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Patrick Coffee

I write stuff for Mediabistro and NYMag.com, do freelance consulting work, and waste time on Twitter. You can send me pitches at patrick (at) mediabistro (dot) com or use the anonymous tip box.

Biggest Stories of the Week

Roll Call: William and Kate, APCO Worldwide, Grace Blue, and More

The Royal Children and the Duchess of Cambridge have hired an American to handle their PR. More specifically, Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry tapped Jason Knaus, previously head of PR at the Royal Bank of Scotland, to manage their communications as their first stateside trip approaches. Knaus doesn’t begin until the new year, but we’d suggest that his first action should be moving to quash all those stories about the ridiculous dress code for journalists who want to interview the Brits. Our sister site Media Jobs Daily has some suggestions

APCO Worldwide chose the right time to make a big announcement: international president Brad Staples will assume the CEO role in January and founder/current CEO Margery Kraus will be executive chairman.

Two other changes will take place effective January 5th: Evan Kraus (that’s Margery’s son) will be the company’s president and managing director of operations while Neal Cohen will be vice chairman of the board and head of global client strategy. The elder Kraus writes, “Brad, Evan and Neal represent the very best of APCO – deep global perspectives, understanding of the changing communications landscape and commitment to providing the very best thinking to our clients.”

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BREAKING: Journalists’ Opinions of PR Are Improving!

mad as hell

“I’m still mad as hell, but I’ve moved on.”

While we had a little fun with the New York Observer’s recent Big Apple PR expose yesterday, we almost skipped the best part: an anonymous survey in which 130 journalists revealed how they REALLY feel about PR.

We found the results slightly encouraging…especially when compared to a similar survey conducted more than 20 years ago.

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

emil-michael

In the latest edition of our series featuring Clarity Media Group founder Bill McGowan, Bill addresses three problems that prominent personalities couldn’t wish away this week:

  • Uber’s attempt to brush its media relations failure under the digital carpet
  • Scientist Dr. Matt Taylor’s decision to wear a highly questionable shirt on the air
  • Don Lemon’s very, very poor choice of questions for one of Bill Cosby’s accusers

Journalists’ Joy Ride

Emil Michael of Uber is clearly not a Mark Twain fan.  If he were, he would know that famous Twain quote strongly advising against making enemies of journalists: “Don’t pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel.”

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How Bad Was Uber’s ‘Apology?’

You all saw Uber CEO Travis Kalinick‘s version of an “apology” earlier this week. We gave the company’s official response to its SVP of business’s “we will DESTROY you and your family” threat to Pando’s Sarah Lacy a D+ for minimal effort, and Lacy herself agreed, telling CNN that the company needs “accountability.” We take that to mean actions rather than empty words, but today a Bloomberg report covered by Mashable strongly indicated that the guilty party, Emil Michael, won’t be going anywhere.

Today our friends at Fast Company gave us their hot take on the story, and it’s quite amusing. Take it away, Jason Feifer:

Have to agree with him here: an apology made via a series of tweets reads, “do I REALLY have to do this?”

We have no idea what additional steps the company will take since Kalanick has been silent over the past couple of days. In the meantime, we’ll make a point of NOT waiting for more expert commentary from one Ashton Kutcher.

Big Changes in Tech Journalism: ‘Fake Steve Jobs’ Is Your New Valleywag

Dan LyonsYesterday we learned of a couple of big changes in the Silicon Valley tech journalism game: the head of Valleywag is headed to The Verge and her replacement will be the writer/marketer formerly known as “Fake Steve Jobs.”

Nitasha Tiku, a seasoned reporter who has written for many pubs including New York magazine and BetaBeat (where she had the good humor to share her staff’s reactions to our post on “the world’s first Vine press release“), will be senior West Coast writer at the Vox property. Business Insider broke that news Thursday morning, and Re/code followed with a report that Dan Lyons, currently marketing fellow at HubSpot, will be her replacement.

In case you hoped that this move will mean a kinder, gentler Valleywag, think again: here’s what Lyons told us about 9to5Mac’s Apple PR reveal back in September:

“I have no problem with Apple being as manipulative as it possibly can. That is what PR is supposed to do, and Apple is very good at PR. The real culprits are the reporters and bloggers who play along.”

In other words, he does not play along.

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The Ticker: T-Mobile PR Revamp; No Firings at Uber; New Facebook Feature; And More

MSNBC Names Former White House Staffer as VP of Communications

Rachel MSNBCToday MSNBC announced the hiring of Rachel Racusen as its new VP of communications.

Racusen, who will handle comms and media strategy while partnering with editorial and business leads at the network, will also serve as MSNBC’s primary spokesperson moving forward.

Earlier this month, a source told us that the network was looking for a candidate with connections to the current administration, and Racusen certainly fits that bill: prior to this appointment, she served as associate communications director at The White House.

Boston native Racusen has an extensive history in public relations, beginning her career with Washington, D.C.’s Dittus Communications and serving as VP at area firm SKDKnickerbocker. She has also held multiple roles within the federal government: after leaving Dittus, she spent four years as communications director for the House Education and Workforce Committee before moving to FEMA, where she led the agency’s responses to Hurricane Irene and other deadly storms as its director of public affairs.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

bomber ski

  • M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment will be PR AOR for Bomber Ski, a company that sells performance skis “handcrafted in a small race lab in Italy.” The firm will be overseeing all of the company’s events and pitching stories to sports and lifestyle media. Some of the company’s upcoming products will feature artwork by Keith Haring and Michel Basquiat, who was known to be a “powder hound.”

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17 Firms That the New York Observer ‘Top 50′ List Missed

NYO LOGO

Ye Olde New York Observer is known to be a publication that’s relatively friendly to PR pros who aren’t named Mark Penn. One prominent executive regularly publishes op-eds in its pages!

In case you missed it, the paper revealed its list of The Big Apple’s Top 50 PR Firms yesterday. The feature was extensive; beyond the basic list it included a “9 people to watch” slideshow and other little profiles shedding a bit of light on the people who make this industry run.

For the record, everyone who made the list deserves a spot on it. The people of #1 pick Sunshine Sachs always invite us to their holiday parties.

Still, this being a list, it did fail to mention a few worthy firms…sort of like those SEO trick “top entertainment PR” posts that show up in our Google alerts every week.

Back in September, we thought of a few people off the top of our heads who didn’t make the Business Insider “top tech firms” list. Now let’s do the same for the Observer group.

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