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President Obama Purposely Selected All Women Reporters at Today’s #ObamaPresser

 

It didn’t escape notice that all eight of the reporters that President Obama called on today were women. Turns out that was by design.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest told the media that both he and the President saw this end-of-year presser, a high-profile event, as an opportunity to take note of the women who are an important part of the White House reporter pool.

“The fact is, there are many women from a variety of news organizations who day-in and day-out do the hard work of covering the president of the United States. As the questioner list started to come together, we realized that we had a unique opportunity to highlight the fact at the president’s closely watched, end of the year news conference,” Earnest said.

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Obama on Sony Hackers: ‘I Wish They Had Spoken to Me First’

U.S. President Obama listens to Britain's PM Cameron speak during the U.N. Security Council meeting in New YorkAlthough this headshot of our president was not made for the Sony Pictures ballyhoo (shout out to Reuters), he was probably looking like this when he got the word that the mighty U.S.A. had kowtowed to the dude with the jacked-up haircut from North Korea.

You see, a president of this country should never take the back seat to anyone, let alone someone who disappeared for 40 days and convinced an entire country that he was on vacation.

So, Mr. President, we feel you.

The whole hack job aversion to halt The Interview would have our knickers in a twist…if we didn’t think the whole thing was ridiculous (from a PR standpoint) in the first place. Turns out that Obama is quite concerned that Sony Pictures didn’t consult him first.

Because he’s the president…that’s why!  Read more

15 Buzzwords and Phrases to Avoid in 2015

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It’s that time of year again. No, not the week before Christmas — it’s buzzword buzzsaw time. Our friends at UK firm Houston PR have updated the semi-famous feature created to tell you whether the industry catchphrases you heard in so many press releases and presentations this year need to follow this guy’s lead and quit while they’re ahead.

Last year saw the induction of such winners as “evangelist,” “deliverables,” and our personal (least) favorite, “SoLoMo,” to the buzzword hall of infamy.

This year, Houston MD Hamish Thompson has even more words for you to avoid using in 2015!

As before, we’ve picked a few and offered some alternate translations…but you probably shouldn’t use those either.

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Judy Smith Advising Sony Over Decision To Drop The Interview

judy smithTMZ says it has learned that Judy Smith, the crisis expert who inspired Olivia Pope on Scandalis advising Sony on how to handle the criticism it has received over pulling The Interview.

“Our sources tell us Smith has been especially helpful to Sony because of her deep contacts with the government, and she has been involved on both the D.C. and Hollywood fronts,” the site says.

The story goes on to say that Smith and her firm, Smith & Company, has been helping with the messaging, “that this is not just a Sony issue but an industry issue,” and the idea that this is an industry issue, not just a Sony issue.

“We’re told the ultimate mission is to somehow contain the PR fallout and navigate a way forward,” the site says.

That task is not made easier by today’s #ObamaPresser.

What Would Bill Do? Media Coach Bill McGowan Takes on the News

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In the latest edition of our series with Clarity Media Group founder and media coach Bill McGowan, Bill takes on the biggest story of the moment…and a couple more.

A December to Forget

And you thought the racially offensive emails among Sony executives was bad (and it was!).  Now we find out that in addition to being insensitive and snarky, they’re cowards too.

The studio’s decision to cave in to terrorists by scrapping The Interview is a catastrophe that will leave a stain on their brand for many years.

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FCC Says ‘Redskin’ Is Not Profane

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Daniel Snyder? Paging Daniel Snyder? We have the FCC on line one serenading you with their contemporary take on “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

For a while there has been a movement by Native Americans to tell the NFL that they are people … not mascots.

They have made commercials that would make Iron Eyes Cody from the old pollution days stop his sad face and open a can of whoop @$$ in the heart of Washington D.C. They have picketed the team. There have been surveys. We’ve heard radio ads for the kiddos. The team even hired a big PR firm for counsel.

The point, of course, is that lots of people think the name is racist…and the FCC would like to tell all of those people that they’re wrong.

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People Don’t RSVP Anymore. Here Are Tips To Keep Events Running Smoothly

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Shutterstock

For anyone planning an event, the RSVP list are the most important sheets of paper (if you’re still using paper) in the whole building on the day of. Unfortunately, more and more people aren’t responding with a yay or nay for their attendance.

According to Lizzie Post, a spokeswoman for the Emily Post Institute and the great-great-granddaughter of the woman who wrote the book on etiquette, Emily Post, the speed of the latest technology is to blame.

“We want to be able to decide that morning if we want to go that night—we have forgotten how to simply commit,” she told the Wall Street Journal.

In all cases, the non-response is rude. But at least when it’s a cocktail party that might be marginally acceptable. Everyone is standing, schmoozing, having one or two drinks. It’s a little easier to plan in terms of refreshments and swag bags. There’s a margin of error.

When you’re talking about a sit down dinner, it’s terrible.

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Roll Call: Ketchum, MMG, Allison+Partners and More

Ketchum named Bill McIntyre director of its Washington, D.C., office. An award-winning communications professional, McIntyre brings more than 25 years of experience in communications to the role, including work in journalism, association communications and agency public relations, where he built his reputation as an innovator in advocacy strategies, crisis communications and integrated digital engagement.

McIntyre most recently served as executive vice president and group head for the Washington, D.C., office of Edelman. He led digital and traditional public affairs, grassroots and consumer marketing programs on behalf of leading companies and associations in the U.S., Canada and European Union, growing revenue and staff along the way. In addition, he is an adjunct professor in Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, where he teaches graduate-level courses that focus on digital and traditional communications. Prior to joining Edelman, McIntyre served in leadership positions and, ultimately, as CEO of Grassroots Enterprise, Inc., a high-tech communications firm that specialized in bipartisan grassroots communications support for causes, products and companies. (Release)

MMG, part of Ketchum,  announced the appointment of Helen West as president, effective Jan. 1. She succeeds John Benbrook, who is departing MMG to become CEO of a Pennsylvania-based publishing company. West, whose most recent role was vice president of strategic development, is a pharmaceutical industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in clinical research. West joined MMG in 2005 as general medicine therapeutic lead, developing and executing global patient recruitment and retention programs across indications and patient populations. In her most recent role leading strategic development, she continued to contribute to the development of recruitment strategies, but also has been driving strategic development for the company, including innovations, partnerships, and initiatives that move MMG forward. West also has held leadership roles at MMG in operational management, business development, marketing, and site support and field recruitment. (Release)

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Prudential Comms Chief Steps Down After 20+ Years

bobby dToday in End of An Era news, Bob DeFillippo, chief communications officer with Prudential Financial, is retiring after more than 21 years with the company.

The company’s press release has a lot to say about the career of DeFillippo, a true industry veteran who teaches at NYU and currently serves on the boards of both the PRSA and the Arthur W. Page Society (where he’s a treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee). In short, he is one of the few remaining members of the Old School.

From Vice Chairman Mark Grier:

“Bob has led the company’s internal and external communications during some of the most significant events in the company’s history, including its demutualization, the financial crisis and the company’s expansion into key international markets.”

The most interesting part about the announcement, though, is that Prudential will not (technically) replace DeFillippo.

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