Rocky Mountain News financial columnist David Milstead turns his spotlight on Denver’s dailies, and it isn’t pretty.
Month: June 2008
Construction Company Retains Pete Webb to Fight Abortion Foes
Local abortion opponents have been hammering Weitz Construction for months now for their deal to build Planned Parenthood’s new Denver facility, so much so that the company retained Peter Webb PR to handle the crisis communications.
If a Toilet Has a Facebook Page, Why Don’t You?
Denver Water has gone Web 2.0, and “Johnny Flush” is seeking friends.
Free Drink Alert: Voca PR Celebrates One Year
Congratulations to upscale real-estate and travel agency Voca PR, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a party at Ocean Restaurant in Cherry Creek North on Thursday, June 26 (aka tomorrow).
Even Turner PR Pays More than That …
Why use that philosophy or fine arts degree to get a job flipping burgers for $8 an hour when you can earn 50 percent more in public relations?
Dubai Has a Way of Offsetting Those Pesky U.S. Budget Cuts
PR/Marketing behemoth WPP posted a 10 percent increase in global PR revenues. Our advice for Denver agencies: hire 2,000 employees and locate them in key cities around the world to better diversify. Or not.
Vote Ralph Nader/David Duke 2008
Today was a good politics day for the Rocky Mountain News, as third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader chooses an interview with the paper to unleash his accusations that Barack Obama is “talking white” on the campaign trail.
Stop the Presses … RMN Makes a Hire
How sad that it is news when one of the local newspapers hires someone. Westword has the details. Now the big question: What the hell was Wes Pope thinking?
Analysts: Newspapers Will Hit Bottom in 3-4 Years
It’s time again to buy your favorite reporter a drink. As bad as the news has been for the newspaper industry the last two years, analysts predict it will be even worse for the next three to four years before it hits rock bottom and things start to stabilize.
Except for the Money and Hours, Journalism is Great
Former Denver Post business reporter and current Linhart AE Will Shanley is part of a PR Week story on journalists turning flacks.
Colorado Layoffs Grow
The Denver Business Journal reports that “the number of Coloradans who lost their jobs through mass layoffs more than doubled” from April to May.
PR Stat of the Week
Denver Post/Dow Jones columnist Al Lewis has 302 “friends” on LinkedIn, and he even know who a couple dozen of them are.
Schenkein Adds Client
Schenkein has added Project Angel Heart as a client. The non-profit prepares and delivers meals to people with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
Metzger Unveils DNC-themed Blog
Metzger Associates has launched DNC After Dark, a blog intended to help “visitors maneuver and take full advantage of Denver – whether it’s dinner reservations, recommendations for the coolest music venues or event planning for intimate groups – during the DNC weekend (Aug. 25-28).” The blog coincides with the launch of Metzger’s new strategic events planning practice.
Al Lewis Leaves Denver Post for Dow Jones Position
Denver Post business columnist Al Lewis resigned his position with the Post yesterday to accept a job as a national business columnist for Dow Jones Newswires. The Post reportedly is negotiating with Dow Jones for exclusive rights to carry Lewis’ column in Denver.
Where Are They Now? …
If you have wondered what former KCNC/Channel 4 sports anchor Les Shapiro has been up to lately, Penny Parker at the Rocky has the details.
One of the Perks of Owning a Newspaper
Apparently Bloomberg’s report yesterday that Denver Post publisher MediaNews Group would be in default of its debt on June 30 got William Dean Singleton’s attention. He made Post business reporter Aldo Svaldi write a 14-paragraph article rebutting the claims.
Bloomberg: Denver Post Publisher May Default
Bloomberg has identified Denver-based MediaNews Group as one of the newspaper companies at risk of going into default due to the continued advertising slump. MediaNews owns the Denver Post and approximately 60 other newspapers. According to the article:
Newspapers are selling today for about six times earnings, said Sammy Papert, chairman of Belden Associates, a newspaper consulting firm in Dallas. This is below the 11.5 times earnings that MediaNews and Hearst Corp. paid in a $1 billion deal for the Mercury News and three other newspapers in 2006.
Since then, Denver-based MediaNews, the second-largest closely held U.S. newspaper company by circulation, had its credit rating slashed four levels by S&P to B-, or six levels above default. Debt rated B is likely to become impaired in adverse business, financial or economic conditions, S&P notes.
Singleton expects the company, with average weekday circulation of 2.6 million in fiscal 2007, to remain in compliance with debt covenants, the chief executive officer said in a June 12 telephone interview.
On June 30, if MediaNews has the debt-to-cash flow ratio of 6.53 times it reported on Dec. 31, 2007, it would be in violation of its loans, according to S&P.
Newspaper Publisher McClatchy to Lay Off 1,400 Employees
McClatchy, publisher of 28 daily newspapers across the country including the Miami Herald and Sacramento Bee, announced that it will lay off 1,400 employees, or about 10 percent of its workforce. The cuts aren’t uniform across its property, however, and it is estimated the Miami Herald will see cuts as deep as 17 percent of employees.
PrimaDonna PR Adds Several Clients
PrimaDonna PR announced it has hired Genesis Kobos, formerly of LeGrand Hart, and added author Caryn West, SEE Eyewear, Delish Demure and The Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation as clients.
Husted: There’s a 40 Percent Chance Rick Reilly Will be Dead in Two Years
If the Denver Press Club offers to make you its Damon Runyon Award winner, you might want to think twice. Of the 15 past winners, six have since died – Tim Russert, Mike Royko, Herb Caen, Molly Ivins, David Halberstam and Ed Bradley.
Denver Advertising Firm McClain Finlon Sold
McClain Finlon founder Cathey Finlon is selling her firm, which was devastated earlier this year when it lost the Qwest account to Chicago-based draftfcb. The firm’s president, Paul Leroue, will acquire a majority stake and the CEO title, and Finlon will remain as chairwoman of the board with a minority stake. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
At Least There Was Still Room for Two Adult-themed Ads
Monday business sections have always been a bit light, but the Denver Post is taking this tradition to absurd proportions. Today’s business “section” is two pages that contain a grand total of four articles. And of the four articles, only one is written by a Post reporter (two are from the AP and one from the Washington Post).
Craigslist: “Arena 4 Rent. Aug. 25-28. Previous Renter’s Deposit Check Bounced. Call Stan @ 303-KRO-ENKE”
The DNC abruptly cancelled a media tour of the Pepsi Center scheduled for next week, citing undisclosed “outstanding issues.” The cancellation is fueling suspicions that the DNC’s inability to meet its fundraising goals is complicating logistics.
The New York Post is reporting that NBC’s Tim Russert has died from a heart attack. MSNBC confirms.
Quote of the Day
“There’s no difference. They’re all, for the most part, the same.”
– KMGH/Channel 7 anchor and reporter Jim Hooley, in a moment of candor, responding to a question about how broadcast channels 4, 7, 9 and 31 cover news. Hooley’s remark was made at a BusinessWire media breakfast this week.
Newspaper Roundup, Sponsored by Zoloft
A Wachovia analyst cut his rating on the newspaper sector today, forecasting a steeper decline in advertising revenue over the next two years. Meanwhile, Gannett employees are, not surprisingly, unhappy with the company’s decision to freeze its pension program in light of significant revenue declines.
GBSM Client Wins
GBSM has been awarded management consulting and strategic communications assignments from new and existing clients, including AARP, the National Endowment for Financial Education, Colorado Council of the Arts, the Colorado chapter of the National Association for Industrial and Office Properties, Regional Transportation District, Boulder Scientific and New Mexico State University.
Colorado Ski Country USA Cuts One-Third of its Staff
Colorado Ski Country USA is reeling from Vail Resorts’ decision last week to withdraw from the trade association because it didn’t focus enough on public policy issues and lobbying efforts. The move by Vail Resorts effectively cut CSCUSA’s annual budget from $3.5 million to $1.7 million, and the trade organization has responded by eliminating a third of its staff and dropping almost all of its domestic marketing efforts.
Bawmann Group Adds Two Clients
The Bawmann Group added Quality Is Learned and Rocky Mountain Learning Center as clients.
Another HQ Loss for Denver
Corporate Express, whose U.S. headquarters are in Broomfield, has accepted a buyout offer from Framingham, Mass.-based Staples.
Husted, We Have a Problem II
Well, now Bill Husted is just mocking us. You know our thoughts about ESPN Zone “sightings.“
Make Love Like a Newspaper Reporter
No one exudes sensuality more than a newspaper reporter, so it makes sense that Denver Post feature writer Doug Brown and his wife Annie would appear on the Today Show to discuss his book, Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives for 101 Days (NO EXCUSES!).
Newspaper Publisher Acknowledges Decline in Business Value
Continued bad news for the newspaper industry – Gannett Co., publisher of USA Today and 80 other daily newspapers, will write down the value of its assets by $2.5 billion to $3 billion, an indication that the company doesn’t expect to recover fully from a steep decline in the value of its business.
GroundFloor Media Wins SmartyPig
GroundFloor Media has picked up SmartyPig as a client.
Vladimir Jones Continues its Shake-up
Fresh off its name change from PRACO to Vladimir Jones, the agency has named former EVP Meredith Hall Vaughan president.
Linhart Wins UNC
Linhart PR has added the University of Northern Colorado as a client.
Denver PR Jobs
Even the anecdotal economic data is rough: There are just three new PR jobs this week on Andrew Hudson’s Jobs List, and one of them is in New Mexico: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association and Quantum.
Milwaukee + Golden = Dallas?
When Molson and Coors joined to form Molson Coors, you knew they had put the lawyers in charge of the names. And when Molson Coors created a joint venture with Miller and named it MillerCoors, well, you knew the lawyers were still in charge of the names, but that some clerical hiccup along the way made them realize having no space between the names was better. Probably some 8-K filing issue.
Anyway, Leo Kiely finally tossed his last dart at the board to pick the joint venture’s leadership staff. Expect the joint venture to be based in Dallas or Chicago, the two cities that always end up with companies that Denver wants desperately to land (see United, Boeing, etc.).
Worst Pitch Ever
With a breakdown of why.
Let’s Hope the Magazine’s Title was Intended to be Retro
It looks like Halo and Skittles will have competition for the attention of Colorado IT workers. Former Denver Newspaper Agency VP of IT Eric Wolferman is launching Rocky Mountain TechLine, a magazine that will “cover news from local and regional technology companies, profile tech experts, feature columns from local technology experts, and more.”
Ballmer Forecasts Death of Newspapers; Industry Relieved
The best news the newspaper industry has had in a while: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer thinks the print industry will be dead in 10 years. Ballmer hasn’t been right about anything since Vista Zune MSN WebTV WGA Xbox.
Crocs: Our Financial Statements Are as Flexible as Our Shoes
It has been a bad year for Crocs. If you believe the company’s naysayers, the company’s shoes are a fad that has passed and are inherently unsafe. And Crocs’ share price has plummeted from more than $74 to less than $10 over the past eight months. And now the company is having to spend time assuring Wall Street that just because it makes a few mistakes in its quarterly filings, it really isn’t a big deal.
Vladimir Jones = Pedophilia, Impaling?
What does advertising and PR firm PRACO/Vladimir Jones have to do with pedophilia and impaling? Denver Post business columnist Al Lewis makes the connection. And we’re sure this is just the kind of “conversation” PRACO had in mind when it changed its name.
Economy Forces Some Denver Agencies to Slim Down
The general economic malaise that has affected other cities’ PR agencies is beginning to affect some of Denver’s consumer-focused agencies. Several agencies have seen their staffs dwindle by as much as 50 percent, and word today is that Schenkein let six staffers go this week, which represents approximately 30 percent of its employee base.
Said Schenkein’s Leanna Clark, “We had some client losses late last year, and while we’ve brought in several new pieces of business in 08, they’ve not offset those losses. This, combined with the current economic outlook, has led us to reduce staff accordingly in order to realign our expectations and goals for the year.”
We expect that you will see a number of other Denver agencies shrink over the coming months, whether through formal layoffs or simply attrition. We give credit to Schenkein for being generous with its severance packages, though. Clark noted that “our top priority in this was to ensure we were treating all our staff, both those we’ve had to let go as well those who continue with us, with the utmost honesty, respect and dignity.”
Denver PR Moves
- GroundFloor Media has named Ramonna Tooley partner.
- Boulder-based SNAP! PR hired Sylvia Henry as account coordinator.
Colorado Economic Growth Continues to Slow
The macro-level economic data continues to trickle in, and the numbers aren’t comforting. Colorado’s rate of economic growth slowed to 2 percent in 2007, down from 3 percent in 2006 and 4.5 percent in 2005, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Colorado’s 2007 growth rate was near the median, ranking 22nd in the nation.
Schenkein Hosts Intern Reunion
Schenkein is hosting an Intern Reunion on Tuesday, June 24, at 5:30 p.m. at the Wynkoop Brewery.
We Didn’t Factor This Into Our ‘Wendy Aiello Mentions’ Contest
If you have a few spare antidepressants sitting around (and if you are in PR you probably do), you may want to offer them to Penny Parker, Bill Husted and Wendy Aiello. The number of official DNC soirees has been cut 96 percent.
United Airlines to Lay Off 1,500
United Airlines will lay off 1,500 employees, mothball 100 planes and kill its Ted brand in response to high fuel costs.
Coloradoan Selects Ad Director as New Publisher/President
Kim Roegner has been named president and publisher of the Fort Collins Coloradoan. She joins the paper from The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where she was the display advertising director.
Al Lewis and the Art of Re-gifting
Sharon Linhart ponied up $75 to purchase Denver Post business columnist Al Lewis’ slightly used mask as part of the 2008 Mask Project.
Denver Post … Meet The Bobs
MediaNews Group CEO and Denver Post publisher William Dean Singleton has hired management consulting firm Bain & Co. to reshape MediaNews, and told an audience at the World Newspaper Congress in Sweden that the resulting changes mean, “We expect our business to look a lot different next year.”
VisiTech Lands New Account
VisiTech PR has picked up Seattle-based Hubspan as a client.
You’d Think PRSA Would be Better at PR
Catfight alert: Denver’s own Andrew Cohen vs. PRSA. And it is hard to figure out who to root for. Cohen loses points for saying on the CBS Morning Show, “Show me a PR person who is ‘accurate’ and ‘truthful,’ and I’ll show you a PR person who is unemployed” and for making us wait an extra 10 minutes to watch the segment about the Filipino guy Journey hired to replace Steve Perry after the band saw him on YouTube.
But PRSA started it all by linking Scott McClellan to public relations in the first place. McClellan was an administration spokesman, and nobody outside the industry even thought of him as a PR guy until PRSA injected itself into the debate.
As for the fallout, we think everybody should lighten up. Cohen’s a lawyer, for God’s sake. After all the lawyer jokes he’s endured, of course he’s going to take a shot when he gets the chance. And given that politicians, used car salesmen, journalists and pedophiles are about the only groups that people trust less than lawyers, we think everyone can cut him a little slack.
Salazar’s Communications Director Joins GBSM
GBSM has hired U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar’s communications director Cody Wertz as a senior associate. Wertz will lead the firm’s public involvement and outreach efforts related to water and transportation issues. The firm also added Christine Alducin as an associate. She formerly was director of Marketing and Film for Sonora Entertainment Group.
What, the Lawyers Wouldn’t Approve Crispin Praco + Bogusky?
Sure, the name ‘Praco’ sucked. But ‘Vladimir Jones?’ So far, the Denver advertising community is not impressed.
Denver Post business columnist Al Lewis takes Southwest Airlines to task for its shoddy maintenance practices that are undermining public confidence in the company and reinforcing the notion that airlines have become the Greyhound of the skies.