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By one important measure, media commentary, the ad industry's leading media mavens were exceptionally active in 1998. Most of the industry's leading pundits generated nearly twice as much coverage this year as they did in 1997, according to an analysis of media coverage conducted by Medialink PR Research for Advertising Age.

Medialink's SPINdex system analyzes media coverage and offers a relative measure of an individual's ability to generate a media voice. SPINdex uses a sample of trade and consumer print and electronic media outlets, but assigns greater weight to media that generate broad consumer awareness.


Once again, Advanswers' Paul Schulman Co. President Paul Schulman was the clear leader, though several other executives experienced dramatic surges in media coverage, including Steve Grubbs, senior VP-director of national broadcast at BBDO Worldwide; Jon Mandel, co-managing director at Grey Advertising's MediaCom; Steve Sternberg, director of broadcast research at TN Media and Page Thompson, U.S. media director at DDB Needham Worldwide and President of Optimum Media.


Media coverage is not a primary indicator of a media maven's industry impact, but it is assumed to be a factor. Mr. Schulman routinely generates dramatically more attention in the consumer and trade press than agency executives who control much more media billings.

Seven of the top 10 industry pundits were directly involved in their agency's network TV buying decisions, including Mr. Sternberg.

The media bias toward TV becomes even more evident when non-TV media pundits are considered. Roberta Garfinkle, VP-director of print media at McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, and Steve Greenberger, senior VP-print media director at Grey Advertising's MediaCom, commanded far less media attention than their TV counterparts, despite the fact 1998 was a year rich in high-profile and sexy magazine industry stories.

Only a handful of media directors are included, such as DDB Needham's Mr. Thompson and Jean Pool, exec VP of North American Media Services at J. Walter Thompson Co., New York.


The heads of several independent media services also commanded a disproportionately higher share of press attention than their full-service agency media counterparts, including Los Angeles-based Western International Media Chairman Dennis Holt and DeWitt Media President Gene DeWitt, and Carat North America CEO David Verklin, both in New York.

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