Just when you thought things couldn’t get any schmoozier with Augusta Resource Inc.’s PR parade, the Skinny is now charmed to see that Tucson’s own Arizona Daily Star—the same paper that recently sent 52 of its loyal staffers packing—still finds the wherewithal to co-sponsor a set of commemorative copper coins with the wannabe mining company. In case you forgot, Augusta is the foreign corporation hoping to sink a butt-ugly open pit in the lovely Santa Rita Mountains south of town.
This gorgeous coinage is aimed at commemorating Arizona’s (nearly) 100 years as a state, which is downright neighborly of Augusta, considering that the company is based 1,000 miles away in Canada. And yet, we must acknowledge that Augusta’s promise of bringing a multitude of jobs to the area is already proving true, if you look at the number of PR folks in the company’s employ, from Zimmerman Public Affairs and Mary Rowley‘s Strongpoint to its own in-house geniuses. Hard telling which came up with this latest stroke of brilliance.
Still, even a small army of spinmeisters can’t seem to wrangle Augusta’s own habit of head-shaking catastrophes. Such as the public meetings packed with “mine supporters” who actually turned out to be poor schmucks hoping for a free meal, cheap T-shirts and hypothetical jobs. Then there are the letters of support last fall that blanketed parts of Tucson contrived by Augusta. Some of the signatures were also faked.
So now those dark trolls driving Augusta’s PR machine are at it again, and this time the tool is coinage. Each of these shiny little gems celebrates an aspect of Arizona’s history, citrus, cattle, cotton, climate and, yep, copper.
But we also wonder just how they commemorate the notion of journalistic independence. Just how the Star justifies this little deal remains to be seen; publisher John Humenik didn’t return several phone calls from the Skinny.