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Damage Control

Newspapers Get Worst News Ever: Now They Cause Allergies

ah choo

I should have majored in computer science.

For decades, newspaper publishers and media giants alike have seen the erosion of its medium widdle into a blob of ink. You know, like Jello, only not as appetizing.

Many of these beleaguered brands have tried to grow with the times (e.g., San Francisco Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune), and for that, PR peeps and consumers alike have responded well.

However, this latest news to come out Baltimore just may be the death knell for the entire industry. What could be so tragic? What is so heinous? There is now a real allergy to newspaper ink. Oh yeah, it’s real.

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Chipotle Bans Guns at Restaurants After ‘Open Carry’ Demonstration in Texas

1311973338-chipotle-logoRemember when gun enthusiasts celebrated a heavily-armed “Starbucks Appreciation Day” to thank the coffee chain for defaulting to local gun laws (including “open carry” regulations), resulting in the company banning firearms from all of its locations to separate itself from the highly-political kerfuffle?

Well, if being barred from polishing your colt 45 while sipping on a latte at your local Starbucks disappointed you, you’ll be devastated to learn that if you were hoping to brandish an assault rifle while enjoying your next Chipotle burrito, you’ll now officially have to order it to go.

The new policy banning guns from all Chipotle locations comes after participants in an “open carry” demonstration brought guns — including assault rifles — into one of Chipotle’s Texas stores. The spectacle (for some reason) made customers rather uncomfortable, and also launched the fast food chain into the center of a hotly-debated issue — neither of which the company particularly appreciated. Read more

FIFA President: ‘Qatar World Cup? My Bad.’

sepp blatter fifa

From the Olympics to the Super Bowl, cities around the world have made it a mission to win “announcements.” You know? When the desired event (e.g., RNC 2016, DNC 2016, Tea Party, well, you get the idea), holds a press conference, opens an envelope, and immediately creates millions of dollars in economic impact for a city?

Yeah, Futbol (or Soccer, if you are so domesticated) does this in a big form.

Getting the World Cup for its quadrennial global championship means huge money for the host city in tourism, shopping, dining, lodging, and of course, sport watching. FIFA President Sepp Blatter recently announced that Qatar — a rumored opulent peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia — would host the 2022 World Cup.

Except now, he wishes he never said a word.  Read more

Is Instagram Now ‘the Best Crisis PR’ Tool?

That’s what Maureen O’Connor of New York magazine’s fashion blog The Cut claimed this morning.

The idea is that celebrities in crisis mode are turning to Instagram, rather than more traditional press outlets, to let the public know that they’re ON IT and they GET IT. No biggie.

O’Connor’s key example is Beyoncé, who first responded to the we’re-already-sick-of-this Jay Z elevator story not by issuing a press release or scheduling an interview but simply posting a bunch of pics of herself with both her husband and her sister, Solange.

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She even posted an image of herself with Rihanna, the subject of various rumors regarding the reason for the fight.

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GM Hires Familiar Face as SVP of Global Communications

bildeIn what may be the week/month/year’s least surprising move, General Motors has finally replaced its SVP of global policy and communications with a familiar name and face.

Tony Cervone, who most recently served as VP of group communications for Volkswagen, doesn’t just have an extensive history doing PR for car companies–he worked at GM for 10 years along with current CEO Mary Barra, serving in a VP of global comms/strategy role before leaving for an SVP gig at United Airlines.

The strategy behind the appointment is fairly simple: Barra wants old allies to help her right her company’s badly managed response to its not-going-away faulty brake switch scandal.

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New York Times Publisher: ‘I’m Not Sexist. She Was a Bad Manager.’

New York Times Cities For Tomorrow Conference - Cocktail Reception

It would be a sweet picture, if — you know — that didn’t hate each other so much.

Last week, the publishing world stood still for a moment when it learned that 17-year publication veteran and three-year executive editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson (pictured above and left), was shown the door. And fast. (Followed by another classy headline from the New York Post.)

Her claim: Sexism.

In short, she was she was sorely underpaid for decades. Granted, no one is feeling bad for her when she made $425,000, but when your predecessor made in the sixes, you have room to gripe. She did, namely in the direction of her boss and publisher (also pictured above and right), Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. And now, he’s fighting back.  Read more

Target CMO’s Response to Gawker: #PRWin?

Target-Rain

In case you missed it, this week Target‘s CMO Jeff Jones took the (relatively) bold step of responding directly to an anonymous employee’s complaint that scored coverage on Gawker, that bastion of objective reporting on the business world.

He did it in a LinkedIn “influencer” post with the blunt title “The Truth Hurts“, and it got a lot of attention: a quarter of a million views and several thousand likes/shares.

In an interview with AdAge that went live last night, he explained why he decided to address the problem in this way–which gives us an opportunity ask whether the strategy worked.

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Crisp Thinking Promises to Prevent Your Worst Social Media Nightmares

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We’ve already established the fact that social media screwups can affect even the most infallible among us.

Such failures may be an accepted risk of doing business in the digital realm–but wouldn’t you like a little more in the way of security to ensure that your client doesn’t pull a U.S. Airways?

UK-based company Crisp Thinking started as a provider of child protection technologies for Internet service providers, but its latest product promises to deliver the unthinkable by protecting your company and your clients from the kind of missteps that can quickly go viral–and ensure days, if not weeks, of terrible headlines.

Curious? We spoke to founder Adam Hildreth for more details.

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GM’s Own Video Claims Its Recalled Cars Are Safe to Drive

Here’s another development in the corporate world’s biggest ongoing damage control campaign: according to GM’s own tests and accompanying video, released this morning on its unfortunately named content site “FastLane”, affected vehicles are totally safe to drive before being repaired…as long as drivers remember a series of dos and don’ts.

Here VP of global vehicle safety Jeff Boyer, who the company named to the newly created position less than two months ago to help manage the crisis, explains:

Looks good, but that was a long list of qualifiers…

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Nintendo Responds to Petition Asking for Reinstatement of Same-Sex Relationships in ‘Tomodachi Life’ Game

Nintendo Strikes Down Gay Marriage Requests for Tomodachi Life - IGNJust weeks before Nintendo plans to release its life-simulation game Tomodachi Life in western markets, it has patched out a “bug” that allowed — as the company put it — “strange relationships,” AKA same-sex romances between characters. The decision has sparked an increasingly-popular online petition called Miiquality, which is asking Nintendo to reverse its actions.

Tye Marini, the 23-year-old Nintendo fan from Mesa, Arizona, who launched the campaign last month, said of his hopes for the 3DS game, “I want to be able to marry my real-life fiancé’s Mii, but I can’t do that…My only options are to marry some female Mii, to change the gender of either my Mii or my fiancé’s Mii, or to completely avoid marriage altogether and miss out on the exclusive content that comes with it.”

In response to the petition and growing controversy, Nintendo released a statement, saying:

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