Nick Ragone is an author, attorney and public relations executive in New York City. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of the Eagleton Institute of Political Science at Rutgers University (undergraduate) and the Georgetown University Law Center.

He is the author of three books: Essential American Government, Everything American Government, and President's Most Wanted. Nick is a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel and Fox Business, the PIX11 Morning Show, and has a weekly appearance on the popular Raph Bailey Radio Show.  He co-anchored PIX11's five-hour live inauguration coverage with Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong.

Nick is a contributor to Donklephant.com, one of the most influential political blogs on the web, and  has written for US News & World Report, The Star-Ledger, Real Simple Magazine and RealSimple.com.  Nick has been quoted in over two dozen stories on politics, the presidency, and public relations.  In December of 2007, Nick was named one of PR Week's 40 under 40 to watch, and in May of 2008 was featured in "Profiles of Success", a book about public relations. Nick lives in Jersey City, NJ, with his wife and two children, and spends what little free time he has obsessing on the Mets.

Nick can also be found on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740817853




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PR Week story

I'm quoted in a PR Week story about the Comcast-NBC Deal. My quote comes at the very end:


NEW YORK: This week, Comcast bought the controlling stake in General Electric's NBC Universal and all its properties, including the NBC television network, Universal Pictures, Telemundo, and its portion of Hulu. Prior to the official announcement, an imminent sale of NBC to Comcast had been widely speculated on in the media and on Wall Street. To prepare for the December 3 reveal of the deal, Comcast put in place a robust communications plan that would include media outreach and digital communications and public affairs strategies.

"Our strategy was to get out of the gate first thing in the morning with a massive effort to communicate to all these different audiences," says D'Arcy Rudnay, SVP of corporate communications for Comcast, which worked with long-time firm Abernathy MacGregor on the deal. The $37-billion deal makes Comcast one of the world's largest media companies and is subject to regulatory approval, which will take place over the next year.

Comcast's media outreach included responding to reporters, launching a microsite with details about the transaction, and investor and media conference calls the day of the deal. In addition, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker appeared on CNBC.

Comcast and its team, including public affairs firm Law Media Group (LMG), were also online, blogging, responding to consumers, and using Twitter to communicate. The message, Rudnay says, was focused on why Comcast wanted to purchase NBCU and its plans for the future.

"It fits terrifically with our goals," she tells PRWeek. "We are a cable distribution company, and we're also a cable company, and we're an Internet company. We have scale in cable distribution. This was an opportunity to gain scale in the area of content as well."

The communications effort completed its task in terms of ensuring that the salient facts were communicated to a massive audience that spanned investors, regulators, and the public, but the merger - not surprisingly given its size and effect - has its critics. Some cite antitrust concerns or the more general, "it's just too big" variety. 

Johanna Blakley, deputy director of The Norman Lear Center at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at University of Southern California, expressed concern for local broadcast news in the face of such consolidation.

"We tend to agree with a lot of those media watchdog organizations, like Public Knowledge, saying that mergers of this type are generally not good for the public interest," she says. "I don't know if there will be some new rivalries created and a restacking of the deck in terms of the cable network world, but that would be exciting to see."

A number of communications professionals counter that this type of media integration is where the industry must go in order to survive.

"This is a phenomenal multiplatform deal that brings scale and is something that we, as PR professionals, need to learn to maximize, capitalize on, and really learn how to use," says Vickee Adams, SVP and US director of media for Hill & Knowlton. "The analysts I've spoken with really compliment this deal because it realizes the vision that Comcast has made clear since they tried to acquire Disney. They wanted content, [now] they've got it."

"I think for PR people, having a re-invigorated NBC and all the properties is just a good thing," adds Nick Ragone, partner at Ketchum. "It's more content, more content online, more places for companies to pitch their stories to, more places for PR people to pitch their stories to. There will be more innovation."

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