In the News

Intern Spotlight: Madison Heuston

Posted May 18, 2016


Growing up, I was always a bit of a Supreme Court nerd. I brought Jeffrey Toobin’s books on family vacations, regaled my very patient mother with tales from the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and took over the television when key decisions were expected to be announced. Until I came to SKDKnickerbocker, I wasn’t entirely sure what role a communications firm filled in relation to the highest court in the land. Because this term was full of cases involving some of the most hotly-contested contemporary issues and there is the ongoing fight over vacancy on the bench, this semester was the perfect time to learn more about the Supreme Court.

The case that I most enjoyed working on was Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case involving a Texas law that severely regulates abortion clinics and closed more than half of the clinics in the state. I monitored the media for stories on the case, drafted memos and was even able to help organize the rally that took place outside the Court on the day of oral arguments. In this role at SKDK, I have been able to become a better communications professional while combining my hobby of Supreme Court-watching and my passion for protecting women’s access to safe and legal abortion.

Now, I have the opportunity to help with the campaign to fill the vacancy on the Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and President Obama’s nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland. I studied the contentious Senate confirmation hearings for Robert Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas in school, but I never thought we would see the Senate flat-out refuse to hear even consider a Supreme Court nominee. Being able to help spread and craft the media message around an essentially unprecedented event has been an exciting experience that I will never forget.

Although we have yet to see how the Court will rule in Whole Woman’s Health or if Chief Judge Garland will ever get confirmation hearings and an up-or-down vote in the Senate, I now know exactly what SKDK has to do with the Supreme Court.


SKDKnickerbocker, named the 2016 and 2015 Public Affairs Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report, is looking for multiple candidates to join its rapidly expanding public affairs team in New York City. The Senior Vice President (8 to 12 years of experience) and Senior Associate (4 to 6 years of experience) positions work on a range of corporate, association, nonprofit and issue advocacy clients to develop and implement strategic communications strategies. Ideal candidates are driven self-starters with the ability to grasp complex subject matter quickly and work well within teams. Other qualifications include:

  • Experience placing print and broadcast stories, drafting op-eds, press releases, media advisories, Q&A, talking points, statements, or other communications documents.
  • Previous experience working in New York government or political campaigns.
  • A clear understanding of social media strategies for communications campaigns.
  • Experience managing multiple projects and the ability to handle multiple deadlines.
  • Strong research and writing skills, and a strong knowledge of AP Style.

This employer is an equal opportunity employer with a strong dedication to diversity. If you are interested in joining our team, send your resume to us:

City and State

City & State named SKDK Managing Director Jennifer Cunningham to its 2016 “Albany Power 100,” a list of the most important and influential figures in New York politics:

“There are very few serious political matters at the higher echelons of New York state in which Cunningham’s advice isn’t sought. Her understanding of how government works at all levels – and how that intertwines with the larger political processes – has helped the likes of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Cunningham has long been a key strategist, adviser and hands-­on crisis manager for both men. Not only does she wield real power in New York, perhaps more importantly, she knows how and where to use it.”

sidewire logo

Sidewire, a news analysis platform hosting discussions with top journalists, candidates, elected officials, academics and strategists in the political community, named SKDK Managing Director Jill Zuckman its “Newsmaker of the Week.” In a Q&A with Sidewire’s head of community and content, Jonathan Allen, Jill was called a “rare triple threat inside the Beltway: an award-winning journalist, a former assistant secretary at the Transportation Department and now an award-winning public relations executive.”

The full feature, including Jill’s insider take on today’s political discourse and her groundbreaking efforts to free Alan Gross from Cuban prison, can be found on the Sidewire website.