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Edel Rodriguez Todd Heisler/The New York Times Litter, after an Obama-Biden train stop in Baltimore days before the 2009 inauguration.
From time to time Imagethief gets a note from an American or English student who thinks that a career in PR in China would be just the ticket and wants some advice as to how to get into the field. This week I had two such inquiries. The first got a carefully written note answering his questions in detail. The second got a paragraph followed by a cut-and-paste of the note that went to the first one. I wasn’t just being miserly, although I can be miserly when called upon.
Stanley Lubman, a long-time specialist on Chinese law, teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and is the author of “Bird in a Cage: Legal Reform in China After Mao,” (Stanford University Press, 1999). Last month, a businessman set off three explosions in a town in Jiangxi, killing himself and two others, after trying unsuccessfully for years to obtain reasonable compensation for the destruction of his home for a highway that was never built. In the course of his travails he had been thrown into jail and confined to a psychiatric ward . The suicide bombing dramatized the distress that arbitrary land seizures by local governments continue to cause many farmers. Such extreme protest reflects a serious systemic problem in China’s governance: Underfunded local governments frequently dilute and undercut implementation of national laws and policies in their effort to sustain growth and increase local revenues.
After a decade of hugely impressive growth, from nowhere in Asia-Pacific (in 2001, the firm was basically a Singapore hub with no significant spokes) to one of the region’s three or four largest networks, Weber Shandwick experienced a tough year in 2009—like most of its multinational peers. Revenues were down about 9 percent across the region, largely due to a significant decline in pan-regional business in the first half of the year. The good news is that the firm managed to avoid major layoffs (except in Hong Kong, and a three-person workforce reduction in Japan); that there were numerous local wins in most major markets; and that the second half was considerably stronger than the first, so that Weber Shandwick ended 09 with 600 people in the region, up by almost 200 from December of 08.
Last week one of our reporters asked me what books she should read on media and marketing. My response: " Where the Suckers Moon ," by Randy Rothenberg. His account of Wieden & Kennedy's dysfunctional relationship with Subaru is the best behind-the-scenes report on the ad business that's ever been written.* I also suggested James Twitchell's " 20 Ads That Shook The World
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