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Details of contract between UM system and PR firm released

Firm was hired after campus protests

UM System releases PR contract terms

COLUMBIA, Mo. - An open records request has revealed how much the University of Missouri agreed to pay a public relations firm.

Last week, Mizzou confirmed with ABC 17 News that Edelman PR was hired after the fall 2015 campus protests.

ABC 17 News obtained the terms of this past year's agreement Monday.

The contract shows from July 2016 to June 2017, the university agreed to pay the firm no more than roughly $350,000. The university signed another contract with the firm that will run from July 2017 through June 2018. That contract is estimated at $123,600 plus additional expenses. 

The contract with Edelman includes various tasks and services the university felt they needed help with after the Fall 2015 protests.

The services include a communications protocol manual "with predetermined roles and responsibilities for varying reactive issues." 

To do this, Edelman gathered information about the university's "current processes, priority issues with key stakeholders and relationship owners through targeted interviews with leadership groups." 

Edelman was then tasked with creating a "comprehensive communications manual with pre-determined issue/crisis definitions," and "prepared messages for priority scenarios" including back-to-school, homecoming, the anniversary of the protests and new leadership announcements. 

The firm also agreed to identify roles and responsibilities for system leadership in crisis situations, among other things.

The contract also included presentation coaching that included five "coaching/training sessions" for the university. The university's president, curators and chancellors were among those who participated in the sessions. 

In the coaching sessions, Edelman was to "teach and reinforce the messages developed in the communications protocol manual." The sessions also aimed to teach the participants how to tailor messages for key stakeholders, take control of interviews and deliver difficult messages confidently. 

Edelman was also contracted to provide at 12-month "integrated, proactive system-wide calendar for sharing positive news." These spotlight stories were to feature "all campuses, associations, affiliations, programs and subsidiaries including University of Missouri Health Care and University of Missouri Extension."

The current agreement will have Edelman focus on promotion and protection of the university. Promotion will include things like branding, employee engagement and marketing. Protection continues to focus on crisis preparedness, media training and support.

Edelman is one of the country's top PR firms whose client list has included Penn State University after the university's sex scandal, Girl Rising, REI and Arby's. 


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