December PR Moves

  • Denver Public Schools Foundation named Natalie Wilkins communications director; Wilkins joins the DPSF from SafeHouse Denver.
  • Schenkein hired Sara Antonio as account director, promoted Bridget Ford and Sasha Harrell to senior account executives, and promoted Lana Jefferson Taussig, Abbey O’Neal and Melissa Miller to account executives;
  • Turner Public Relations hired Jordan Blakesley as publicist. Blakesley joins Turner from LeGrand Hart.
  • Fentress Architects hired Jennifer Ito to manage public relations and business development. Ito formerly was executive director of the Foothills Art Center.
  • Colorado State University appointed Michele McKinney to manage public relations in the Denver area. McKinney joins CSU from the University of Colorado, where she was director of communications and spokesperson for the CU System and the Office of the President.
  • The Heedum Agency hired Julie Dunn as a senior account manager. Dunn formerly was a Denver Post business reporter.

Convention Bureau’s Scharf Named Businessperson of the Year

The Rocky Mountain News has named Richard Scharf, head of the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, as its “Businessperson of the Year.” He gets the nod because of the “bureau’s performance with Scharf at the reins,” according to the Rocky. Among his successes: record numbers of conventions in Denver for three years running, successfully pushing for a lodging tax to double the bureau’s annual marketing budget to $15 million, and improvements to the bureau’s internal culture. 

The runners-up for the award were Mitch Ackerman of the Service Employees International Union’s Colorado Council, Tom Marisco of Marsico Funds, Charlie Monfort of the Colorado Rockies, and Auden Schendler of Aspen Skiing Co. 

No comment? Really?

Corporate America apparently has not learned what politicians have known for decades — that you can answer any tough question by ignoring it completely and instead answering the question you wish you had been asked. With that bit of knowledge, you would think the fabled “no comment” would gradually disappear entirely. But instead, it actually has increased.

Leslie Gaines-Ross of Weber Shandwick researched the number of times the phrase “the company declined to comment” appeared in media during the past 11 years. Surprisingly, it has doubled since 2000. Clearly, many companies do not understand that “no comment” is usually associated with presumptive guilt.

PRWeek Offers its ‘Book of Lists 2007’

Among this year’s categories:

  • 10 people with the toughest jobs in communications
  • 10 testing events for crisis PR pros
  • 5 brands that soared and 5 that sunk
  • 10 staff moves that made the news
  • 5 agency Web sites that awed and 5 that annoyed
  • 10 product debuts we couldn’t miss
  • 5 terms we didn’t hear before ’07
  • 5 communicators we liked to hear and 5 we didn’t
  • 10 stunts that were Barnum worthy

Are budget cuts and layoffs coming to KDVR/Fox 31?

News Corp.’s decision to sell eight of its Fox affiliates — including KDVR/Fox 31 in Denver — could result in cuts to the station’s management and news staff. Oak Hills Capital Partners acquired the eight stations to include in its Local TV LLC venture with the Tribune Co.  The venture will provide “shared services” for all the Local TV LLC stations, and “produce savings in management, technology and other overhead costs,” according to the Chicago TribuneRandy Michaels, who has been tapped to lead Local TV LLC, told Variety, “We are going to find new ways to operate smarter, cheaper and more efficiently.” 

McClain Finlon facing layoffs due to Qwest account loss

Jeff Smith at the Rocky Mountain News reports that Denver ad firm McClain Finlon is expected to layoff an undetermined number of staffers in February due to the loss of Qwest Communications’ consumer account. Chicago-based Draftfcb announced several weeks ago that it had won the Qwest account, which is reported to be worth $95 million annually. AdWeek estimates that Qwest represented 30 percent of McClain Finlon’s total business, so dozens of staffers could be affected.

True Spin Conference in Denver, Jan. 31-Feb. 1

Denver is host to the True Spin Conference, which bills itself as bringing together “flacks from progressive advocacy groups around the country to exchange ideas and learn new and creative PR tactics.” The two-day conference takes place at the Curtis Hotel downtown, and presenters include Medea Benjamin, Code Pink; Rashad Robinson, GLAAD; Martin Kearns, Green Media Toolshed; and Lori Dorfman, Berkeley Media Studies Group.

Making “The Jump” from Journalism to PR

Lynn Bronikowski, Mark Eddy, Anna Osborn, Ernest Gurule, Michelle Ames and Sharon Sherman are all Denver media types who successfully made the jump to public relations. They may have a lot more company from former colleagues at the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. Westword reports on a group called “The Jump” that is helping journalists who fear continued downsizing make the move to PR.