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

2 years 4 weeks 1 day 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
JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday it used pepper spray at a Lincoln University Homecoming Concert... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 8:23:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
FRANKLIN COUNTY - Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers found a kangaroo Monday night who escaped from his home. Troop... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 7:53:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
MILLER COUNTY — Neighbors in Eldon are angry that they're finding styrofoam waste in their yards. Multiple properties... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 7:34:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
SEDALIA - The Sedalia Police Department reported a 17-year-old missing Monday night. Marie McDonald was last seen on Oct.... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 7:27:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Several mid-Missouri nonprofit organizations said they are experiencing “donor fatigue” after the destruction of the May tornado.... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 7:12:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
KEYTESVILLE - A judge in Chariton County found Tuesday there is probable cause to send James Pleasant’s case to trail.... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 5:13:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
KINGSTON, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri prosecutor and sheriff will give an update Wednesday into the disappearance of two Wisconsin... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 4:53:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Commission approved Tuesday morning a budget amendment for additional and/or replacement outdoor warning sirens. ... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 3:18:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A judge sentenced a former coach who worked at school districts in Fulton and Ashland to three years... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 3:15:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA -The Columbia Mall has three big projects on its radar including Dillard's Men's, a Hilton Hotel and Level Up... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 2:42:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
REPUBLIC, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man has busted the state records for the heaviest and second-heaviest pumpkins. KMBC-TV... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 12:20:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The legend of "Mad" Max Scherzer still seems to drift through Taylor Stadium. "A lot of people... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 12:10:00 PM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter is in the hospital again after falling and fracturing his pelvis Monday... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 6:54:00 AM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia approved an increase in funding for Job Point's affordable houses on Monday. Job... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 5:46:00 AM CDT October 22, 2019 in Top Stories
(CNN) -- Four attorneys general announced a proposed framework for a global settlement that could resolve lawsuits against five companies... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, October 22 2019 Oct 22, 2019 Tuesday, October 22, 2019 4:16:38 AM CDT October 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Tiger fans, the Border War is back. Missouri and Kansas have agreed to play... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 8:28:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
LOUISIANA, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation has apologized for posting an edited photo that cropped out a... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 7:14:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A unanimous vote by the Columbia City Council Monday night decided School Resource Officers (SROs) will have another... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 6:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 44°
1am 44°
2am 44°
3am 44°
4am 44°