Report: UM System quietly hired mega PR firm following protests in 2015

2 years 8 months 6 days ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 1:21:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
By: Caroline Peterson, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The UM System hired a large public relations firm to help "craft its message and avoid perception crisis," according to a report by the Columbia Missourian.

According to documents obtained by the Missourian, the university paid Edelman PR out of Chicago between $250,000 and $350,000 from June 2016 to July 2017. Edelman has also been contracted to work with the university through June 2018 for an additional estimated $123,600.

Edelman PR was consulted about events impacting MU or the system such as the hiring of UM System President Mun Choi and the first anniversary of the 2015 Concerned Student 1950 protests. 

In the past, Edelman helped Penn State following a sexual abuse scandal, and ran a campaign for a Canada energy company in favor of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The UM System did not send out a press release about the hiring of the PR firm. The Missourian reported that Christian Basi, the director of the MU News Bureau, said the hiring was mentioned in a System Board of Curators meeting in 2016. That information, according to the Missourian, was not listed in meeting minutes. 

According to the initial contract, the Missourian included in its report, Edelman provided services such as a communications manual, social local and national media monitoring, public relations coaching for system administrators and a calendar of major news events and opportunities where MU and the system could share positive stories. 

The new contract with Edelman, which began on July 1, provides the system with more communication strategies including "Crisis/Issues preparation."

Through a public records request, the Missourian obtained "Crisis Planning Materials," which was written by campus or system officials, and then looked over by Edelman. 

The document included sample questions and sample answers for everyone who spoke for MU or the system could use. The strategy was to promote a "unified narrative."

The Missourian also reported Edelman provided support after members of the Legion of Black Collegians were met with racial slurs outside the Delta Upsilon Fraternity House. The PR firm conducted a "social audit" by analyzing social media activity following the event. 

Basi said the reason they hired the firm was to provide "outside perspective for MU," according to the Missourian article. 

Edelman measured results by looking at increased enrollment, positive media coverage and increased donations and state funding.

[Editor's note: We originally said MU News Bureau refused to answer questions on the subject. But due to miscommunication in the newsroom, we failed to see an email from Christian Basi and the News Bureau. We apologize and sincerely regret the error.]

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 3:00:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missourians marched and held signs in Columbia on Friday morning to bring awareness to police brutality against African... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 1:52:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
CLARKSBURG, Mo. - Two people were arrested in Clarksburg, Mo., on drug charges after a search on May 21, according... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 1:32:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis officer who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 12:46:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s only abortion clinic will be able to keep operating after a state government administrator decided... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 12:38:00 PM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri River is expected to reach moderate flood stage in Jefferson City, Glasgow and Hermann this weekend.... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 11:30:00 AM CDT May 29, 2020 in Weather
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. You can find... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 6:39:00 AM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- A student at the West Location of Tiger Tots Academy has tested positive for COVID-19. According to a... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 Friday, May 29, 2020 6:37:00 AM CDT May 29, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – During his daily COVID-19 briefing Thursday, Governor Mike Parson announced an extension of the phase one reopening... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 8:42:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - As Boone County moves into the next phase of reopening, hair salons can now open their doors to... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 6:17:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The City Manager of Columbia announced plans to further cut city budgets due to the effects of COVID-19.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:42:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. You can find... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:40:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY - While other sports adjust the game plan to respect social distancing, some are just playing things business... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:16:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri-Kansas City says it will begin bringing back faculty, staff and students... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:14:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — During the State of the City address, John Glascock said the city is leaving it up to the... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 1:51:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson will deliver his daily COVID-19 briefing live from the State Capitol in Jefferson City... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 12:46:00 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
Editor's note: Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez is a primary care pediatrician, director of pediatric telemedicine and assistant professor of pediatrics at... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 12:26:23 PM CDT May 28, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - Click below to watch the final candidate forum for the Columbia School Board. All four candidates - Jonathan... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 11:30:00 AM CDT May 28, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 75°
4pm 75°
5pm 75°
6pm 74°
7pm 73°