Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Westword reporter extraordinaire Michael Roberts announced he is leaving, in a move that is a huge blow to the media outlet. He has spent more than 32 years at Westword, and is its most prolific reporter. His last day is today.
  • Seven western states including Colorado are days away from having the federal government unilaterally implement cuts to their allotment of water from the Colorado River. As one public policy advocate said, “Think of the Colorado River Basin as a slow-motion disaster. We’re really at a moment of reckoning.”
  • Coban Porter, the younger brother of Denver Nuggets star Michael Porter, Jr. and a member of the University of Denver basketball team, was arrested on vehicular homicide charges after a fatal accident near the DU campus.
  • M&M’s is trolling America by placing its “spokescandies” mascots on an “indefinite pause” and replacing them with comedienne/actress Maya Rudolph. While conservatives criticized the “woke” characters and liberals then criticized M&M’s “overreaction,” the fact is everyone is talking about M&M’s. We’ll wait for parent company Mars, Inc.’s Q1 earnings report before we decide whether M&M’s marketers are geniuses or idiots.
  • Meanwhile, A&W Restaurants – yes, there are still A&W Restaurants apparently – sought to steal a little of the M&M’s spotlight by announcing that its previously pants-less mascot “Rooty” would now wear them because of the current “polarizing” political environment. Winnie the Pooh, the Geico Gecko and Chester Cheetah had no comment.
  • Former Colorado Rockies star Todd Helton barely missed election the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 72.2% of the necessary 75% of votes. Early predictions had him making it.
  • There has been a lot of concern recently over alleged air quality issues caused by the Suncor refinery in Commerce City. To show they are responsive to community concerns, the company’s latest environmental accident was water based – releasing 40-80% more benzene than legally allowed in Sand Creek.
  • Two months after being seriously burned in a garage fire, comedian Jay Leno was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him with multiple broken bones.
  • A Kansas hunter was killed when his dog stepped on and fired a rifle in the back of the pickup he was in. I guess animals stick together.
  • Denver mayoral candidate Lisa Calderon’s official website is being held as part of a ransomware scheme. In her defense, IT security is not listed as part of her campaign platform.
  • Scientists have moved the “Doomsday Clock” to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been to the midnight metaphor for Armageddon. Presumably the war in Ukraine is responsible for the change, but I’m not sure how that is worse than the cold war and the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example. Nevertheless, you’ve got 90 seconds, people. Use that time wisely.
  • Former Denver Broncos player Shannon Sharpe has apologized for his ridiculous behavior at a recent L.A. Lakers game. It turns out years of being a screaming voice on a hack sports TV show may actually be detrimental to your mental health.
  • Richard Steadman, the groundbreaking orthopedic surgeon and namesake of Vail Health’s famed Steadman Clinic, passed away at the age of 85.

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • The University of Texas and Texas A&M are the latest universities to ban TikTok due to privacy and security concerns. The two universities join others in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma and South Dakota that have banned the app.
  • Gun seizures at both DIA and in Denver Public Schools hit new records in 2022.
  • Denver ranks 17th-worst for for traffic in the U.S., and drivers waste an average of 54 hours in traffic jams.
  • Philadelphia Flyers player Ivan Provorov created a public backlash when he refused to participate in a pre-game warm-up wearing a Pride Night jersey, saying it violated his religious beliefs.
  • It’s been a tough week at JFK Airport. Just days after two Delta and American Airlines planes almost collided at high-speed on a runway, a JetBlue plane hit a second JetBlue plane in the gate area .
  • Less than a week after winning the college football national championship, University of Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock was killed in a single-car accident. He was not wearing a seat belt.
  • Harvard Medical School, perhaps you’ve heard of it, is the latest to withdraw from U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of best medical schools. Harvard’s dean said the “rankings cannot meaningfully reflect the high aspirations for educational excellence, graduate preparedness, and compassionate and equitable patient care.” 
  • Boston’s new statue honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. is not exactly winning fans. “Awkward” may be the nicest adjective that has been used to describe it.
  • A San Francisco art gallery owner has been arrested after spraying a homeless woman with a water hose to make her move away from his gallery. Video of the incident went viral on social media.
  • Twitter has seen a 40% drop in revenue as more than 500 advertisers have paused spending since Elon Musk took over.
  • Microsoft and Google are the latest tech companies to announce massive layoffs – a combined 22,000. Microsoft gets extra credit for hosting an executive event in Davos that featured singer Sting just hours before announcing the layoffs.

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Amtrak passengers called police claiming they were held hostage when what was supposed to be a 17-hour trip from Virginia to Florida turned into 37 hours due to freight train derailment. “Stale air, dwindling food supplies, trash piling up in the aisles and a lack of timely information from the crew” contributed to what passengers called the “train ride from hell.”
  • Peloton will pay a $19 million fine for failing to “promptly report treadmill hazards and for distributing recalled treadmills.”
  • Former Cleveland Browns QB Bernie Kosar learned about the NFL’s ambivalent relationship with sports betting the hard way. Kosar was fired by the Browns from its radio broadcast team after he placed a bet on the team to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. This item was brought to you by Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, FanDuel, FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, and WynnBET, all of whom are official NFL partners.
  • LSU is providing star gymnast and TikTok sensation Olivia Dunne with additional security at competitions after unruly fans overran the team’s season opener against Utah.
  • West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Amelia Ferrell Knisely had her position eliminated after defying threats to stop reporting on the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources. Gov. Jim Justice has appointed “partisan operatives” to WVPB’s board of directors.
  • You wouldn’t think there would be much new in the world of bowling, but newfangled bowling pins have caused a (7-10) split in that community. The new “string pins” are regular bowling pins “with long cords attached to the top and tethered to string pinsetters. The string pinsetters hoist fallen pins like marionettes and lower them into place.” A study found the new pins yield 7% fewer strikes than traditional pins.
  • Police arrested a top executive of the Indian subsidiary of Wells Fargo for allegedly urinating on another passenger on a flight from New York to New Delhi.
  • Meanwhile, six journalists in South Sudan were arrested after circulating footage of President Salva Kiir wetting his pants at an official event.
  • TCU’s 65-7 drubbing by Georgia in the National Championship game was bad enough, but TCU fans endured the added insult of being rained on inside a “domed” stadium. SoFi Stadium in L.A. has a covered roof but no side walls, and heavy winds drove rain onto the upper decks that contained TCU fans.
  • Closer to home, the Colorado State Rams finished the college football season at #123 in The Athletic’s end-of-season rankings, one spot ahead of #124 University of Colorado. The Air Force Falcons led the state at #40.

So, who won the week?

‘Is PR Too Liberal for it’s Own Good?’

Chris Daniels at PR Week: “It’s not surprising to learn that PR pros, as a profession, are statistically more progressive than the U.S. population. Many communicators are also more liberal than the general population on issues of politics, society, economics and safety. That difference is massive, especially when it comes to political ideology.”

“Practitioners overwhelmingly self-identified as ‘progressive’ (68%), followed by ‘centrist’ (25%). Only 7% identified as ‘conservative’ when it comes to their politics. That’s a stark difference from the U.S. population. Only 26% of the general populace identifies as ‘progressive.’ More of them self-identify as ‘conservative’ (34%), 27 percentage points higher than PR practitioners.”

“’That measure on political ideology indicates the most risk for PR professionals and campaigns,’ says … Jennifer Scott, a clinical assistant professor for PR and corporate communication at NYU’s School of Professional Studies. Scott spent 17 years at Ogilvy, including in thought leadership, comms counsel and research and insights roles, and three years at Edelman. She says PR pros understand they’re operating in a politically polarized environment in the U.S., and audience research can lead them down a dangerous path.”

“’The danger is they see that Gen Z and Millennials, in particular, want brands to take a stand, and so even research into target audiences isn’t necessarily likely to temper the tendency to go very progressive,’ says Scott. ‘It may take a brand to a place that seems mainstream, but that, in fact, triggers a momentum of polarization. Then the brand is in trouble.’” 

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Actor Jeremy Renner was airlifted to a hospital after suffering “a traumatic injury” while plowing snow at his home near Lake Tahoe. Renner reportedly lost a significant amount of blood when his 14,000 lb. Sno-Cat ran over him.
  • An American Airlines ground crew worker died when he was “ingested into the engine” of an Embraer 170 aircraft at the Montgomery, Ala., airport.
  • Rolling Stone ranked the best 200 singers of all time and Celine Dion was notably not included, much to her fans’ outrage.
  • Slip-and-fall attorney Frank Azar has “settled” a 20-month-old $716,000 IRS tax bill for $769,270. Fun fact: Azar’s 2017 taxable income was $3.9 million.
  • Tennis legend Martina Navratilova announced that she has been diagnosed with both throat and breast cancer.
  • Former Denver Broncos running back Peyton Hillis is in the ICU after a Florida swimming accident where he saved his children from drowning.
  • Radio conglomerate Bonneville International, which owns KKFN 104.3 The Fan and KEPN 1600 ESPN Denver, introduced a new “Denver Sports” brand this week whose name and logo are suspiciously similar to the existing DNVR Sports brand. Not surprisingly, DNVR Sports is threatening a lawsuit. Fun fact: Bonneville International is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mormon Church.
  • A Park City, Utah, resort employee died when he was ejected from a chairlift whose line was severed by a fallen tree.
  • The Texas A&M-University of Florida men’s basketball game was delayed when the Aggies forgot to bring their game jerseys to the arena. Trainers retrieved the jerseys from the team’s hotel, but not before the officials assessed a technical foul against A&M for delaying the start of the game.
  • One of the largest personal injury firms in Colorado, the Sawaya Law Firm, is now the Wilhite Law Firm. A spokeswoman said the name change was unrelated to allegations that founder Michael Sawaya sexually assaulted and sexually battered a client in his office.
  • Southwest Airlines is offering passengers whose flights were cancelled or delayed during the holidays 25,000 frequent flyer points. The move represents the airlines’ first tangible step toward trying to repair its reputation.
  • If you have a 20%-off coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond, you might want to use it this weekend. The retailer warned that it is running out of cash and may file for bankruptcy soon.

So, who won the week?

The Week the Mystique of Southwest Airlines Died

Southwest Airlines was founded 52 years ago with the idea of democratizing air travel. It combined high reliability, low fares and a kitschy attitude to become the nation’s favorite airline. With taglines like, “You are now free to move about the country,” and its unique open seating model, Southwest projected a sense that it was different, that it had cracked the code on how to run an airline that was both fun and competent.

There have been cracks in that mystique for several years – the last fatality on a major airline was on a Southwest flight in 2018 and there has been grumbling for some time from FAA employees about the airline’s safety practices – but this is the week that Southwest was exposed as just another airline. The company’s incompetence managing its network of flights during a brutal cold snap, combined with the resulting abysmal customer service, showed that Southwest has been coasting on its reputation for some time now.

Photo credit: CNN

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

  • Linhart PR promoted Kelly Brown to Account Director, and Shannon Hughes and Libby Pinkerton to Management Supervisors.
  • The Denver Business Journal has named Keith Dennis as its new publisher.
  • Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Chief Culture & Communications Officer Lara Day has joined the Denver Fire Department Foundation board of directors.
  • Denver Public Schools superintendent Alex Marrero was named a “2022 Superintendent to Watch” by the National School Public Relations Association.
  • Cherry Creek High School head football coach and KOA NewsRadio Denver Broncos announcer Dave Logan won his fourth straight 5A state championship, giving him his 11th state title. That makes him the most accomplished high school football coach in Colorado history.
  • Empower Field is getting a $100 million renovation that includes a jumbo-tron that is 70% larger than the current one. That will allow fans in the stadium to see replays of all the Russell Wilson sacks with far greater clarity.
  • Casa Bonita announced it plans to re-open in May 2023.
  • This is the last edition of “Who Had the Worst Week” for 2022. Wishing everyone peaceful holidays and a wonderful 2023. See you next year.

The Biggest PR Disasters of 2022

Pandemics may come and go, but there is one thing we can all count on year after year: dumb decisions that result in PR disasters.

Usually, we have to count on bureaucratic corporations to lead the way, but this year we had a number of individuals rise up to show us how to truly ruin reputations. Kanye West looked at Uber and said, “Not so fast.” Elon Musk told Facebook to hold his beer. And Will Smith, well, few corporations ever managed to ruin 35 years’ worth of hard work in five, globally televised seconds.

So, who had the biggest PR disasters in 2022?


UVALDE POLICE DEPARTMENT/TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY/U.S. BORDER PATROL
The response to the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs reminded us of the life-saving impact one or two heroic people can have. That makes the situation at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, that much more heart-wrenching. In Uvalde, 376 Uvalde Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and U.S. Border Patrol officers descended on the school, and for 76 minutes not one of them did a damn thing to put an end to a shooting spree that killed 19 elementary school kids and two teachers.


KANYE ‘YE’ WEST
Kanye spent most of the year proving that you don’t have to be a big corporation like Uber or Facebook to set the standard for PR disasters. Since uttering and then doubling down on his antisemitic rants, Ye has been kicked off Instagram, dropped by Adidasescorted out of the offices of Skechersdumped by Footlocker and Gap, and lost representation by CAA, United Talent Agency, and his law firm. The financial hit to Kanye now exceeds $1 billion, according to economists.


ELON MUSK
Riding a string of successful companies including PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk was considered one of the world’s smartest business executives. Then his ego tricked him into buying Twitter for $44 billion, a price he later acknowledged was far too high. Once backed into that corner, you’d expect him to slash headcount and try to improve profitability at Twitter for a few quarters and then flip it. 

Well, he did half of that. Musk cut headcount but then he took about every step he could to alienate advertisers – who provide about 90% of Twitter’s revenue – by eliminating the verified “blue-check” program and offering amnesty to hate-speech purveyors. Musk may have offered the best perspective on his Twitter strategy when he Tweeted, “How do you make a small fortune in social media? Start with a large one.


FIFA WORLD CUP 2022
The FIFA Men’s World Cup is the largest, most-watched sporting event in the world, and the month-long tournament will deliver an estimated $7.5 billion in revenue to FIFA. It is a juggernaut, and you might expect that it would be run by savvy executives. Alas, the 2022 World Cup has been known more for self-inflicted wounds than any of the action on the pitch. 

Whether it was picking the repressive regime in Qatar to host in the first place, banning European countries from wearing rainbow armbands to support LGBTQ+ rights, not protecting the thousands of migrant workers who died constructing stadiums in Qatar, or blindsiding mega-sponsor Budweiser days before the start of the tournament by not allowing beer sales in stadiums, FIFA has set a new standard for corruption and complicity.


ALTITUDE SPORTS
It has now been 40 months since Comcast– and DISH-subscribing fans could watch the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche in our local market. Someone needs to tell Stan Kroenke and Altitude Sports to stop the madness.


DENVER BRONCOS
The 2022 Denver Broncos were a slow-motion trainwreck, and a reminder of the power of setting expectations. With a new head coach, a new offensive coordinator, a new offensive system and a new quarterback, the Broncos could have easily tried to get people excited about the progress they would make in year two. Instead, they raised fans’ hopes for year one and saw the backlash start at about minute 59 of their first game (an inexplicable 64-yard field goal attempt that missed).

No one carried the weight of the miserable season more than QB Russell Wilson, head coach Nathaniel Hackett and GM George Paton. Wilson has always been an odd duck, but that personality trait gets amplified (and mocked) when you are losing. Whether it was an oddly timed “Let’s Ride” or bragging about working out on the plane ride to London, 2022 was the year that Wilson was exposed as an average quarterback and a below-average teammate.

As bad as Wilson’s year was, it was worse for Nathaniel Hackett. The first-year head coach made so many unforced errors in his NFL debut that he may never be able to recover. Conventional wisdom quickly became that he was in over his head and rumors swirled that he would be the fifth NFL coach in history to be fired midway through his first season. Even former Denver Nuggets coach George Karl wanted him gone

And as bad as Hackett’s season was, the Bronco who had the worst year was GM George Paton. He was the man who hired Hackett and not only traded two first round and two second round draft picks to acquire Wilson, but then signed him to a five-year, $245 million extension before he had even thrown a pass for the Broncos. That decision looks worse and worse each week. 


FRANK AZAR
Slip-and-fall attorney Frank Azar had quite the year. In January, he sued an accountant that he hired to correct tax returns created by a different accountant whom he had also sued. He alleged negligence in both cases. In March, Azar sued an Alabama-based law firm alleging it was stealing clients through a deceptive Google ads campaign. 

And in May, Azar sued his insurance company, claiming that it wasn’t covering legal costs associated with defending him against a lawsuit by a former employee. In that suit, the former employee alleged that the Azar’s firm’s “culture of heavy drinking and drug use” during work hours forced her to leave.


DANIEL SNYDER/WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
Dumpster fires would take offense at being compared to the NFL’s Washington Commanders. Since owner Daniel Snyder bought the team in 1999, it has endured losing season after losing season, but it has been a recent string of allegations related to workplace harassment, financial improprieties and targeting his fellow owners that have kept the team in the headlines.

Snyder was forced to relinquish operational control of team after a Washington Post investigation included allegations from 40 women who had been harassed or discriminated against by Snyder or other male executives. Other headlines focused on allegations that he had cheated the NFL and the IRS by underreporting ticket sales so he could keep a larger portion of the team’s money. 

It was an ESPN report in October, though, that sent the future of Snyder’s ownership into a tailspin. That report said that Snyder had used private investigators to dig up dirt on his fellow owners to use against them if they tried to force him to sell the team. Confident the scheme would protect him, he reportedly told a colleague, “They can’t f— with me.”


WILL SMITH
Legendary investor Warren Buffet famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” and no one proved that adage correct more than actor Will Smith. Smith spent a career building a reputation as a charming, likeable actor who could deliver audiences to anything he starred in. Like Tom Hanks, Smith recalled the era of Jimmy Stewart, a beloved actor who had a way of playing everyman characters in compelling ways. And then the 2022 Oscars happened.

In the slap heard ‘round the world, Smith inexplicably climbed on-stage and struck host Chris Rock. It was a surreal moment that instantly redefined Smith’s image, undoing 35 years’ worth of reputation-building. Smith immediately had two projects tabled, “Fast & Loose” and “Bad Boys 4,” and the summer release of his already-completed film “Emancipation” was delayed. Meanwhile, Smith’s Q Score, – an industry metric of likeability among the general public – dropped from 39 to 24, a nearly 40% decline.


CNN+
CNN invested $300 million to launch CNN+, a subscriber-based streaming news service? Thirty-five days later, they shut it down.


BILL MURRAY
Rumors of the actor’s bullying and harassing behavior have circulated for years, but it hit a tipping point in 2022 when production of the film “Being Mortal” was suspended following reports of Murray’s sexual assault against a female production assistant. That news opened a floodgate, and actors including Geena DavisSeth GreenLucy LiuAnjelica HustonRichard Dreyfuss and Sean Young all shared stories of Murray’s bullying behavior. His troubled personality hasn’t done much to slow his film career to this point, but his legacy ultimately may not be exclusively what he put on film.


BRETT FAVRE
Given that Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre’s NFL playing career ended with a “d— pic” scandal, it’s hardly surprising that he’d find himself in a tough spot again. And, unfortunately for Favre, he violated Crisis Communications 101, which is to get all the bad news out at once as quickly as possible. 

Instead, a scandal that started with Favre fraudulently receiving funds from Mississippi earmarked for an anti-poverty program in exchange for no-show speeches has slowly blossomed into a deeper investigation into his actions to use $5 million in similar funds to pay for a volleyball arena at his alma mater, where, coincidently I’m sure, his daughter plays … volleyball. Leaked text messages show Favre and the state’s former governor conspiring to make the deal happen.


FTX/SAM BANKMAN-FRIED
Crypto-bro and FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was a late addition to the list, but he definitely earned his spot by losing more than $8 billion in customer funds, tanking his personal net worth from an estimated $20 billion last year to $100,000, and finally being arrested for fraud. Bankman-Fried claimed the company was the victim of changing economic conditions, but FTX’s interim CEO told lawmakers that the company collapsed because of “old fashioned embezzlement.” Either way, everyone can agree on Bankman-Fried’s general assessment: “I f—— up.


Photo Credits

Kanye West Image: 
Image Link:https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kanye_West_at_the_Met_Gala_in_2019.png
Image Attribution: Cosmopolitan UK, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>;, via Wikimedia Commons

Brett Favre Image: 
Image Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brett_Favre_Super_Bowl_50.jpg
Image Attribution: Arnie Papp, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>;, via Wikimedia Commons

Bill Murray Image: 
Image Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bill_Murray_2014_Berlinale.jpg
Image Attribution: Siebbi, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>;, via Wikimedia Commons

Will Smith Image:
Image Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bright_Japan_Premiere_Red_Carpet-_Will_Smith_(39493076712).jpg
Image Attribution: Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>;, via Wikimedia Commons

Elon Musk Image:
Image Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elon_Musk_Brazil_2022.png
Image Attribution: Ministério Das Comunicações, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>;, via Wikimedia Commons

This post also appears online at https://groundfloormedia.com/blog/2022/12/12/the-biggest-pr-disasters-of-2022/

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

RTD Names New Chief Comms Officer

RTD has named Stuart Summers, an executive from Idaho State University, as its new Chief Communications Officer. Prior to his role with Idaho State, Summers was a television reporter in Idaho.

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Former Denver Bronco Ed McCaffrey has been fired as head football coach at the University of Northern Colorado after posting a 6-16 record over two years.
  • The Brown Palace had to cancel its Thanksgiving reservations due to a fire at the historic hotel.
  • The Denver Broncos waived running back Melvin Gordon following the team’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Gordon was the Broncos’ leader in carries and rushing yards, but also fumbles.
  • A Business Insider investigation found that Amazon’s Alexa is a “colossal failure” that is on pace to lose $10 billion this year. Perhaps relatedly, Amazon recently announced plans to eliminate 10,000 jobs.
  • Luxury fashion house Balenciaga SA has apologized for a “holiday” ad campaign that featured little kids holding teddy bears dressed in bondage gear.
  • Elon Musk says he plans to reinstate accounts that previously violated Twitter’s terms of service. The shift in policy has stoked fears that hate speech will increase on the platform.
  • The Associated Press’ James LaPorta, the journalist who incorrectly reported that Russian missiles crossed into Poland killing two civilians, has been terminated. An AP spokeswomen said, “When our standards are violated, we must take the steps necessary to protect the integrity of the news report.”
  • A professional wrestler who travels Appalachia and southern states as “The Progressive Liberal” is shocked – SHOCKED – to find that conservative audience members try to hurt him.
  • Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for her role in defrauding investors. The good news for Holmes? She has a chance of running into reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley, both of whom received prison sentences this week for fraud and tax evasion charges.
  • The FIFA World Cup started this week and there have been some shocking results on the pitch (Saudi Arabia defeating Argentina, Japan beating Germany). However, much of the news has been about FIFA’s heavy-handed tactics to prevent host country Qatar from be embarrassed by its abysmal human rights record.
  • The NFL sent the Arizona Cardinals to Mexico City for its Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers as part of the league’s efforts to export the game and its culture. The plan may have worked too well: the Cardinals fired one of its coaches, Sean Kugler, before the game for allegedly groping a woman in the Mexican capitol.
  • Gutless administrators at the University of Arizona have allowed students and others to attack student journalists at the school.

So, who won the week?

  • Richard Fierro and Thomas James are being credited for stopping the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. The pair acted quickly to disarm the shooter.
  • Could Deion Sanders be the next head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes?
  • Former Disney CEO Bob Iger, a legend who guided the company through some of its most successful years, has returned after his hand-picked successor had some high-profile missteps.

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift. Good luck!
  • NBC News national correspondent Miguel Almaguer appears to be suspended. He has not appeared on-air since the network retracted his story that shared false information about the attack on U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
  • Twitter offices had to be shut down late this week amid a mass exodus of workers. Elon Musk may be proving that employees will only put up with asshole, narcissistic CEOs if there are pre-IPO stock options involved. Alas, Twitter isn’t a start-up.
  • The answer to the clue “This TV show is under fire for cavalierly using a recent murder as a trivia question” is Jeopardy.
  • Comedian and noted car enthusiast Jay Leno suffered third-degree burns on his face and hands when a vintage car he was working on caught fire. As a result, his appearance this weekend at the Bellco Theatre in Denver has been cancelled.
  • Being fired as a reporter is tough enough, but having your news director invite you to a Hardees so he can fire you just adds insult to injury.
  • Have you ever wanted to be a police chief? Apply now with the City of Aurora and you might get it. They currently have zero applications for the position. Meanwhile, it turns out the city’s new interim police chief, Art Acevedo, “has a history of misconduct and was a frequent guest on InfoWars, founded by conspiracist Alex Jones.” This should end well.
  • The University of Virginia football team cancelled its final home game after three of its players were shot and killed. A former UVA teammate was arrested for the shooting.
  • Denver-area Uber and Lyft drivers are only netting about $5.50 an hour, according to a new report from Colorado Jobs With Justice. That is about one-third of what they would make if they earned minimum wage in the city.
  • Denver Broncos linebacker Aaron Patrick has sued the NFL, ESPN, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment and the L.A. Chargers after he tore his ACL in a sideline collision at the Chargers’ stadium. He landed awkwardly on a mat covering wiring.
  • FIFA selected Qatar to host the World Cup 12 years ago, and today – two days before the 2022 FIFA World Cup starts – Qatar announced that it is going back on its agreement and will ban alcohol sales at stadiums. Budweiser has to be thrilled about its $75 million sponsorship of the tournament.
  • A truck in which actress Denise Richards was a passenger sustained bullet holes following a road rage incident in L.A. Monday.
  • The Great American Family network, a start-up competitor to the Hallmark Channel, announced it will not feature gay and lesbian couples as part of its line-up of Christmas movies. I’m guessing you can expect a lot of Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A commercials, and not many others.

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

  • GroundFloor Media | CenterTable, Turner PR, TDA_Boulder, Fortnight Collective and Booyah Advertising led the list of Colorado companies on Outside Magazine’s Top 50 Best Places to Work.
  • Marina Salais-Robbins and Haley Henning have joined Linhart PR as account executives. 
  • KALC-FM (Alice 105.9) was the highest-rated radio station in the Denver market in the latest Nielsen rankings.
  • Lisa Cutter, the only public relations executive running for a Colorado State Senate seat, was elected.
  • The Denver Broncos haven’t lost a game in two weeks (a bye week helped).
  • Pete Webb has come out of retirement to rep former Colorado Parks and Wildlife director Dan Prenzlow.”
  • Pie Insurance named Joshua Brost VP of Marketing.

Lisa Cutter Elected to Colorado Senate District 20

Lisa Cutter, a longtime member of Denver’s PR community, defeated developer Tim Walsh last night in the race for the Colorado Senate District 20. Cutter previously represented Colorado House District 25 until redistricting shuffled the legislative map. During her tenure in the House, one of her signature causes was media literacy, and she was successful in funding a Media Literacy Advisory Committee to help schools better educate students on policies and curriculum.

8 Colorado Marketing Firms Named to Outside Magazine’s 50 Best Places to Work

Outside Magazine is out with its 2022 list of the 50 Best Places to Work, and once again Colorado has dominated the list. Twenty-five businesses based in Colorado made the top 50, while California was next with just six. Interestingly, Boulder-based companies represented 12 of the 50 winners (clearly, cost of living wasn’t one of the criteria)

The Colorado communications, digital marketing and advertising companies that made Outside’s 2022 list were:

#2 GroundFloor Media | CenterTable
#3 Turner PR
#12 TDA_Boulder
#13 Fortnight Collective
#16 Booyah Advertising
#31 Choozle
#46 Backbone Media
#48 Cactus

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Comedian Amy Schumer created a mock “Colorado” ad to promote her upcoming shows that leans heavily into our state’s abortion rights, and it is making executives at the Colorado Tourism Office uneasy.
  • University of Colorado Regent Glen Gallegos is facing an unprecedented censure for violating policies barring the mistreatment of university employees. Gallegos thoughtfully responded to the threat by saying, “A censure, it’s not good,” while also noting that he “can burn a little hot at times.”
  • The owners of a Richard Crowther-designed house in Cherry Creek are trying to stop efforts to “Tom’s Diner” them by securing landmark status on the house they want to tear down. Among those leading the effort to secure historic status is Tom Hart, the husband of DeeDee LeGrand Hart, the founder of the eponymous PR firm that has since shut down.
  • The feds say Liberty Global owes $284 million in back taxes and penalties because a scheme the company used – code named Project Soy – was not legitimate. Liberty’s accountants at Deloitte first approached the company about exploiting what it said was a loophole in the tax code.
  • Rosenberg’s Deli has closed its Boulder location, citing the lingering effects of the pandemic, inflation and an inability to get traction on The Hill.
  • The union representing RTD operators blames poor design for the recent derailment on the R Line. Video of the incident indicates that speeding and inattentiveness might have had something to do with it.
  • Sandy Hook-denier Alex Jones was ordered to pay $965 million for his lies and conspiracy theories that harmed families of the children who were murdered.
  • Fox Business News contributor Scott Martin tried to illustrate the impact of inflation by sharing that his recent Taco Bell lunch order cost $28. That claim sent the Twitterverse scrambling to research how anyone could spend that much at Taco Bell and even caused Fox host Neil Cavuto to ask in disbelief, “Wait a minute, you spent $28 at Taco Bell for just yourself?”
  • Mike Chambers, The Denver Post hockey reporter, quietly left the paper shortly after a photo appeared on social media of him hoisting the Stanley Cup while celebrating with Colorado Avalanche players. At the time, the photo raised questions as to whether he could cover the team objectively. Chambers says his departure is unrelated to the photo.
  • Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – Kanye West was suspended from Instagram and Twitter for violating the platforms’ policies. This time, it was antisemitism.
  • The hits to Gannett publications keep coming. The largest newspaper publisher in the country and the publisher of the Fort Collins Coloradoan and the Pueblo Chieftain, announced widespread cost-cutting efforts that will affect newsrooms, including mandatory unpaid vacations and voluntary buyouts. The move follows 400 layoffs the company made two months ago.

So, who won the week?

  • Children’s Hospital Colorado and GroundFloor Media won PR News‘ Healthcare Campaign of the Year for the hospital system’s “Youth Mental Health State of Emergency” campaign.
  • Colorado resorts have enjoyed an unexpected late summer/early fall jump in bookings, which is giving them optimism for a successful 2022-2023 ski season.
  • Six Colorado towns are on the list of Country Living’s “40 Prettiest Towns in America to Visit in Winter:” Glenwood Springs (5), Dunton (7), Telluride (18), Crested Butte (25), Steamboat Springs (31) and Ouray (39). All of them are beautiful, but there is no way that is the correct order.

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Hurricane Ian has caused a once-in-500-years flooding event in Florida, and officials estimate at least 21 Floridians are dead.
  • The body of Colorado’s Hilaree Nelson, a legend in the ski climber community, was found by Nepalese searchers on Mount Manaslu. She apparently was caught in an avalanche as she scaled the mountain in an attempt to then ski down it.
  • Rent in Denver is among the most expensive in the country, driven by a 45% increase since August 2021. And in what may be a leading indicator that benefits renters in the future, Colorado home prices saw some of the steepest price drops in the nation this summer.
  • Former NFL QB Brett Favre‘s troubles continue. After reports surfaced that he helped steer $5 million in welfare funds to build a volleyball stadium at his alma mater, he has now been dropped by SiriusXM and ESPN Milwaukee as they seek to distance themselves from him.
  • Speaking of the NFL, the Miami Dolphins are under intense scrutiny for letting QB Tua Tagovailoa play Thursday night after he appeared to suffer a concussion four days earlier in last Sunday’s game. In Thursday’s game, Tagovailoa was again slammed to the ground and this time he had to be carted off the field on a stretcher.
  • You will no doubt be shocked to learn that Shotgun Willie’s has been accused of unethical behavior related to a wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Air Force is the best college football program in the state, and now we may know why. The NCAA has put the school on probation for recruiting violations.
  • Pop star Shakira has been ordered to stand trial in Spain on tax fraud charges that could net her an eight-year prison sentence.
  • Satellite images show a 10-mile-long traffic jam to leave Russia following Vladimir Putin’s efforts to conscript and mobilize 300,000 additional troops to fight in Ukraine.
  • Fast Company had to shut down its website after it was hacked and used to send obscene and racist messages through its Apple News feed.
  • Here’s hoping Coolio has a Fantastic Voyage to a Gangsta’s Paradise.
  • The CEO of Clearwater, Fla.-based PostcardMania held a staff meeting to encourage employees to defy Hurricane Ian evacuation orders and instead remain at work because, “It’s not going to be that bad.” Following a social media backlash, the company said the CEO’s remarks – delivered at a staff meeting – were “personal opinions” that did not reflect “an official PostcardMania position in any way.”

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • The University of Oregon apologized to BYU after students chanted “F— the Mormons” at last week’s football game, And in one of the swiftest examples of karma, Oregon was hosting one of its top QB recruits at the game, a Mormon who left at halftime because of the chants.
  • Phil Washington, the CEO of DIA and President Biden’s nominee to lead the FAA, was the subject of a search warrant related to alleged corruption at the L.A. Metropolitan Transportation Authority when he led that organization. I’d expect Washington to quietly withdraw from consideration for the FAA position in the coming weeks (Friday afternoon news dump?).
  • Apple completed filming a $120 million Will Smith movie just weeks before the star slapped Oscars host Chris Rock. Now the company doesn’t know what to do with the film.
  • Denver Public Schools is in a dispute with four students about who owns the rights to a podcast created by the students using school resources.
  • Barney Fife apparently transferred from Mayberry to Platteville. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is investigating a Platteville Police officer who placed a woman under arrest in the back of his cruiser that he parked on top of railroad tracks. As he helped other officers search her car, a freight train hit his cruiser, seriously injuring the woman.
  • The Wall Street Journal wrote about growth in Colorado Springs, but many readers couldn’t get past the third paragraph when the Portland-based reporter described the city as a “bedroom community of Denver.
  • A city audit found that the Denver Police Department left nearly $400,000 in grant money for mental health support unused. The department was forced to return the money to be redistributed elsewhere.
  • I don’t know what the problem is with ants, but they are underperforming. A report this week estimates there are 20 quadrillion ants in the world – that’s 20,000 trillion, or 2.5 million ants for each human on earth. And yet they haven’t taken over anything but the occasional picnic.
  • It was a tough week for Denver radio. Four popular KUVO radio hosts have been fired or pushed out as the station and its listeners engage in a debate about what the jazz station should be. And sports radio station 104.3 The Fan cut a number of hosts this week, including longtime favorite Sandy Clough.
  • Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was suspended for the upcoming season after having “an inappropriate relationship” with a female team employee.
  • College graduates who majored in the English Lit, foreign languages, communications, philosophy and religious studies have the highest unemployment rate. Education, health, transportation and agriculture majors have the lowest rate of unemployment.

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

PRWeek, Boston U. Survey Finds PR ‘Has the Ear of the C-Suite but Faces New Expectations to Deliver Value’

Chris Daniels at PRWeek: “The PR function has never been in a better position to flex its influence across multiple facets of an organization. That’s the big headline from the most comprehensive annual review of the industry, back for its fifth year. The 2022 PRWeek/Boston University Communications Bellwether Survey offers a wealth of data-supported insights to inform this hypothesis, from in-house comms functions, PR agencies, educators and tech suppliers.” …

“PR pros report feeling valued, both by their organization and executive leadership (4.03 and 4.04, respectively, on a 5-point scale). Two out of three participants agreed the comms function is involved in important business decisions. An almost equal amount, 65%, said their advice was valued in making these decisions.”

“’The function capitalized on the pivotal moment the pandemic provided in 2020,’ says Arunima Krishna, assistant professor of PR at Boston University’s College of Communication. ‘The latest results show comms has continued to grow in importance, and this gives a strong indication that its influence is here to stay.’”

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Denver Public Schools board member Auon’tai “Tay” Anderson was ticketed for speeding in a DPS school zone when he was running late to greet students on the first day of classes.
  • Speaking of DPS, Denver students have enjoyed snow days forever, but now they are getting “heat days.” This week, 31 DPS schools were put on alert to close early due to temperatures approaching 100 degrees. Forty-eight DPS schools still do not have air conditioning.Juul
  • E-cigarette manufacturer Juul has agreed to pay nearly $440 million to settle allegations it marketed its products to minors.
  • Rocky’s Autos, which perfected, if not pioneered, the art of the campy car commercial, will close its doors after 40 years. Pour one out for the “Shagman.”
  • Miles Robinson, a member of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team that will compete in the FIFA World Cup in a few months, was arrested at an Atlanta bar when he swiped a shot off of a drink tray and refused multiple times to pay $5 for it.
  • The Pentagon has halted deliveries of the F-35 fighter jet because Lockheed Martin sourced a part from China, violating federal defense acquisition rules.
  • It was a tough week for journalists – former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw and NPR correspondent Anne Garrels both died, and Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German was murdered, allegedly by a county administrator who had been the subject of several of German’s articles.
  • An analysis of NFL teams finds that 28% are using some variation of former Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio’s innovative defense, yet Fangio remains out of work this season.
  • Carnegie Mellon University is dealing with a backlash after one of its professors shared on Twitter that she hoped Queen Elizabeth II’s death was “excruciatingly painful.”

So, who won the week?

Irony Alert: DPS School Board Member Tay Anderson Ticketed for Speeding in a DPS School Zone

Denver Public Schools board member Tay Anderson didn’t even make it to the start of the first day of classes in the 2022-2023 school year before creating a new controversy – he was ticketed for speeding outside Montbello High School on his way to welcome students on their first day of school.

Credit to Tay – the guy knows how to stick to his messaging. Instead of accepting blame for speeding and quietly paying the $285 ticket, his statement to media focused on police brutality and criticism of the police for “being visible outside the school building on the first day of school.”

Ukraine Enlists Support of PR Firms to Encourage Investment

Caitlin Oprysko at Politico: “Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy has enlisted the help of several American and European PR firms to launch a campaign aimed at attracting businesses and investors to the war-torn country, according to an outline of the effort filed with the Justice Department this week. Although the British conglomerate WPP announced the partnership with Ukraine’s ministry of culture in June, the DOJ filings this week offer more insight into who will be involved in the initiative as well as its general scope. GroupM Poland is coordinating the effort, but the firm’s U.S. arm as well as several other WPP subsidiaries including Ogilvy, Hill + Knowlton Strategies and Hogarth, will work on the multi-pronged and global initiative to signal that ‘Ukraine is still open for business and has the potential to be a key cultural and digital technology European hub,’ according to the documents.”

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

  • John Dakin, the Vail public relations executive who handled media for three World Alpine Ski Championships, was inducted into the Colorado Snowsports Museum’s Hall of Fame.
  • Andrew Hudson is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his influential Jobs List. I have no data to back it up, but I would guess it is the most-used jobs site in Denver.
  • Kate Stabrawa, a proud alumna of Ohio State, has launched her own consulting firm, Horseshoe Communications. Football fans will understand how her firm’s name and her alma mater are connected.
  • Allison Gerdes was promoted to Director of Internal Communications at UCHealth.
  • Kelly Collins was promoted to Employee Communications Manager at Lockheed Martin.
  • Ivan Popov has been named Digital Media Associate at the ACLU of Colorado.
  • A “triple-dip La Niña” may bring higher-than-normal snowfall to Colorado’s ski resorts this winter.

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

‘People Over Prime’ TikTok Campaign Targets Amazon

Taylor Lorenz and Caroline O’Donovan at The Washington Post: “A coalition of top TikTok stars is pledging to cease all work with Amazon — including shutting down storefronts and halting new partnerships with the e-commerce platform — until the company meets the demands of the Amazon Labor Union.”

“Boasting a combined following of over 51 million, the group of 70 TikTok creators says that the campaign, called the ‘People Over Prime Pledge,’ is designed to pressure Amazon to meet the requests of its workers, which include a $30 minimum wage, increased paid time off and halting activities the group considers ‘union busting.’ “

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • No doubt the venerable Denver strip club Diamond Cabaret has been the source of many a communicable disease outbreak, and this time it might be monkeypox.
  • Denver Public Schools paid $2.1 million to settle allegations that it misused AmeriCorps funds.
  • Verizon is scrambling to upgrade its 911 call-routing technology in Denver after media reported that its system routed 911 calls to dispatchers in Aurora during a recent high-profile shooting.
  • What’s to blame for downtown Denver’s increased violence? Food trucks!
  • The U.S. Forest Service halted construction on a Keystone chairlift that would access a new 555-acre, 16-trail expansion. That action was in response to the resort mistakenly building a temporary construction road in protected alpine tundra.
  • Glass windows on the exterior of a downtown Denver apartment complex have been shattering due to heat.
  • An airline passenger who brought two McDonald’s sausage McMuffins on a flight from Indonesia to Australia was fined the equivalent of more than $1,800 for failing to declare “potential high biosecurity risk items.
  • Jeff Bezos’ $500 million unfinished yacht was towed from its Rotterdam shipyard in the middle of the night because officials refused to allow him to partially disassemble a bridge that it would be too tall to clear once finished. Outraged at the request, locals had threatened to pelt the yacht with eggs and tomatoes when it passed the historic bridge.
  • Warner Bros. spent $90 million to make the movie “Batgirl,” but the result was so bad that the studio has completely shelved it – it won’t appear in theaters or on streaming services.
  • After more than 14,000 episodes, NBC has relegated “Days of Our Lives” to its Peacock streaming service, ending the soap opera’s 57-year run on broadcast TV.
  • Restaurants are tough businesses to start with, and now a review scam is making life even more difficult. Scammers are leaving one-star reviews and then demanding a ransom to remove them.
  • WNBA star Brittney Griner was found guilty of drug charges in a Russian show trial. The best odds of her being released are a prisoner swap.

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • What do you not do when you are smuggling 29 pounds of cocaine through Mesa County? Drive 110 mph on I-70.
  • Mike Willis, the director of Colorado’s Office of Emergency Management, looks like a dead man walking after a Denver Post profile of his threatening and bullying behavior. There’s no way Gov. Jared Polis wants this guy on the payroll as he campaigns for re-election.
  • Want to take a leisurely stroll through a former Superfund clean-up site? Good news! An appeals court gave its approval to continue constructing trails at the site of the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant.
  • Anglers 1, Fish 1: A 100-pound sailfish that was being reeled in lunged onto a fishing boat, impaling a 73-year-old woman.
  • A chess-playing robot broke a 7-year-old opponent’s finger during the “Moscow Open.” In understated fashion, the president of the Moscow Chess Federation noted, “The robot broke the child’s finger. This is, of course, bad.”
  • Deranged-billionaire-mad-scientist-frenemy Elon Musk made headlines this week for an alleged affair with the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin that ended their friendship and led to Brin’s divorce.
  • Residents of Yamaguchi, Japan, have come under attack from monkeys “that are trying to snatch babies, biting and clawing at flesh, and sneaking into nursery schools.”
  • A jury ordered cable company Charter Communications to pay $7 billion in damages to the family of a woman who was brutally murdered by one of its installers.
  • Your boss won’t give you a $1.6 million annual bonus? Just give it to yourself! That line of reasoning led to a guilty plea by Weber Shandwick’s now-former CFO. He embezzled $16 million over a decade from the PR firm.
  • Coyotes ate six of Martha Stewart’s pet peacocks. Celebrities … they’re just like you and me!

So, who won the week?

PRSA Colorado Announces ‘Gold Pick’ Special Award Winners

PRSA Colorado announced the Special Award Winners it will honor at its 2022 Gold Pick event in August:

  • Dawn Doty, University of Colorado Boulder, Swede Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Jackie Clark, HolcimUS, Public Relations Person of the Year
  • Joelle Martinez, Latino Leadership Institute, Business Person of the Year
  • Anusha Roy, 9News, Newsperson of the Year
  • Nora Thomas, Nora Thomas Ltd., Joe Fuentes Rookie of the Year
  • Cori Pope, Keeton Public Relations, Mentor of the Year
  • Shannon Hughes, Linhart Public Relations, Chapter Service Award
  • Denver Water Public Affairs, Public Relations Team of the Year

2022 Gold Pick Awards Event Details

Thursday, August 25, 2022
Denver Water
1600 W 12th Ave
Denver, CO 80204
4:30-6:00 pm Networking Reception
6:00-8:00 pm Awards Presentation 
Register to Attend

‘Is 18 Minutes Enough Time for a Subject to Comment?’

Erik Wemple at The Washington Post: “One line in Bloomberg News’ Wednesday story about the ongoing lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems v. Fox News was unimpeachable: ‘Fox … didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the filing. ‘Immediately,’ in this case, meant 18 minutes, according to a Fox News spokesperson.”

“That’s how long Bloomberg News reporter Erik Larson gave Fox News to comment for an article alleging that Dominion ‘said some executives and hosts at the network still haven’t handed over any records related to its coverage.’ The headline: ‘Fox Executives in $1.6 Billion Lawsuit Haven’t Handed Over Records, Dominion Says.’ Larson cited a July 18 court filing for the scoop.”

“As it turned out, that July 18 filing was actually the public version of a document filed a month earlier on June 17 relating to a discovery dispute between the two parties. Fox News secured an extension until July 1 to turn over certain documents. After Larson’s initial story was published, Fox News told Bloomberg News that it had met that deadline. Had Bloomberg waited for that comment, it would have avoided some trouble. ‘Eighteen minutes doesn’t sound like fair to me even in this day and age,’ says Leonard Downie Jr., a former executive editor of The Post.”

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

Great Moments in Media Relations

Don’t kill me, I’m just the messenger.

Saudi government media consultant Nicolla Hewitt explaining to representatives of The Washington Post that the Saudis would not allow the paper to attend a government briefing following President Biden’s visit. The background: Washington Post journalist James Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at the order of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. Hewitt works for Qorvis Communications.

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Denver is the third most expensive city in the country for Uber passengers, behind only New York City and Nashville. The average cost of a six-mile ride in Denver is about $33.
  • How bad have travel delays and cancellations been in Europe this summer? Delta added a flight from Heathrow to Detroit with no passengers just to deliver 1,000 pieces of stranded luggage.
  • Colorado has the fourth-most lightning deaths in the nation, and Coors Field and Rocky Mountain National Park have been identified as “hot spots.
  • Average monthly car payments in the U.S. have hit an all-time high, and 13% of them are more than $1,000 per month.
  • Meanwhile, car manufacturers are looking at subscription services offered by tech companies like Microsoft and Adobe with quite a bit of jealousy. How do I know? BMW has just put heated seats on a subscription plan that costs $17/month.
  • A second round of mediation between Comcast and Altitude Sports failed to end the stalemate that has prevented a vast majority of Coloradans from watching the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche over the past three years. So what have you missed? In those three years, the Nuggets have made the playoffs three times and seen center Nikola Jokić win the NBA MVP award twice. And the Avs, you may have heard, won the Stanley Cup.
  • If you are tired of listening to people talk about their Wordle wins, it could get worse. Hasbro is launching Wordle: The Board Game.
  • The Timberline Steaks & Grille restaurant at DIA is the highest-grossing restaurant in all of Colorado, but competitors will have a chance to take its crown – if only briefly – while it has its liquor license suspended for 30 days (it served a minor). The restaurant has appealed the decision that could cost it hundreds of thousands of dollars. Records show that 35-40% of the restaurant’s $6.3 million in sales are alcohol.
  • ABC News published an obituary for Ivana Trump without removing its “Do Not Pub” warning for editors. It’s common practice for news organizations to pre-draft obituaries of notable people and store them in the system for when they are needed.

So, who won the week?

Denver7 Planning Move to RiNo

Thomas Gounley at BusinessDen: “After selling its real estate at the corner of Speer and Lincoln last year, television station Denver7 is eyeing a move about three miles north. The ABC affiliate with the call sign KMGH, which brands itself ‘The Denver Channel,’ hopes to move its operations to the existing building at 2323 Delgany St., although the deal isn’t completely done, station general manager Dean Littleton told BusinessDen this week.” …

“The two-story 2323 Delgany St. building is about 85,000 square feet, according to property records. It was originally built as a warehouse, but repositioned as an office building several years ago. The property is in the Denargo Market area of Five Points and the RiNo Arts District.” …

“The move will represent the first major real estate shake-up in two decades among Denver’s primary TV stations, which are all clustered within a mile of each other south of downtown. The last change occurred in 2000, when KDVR/Fox31 moved into its building at 100 Speer, across the street from Denver7.”

Uber Spokeswoman Who Joined in 2015 Blames Pre-2017 Uber Employees for Being Unethical, Potentially Criminal Hacks Who Harmed Company’s Reputation

Associated Press: “As Uber aggressively pushed into markets around the world, the ride-sharing service lobbied political leaders to relax labor and taxi laws, used a ‘kill switch’ to thwart regulators and law enforcement, channeled money through Bermuda and other tax havens and considered portraying violence against its drivers as a way to gain public sympathy, according to a report released Sunday.

“The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a nonprofit network of investigative reporters, scoured internal Uber texts, emails, invoices and other documents to deliver what it called ‘an unprecedented look into the ways Uber defied taxi laws and upended workers’ rights.'”

In a written statement, Uber spokesperson Jill Hazelbaker acknowledged ‘mistakes’ in the past and said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, hired in 2017, had been ‘tasked with transforming every aspect of how Uber operates … When we say Uber is a different company today, we mean it literally: 90% of current Uber employees joined after Dara became CEO.'”

(Editor’s note: Uber Spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker joined Uber in 2015.)

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • A mountain lion continues to roam downtown Denver. On the bright side, maybe he will eat a scooter-rider or two.
  • If you are planning to fly out of DIA this holiday weekend, good luck! And if you have a shy bladder, you may not want to use the restrooms at the airport. Passengers on planes may be watching you.
  • Tyler Tysdal, husband of former Fox31 anchor Natalie Tysdal, was sentenced to six years in prison for defrauding investors in what prosecutors said was a Ponzi scheme. In June, Tysdal sold the family’s $3.1 million home to help pay back investors. The terms of his sentencing agreement shaved years off his prison sentence based on the amount of restitution he made.
  • For the second straight year, life expectancy in Colorado dropped. Experts say COVID-19 and drug overdose deaths are to blame.
  • The annual Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) conference was held in Denver last week, and things may not be going well for those who attended. Amid reports of a widespread COVID outbreak, the conference organizers issued a post-event alert suggesting attendees be vigilant about symptoms.
  • An employee at an Atlanta-area Subway was shot and killed after putting too much mayo on a customer’s sandwich.
  • The SEC fined Ernst & Young $100 million after hundreds of the accounting firm’s employees cheated on a … wait for it … ethics test.
  • The Pac-12 Conference is reeling after two of its most-historic schools, USC and UCLA, announced they are leaving to join the Big 10.
  • Independence Day marks roughly half way through the MLB baseball season, which is a good time to evaluate how the Colorado Rockies are doing. A quick check of the standings shows they currently are in last place in the NL West. Safe to say, the Monforts are not the Kroenkes.
  • A bar-hopping Japanese IT consultant overindulged and lost a flash drive that held the birth dates, addresses, bank account numbers and tax details of all 465,000 residents of the city of Amagasaki.
  • Ben Affleck’s 10-year-old son backed a $250,000 Lamborghini Urus into a $110,000 BMW SUV. Celebrities … they’re just like you and me!

So, who won the week?

  • The Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 21 years. And Denver fans largely managed not to riot afterward.
    • A Denver couple had the Stanley Cup delivered to their home after a mix-up with Avs captain Gabe Landeskog’s address.
    • The Avs completed the 2022 championship sweep – the Denver East Angels won the high school national hockey championship and the University of Denver Pioneers won the NCAA hockey championship.
  • Windsor native Sophia Smith was triumphant in her return to Colorado as part of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. She scored two goals in the team’s 3-0 win over Colombia at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the first Black woman in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

‘The Great Resignation is Over in PR’

Chris Daniels at PRWeek: “Employees have been calling the shots in the PR job market, as demand for talent escalated last year and maintained a furious pace. The all-out war to attract and keep talent led to double-digit pay raises, enhanced benefits packages, signing bonuses and staff dictating where and how they want to work. That was then. Now economic factors are turning the job market into one favoring employers. … According to industry recruiters, the PR job market is showing signs of, if not a downturn, at least the fear of one. 

“’Employment contracts are taking a little longer to get approved,’ notes Larry Brantley, president of executive search firm Chaloner. ‘Procurement and leadership are watching spending on new hires a lot more closely than last year. They are concerned a recession is around the corner, so organizations are being a lot more measured and cautious. They don’t want to hire too fast and have to make adjustments and downsize later.’” 

Avs Win Stanley Cup, Set New Record for Damaging It

The Colorado Avalanche could only post the second-highest post-season winning percentage (.800) on their way to winning the NHL championship last night, but they did set one new record: fastest team to damage the Stanley Cup. Phil Pritchard, the so-called “Keeper of the Cup” who works for the Hockey Hall of Fame, said the Avs managed to dent the trophy just five minutes after receiving it, which he said was “a new record.

Photo: Sportsnet

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

  • Tennis star Naomi Osaka has partnered with NBA star LeBron James to launch a media company that will create scripted and unscripted television series, documentaries, anime and branded content.
  • The Colorado Avalanche are one win away from clinching its third Stanley Cup championship. Meanwhile, the Colorado Mammoth defeated the Buffalo Bandits to win the National Lacrosse League championship.
  • Colorado State’s David Roddy was selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA draft.
  • Trumpet, a magnificently be-wrinkled and be-jowled bloodhound from Illinois,” won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Denver Public Schools board member Tay Anderson has been accused of a lot of things by a lot of people – some legitimate, some not – but the latest is that school board President Xóchitl “Sochi” Gaytán is now accusing Anderson of intimidation and plotting a possible coup.
  • Denver was not selected by FIFA to host World Cup matches in 2026. An expert speculated that other cities’ willingness to offer city- and state-backed financial incentive packages when Denver’s bid had none likely hurt Denver’s chances.
  • Colorado kids are in crisis, according to a recent survey by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. The survey of middle- and high-school students found 40% experienced feelings of depression in the prior year, up from 35% since the last poll in 2019, and more than half of respondents said they experienced stress on a daily basis.
  • WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon has stepped down while the company’s board investigates whether he used $3 million in company money to cover up an alleged affair with a former employee.
  • Montana is reeling from devastating floods, and no one knows where its governor is.
  • Golfer Phil Mickelson recently played in his first Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament despite acknowledging that the Saudis are “scary sons of bitches” who killed Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This week, he played in his first U.S. tournament since the comments, the U.S. Open, and shot an abysmal eight-over 78.
  • USA Today has removed 23 articles by journalist Gabriela Miranda that it said included “misattributed quotes and in some cases may have fabricated interviews and sources.

So, who won the week?

Profitability Survey Finds PR Firms Stage ‘Incredible Comeback’ Following the Pandemic

O’Dwyer’s: “Profitability was up last year for North American PR agencies, according to an annual industry survey conducted by PR merger and acquisition advisory firm Gould+Partners. Gould+Partners’ latest Benchmarking report, which analyzes key factors affecting PR firm profitability, found that North American PR agencies witnessed operating profits averaging 19.7 percent of net revenues (calculated as fee billings plus markups) in 2021, up from 18.2 percent in 2020 and a 2.3 percent increase from pre-COVID 2019’s 17.4 percent.

“ ‘19.7 percent average operating profit is an incredible comeback for the PR industry,’ Gould+Partners’ Managing Partner Rick Gould told O’Dwyer’s.”

“The survey’s findings discovered that profitability was especially high at the largest firms: PR agencies with revenues in excess of $25 million netted average operating profits of 21.3 percent in 2021—up from 20.2 percent in 2020—indicating both increased organic growth as well as growth via acquisition. Firms with between $10 million and $25 million in revenues netted 20.1 percent profitability last year, up from 17 percent in 2020. Firms accounting for between $3 million and $10 million in revenues netted profitability of 19.5 percent profitability, up from 18.1 percent, while the smallest firms—those with under $3 million in revenues—netted the smallest profitability, 15.8 percent, flat from 2020.”

In Memoriam

Brad Bawmann was a force of nature. Not like a tornado or a hurricane, but more like the tides – quiet, measured and calm, yet undeniably important and impactful. He built his firm, The Bawmann Group, into one of Denver’s most-respected, capturing a who’s who of clients, particularly in the healthcare and nonprofit industries.

But work was just a piece of Brad’s life. He was always concerned with issues bigger than himself, and that was demonstrated yet again when he traveled to Krakow, Poland, earlier this year to help refugees from Ukraine. And you couldn’t have drinks or lunch with him without seeing him beam with pride as he shared stories about his wife, Wendy, and his kids, Phoebe and Oliver.

Brad passed away unexpectedly this weekend from complications of pneumonia. He was 59.

‘Edelman Multicultural Practice Grows 68% in Less than Two Years’

Ewan Larkin at PRWeek: “Edelman’s multicultural practice has grown 68% since its launch in November 2020, executives at the firm said this week. Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery two years ago, Edelman felt the need to formalize and accelerate its involvement in multicultural communications. The agency began by establishing a racial justice comms taskforce, then expanded by building a U.S. multicultural practice that operates across its sectors.” The practice is on track to amass $8.2 million in revenue by the end of the fiscal year.

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

‘Wells Fargo Announces Pause of Policy That Led to Fake Job Interviews’

Emily Flitter with The New York Times: “Wells Fargo is temporarily suspending a hiring policy that led some managers to conduct sham interviews of nonwhite and female candidates following a report by The New York Times highlighting the practice, the bank’s chief executive, Charles W. Scharf, told employees in a letter on Monday. Instituted in 2020, the bank’s ‘diverse slate’ policy stipulated that at least half the candidates interviewed for open positions paying $100,000 or more in annual salary needed to be ‘diverse’ — a catchall term for racial minorities, women and members of other disadvantaged groups.” …

“The Times reported (recently) that a former employee in the bank’s wealth management business had complained that he was being forced by his bosses to interview people for jobs that had already been promised to others, just to meet the ‘diverse slate’ requirement.”

Wells Fargo has a history of diversity issues. You may recall that in 2020, Scharf apologized after blaming the bank’s lack of diversity on “a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from.”

Linhart Hires Two, Promotes One

Linhart Public Relations hired Mallory West as a senior account executive and Josh Gaydos as an account executive. West joins Linhart from Golin in Chicago and she will will handle local and national media relations, content development and digital marketing, along with other communications activities, for several clients including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Graebel Companies; Know Labs; Safe Rx; and Spire Storage. Gaydos previously was Director of Principal Operations for the Jaime Harrison for U.S. Senate Campaign in South Carolina. He will support clients such as  Black Hills Energy, Graebel Companies and Transitional Energy.

Linhart also promoted Sari Winston to account executive. She will continue to support a variety of clients, including Chocolove and Safe Rx, with media relations, research, social media, digital marketing and graphic design services.

Scream Celebrates 25 Years

Congratulations to Laura Ledermann and the team at Denver’s Scream Agency, which is celebrating the agency’s 25th anniversary.

“Scream Agency could never have reached where we are today without our dedicated team and supportive clients who have helped us reach our goals and continue to push us to do better and be better,” says Ledermann, founder of Scream Agency. “It has been a privilege to work with a variety of brands to serve our communities and the planet through our core values.” 

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Denver was named the nation’s 9th most-rat-infested city.
  • A lifeguard shortage means that five Denver city pools will not open this summer.
  • Colorado home values are inflated by 38.5% above the expected trend line, indicating that our housing market is the most overpriced it has been in three decades. For context, the housing bubble that burst in 2008 was only 20% above the expected trend line. Pop!
  • Denver landlords have no legal requirement to disclose lead pipes to their renters. Denver’s Department of Public Health & Environment requires landlords to inform renters about peeling or deteriorating lead paint, but not about lead pipes.
  • Southwest Airlines is suing the state of Colorado over the “Colorado Healthy Families and Workplace Act,” a move that could reduce sick leave benefits for all Coloradans. The Act establishes sick leave standards that are in conflict with what Southwest currently offers, and Southwest has already been fined more than $1 million for violations of the Act.
  • Two workers died when a coal pile collapsed at Xcel’s Comanche power plant in Pueblo.
  • Millions of miller moths will invade Colorado this month. If you find them irritating, you are “selfish” and lack “compassion,” according to CSU entomologist Maia Holmes.
  • Wild Animals 2, Humans 0: A woman was trampled by a moose in Breckenridge and a bison gored a woman in Yellowstone National Park.
  • Actress Amber Heard has been ordered to pay $10 million in damages for defaming actor Johnny Depp.
  • The U.N. says that a sand shortage is about to become a “global crisis.” You read that right: a global sand shortage.
  • Deranged-billionaire-genius-mad-scientist
  • Elon Musk has ordered Tesla employees to return to the office full-time immediately or face termination.
  • Swedish people were roasted this week after a Reddit post claimed that many refuse to feed guests. The post claimed that some Swedish families do not invite their children’s visiting friends to eat with them at mealtime, leaving them instead to play alone while the family eats.
  • ESPN basketball announcers Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen missed game one of the NBA Finals last night after testing positive for COVID-19.
  • JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says that there is an economic “hurricane” on the horizon, caused in large part by shifting Federal Reserve policies and the war in Ukraine.

So, who won the week?

Acquisition of 9News Parent Company Would ‘Kill Journalism Jobs, Undermine Local News’

Jon Schleuss, the president of the largest union of journalists, is calling for the the Biden Administration to urge the FCC to reject an attempt by hedge funds Apollo Global Management and Standard General to acquire TEGNA, the parent company of 9News:

“I urge you to call on the Federal Communications Commission to block the takeover of TEGNA, one of the largest local broadcasting television station groups, by Wall Street mega-funds Apollo Global Management and Standard General. This proposed transaction would kill journalism jobs, undermine local news and raise prices for American families”

“Wall Street firms behind this transaction secured billions of dollars in financing by apparently planning to cut journalism jobs. In addition to forcing dedicated local reporters to take ‘the longest walk a parent has to make’ to tell their children that mom or dad lost their job, such brutal cuts also would undermine local news. With less local news, communities will suffer from lower voter participation, higher taxes, more corruption and increased partisanship.”

‘Why Fourteen Fox31/Channel 2 Stars Have Left the Stations Since Last Year’

Michael Roberts at Westword: “Denver TV stations have long experienced significant turnover, with reporters and anchors typically leaving one outlet in favor of another. But over the past year-plus, the pace of such departures has increased markedly, and many of those moving on have done so not to climb the broadcast-journalism ladder but to start over in entirely new careers. This phenomenon is epitomized by the action at affiliated stations Fox31 and KWGN/Channel 2.”

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

  • Esteban Hernandez left Denverite to join the Axios Denver team.
  • The possibly misnamed Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2022 class, and it includes Duran Duran, Eminem, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Lionel Richie, the Eurythmics and Pat Benatar.
  • The famous axe from the movie “The Shining” will soon take up residence at Estes Park’s Stanley Hotel, which was the inspiration for the Stephen King thriller. An anonymous donor purchased the axe at auction and has loaned it to the hotel’s new movie-memorabilia museum and film center.
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado is the first pediatric health care system in the country to provide free education and career training for its staff members.

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • The director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Dan Prenzlow, is on paid administrative leave after directing a racially charged “Back of the Bus” comment toward a Black employee.
  • The Gallery Sportsman’s Club & Range just opened in Lakewood, and it combines a gun range with a … wait for it … full-service bar. Genius!
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared Colorado a “primary natural disaster area” due to our decades-long drought. The move “qualifies farmers and ranchers for emergency loans to recover damages from the ongoing megadrought.”
  • Allegations of inappropriate behavior against actor Bill Murray have shut down production on the film “Being Mortal” starring Murray, Aziz Ansari and Seth Rogen. Murray has a long history of allegedly abusive behavior on-set.
  • Two co-founders of the Black Lives Matter Global Foundation Network and BLM Los Angeles used $6 million in donations to buy a southern California mansion.
  • Lawyers for the L.A. Times accused L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva of “abusing his official position” when he publicly alleged that one of its reporters was under criminal investigation for her coverage of a police brutality incident. Villanueva quickly backtracked and claimed he didn’t make the allegation despite video of the press conference during which he said it.
  • After a press conference this week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), media briefly reported that radiation levels at the Chernobyl nuclear site were “abnormal.” That was concerning given the recent occupation of the facility by Russian military forces. However, media almost immediately corrected those reports to say that the official who provided the information actually said – with a heavy Argentinean accent – that conditions were “at normal.”
  • Is the U.S. economy headed toward a major recession? Deutsche Bank says yes, while Goldman Sachs says maybe.
  • A family of American tourists sparked bedlam at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport when they went through security with an unexploded military shell they had found while touring the Golan Heights.
  • Actor Jason Sudeikis is distancing himself from a process server who handed his ex-wife, actress Olivia Wilde, lawsuit papers while she was onstage at a CinemaCon event. A Sudeikis spokesperson said the “Ted Lasso” star actor “had no prior knowledge” that his ex-wife would be served there, and that “he would never condone her being served in such an inappropriate manner.”

So, who won the week?

The Scarlet Letters: P.R.

Steve Barrett at PRWeek: “BCW calls it earned plus, Edelman dubs it earned creative, Weber Shandwick goes beyond public relations into marketing solutions, Ketchum talks about full-service marketing and communications, FleishmanHillard pitches full-service creative, Lippe Taylor proselytizes earned marketing. As PRWeek prepares to publish its seminal annual deep dive into the agency sector it seems everybody’s talking about this modern take on PR without actually calling it PR.”

“Peruse the websites of these august firms and you’ll struggle to find the phrase PR amid all the talk of ‘solutions,’ ‘synergizing,’ ‘holistic perspectives,’ ‘transformative outcomes,’ ‘pursuit of excellence’ and ‘human-centered thinking.’ But, however it is described, the Agency Business Report 2022 will show that whatever PR has morphed into is extraordinarily compelling and crucial for brands, corporations and organizations of all types. And … it has moved way beyond straight media relations.”

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • It’s going to be hot, dry and windy today, so much so that meteorologists say that the wildfire danger in Colorado today is higher than it has been in a decade.
  • The pandemic has caused a lot of collateral damage. In Colorado, that includes a 30% increase in both alcohol-related deaths and syphilis.
  • Denver Public Schools board member Tay Anderson had his defamation suit against BLM 5280 and Mary Katherine Brooks-Fleming dismissed by a judge, and he could be liable for their attorneys fees.
  • D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. High School named a man convicted of domestic violence as the sole finalist for its principal position. He quickly withdrew from consideration when media coverage caused a public backlash.
  • The Vail town council said it was “ready to go to war with Vail Resorts” over a proposed affordable housing project in the town and then voted to condemn the land to prevent construction.
  • With several key players injured, no one expected the Denver Nuggets to make a deep playoff run, but what has emerged has been a worst-case scenario: down 3-0 to the Golden State Warriors and at risk of being swept out of the playoffs in embarrassing fashion.
  •  The conservation group American Rivers has ranked the Colorado River as one of the country’s most endangered waterways. The group says the river and its reservoirs are at record lows.
  • Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia account for five of the six most-stolen brands of cars in the Denver metro area.
  • The world’s No. 2 men’s tennis player, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, and the world’s No. 4 women’s player, Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, will not be allowed to compete in Wimbledon this year due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the tournament’s organizers announced this week.
  • Former Denver Bronco Von Miller is facing a “revenge porn” lawsuit alleging he distributed a sexually explicit photo of a former girlfriend to “two well-known celebrities.”
  • A Kentucky business that was asked by an employee with extreme anxiety not to throw him a birthday party did just that and now has been ordered to pay him $450,000.
  • It was a tough week for streaming services and shows:
    • Jon Stewart’s Apple TV+ show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” saw its audience drop 78% from its first to its fifth episode. The show now averages about 40,000 viewers, which is less than 5% of John Oliver’s similar HBO show.
    • Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 and expects to lose another 2 million in the second quarter. Its stock has dropped nearly 70% over the past four months.
    • CNN is pulling the plug on its CNN+ streaming service just weeks after its launch.
    • The director of “The Chosen,” an online series about Jesus, has apologized for a marketing ploy that intentionally defaced billboards for the show. Supporters of the series blamed “everyone from Starbucks to ‘Democratic Satanists'” for the apparent vandalism.
  • Lucky Charms … they’re magically litigious? The cereal manufacturer likely will soon be the target of a class-action lawsuit after dozens of consumers reported becoming ill after eating the breakfast cereal.

So, who won the week?

Harvard Study: Just 1-2 Days in the Office Per Week is Most Productive

Arianna MacNeill at the Boston Globe: “A new study from Harvard Business School suggests that when it comes to hybrid work, just one to two days in the office, on a flexible schedule, creates the best outcomes for employees and businesses alike. … The study found that not only were the workers creating more work products, they also showed ‘greater satisfaction,’ and ‘less isolation,'” according to Prithwiraj Choudhury, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.

Fact of the Day, Media Pitch Edition

Journalists responded to 3.37% of pitches sent by PR professionals in Q1 2022, according to a study from Propel. That is a single-digit decline from the 3.53% of pitches journalists responded to in 2021.

Propel recommends sending emails with subject lines no longer than five words and keeping the pitch between 50 and 79 words. And, while I’m not a journalist, I’m pretty sure they would recommend making sure the beat they cover is relevant to your pitch and to stop following up with variations of, “Just wanted to make sure you got my previous email.”

Who Made the Worse Naming Rights Deal: Syracuse or the Colorado Rockies?

Syracuse University has finally extricated itself from one of the worst stadium naming rights agreements ever made. As bad as it was, the question is whether it was worse than the current Colorado Rockies’ deal.

The sports business publication Sportico reported, “Syracuse University’s iconic Carrier Dome is no more. The school has reached a settlement with Carrier Global Corp. to end the company’s perpetual naming rights deal for the football and basketball venue. … Thus ends one of the longest running and most sponsor-friendly naming rights agreements in sports history. Carrier gave the school a $2.75 million gift back in 1979 during construction of the building, securing naming rights for the lifetime of the venue. Forty-three years later, the Carrier Dome is among the most recognizable buildings in college basketball and college football. … The dome would likely command upwards of $3.25 million per year on the open market.”

Meanwhile, Denverites may recall that Coors got a sweetheart deal when it received the permanent naming rights to the Rockies’ stadium when it invested $30 million in the ownership group back in 1991. Coors later sold that ownership stake in 2013 for an estimated $75 million, but that transaction did not affect the naming rights agreement. So, Coors actually made $45 million “buying” the permanent naming rights to Coors Field.

My back-of-the-envelope calculations say that Syracuse left about $45-50 million on the table with its deal, while the Rockies have missed out on about $35 million. However, Syracuse’s deal has now expired while the Rockies’ continues. With naming rights valued at about $4 million per year (the Pepsi Center’s deal is for $3.4 million annually while Empower Field is $6 million per year), the Rockies will officially become the worse deal in 2025.

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • The Colorado Association of Realtors predicts that the average single-family home price in Denver may reach $1 million by June.
  • Meanwhile, Denver was ranked as one of the five least affordable cities in the country, behind only San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Miami. That clicking sound you hear is millions of local millennial and Gen-Z renters Googling “trendy, affordable cities.”
  • The organizers of the Cherry Creek Sneak, one of the metro area’s oldest and largest running events, announced this will be its final year. Event director Pat Downing said registration numbers “fell off a cliff” following the pandemic.
  • The EPA is attempting to reclassify nine Front Range counties between Fort Collins and Castle Rock as “severe” violators of federal ozone standards.
  • The Colorado Rockies’ commitment to owning fourth place in its five-team division is impressive. An analysis of the values of MLB teams was released this week, and the Rockies placed fourth in the NL West at $1.4 billion, ahead of only the Arizona Diamondbacks.
    • And, this week, Thrillist ranked the food at all 30 MLB ballparks, and the Rockies once again placed fourth, this time behind the L.A. Dodgers. The publication noted the stadium’s Rocky Mountain Oysters, plentiful microbrews and the Helton burger as the best options available.
  • CNN launched its CNN+ streaming service to great fanfare several weeks ago, and it is already flopping. The network planned to invest approximately $1 billion in the service over the next four years, but low adoption rates – reportedly fewer than 10,000 viewers per day – have caused CNN to significantly lower both its investment and subscriber projections.
  • NFL quarterback Cam Newton has a history of making ill-advised comments, and he stayed on-brand this week when he complained in an interview about women “who can’t cook” and who “don’t know when to be quiet.”
  • Amazon announced it is adding a 5% “fuel and inflation surcharge” for third-party sellers who use the site. For those keeping track, the online retailer reported profits of $33.4 billion in 2021.
  • It was not a good week for male actors. Cuba Gooding, Jr. pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of forcibly touching a woman at a New York City nightclub in 2018 and “Game of Thrones” actor Joseph Gatt was arrested for allegedly engaging in sexually explicit communications with a minor.

So, who won the week?

Who Had the Worst Week?

So, who won the week?

  • Lydia Prado of the nonprofit Lifespan Local was named the 9News Leader of the Year.
  • The Colorado Rockies may be an inept dumpster fire that owns fourth place in our five-team division, but one day a year optimism reigns: Opening Day. Everyone is a Rockies fan today.
  • If you are a fan of road rage, good news! A new state law that allows bicyclists to roll through stop signs will no doubt further anger a subset of drivers convinced that bikes are the root of all road evils.

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Facebook may have rebranded as Meta, but some things never change. The Washington Post outed the company this week as being responsible for a behind-the-scenes smear campaign against competitor TikTok. The details are wide-ranging, but the bottom line is that Facebook/Meta remains evil.
  • The City of Denver seems to have some ambivalence about “the Mayor of Pickleball.” Denver Parks & Rec filed a complaint with the Denver Police Department, and DPD arrested the 71-year-old man on charges of vandalism causing damage in excess of $10,000. The Denver District Attorney’s Office, however, is refusing to file charges and is encouraging mediation to resolve the issue.
    • Speaking of the Denver Police Department, Chief Paul Pazen has been mentioned as a potential candidate for Denver mayor, but you have to think last week’s $14 million federal jury judgement against the DPD for its handling of the George Floyd protests, combined with a recent brutal report alleging he was “paralyzed” about how to respond to the protests, has ended those ambitions.
    • Perhaps more embarrassing than the $14 million judgement itself was the Denver Police union’s response. President Nick Rogers, literally wearing camouflage cargo shorts and a beard bundled up in rubber bands, held a “press conference” alleging that downtown Denver would have been destroyed like Kyiv, Ukraine, if not for the heroic actions of officers.
  • The Will Smith-Chris Rock Slap Heard ‘Round the World” was an embarrassing situation on all fronts, and there were three clear losers: Smith never should have gone on stage to confront Rock; Rock never should have made a joke about someone’s medical condition; and the Academy never should have allowed a comedian to mock one of its members live from the stage.
    • How bad was Slapgate for Smith? O.J. Simpson released a video saying that he thought Smith was wrong to have hit Rock.
    • Smith issued an apology on Monday, and if you were under the impression that Rock also issued an apology, you were duped.
  • Verizon customers are getting spam text messages from an unlikely source – themselves.
  • Hate groups remain prevalent in Colorado, according to a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • If you had any doubts that wildfire season in Colorado has expanded to year-round, the December and now March fires in Boulder County and Estes Park should put that to rest. Can’t say I’m excited about what July will bring.
  • The actor Bruce Willis has retired after being diagnosed with aphasia, a disease that impacts cognitive abilities.
  • The St. Peter’s Peacocks were the Cinderella of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, but one week after losing to the University of North Carolina in the Elite Eight, Seton Hall hired the team’s head coach away.
  • Denver’s street sweeping program resumes today, and it is expected to generate about $7.7 million in tickets for Denver drivers who fail to move their parked cars from city streets on designated days.

So, who won the week?

  • Colorado Springs was named ninth on a list of “best-performing” cities nationally, ahead of Denver which ranked 14th. The report noted that Colorado Springs is now a top destination for tech workers and recent college graduates.
  • The public may be able to ride RTD for free in August under legislation working its way through the statehouse. The proposed pilot program attempts to address air emissions during Denver’s hot, often-smoggy summer.
  • Young women are starting to out-earn their male counterparts in certain markets, reversing a trend that has existed since, I don’t know, caveman days. Women in San Diego now earn 105% of their male peers and those in New York City and Washington, D.C., earn 102%.
  • The US Men’s National Soccer Team qualified for the 2022 World Cup, rebounding from their failure to qualify for the 2018 tournament.

‘Westword was accidentally included on all of the emails’

Five Points real estate has become a soap opera over the past year, no more so than the situation that forced the historic Welton Street Cafe to close last week. A real estate development company, the FlyFisher Group, has been the source of most of the controversy, and the fact that it is a Black-owned company that is behaving in a manner some Black businesses and advocates describe as predatory makes it an even more sensational story.

Conor McCormick-Cavanagh at Westword reported on the situation today, and his story included a phrase that is every PR person’s nightmare: “Westword was accidentally included on all of the emails.” From the article:

Westword reached out to both Burkett and his lawyer, Kim Ritter, for comment. Ritter forwarded that email to Burkett, who then forwarded the email to Sarah Cullen, a local public relations professional (at SideCar PR) who is serving as a spokesperson for Burkett, with this question: “Sarah any thoughts on this?”

Cullen’s response to Burkett and FlyFisher Group chief of staff Karina Tineo: “Happy to provide the ‘we don’t respond to active lawsuits’ comment like last time. Or we can let him know you’re traveling and ask for questions to see what he has and is focusing on.”

Westword was accidentally included on all of the emails. “First, [the FlyFisher Group] has not filed any lawsuits. Second, I am out of town and third we do not comment on ongoing litigation,” Burkett wrote in an email back to Cullen.

If You Can’t Beat Them … Orchestrate an Elaborate, Behind-the-Scenes Smear Campaign

I would describe it as unbelievable, but we’re talking about Facebook Meta, which makes it completely believable. From Taylor Lorenz and Drew Harwell at The Washington Post:

“Facebook parent company Meta is paying one of the biggest Republican consulting firms in the country to orchestrate a nationwide campaign seeking to turn the public against TikTok. The campaign includes placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing to draw political reporters and local politicians into helping take down its biggest competitor.” …

“Employees with the firm, Targeted Victory, worked to undermine TikTok through a nationwide media and lobbying campaign portraying the fast-growing app, owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance, as a danger to American children and society, according to internal emails shared with The Washington Post. … Campaign operatives were also encouraged to use TikTok’s prominence as a way to deflect from Meta’s own privacy and antitrust concerns.”

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Minutes after setting up at Denver’s Union Station for a report on escalating crime at the transit hub, CBS4 reporter Kelly Werthmann and an undisclosed photojournalist were accosted and the cameraman was assaulted. Construction company Kiewit became collateral damage in this story because the man who committed the assault – likely someone experiencing homelessness who was wearing donated clothing – had a jacket with a Kiewit logo on it.
  • The Central Park Recreational Center and “the Mayor of Pickleball” are locked in a dispute over permanent pickleball lines on multi-use courts. The latest twist involves the Denver Police Department and felony charges of vandalism totaling more than $10,000.
  • Despite threats from REI, Patagonia, North Face and others that they would boycott any Outdoor Retailer trade show in Utah, the show’s organizers announced that it will leave Denver after this year and relocate to Salt Lake City. Visit Denver officials estimate the economic impact of the trade show at $40-60 million annually.
  • Disney CEO Bob Chapek ‘s strategy of trying to stay out of politics has backfired spectacularly as a revolt led by employees against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation has put the company in the spotlight. Employees engaged in walkouts and March Madness announcers at ESPN (which is owned by Disney) started several games with two minutes of silence in protest. Chapek’s contract is up for renewal in a year, and how he handles this crisis may be what determines whether he stays at Disney.
  • Speaking of Disney, the theme park apologized for a performance by a Texas high school cheerleading squad that included “the team dancing and chanting ‘scalp ’em Indians, scalp ’em’ ‘ while performing moves that appear to appropriate Native American culture in a parade at Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park.” If only there had been some clue that the Port Neches-Grove High School Indianettes might perform something controversial.
  • NFL QB Deshaun Watson has pending civil lawsuits from 22 women alleging sexual abuse, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Cleveland Browns from signing him to a five-year, $230 million, fully guaranteed contract.
  • Kanye West may have five Grammy nominations this year, but Recording Academy executives are concerned enough about his increasingly erratic and abusive behavior that they won’t allow him to perform at the televised awards ceremony.

So, who won the week?

  • Denver media experienced a euphoric moment when two of its very favorite things intersected: a disaster and the Denver Broncos. Coverage of a relatively small fire at Empower Field received a surprisingly large amount of coverage.
  • Approximately $13.5 million of the $436 million philanthropist MacKenzie Scott is giving to Habitat for Humanity is designated for its Denver chapter. It is Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver’s largest single donation in its history. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains also received a record $20 million donation from Scott.
  • The Denver Nuggets extended head coach Michael Malone’s contract, giving him a chance to set the franchise’s all-time wins record. He currently is third (309 wins), behind Doug Moe (432 wins) and George Karl (423 wins).
  • Former soccer star David Beckham handed over control of his Instagram account that has more than 71 million followers to a doctor in Ukraine to highlight the conditions in the country and the “amazing work” medical teams are doing. Beckham is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • “Denver police suffered a ‘total leadership failure’ amid the George Floyd protests in 2020, and chief Paul Pazen appeared ‘paralyzed’ about how to respond,” according to new documents obtained by Axios Denver.
  • Frank “The Strong Arm” Azar again finds himself in need of a talented lawyer. Months after suing his accountant, and then suing a second accountant he hired to fix his first accountant’s mess, Azar is suing an out-of-state lawyer whom he says is using Google ads to illegally poach clients.
  • College basketball fans in our state had a humbling week, going 0-3. The Colorado State men’s team’s March Madness experience lasted only two hours as the Rams were beaten by the University of Michigan Wolverines in the first game of the first round of that tournament. Meanwhile, the University of Colorado men’s team could only make the NIT tournament and then lost its first-round game to St. Bonaventure. And, finally, the University of Colorado women’s team lost its first-round game in the NCAA tournament today.
  • The Denver Broncos’ off-season moves have created a media frenzy, and The Denver Gazette got a little too caught up in it when it erroneously reported the Broncos had signed free agent linebacker Chandler Jones. He actually has signed with the Las Vegas Raiders.
  • Gig economy workers at Uber and Lyft say that high gas prices may be the breaking point for drivers who were already operating on razor-thin margins.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Columbia University as the second-best university in the country, but a professor in the school’s math department says its a fraud and that the university is gaming the system.
  • As it heads into this year’s tax season, the IRS is hiring 10,000 employees to help it get through 23 million returns it still hasn’t processed from last year.
  • CNN is an HR dumpster fire. Former anchor Chris Cuomo filed a $125 million lawsuit against the news network alleging that he was wrongfully terminated by Jeff Zucker, who has since resigned following the disclosure of his inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

So, who won the week?

  • Coors has restarted its brewery tours that famously come with free samples.
  • Denver Film’s Sie FilmCenter has re-opened and increased the programming available to movie fans.
  • ESPN is determined to make Monday Night Football the biggest game of the week, and it has lured announcers Troy Aikman and Joe Buck away from FOX to make it happen.

Columbia University Professor Challenges Own School’s USN&WR Ranking

Anemona Hartocollis at The New York Times: “Everyone knows that students buff their résumés when applying to college. But a math professor is accusing Columbia University of buffing its own résumé — or worse — to climb the all-important U.S. News & World Report rankings of best universities.”

“Michael Thaddeus, who specializes in algebraic geometry at Columbia, has challenged the university’s No. 2 ranking this year with a statistical analysis that found that key supporting data was ‘inaccurate, dubious or highly misleading.'”

“In a 21-page blistering critique on his website, Dr. Thaddeus is not only challenging the rating but redoubling the debate over whether college rankings — used by millions of prospective college students and their parents — are valuable or even accurate.”

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • The HOA for Green Valley Ranch has filed an astonishing 68 foreclosure notices for unpaid fines associated with basic covenant violations such as paint color, basketball hoops and trash cans left in the street. The foreclosure notices represent 57% of those filed in all of Denver over the past year. City officials are so concerned about the issue that they have scheduled a community meeting to offering resources to homeowners.
  • Two prosecutors in the Denver City Attorneys Office resigned and a third was suspended after emails and chat messages showed them “disparaging their bosses, boasting about how little they were working during their stay-at-home phase of the pandemic, confessing to misusing a criminal records database and reveling in causing a co-worker to suffer a ‘nervous breakdown.’”
  • Denver drivers spend an extra 41 hours in traffic annually due to congestion. The bright side? That’s a little more than half of what drivers in New York City and Los Angeles spend.
  • The Colorado Classic bike race has showcased Colorado to an international audience, but unless it finds a $3 million title sponsor it will have to shut down.
  • Speaking of bicycles, Denver’s oldest bike shop – Turin Bicyclesis closing after 51 years due to increased rents and continued disruptions to the global supply chain.
  • Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for the 2022 season after gambling on NFL games last season. The $1,500 in bets he placed will cost him $11.1 million in lost salary.
  • Ryan Coogler, the Hollywood director of movies such as “Black Panther,” “Creed” and “Fruitvale Station,” was handcuffed by police when employees at a Bank of America branch mistook his request to withdraw cash from his checking account as an attempted robbery.
  • Women’s basketball star Brittney Griner may be a political prisoner in Russia. She was arrested in Moscow on alleged drug violations and her fate is now dependent on a Russian justice system that is unlikely to do an American any favors.
  • Texas has successfully positioned itself as a business-friendly state, and companies such as Toyota, Oracle, Tesla and Apple have relocated or expanded their operations there in recent years. But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s move to classify care for trans teens as “child abuse” is getting push-back from businesses such as Johnson & Johnson, Macy’s, Apple, Meta, Google, Ikea and REI.

So, who won the week?

  • The Broncos traded for star QB Russell Wilson, and the winners of that trade are numerous. Broncos GM George Paton made a career-defining move and Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett now has a quarterback capable of competing in the division. Meanwhile, the Bowlen kids likely saw the value of the franchise increase in the months before its sale now that it has a true “franchise quarterback,” and Broncos fans can start dreaming of playoff wins rather than just hoping it finds its way to a 8-9 record.
  • 9News is one of the big winners from Denver DA Beth McCann’s decision to drop second-degree murder charges against security guard Matthew Dolloff. He was the unlicensed security guard working for the news station during the 2020 protests when he shot and killed a man who confronted and threatened a 9News reporter and then attacked Dolloff. A trial would have dragged 9News back into the story and created another wave of anti-media and anti-9News threats.

Great Moments in Social Media

When International Women’s Day rolls around, social media is flooded with posts from companies touting their commitment to women.

In the U.K., though, large companies are required to disclose their gender pay gaps using actual payroll data. So, of course, there is now the Gender Pay Gap Bot that shares that pay gap in response to any company that posts about their support for IWD (h/t to my colleague Kathleen Deal).

‘Brad is an Idiot’: Denver City Attorneys Mocked Bosses, Confessed To Loafing While Working From Home During Pandemic

Brian Maass at CBS4: “Three veteran prosecutors with Denver’s City Attorneys Office used an internal city email and messaging system to repeatedly disparage their bosses, boast about how little they were working during their stay-at-home phase of the pandemic, confessed to misusing a criminal records database and reveled in causing a co-worker to suffer a ‘nervous breakdown’ according to disciplinary documents obtained by CBS4. Two of the three lawyers resigned during a disciplinary investigation and the third was suspended but returned to her job.” …

“Attorneys Eric Reece and Kristina Bush resigned during the investigation into their conduct. Emily Reisdorph was suspended without pay for 15 days and has resumed working for the City Attorneys Office.  All three worked in the Prosecution and Code Enforcement Section of the office. Reece was a Senior Assistant City Attorney as was Reisdorph. Bush was an Assistant City Attorney.” …

“When a Black female attorney named Kimberly resigned from her job with the City Attorney’s Office, the group named their online chat group “Kimberly Killers” and reveled in the woman’s apparent ‘nervous breakdown.’ Learning of what happened, Bush wrote to the others, “That’s the best news I’ve heard since quarantine. I feel so satisfied by this. I’ve been humming all morning. She then sent a message with a gif patting herself on the back. Reisdorph responded, ‘You can’t take credit for that all on your own. We pushed her too far… we sent her into a nervous breakdown.’ Bush boasted, ‘Because really, this is our doing.’ Administrators in the City Attorneys Office termed the conversations ‘racially insensitive.'”

So what happened to attorneys Eric Reece and Kristina Bush following their resignations? Reece is now an associate attorney at the Denver law firm Sutton Booker, and Bush is an associate attorney at Robinson & Henry in Highlands Ranch.

In Memoriam

Randy Blauvelt, who held a number of senior communications positions in Denver with organizations such as Rocky Mountain PBS, the American Humane Association and First Nations Development Institute, has passed away. He was 67 years old.

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Former Loveland police officer Austin Hopp faces up to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree assault during the arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia.
  • Two months after the devastating Marshall Fire, debris clean-up for Boulder County homeowners has not yet started due to a lawsuit over the selection of a controversial company.
  • Westword continues to publish mug shots of individuals arrested for – but not convicted of – crimes, despite widespread acknowledgement of the damage it can do to people’s lives and the disproportionate impact on people of color. Even worse, Westword is using the mugshots as clickbait on social media.
  • A disagreement over subpoena power between Denver Auditor Tim O’Brien and the Denver City Council has gone nuclear.
  • United Airlines must pay $2.3 million to two flight attendants whom the airline fired for watching an iPad during a break. The pair’s attorney successfully argued that United’s disciplinary system was nonsensical and applied inconsistently.
  • She may be the greatest women’s tennis player of all time, but Serena Williams is still fighting the same indignities that affect other people of color.
  • Major League Baseball cancelled the first two series of the season – or “MLB has canceled the Rockies first 5 losses of the season,” as CPR’s Vic Vela put it – when owners and players were unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.
  • A JetBlue pilot was removed from the cockpit and registered 0.17% on a breathalyzer, more than four times the limit allowed by the FAA. I’m not sure what’s scarier – a drunk pilot or the fact that the FAA allows pilots fly when they register 0.04% on a breathalyzer.

So, who won the week?