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Overwhelmed by a blitzkrieg of negative news stories since March, when three members of its lacrosse team were accused of raping a stripper, Duke University has hired public relations giant Edelman to promote the positive side of the ensnared institution. Matthew Harrington, president of Edelman’s Eastern region, says the firm is in the early stages of implementing a strategy and has no specifics to dish up. “It’s to make sure there’s an accurate characterization of Duke amongst its stakeholders,” he says. John Burness, Duke’s senior vice president of public affairs and government relations, adds that the university has been taking hits since March. “In February there was something like 3,700 national and international stories about Duke,” he says. “In April there were 33,000. We were the biggest story in the country for five to six weeks.”
Joe Crea can be contacted at [email protected].

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