Who Had the Worse Week?

  • Hoity-toity private school Kent Denver made unexpected headlines this week when two former teachers at the school were arrested in a bizarre espionage scheme to sell nuclear secrets. Adding concern about the quality of education Kent Denver provides, the former teachers allegedly packaged the nuclear secrets in a peanut butter sandwich before handing them off to “foreign adversaries” who were actually undercover FBI agents.
  • Comedians have always pushed cultural boundaries and, relatedly, been lightning rods for criticism. Netflix is experiencing that with Dave Chappelle, whose latest Netflix special, “The Closer,” has been “criticized as transphobic by some LGBTQ+ advocates, artists and employees.” Adding fuel to the fire, Netflix suspended a trans employee who criticized the company for streaming the Chappelle special.
  • Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was forced to resign less than one-third of the way through a 10-year, $100 million contract after a series of his racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails surfaced. Two days later, ESPN reporter Adam Schefter got caught up in the same email leak when his showed he gave sources drafts of his stories for them to edit – a journalistic no-no.
  • And the bad week for journalism wasn’t over. In addition to the Adam Schefter news, former “Today Show” anchor Katie Couric admitted that she covered up former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comments opposing athletes who kneel during the national anthem. Couric said she was a big fan of Ginsburg and wanted to protect her from criticism from the justice’s liberal supporters.
  • Southwest Airlines built its reputation on being unlike other airlines – it offered budget pricing that delivered a great experience. Unfortunately, this week chaos reigned as hundreds of flight cancellations wrought havoc on the airline’s schedule, stranding frustrated passengers in cities across the country.
  • To paraphrase an old adage, if a goal is scored but no one can watch it because of a carriage dispute, does it matter? That’s the situation the Colorado Avalanche (and the Denver Nuggets, for that matter) face for the third straight year due to a fight among billionairesStan Kroenke’s Altitude TV and Comcast/Dish Network.
  • A year after acknowledging he received $1.1 million for speeches he did not deliver from a fund intended to help needy Mississippi residents … let me repeat that, from a fund intended to help needy Mississippi residents … an audit found that former NFL quarterback Brett Favre still hasn’t repaid all the money. The auditor said Favre will face a civil suit if he doesn’t repay the money with interest in 30 days.

So who won the week?

  • Local restaurants Frasca Food & Wine and Comal Heritage Food Incubator were recognized by The New York Times as two of the 50 best restaurants in the nation.
  • Star Trek actor William Shatner inspired generations of nerds to pursue careers in the space-related sciences, so it is fitting that he would finally – at age 90 – make a trip to space himself.
  • CBS4 promoted Kristine Strain to the position of news director, replacing Tim Wieland who was promoted to General Manager. Strain had been the assistant news director.

Quote of the Day

“Snow sports are already expensive enough that equity issues have been persistent, and financially disadvantaged families have long been unfairly priced out of access — something a Fast Tracks policy is sure to only make worse.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), objecting to Copper Mountain’s parent company’s plans to offer “Fast Tracks,” a $49 fee that would allow skiers to jump to the front of ski lift lines at the expense of the riff-raff who only buy the $119 daily lift ticket.

Could 9News Get ‘Aldened?’

Denver’s 9News is owned by TEGNA, a multi-billion-dollar media company that owns or operates nearly 70 TV stations across the country. TEGNA has been on the block – officially or unofficially – for more than two years, and reports now are that one of its largest investors, Standard General, is working with the investment firm Apollo Global Management to finance an acquisition of the media company.

If an investment/private equity firm owning media properties sounds vaguely familiar, that’s probably because of Alden Global Capital’s ownership of The Denver Post, among others. If you are a 9News employee, or someone who just values journalism, you can’t be comfortable with the idea that Apollo might do to TEGNA what Alden has done to the Post – bleed it to near death to maximize the return on investment.

Fans Shut Out for Third Straight Year as Avs & Nuggets Begin 2021-2022 Seasons

The Colorado Avalanche kick of their 2021-2022 season tonight with a home game against the Chicago Blackhawks. While the odds-makers have the Avalanche among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season, the biggest news is that for the third straight year most Coloradans won’t be able to watch the team play (or the Nuggets, for that matter) due to the ongoing carriage dispute between Stan Kroenke’s Altitude TV and Comcast/Dish Network.

That the fight among billionaires – and resulting TV blackout – coincides with unusually successful periods for both teams is maddening. During a window of time when the Broncos are clearly below average and the Rockies can only dream of being average, it is a moment when the Avs and Nuggets could capture the attention of the state. Instead, they are out of sight and out of mind.

Former Denver Post Reporter/Current ESPNer Adam Schefter Under Fire for Journalistic Ethics Breach

On Monday, leaked emails from an NFL investigation into the Washington Football Team took down Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden. This morning, additional email leaks are threatening the reputation of former Denver Post reporter and current ESPN information broker Adam Schefter.

According to one email to former WFT GM Bruce Allen, Schefter violated one of the cardinal tenets of journalism – giving a source editorial control over a news story. Prior to publishing an article about collective bargaining between the player’s union and the NFL, Schefter sent a draft of his article to Allen with the note:

“Please let me know if you see anything that should be added, changed, tweaked. Thanks, Mr. Editor, for that and the trust. (I) plan to file this to ESPN about 6 am.”

Raiders Coach Resigns One-third of the Way Through a $100M Contract

What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but emails live forever everywhere. That is a tough lesson that Oakland Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden learned the hard way when nearly a decade’s worth of racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails he wrote surfaced over the weekend. Facing an onslaught of criticism and a locker room full of large, athletic men who likely wanted to punch him, Gruden was forced to resign less than one-third of the way through a 10-year, $100 million contract.

Photo courtesy of SkySports

Who Had the Worse Week?

  • The Boulder Daily Camera took the extraordinary step of retracting a recent article on the impact of 9/11 on several Boulder residents after it investigated allegations that information and quotes in the article were exaggerated and/or fabricated. The reporter, April Morganroth, is no longer employed at the Camera or any of its sister publications.
  • Facebook seemingly subscribes to the Donald Trump approach to scandals – have so many of them that it wears down people’s ability to be outraged. This week, however, the company faced unprecedented scrutiny when a whistleblower shared secret inside information about how it knew that its platforms were detrimental to teen girls and democracy, among others.
  • The Denver Nuggets gave star player Michael Porter Jr. a $207 million contract in the off-season, but his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine is now creating headaches for the team. Per NBA protocols, he won’t be allowed to play games in California or New York, and will be required to eat, dress and travel separately from teammates and staff.
  • Many global billionaires had their underhanded financial dealings exposed this week as part of the so-called “Pandora Papers” that detailed how they avoid taxes and launder money using shell companies. They haven’t been this exposed since … the similar “Panama Papers” scandal in 2016 that appears to have done absolutely nothing to slow them down.
  • Former Ohio State University and current Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer apologized for a viral video that showed a young woman grinding on him while at a bar over the weekend. Meyer was alone at the bar because his wife was … babysitting their grandkids.
  • University of Colorado football coach Karl Dorrell had to apologize after shoving a CBS4 photojournalist while leaving the field following last weekend’s loss to conference rival USC.

So who won the week?

Bawmann Group Celebrates 25 Years

Congratulations to Brad Bawmann and the team at The Bawmann Group as the agency celebrates its 25th anniversary. Brad shared his top lessons learned in a post about the milestone:

  1. Telling the truth matters. Being responsive matters.
  2. Some clients heed our counsel; others choose to disagree. Regardless, fierce conversations are crucial to achieving alignment and making progress.
  3. Work hard. Do great work. The money will follow.
  4. Culture is everything. I have more than once taken my eye off this “ball” and it cost me a foot of my large intestine, a debilitating bout of anxiety, and some poor financial decisions.
  5. Love what you do. I started TBG with the intention of working only with those trying to make the world a better place. Adhering to that filter has never let me down.

Dawn Doty Honored with PRSA Outstanding Educator Award

Most of us know Dawn Doty from her days as a partner at Linhart PR, where her clients included Chipotle, Crocs, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Southwest Airlines and the U.S. Air Force Academy. In 2016, though, Dawn joined the University of Colorado Boulder as a full-time public relations instructor, and she has been as successful there as she was in the agency world. And that is why PRSA has honored Dawn with its 2021 Outstanding Educator Award. Congratulations, Dawn.

Who Had the Worse Week?

  • Digital media start-up Ozy Media announced today that it is shutting down following reports that one of its executives impersonated a YouTube executive during a conference call with Goldman Sachs. The bizarre-but-well-sourced allegation spurred a flury of scrutiny that quickly toppled the high-flying media company.
  • Organizers have cancelled Denver’s Chowdermeister festival – an event that brought to life and celebrated the the results of “a Twitter poll asking which food and drink combination was the most vile.” Jägermeister inexplicably was a sponsor, but pulled out following “press attention that was deemed unflattering.”
  • National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) commissioner Lisa Baird and general counsel Lisa Levine have been removed from their positions, several days after The Athletic reported that the league ignored allegations of abuse by a long-time coach.
  • Ouray County pulled its paid meeting notices in the The Ouray County Plaindealer – a roughly $10,000 per year hit – following reports from the newspaper that the county was violating the Colorado Open Meetings Law by holding secret meetings. The county swears the decision was a coincidence.
  • Think the results from Googling your name are tough? Alexandra Souverneva will forever be known as the woman who started the destructive Fawn Fire in Shasta County, Calif. by attempting to boil bear urine to drink.

So, who won the week?