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Posts Tagged ‘Penn State’

Study: Wikipedia Errors Damage Brands’ Reputations

Issues. We got 'em.

Most of us rightly see Wikipedia as a flawed but unavoidable source of information; the fact that some of the site’s entries are less than 100% accurate doesn’t make it any less influential.

A recent study conducted by the PRSA, however, determined that errors on companies’ Wikipedia pages can significantly damage their reputations. Some key findings:

  • 59% of those familiar with the pages of their own companies or their companies’ clients indicate that errors exist
  • 28% of respondents believe that these errors could be “reputation-damaging”, while 38% who answered yes to that question believe that such mistakes have already taken their toll on the reputation of the company/client

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PA Governor Sues NCAA Over Penn State Sanctions

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett at Penn StateThe Penn State scandal was, without a doubt, one of the most important stories of 2012; the case certainly provided firms representing the university with one of their toughest PR challenges.

We thought the case had more or less resolved itself, but this week brought some surprising news: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett–a rising political star–filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, calling its sanctions against the school and the Nittany Lions “arbitrary” and “unfair” and claiming that the association’s decision to render such a harsh judgment was nothing but a PR move designed to promote and enhance its own authority.

Publicity addicts accusing others of shameless self-promotion? Well, we never!

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Penn State Moves Forward on Two Fronts

Two of the parties involved in the ongoing Penn State child abuse scandal have decided to try and salvage their reputations—with very different goals, methods and results.

On the one hand, disgraced former president Graham Spanier has gone on a “PR offensive,” booking TV appearances and other interviews in an attempt to portray himself as a competent manager who was somehow oblivious to the abuse that just happened to be going on right under his nose. He even claimed that he himself endured physical abuse at the hands of his father–and while that makes for a true horror story, we fail to see how it would make him any less culpable in this case.

Newsday speculates that he may be taking this route because the investigation technically remains open–he wants to avoid prosecution while preserving his ability to continue a career in academics. But we can’t see Spanier achieving his goal of discrediting the findings of the FBI, especially when he wrote emails that appear to agree with former athletic director Tim Curley’s decision to avoid contacting child-welfare authorities in response to allegations made against Jerry Sandusky in 2001. Spanier looks more than a little desperate, and we have some advice for whoever happens to represent him: Leave that sinking ship.

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Can This Woman Save Penn State’s Reputation?

We’re not sure if the task of doing damage control for Penn State is the toughest, most thankless PR gig in the country right now, but it’s got to be pretty close. According to a recent Reuters article, the University is hoping that Karen Peetz, chairman of the school’s board of trustees and big-name executive at Bank of New York Mellon Corp., can help them resuscitate their severely damaged reputation despite the fact that she doesn’t work in the PR field and never really signed up for the job.

While some grads remain true to their alma mater, Penn State’s star has clearly dimmed in the eyes of the public. All agree that the school made some huge ethical and public relations mistakes when dealing with (or trying to wish away) the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. While the school hired PR firms to deal with the fallout, Peetz has effectively served as its public face during this most difficult hour even as her dual roles in PR and finance threaten to collide with one another. Read more

The Worst Public Relations Disaster Ever

We are all familiar with the tragedy that is Penn State, and as guilt, self-doubt and a generation of shame shrouds the school and community, brands are distancing themselves from the once storied American dream that was Penn State football.

This is a soul-crushing story on every level and writing about it makes me feel creepy. But it is a story that affects our industry, because let’s face it: for Penn State and every brand affiliated with the school, this is the worst public relations disaster ever.

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Can PR Take College Football to the NFL Level?

In 2014 college football playoffs will replace the abhorred BCS system established in 1998. The playoffs will feature four teams facing off in three games, eradicating the political and mathematical technicalities that have plagued the BCS rankings. College football believes the playoff system—which could produce up to $5 billion over a 12-year contract—can leverage the sport’s already wild and lucrative popularity. PR will play an integral role as the sport seeks to attract more fans and achieve the cultural prominence of the NFL.

America has a big date with college football on January 11, 2014. The event is two years away, but the hype machine has already begun as ESPN, sports analysts, college football fans, universities, bars, restaurants, wing sauce factories, beer producers, chip/dip aficionados, foam finger manufacturers, hat makers, and body paint supply stores are all gearing up for college football’s Championship Game, the collegiate version of the Super Bowl.

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Penn State Hires Ketchum

Photo: Pennsylvania Attorney General Office via AP

Penn State’s Board of Trustees has hired Ketchum to handle crisis comms, Ad Age reports. The hire was made on November 6, the day after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested. The firm has already helped with the press conference announcing that coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier were leaving their positions.

According to Ad Age, Ketchum has about 50 crisis experts in the U.S.

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Penn State’s Interim Coach Tom Bradley Gives a Painful Presser

Photo: Reuters/Tim Shaffer

With Penn State coach Joe Paterno officially out, fired by the university’s trustees along with the school’s president Graham Spanier, Tom Bradley has been named interim coach. And among his first pieces of unwanted business (we’re sure) was a press conference this morning where he had basically been advised by legal counsel not to answer any questions about anything the media would be most interested in.

Time and again, Bradley answered queries about the Sandusky child sex abuse case with either a “no comment” because it’s an ongoing investigation or a redirect, stating that whatever issue he was being questioned about — whether the team would play after Saturday, other dismissals, etc — was up to the school’s administration.

When he did respond to questions, they were usually terse attempts at saying as little as possible. About last night’s riots: “I understood there was some activity last night.” About a coach’s responsibility to kids, generally speaking: “We all have a responsibility to take care of children.”

What at first seemed like frustrating evasiveness slowly became kind of dreary.

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