New Mexico Press Women
October-November 2004 Vol. 27 No. 5
Contest Deadline Approaches
Have you been setting aside your best work? It's almost contest time!
Contest Czar Connie Gotsch reports that this year's contest brochure is finished and now at the printer. Watch for it in the mail and on the NMPW Web site at www.newmexicopresswomen.org. Connie warns that the contest has some new rules this year and some revisions, so make sure you read the contest brochure carefully.
This year NMPW will swap entries with Arizona for judging after a couple of years of swapping with Delaware. That means the judges will actually understand our issues and our culture! No more explanations of "arroyo"!
President Chris Burroughs accomplished the impossible by updating the mailing list the printer had been using, rooting out names of both the long gone and the dearly departed, and adding in members of both state and NFPW, plus the state's newspapers. If you're still not receiving the contest rules, let her know.
Chris also had the web updated with the latest contest information and the most recent newsletter.
Chris reports that membership is at 66 (that is, NMPW members who also pay for national membership), which is about middling for NFPW affiliates, reports Chris.
Sandy Schauer, she of the green eyeshade, reports that NMPW is solvent and made enough money on convention and communications contest to sustain its other activities. Our scholarship fundraisers - the Silent Auction and Jewelry Boutique -- were so successful in parting members from their hard-earned dough ($1,214) that NMPW can afford to give an additional $100 to our two scholarship winners.
Needless to say, they were thrilled, says Scholarship Fairygodmother Laurie Mellas Ramirez. Wrote Shari Vialpando: "THANK YOU ALL SO VERY, VERY MUCH! You helped me out considerably this semester, and I am eternally grateful for everything! Just before I got this email I was deciding whether or not I could afford this $100 book for my psychology class. THANK YOU! THANKS A MILLION! And from Jennifer Rocha: "I cannot believe this. Are you serious? This is incredible. I don't know what to say ... Thank you so much!!! This could not have come at a better time in my life." Jennifer, by the way, will be helping Laurie on the scholarship committee this year.
Kathy Cordova will chair the Communicator of Achievement Award this year. Is there someone in NMPW you'd like to honor? Some outstanding person in your chapter who deserves recognition? The Communicator of Achievement is Press Women's highest honor. To make a nomination, contact Kathy for nomination forms.
And Lynn Cline will chair the Zia Award committee.
Christine Romero, who chairs the High School Contest, has been visiting schools in Northern New Mexico to promote the contest. She says she could use some help with this contest, so if you have an interest in young journalists, here's your opportunity.
We still have some empty chairs to fill-the Susan Landon Committee chair, the PR chair and conference chair. And because of health issues Allie Sue Gottwald resigned as parliamentarian. We thank Allie Sue for her long service to the group.
Lacking a conference chair, the hard-working Chris Burroughs will run the conference committee this year. Members are: Susanne Burks, Sherry Robinson, Denise Tessier, Tracy Ingalls, Laurie Mellas Ramirez, Janet Ford, Cary Herz and Sandy Schauer.
We're thinking about conference locations. Ree Sheck and Emily Drabanski stirred up a bit of nostalgia for out-of-town conventions. Because nobody is leaving the hotel to go home, we're all free to sit up and solve the problems of the world - or at least our own problems and get to know each other a lot better. One possibility is the Tamaya Resort, north of Albuquerque. (Somebody knows somebody who knows somebody, so we might get some kind of break on room rates.) Any other ideas, let Chris know. Also, let us hear your suggestions for speakers or workshops.
Emily Drabanski reports that the newly reconstituted Northern Chapter is off to a good start. Attendance was good, enthusiasm is up, and people have even stepped forward to serve as officers - so far Carol Clark, of the Los Alamos Monitor, and Jean Kepler Ross, of Guestlife Magazine. Their next meeting is Oct. 16.
For Albuquerque President Diana Sandoval says the chapter has had good turnouts, and new veep and program chairman Dan Mayfield is coming up with good ideas. Recent meetings have featured the film industry in New Mexico, controversial Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap and crisis PR at Albuquerque Public Schools. Most recently, the chapter heard pundits and pollsters talk about the current campaigns.
The Las Cruces chapter has new officers: D'Lyn Ford, president; Linda Harris, vice president and program chair; Nena Singleton, treasurer. D'Lyn is assistant director of agricultural communications at NMSU.
Chris and Kathy Cordova attended the NFPW convention in September in Kentucky, where Kathy also represented us as Communicator of Achievement. The conference also recognized 25-year members; from our group that was Susan Walton.
And leaders from Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico are contemplating a regional meeting, which could be great fun. Colorado has already committed to hosting the national conference in 2006. The last one in Colorado was so much fun we're still smiling.
On another note, NFPW President Donna Penticuff recently reported that the FCC had responded to a petition by NFPW and dozens of other professional and trade groups that objected to new controls on faxed information. In an attempt to reduce junk faxes, the FCC proposed that any fax containing information considered commercial-even an invitation to a conference-would require a prior written consent on file from someone with authority to speak for each fax machine. The groups argued that the written consent requirement would be costly for small businesses-including our freelancers, public relations and advertising people. The FCC agreed to delay the requirement until July to give Congress a chance to set aside the requirement.
In Memoriam: Marie Hirst
Marie Hirst, who was one of the best in the public relations business - and NMPW's Woman of Achievement in 1987 - died at home in Albuquerque. She was 82.
Marie and Lee Hirst had operated the Hirst Company since 1965, starting in New York and moving to Albuquerque in 1971. It's now Hirst Córdova Public Relations.
Born Marie Murphy in Brockton, Mass. on Feb. 13, 1922, she was a bride at 17, a mother at 19 and a widow at 23. Her first husband, Francis S. Roan, an Air Force gunner, was killed in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. Marie told me in a 1987 interview, "I thought my life was over."
But she forged on, enrolling in the Williams School of Business in Brockton and got a job as secretary for the Northeast School of Aeronautics. She kept up her studies and worked while caring for her sick mother, two sisters and her daughter, Paula. Displaying a knack for administration, she quickly became director of the flight school. And she learned to fly -- training planes, a twin-engine Cessna, helicopters and even jets. (Marie told me once that she was a terrible passenger. "I hear every rattle and ping in the engine," she said. - SR)
Her entre into PR came when she was tapped by the U.S. Air Force to promote jet aircraft and jet travel. She went through high altitude training at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts taking classroom instruction and in-flight training in February of 1957. She later flew with the Right Stuff's Chuck Yeager and went on to become one of the first women to fly a jet, a T-33, for which she became an honorary colonel.
In 1952 she moved to Boston to join Newsome & Company, one of the oldest and largest PR firms in New England and the predecessor of Hill & Knowlton. Four years later she was the company's first female vice president. She credited Newsome with one of the cornerstones of her business philosophy, "If you can't have a couple of good laughs a day, what's the sense of coming to work?"
During this time she took up racecar driving. She was a long-time member of the Sports Car Club of America and even made minor repairs and tuned up her own racer. She was a founding member of the Sports Car Drivers Education Council, a group developed to promote driver education among teens. Asked why she pursued these hobbies, she replied, "It's where the boys were."
In the early 1960s, Marie was asked to organize a woman's executive program for the Sperry and Hutchinson Company (that's S&H green stamps, for you boomers). Here she met Lee Hirst, a senior executive at S&H. Five years later the two married, combining households and children. In that era, marrying the boss meant leaving the company, so she rejoined her former company, Newsome. Her major assignment was to help organize and operate the New England Pavilion at the New York World's Fair.
In 1966, Marie and Lee started the Hirst Company; she was president and he was chairman. They moved to New Mexico in 1971 and gradually built the business until they had a number of national clients, including Intel, Maloof Companies, Bueno Foods, Plains Electric, the Waste Isolation Pilot Project, and Waste Management.
"Marie was the rudder of the Hirst Company," said John Córdova, president of Hirst Córdova Public Relations. "She was my quiet mentor and supporter. Her counsel will be missed deeply."
State Sen. Dede Feldman said, "Like so many other young women, I met Marie Hirst through the New Mexico Press Women. By the time I got there, Marie had already been there and done that. She'd already had her own PR practice in New York and was worlds apart from the Albuquerque scene. But she chose us. And she chose to mentor dozens of young working women in the ways of professional communication, media relations, the proper way to do special events, the differences between advertising and PR (a favorite theme) and basically, how to conduct a PR practice with integrity and flair.
"Whenever we had questions, we would ask and she would consult with us. 'How much should I charge?' 'Isn't that a conflict of interest?' She was often the source of information about job openings in the media and in various institutions. She was a true mentor, an elegant, resourceful, magnificent woman who gave so much to the community -- all behind the scenes, all without any thought of recognition. And it all counts. Marie loved her garden. And now look, how many pretty blooms she has produced all over town."
In 1987, the long-time member of NMPW was named the group's Woman of Achievement. She represented NMPW at the National Federation Of Press Women conference. The New Mexico chapter of the Public Relations Society of America presented Marie and Lee with its first Vista Award for lifetime achievements in the field of public relations in 2001.
Denise Tessier adds that Marie and Lee sponsored a number of their employees as NMPW members over the years and allowed the use of their office for NMPW business.
Sandia Prep Gains from
Dirk Gibson, professor and chairman of the Communications and Journalism Department at UNM, donated more than 500 books in his personal library to Sandia Prep. The gift honors his parents, Raymond and Betty Gibson, who were his inspiration to read, discover and pass along what he had learned. The collection has been named for Dirk's parents. Susan Walton and Christina McIntosh helped to set up the collection in the classroom before school started in August.
Favorite Web sites
Susan Walton passes along two of her faves: Newseum offers a pdf of the front page of 347 USA and international newspapers every day! See
http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/ A second provides great graphics of hurricane progress. See
Here's one from one of the editor's listserves: When you get one of those dubious warnings by email, check it out at www.snopes.com.
Scott Alley, newly retired, is a volunteer with the Kerry Edwards campaign, as is Susanne Burks, not so newly retired.
Our condolences to Evy Todd, who had a close encounter with some concrete in the process of taking out her trash and after some quality time in the ER is now recovering from foot surgery.
Pari Noskin Taichert says that she recently "had the surreal experience of having to chose between two NYC agents. What a high! Since then, I've rewritten the next book in my series, 'The Belen Hitch,' and my agent is getting ready to send it out. Heady stuff indeed."
Pari and The Clovis Incident were written up in Library Journal: "A scholarly publisher with a mystery? And a Book Sense 76 pick at that? This tale of a laid-off PR director who must solve a murder in Clovis, NM, has made all the regional best sellers lists and after a first printing of 1000 copies has gone to three printings-'a small but significant victory for a university press,' observes the publicist.
The globe-traveling Connie Gotsch, who recently returned from Germany, reports that she just published her second novel, Snap Me a Future, with DLSIJpress.com. It's set in the Southwest. If you know anybody who reviews ebooks, let her know. The book is available for download now.
In June Yvonne Lanelli began writing an outdoor adventure column, "Follow Me!" for the Alamogordo Daily News. She writes, "'Follow Me!' appears every other Sunday, taking readers scuba diving in the New Mexico deserts, biking in the Bronx, whitewater rafting in Siberia, swimming with sharks in North Carolina (it's no lawyer joke), swilling Mayan moonshine in Belize, and mountain biking in the Lincoln National Forest, among other places. Future columns will reveal the world's best shopping mall (it's not in Hong Kong), how to fly yourself as a kite in Mexico, and how the outdoor adventurer stays healthy." And Yvonne continues to freelance.
"Now I gotta give NMPW heaps and heaps of credit for my success," she writes. "First, y'all showed incredible support and sisterhood at the May conference. Second, Paula's presentation kept me to the point. And, of course, conference info proved invaluable when I pitched my ideas to the new editor at ADN. I believe the key selling point was an idea gleaned from a dear lady sitting at the Sunday breakfast table with me. She said, "Tell the editor your work appeals to the younger demographic. It'll sell 'em every time." That's exactly what I said--and saw the editor's ears actually perk up! Talk about striking a nerve! So, thanks NMPW!"
Actually, exchanges like Yvonne describes are what keeps all of us coming back to NMPW. We used to call it yacking. Now it's "networking." - SR
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