Penn State University has hired two public relations firms, among them Edelman, to help the university rebuild trust and improve its media relations efforts.
The move comes in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal last fall.
Edelman and La Torres Communications, a Harrisburg, Penn.-based firm, will support the school in upcoming litigation related to the Sandusky crisis and work to foster greater transparency among Penn State Stakeholders.
"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," Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a statement
Due to the university’s poor crisis communications
last year, the news that Sandusky, the former longtime assistant football coach at Penn State, had allegedly raped young boys spiraled from a human crisis to a reputational one for the institution. The handling was so messy that even PR professors and students at the school criticized the administration
Erickson said that retaining Edelman and La Torres sets the university on
“the path toward accountability, openness and preserving our reputation.”
The deal runs for 12 months at $208,000 per month.
“Penn State made it very clear that it wants to improve how the university interacts with local and state media outlets,” David La Torre, principal of La Torre Communications, told PR Daily
. “It’s all about improving communications and the timeliness of communications” with the Penn State community.
According to La Torre, Edelman will serve as the team leader and will direct the overall strategy. Edelman’s Charles G. Bakaly, III, a senior counselor in Washington, D.C., and Jennifer Thompson, a senior vice president in Chicago, will lead the account.