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Update on strategic positioning for March 2022 | A Record-Breaking Month

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Renea Morris

Renea Morris

News  •
Internal  •

As we bounce between winter and spring, our ongoing work to support University communications initiatives spans internal and external audiences. As you will note in this update, we hit a major milestone in the month of February in our external communications—specifically with our work in media relations—and I hope you will join me in congratulating our media relations team on their success.

I also want to thank and congratulate our campus communications partners, who have partnered with our team on various issues management situations. Our work with communications is often tricky in that, while we can (and do!) develop plans, they can be quickly interrupted by issues requiring our immediate and focused attention. I appreciate the patience and support extended to our team as we triage concerns—often with great discretion—that pull us away from our strategic master plans and force recalculations in the work. Every organization will encounter storms. The organizations that weather them together are stronger and better for it. I am proud of the way we choose to collaborate and work together at DU.

Our Best Media Month Yet!

I was thrilled to learn that February marked a record month for the number of media placements featuring University of Denver faculty, staff, students, and alumni. In the shortest month of the year, mind you, DU earned 93 media hits in tracked local and national outlets, which is an average of 3.3 placements per day! DU’s Public Impact Fellows certainly contributed to the success: 22% of the total media placements came from DU faculty who have gone through the program. We are grateful to the faculty and subject matter experts who took time to provide insight on major global issues such as the Olympic games and the tragic war in Ukraine.

R1 Communications Update

This month, the DU Newsroom began sharing stories that profile faculty and their research, highlighting the ways in which their work has contributed to the University achieving R1 status and augmenting our efforts to position ourselves strategically among our industry thought leaders. We will continue to feature various faculty this winter and spring through the Newsroom to highlight the amazing research taking place at DU, demonstrate how students are contributing to this work, and share the many ways in which it ties to community and our commitment to the public good. The first two stories featured Jonathan Moyer from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, specifically about policy research at the Pardee Center, and Neil Gowensmith from the Graduate School of Professional Psychology. Through forensic psychology, he and several students are using their expertise to support the Colorado court system.

Making this awesome effort even better are the bylines on both articles. Written by MarComm student interns Thomas Sloan and Octavio Gonzalez, these R1 stories mark an important moment in time for the MarComm Newsroom as the first stories written by student intern writers in collective recent memory. We are honored to have their contributions and hope to have increased student intern participation in the coming years.

Prison Arts Initiative Press Release and Coverage

In the past year, MarComm has used the AP wire for more news releases as there have been more situations to warrant it. One example from last year is the announcement of DU’s R1 status. At the beginning of this month, the University’s Prison Arts Initiative launched Inside Wire: Colorado Prison Radio, the first statewide prison radio station in U.S. history. Our team determined that a wire release was fitting for this press release, and it was the right call! The release was shared on 330 different sites and reached a potential audience of 222 million people.

In a brief time, the release has already garnered more attention than any other press release we’ve distributed to date. The story has been covered by many local media outlets such as the Denver Post, Colorado Sun, Colorado Public Radio, and 9NEWS, and also received national news coverage. A few examples include the Associated Press, NPR, NBC News, US News, and CBS News.

Bilingual Communication

I was filled with joy to see our first bilingual communication distributed to employees this past week. I hope you will join me in warmly welcoming Andrea Hernandez-Perez, our new bilingual writer, to our team. Andrea is filling a new position in MarComm and bringing to life a dream I have had since arriving at DU, communicating to our audiences in multiple languages through our various communications and marketing channels.

While we know we will not be able to send everything in English and Spanish, Andrea’s hard work will enable us to communicate important announcements and marketing messages in Spanish as well as facilitate stronger communication between DU and the Spanish-speaking families of our first-generation students.

Our goal with Andrea’s role is to better ensure all DU employees have the information they need to feel informed and hopefully build a stronger sense of belonging for all employees. Eventually, we hope to use Andrea’s skills to support a more robust Spanish social media presence and support other strategic positioning initiatives.

Our entire MarComm team appreciates the help of our campus communication partners in spreading the word about these important steps.

We had a great deal of “firsts” in February with record-breaking media coverage, student-authored stories in the Newsroom, and seamless bilingual communication. While not every month will come with this quantity or level of communications “wins,” it is a great feeling to have accomplished so much in such an abbreviated time.

I really am grateful to have such a dedicated and talented team making all of this happen on behalf of DU!