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

2 years 1 month 2 weeks 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
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Some Missouri business owners looking to profit from the state's burgeoning marijuana industry worry they're... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 11:14:00 AM CST November 10, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - From jumping across tabletops to nestling between books, twenty cats call Papa’s Cat Café home. The interactive café... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 7:00:00 AM CST November 10, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A news release from the Columbia Police Department said officers responded to a home invasion at the 1100... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, November 10 2019 Nov 10, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019 12:25:00 AM CST November 10, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Three people were injured in a car crash on Highway 63 Saturday evening. According to a... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 11:30:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Participants gathered at West Middle School on Saturday morning to spread awareness for diabetes. "The Diabetes Dash... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 6:39:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Community members came together in MU Speaker's Circle to call for justice for missing woman Mengqi Ji Elledge.... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 5:04:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
CENTRALIA - Hubbell Power Systems workers in Centralia will return to work Monday morning with increased wages. A majority... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 4:47:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
EMINENCE, Mo. (AP) — A herd of seven wild horses that were causing problems at a Missouri state park have... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 4:43:08 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Children got the chance to learn about science through hands-on experiments at the Columbia Public Schools' Planetarium on... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 3:26:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Pulaski County deputies and the South Central Drug Task Force seized large amounts of heroin, methamphetamine and cash... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 3:05:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — An inmate died after becoming unresponsive in a booking cell of the Pettis County Jail Saturday morning. ... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 3:01:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Callaway County deputies arrested a man after a report of shots fired Thursday on the 7000... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 2:55:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Fanny Winget and her son Isaac Shapiro were cleaning the house when they heard a fire alarm go... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, November 09 2019 Nov 9, 2019 Saturday, November 09, 2019 1:15:00 PM CST November 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Works is adding 50 new lane miles of "Third Priority" snow routes on 195 streets this... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 08 2019 Nov 8, 2019 Friday, November 08, 2019 8:08:00 PM CST November 08, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - MU knowingly violated the Missouri Sunshine Law by overestimating the cost of providing records to an animal... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 08 2019 Nov 8, 2019 Friday, November 08, 2019 7:52:27 PM CST November 08, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Some homes in Jefferson City are still suffering from the aftermath of May's EF3 tornado, but River... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 08 2019 Nov 8, 2019 Friday, November 08, 2019 6:23:00 PM CST November 08, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - In Missouri, there is a shortage of foster care parents. The number of children in the foster... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 08 2019 Nov 8, 2019 Friday, November 08, 2019 5:14:00 PM CST November 08, 2019 in Continuous News
BOONVILLE - The Boonville City Council approved a location on Nor-Cat Way for a proposed medical marijuana facility. MOCO,... More >>
3 days ago Friday, November 08 2019 Nov 8, 2019 Friday, November 08, 2019 2:48:00 PM CST November 08, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 17°
12am 16°
1am 15°
2am 14°
3am 13°