PR Roundup: Skimm Rebuttal, Pro Athletes Rally for Mental Health, Trust in News

Love, Your Mind Ad Council mental health campaign title slide

This week's PR Roundup features an example of timely teamwork making earned media happen, a new, robust campaign of professional athletes speaking about mental health, and who holds the most trusted name in news?

Jennfier Bett Communications Works with The Skimm to Quickly Publish Butker Rebuttal

What happened: By now you’ve certainly heard of Kansas City Chief’s kicker, Harrison Butker’s infamous graduation speech given at Benedictine University. It not only sparked a national conversation surrounding working women, but it struck many a nerve in the female-centric public relations industry.

Jennifer Meyer, President and Founder of Jennifer Bett Communications, said the speech had a real impact on her staff, and it inspired a strategic content partnership. 

“When the JBC team first saw clips from the Harrison Butker commencement address, we were all collectively disgusted,” Meyer says. “Our partners at theSkimm have always been champions of younger generations, using their platform to inspire and empower, and we knew they would be the perfect partners to work with for a counter response.”

Founders of popular media company and newsletter theSkimm, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, wrote and edited a rebuttal within 12 hours. And the JBC team got to work pitching several hours after the idea cemented. Fast Company and Forbes featured the response and countless others recirculated it on social media.

Communication takeaways: Meyer says creating timely content is great, but aligning a team for a common cause is even more important. 

“PR can be a powerful tool to respond to important cultural moments like this,” she says. “As storytellers, it’s incredibly important to pay attention to where you can meet the moment, and leave behind a more positive impact. Being able to respond quickly and creatively is the first step, and you need to have a top notch team and partners to flawlessly execute on it.”

Professional Athletes Unite for Mental Health Campaign

What happened: At the culmination of Mental Health Awareness Month comes a message of promise from the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and the Ad Council. This week 11 professional sports leagues and organizations teamed up with the national “Love, Your Mind” campaign to announce a comprehensive mental health partnership public service advertisement series. “The Rituals We Share,” features star athletes sharing their “rituals,” or steps they take, to care for their minds on and off the field—encouraging sports fans across the country to prioritize their mental health.

The campaign spots feature: 

  • WNBA Lexie Brown of the L.A. Sparks 
  • NASCAR Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports
  • NFL Cam Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • NHL Zach Hyman of the Edmonton Oilers
  • USTA Madison Keys, professional tennis player
  • NBA Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards
  • MLB Brandon Lowe of the Tampa Bay Rays
  • WWE Liv Morgan and Cody Rhodes
  • PRCA Tim O’Connell
  • NWSL Cari Roccaro of the Chicago Red Stars
  • MLS Zack Steffen of the Colorado Rapids

The PSAs will run nationwide in time and space donated by media outlets across TV and digital media platforms. The participating sports leagues and organizations will also extend the partnership throughout 2024 and beyond by providing social media amplification, support on their owned media channels, additional media partnerships and more.

Communication takeaways: Sometimes highlighting an important message with a familiar face can really make an impact. 

“Millions of sports fans across the country look up to athletes—and just like the rest of us, athletes need to take steps to take care of their mental health,” says Nina Meredith of Radical Media and “The Rituals We Share” director.  

“When athletes open up about their own mental health practices, it normalizes and destigmatizes these important conversations. The hope is that this campaign helps people feel more comfortable talking about mental health and reaching out for help when they need it.”

Weather Channel Most Trusted Outlet in American Media

What happened: This week YouGov, a global public opinion and data company, released its Trust in Media 2024 report. The annual poll offers a comprehensive look at how Americans perceive various news sources. Given the nation’s polarization and fragmentation in not only political thoughts, but media tastes—the insights are extremely relevant. 

Key report findings included:

  • Most Trusted Sources: The Weather Channel remains the most trusted news source followed by the BBC, PBS and The Wall Street Journal..
  • Least Trusted Sources: The National Enquirer is the least trusted, followed by Infowars and Breitbart News.
  • Partisan Trust Gaps: Democrats are significantly more likely to trust news outlets compared to Republicans. Only 13% of news outlets are trusted more than distrusted by members of both parties.
  • Political Polarization: CNN is the most politically polarizing news outlet, with a 96-point difference in net trust between Democrats and Republicans. Fox News also shows a stark divide, with Republicans having a net trust 62 points higher than Democrats.
  • News Consumption Trends: 80% of Americans get news from television or social media. Younger adults prefer social media, while older adults rely more on television. Fox News and CNN are the top news sources, used by 34% and 32% of Americans, respectively, in the past month.
  • Paying for News: Only 17% of Americans currently pay for a news subscription, with higher proportions among older adults and higher-income families.

Nicole Schuman is Managing Editor at PRNEWS.