North American Precis

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North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS) distributes "releases for most Fortune 500 companies, over 150 associations and government information offices and more than 100 PR firms including all of the 12 largest."

It also provides "free, non-copyrighted features for editors" as well as artwork and photos.

At the head of its website NAPS states "here you can find features and graphics from more than 750 companies, associations, PR firms and government information offices." [1]

Department of Education Review of PR Contracts

In the aftermath of the controversy over the Department of Education hiring Armstrong Williams as a sub-contractor to promote the No Child Left Behind Act, the department's Inspector General reviewed all PR contacts in the 2002-2004 period.

The Inspector-General summarised a $2.650 purchase order enetered into with North American Precis in the financial year 2002 as being “to develop [a] 2-column syndicated newspaper article for national distribution. Services include[d]: article development, production, distribution, clippings & placement tracking.” [2]

The Inspector-General reported that "According to the contractor, the article appeared 500 times in various newspapers. The contractor provided us a copy of the article as it was distributed. We reviewed a copy of the article, whose content was identical, as it appeared in one newspaper. The article consisted of information on statistics available on the NCES website." (NCES is the acronym for the National Center for Education Statistics).

The Inspector-General noted that the article explained that the website "provided statistics on crimes in schools, number of students in college, international reading scores, and ways to learn about local schools, colleges, and universities. The article closed with the statement that 'Reliable education statistics can help you make good decisions about education.'"

The Inspector-General stated that "The article had no by-line indicating authorship, and did not reveal the role of the Department. The purchase order, however, did not specify if the role of Department was to be disclosed. Since the article did not advocate a particular policy position of the Department, but provides information about resources available on a Department website, we conclude that the article was not covert propaganda ... We saw no indication that the publication of the article was intended to influence an issue under public debate." [3]

Contact details

Empire State Building,
65th Floor, 350 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10118
Phone: (212) 867-9000
Toll-Free Numbers:
Phone: (800) 222-5551
Fax: (800) 990-4329

External links

  • Department of Education Office of Inspector General, "Review of Department Identified Contracts and Grants for Public Relations Services" (ED-OIG / I13F0012), issued September 1, 2005; available in MS Word (432K) and PDF (214K) formats.