WMF:Minassian Media

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Minassian Media, Inc. were paid $436K for Public Relations work on behalf of the WMF from 2015-2016 (see the last page of the 2015 990 form).

Corporate structure

Preliminary web research shows this company to be an S-Corp with two employees (presumably Mr. & Mrs. Minassian, the former is the current Chief Communications Officer of the Clinton Foundation, the latter is a CNN employee)

Employees / Contractors

  • Jove Oliver -- former Chief Communications Oficer for the Clinton Foundation, has his own company (Oliver Globabl) but works through Minassian Media, Inc. for the WMF.
  • Dasha Burns --
  • Helen Platt --


  • collaborative work between Victor Grigias, Helen Platt & Dasha Burns

September 2016: Communications audit

source author = Minassian Media, Inc.

Selected fair-use quotes from Section one:Overview

  • period one (10/2014-10/2015)
  • period two: (11/2015-05/2016)

Selected fair-use quotes from key findings:

  1. "Having a plan matters. Well planned, well executed messaging strategies that leverage multiple teams within our organization yield the highest rates of coverage with the most positive results (e.g., Wikipedia 15)".
  2. "The outlets and authors that write on Wikipedia are loyal".
  3. "As our social media presence becomes more robust, we will likely see proactive origins increase substantially." Cf. Wikipedia Weekly on FB

Selected fair use quotes from methodology:

  1. "we identified 16 words that were most important to the Foundation's work and purpose [...] and noted the number of times each of the 16 keywords were mentioned or discussed."
  2. "we categorize story origins as proactive, reactive, social media, or independent":
    • proactive -- "strategic media push"
    • reactive -- asked for a comment and provided one
    • passive -- independent reporting

Selected fair-use quotes from Section two: MMI data analysis

  • "The information analyzed in this section creates a benchmark for future coverage audits by showing what an average number of articles a given outlet will generate."
  • "Xinhua: 1 article; JIJI: 0 articles" (largest wire services in China & Japan, respectively)

Resumé to page 19: main topics covered in press:

  1. vandalism
  2. passive mention
  3. internet regulation / Censorship (e.g. Russian ban due to cannabis article), "right to be forgotten" in France
  4. Reliability / Accuracy
  5. Wikipedia's 15th birthday (strategic media push)
  6. Specific WP page
  7. Gender Issues
  • "[I]t is suggested that the Communications team think critically about ways to reduce the frequency of being side-lined by a media culture dominated by loose and – in the case of vandalism articles – frivolous journalism" (p. 20)
  • add this "Mind the Skills Gap"reference to biblio.creoliste

The Advertising value equivalency for each of the spikes is as follows:

  • "In March 2015, the advertising equivalent around the NSA lawsuit was $66.45 million."
  • "In June 2015, the advertising equivalent for the Princess of Asturias Award coverage was $43.6 million"
  • "Finally, in August 2015, the advertising equivalent for the coverage surrounding the Russian government’s ban on Wikipedia and Wikipedia’s ban on sockpuppet editors was $115 million"



Craig Minassian on The Fake News

Minassian worked at Comedy Central. His wife Shawna worked as a White House "producer" for CNN five years ago and is currently a talent producer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (where she's been for several years now). Just this week she retweeted a HuffPo journalist saying of an episode: "arguably the most impressive satire of the current administration to date".

A decade ago, Mr. Minassian went to Little Rock to speak at the Clinton School of Public Policy. The video takes you back to that time when fake news—at least for Minassian—was shows like The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher. Today he is counseling the WMF. The word "fake" does not occur in their September 2016 audit. However:

Given the record levels of partisanship/polarization and POV/opinion media (embodied perhaps most of all in the U.S. election), we have an opportunity to build on the neutrality message. The post-election space gives us an opportunity to do this, but does anyone think this is likely to change anytime soon?
  • Think about a post-election gag about getting "back to facts now."
  • Bring Wikipedia’s "Citation needed" to the media (both mainstream and fringe) by pushing out our balanced coverage of the most controversial subjects.
  • Think about introducing a breaking news Twitter feed that pushes out neutral content when controversy breaks.

text CC/BY: Menassian Media, Inc. (source)

When Minassian's email to John Podesta got w-leaked many on Reddit reacted, so Colbert did a segment (from 5:09) on the email (titled "Pizzagate is an Alt-Right Fever Dream"). In it, Craig Minassian is never mentioned by name nor does his name appear on the screen:

The email in question is about my interview with Bill Clinton on stage during the Clinton Global Initiative at Washington University in 2013. Clinton's press rep wrote to John Podesta:
I hope you got a chance to see The Colbert Report's two special episodes i had them do about CGI U

Now I'm flattered that this guy considered it an achievement that he somehow booked Clinton on my basic cable news-parody puppet show, but because this staffer took credit for getting Bill on the show, they ndlr: subreddit sub-geniuses think I'm on Hillary's payroll. For the record: She can't afford me.

Rhetorically, the slightly scornful terms "Clinton's press rep" and "that guy" show distance between Colbert and Minassian. And yet, "that guy" used to work at Comedy Central and married the Daily Show with Trevor Noah's talent producer. I'm thinking that when those two see one another they probably don't struggle to remember one another's names...