September 1, 2017

The Solar Eclipse and Public Affairs

Many of us were captivated by the recent solar eclipse. The Internet, social media and television buzzed for weeks leading up to the rare, natural event.  We flocked to the web for information on the eclipse, watched around-the-clock news coverage, and shared photos on social media.

The last total solar eclipse in 1979 garnered a very different type of coverage.

In February 1979, TV coverage of the event was limited to special reports on the three major networks: CBS, ABC and NBC. Although 95 percent of American households had at least one TV in 1979, cable TV was in its infancy and the remote control was used in just 17 percent of homes.

Today’s media environment is light years ahead of the Walter Cronkite era, with information coming at us from our smart phones, our cars, and even our refrigerators.

Consumers have access to more information than ever before. We scour digital platforms and social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram andSnapchat, looking for the latest news. This growth in different information access points makes it more difficult than ever to break through the noise and deliver a message.

Just as the media landscape has evolved, so has Cornerstone.

Earlier this year, with our addition, the firm established Cornerstone Public Affairs.  Matt got his start in local radio, but made a name for himself as the communications director for Tom Vilsack during his time as governor and USDA secretary, and as a strategist for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Jimmy served as communications director for Terry Branstad, now the U.S. Ambassador to China, and Kim Reynolds, now the governor of Iowa, when they were governor and lt. governor, respectively. Following our work in government and on political campaigns, we both worked in private communications consulting before joining Cornerstone.

With our collective experience, we help businesses and individuals cut through the clutter with a clear message to capture their target audience. Our strategy and techniques have changed alongside consumer habits and media newsrooms. We understand how quickly new breaks and the need to respond carefully and rapidly.

With this in mind, we craft unique public relations campaigns, media trainings, crisis communications, issue advocacy support, and more.

Our public affairs team perfectly complements the federal and state government relations work Cornerstone has become well-known for, and our approach to client service is the same throughout: senior-level strategic counsel from a group of bipartisan professionals.