UNIVERSITY PARK, PA: Penn State University has hired Edelman and Harrisburg, PA-based La Torre Communications for corporate communications, media relations, and stakeholder engagement support as it recovers from the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse scandal.
The college hired the firms for the year-long account worth nearly $2.5 million after it held a competitive bid earlier this month. The agencies will report to the university's administration and work with Penn State's office of university relations and public information officers.
The agencies' goal will be to “ensure broader and more transparent communications with key Penn State stakeholders, including current and prospective students, alumni, faculty and staff, parents, local communities, and state and national media,” the university said in a statement. It added that the firms will also support the school during litigation, “ensuring rapid and accurate dissemination of information to the extent possible given the ongoing investigations.”
Charles Bakaly, Washington-based senior counselor, and Jennifer Thompson, SVP in Chicago, will lead work on the account, Edelman CEO Richard Edelman said in a statement.
Penn State's board of trustees hired Ketchum last November and worked with the firm into January after former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on charges that he sexually molested dozens of boys over a period of three decades.
The college has spent more than $5.3 million on firms for crisis communications and internal investigations, including Ketchum and Kekst and Company, although it did not break down spending individually by firm.