If you were in control of a city government under siege with charges of racial profiling, police brutality and totalitarian administration, don’t you think you’d want some diverse voices in handling your response to the media? Well, clearly you’re not in charge of Ferguson, the Missouri city that the whole world is watching in the wake of the police killing of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
It’s been reported that the City of Ferguson has hired a PR firm, Common Ground Public Relations, for communications help. The company’s website says its team is comprised of “journalistically trained professionals” who are committed to helping clients in media relations and “crisis communication.”
Common Ground’s “Meet the Team” page reveals something else about its staff: there doesn’t seem to be one person of color among its professionals.
In a comments to to Talking Points Memo, Nina Kult, a senior account executive at Common Ground, said the firm is only handling media requests for the city.
“We’re just handling media relations as of very recently and that’s really all we’re doing,” said Kult. “We’re just handling media queries and that’s all I can really say right now.”
From the looks of the reaction on Twitter, perhaps the City of Ferguson needs a PR team that can speak more to the concerns of its diverse resident, particularly members of the black community still reeling from the killing of Michael Brown.
— Cathy! (@cathydinas) August 19, 2014
— The Kitchenista (@MissAngelaDavis) August 18, 2014
Anybody know whether Ferguson’s new PR contract costs more or less than it would to implement dashcams? @kansasalps
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) August 18, 2014