HMA Public Relations, recognized regionally as a leader in public relations and marketing communications, is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Wilkinson has joined the agency as an account coordinator.  Her primary responsibilities include assisting with the development and implementation of media relations programs for the agency’s diverse client base and providing support to HMA’s account teams.

Prior to her appointment, Beth served as an intern for us.  While working on her undergraduate degree, she was a member of the Pubic Relations Student Society of America.

Beth received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication and her minor in Spanish from Arizona State University magna cum laude in 2008, also graduating from the school’s Barrett Honors College.

A San Diego native, she now resides in Tempe.


“How Cuil Are You?”

July 28, 2008

A start-up led by former star Google engineers unveiled a new Web search service called Cuil Inc (pronounced “cool”) this weekend.

The new “cooler” David has stepped into the circle of death to face-off against the giant “Googliath.” And, there are few key differences that make battling the giant a little easier:

The company claims the new search engine can index, faster and more cheaply, a far larger portion of the Web than Google.

  • Its service goes beyond prevailing search techniques that focus on Web links and audience traffic patterns and instead analyzes the context of each page and the concepts behind each user search request.
  • Cuil clusters the results of each Web search performed on the service into groups of related Web pages. It sorts these by categories and offers various organizing features to help identify topics and allow the user to quickly refine searches.
  • Because the service focuses on the content of the pages rather than click history, the company has no need to store users’ personal information or their search histories.

Danny Sullivan, a Web search analyst and editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, said Cuil can try to exploit complaints consumers may have with Google — namely, that it tries to do too much, that its results favor already popular sites, and that it leans heavily on certain authoritative sites such as Wikipedia.

What does this mean for the future of web optimization? Will the increasingly popular strategy take a back seat to this seemingly more organic and informative approach to searching the internet?

Earlier this week, a huge physical fight broke out between members of the Los Angeles Sparks and the Detroit Shock after what seemed like an innocent collision between two players.

Since it was founded 12 years ago, the WNBA has fought (no pun intended) to gain respect from basketball fans – men and women alike.  I’ve experienced this firsthand: I wrote my honors thesis on the Suns and the Mercury and every time I mentioned the female team people grunted and usually said something like, “Why?”  It echoed sentiments that I’d heard from (mostly male) sports fanatics many times before.

Proponents of the WNBA – men and women alike – like the women’s games more than NBA games because they tend to play fundamental basketball.  That is, they have to hit their shots because they can’t rely on the dunk.  Sounds good to me.

In any event, the fight got me thinking: what kind of publicity will this fight bring to the league?  Will they gain respect because they’re “like one of the guys” or more flak for “trying to be like one of the guys”?  Or, in this case, is any publicity good publicity? 

Comment below.

Many public relations practitioners, myself included, subscribe to various leads generation services that allow journalists from across the globe to send out queries on stories they are working on. Every now and then – okay a lot – I come across queries that pretty much kill that whole idea of “fair and balanced” reporting I learned back at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

For example, this week a reporter posted the following query, pretty much indicating that she was going one way in her story, no matter how the majority would respond to the topic:

I’m looking for a woman exec to specifically say it’s OK for the boss to dress sexy at the holiday party — and to drink and have fun. Any others need not respond, as I don’t need the other side of the story.”

Obviously, this is for a feature piece and so I take it with a grain of salt. But still, soliciting one specific kind of source that will say exactly what the journalists wants to write the story he/she wants, isn’t exactly ethical.

Thoughts?  Comment below.

Zonie’d Out

July 22, 2008

Where do the Pacific Ocean, an assortment of Arizona State University paraphernalia, Arizona Diamondbacks gear, Arizona Cardinals colors and University of Arizona garb all converge?

San Diego in the summer, of course.

Ahh.  I’m a fully-immersed Zonie, enjoying the not-so-hot days and cool nights in Southern California.

It’s a great place to visit, but there’s no place like home.

She told me so…

July 22, 2008

Sometimes there is nothing like saying “I told you so!” 

Unfortunately, in this case, it is Abbie that gets to say it to me. For about a year, Abbie has been talking about the state of the newspaper industry and predicted that papers would soon become promotional vehicles of sorts for their own websites.

For example, the newspaper would tease and give partial information about a breaking or feature story and then direct readers to check out the full (and constantly updated) story online.

Well, check out the Sports section – oh, I mean “Sports 3.0” – of the USA Today.

I will say it again.

 Abbie – you were right.

From today until 11 a.m. on July 28, our client, Phoenix Public Transit, is launching a contest to find out Valley residents favorite places in Downtown Phoenix. The contest is being held to celebrate the upcoming July 28 launch of its new DASH routes and the bold, newly painted DASH buses.

Folks can check out illustrations of the new bus paint schemes, obtain new route brochures and cast their votes for Downtown Phoenix hot spots at the courtyard kiosk at Central Station on Central and Van Buren 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Contest prizes include gift certificates to several Downtown Phoenix restaurants, tickets to the AMC Arizona Center movie theatre and tickets to upcoming events at Dodge Theatre, which include Lyle Lovett and Ringo Starr in concert, respectively.

A public celebration will begin at 11:30 a.m. on July 28, with Mayor Phil Gordon visiting Central Station at noon to choose the winners in a random drawing. The event will conclude at 1 p.m.

More news about the event will be posted here, so check back often!

July 21, 2008

I bet Arizona’s own John McCain never figured that a celebrity blogger may very well kill his presidential campaign! Last week, in a bid to remind certain voters of his conservative leanings, McCain came out in opposition of gays being able to adopt.

When Perez Hilton, who is gay, got wind of this, he posted McCain’s words on his blog as his “quote of the day” – and all hell broke loose. Hilton’s site gets more than a million hits a day, and something like 700 people – and counting – commented on Hilton’s message board disgusted by the presidential nominee’s words.

Damage control time for McCain – but how can a man who was alive before television was invented win a war of words against the big, bad world of Internet bloggers – Perez and others? And should he? Comment below.

Alison Bailin, Christina Leonard, Janet Perez, Jolinda Nestor and (the VERY TALL!) Allie Bell

From left: Alison Bailin, Christina Leonard, Janet Perez, Jolinda Nestor and (the VERY TALL!) Allie Bell

We just got back from a FABULOUS 

PRSA media breakfast featuring Christina Leonard, Janet Perez and Allie Bell.

Even if you didn’t get a chance to attend, be sure to become one of Arizona Woman/Christina’s fans on Facebook and to check out the Arizona Business Magazine and AZRE websites for a host of new award opportunities.

And make sure to watch Janet weekdays at 4:30 a.m. on KTVK TV 3!


Free Stuff Wanted!

July 17, 2008

I am a member of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). Formally, NATAS is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry.

Just like the national Emmy’s, our chapter of the Academy recognizes excellence with the coveted Emmy Award, the most prestigious peer-judged award in television. Each year, nearly 500 of our chapter’s top newscasters, anchors, producers, directors, new media folks and more come together for this one special night to honor and celebrate each other. This year, our event is set for October 4 in Phoenix and we are planning a casino theme.

I am hoping to get either items donated for gift bags for these folks, or prizes (hotel stays, airline tickets, cruises, spa packages, gift certificates, etc…) for our casino winners.

Anyone interested in participating in either of these opportunities can reach me at