Denver PR Blog


“Do you watch 9News and think, ‘Hey, I can do better than this guy?’”
June 27, 2017, 9:22 am
Filed under: Public Relations

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
June 26, 2017, 8:15 am
Filed under: Public Relations

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’
June 23, 2017, 7:56 am
Filed under: Public Relations

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
June 20, 2017, 9:08 am
Filed under: Public Relations

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?
June 15, 2017, 9:01 am
Filed under: Public Relations

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
June 14, 2017, 10:11 am
Filed under: Public Relations

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
June 13, 2017, 9:43 am
Filed under: Public Relations

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.