ability to post to social nets, keep a “lifebase” and prioritize your everyday needs.

Check it out at Micro Persuasion.

Flat Rate vs. Billable Hours – Lawyers and Public Relations Practitioners

Sacha Pfeiffer of the Boston Globe reported in Beat the clock – that the Boston law firm of the Shepherd Law Group says no to billing by the hour, and its clients say they are pleased.

According to the article, The Shepherd Law Group has abandoned the billable hour all together. Pfeiffer reports that,

Shepherd, a five-lawyer firm that specializes in employment law, charges its
clients a flat annual fee or flat price per task. Clients can call the firm as
often as they want to discuss legal issues, although some services, such as
training and litigation, cost extra. The new approach helps clients determine
legal costs in advance and often prevents legal problems from escalating because
clients are no longer reluctant to seek advice out of fear of incurring a hefty
bill, said Jay Shepherd, the firm's founder.

The abandonment of billable hours has a small following in the U.S. with law firms and public relations agencies alike. It’s a refreshing shift but is it “the answer?”

I don’t believe the answer lies in determining “which form of billing is better” as a standard of practice – rather, “which form of billing is better in the individual situation and which will help deliver the best services to the client.” Clients do need options and as a recovering attorney, I agree with Pfeiffer that most people don’t like the billable hour but the key in that term is “most.” “Most” does not equal “all.”

I do find it both amusing and refreshing that Shepherd’s PR agent is quoted in the article since many firms are making the shift as part of their public relations and marketing strategy.

The bottom line: law firms and public relations agencies should offer options to their clients. When you entertain, it’s customary to offer coffee and tea.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Quality Not Quantity of Media Placement is Key

I am reminded that quality not quantity is what we really need in today’s media after reading an article in the New York Times written by Richard Pérez-Peña, “Why Big Newspapers Applaud Some Declines in Circulation.”

Pérez-Peña notes, “As the newspaper industry bemoans falling circulation, major papers around the country have a surprising attitude toward a lot of potential readers: Don’t bother.” He later goes on to report that this decline is due to a variety of reasons: the migration of readers to the Web, pressures from advertisers, marketing and delivery costs and the expense of finding, serving and keeping readers.”

Although in the end everyone is happy…

Advertisers are moving toward the Web as a way to reach a more narrowly targeted audience. And newspapers are content with the quality of readers that continue to read their traditional papers, ridding themselves of subscribers who cost more and generate less revenue.

Quality over quantity. In public relations, it is key to always do the research. By targeting the right beat reporter or trade publication, networking group, or client you will ultimately increase the quality of your results. It’s not how many media hits you get – it’s how many good media hits you get that reinforce your goals and objectives.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Join me in Philly at PRSA Conference Oct. 23rd

I'm going to address “The Do’s and Don’ts of Legal Communications” as detailed in mylatest book, Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers at the 2007 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) International Conference in Philadelphia on October 23, 2007. I plan to explore how PR professionals can comply with the rules of ethics as required in every state in the U.S. while effectively getting their messages across to their key publics. If you plan to be at the conference, please stop by. (

The conference will be held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown at 1201 Market Street. Public Relations professionals from around the world will gather to attend professional development workshops. The conference aims to provide various organizations with essential industry information from noted leaders within the profession.

Additional speakers include: Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes, Mia Farrow, acclaimed actress and humanitarian activist; Tim Russert, managing editor and moderator of “Meet the Press” and political activist for “NBC Nightly News” and “Today”; Donna Brazile, political commentator and chair of the Voting Rights Institute; Brian Tierney, Esq., CEO of Philadelphia Media Holdings and publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

PRSA is an organization for public relations professionals. PRSA aims to heighten standards in the public relations profession, provide opportunities through various educational programs, and provide members access to professional information at the national and local levels. For more information visit

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The New "American Idol" - Internet Style

A recent video from YouTube called “Chocolate Rain” by Tay Zonday is proof that the Internet is an impenetrable machine to be reckoned with.

A Minneapolis graduate student was able to generate 9.5 million hits and has received so much national attention that he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s “Internet Talent Search.”

One can argue the level of talent, but my point is to show the power of online resources.

You can check the video out here:

Monday, October 01, 2007

How Does Your Credit Card Rate?

I came across an article, “The Best and Worst Credit Cards” on and wanted to share this information before the Holiday Season hits us all.

Topics include consumer satisfaction, all-in-one credit cards, interest rates and timeless money rules for credit cards.

Hopefully you will think twice before swiping your credit card after reading this article!

Facebook Warned It Could Face Fraud Charge for Safety Claims - Associated Press

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — The social networking Web site Facebook has been warned that it could face a consumer fraud charge for failing to live up to claims that youngsters there are safer from sexual predators than at most sites and that it promptly responds to concerns, a spokesman for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

"We expect an immediate correction eliminating the dangers exposed by our investigation," said the spokesman, Jeffrey Lerner.

Cuomo announced last week that he had subpoenaed Facebook after he said the company did not respond to "many" complaints by investigators who were solicited for sex while posing as 12- to 14-year-olds on the site. Officials from Cuomo's office discussed the issue with Facebook by phone and fax Friday after they said Facebook took three days to answer calls and e-mails from state investigators.

An official in Cuomo's office said he and others are scheduled to meet with Facebook representatives this week and anticipate changes will follow immediately.

"We said, 'You have got to make accurate representations on your Web site," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because court filings haven't yet been made. "What we told them is, 'Correct the language describing the site and stop marketing yourself as this pristine Web site ... parents have a misimpression. You can't mislead people."

Lerner said Facebook's contention of being safer than most sites was accurate when it started out as a closed site 3 1/2 years ago. But it's now much larger, and the safeguards and apparently the response times for complaints aren't what they once were, he said.

There was no immediate response to e-mail and phone messages left for a Facebook representative. But a statement issued a week ago stated the company was concerned about Cuomo's claim that sexual predators could use the site to meet with children.

"We strive to uphold our high standards for privacy on Facebook and are constantly working on processes and technologies that will further improve safety and user control on the site," Fcebook spokeswoman Brandee Barker said in the statement.

Lerner said Facebook has continued to promise to cooperate.

Staying on Top of Your Game: WSJ, Drudge Report,

There is so much information out there that we’re constantly on overload. I tell all my clients to stay on top of the news and the reporters that cover their topic. Get a news aggregator and pull the RSS feed from your favorite blogs, and so on. Here are three more great places to start your morning: The Wall Street Journal’s The Morning Brief by Joseph Schuman which you can subscribe to online by going to “My Online Journal,” and of course The Drudge Report, known as one of the leading places for breaking news.

There’s a great piece today by Tony Mauro on titled, Supreme Court Heads into New Term. Among the issues to watch this year is that of Internet Free Speech.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I was reading the August 27th, 2007 edition of PR Week and came across an article by Randi Schmelzer that could not be anymore relevant to the public relations profession and to professionals everywhere, “The most vital reputation to manage is your own.”

The article outlines three main points which are relevant to firms everywhere:
· Reputation management is vital to long term success
· Representing controversial issues or people can have lasting negative effects on a firms reputation
· Keeping relationships intact is often more important than accepting lucrative contracts

Head the warning signs and stick to who you want to be, who you are and how you want others to perceive you.

My parents always say, “You are who you keep around you”.

William Tell Overture for Moms

So if anyone ever asks what a mother's day is like, please watch this video! It's a classic.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Law Firms Get Video Online With Yellow Page Ads

Dionne Searcey of The Wall Street Journal reported in her article Bulky Yellow Phone Books Turn the Page to Online Video that yellow page companies across the country are offering video advertisement as editions to Web listings.

My colleague, Kevin O’Keefe, commented that he believes this is a “gimmick meant to serve outmoded yellow pages business models” and that yellow page sales reps “don’t give a darn” how their customers’ ads look.

I disagree.

Studies indicate that consumers still turn to yellow pages ads first for their local buying needs.

My husband was a sales rep with Yellow Book USA and although he’s since moved into a management role, I’ve witnessed the depth and breadth of his commitment along with that of the countless other sales reps I’ve worked with and become acquainted with over the years. It’s their job to care – if an ad doesn’t produce a solid ROI and the advertiser cancels, it’s money out of their pockets.

According to eMarketer, August 2007, “Video's high engagement factor combined with the Internet's tracking and targeting capabilities, potentially offers (advertisers) a highly accountable method to sway the hearts and minds of their target audience.”

I love the idea of Plaintiffs’ firms adding video ads to their yellow page listings online. For firms that already produce commercials, this is a no-brainer. The cost of the Internet ad is going to be exponentially less than reaching their target audiences on television.

I’m not crazy about the idea of having any ads produced by directory-owned production. It’s not that the sales reps or their production assistants “don’t care.” Rather, I believe law firms would be better served by spending the money it takes to produce top-notch branded video ads that fit within their brand strategy, are targeted to the most important audiences, set them apart from their competition, and comply with the rules of ethics that are mandatory for all law firms in the U.S.

Bottom line: these ads are valuable tools to increase a firms business if done right.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Using Editorial Guidelines When Submitting Articles for Publication

A great way to get ink is to submit article for publication to industry trade magazines, e-zines and other sources of information. It’s important however to research and stick to the editorial guidelines. Some of the common matters addressed by editorial guidelines include:
  • Length of article: The minimum and maximum word count. An optimum number of words per article might also be listed.
  • Editorial calendars which include topics, themes, article types and required submission dates broken down by publication date
  • Preferred format of articles for submission
  • Topics accepted by the publication
  • Copyright rules
  • Use of illustrations and photographs
  • Editorial style such as compliance with the Associated Press Stylebook for abbreviations, capitalization, grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • Inclusion of an authors’ biography and headshot
  • Compensation
  • Query and submission requirements

It is important to comply with the editorial guidelines of your target publication in order to maximize your chances of publication. And if you’re not sure about something, contact the editor and ask. It’s a great way to open the door to conversation and to offer yourself as available for commentary on similar issues while getting the editorial information you need to submit your article. You should also remember not to boast or overtly promote your firm or your services. Such behavior is extremely frowned upon.

How To Be Productive

I have quickly realized that the angst of forging a balancing act between work and personal life is not just something I share with my fellow newbies to the workforce; instead it is bond that binds all ages of women and men in the workforce.

My boss encouraged me to read a book called, “Secrets of Super-Productivity: How to Achieve Amazing Things in Your Work Life,” by Neen James. The book is truly a breath of fresh air.

I encourage anyone, of all ages and genders, to pick up this uplifting and informative book that will give you valuable insight into managing yourself, work, career and position.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Honey, We're Ahead of the Curve

Yesterday, my husband sent me a link to a article by Kate Lorenz, Editor, titled "Working dads want more family time." If I didn't already know that my husband, Scott, is the ultimate family guy, I'd think he was try to tell me something. The article highlights three key findings:
  • 37 percent of working dads would quit if spouse could support the family
  • Another 38 percent say they would take a pay cut to spend more time with kids
  • 36 percent say their job does not offer flexible arrangements like telecommuting

This data is so refreshing. In a country where we promote gender equality and the majority of two-parent homes have two working parents, it's encouraging to know that more than one-third of the dads surveyed prioritize home above work. What I've learned from my husband is that such sacrifice certainly comes with a price but the value of family time cannot ever be measured.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Let us not forget . . . .

We remember . . . all those who lost their lives and loved ones in the attack of September 11, 2007 and especially Noell Maertz and his family . . . . and the soldiers who have lost their lives fighting this war on terrorism.
God bless you today and always.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mobile Monday Comes to Philly

I received an email today from my brother-in-law, Brad Blumberg, who owns and operates He said that they're starting a Mobile Monday in the Philly region.
It’s a global grass roots organization for people involved with mobile technologies. He blogged why he thinks we need one in Philly at You can read about the organization, which started in Helsinki, in the “About” section of the site. Their inaugural event is Monday, September 24 at the Union League in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Women Inspired Social Media Site

Here is an interesting social media/networking sight I found while researching blog topics.

The name of the site is Sk*rt. It is a social media ranking platform, geared towards women, that enables you to find cool things, smart scoops, clever ideas, excellent products and exceptional information.

The content of the site's information range from Arts & Entertainment, World News & Business, Family & Parenting to Internet & Technology.

For more information check out the Sk*rt website at or search the FAQ's about Sk*rt at

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Can “Friends” Catapult Next Presidential Election?

I am a huge advocate for social media and the potential impact it can have on everyday matters, but is it powerful enough to sway the votes of thousands of Young Americans?

It seems that music mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs thought so in 2004 when he created the “Vote Now or Die” campaign that encouraged young Americans ages 18-24 to vote.

P. Diddy’s campaign was smeared over all social outlets and encouraged people to don t-shirts with the catchy slogan. This message was not to be ignored. Roughly 3 million more young Americans voted in that 2004 election than 2000; was that just coincidence?

I do not believe so. I remember--I was a sophomore in college and fellow undergrads were donning the “Vote or Die” t-shirt. It was all over campus, the news, magazines, you name it.

When I came across a recent article, “Friends” in high places” on, by Andy Sullivan, I thought to myself that social media has yet again sparked another revolutionary campaign among young Americans; vote, be heard, and have fun doing it.

Young Americans spend countless hours a day on social media outlets like Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster. Presidential hopefuls, such as Illinois Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama and Democrat Hillary Clinton jumped on the social media bandwagon to obtain “friends” that will support their cause and push them into victory. So far, they have been successful.

Barack Obama totaled 299,000 friends between MySpace and Facebook while Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, only has 169,000 friends. Obama even has his on social networking sight, in hopes of converting “friends” into volunteers and eventual votes. On the other hand, Former Republican NY mayor, Rudy Guiliani seems to be way behind the times, only boasting a mere 7,400 friends.

I am hoping that the increase in young voters was not a fluke and that Presidential campaigns are successful in turning “friends” into voters. What do you think?

If you bill it . . .

I’ve heard it said that “if you build it, they will come.” In this case, I think they meant, “If you bill it, they will come.” But the question is will they pay? I read Nathan Koppel’s Wall Street Journal article, Lawyers Gear Up Grand New Fees, in which Koppel details the new $1,000 per hour fees being charged by some large law firm litigators. I highly encourage all attorneys and legal marketers to read the article. My favorite analogies to high billing rates of attorneys are to that of the medical practitioner who saves lives and doesn’t make $1,000 per hour and to the baseball pro who makes $15,000 per hour. It’s the strange world of Mr. Mum. They say perception is nine-tenths of the truth, so if payers perceive such services to have a $1,000 per hour value, then they’re truth is that the attorney is worth just that. Let’s hope the counselors billing these rates will hit more home runs than Barry Bonds.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Consumer Technology: Office Winner or Woe?

Consumer technologies vamp up the daily lives of many people; from blackberries to iPhones, AOL Instant Messenger to Google chat. These products and applications provide a twist: an expeditious and more productive approach to modern communications.

Certain questions arise in my head: does the self-empowerment that these consumer products give to the average person create a longing to have those same amenities in the workplace and does this longing of technological tools make it acceptable to bring into the workplace?

Josh Holbrook, the author of a new study conducted by the research firm the Yankee Group, tells the Wall Street Journal that, “86% of corporate employees say that they use at least one consumer-oriented tech tool that isn’t supported by the IT department,” even when the, “IT groups at many companies try their hardest to keep these tools out of the office.”

Why are employees giving an unspoken voice to consumer tech products in the workplace? Holbrook believes that consumers are much more innovative than the business world and quite frankly, I agree. According to Holbrook’s study, so do more than half of the participants, stating that, “that they would be more productive at work if they had access to all the technology that they could use at home.”

Playing devil’s advocate now, I understand that the need for security is at an all time high in the 21st century. I applaud valiant efforts by businesses to protect their workers and believe policies and procedures should be upheld.

At the end of the day it is important for both sides to understand one major thing; to need to create and establish a win-win environment- where corporations maintain productivity and employees have access to their personal gadgets. With some creative and knowledgeable heads put together, I am sure a compromise on both ends can lead toward a more productive, efficient, and profitable end.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Saying Thank You

There are so many ways to say thank you. It is personal relations, not public relations. And today, we all seem to be so busy, that we forget how easy it is to give thanks.

This weekend, I spent time with a friend from my childhood who was preparing to compete in the SheRox Triathlon in Philadelphia. She is from out of state so we spent the night in my hometown, Philly. Her thoughtfulness is what I want to share: She gave me a wrapped gift and asked me not to open it until I was home. It is a book edited by Marlo Thomas titled, The Right Words at the Right Time, Vol. 2: Your Turn! And in the book was a thank you card placed in a chapter about friendship. This is something I will forever cherish. I started reading the book last night and it reminds me of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It’s excellent. As I was reading, I learned that all royalties go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which was founded by Marlo Thomas’ father. Yet another added bonus to this lovely thank you . . . .

It really is the small things in life that are important. Hand write a thank you card after someone gives of their time. Send something meaningful that shows them you care, and remember it is appropriate to say thank you even when you are thanking someone for a thank you gift.

So in the spirit of thank yous, thank you for reading ThePRLawyer blog.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On a personal note

Today was a big day for me. And yet, everything from my commute to work to my day’s assignments was perfectly ordinary. I glanced down at my watch at around 9:30 AM and couldn’t fight the grin that came across my face. At the start of the day’s daily stock trade, two hours away, my Dad was ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

Ever since I was little, it has always been he who was proud of me, but a few years wiser, I can now really appreciate his professional success and the happiness and fulfillment it undoubtedly gives him. To see him ring the bell to start the day’s trading, with an ear to ear grin, wearing an orange tie because, according to him, “orange is the coolest color,” was akin to the day I showed him my college acceptance letter. The pride I saw in his eyes that day was mirrored in my eyes today.

Though I may never ring the bell on the NYSE (just ask my college accounting professor), I know that he and I have reached a point where we can celebrate each other’s successes not just as father and daughter, but as I get older, also as friends.

Do you Twitter?

Twitter appears to be an excellent social media tool for public relations. The idea is simple, based on one question we ask our friends all the time “What are you doing?”

Friends and strangers alike are responding to that question on Twitter either posting on the Website or via SMS (text message). Members can invite friends to join and Twitter privately with them, or they can Twitter with the masses, posting their response to every Twitter member. The site has even launched a Facebook application so Facebook users can add it to their Facebook page.

At first I thought the idea was silly, but after reading Cohn and Wolfe’s Boomerang Blog on Twitter, it seems Twitter has the potential to generate PR for businesses.

If you’re a blogger, you might Twitter- “I just posted a blog on x, y and z, check it out!” (using 140 words or less). Or if your company is launching a PR campaign you might provide a sentence pitch or link to the website.

It’s worth checking out, for no other reason than to see what people are talking about-from the outrageous to the mundane, there’s a million and one ways to answer the question, “What are you doing?” As for me, I’m finishing up this blog and grabbing another cup of coffee!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Content Leaks on the World Wide Web

Ben Worthen of the Wall Street Journal’s Business Technology Blog wrote an interesting blog on Tuesday about content leaks on the World Wide Web. I almost didn’t read the blog, in fact, I almost averted my eyes and jumped up from my desk because of its title- Data Breach of the Day: Harry Potter Leaked on the Internet?

Though my friends and I will be at the beach this weekend, we have already planned ways to get our hands on a copy of the final book in the Harry Potter series we’ve grown up with. This is more than just beach reading for many fellow readers regardless of age and the limitations of a college budget. So imagine my concern when I thought the Wall Street Journal, a long-trusted, esteemed news source in my house implied a leak!

Don’t worry- the plot twists and surprises of the final Harry Potter book weren’t leaked on the WSJ’s blog, though they may be elsewhere on the Web. Instead, the blog discussed content leaks as they relate to business-using the Harry Potter series as a current example. Companies spend a great deal of time and effort ensuring that their clients won’t leak files. But the files aren’t always the issue.

According the blog, Harry Potter’s publisher spent millions making sure no one could get their hands on a copy of the book prior to the release, but Worthen touched on a more important issue- a content leak. He suggested that most could care less about having the book; they want what’s inside, showing that in this day and age, content leaks are more of a risk for companies.

Though many companies have put in place procedures to prevent employees from copying files, what matters is the information in the files. Intellectual property theft is a big concern for businesses with all of the emerging technologies out there, and companies should focus their efforts on protecting their property through the prevention of content leaks above all else. In my opinion, engage a good law firm and plan for the crisis… Then hope it never happens.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Newspaper Ad Sales Continue Decline

Newspaper Ad Sales Continue Decline

According to Emily Steel of the Wall Street Journal,

“Last fall, newspaper executives and analysts were caught by surprise by the severity of a slump that took hold last summer. Since the beginning of this year, the rate of decline in advertising revenue has accelerated. Total print and online ad revenue was down 4.8% to $10.6 billion in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to the Newspaper Association of America, compared with its full-year decline in 2006 of 0.3%.”

. . .

“Gannett, which publishes 85 daily newspapers, including USA Today, said its newspaper ad revenue dropped 6.8% in May. Ad revenue at New York Times Co.'s News Media unit -- which includes advertising generated at its media properties, but not -- dropped 9.9% in May. At McClatchy, which publishes 31 dailies, ad revenue in May dropped 11.5% to $153 million. Ad spending at The Wall Street Journal was down 3.4% in May."

Steel focuses on the stock tailspin that the decline has caused in the newspaper industry, leading to restructuring and consolidations. The decline in ads sales also affects the public relations industry and in particular, our clients. Fewer ads mean less printed pages which equates to fewer and fewer editorial opportunities. I believe this is a big reason for the public relations industry’s push to harness the opportunities afforded by the Internet, especially social media. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out over the next decade or so as the Baby Booming print readers make way for Gen X and Gen Y, both of which are migrating more and more to digital media for their news delivery.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Where were you when the lights went out in New York City?

“Where were you when the lights went out in New York City?” These are the lyrics to a song made popular by Philly’s own, The Trammps, back in 1977.The song “"The Night the Lights Went Out" likely makes no sense to most Gen-Y’ers today. And yet, my poor husband and kids have heard me tell the story many times as we’ve driven through the Lincoln Tunnel – 30 years ago today.

I was reminded this morning when reading the New York Times that on July 13, 1977, a 25-hour blackout hit the New York City area after lightning struck upstate power lines. I remember it like it was yesterday. . . my mother’s worry while the lights disappeared in the tunnel. . . my father’s protective nature and determination to “get us out of this mess.” And then pulling into “The City” to find that the only lights were those of the cars trying to maneuver amidst the chaos.

We slept in our Chrysler Cordoba that night which was parked just outside Central Park. I remember looters banging on the car windows, a lot of noise and mayhem. My father promised to keep us safe and kept telling me to go to sleep, that he wouldn’t let anything happen to us. He was right.

So today, I reread the New York Times article: Power Failure Blacks Out New York; Thousands Trapped In The Subways; Looters And Vandals Hit Some Areas. What memories it brings back. And just think, who would have thought back in 1977 that we’d be able to re-read the headlines 30 years later without entering a hot and dusty attic or accessing the library’s microfiche?

Tell me, where were you when the lights went out?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Can you be sued for opinions in your blog?

In this week's Business Insurance magazine, Judy Greenwald writes that a New York blogger ruling from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may have a wider impact. She says a federal appellate court's dismissal of a defamation lawsuit brought by Brooklyn moving company Best Van Lines Inc. against Iowa blogger Tim Walker "will have influence outside New York State."

On June 26th, the court reaffirmed other courts' rulings that the Iowa blogger who "runs a nonprofit Web site that provides information and opinions on household movers" is not liable for what the plaintiff claims to be "defamatory statements" under the state's long-arm statute. Walker published two blog entries stating that according to court documents, the moving company was "performing household moves without legal authorization and without the required insurance."

Greenwald quotes Mass.-based attorney, Robert J. Ambrogi as saying, "I think this is going to be one of those seminal cases that becomes kind of a turning point in defining the law on this issue."

Beth Bar of The New York Law Journal spells out the facts of the decision very well.

It appears that our freedom of Internet speech - even if "defamatory" - is still protected. So, blog on my friends, but remember if you publish it online and someone doesn't like what you have to say, there is always the chance for a lawsuit no matter what sayeth the courts.

Monday, July 09, 2007

ALM Sold to Incisive Media

It was announced last week that Incisive Media, a London-based publishing company recently paid $630 million for American Law Media, the parent company of several U.S. law publications including, IP Law & Business, the Minority Law Journal, the Legal Times, the National Law Journal, the New York Law Journal, Texas Lawyer, and Philadelphia’s own, Legal Intelligencer.

The multi-million dollar deal is set for the end of the third quarter and will keep ALM’s management in place while doubling the size of Incisive, a quickly growing, global publishing company with publications in Hong Kong, New York and London.

What does this mean for ALM publications’ readership?

It’s hard to say what this really means for legal publications in the U.S.A. It’s one of those “only time will tell” situations. Just like the Philadelphia Inquirer’s purchase by Brian Tierney last year, this is another “wait and see” game.

The goal of the merger is of course to grow Incisive, but also to bring legal publications to Europe and Asia. However, Incisive Media CEO Tim Weller and ALM CEO William Pollack say the merger will not affect the integrity of the legal publications ALM currently offers. The idea of the merger is to expand business for both companies according to Weller and Pollack, not to alter the content and spirit of the publications.

To paraphrase Alison Frankel of American Lawyer Media, U.S. readers shouldn’t see a change in any of ALM’s 30 national and regional publications.

In Europe though, Parisians could soon be reading a new Légal Journal, Romans, a new giornale legale, and Berliners, a new zugelassene Zeitung, modeled after any of ALM’S U.S. publications.

It’ll be interesting to see how plays out in all of this too. Keep your eyes and ears open for more change.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Can We Do It? Yes We Can.

In a recent marketing survey in PR Week, I came across an interesting quote. Clark Caywood, professor of integrated marketing communications at Northwestern University, said he’s skeptical as to whether the PR industry can capitalize on the new media that has emerged in the last few years.

Caywood doesn’t believe that the “PR industry will be able to demonstrate some form of thought leadership on blogs, how to measure blogs, or even the integration of video and blogs,” according to the PR Week article.

“To a lot of my friends in PR, [new media] is like another press release vehicle, and that’s not what it’s all about,” said Caywood.

Respectfully, I disagree. Just because new media may not make for an easy ROI formula, does not mean that we underestimate its value or mistake it for another vehicle for distributing press releases.

To the contrary, Furia Rubel and many of our colleagues encourage clients to blog, not just when they have press release-worthy news to report, but when they come across an article and want to comment or share important and relevant information with their target audiences. We also encourage new clients to embrace Myspace, Facebook, YouTube and other social media opportunities when it makes sense to reach their target audiences. Certainly a press release wouldn’t jive with any of those forums.

Perhaps the industry can take this skepticism as a call to arms and rise to the challenge of utilizing new media.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Your PR Firm and Marketers Shouldn't Blog for You

I just read an excellent blog post by Kevin O'Keefe of LexBlog. Kevin says, and I agree, that "Blogs are not meant to be published by a PR agency or law firm communication folks. By their very nature, blogs are written by the lawyers participating in an online conversation on their niche area of expertise." He's right.

Interestingly enough, Kevin quotes Steve Rubel, (no relation to me as far as I know - but for we share the same last name and love of public relations) as saying:

Communities like Facebook, the blogosphere and digg are becoming even more
influential than certain traditional media outlets. Their relevance to PR pros
is rising and the industry is responding by wisely trying to beef up its new
media acumen.

Unfortunately, the biz is not evolving quickly enough. Many in PR seem to be treating Web 2.0 as simply an extension of the traditional media - another venue for buzz. They are pumping thousands of email pitches into the community every day.

.....Journalists are accustomed to the PR mating dance. They know that as soon as they get a desk, a phone and an email address they're going to get bombed with inquires from PR pros. Some of these will be helpful, others won't be. Journalists know that PR inbound is an occupational hazard that comes with the territory.

Online social networks and communities are completely different. Bloggers, social networkers, diggers, social bookmakers and Wikipedians don't want to be pitched. They're collaborating on these sites for a reason - to share, be entertained, to become informed, to connect, etc. They place value on people who contribute regularly and selflessly.

Kevin goes on to say:

Unfortunately, most PR agencies and communications professionals working with
law firms do not understand PR by participation. Worse yet are the agencies that
belittle blogs and social media when law firms bring them up.

Although this is true, I have found it just as daunting and common to counsel law firms regarding their need to reach their target audiences via strategic and well planned social media programs only to be told, "all we need is a brochure. . . . "

The time has come for communicators and lawyers alike to embrace social media, to learn how to use it strategically, and not to throw caution to the wind when it comes to communicating within the bounds of legal ethics.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What's Your Number One Song?

Okay, so for a fun bit of trivia, do you know what song was number one on the day you were born.? I didn't until my friend Suzanne sent me this link:

If you're going to be hosting an anniversary event, this is a great site to look to for theme ideas tied to the number one song on the day you incorporated . . .

Food for thought.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Blogging is so 15 Minutes Ago

Just when you finally got the hang of blogging via your computer, a new trend has hit the blogging scene.

According to PR News, the new trend is “Cell blogging,” from your mobile phone or Blackberry device. Apparently, in the instantaneous age in which we live, waiting until you can get back to your PC is the equivalent of blogging next week.

Until LG finds a way to attach a full-sized keyboard to my cell phone, I don’t think I’ll be trying it any time soon, but maybe this new trend will save time for the more cell phone savvy while tailoring to the short, concise postings that readers want.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The New Facebook Means New PR

In early May, Facebook , a social utility site designed originally as an online community for college students, opened its doors to everyone. As someone who joined the Facebook bandwagon in the days before users could even post photo albums, I was surprised. I think the New York Times article ‘omg my mom joined Facebook!!’ best sums up most college students’ feelings.

But now, Facebook is becoming much more than a social network of college students, and if creator Mark Zuckerberg has his way, it will replace the fragmented social networks of yesterday, when online users had to visit different sites for shopping, online dating and blogging. He predicts that Facebook will provide it all.

The new Facebook has partnered with big-leaguers like Microsoft and the Washington Post to launch a host of applications that users can download and install on their page, to share political leanings, movie reviews, music preferences, etc.

But what does this mean from a PR standpoint?

“Facebook is now offering the opportunity for any company, Internet service, or software maker to build services for its members,” according to senior editor David Kirkpatrick of Fortune magazine. With 24 million current members, and 150,000 news members joining every day, Facebook is quickly becoming a vast market for advertisers and PR campaigns. Microsoft and Victoria Secret frequently advertise on the site and presidential hopefuls and non-profits like the ONE Campaign have recently hopped on board.

As a college student, I have mixed feelings about all the changes Facebook has made, but after my first month at Furia Rubel, I see Zuckerberg’s social utility site as fertile ground for launching new forms of PR targeted at Generation X and Y.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

MAC or PC?

I don't have a definitive answer as to which is better; MAC or PC. I use a PC because, well, just because. The fact is, this video caught my husband's attention and he forwarded it to me because "MAC" is my cousin Peter Furia who never ceases to amaze us with his talents. Just listen to the lyrics - they're fantastic! Peter MAC, you rock!!

Tradmarked Words in Your Copy

Last week our proofreader at work corrected the use of the word "Xerox" in a contract. She reminded us that the word is "photocopy." It's amazing how many trademarked words have found their way into our everyday language. Common examples include Band-aid, FedEx, Kleenex, Lycra, Legos, and many others. If you would like more information on this subject, we suggest the International Trademark Association's (INTA) Trademark Checklist.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Blogging for Lawyers

Law firms, when appropriate, should be incorporating social media in their public relations campaigns. Blogging is a great way for an attorney to establish him/herself as an authority in their practice area. It’s also a great way to have a social discourse with members of the media and other publics who have an interest in that area.

Blogs are an underused vehicle in the legal marketing and public relations arena – however, I suspect they are going to multiply in leaps and bounds. So, if you haven’t considered blogging just yet, start reading all about it. One of the leading resources is Kevin O’Keefe. You can read all about attorney blogs at

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Daily Blog Tips Blog is a Must Read

While researching the best way to launch a blog for a client, I came across the blog "Daily Blog Tips" which is absolutely fantastic. The blog is fascinating and a must read for anyone who is an amateur (such as me) or up-and-coming blogger.

It's tough trying to keep up with the peregrine falcons when you feel like a terapin. Alas, I remember the days without email, cell phones, VCRs, Tivo, PDAs and even iPods. . . . .

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

We Hit The Five Year Mark!

Five years ago on June 12, 2002, I filed the Furia Rubel incorporation papers as my special 33rd birthday gift to me! What started out solo has evolved into my very own certified women-owned agency with a solid niche in legal communications and divisions serving the non-profit, healthcare, and professional service industries. Since then, I've presented PR educational programs in several states and have taught continuing legal education programs for hundreds of attorneys on the East Coast. Yes, I am certainly tooting my own horn.

When I started Furia Rubel, I believed I could provide efficient and effective strategic public relations solutions to clients and still have a balanced family life. I was right. According to client feedback (I always ask for feedback), corporate growth (or as my accountant would put it, the financials) and the time I get to spend having dinner and playing outside with Scott and the kids, I have definitely reached my personal goal.

I absolutely love what I do. I work with an extremely talented and dedicated pool of women who care about our clients, care about the community, and care about our company. I’m personally indebted to each and every one of my teammates, my husband, parents and clients because without them, we wouldn’t be celebrating a fifth anniversary in business. That said, if it wasn't for my mother who takes care of the kids after school and helps me put dinner on the table, I'd have just a few more grey hairs. . . . and believe me, there are already enough!

I really have to say that starting my own public relations agency was the best business decision I have ever made. The second best decision I made was to only partner with clients who value our services and understand that public relations is an investment not an expense.

My motto and one that everyone on our team must embrace is, “To think about failure is to invite failure and to think about success is to experience it.” Funny thing though, today I attended a Women's Business Forum meeting and when I answered a friend's question, "how's business?," I responded, "Great - I'm just hoping we land the three accounts in our pipeline this month." She then told me not to "hope" but to "believe" - and referred to the book, "The Secret." I guess it's time for me to read it and believe!

I look forward to ringing in our silver anniversary in twenty years but for now, savor the fifth anniversary symbol of wood which signifies strength and solidified relationships.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us to beat the five-year odds!