the Story
Adam Shapiro
Public Relations
Shaping a Powerful Narrative.


Nonprofit Resources in the Coronavirus Age

During this unprecedented time, we’re proud to support and work with a number of nonprofits that are stepping up with resources to help us all:

  • The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington is a nonprofit that has created a network of over 400 vetted small nonprofits in the nation’s capital. All the nonprofits go through a review process, at no cost, that consists of the following questions: What need is a nonprofit meeting? Is it doing so with excellence? Are its finances sound? What impact, concretely measurable or harder to measure, is it having on the community it serves? The Catalogue allows donors to give with confidence to organizations that work every day in local neighborhoods.
  • The American Pops Orchestra is offering music to soothe nerves while also supporting musicians and performers facing a loss of their incomes. APO was founded to breathe new life into orchestral pops programming and inspire new audiences to discover the wealth of material in the Great American Songbook in dynamic ways.
  • The Council for Professional Recognition is providing important guidance to early childhood educators around the world. The Council oversees the Child Development Associate credential, which is based on a core set of competency standards that guide early care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children.

Other clients are doing their part as well and we look forward to sharing those details soon.

Impeachment in Person

As a reporter covering murder trials, I never felt the need to add drama to the story—it was already there. A person’s freedom was on the line and two opposing camps of lawyers were duking it before the judge and jurors.

That intense feeling returned to me Friday as I had the incredible opportunity to sit in the visitors’ gallery at the U.S. Senate and watch the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump.

While his physical freedom doesn’t hang in the balance, his political life does. I also don’t believe it’s a slam dunk acquittal case; there are still too many unknowns unknows (to paraphrase Don Rumsfeld). Take, for instance, the news about John Bolton’s book revelations that there was a quid pro quo.

My desire in this blog is to share observations from watching the proceedings; to highlight things you can’t see from the TV screen. For instance, I was astounded by the juvenile behavior of Trump attorney Jay Sekulow as Rep. Garcia was speaking. He was rolling his eyes, mocking her and basically trying to intimidate her. It was beneath the dignity of the moment.

There also was a long period of time when Sekulow and lead defense attorney Pat Cipollone left the chamber. Perhaps Trump was calling them. Whatever the case, I thought it bizarre that they would exit right as the House managers were beginning to present the second article of impeachment for obstruction of Congress. If you are on trial, you want your lawyers in the “courtroom” at all times.

There have already been reports about the lackluster attendance by Republican senators during the trial. At one point about one-third of the Republican senators were missing during my time in the Senate. Again, one wonders what other business did they have to attend to that was so much more important than impeachment?

What hasn’t been shared is that the press gallery appears to be very empty, at least while I was in the room. I guess journalists feel they get better visuals and audio by watching it online or on cable. Yet something seems to be missing if you aren’t “in the room where it happens.”

I saw Majority Leader McConnell flipping through a ringed notebook during the trial; it didn’t appear whatever he was reading related to what was happening on the floor. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska seemed very serious; she realizes eyes are on her. Sen. Romney seemed happy go lucky; I guess a positive attitude is good to have.

As someone who used to work in TV, let me add this observation as well: the proceedings would look better if the cameras were eye level to the speakers on the floor. The fact the cameras are up so high creates high angle shots that tend to distort the actual interactions on the Senate floor.

My composure and attitude throughout the afternoon were consistent: I was somber and downbeat. This is a sad time for America. I took no joy in watching this part of our country’s history unfold.


2020s Predictions from ASPR

A completely unscientific list of predictions for the next decade from ASPR:

·        The street sign and wayfinding industry will disappear as smartphones will render it useless. Those who work in the industry will face the same challenges that buggy whip-makers dealt with in the early 1900s.  

·        Climate change activists, who successfully made an enemy of the plastic straw, will go after the paper and newsprint sector. They’ll argue it’s an environmental threat to grow trees, chop them down, print things on them and drive them to people when digital communication is better for the Earth.

·        Al Gore will be venerated for trying to warn us.

·        The Economist reported that studies have shown software that mimics the responsive role of a tutor has turned a corner and now can actually improve learning outcomes, in addition to just being new and innovative. Further advances will greatly influence teaching and learning.

·        The worries about Social Security running out of money will need to be rethought in light of a decrease of U.S. life expectancy.

·        The question isn’t if Trump wins in 2020 or not; the question is what follows him, whenever that occurs. Americans always overcorrect (Carter after Nixon-Ford; Reagan after Carter; Obama after Bush). There will be a new spiritualism and respect in the public square that the current president doesn’t demonstrate.    

Wall Street Editorial Praises ASPR Client

The Wall Street Journal recently wrote this favorable editorial about ASPR client the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation: 

These days it’s popular to lament that immigrants are destroying America’s national identity, but maybe we’re getting it backward. When the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation recently put questions from the U.S. Citizenship Test to American citizens, only one in three could pass the multiple choice test.

It’s embarrassing. According to the foundation, only 13% of Americans knew when the Constitution was ratified, and 60% didn’t know which countries the United States fought in World War II. Most couldn’t correctly identify the 13 original colonies, which at least is something of a teaser. But only 24% could identify something that Ben Franklin was famous for, and 37% thought it was for inventing the light bulb.

Even with a highly contested Supreme Court nomination now in play in the Senate, 57% of Americans couldn’t say how many Justices are on the Court. Older Americans did much better than younger Americans—only 19% of the under-45 crowd passed—which probably reflects the declining state of American public schools. None of this augurs well for the future of self-government.

We’ve always thought it important that immigrants must pass a test on the basics of American history and civics before they can be sworn in as citizens. Immigrants who are motivated to become citizens will take the time to learn. The real threat to American freedom is the failure of current citizens to learn even the most basic facts about U.S. history and government.


Kiefer Sutherland at ASPR Client Event

ASPR was excited that renowned actor Kiefer Sutherland heard the story about our client the American Pops Orchestra. He joined the audience for a great performance and later took a picture with singer Betty Who and conductor Luke Frazier. The original news release is below.


Pop Sensation Betty Who to Sing with an Orchestra for First Time

WASHINGTON — Washingtonians rising early to watch Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle on TV or online on Sat., May 19 can now end this romantic day by enjoying some of loveliest and sometimes over-the-top songs composed and written by the legendary Cole Porter.  

Let’s Misbehave: Cole Porter After Dark,” will feature pop star Betty Who in her orchestral debut. Who, who is a native of Australia, is best known for the chart-topping song “I Love You Always Forever.”

APO, in keeping with its mission to disrupt the status quo, will intersperse Porter’s works with dramatic readings of cheeky and outrageous online dating profiles.

Joining Who in bringing the musical works to life will be:

Liz Callaway: Tony Award nominee, voice of Disney’s Princess Jasmine and Anastasia

Ali Ewoldt: Phantom of the Opera, Broadway cast

Bobby Smith: Crazy for You, Broadway cast, Helen Hayes Award winner

Vishal Vaidya: Groundhog Day, Broadway cast

Luke Hawkins: Star tap dancer from “America’s Got Talent”

“Cole Porter was so ahead of his time — he’d probably be overjoyed that we have this idea to celebrate the wedding of the Queen’s grandson with great singers and musicians and also mix in the creative ways people try to find love in the 21st century,” says Maestro Luke Frazier.

 Frazier has won a following for his ability to connect the APO with modern audiences. According to The New York Times, “As much as any individual singer, what warmed the evening was the sumptuous lilt of the American Pops Orchestra, conducted by Luke Frazier.”

 The program will include Porter’s mischievous, and sometimes bawdy, play on words and situations that resonate more than ever in today’s complex meeting and dating scene. These songs include “Anything Goes,” “You’re the Top,” and “Love for Sale.”

Tickets are available at www.TheAmericanPops.org for “Let’s Misbehave: Cole Porter After Dark” at Arena Stage at The Mead Center for American Theater at 1101 6th St., SW, Washington, D.C. on Sat., May 19 at 8 p.m.

 The Cole Porter production will conclude the third season for APO that has featured acclaimed events such as a performance by singer Marilyn Maye and an Aretha Franklin tribute.