April 22, 1922 – March 24, 2019
Stuart Gordon Newman died less than a month before his 97th birthday following a brief illness. He started his public relations agency in Miami in 1946, upon his return from service in the Army Air Corps during World War II where he flew 35 bombing missions for the U.S. Army Air Corps. He remained active in the agency’s business and financial operations through February 2019, and he completed a transatlantic Cunard Line cruise in January — though his bucket list was far from empty.
At the celebration of Stuart’s life, we articulated how his character and values shaped and continue to influence the agency today.
Our agency is a unique place to work — an office environment without office politics or drama. That comes from the top — and Stuart was always ready with an illustrative parable, a wry public relations lesson or a well-traveled joke.
Stuart truly enjoyed the challenges and rewards of the public relations practice, and he instilled that in his team.
Of course, he also was fond of saying, “If it weren’t for the clients and the media, public relations would be a great business!”
Stuart taught us that effective public relations is about building relationships with clients and the media. He wanted our clients to consider the agency an extension of their in-house PR department.
Stuart believed in being cost-effective and value-added. He was fond of saying, “We give our clients 110 cents to the dollar.” And he taught us to give 110 percent of our effort, our intellect and our talents.
That’s probably why we have retained clients for 10, 25, 30 and 40 years — an achievement unheard-of in today’s business environment. Most importantly, many of our clients have become good friends.
Our retention rate is due to Stuart traits that are baked into the DNA of the agency: honesty, integrity, professionalism and pride in the quality of our work. Together, those qualities add up to the most important attribute for success in public relations: credibility.
Stuart worked hard to build a reputation for credibility over the course of seven decades, and in large part, that’s what makes Stuart Newman Associates a successful, well-respected public relations agency.
Creating a PR Brand
And that was behind the decision we took more than 10 years ago to rebrand the agency
Bolder and more concise, NewmanPR expresses the idea of the brand of public relations practiced by the Newmans — father and son — and, by extension, their colleagues. “Newman PR” is an approach to public relations and a way of doing business that incorporates the history and expertise Stuart gave to us.
Stuart often said, “No one is indispensable in this organization.” Sometimes we weren’t sure if he meant it as a veiled threat, but we believe he was preparing us for the day when he would no longer be around.
Stuart gave us everything we need to carry on. He showed us how to exceed our clients’ expectations, help journalists do their jobs and ensure the success of NewmanPR. He was always generous with his deep knowledge and expertise, his guidance and wisdom.
A PR Guy with Big Ideas
A big part of Stuart’s legacy are big ideas that he conjured for clients that will persist in perpetuity.
Yellow Rent-a-car: In the early days of the rental car industry, Stuart sensed that consumers did not like mileage-based rental car charges, understanding that Florida is a large — and long — state. He convinced Yellow owners Bill and Stanley Segal to try a free unlimited mileage program. It was a resounding success, and one that became the standard in the industry.
Lincoln Road, Miami Beach: In 1962 owners of stores on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road decided that converting the street into a pedestrian mall would be good for business. Stuart conceived and executed a “hearts and minds” campaign that influenced public opinion to support passage of a significant bond. Today, the mall remains popular with tourists and Miami Beach residents alike.
The Conch Republic, Florida Keys: In April 1982 the U.S. Border Patrol established an unannounced roadblock at the top of the Florida Keys, with agents ostensibly searching each car leaving the island chain for illegal aliens and drugs. The checkpoint created 15-mile-long traffic jams. It took visitors two additional hours to leave the Keys on the Overseas Highway — the only route in and out of the island destination. Knowing his Keys history, Stuart recalled that Key West remained loyal to the Union during the American Civil War while the rest of Florida aligned with the Confederacy. Stuart told Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow: “Mayor, you’re forgetting your history. This is how they’re treating you after remaining loyal to the Union for so long? You need to secede from the Union.” And so, with a mock secession and tongue-in-cheek application for federal foreign aid, The Conch Republic was born. Oh, and the roadblock quickly and quietly melted away.
Celebrating a Life
This collection of articles pays tribute to Stuart’s life, his long and storied career in public relations and his contributions to higher education.
Travel industry mourns PR legend Stuart Newman
Seatrade Cruise Review
March 26, 2019
IN MEMORIAM: Stuart Newman
University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications
March 26, 2019
UF College of Journalism Hall of Fame inductee dies at 96
The Independent Florida Alligator
March 31, 2019
Stuart Newman and the Public Relations Era of the Cruise Industry
The cruise industry’s debt to public relations pros
April 2, 2019
A Tribute to Stuart Newman
Public Relations Society of America, Miami Chapter
March 26, 2019
In remembrance of Stuart Newman – Download PDF
Society of American Travel Writers E-News
April 9, 2019
“Seven Decades of Spin – Download PDF
“Seven Decades of Spin” is a compilation of Stuart’s blog posts collected on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of Stuart Newman Associates. As a preface, an article from the Miami Herald that appeared at the time also is included.