Chris Arnold to Leave Chipotle

Chris Arnold joined Chipotle 15 years ago this month when the company was privately held and had fewer than 150 restaurants. In the intervening years, Chris helped position the company into a $12 billion publicly traded corporation that has more than 2,400 locations. Chris played offense with Chipotle’s “Food With Integrity” campaign, played defense with E.coli crisis communications challenges, and helped the company essentially redefine the quick-service restaurant (QSR) marketplace.

Chris has let friends know this week that he has made the decision to leave Chipotle on May 28, which is 15 years to the day he joined the company. Here’s wishing Chris the best of luck on whatever comes next.

MAPR Opens Fort Collins Office

Boulder-based MAPRagency (MAPR) has added a Fort Collins office to accommodate the firm’s rapid growth and better serve clients in Northern Colorado. The company also has an office in Denver.

MAPR has been working with several companies in the region, as well as participating in events like Fort Collins Startup Week, PitchNoCo and New Tech Fort Collins meetups since 2017. The agency’s current roster of clients in Northern Colorado includes:

    • LaunchNo.CO – a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing and supporting entrepreneurship and small businesses in Northern Colorado.
    • everHuman – a company that empowers technology users and work teams to “delight in their digital lives” through expert advice, consulting, workshops, tutorials, and downloadable content.
    • ItyDity – the premier music production network and marketplace, connecting artists with producers and session musicians through one-of-a-kind song production contests.
    • Jalapeño Inventive – a company that leverages cryptocurrency in mobile gaming to benefit both the developer and the end user by streamlining in-game revenue and purchase opportunities.
    • Vortic Watch Company – a small batch, custom watch manufacturing and vintage restoration company.

Linhart Promotes Campbell, Nash

Linhart PR has promoted Ashley Campbell to senior account director and Kelly Nash to senior account executive.

Campbell joined Linhart PR in 2006 as an intern and previously served as an account director. She specializes in leading communications strategies and programs for clients in the energy and utilities, infrastructure, and manufacturing industries. Nash was previously an account executive, and she has been with Linhart PR for about four years, also starting in the firm’s internship program. Nash manages communications programs and media relations outreach for clients in the energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, healthcare and professional services industries.

 

Women Sweep PRSA Colorado 2018 Special Awards

Industry organizations tell us that women account for 61 percent of the jobs in public relations, and that disparity is even more pronounced in groups like the national PRSA organization, where about 69 percent of the membership is female.

PRSA Colorado experiences a similar effect, and nowhere is that more obvious than in its Special Awards. Women swept this year’s awards, and they now account for more than 85 percent of the Special Awards over the past five years.  Meanwhile, about 80 percent of the PRSA Colorado board members listed on the organization’s website are women.

Obviously, anyone can join PRSA Colorado, enter an election for a board seat and nominate men for awards. That those things aren’t happening at a rate that one might expect is curious. As a former PRSA Colorado board member, I can’t explain it other to say that the activities and benefits provided naturally skew toward what may be more interesting to the female-dominated membership. Breaking that cycle may take a conscious effort that is disruptive in the short-term.

Anyway, this year’s highly deserving Special Award winners are:

Swede Johnson Lifetime Achievement
Lisa Cutter, Cutter Communications*

Lisa Cutter founded Cutter Communications in 1998. A 25-year PR veteran, she is well respected for her media, partnership and crisis expertise. Her programs have garnered local and national awards, including several Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Colorado Gold and Silver Picks, the organization’s small practice of the year award, and its highest honor – the Grand Gold Pick for a comprehensive PR campaign.

Public Relations Person of the Year
Jessica Berry, University of Colorado Hospital

Jessica Berry is a spokesperson for UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. She places well over 100 positive local and national stories a year for UCHealth, in addition to responding to the frequent requests for experts and handling crisis communications.

Business Person of the Year
Cindy Mackin, City of Loveland

Cindy has been in marketing and destination development for over 22 years, with a start in marketing of destination events at outlet malls all over Colorado. Creating excitement in everything she did led to her earning many SASI awards within the industry.

Joe Fuentes Rookie of the Year
Kayla Roofe, RE/MAX

She may be small, but she is mighty. With national and local communications and marketing experience, Kayla Roofe has planned and executed winning campaigns for some of Colorado’s heavy-hitters, including JKD & Company, Fyn Public Relations and RE/MAX World Headquarters.

Chapter Service
Megan Ryan, CoBiz Financial

Building communities and connecting people are passions for Megan. Megan has always been a passionate community volunteer from mentoring youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters to granting wishes for sick children through Make A Wish Foundation to organizing employee volunteer projects. Megan chairs PRSA Colorado’s Membership Recruitment Committee and helps run the organization’s Employee Communications Group.

Public Relations Team of the Year
March on Colorado

On January 21, 2017, the Women’s March on Colorado brought more than 150,000 people together in the streets of downtown Denver to march in solidarity for social justice, human rights and equality for women and all marginalized people across the U.S. The inaugural Women’s March on Colorado was a spontaneous, grassroots effort motivated by the national Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and sister marches around the country. As MOC leaders came together to decide what the future of the group would look like, they knew that public relations would still need to be a key component of the movement going forward. Lisa Cutter, owner of Cutter Communications in Denver, led public relations for the 2017 March and spearheaded the effort to bring a larger PR team together to keep the momentum going. She assembled a team of local PR professionals who expressed interest in volunteering their time to the organization and its mission. Over the next few months that team took shape to include three other PR professionals, Cara Crifasi, Liz Miller and Stacey Sepp.

*Any time you land on the same list as Lisa Cutter, it’s a good day.

Linhart Adds Two

Linhart PR has added Hannah Morris as an account executive and Carly Connor as an account associate. Morris will focus on media relations, communications counsel, content development and community relations for clients in a variety of industries, including energy and utilities. She previously was with Barnhart and Project Angel Heart, and she is a University of Denver graduate. Connor previously was an intern with Linhart and will provide media relations, digital media and other communications support for clients such as Chipotle and Meyer Natural Foods. She is a graduate of St. Cloud State University.

Starbucks Shows it Takes Discrimination Seriously

Starbucks logoBy now, you have no doubt seen the news that two African-American men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks Thursday. The men were waiting for a friend when they were asked to leave because they hadn’t yet purchased anything, a request that appears to run counter to the company’s policy.

The incident sparked outrage and protest amid accusations that race was at the heart of the incident – had the two men been white, for example, it is almost certain the police would not have been called.

Give Starbucks’ senior management and crisis communications teams credit for neutralizing a delicate situation. The company recognized immediately that it had a highly charged and potentially combustible issue on its hands, and its reaction has been impressive. Among its responses:

  • Starbucks immediately acknowledged the issue on social media and promised to look into the issue.
  • Once Starbucks quickly determined it was in the wrong, CEO Kevin Johnson personally apologized to the men. Johnson also apologized publicly in written and video statements that were posted to the company’s social media platforms.
  • Johnson traveled to Philadelphia and spent several days listening face-to-face to members of the community.
  • Starbucks reassigned the store employee who called the police.
  • The company announced that it will close all 8,000 of its U.S. stores on May 29 to conduct racial-bias education training for nearly 175,000 employees. Additionally, Starbucks shared that the curriculum for that training will be created in collaboration with some of the leading experts on addressing racial bias.

Starbucks followed the PR crisis playbook closely, and it has been incredibly effective at neutralizing this crisis. It didn’t just react, it leaned toward overreacting. Protesters in Philadelphia (and nationally) have been trying to leverage this situation into something bigger, but Starbucks has been a step ahead of them from the beginning.

Additionally, Starbucks has signaled to its socially conscious customer base that it shares their inherent values and is more than willing to be a leader in the fight for principles such as racial equality and respect for all individuals.

Denver PRSA Conference Adds ‘Third Rail’ Session

This year’s PRSA Western District Conference will dedicate a session to the third-rail of public discourse: seemingly untouchable topics such as gun control, immigration, and climate change.

PRSA Colorado is providing a rare opportunity to test and hone skills for discussing sensitive topics at the PRSA Western District Conference coming up April 11-13. Attendees will be invited to select a topic from a list taken from today’s headlines and have a respectful conversation about it with someone who may have a different point of view.

Those who want to participate (it’s strictly voluntary), will be invited to choose one or more of these topics:

  • Gun policy
  • Immigration
  • Health care
  • Climate change
  • Trade tariffs
  • Role of the press – advocates or objective observers?

Then they’ll be invited to think of up to three points to describe their opinions on the topic. Opinions might be based on:

  • Current events
  • News analysis
  • Personal experience
  • Emotional reaction
  • Family history or cultural background
  • Reading/research
  • Opinions of others you respect
  • What you see on social media
  • Discussions with friends

We’ll explain more about the mechanics when attendees sign in, but they can prepare now by watching this TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/celeste_headlee_10_ways_to_have_a_better_conversation

PR Matters. And conversation matters. This activity is one way PRSA Colorado is helping our profession raise the level of discourse.

 

 

Scream Agency Adds Clients, Supports Local Nonprofits

Denver’s Scream Agency has added a couple of new clients:

  • Reach Out and Read Colorado, an organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together
  • Gold Crown Foundation, a Colorado nonprofit that offers youth sports and education programs to nearly 20,000 boys and girls annually throughout Colorado and the surrounding states

The Agency has also been busy giving back to the community through their Scream Serves Program, participating in the Scream Scram 5K benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver this fall and donating hours to Easterseals Colorado, Destination Imagination, Best for Colorado, Habitat for Humanity and Protect Our Winters.

The Biggest PR Winners of 2017

Earlier this month, I have shared some of 2017’s biggest PR disasters. I thought it would also be interesting to take a look at some of the year’s biggest PR winners:

JJWATTJJ WATT …  JJ Watt is a star player for the NFL’s Houston Texans who is known for his community involvement. He took it to a new level following Hurricane Harvey, however. He started a fundraising campaign with a $200,000 goal that would be used to help Houstonians affected by the devastating flooding. Football fans quickly responded, and he met the $200,000 goal within hours. So he raised it to $1 million, and media coverage helped him reach that goal within a day. As the number climbed and climbed, and media attention got stronger and stronger, celebrities starting donating six- and seven-figure checks – people like Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, Miley Cyrus and Drake. And then corporate donors such as HEB and Walmart started adding even more. When it was done, Watt had raised more than $37 million that is being used to help people directly affected by the flooding.

TSWIFTTAYLOR SWIFT … This summer, Taylor Swift became the face of girls and women who fought back against sexual harassment and assault, and her battle occurred in a courthouse in Denver. Swift was groped by a local KYGO disc jockey at a Denver pre-concert meet-and-greet photo session, and he was fired after her complaint. When the publicity made him essentially unemployable, he sued Swift alleging defamation. Swift said she refused to be shamed by someone who assaulted her, and countersued for assault, asking only for the symbolic amount of $1. The case went to trial in Denver, and Swift prevailed. And in doing so, she became a champion for women everywhere.

CajunNavyCAJUN NAVY … Herbert Hoover popularized the concept of rugged individualism, the idea that individuals – and not government – should be primarily responsible for the welfare of Americans. The ideal is perhaps nowhere more obvious today than in the “Cajun Navy.” Formed in the aftermath Hurricane Katrina, the Cajun Navy is an ad-hoc group of volunteers largely based in Louisiana who help rescue victims of flooding when traditional first responders are overwhelmed. The group uses the smartphone app Zello to connect rescuers on bass boats, air boats, jet skis, etc. with those needing help. The Cajun Navy reappeared this year in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, and it is credited with saving thousands of lives.

THIRTEENWOMENTHIRTEEN WOMEN … Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was one of the most powerful people in Hollywood for decades. His track record of delivering hit after hit gave him enormous power, and he took advantage of that power to hurt women in the industry. His behavior had gone on for years, but this year 13 women summoned the courage to share their experiences – ranging from sexual harassment to rape – with NBC reporter Ronan Farrow. His article in The New Yorker sent shockwaves through Hollywood. Weinstein instantly became a pariah and a subject of criminal investigations, and more women throughout the worlds of entertainment and politics began sharing their stories, resulting in a wave of firings and resignations known as the “Weinstein Effect.”

The Biggest PR Disasters of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, I take time to reflect on the year’s biggest PR disasters:

United_Airlines_Logo.svgUNITED AIRLINES … The only good news for United Airlines is that its string of PR disasters occurred early in the year when they could be overshadowed by newer debacles over time. But what a year it was. The airline took the worst hit when it literally dragged a passenger off an overbooked plane, breaking his nose and knocking out teeth in the process. While that incident took the lion’s share of the headlines, the airline also managed to make additional waves when it banned two girls from flying because they were wearing leggings and forced a mom to hold a toddler in her lap for a full flight because it gave away the toddler’s paid-for seat to a standby passenger. United apologized for all the incidents, but the airline’s brand was harmed and its stock price remains down nearly 17 percent since the first incident.

 

Uber Logo UpdatedUBER … When the hashtag #DeleteUber becomes your company’s most impactful marketing campaign, you know what kind of year it has been. You can pick which issue was the worst: privacy and tracking concerns, erratic behavior from its CEO, a plot to evade regulators through a complex program named “Project Grayball,” allegations of systemic sexual assault, being banned in the London – the choices go on and on. Former CEO and still-current board member Travis Kalanick added to the miserable year by feuding with his fellow board members, threatening a potentially lucrative IPO.

 

Equifax Logo.svgEQUIFAX … There are only about 320 million Americans, so it takes a special kind of incompetence to let hackers steal the personal data (names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and driver’s license numbers) of more than 145 million of them. But the good folks at Equifax rose to the challenge. Particularly frustrating is that there is little to nothing that average consumers can do to punish the company. Fortunately, Equifax’s corporate clients have also grown leery of the company. And to date, it has spent nearly $90 million in legal fees and other expenses to respond to the incident.

 

Red_Cross_Logo.svg

RED CROSS … NPR and ProPublica have been a thorn in the side of the American Red Cross since the media outlets examined the nonprofit’s spending following Superstorm Sandy in 2014. They found, for example, that seven months after the storm, the Red Cross still had not spent $100 million of the $300 million it had raised. Unfortunately for the Red Cross, NPR revisited the questions about the Red Cross’ efficacy just as Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and the Red Cross was frantically trying to raise money for relief efforts. The Red Cross promised more transparency, but a generation of Millennials who like to invest locally have been finding smaller nonprofits on the ground in affected areas to support. The long-term implications of this PR disaster for the Red Cross have to be scary.

 

facebook-logoFACEBOOK … Advertisers love Facebook because it allows them to customize ad campaigns to target people with very specific tastes. Football fans, country music lovers, frequent vacationers … and “Jew haters?” An investigation by ProPublica found that Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform allowed individuals and organizations “to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally.” After ProPublica contacted Facebook, it removed anti-Semitic categories such as “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’” Facebook said the categories were created by an algorithm, not employees, and “said it would explore ways to fix the problem, such as limiting the number of categories available or scrutinizing them before they are displayed to buyers.”

Continue reading “The Biggest PR Disasters of 2017”

Colorado Companies Dominate Outside’s Best Places to Work

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 11.36.19 AMOutside Magazine is out with its annual ranking of the Best Places to Work, and 40 of the 100 winners are Colorado-based companies, including all of the top four. The Colorado-based marketing companies on the list are:

#2 – GroundFloor Media
#7 – Room 214
#18 – Bluetent
#31 – Sterling-Rice Group
#47 – Blizzard International Marketing
#53 – Mondo Robot
#56 – TDA_Boulder
#67 – Backbone Media
#85 – Ascent360
#89 – Turner PR

Great Moments in Public Relations

Having worked for large, publicly traded companies, I know firsthand that CEOs always want coverage in The Wall Street Journal. This, however, is not what First Data’s CEO was looking for. Allison Prang at the WSJ reports:

First Data Mistakenly Announces Acquisition Plan for BluePay

First Data Corp. said it mistakenly posted a draft of a news release Thursday morning that it would acquire credit-card processing firm BluePay Holdings Inc., a deal it says hasn’t been finalized.

The payment-processing company has since removed the release from its website and said the conference call mentioned in the release isn’t going to happen.

First Data, however, did confirm Thursday that it is in talks to buy BluePay.

GroundFloor Media, CenterTable Acquire Video Production Agency FourthWall

CenterTable, GroundFloor Media’s sister digital agency, announced it has acquired FourthWall Productions, adding to the suite of video services the agency offers in-house. CenterTable began working with FourthWall three years ago as strategic partners, and they have jointly worked on client projects involving video production and editing, animation and motion media, and live video streaming.

The firms also announced that they have added three new team members:

  • Elise Bishop as Director of Communications at GroundFloor Media. Elise was most recently a communications specialist at DanoneWave (formerly WhiteWave Foods).
  • Adrienne Schafer as Director of Social Media and Digital Strategy at CenterTable. Schafer joined CenterTable from Twitter, where she was an instructional designer.
  • Shelbi Warner as Director of Finance for both agencies. Prior to joining GFM, Shelbi served as controller for Novarus Capital Group.

 

Linhart Adds Two, Promotes Two

Linhart PR has added Miranda King as digital media strategist and Samantha Harris as an account associate. King was most recently social media manager at Door to Door Organics, and Harris started at Linhart PR earlier this year as an intern. Additionally, Linhart PR also recently promoted Libby Pinkerton and Emily Rado to the position of account executive. They both were previously account associates, and both started at the firm as interns.

 

COHN Launches Formal Marijuana Practice, Adds Industry Veteran Taylor West

COHN Marketing is getting into the marijuana marketing business in a big way with the launch of a specialty division, COHNNABIS, and the addition of former deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association Taylor West. From COHN:

Since Colorado began legal sales of adult-use cannabis in 2014, COHN has supported the brand, digital, marketing, packaging, social media and PR needs of dispensaries, products, venture capital backed start-ups, and allied companies that sell to the industry.

In support of the agency’s dedication to the industry, COHNNABIS has hired Taylor West, former deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, as senior communications director. By adding West’s cannabis industry insight and in-depth strategic communications experience to COHN’s long-established and respected expertise in integrated marketing, COHNNABIS is setting a new standard for companies serious about building a compelling, effective, and authentic brand within the industry.

Chipotle Hires Former Yum! Brands Exec as First CCO

Chiptole has hired former Yum! Brands executive Laurie Schalow as its first chief communications officer. Diana Bradley at PR Week reports:

Schalow will work from the company’s Denver headquarters and report to Steve Ells, founder, chairman, and CEO. Her responsibilities include overseeing all facets of the chain’s internal and external communications.

Chipotle PR director Chris Arnold will report to Schalow. He previously reported to CMO Mark Crumpacker.

Schalow has joined Chipotle from Yum! Brands, where she was VP of public affairs. In her most recent position, she was responsible for building the brand reputations of more than 44,000 KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurants in 140 countries.

The hire follows a string of E.coli, norovirus, rodent outbreak and labor challenges over the past two years for the Denver-based restaurant chain. Burson-Marsteller is Chipotle’s agency of record in the U.S.

NFL Faces Another Round of CTE Challenges Following Study

The smartest player in the NFL – and perhaps in the history of the NFL – “abruptly” retired two days after a medical study found indications of the degenerative brain disease CTE in 99 percent of the deceased NFL players who donated their brains for scientific research. ESPN reports:

Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel, the NFL’s mathematics expert, abruptly announced his retirement from football at the age of 26 on Thursday, just before the first full-team practice of training camp. …

Urschel is pursuing his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the offseason, focusing on spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra and machine learning. He was expected to compete for the Ravens’ starting center job in training camp.

GFM Foundation Awards $17K in Grants

GroundFloor Media’s Get Grounded Foundation distributed a total of more than $17,000 to Child Advocates – CASA of Jefferson & Gilpin Counties, The Bridge Project, The Denver Children’s Advocacy Center and PCs for People. The programs were selected for their efforts to get a new or innovative program off the “ground floor” in the area of child abuse and neglect, youth behavioral health or childhood hunger relief.

Great Moments in Higher Education

When asked by a student reporter to comment on a University of Oregon basketball player being under criminal investigation for an alleged sexual assault, President Michael Schill responded:

“I don’t have any awareness of that,” Schill said. “In any event, I can’t comment on an individual student. What if I was asked by another reporter about you being obnoxious? Would you want me to tell them that?”

 

Ummm, what?

Food & Wine magazine is relocating from Manhattan to Birmingham, Ala. Stephanie Strom at The New York Times reports:

Hunter Lewis, the editor of Cooking Light, will become Food & Wine’s new editor in chief, replacing Nilou Motamed, who is leaving the company after a little more than a year … said the move to Alabama was partly to save money — Time Inc. has struggled since it was spun off from Time Warner three years ago — but also to give Food & Wine a more national flavor. …

The relocation is a gamble, though. Unlike Time’s other food titles, which cater more to home cooks and those beginning to cook, Food & Wine has developed a following among chefs, wine connoisseurs and restaurateurs. Its New York offices have for almost 40 years been a sort of crossroads for visiting chefs and high-end advertisers like Rolex.

FW

“Do you watch 9News and think, ‘Hey, I can do better than this guy?’”

What do you get when you cross 9News with America’s Got Talent? Apparently just 9News. And not everyone is happy about it.

The on-air promos are short and sweet: “Do you watch 9News and think, ‘Hey, I can do better than this guy?’ ” asks KUSA-Channel 9’s Steve Staeger. “Now is your chance. Send us a short video of you being the you-est you there is through 9News.com. Your take, and your voice, could lead you straight to 9News.”

The 15-second spot, which began airing on Denver’s NBC affiliate two weeks ago, offers a novel solution to a decades-old problem. Namely, soliciting reality TV-style audition videos that farm out the task finding on-air personalities for local news. …

Not everyone finds the idea of crowdsourcing on-air talent charming.

“Another major embarrassment for the once great industry,” wrote Scott Jones, editor of the TV news industry-watching site FTVLive.com. “It is nothing more than a slap in the face to real journalists.”

Great Moments in Journalism

Matthew Reisen from the Albuquerque Journal reports:

Someone stole a television news station’s SUV in Downtown Albuquerque while the crew was gathering footage for a story about crime in the area.

Michelle Donaldson, KOB news director, said the crew watched as the vehicle was stolen near First and Central.

The crew was in the area reporting on recent concerns about crime and safety by the local business Lavu when they became part of the story.

‘The Story is Bigger than Uber’

Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times continues the media’s examination of how social media is reshaping marketing and branding. Manjoo notes that social media warriors have taken down what previously had been considered untouchables – people like Uber’s Travis Kalanick and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.

To see why, we must first understand why brands are suddenly more vulnerable to consumer sentiment than they once were. It all comes down to one thing: Social media is the new TV.

In the era when television shaped mainstream consumer sentiment, companies enjoyed enormous power to alter their image through advertising. Then came the internet, which didn’t kill advertising, but did dilute its power. Brands now have little say over how their messages get chewed up through our social feeds.

PR Industry Not a Fan of White House Comms Team

A new study from the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism shares what PR pros think about the White House communications team’s impact on the reputation of the public relations industry. The results:

  • 73% of PR professionals surveyed said the White House comms team is impacting the PR profession’s reputation. That number was lower among self-identified conservatives (53%) and higher among liberals and moderates (77% for both).
  • 83% agreed that the top reason the White House team is damaging to the industry is that they “constantly change their views/statements.”
  • 80% said the White House team “distorts the truth” and 63% said they “purposefully lie” (63%).
  • 36% said the White House comms team members “do their best despite the circumstances.”
  • 11% said that the comms team acts like PR professionals.

Shift in 9News’ Tone as Christiansen Replaces Arakawa?

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 8.41.08 AM.pngTwo interesting media articles on 9News’ decision to tap Kim Christiansen to replace longtime anchor Adele Arakawa.

Arakawa tells Joanne Ostrow at The Denver Post that she is getting out of the business at an ideal time:

Her timing is perfect: With local TV news in decline and media generally at a crossroads, Arakawa is getting out on top — while the industry is still recognizable. The era of huge anchor salaries is past. The corporate pressure to focus more on the bottom line and less on idealistic journalism is a given. …

Despite the erosion of the TV news audience, (Arakawa) predicts “local TV news will continue to exist,” even as more people are driven to the online platform. She anticipates “a shakeout of stations. There will be a few survivors of local news. You’re seeing a transition in this market. I did live in the Golden Age of TV news … . In the future, there will be fewer local news operations.” She anticipates more takeovers, more mergers.

Meanwhile, Michael Roberts at Westword questions whether Christiansen’s appointment means 9News’ “soft news” will get even softer:

As for Christiansen, her main gig lately has been helming the 4 p.m. newscast at the station, which tends to be dominated by what is euphemistically described as “lifestyle reporting” — feel-good stories about nice people doing nice things.

In a news release about Christiansen’s promotion, 9News president and general manager Steve Carter emphasized these qualities, saying, “Kim is an exceptional storyteller and naturally empathetic journalist. Her work for this community, leading our BuddyCheck9 cancer detection campaign as well as 9Cares Colorado Shares and her many other volunteer efforts, demonstrates her lifelong commitment to service.”

In other words, hard-hitting journalism isn’t a requirement for the position — and while Arakawa has something of an edge, Christiansen’s style turns on a blend of friendliness and concern.

For the record, I can’t imagine that any newscast featuring Kyle Clark is going to be accused of being soft. Love him or hate him, he has no sacred cows and is willing to ask the tough, uncomfortable questions. As for Christiansen, former 9News anchor Mark Koebrich showed that even cynical viewers can be won over with genuine good-natured charm.

‘Angry America’ Forces Advertisers to Walk Fine Line

Advertisers are having trouble navigating the new “angry America, in the aftermath of the 2016 election, which has polarized America’s consumer base.” Variety’s Brian Steinberg reports:

Marketers ranging from USAA, Mercedes-Benz, and Hyundai to T. Rowe Price and Delta Air Lines have come under pressure for supporting Fox News Channel programs like “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Hannity,” both of which have come under scrutiny in recent weeks, or, more recently, a revival of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” produced by New York’s Public Theater. When USAA announced its intention to remove its commercials from “Hannity,” conservative advocacy groups urged it to pull commercials from MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.” Eventually, USAA returned its commercials to its regular rotation.

Advertisers have always had the ability to pull commercials from media properties that caused them angst or angered their consumers. But they were rarely as public about it as they have been in recent months. … Now, the practice is becoming commonplace. Activists often monitor advertiser support of a particular outlet, then throw a spotlight on the sponsors to try to get consumers to demand the cessation of financial support.

Anschutz Consolidating Colorado Political Media

Corey Hutchins at Columbia Journalism Review examines billionaire Phil Anschutz’s recent moves to “dominate Colorado politics coverage,” and speculates whether The Denver Post is Anschutz’s next target.

On May 31, ColoradoPolitics.com, owned by Anschutz’s Clarity Media Group, announced its acquisition of The Colorado Statesman, a subscription-based weekly print journal and website, and a stalwart of state politics coverage for more than 100 years.

Anschutz bought The Statesman from billionaire homebuilder Larry Mizel, who was co-chair of Donald Trump’s Colorado campaign; the sale price was not disclosed. Last week, The Colorado Statesman’s website began directing readers to ColoradoPolitics.com, which now hosts the Statesman’s archives. …

There is also some greater media business context for the ColoradoPolitics deal: a public perception that Anschutz has designs on The Denver Post, owned by Digital First Media.

“He tried to buy The Denver Post…but The Denver Post would not sell to him,” Vince Bzdek, editor of the Clarity-owned Gazette in Colorado Springs, said, referring to Anschutz, during a talk last fall. “If they would sell he would buy it tomorrow.” Bzdek tells CJR he does not know of any current discussions on that matter.

Great Moments in CORA

Kyle Clark and 9News are having a field day reading emails from the Longmont Housing Authority complaining about journalists such as … Kyle Clark.

Here’s a free tip to the LHA staff and board: It’s called CORA – Colorado Opens Records Act – and it means that any non-privileged email generated or received by a governmental entity (among other public documents) can be requested by a member of the public, including media.

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 5.57.14 PM

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 5.55.52 PM

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 5.58.32 PM.png

 

PRSA Colorado’s ‘Career + Beer Workshop’

Let’s face it, you need one or the other. So why not try them out together to comparison shop at PRSA Colorado’s Career + Beer Workshop this Wednesday. You might even find that both work for you.

The official description:

Join the PRSA Colorado Young Professionals Committee (in partnership with the PRSA Colorado Master Practitioners and American Marketing Association) for a career workshop night all about refreshing your job search tools for the summer. Come rotate through our round-robin of professional development workshops: Get your new professional headshot, edit your resume’ and LinkedIn collaboratively with your peers, learn the latest job hunting tips from AMA’s mentorship expert and practice mock interviews with the PRSA Colorado Master Practitioners.

Airbnb Apologizes for ‘Sioux Style’ Teepee Experience

Airbnb has apologized for its “poor judgment” in advertising a teepee property in California’s Joshua Tree National Park as “true Sioux style.” John McCarthy of The Drum reports:

The Memorial Day weekend ad that appeared on Facebook and Instagram … offered a “250-square foot tipi, which accommodates up to 7 people” that features “the comforts of a cozy master bedroom” as an “unconventional getaway”

One issue was that the California site was half the country away from where the Sioux was historically situated in, and around, the American Midwest.

airbnb sioux style ad

 

Denver Broncos Promote PR VP Smyth

The Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala reports that the Denver Broncos have promoted Patrick Smyth from vice president of public relations to executive vice president of public and community relations. Jhabvala also reports:

Erich Schubert was promoted from senior manager of media relations to director of the department, Seth Medvin, formerly a media relations coordinator, was elevated to strategic communications manager.

Denver Broncos practiceCredit: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

9News Extends Lead in 10 pm News Ratings Race

Joanne Ostrow at The Denver Post crunched the numbers from the latest ratings period, and the data show that 9News has extended its lead in the benchmark 10 pm news category and that Fox31 has jumped into second place ahead of CBS4.

Last year, 9News notched a 2.75 rating, accounting for approximately 45 percent of viewers who were watching local news. This year, 9News increased that to a 3.13 rating, accounting for 49 percent of viewers watching local news.

Meanwhile, Fox jumped from a 1.00 rating last year (16.5 percent of viewers) to a 1.23 share this year (19.3 percent of viewers). That allowed it to pass CBS4, which saw its numbers decline from a 1.34 rating (22.1 percent of viewers) last year to a 1.10 (17.3 percent of viewers) this year.

The bottom line remains that having a client on just 9News is roughly as impactful as having them on all three other networks combined.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 2.12.19 PM

Floyd’s 99 Retains PRIM Communications

Floyd’s 99 Barbershop has retained PRIM Communications to handle public relations activities for the brand’s upcoming national campaign and ongoing publicity efforts.

“We are thrilled to forge this partnership with Floyd’s 99,” says Gretchen TeBockhorst, president of PRIM Communications. “Floyd’s 99 has transformed the business of barbershops in the United States, and their upcoming campaign captures the business’s innovation and creativity in an exceptional and meaningful way.”

‘What’s America Really Watching in the Morning? Local News’

Provocative cable news shows may get all the headlines, but a Poynter Institute analysis finds that Americans overwhelmingly view local TV news rather than their cable TV counterparts. Media writer James Warren used Chicago as a benchmark and found:

The power and potency of local news endures, perhaps all the more so in a fragmented digital age. It’s a reality generally missed by media reporters.

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 9.04.32 AM

‘Jimmy Fallon Was on Top of the World. Then Came Trump.’

Dave Itzkoff at The New York Times looks into one of the unexpected casualties of the Trump administration: NBC Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon.

Once the undisputed juggernaut of the late-night category, Mr. Fallon’s “Tonight Show,” a celebrity-friendly cavalcade of games and gags, has seen its ratings decline in recent months. Meanwhile, his politically pointed competitor Stephen Colbert, who hosts CBS’s “The Late Show,” has closed what was once a formidable gap of nearly one million viewers.

The resurgent interest in left-leaning programming hasn’t helped Mr. Fallon, a former star of “Saturday Night Live” who has built his brand on his all-around entertainer’s skills and down-the-middle tastes. And as Mr. Fallon is well aware, viewers haven’t seen him in quite the same light since an interview he conducted with Mr. Trump in September, which was widely criticized for its fawning, forgiving tone. In a gesture that has come to haunt the host, he concluded the segment by playfully running his fingers through Mr. Trump’s hair.

trump-fallon

MAPR.agency Provides Pro Bono Services to Esprit Venture Challenge Winner

MAPR.agency, formerly Metzger Albee, is partnering with the Boulder Chamber to provide pro bono public relations services to the winner of the Esprit Venture Challenge, an annual award presented to an outstanding Boulder startup.

MAPR has pledged a year-long public relations and communications program to each year’s Esprit Venture Challenge winner starting with this year’s recipient, Qualify. Founded by University of Colorado students Sean Chenoweth, Keenan Olsen and Jack Elder, as well as Christian Tucker, the company has developed a mobile dating application. The app is exclusively for college students — all users must use a university email address in order to download the app.
“Qualify exemplifies the Esprit Venture Challenge’s spirit of entrepreneurship,” said Doyle Albee, president and CEO of MAPR.agency. “The Qualify team is made up of creative and energetic individuals willing to collaborate and take risks to create a fun but substantial solution to meeting people in a new and different way.”

CBS4’s Ed Greene Bites Back as Station Eases Him Out

Longtime CBS4 weathercaster Ed Greene is being phased out, according to The Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow, and he isn’t happy about. Asked about being slowly transitioned out in favor of Lauren Whitney, Greene told Ostrow:

“I guess management is ‘going in a new direction?’ I did not ask for ‘more time to spend with the grandkids’ (don’t have any, yet), or to spend more time at our home in Santa Fe (wife still busier than ever with her business … and we still have a student up at CU).”

CBS4

 

It Could Be Worse …

Atlanta’s WATL has added a 7 pm newscast solely for the purpose of creating inventory for political ads for the runoff election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional district. The 7 pm newscast will run through June 20 – election day.

WATL is an affiliate of WXIA, the Tegna-owned NBC station in Atlanta. WATL and WXIA have the same affiliate arrangement as Denver’s 9News and KTVD/Channel 20 (also owned by Tegna).

 

CIG, Philosophy, Webb Big Winners at 2017 PRSA Gold Picks

CIG, Philosophy Communication, and Webb Strategic Communications were the big winners at last night’s PRSA Colorado Gold Picks awards event. Using the proprietary and highly sophisticated Denver PR Blog formula to determine who fared best (four points for the Grand Gold Pick, two points for a gold, one point for a silver), the results are:

Agency Winners

1.   CIG (22 points) – Ten gold, two silver
2.   Philosophy (15 points) – One grand gold, five gold, one silver
3.   Webb Strategic (12 points) – Five gold, two silver
4.   Linhart PR (11 points) – Five gold, one silver
5.   WildRock (8 points) – Two gold, four silver
6.   Fyn PR (7 points) – Three gold, one silver
7.   B Public Relations (5 points) – Two gold, one silver
8.   GKC PR (4 points) – One gold, two silver
9.   M&C Communications (3 points) – One gold, one silver
10. Cutter Communications (2 points) – One gold
10. Dstreet (2 points) – One gold
10. Feed Media (2 points) – One gold
10. Jumel PR (2 points) – One gold
10. Lola Red (2 points) – One gold
10. Xstatic PR (2 points) – One gold
16. Blake Comms (1 point) – One silver
16. Peri Marketing & PR (1 point) – One silver
16. Weber Shandwick (1 point) – One silver

Non-agency Winners

1.   Colorado State University (8 points) – Two gold, four silver
2.   Kaiser Permanente (5 points) – Two gold, one silver
3.   Colorado Tourism (4 points) – Two gold
4.   City of Boulder (3 points) – One gold, one silver
4.   Commerce City (3 points) – One gold, one silver
4.   Community First Foundation (3 points) – Three silver
7.   Denver Art Museum (2 points) – One gold
7.   Donor Alliance (2 points) – One gold
7.   Boulder Open Space/Parks (2 points) – Two silver
10. Ball Corp. (1 point) – One silver
10. Johns Manville (1 point) – One silver
10. Level 3 (1 point) – One silver

Note: Post has been updated.

Are Brands Backing Away from Memes?

Yuyu Chen at Digiday asks whether we have hit Peak Meme.

It’s hard to quantify the use of brand memes because most social analytics companies don’t track them. But influencer Dart Sultan, who runs the Facebook page Shit Memes, called memes a “played-out form of advertisement.

“Brands are utilizing this medium, and it has led to saturation,” he said.

Meanwhile, some marketers have started doubting the value of meme marketing for their clients aside from likes, shares and impressions.

“I don’t think memes will go away, but now lots of our clients are pulling back and asking, ‘What can we get out of this?’” said Jess Greenwood, vp of content and partnerships for agency R/GA. “Companies can be internet-friendly without creating memes. They can work with influencers, for example.”

Subscribers, Not Advertisers, Key to Future of News

The Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, takes a look at the future of news and concludes that subscription models are the only hope because aggregators such as Facebook and Google will take most of the digital advertising dollars.

How many people pay for news? In all, 53 percent of Americans pay for news, including subscribing to newspapers or magazines, paying for news apps, or donating to public media. This number does not include those who pay for cable TV bundles that could include news channels.

Do young people pay for news? Fully 37 percent of the youngest adults, 18 to 34 years old, subscribe to news. The two youngest age cohorts who pay (18-34 and 35-49) also behave differently than older subscribers. They are motivated more by a desire to support the news organization’s mission. About two-thirds of them who use Facebook use it several times a day (compared with half of older subscribers), and many say that discovering a news source through social media was a key factor in deciding to pay for it.

What value do people see in news? People are drawn to news in general for two reasons above others: A desire to be informed citizens (newspaper subscribers in particular are highly motivated by this) and because the publication they subscribe to excels at covering certain topics about which those subscribers particularly care.

Why do people choose to subscribe? While there are a host of reasons, the No. 1 cited (by more than 4 in 10 subscribers) was that the publication they pay for excels at covering certain topics about which they particularly care. More than 4 in 10 also cite the fact that friends and family subscribe to the same product. More than a third of people say they originally subscribed in response to a discount or promotion. In print, people also are moved heavily to subscribe to get coupons that save them money, something that has untapped implications in digital.

Who does not pay for their news? Of those who do not pay for news at all, many resemble subscribers in a variety of ways. About half are “news seekers,” meaning they actively seek out news rather than primarily bumping into it in a more passive way, though the news that nonpayers are seeking (for now, at least) is often about national politics. Like subscribers, many of these people also get news multiple times a day, use the news in ways similar to subscribers, and are interested in similar topics, including foreign or international news. Nonpayers, though, generally see news as a little less valuable in their lives and think that there is plenty of free content available.

Linhart PR Seeks Digital Media Supervisor

Linhart PR is adding a Digital Media Supervisor:

Skills sought include: Expert use of social/digital analytics and measurement tools; program planning and management; social strategy; content strategy and development; e-commerce program development and management; paid social/digital planning and implementation; budgeting; and written and oral communications, including strong presentation skills. 

In Memoriam

Former CBS4 reporter Wendy Bergen, an Emmy-winning journalist who resigned in disgrace after staging dog fights as part of her investigation into animal abuse. According to long-time friend Peter Boyles, that experience served as a catalyst for Bergen to turn her life around and focus on helping others. Michael Roberts at Westword has more details.

American Airlines Deftly Navigates ‘Strollergate’

PRWeek examines why American Airlines “Strollergate” didn’t rise to the level that United Airlines experienced. From reporter Diana Bradley:

“…By responding to its own incident quickly, American Airlines halted the matter from blowing up, crisis experts say. Just a few hours after the video was published on Facebook, the airline company issued a statement, which it put on its website. In the statement, the airline apologized, said it had launched an investigation to obtain the facts, noted it had upgraded the family affected to first class, and added it had suspended the flight attendant involved.”

Long-rumored ESPN Layoffs May Begin Next Week

The long-rumored mass layoffs at ESPN may begin next week, and they may be larger than expected. From Matt Bonesteel at the Washington Post:

The job cuts, which will come from the network’s sizable stable of on-air and online talent, have long been expected as ESPN looks to pare expenses in the wake of mounting subscriber losses and rising rights fees. Over the past five years, the network has lost somewhere around 12 million subscribers while shelling out billions for the right to televise leagues such as the NFL and NBA.

Police, CBS Affiliate May Be Hiding Name of NFL Draftee Accused of Sexual Assault

Are the Cleveland Police Department and the city’s CBS affiliate conspiring to hide the identity of a projected first-round NFL prospect accused of sexual assault so his draft status won’t be hurt? It would seem so. Barry Petchesky reports:

A player who is expected to go in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft has been accused of sexual assault, according to Cleveland 19 News. But this is a weird one: The station is not naming the player, despite having a statement from his attorney, because the cops are dragging their feet on filing a police report.

UPDATE: TMZ has learned the name of the football player, and not surprisingly he is a local star.

CORA Law Trips Up Denver Water

Denver Water learned the hard way to watch what you put in emails when you are subject to the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA). In a 7News investigation related to a bonus awarded to Denver Water’s CEO, investigative reporter Tony Kovaleski captured this email exchange:

Employee #1: “Where are you? We just got a CORA from Channel 7.”

Employee #2: “Home … you can call me. What are they looking for?”

Employee #1 “Glad you’re home and sitting down. You may want to pour a shot of tequila.”

Employee #2: “Fuck. Is it about pension? Or rates? Who is it from?”

7News also published invoices totaling $3,200 from Denver crisis management firm Rockford Gray to media train Denver Water’s CEO and one of its former board members.

DDP Releases Annual ‘State of Downtown Denver’ Report

The Downtown Denver Partnership has released its 2017 State of Downtown Denver report. Among the findings:

Our residential population, at the center of one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., is expanding at unprecedented rates. Our diverse economy added close to 6,000 jobs over the past 24 months, bolstered by the arrival of 23 new companies and a nationally recognized culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 1.23.00 PM

Webb Shares Tales of Replacing Fox’s Bill O’Reilly at 7News

Is former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly the most hated man in television? In 1978, Pete Webb of Webb Strategic Communications replaced O’Reilly as 7News’s investigative reporter, and he tells Michael Roberts of Westword that O’Reilly was, in fact, a jerk:

According to (Webb,) a former co-worker in Denver, O’Reilly was widely disliked at the station because of behavior that could be rude, egomaniacal and underhanded, and on multiple occasions, he was pranked by colleagues who left aromatic food to rot in his desk.

“He was a hugely disruptive influence in the newsroom, and few people liked or tolerated him,” Webb maintains. “He was argumentative, difficult to manage and would literally steal other people’s stories. In fact, he’d answer a call for a reporter and say, ‘He’s out right now, what can you tell me?,’ and end up with a story intended for someone else.”

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.57.29 AM

PRSA Colorado Announces 2017 Award Winners

PRSA Colorado has announced the winners of its 2017 Gold Pick Special Awards:

  • Swede Johnson Lifetime Achievement: Amy Johnson, APR, Amy Johnson Public Relations
  • Public Relations Person of the Year: Catherine B. Lucas, APR, Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Business Person of the Year: Tami Door, Downtown Denver Partnership
  • Joe Fuentes Rookie of the Year: Catie Mayer, B Public Relations
  • Chapter Service: Michelle Ellis, Ellis Communications Marketing
  • Mentor of the Year: Kimberly Stern, Colorado State University
  • Public Relations Team of the Year: Ball Corporation Communications Team

The Special Award winners, as well as Gold and Silver Pick award winners, will be recognized at the Gold Pick Awards ceremony on Thursday, May 4, at Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House in Denver. Register at prsacolorado.org.

Wells Fargo Legal & PR Expenses Grow

Wells Fargo says the expenses related to its fake-accounts scandal will be greater than expected. Laura Keller at Bloomberg reports:

Wells Fargo & Co.’s costs … are mounting faster than the bank expected as the company incurs expenses for consultants and lawyers.

“Of course it’s having an impact on the performance of the company,” said Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan. “When you step back and you look at how serious the retail sales-practice issues were, and the reputational impact on the company, you can only reach that conclusion.”