THE BIG PITCH: Is PR doing enough to aid the recovery of New YorkCity and Washington, DC?

STEVE CARR - SVP and managing director, CKPR



Like all of America, the PR profession has responded magnificently in

the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Local leadership in New York and

Washington seem to be soliciting and receiving solid, professional PR

counsel, and acting upon it. Right now, the biggest contribution we can

make is to perform as good corporate citizens, supporting the country

and the economy. PR people are donating services, websites, and office

space to individuals and companies affected by the tragedy. Travel and

tourism experts are balancing security concerns with promotional

efforts, and New York has a special challenge to maintain its global

financial leadership. Philosophically, few other professions are as

qualified as PR to assist in the effort to recover and unite. I think

we're up to the job.



ALISA FEINSTEIN - Director, Burson-Marsteller



In our current economic situation, effective communications is a

necessity.



Businesses need to realize that not only has there been an outpouring of

goodwill, but they need to know exactly what help is available. The

challenge on the government side is packaging programs in a coherent

manner and expediting the funding process. The challenge on the business

side is informing displaced employees of opportunities and setting up a

communications structure which not only allows for information to flow,

but is persuasive enough to yield participation. This type of

participation allows businesses to get up and running, and lets people

get back to work - both of which contribute to the bottom line and allow

for lost revenue to be recovered more quickly. Burson-Marsteller is

working with Emergency Employment Clearinghouse, a not-for-profit

operation staffed by the Consortium for Worker Education.



The goal of the Clearinghouse is to get the word out to businesses and

displaced employees that opportunities abound. Burson also has created a

website - www.rebuildingnyc.com - which serves as portal for our clients

to all key websites, both employment and assistance-related, and

provides information relating to how businesses can help other

businesses.



MICHAEL PAUL - President, MGP & Associates PR



Not only have PR firms responded admirably since the tragedy, we are one

of the reasons the economy hasn't hit rock bottom. For example, MGP &

Associates PR has developed new strategic programs for most of our

clients in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in NYC and DC. The

September 11 tragedy made us rethink most of our strategies. For some it

slowed sales and results. For many, the crisis became a chance to help

others and increase sales. We are developing new ways of reaching key

reporters, educating them and meeting face-to-face. We are spending more

time strategizing with clients, counseling them emotionally as well.

They're like family. We spend a lot of time with them. They have let us

into their lives. They turn to us to discuss tough decisions. Many other

firms are coming through for clients similarly. Our industry can be

proud of our continued commitment to help the US economy. However, we

still have much work to do.



JEFFREY BIERIG - Media relations manager, Chicago Tribune, Co-president,

Publicity Club of Chicago



At the Publicity Club of Chicago, our members are working with their

clients to promote charitable giving to help New York and Washington

recover from the terrorist attacks. At the Chicago Tribune, for example,

we're involved in a national Tribune Company fundraising effort to aid

victims.



That effort, including matching funds from the Tribune McCormick

Foundation, has raised more than $15 million thus far. In

addition, a late September Sunday edition of the Tribune included an

American Flag decal suitable for display in a home, car or business

window. In this way, the paper, in addition to providing coverage of

events, shows empathy to the needs of its readers and the people of the

Chicago area who support our government's efforts to fight terrorism. On

an ongoing basis, PR practitioners around the country should be

cognizant of the changing landscape. They need to provide their clients

with counsel that recognizes the changed focus of media attention, as

well as how they can support victims of the terrorist attacks and the

country as it pursues its goals of dealing with terrorism here and

abroad.



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