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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.

Sony Hires Rubenstein, Threatens Journalists Publishing Hacked Data

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Sony Pictures has hired New York’s Rubenstein Communications to handle the fallout from its epic document leak, and the company made its first visible move to limit the ongoing bad press over the weekend by threatening to sue all who report on related materials.

Specifically, the studio’s lawyer David Boies (of Bush v. Gore and many other cases) demanded that all news organizations delete the “stolen data” they already have or will receive and agree to stop reporting on it. Essentially, Boies threatened to sue any organization that publishes future stories drawn from the emails and other materials leaked by hackers.

Sony tried to get the heads of other major studios to sign the letter but they abstained, noting that it might look like “a publicity stunt.”

The real conversation piece, though, is a New York Times op-ed from Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing and The Social Network. In summary, Sorkin tells journalists “You’re Giving Material Aid to Criminals.”

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CEO of Uber’s Branding Agency Talks Visual Communications

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In case you missed it, one of the big trends in communications is less talk, more pictures.

“Visual branding” isn’t just a buzzworthy phrase; it’s a crucial part of every big-name business’s marketing strategy.

Today we had the chance to speak with Dava Guthmiller, founder and CEO of San Francisco’s Noise 13. The self-described “brand strategy & design agency” helps create the visual identities of various brands, including one called Uber that you may have seen mentioned in recent posts on this very blog (in addition to every other blog on the planet).

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Seth Rogen: Don’t Blame Me for the Sony Leak

Two people bear absolutely no responsibility for the Sony media hack that looks like the biggest data leak since Snowden: Seth Rogen and James Franco.

In a clip from Good Morning America set to air tomorrow, Rogen insists that his upcoming movie The Interview was never supposed to be controversial — and it definitely wasn’t intended to inspire a leak:

Key quote:

“At this point, it’s too late to have any [second thoughts]. We set out to make a movie that was really entertaining to audiences and I genuinely think we did that. And that’s where my job ends.”

So it’s a perfect storm of publicity for these two and a nightmare for everyone else employed by Sony. Of course, no one can confirm that North Korea was responsible for the hack. Why so quiet, James Franco?

Bill Cosby Talks to New York Post, Advises ‘Black Media’ to Stay ‘Neutral’

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Whoopi Goldberg/Jill Scott shout-outs aside, Bill Cosby made his first statements on the allegations and legal charges pending against him over the weekend. In what may seem like an unusual strategic move, he chose freelancer Stacy Brown (of the somewhat notorious New York Post gossip source Page Six) as his press contact of choice.

Brown called Cosby, who made a request:

“I only expect our black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism, and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind.”

The implication, of course, is that the rest of the media and the court of public opinion have already called him guilty.

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The Ticker: Women in WSJ; Storytelling Everywhere; Media Personalities; And More

Michigan Cops Pull Drivers Over…to Give Them Presents

It’s no secret that police departments around the country have been experiencing some PR problems in recent months. Ferguson and New York City have dealt with the matter at hand in their own ways, and the Lowell, Michigan, PD went another route entirely.

Here’s the video via our friends at AdFreak:

The video wasn’t produced by a firm…it’s from Rob Bliss Creative, the same agency behind the “Walking in NYC as a woman” video. And it was part of stunt to promote “Christian network UP TV’s ‘Uplift Someone’ campaign.”

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Biggest Stories of the Week

This Week in Apologies

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Today we’d like to do something just a little bit different: a roundup of the week that was…in public apologies.

Since the world still turned and businesses still had to make money over the past seven days, plenty of public figures and brands needed to say “I’m sorry.”

Let’s run through them in a completely arbitrary order…

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Coyne PR Curses for Charity

What, you thought PRs were all polite? You thought that ad agency folks were the only ones willing to share their bitter, anonymous, NSFW curses on public forums?

Our friends at New York’s Coyne PR disproved that cliche this week with the “Big A$$ Swear Jar” video below:

For the record, we don’t really believe that these f*ckers actually curse so f*cking often, and we wonder whether all of those coins were really quarters. But we do love a video that wasn’t created to directly promote an agency or its clients!

So, Merry F*cking Christmas, a**holes. Here’s our contribution.

While we’re at it, who has the best godd***ed happy hour in Midtown?

BuzzFeed Signs Facebook Vet as PR Chief

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This week, Capital New York broke the news that BuzzFeed had named Facebook vet Liz Wasden as its new head of PR. She replaces Ashley McCollum, who was promoted in October to the position of chief of staff/personal advisor to founder and publisher Jonah Peretti.

Wasden brings more than 15 years of comms experience to the new role. She formerly worked within the CBS organization and served as communications director for Katie Couric, promoting both CBS News and Couric’s syndicated talk show Katie (which she helped launch along with executive producer/current CNN president Jeff Zucker). Prior to joining CBS, she held PR roles at such prominent media outlets as Forbes, Good Housekeeping and Money; the Savannah, Georgia native also spent time at Porter Novelli.

As our sister site AllFacebook reported, Wasden joined Zuckerberg’s team in early 2013, working on consumer communications for both Facebook and the still-new Instagram.

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