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Media People

HBO, CBS Score #PRWin at Netflix’s Expense

You may have heard that HBO made lots of headlines yesterday by announcing that its first standalone streaming service would launch in 2015. This was great news for people like us, who only use their parents’ HBO GO password when Mom and Dad are in town…super serious, you guys! Fingers not crossed!!

It was also a brilliant act of PR — and CBS followed it up today by doing HBO one better:

Going to have to agree with Brian Stelter – this release was definitely worth more than five bucks. So why was this such a big PR win for the two companies?

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Will We Ever Learn to Trust a Nielsen Rating Again?

mfXjziuRatings are Nielsen’s bread and butter, so you can imagine the upset when it was discovered that recent numbers may have been “misattributed.”

From the New York Times:

Nielsen, the television research firm, acknowledged on Friday that it had been reporting inaccurate ratings for the broadcast networks for the last seven months, a mistake that raises questions about the company’s increasingly criticized system for measuring TV audiences.

The error wound up benefiting one network, ABC, while negatively affecting the others, according to people briefed on the problem. In a telephone call with reporters, Nielsen executives would not confirm that it had resulted in added viewers for ABC, saying they could not discuss individual clients.

How does a company recover from such a taint? Read more

Dr. Nancy Snyderman Apologizes for Violating Ebola Quarantine

With the country on high alert over the Ebola virus outbreak and people wishing we had a Surgeon General to help lead the response, now is not the time for public figures in the healthcare space to fuel fears.

Alas, that’s what NBC’s chief medical editor and correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman did when she violated a quarantine, albeit a voluntary one, to go to a New Jersey restaurant.

She and other NBC crew members told the CDC that they would submit to a quarantine period after traveling to West Africa to cover the outbreak of the virus. An NBC cameraman, Ashoka Mukpo, came back to the US with the disease, tweeting just yesterday that he was starting to feel better.

New Jersey issued a mandatory quarantine for all NBC journalists exposed to Mukpo last Friday, effective through October 22.

With media reports zipping around the internet about Dr. Snyderman’s jaunt to the Peasant Grill, she issued an apology that Brian Williams read on his Nightly News broadcast last night.

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BuzzFeed Promotes PR Lead to Chief of Staff/Advisory Role

Ashley McCollumWant to know what it’s like to work for BuzzFeed? Today, the media company promoted Ashley McCollum (follow her on Twitter) from head of PR to a chief staffing and “advisor to the executive team” role while also naming Dao Nguyen to the new position of “Publisher.” More specifically, McCollum’s official title changed from “VP, Communications and Business Development” to “Chief of Staff.” She will also serve as a personal advisor to founder/CEO Jonah Peretti.

Some quick facts about McCollum: she has spent nearly three years in comms role at BuzzFeed after working in NBC’s communications and marketing department; she is a Carolina girl who loves Charleston even more than we do but is not, as she clarified on Twitter this afternoon, a Gamecocks fan. (The Clemson/USC division runs in deep in Palmetto Country.)

We also got an update of sorts on the general BuzzFeed PR structure: Ashley still officially runs communications at the company, though they are currently looking for a senior executive to work with her and Peretti on the strategic front. Senior comms manager Christina DiRusso (follow her on Twitter, OBV) handles PR on the biz/tech side while Cat Bartosevich (follow her too) handles things for editorial.

All parties recommend that PRs continue pitching BuzzFeed writers directly with story ideas. Their contact info is easy to find.

The memo from Peretti, which went out this morning, after the jump.

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New School Media Lightly Disses Old School Media at Vanity Fair Event

Here’s a fun one: at today’s Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, three leaders of the “new school” media had some things to say about the old folks:

How wrong are Kara Swisher and Shane Smith, though? David Carr knows because he covers this sort of thing for a living.

BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti outlines the growth model in the accompanying post: start with the kitty pic-sticles, move into producing real-world journalism, and get bought by the old guys waving around their legacy money.

Swisher attributes this shift to the newfound power of the Wi-Fi enabled consumer who, as Peretti noted, would just as soon spend an evening diving into the YouTube rabbit hole as checking out a “piece of highly produced media behind a paywall.”

Hard to imagine a starker portrait of the old school asking the new school what the kids are watching. The meta McConaughey pre-roll ad is just icing on the cake.

5 Things Journalists Know About PR People That May Surprise You

journalismConsidering how long the PR discipline has been around, it is still amazing to note the lack of understanding between flacks and hacks.

Unfortunately, there are no ride-alongs in a media truck PR students can take because of liability reasons. Likewise, no budding reporters can hang around and witness the inner workings of a PR agency to relieve boredom. That knowledge chasm serves as proof that the two industries should know more about one another. But how?

Your friends at PRNewser are doing our part to help both industries hold hands and sing. First, we discussed ‘5 types of reporters (and how to work with them).’ Then, we flipped the script and shared ‘5 types of PR people (and how to work with them).’

For this week’s #5Things: we offer 5 things journalists know about PR people that could surprise youRead more

#PRWin? NFL Sponsor Verizon Clarifies Position on Domestic Violence

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So far, we’d be hard-pressed to name an organization whose handling of the NFL domestic violence controversy made it look good. While some of the league’s larger sponsors have issued statements about their disapproval of domestic abusers, they haven’t done much to back those statements up.

For example, here’s the initial statement on the Adrian Peterson story from Verizon:

“We are supportive of the NFL and, at this point, we are satisfied with our sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings…In fact, for the past several years we have collaborated with the Vikings on several programs to raise awareness of the impact of domestic violence, an issue Verizon has had a long-standing commitment to.”

Yesterday, Forbes contributor/Media Carmudgeon writer Charles Warner shared a message that the company sent him in response to a story criticizing the league; he thought it was good enough to warrant a follow-up post with the headline “Great PR.”

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NYT Writer Creeped Out by Her PR Dossier

NYT NYT

Most PR people and the pitching services they use maintain profiles for prominent media contacts.

You can imagine how that might be a little weird for the other party, though, right? The vast majority of journalists aren’t celebrities, but accessing such a profile would be similar to a boy band member reading his own Teen Beat “interview.”

Natasha Singer, who covers business in various forms for The New York Times, wrote of encountering her own dossier this weekend.

It was awkward.

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VICE Discovers the Ethical Perils of Corporate Sponsorship

VICE-logo

Looks like the cool kids sometimes get tripped up on ethics, too.

According to reports posted earlier this week, VICE — the very organization that inspired Edelman to make a call to defend itself for working on sustainability projects while representing clients who deny climate change — has occasional brushes with conflict-of-interest problems.

A post on Gawker and one on Capital New York both demonstrate how VICE editors worked to squash stories that could have reflected badly on corporate sponsors and/or media partners.

This is really a classic PR/media condundrum.

SPOILER: It’s about the money.

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

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Readers may recall that, back in April, we had a couple of very informative conversations with author and Clarity Media Group founder Bill McGowan, perhaps best known as the media coach for top executives at Facebook, NBCUniversal and Airbnb.

In what will become a regular feature on the blog, Bill gave us his take on three recent controversies that made headlines this week — and the communications strategies behind them.

Think of it as a “comms week in review.”

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