Monday, May 30, 2011

Good News for CIRM and Not-So-Good News

The $3 billion California stem cell agency made the papers this weekend in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

One story dealt with research funded by CIRM, the other with selection of its next chairman.

The story by freelance writer Amber Dance in the Los Angeles Times was the sort of coverage that CIRM needs more of if it is to win approval of the possible, new $5 billion bond measure touted by Chairman Robert Klein.

The article had an optimistic lead on a promising ViaCyte Inc. therapy for diabetes. It cited in the second paragraph CIRM's $26 million in funding to the San Diego firm. CIRM President Alan Trounson was quoted. All that in a newspaper that has the largest circulation in California and that has largely ignored CIRM.

The other piece appeared in the San Francisco Examiner. Authored by Katie Worth, the headline read,
"California stem cell czar offered top pay, asked to name job description."
It began by saying that the new CIRM chairman could have a salary of more than $500,000. The story mirrored the lack of clarity on the part of the CIRM board concerning exactly what the chairman should do. Worth quoted from the Little Hoover Commission report on CIRM. She wrote,
"In 2009, California’s Little Hoover Commission criticized CIRM’s governance structure, noting that Klein’s 'actions and personal style' and the fact that he essentially wrote his own résumé into the requirements for chairman, create a situation that 'distorts accountability and succession planning and could, in the event of an abrupt departure of the individual, leave the agency leaderless for an extended period.'"
In the world of marketing, PR and election campaigns, it takes a lot of positive stories to counter the ones that reflect poorly on an enterprise, such as Worth's.

The puzzle for CIRM is how to generate enough positive pieces. Sphere: Related Content

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