The City of Ferguson, Mo., under control of the Missouri National Guard after days of protests and unrest following a police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, has brought in an outside PR firm to keep up with the crush of media inquiries and coverage.
Chesterfield-based Common Ground PR, co-founded and led by Standing Partnership alums Lynese Hoffman and Denise Bentele (pictured), is advising the city.
"We are providing short-term assistance to the City of Ferguson's media relations dep[artment] in fielding media inquiries during this tragic time," the firm said in a statement.
The clashes between police, protesters and others in the streets of Ferguson have drawn global media attention. Swelling journalist interest, the city's PR response has been criticized over arrests and harassment of journalists trying to cover the turmoil, as well.
Some outlets like Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo have picked up social media criticism that Common Ground's staff appears to be predominately white.
Ferguson police on Aug. 15 identified 28-year-old Darren Wilson as the police officer that shot the teenager, Michael Brown, on Aug. 9 in the St. Louis suburb. After moving control of the city from local to state police, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon deployed the National Guard this week. The US Dept. of Justice is investigating the shooting.