WSW division wins Independent brief

Weber Shandwick Worldwide's (WSW) broadcast and interactive

division has won a media relations brief from Independent


In common with most of Fleet Street, The Independent and Independent on

Sunday plan to make the upcoming general election the focus of special

coverage. Their parent company has therefore hired WSW to capitalise on

that coverage across broadcast and online media.

Fees are not yet finalised, though the contract is initially for the two

months leading up to the expected 3 May election. If WSW is successful,

it is likely to win further project work from the company.

The agency won a three-way pitch against Fishburn Hedges and Edelman PR

Worldwide. The firms pitched to the company's marketing director Trish

Wadley and Jan Thompson, managing editor of both titles.

Specific tasks to feature in the programme include getting broadcasters

to take a greater interest in the views of key Independent editorial

staff, including daily editor Simon Kelner and IoS editor Janet


An early example of the work the agency has in mind was given last

weekend when WSW attempted to boost the coverage of the IoS's front page

lead, concerning the victims of the 1989 Marchioness river boat


The WSW account team is led by director and former Sky News producer

Gavin Houlgate and is overseen by division CEO Tessa Curtis. They have

put together a proposal to exploit a series of Independent-sponsored

public discussion forums in the run-up to the election on issues such as

the environment, transport and the arts.

The broadcast and inter-active team has been joined by Richard Gilbert.

He joined from GCI London, where he established the agency's digital

practice. He is a former director in Burson-Marsteller's corporate and

financial team.

WSW has also hired Dagmar Schluter, former Medialink media relations

head. The two hires boost staff numbers at the division to 18.

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