Attorney Lee Burdick was the legal advisor and chief of staff of disgraced San Diego Mayor Bob Filner during his nearly nine months in office in 2013.
In 2016, Burdick authored a behind-the-scenes account describing the political, moral and financial lessons she learned from the former mayor’s sex harassment scandal and downfall.
Having stayed at her post to protect her staff and maintain the office’s progressive political agenda until Filner’s resignation, Burdick sought to share her story to answer the question that the public continued to ask three years later: “How do we keep this from ever happening again?”
Using Burdick’s integrity and professionalism as a foundation, we developed a multi-layered narrative targeting journalists, columnists and bloggers for coverage.
We began by contacting local media that had most closely covered the Filner story to let them know that the book was coming. We provided them advance copies of the book under embargo and scheduled interviews on the date that the embargo would be lifted. We also created an opportunity for Burdick to contribute an article to Voice of San Diego that shared how she went from public servant to pariah.
As the local media awareness grew, we pursued strategies to provide Burdick a national audience. Most notably, we succeeded in having an open letter she penned to Donald Trump’s sex harassment victims published by The Huffington Post.
“The story and subsequent coverage has been emotionally freeing,” Burdick said. “This process has taken an incredible weight off my heart—there’s a sense of relief and liberty for me as I move forward with landing my next great opportunity and pushing the book nationally.”
Bob Filner’s Monster: The Unraveling of an American Mayor and What We Can Learn from It has been well received by readers and journalists alike.
The initial media strategy amassed placement in publications which boast a combined 57.5 million monthly views, with (W)right On securing coverage in nearly every print and broadcast outlet in San Diego—including The San Diego Union-Tribune, Voice of San Diego, 10 News (ABC), CBS News 8, NBC 7 San Diego, KOGO-AM and KPBS-Midday and Evening Edition, LGBT Weekly and SDGLN.com. Traffic and visibility continues to increase as we transition to a focus on a national presence.
Reactions from readers of her Voice of San Diego article showed that they’ve received her message:
“Props to Lee Burdick for being a strong, smart woman who fought the good fight. Strong women who speak up tend to get bashed in our society.”
“…the agenda you describe is long overdue and tremendously appealing and I can fully appreciate the strong draw it would have on someone like you who could make a difference in advancing those causes.”
“If there is anyone who did not deserve what happened to her, it is Lee. As a Port Commissioner, she attended public outreach meetings and listened carefully to every word members of the public spoke and did her best to represent the public during her tenure on the board.”