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Posts Tagged ‘Penn State University’

INTERVIEW: Allison Goodin re: ‘Penn State Lives Here’

Penn_State_Lives_Here_LionA couple of weeks ago, beleaguered Penn State University came out with a new marketing campaign “Penn State Lives Here,” which was covered on PRNewser. This post (humbly submitted by yours truly) got the attention of one Allison Goodin, assistant director of university relations for Penn State Lehigh Valley.

We are a friend to the flack and the journo equally, and without reservation.

To wit, I asked Ms. Goodin a few questions about this campaign. My questions were based on its timing, challenges to overcome the devil’s own Jerry Sandusky and what impact she wants this campaign to have on the student body.

Much as I would encourage any of our readers, if a post is focused on your brand, holler back. We have no enmity toward the follow-up. A big shout out to Allison for the email, and on behalf of all of us at PRNewser, we wish Penn State University the best…or in this case, the happiest in the Valley.

Her interview is after the jump:

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‘Penn State Lives Here’ Won’t Kill That Other Campus Memory

Source: Lehigh Valley NewsMore than $50 million in University legal fees. At least 52 counts of child molestation spanning 15 years. All from one repugnant and malevolent human being that has a special and infernal place in the bowels of hell with his name on it.

That is the summary of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal that rocked this nation and nearly demolished Penn State University.

The rally cry heard across Happy Valley as always been “We are…Penn State.” However, that cry has been muted insurmountably because in most Americans’ minds, we are not Penn State.

Needless to say, the mile-wide skidmark Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno left on that once-esteemed university makes that campus squawk more of a reminder of the past than the pride of the present. 

Faculty know this. Students hate this. And now, the ivory towers has done something to change this. Whelp, kinda.

The university has officially rolled out its new branding campaign, Penn State Lives Here. I get the wording — in essence, what is here now should be the merit of the campus.

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More Charges Filed in Penn State Case

Another chapter in the long, sundry case of Penn State and Jerry Sandusky further emphasizes the challenges faced by Edelman PR, La Torre Communications and the institution itself as all work to restore the school’s previous reputation for greatness in both sports and academics.

Unfortunately, this latest update will undoubtedly inflict more damage on the school: it concerns staff attempts to cover up, deny or, at the very least, minimize the scandal. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly just announced charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, endangering the welfare of children, and failure to report suspected child abuse against former University President Graham Spanier.

That’s quite a list–and we didn’t even mention the additional charges brought against the school’s former athletic director and vice president of business and finance, both of whom await trial in January.

Spanier’s greatest offense? After stepping down, he claimed that no one had ever mentioned the possibility of ongoing child abuse during his time at Penn State–but the email trail told a very different story.

Penn State’s board members and PR reps have been wishing Spanier would slink away and disappear for some time: first they argued over whether he’d resigned on his own volition after “going rogue and altering a press release that had been a collaborative effort”, and then he participated in this very ill-advised interview for some unknown reason.

Penn State and its PR organizations will never have to defend Graham Spanier again. Unfortunately, the law is far from done with him–and his case will expose the public to yet another angle on a tragic tale that can never be untold.

Sandusky Sentenced, Proclaims Innocence and Blames Victims

We almost hate to give more blogspace to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky. But he’s about to be sentenced, and he’s used his last “public relations” opportunity to proclaim his innocence in what can only be called a wild-eyed conspiracy theory rant recorded in prison by his lawyer and later aired on Penn State radio.

Why did Sandusky’s lawyer (who now claims that his client was denied due process during a “rush to trial”) choose to record this statement? In it, the offender accuses “the media”, Penn State officials, and the local police of conspiring to destroy him. Yet, he says:

“…they can make me out as a monster, they can treat me as a monster, but they can’t take away my heart. In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts. My wife has been my only sex partner and that was after marriage.”

Beyond creepy. The worst part is the section in which Sandusky urges the public not to trust his accusers. Why? Because they were troubled kids who sought help—at his charity!

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Can This Woman Save Penn State’s Reputation?

We’re not sure if the task of doing damage control for Penn State is the toughest, most thankless PR gig in the country right now, but it’s got to be pretty close. According to a recent Reuters article, the University is hoping that Karen Peetz, chairman of the school’s board of trustees and big-name executive at Bank of New York Mellon Corp., can help them resuscitate their severely damaged reputation despite the fact that she doesn’t work in the PR field and never really signed up for the job.

While some grads remain true to their alma mater, Penn State’s star has clearly dimmed in the eyes of the public. All agree that the school made some huge ethical and public relations mistakes when dealing with (or trying to wish away) the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. While the school hired PR firms to deal with the fallout, Peetz has effectively served as its public face during this most difficult hour even as her dual roles in PR and finance threaten to collide with one another. Read more

La Torre: Firm Helping Penn State Improve Relations With State, Local Media

Yesterday, Penn State University announced that it had hired two firms —  Edelman and La Torre Communications, a Harrisburg, PA-based firm — to aid in continuing transparency efforts. According to La Torre founder David La Torre, a primary goal of the work will be “improving relations with local and state media.”

Since news broke in November of child sex abuse allegations against one of the University’s former assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky, it has been in the media spotlight.

“We’ve been given an overarching directive from the University,” La Torre told us in a phone call this morning. “We’ll be dealing with any information from the University related to substantive issues the University is facing.” Those issues, La Torre continued, “need to be relayed to the community in a timely manner.”

The community includes everyone from parents and faculty, to students and other members of the public.

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For Transparency, Penn State Hires Edelman, La Torre

Penn State University has hired two PR firms — Edelman and La Torre Communications, a Harrisburg, PA-based firm – as part of the effort to be more transparent, rebuild its reputation, and reach stakeholders.

In a statement from the University, Penn State’s president Rodney Erickson said, “Earlier this year, I announced five promises to guide Penn State in recovery from our recent crisis and rebuild trust with the Penn State community. Retaining these communications firms puts us more firmly on the path toward accountability, openness and preserving our reputation as one of the world’s leading research universities.”

The two firms will help with media relations, corporate communications, and stakeholder engagement, the statement says.

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Research: Many Wikipedia Entries Have Errors, PRs Can’t Do Much About It

Marcia DiStaso, assistant professor of PR at the College of Communications at Penn State University, surveyed 1,300 PR pros and they say 60 percent of Wikipedia entries contain errors about their clients. And because of rules against PRs editing Wikipedia articles, the errors can remain published for an indefinite amount of time.

According to information we received via email, DiStaso has been conducting Wikipedia research since 2006 and gathered responses from PR pros across agencies, nonprofit organizations, companies, and other groups. She told ABC News that PRs are only allowed to leave comments and wait for a public response. Ideally, Wikipedia guidelines say that should happen within five days. But nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) say they never heard back. More than half of respondents thought the rules should be changed.

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Paterno Announces Retirement, Says Penn State Has Bigger Issues to Address

Photo: AP

After 46 years and a career that had gone down as the best in college sports history, Joe Paterno has announced that he’s retiring at the end of this season, his reputation in tatters over a child abuse sex scandal that has shaken all of Penn State.

“Joe Pa” announced his retirement in a statement that came a day after the university’s board announced that he wouldn’t be coaching next year.

“At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more,” the statement reads.

The backwards chronology of the announcement is in keeping with the inadequate way the university has handled the scandal, starting years ago.

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