the Story
Adam Shapiro
Public Relations
Shaping a Powerful Narrative.


Media Training Uncovered

Thank you to ASPR’s friends at Lipman Hearne for allowing us to share these thoughts about media training. https://www.lipmanhearne.com/uncover-the-story/

Uncover the Story Through Media Training

By Adam Shapiro

I just read an article that said a Hollywood star, facing an upcoming gauntlet of critical questions from reporters, had better get herself media trained right away.

It struck me that this is exactly the wrong approach to take. Indeed, if done effectively, media training is something that is integrated into a communications strategy from the beginning, not crammed in after a crisis.

This is especially true for leaders in higher education and other vital institutions. They wouldn’t run a 5K without training, so why would they face critical questioners without preparing for the experience?

Uncovering the story is a process of media training that I’ve used with much success. “Uncover the story” has two meanings:

–In media training sessions on campus, I work with the university president, provost, department heads and other academic leaders. They always have messages, ideas and mission statements about their work. Yet there is a need to put them in human language and discover what is truly unique about their institutions. It takes time to uncover these elements and they aren’t always obvious.

–Once we have the defining messages down pat, it’s time to ask the tough questions in practice sessions. I began my career as an investigative reporter, the type of journalism that thrives on making Freedom of Information Act requests and highlighting when things go wrong and why. Investigative reporters do love to uncover a good story. Therefore, I’ve honed the ability to develop questions that can trip up even the best leader.

This process, conducted well in advance of a need to walk into a news conference, is ideal in today’s intense media environment, where everyone can be on Twitter and the next Mike Wallace might be a freshman with an iPhone.

Here’s a secret: It’s not always the tough questions that cause the most headaches. Sometimes an easy, uniformed question can lead a spokesperson to a regrettable answer (for instance, “How long to you plan to stay here as university president?”). Media training helps prepare officials for that situation as well as understanding that comments made when you think you are off camera often are not.

I’m reminded that even Michael Jordan, the best basketball player in the history of the game, needed a coach. It’s an honor to visit college campuses, explore their stories and help leaders prepare to tell those stories in accurate, compelling and motivating ways.




Legends of Learning’s Research Story

ASPR client Legends of Learning partnered with a team from Vanderbilt University for the new study “Substantial Integration of Typical Educational Games into Extended Curriculum.” Published by the Journal of Learning Sciences, the research shows students who played games as part of their regular curriculum were significantly more engaged, and outperformed their peers on both factual knowledge and depth of knowledge.

Participating teachers reported their students were more engaged, and comprehended lessons faster. To learn more about how curricula games impact students in the classroom, read an executive summary of the game-based learning study.

The Alfred Friendly Press Partners Story


Leading Russian Investigative Reporter Yevgenia M. Albats to Receive Award at Alfred Friendly Press Partners Annual Event

WASHINGTON, D.C—The legacy of Alfred Friendly, whose name was synonymous with groundbreaking journalism when he led and reported for The Washington Post, once again promises to make headlines in the nation’s capital.

That’s because Alfred Friendly Press Partners, a nonprofit based at the Missouri School of Journalism, will hold its annual graduation program and dinner for its Fellows from emerging democracies around the world.

The event, Friday, Sept. 8 from 6–9 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., will include a discussion with Karen DeYoung, Washington Post associate editor and senior national security correspondent. Her reporting this year has broken major developments involving North Korea, Russia and ISIS. Previously, DeYoung won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the war on terrorism.

She will be interviewed by Tim Carrington, a former international journalist with The Wall Street Journal and a Friendly foundation board member.

Yevgenia M. Albats, a previous Fellow, will receive the Susan Talalay Award for Outstanding Journalism for her work and bravery in exposing corruption in Russia. Jackie Combs Nelson will receive the Ellen Soeteber Award for mentorship; she is a former assistant editor at the Chicago Tribune and has been traveling the world to reunite and connect with past Fellows.

The special program sponsors are Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman. Frank Islam and Debbie Dreisman Foundation’s primary mission is to promote education and arts and culture. Their foundation is part of the AFPP family and they have joined hands with AFPP to support this event.

This year’s Fellows— from Malaysia, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Ukraine and Cuba — have spent six months gaining hands-on experience and leadership skills they’ll need to become more effective journalists and to make a profound impact in their home newsrooms.

Information about tickets is available at http://bit.ly/2uRsKQr.


 Alfred Friendly Press Partners bonds with journalists and news organizations from information hungry societies and prepares them to practice professional, ethical, and innovative journalism. We accomplish our mission through hands-on training in U.S. and international newsrooms and within the Missouri School of Journalism.

Alfred Friendly Press Partners is the leader in transforming journalists who are recognized as vital to journalism excellence, press freedom, and informed citizenries.

We advance our vision through our fellows, our lifelong relationships with them and the subsequent trusting relationships to international newsrooms we are able to develop through them, and the network of training resources and expertise we are able to capture and tailor for fellows and international newsrooms. www.presspartners.org




LPS-ASPR Poll on U.S. Views About Canada

More Americans have a favorable view of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau than they do of President Donald Trump, and if Trudeau showed up with a bottle of maple syrup they’d be even more supportive. 

Those are the findings of a new Lincoln Park Strategies/ASPR Poll taken as America’s neighbor to the north is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary. Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary, set to occur on July 1, recognizes the historic day 150 years ago that unified three of the country’s provinces.

The survey of 1,000 Americans found a net-favorable rating (favorable minus unfavorable) of 11 percent for Trudeau, while Trump’s score was minus 12 percent. But those feelings aren’t enough to get a majority of Americans to pack their bags. Still, 39 percent of Americans would be open to moving across the border, including 6 percent who have thought about moving since November.

Meanwhile, 79 percent of Americans like maple syrup, which beat out hockey (49 percent) and Canadian beer (39 percent). However, Americans don’t seem to want to hear any celebrity Canadians sing “Happy Birthday.” Famous singers from Canada, such as Justin Bieber and Drake, have the highest unfavorable percentage (27 percent) in the part of the poll that asked about people and things Canada is known for. Additionally, the U.S. says it can live without poutine; 14 percent of Americans don’t like poutine, their neighbor’s unique mixture of fries, cheese curds and gravy, and 41 percent have never heard of it.

The poll also asked respondents where they would visit in Canada to celebrate the special anniversary. Toronto (22 percent) and Niagara Falls Canada (21 percent) came out on top, followed by Vancouver (16 percent) and Montreal (14 percent). Only 2 percent say they’d want to visit the country’s capital of Ottawa, and Halifax and Winnipeg garnered a mere 1 percent each.

Just a bit more than half of Americans (51 percent) say they have been to Canada, but for most it was more than five years ago (31 percent).

“Growing up in the hockey town of Boston, I was a little surprised to see that only half of Americans like hockey, but I was shocked at the lack of love for poutine. American’s don’t know what they are missing,” says Stefan Hankin, president, Lincoln Park Strategies, a D.C.-based analytic research firm. “Regardless of our lack of taste, we wish congratulations to all Canadians on this special anniversary.”

“Listening to and understanding where the public stands on any issue, including its thoughts about Justin Bieber, are an important part of the public affairs tradition that both countries share,” says Adam Shapiro, CEO/president, ASPR, a public relations firm based in D.C., that has represented Canadian clients. “The important thing to remember is that our bilateral friendship has persisted through the years, and perhaps our mutual love of maple syrup has helped us stick together.”

The representative poll was conducted online June 10–14, 2017. The Bayesian confidence interval for 1,000 interviews is 3.5, which is roughly equivalent to a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 at the 95 percent confidence level. 

Uncovering Hope After Tragedy

Mental Health Awareness Month: Genomind® Recognizes Psychiatrist Who Made a Difference During Pulse Nightclub Tragedy  

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.— With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, Genomind is recognizing a psychiatrist whose dedication to helping patients went above and beyond. 

Dr. Robert Pollack, based in Fort Myers, Fla., is a nationally known leader in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In June 2016, he was shocked by the tragedy of the mass murders that occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. 

Pollack, understanding that survivors and first-responders would need aid, reached out to Genomind for additional support; the personalized medicine company brings advancements to mental healthcare through genetic testing. It donated to Pollack more than four dozen of its Genecept Assay® test kits for Pulse survivors and first-responders; the test looks at key genes in a patient’s DNA that affect how they respond to medication. This may help clinicians understand if a drug may work or cause side effects before it’s even taken. 

“While there are still some aspects of identifying and treating PTSD that we don’t know, there is a lot we do understand and implementing best practices as soon as possible is extremely beneficial,” says Pollack. “People dealing with PTSD often don’t have the patience to go through a round-robin of trying to figure out which medicines are the best match. That’s why this simple genetic testing is so important. It’s collected by swabbing the inside of the cheek with a cotton swab. I thank Genomind for this recognition during Mental Health Awareness Month.” 

“May is a time for all of us to focus on the need for mental health screening and treatment. We know than one in five adults will experience mental illness in our country. That’s why we are grateful to partner with clinicians such as Dr. Pollack to provide genetic testing that may help patients get better, faster,” says Michael Koffler, Genomind President and CEO.

Genomind recently unveiled an enhanced Genecept Assay; it now covers more than 20 drug classes, 122 medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 18 clinically validated genes and 97 percent of medications used to treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder and autism. It also offers comprehensive coverage of pain medications.  



About Genomind


Genomind is a personalized medicine company bringing innovation to mental health care through genetic testing. Genomind is comprised of pioneering researchers and thought leaders in psychiatry and neurology and specializes in pharmacogenetic laboratory testing for psychiatry. Genomind is committed to partnering with clinicians to improve their patients’ lives. Learn more at www.genomind.com.


About the Genecept Assay


The Genecept Assay is a genetic test designed to help clinicians optimize treatment decisions for their patients with mental illness. It identifies patient-specific genetic markers that indicate which treatments are likely to work as intended, have no effect or cause adverse effects. It is an easily administered cheek swab test that analyzes key genes that have been selected based on hundreds of studies showing that variations in these genes can inform treatment decisions. The Assay is used to guide treatment for a range of psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, schizophrenia, chronic pain and substance abuse, and has been shown in peer-reviewed published studies to improve patient outcomes and reduce overall medical costs. Each Assay provides clinicians with an easy-to-read patient report and a complimentary psychopharmacogenomic consultation. Learn more at www.genomind.com




Kristina Habermann

Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communications





Adam Shapiro