The beginning of Women’s History Month brought me back to a meeting with the late Barbara Walters, a journalism pioneer, several years ago. I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Walters on a client matter in her office on the Upper West Side and it was one of the highlights of my career.

Gracious, engaged, genuinely interested and thoroughly prepared – it was easy to see why she was a legend. These attributes, in addition to boundless patience and determination are probably what helped her rise to the top of a profession completely dominated by males.

Her office was modest, particularly in light of her marquee status at the network. The one nod to her stature was a shelf that circled the room with an Emmy award perched on every square inch of it. (You can catch a glimpse in the background of the photo above.)

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possible interview of a crisis client of our firm on her program. One exchange captured the quintessential balancing act of crisis communications:

Barbara Walters: What do you tell your clients?

Me: I tell them two things. First, fill the vacuum – tell your story and define yourself on your own terms.

Barbara Walters: Oh, that’s very good. (No doubt thinking “As luck would have it, I host a TV show where your client could do that with an audience of tens of millions of people.”)

Then she asked “What’s the second thing you tell them?”

I replied “Don’t go to jail.”

She laughed, acknowledging the challenge of telling the story without undermining the client’s legal position, or endangering their freedom.

The interview never took place because the balance never made sense for the client, but I walked away from the meeting with even more of an appreciation for a trailblazer who set a timeless standard for all journalists – and frankly anyone committed to excellence.
Building the Team
The New Harbor Group team continues to grow! The most recent addition to our team is Abby Appel, who brings experience in public policy, media relations and social media management - all skills she’ll put to work on behalf of our clients. Most recently, Abby worked for the Providence City Council. 

Welcome aboard, Abby!
The Latest!
Local Eagle Scout Raises $10,000 for Community Service Project

Pawtucket’s Alejandro Zuluaga was recognized as the Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America’s newest Eagle Scout at a recent ceremony and celebration that included a number of state and local officials.
Alex, 17, raised $10,000 to renovate the Sacred Heart Dog Park in Central Falls for his community service project, a requirement to earn the Eagle rank. He then applied his leadership skills to organize fellow Scouts, friends and parents to assist with the month-long initiative that included repainting picnic tables, mulching the area and installing new activities for dogs.
A member of First Troop Providence, Alex’ Eagle Court of Honor ceremony was held at Club Madeirense in Pawtucket where R.I. General Treasurer James Diossa, R.I. State Senator Jonathon Acosta, Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera and Pawtucket City Councilor Roberto Moreno (above) attended to mark Alejandro’s achievement. Zuluaga joined more than 5,300 Narragansett Council Scouts who have achieved the Eagle rank since 1910.
“The Narragansett Council is incredibly proud of Alejandro and his accomplishment,” said Narragansett Council CEO Tim McCandless. “Alejandro embodies the values and work ethic that the Scouting program instills in Scouts.”
Zuluaga participated in the Council’s Scoutreach program, which provides special leadership and financial support for Troops in urban neighborhoods.

The Valley Breeze
Overcoming Opposition, Affordable Housing Development Gains Necessary Approvals

Worcester Community Housing Resources (WCHR) is taking steps to combat the housing crisis in Worcester, which saw a 43% increase in homelessness last year.

WCHR recently won Planning Board approval to move forward with the redevelopment of an existing, run-down hotel into 90 units of permanent supportive housing. The supportive housing model offers on-site mental health and recovery services to residents.

A key element of WCHR's communications effort was providing clear details about the project from the outset. For example, creating a comprehensive Q & A posted on their website helped rein in speculation and unfounded rumors. This kept the debate centered on facts by answering nearly all the questions and stated concerns about the effort with consistent, factual answers posted in one easy to find place.

WCHR expects to welcome new residents by early 2024.

Worcester Patch

Worcester Patch
‘People’s Primary’ Group Proposes Much Needed
Election Reform
“Majority Rule” is central to the American approach to elections, and to governing. But today in Rhode Island and across the country, candidates can win with 30% of the vote – or even less.

People’s Primary, a Rhode Island grassroots effort, is working to change that. The group recently introduced three approaches for primary reform designed to give voters a greater voice in who gets elected and create more competition in Rhode Island elections.

In a widely distributed and covered white paper, People’s Primary found serious shortcomings with Rhode Island’s primary election system, including dreadfully low voter participation and limited competition for public office.

In response, the group recommended a few alternatives to Rhode Island’s current system, including top-two nonpartisan primaries; ranked choice voting including nonpartisan primaries with top-four ranked choice; and a partisan open primary system.

To make the much-needed change, the People’s Primary recommends that the General Assembly revisit Rhode Island’s method of primary elections, and give voters a “People’s Primary” designed to increase voter participation, candidate competition – and a better end result in government.

The Providence Journal


Providence Business News
Dan Yorke State of Mind