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From City & State: BerlinRosen again ranks high in 2023 Political PR Power 50 (not that they mention Atlantic Yards)

BerlinRosen, the public relations/consulting powerhouse that has long represented the developers of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, this year was ranked fifth in City & State's The 2023 Political PR Power 50.

The subheading to the 1/9/23 list is "The top communications gurus and masters of spin in New York politics" and, indeed, such high-priced firms not only shape the answers from their clients, they shape the overall environment.

As I wrote 11/24/16, an analysis of the "agents of the city" email document dump showed a fevered January 2015 response by BerlinRosen to an op-ed (only only) in the New York Times criticizing the effort to bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to the Barclays Center.

"How many immediately surrounding local businesses can we get lte's [Letters to the Editor] in today?" wrote firm co-founder Jonathan Rosen to colleagues and advisors to Mayor Bill de Blasio on 1/21/15, the day of my essay. "How many do we have ready to pitch a counter story to ny1 or another outlet - we need to isolate Norman and these groups?"

Looking at the list, which includes firms that have hired political aides and journalists, is a reminder how the deck is stacked, with far more lobbyists/political consultants than watchdogs in the press or truly civic-spirited non-profit groups.

Also note that, in the last two round-ups, City & State--likely using firm-supplied information--focused on the firm's political work, rather than, as at least acknowledged in 2021, its work for corporate and real-estate entities (though Greenland Forest City Partners went unmentioned).

From City & State, 2023
5. BerlinRosen
Valerie Berlin, Principal and Co-Founder; Isaac Goldberg, Executive Vice President

Notable clients: New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, Rep. Dan Goldman, Rep. Pat Ryan, state Sens. Michelle Hinchey and Sean Ryan

BerlinRosen is one of the biggest PR firms in New York politics, and unlike some competitors, communications and marketing is the primary focus. That said, it handles PR for many different types of clients, including nonprofits, cultural institutions, real estate developers – and, of course, candidates for elected office. While longtime client Bill de Blasio has apparently left electoral politics, the national firm notched big wins in its home state with New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and Reps. Pat Ryan and Dan Goldman. The firm saw campaigns leader Alex Navarro-McKay depart at the end of the year, with Isaac Goldberg moving up to take his place. Rick Fromberg also joined BerlinRosen from The Win Company as a senior adviser for public affairs and campaigns working across politics, advocacy and government.
From City & State, 2022
6. Valerie Berlin & Alex Navarro-McKay
Principal and Co-Founder; Managing Director, BerlinRosen

BerlinRosen’s longtime ally Bill de Blasio has left City Hall, but the public relations firm has helped propel dozens more progressive candidates to victory all across the state – including as part of the team behind New York City Comptroller Brad Lander’s major upset victory. The New York City firm, which also has offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., is expanding its national footprint as well. It helped elect Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and reelect Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and joined the New Georgia Project. Staffing at the company rose to 253 strategists in 2021, a 25% increase.

Notable clients: New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, state Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, New York City Council Member Farah Louis, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Associate Judge Madeline Singas, state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, state Sen. Sean Ryan, Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, New York City Council Member Ari Kagan, New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher, New York City Council Member Keith Powers

Company highlights: Brad Lander’s campaign for New York City comptroller. Lander started off 19 points behind the front-runner and ended the Democratic primary 9 points ahead – with zero spending advantage. As media consultants for Lander’s come-from-behind campaign, we produced a series of ads for TV and digital platforms that won praise from press and pundits, and we were fortunate to work with Jefrey Pollock, Will Jordan and Kathryn Rivera from Global Strategy Group, who managed the campaign’s polling and ad testing and let us know that our ads for Brad were the best testing ads they had seen this cycle so far.
From City & State, 2021
2. Valerie Berlin & Jonathan Rosen
Principals & Co-Founders, BerlinRosen  
BerlinRosen is known for electing and advising Democrats, but its growth has coincided with expansions into other areas, including labor, real estate, technology, issue advocacy and even sports and entertainment. In the past year, its client base grew by 20% and staffing rose by 7.5%, and it launched an in-house video production group and a digital advertising division.

Notable clients: Bloomberg Media, Brookfield, Color of Change, Cornell Tech, Families Belong Together, Ford Foundation, GLSEN, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Northwell Health, Service Employees International Union, SL Green, Samsung, UNICEF USA

Company highlights: During the 2020 election cycle, we worked with candidates and independent expenditure committees in over 170 races and across 22 states – from labor unions working to elect Joe Biden all the way down ballot to school board positions. In the midst of this summer’s historic protests for Black lives, BerlinRosen supported some of the biggest organizations on the front lines. Highlights of this work include supporting Color of Change, the largest online racial justice organization, and launching their campaign, Stop Hate for Profit, which encouraged corporations to pause their advertising on Facebook for the month of July in protest of the social media giant’s role in propping up systemic racism and targeted hate online.

How did the world change in 2020 – and how are you adapting in 2021?

The change in the media landscape and how people receive information is at the core of our business. As COVID-19 accelerated the embrace of digital as an integrated piece of every plan, communicators need to be versatile, well-rounded pros who know how to tell stories across every platform.