The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Organized group of local spin-doctors and flak-catchers didn’t get NBC News here; hope still alive they’ll land Katie or Charlie Gibson

In Floods on May 19, 2009 at 9:28 am

The local cadre of public relations pros isn’t responsible.

In any event, NBC News’ national operation is in Cedar Rapids to work up a news piece on Cedar Rapids’ flood recovery.

SanDee Skelton, a flood victim still in a FEMA trailer who expects to return to her renovated home at 1125 10th St. NW within a month, reports that she is one of a few slated for an interview.

NBC News’ Dallas-based coordinating producer Al Henkel has set up the interview with her, she says.

Which is perfect.

Henkel, who was in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, grew up in Cedar Rapids, is a 1977 Jefferson High School, and lived in the Cedar Hills neighborhood, which stayed high and dry in the 2008 flood. He went on to graduate from Iowa State University in 1982, and worked at KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids from 1982 to 1983. He won an Emmy award for his coverage of the 1993 flood in Des Moines, and he won Emmy, Peabody and Murrow awards for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Skelton says Henkel wants her to talk about the group of retired electricians, plumbers and pipefitters who worked on her house and who were covered in recent local stories.

Henkel, she says, got her name from Liz Mathis, spokeswoman for the Four Oaks family-services agency.
Mathis on Tuesday said that the push in the last 10 days by local public-relations professionals to attract national media to Cedar Rapids to report on the city’s one-year anniversary of flood recovery is not what got NBC News to town.

Mathis says local news coverage by The Gazette and KCRG-TV of local retired electricians and plumbers helping flood victims captured NBC’s attention.

By the way, Mathis, a former long-time TV news anchor, was the one who convinced the local media to cover the story in recent weeks.

Tuesday morning, Henkel said via e-mail he wasn’t sure when the NBC piece might be broadcast.

  1. So is this a bash on the work that these public relations professionals put into their project?

  2. I would hope that they will talk to the Head of the Veterans’ Commission- Pete Welsch and ask him how he thinks things are going. Maybe they could talk to the owners of the Saddle and Leather Shop or Poehlenas’ Meats.

  3. Hopefully, new headline is a little more fair.

  4. the state of iowa (us taxpayers) will now fund about 50% of your movie making costs. so someone should pitch the idea of a flood documentary filmed here in iowa.

  5. So glad our new City communications person is starting to get the messgae out. 11 months after the flood, but at least she is starting.

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