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Posts Tagged ‘Reuters’

The Number of People Killed by GM’s Defective Switch Will Soon Rise

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We’re all aware that General Motors is one of the world’s most challenging clients right now–and we can sit around all day and wonder why the company’s preferred strategy for dealing with its ongoing recall crisis can be summarized with the word “stonewall.”

But a report released by Reuters today indicates that this horrific story has only just begun.

The crux of GM’s defense holds that thirteen people–and only thirteen people–have died in accidents involving the infamously defective ignition switch that shuts down cars and their airbag mechanisms mid-drive.

Unfortunately, that number will change soon.

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Reuters, AP Suggest That You Should, Like, Maybe Cut Your Word Count, OK?

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If you had the chance to read our recent interview with Facebook media coach Bill McGowan or our talk with the journalists-turned-content strategists at Bateman Group, you may have noticed a recurring theme: brevity.

Everyone’s all about it.

Now both Reuters and The Associated Press have officially agreed that news stories should come in two varieties: short and shorter. Why? Consider this sentence:

“Our best work does not stand out among a sea of bloated mid-level copy.”

Ouch.

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The Math Behind Viral Content Doesn’t Add Up

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Everybody wants to create that piece of “super-sticky”, high-quality content, right? We get it; as bloggers we want to write posts that get attention from unexpected sources, even if that attention sometimes amounts to “what is this fu<&ing bullsh!t?

Reuters econ reporter and general gadfly Felix Salmon has done the math on the viral model, and he warns content creators not to put all their eggs in one basket. There’s a lot of fancy algebra in his post, so we’ll summarize it.

First, remember that Upworthy and BuzzFeed wouldn’t exist without Facebook, because that’s where they get their exposure.

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PR Pro Turns a Wedding Ruined by the Shutdown Into a Big Media Win

This week, Joy Miller had a problem: her wedding was scheduled for Sunday at Yosemite National Park, and the government shutdown threatened to ruin everything. We’ll let her explain:


Sounds like a nightmare come true, right?

Enter Lara Miller, a freelance publicist based in San Francisco who handles media pitching for clients at Prosper PR. Joy and Lara have long been best friends, and Lara writes:

“Joy called me on Tuesday in tears.  She could barely get the words out about her wedding. I immediately went in my PR mode, told her not to worry that we WOULD find them a place and that I would get the media to cover it. From there it was a day’s work fielding pitch responses, venue calls, and offers for various services.”

As Joy told us today, “Lara’s been planning the wedding with me for a whole year, and she said ‘Trust me, I’ll make it happen; it’s what I do.’”

Behold the power of the press…

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New Edelman Advisor: ‘PR Needs to Grow Up’

edelmanBack in March, Edelman advisor Steve Rubel told us that upcoming PR professionals need to “look at the bigger picture” and “orient [themselves] toward both creating and distributing content”. The firm’s newest tech advisor Burghardt Tenderich recently gave The Holmes Report a more direct version of that statement:

“PR needs to grow up and become real content creators.”

Edelman picked Tenderichwho is an Associate Professor/Associate Director of the Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center at USC Annenberg, to advise clients tech clients; his specialty will be “transmedia storytelling” campaigns like this one which include both paid and earned media across platforms.

The quote may seem obvious now, but remember that Edelman was a little late to the paid content game. The firm’s sponsored content partnership with Reuters on Twitter had a bit of a rocky reception, but we’ll be watching to see exactly how they put Tenderich and Rubel’s statements into action.

*Photo via Edelman Digital

Starbucks Asks Customers to Leave Their Guns at Home

If your morning plans included sipping a mocha frappe at your local Starbucks while lovingly polishing your Colt 45, the coffee shop chain kindly requests that you reconsider, and leave the gun at home.

Many U.S. restaurants and shops don’t allow firearms on their properties as part of their company policies, but because Starbucks’ policy has been to default to local gun laws, including “open carry” regulations that allow people to bring firearms into stores in many U.S. states, the chain has been dragged into the heated debate over gun rights.

This past August, in order to thank the coffee shop chain for what they saw as a firearm-friendly policy, gun-rights advocates held a national “Starbucks Appreciation Day” at multiple Starbucks locations nationwide. One of these locations included Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were shot dead in an elementary school last December. Though Starbucks had the foresight to close that shop before the event was scheduled to begin, the Appreciation Day events pulled the company deeper into the contentious political debate.

In an effort to distance itself from the controversy, and to make it clear that Starbucks does not sponsor or advocate the carrying of loaded firearms in public, chief executive Howard Schultz said in an open letter late Tuesday that Starbucks Appreciation Day events “disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of ‘open carry.’ To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores.” He went on to say that:

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Roll Call: Porter Novelli, Reuters and Time Inc.

Porter Novelli announced that Karen Ovseyevitz, partner, regional director of Porter Novelli’s Latin American presence and co-managing director of Martec Porter Novelli in Mexico and Porter Novelli’s Florida office, has been appointed president, Latin America, effective June 1, 2013. Ovseyevitz will be charged with developing Porter Novelli’s Latin American presence; managing the growth of the agency’s partner offices in Central and South America; and establishing best practices and training curricula for all of Latin America. She will continue as co-managing director of Martec Porter Novelli, together with Sandra Kleinburg, and as managing director of Porter Novelli Florida. (Release)

Thomson Reuters Corp said on Wednesday it had hired Andrew Rashbass, currently group chief executive of The Economist Group, to be CEO of its Reuters news business. Rashbass has spent 15 years at The Economist in several roles, including managing director of Economist.com and publisher of the magazine. Pearson Plc’s The Financial Times Ltd holds a 50 percent stake in the parent holding group of The Economist. Rashbass will report to Thomson Reuters CEO James Smith and will be based in London in the newly created role at Reuters. Stephen Adler, president and editor-in-chief at Reuters, will report to Rashbass. (Release)

Time Inc.’s ad sales division — Time Inc. Branded Solutions — has named Tom Kirwan its vice president of digital sales. Kirwan was most recently the associate publisher of Time Inc.’s Style & Entertainment group. He has been with Time Inc. since 2008. (FishbowlNY)

More Tips for Pitching to Journalists

Today the always-excellent Muck Rack features a guest blog post from Gelberg Communications founder Jon Gelberg on a question that will challenge PR professionals until the end of time: What’s the most effective way to pitch stories to journalists and bloggers?

As Gelberg’s headline implies, the act of pitching is really more of “a seduction”. His piece points out some of the obvious challenges inherent in the pitching process and proposes a few common-sense solutions–but this is a topic that’s always worth revisiting, so we’ll summarize.

What not to do:

  • Send impersonal mass emails (Yes! We get these all the time–and 99% of them go straight in the trash.)
  • Fail to engage with your media contacts like they are real-world humans (small touches matter)
  • Fail to follow up with the outlets that run your stories (a simple “thanks” can do wonders for media relationships)
  • A point of our own: refrain from making phone calls and leaving voicemails except as a last resort. A Reuters journalist recently said, “My biggest pet peeve is PR people who are relentless on the phone”–and we couldn’t agree more.

Keys to success:

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NFL’s Breast Cancer Campaign Is Not Particularly Charitable

Last week we joined a group of voices in questioning whether Breast Cancer Awareness Month and its primary sponsor, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, have lost a bit of focus in recent years.

Aside from the political squabbles that arose over the conflict between Komen and Planned Parenthood, many observers argue that what started as a movement to benefit the millions who struggle with breast cancer every year has descended into a celebration of consumerism marked by the official (and unofficial) promotion of products and services ranging from underwear to alcoholic beverages to streaming adult video (the website Pornhub.com, which features exactly the kind of content you’d expect, plans to donate one penny to Komen for every 30 views of one of its…breast-themed videos).

The question at the middle of this debate: How much of the money donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and associated charities goes directly toward real-world cancer research–and how much of it goes back into subsidizing the PR efforts of Susan G. Komen and its many related for-profit partners and properties?

A report filed last week by Business Insider concerned one of Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s most prominent promoters: the NFL. While the article isn’t quite damning, it does provide ammunition for those who argue that the NFL and other companies involved in the “pink” campaign may not be as generous as they seem.

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Are PR Reps All Liars?

“To lie about an issue is to be a politician. To lie about a corporation is to be a public relation[s] executive.”

That’s the money quote from Reuters journalist Jack Shafer’s piece “Why We Vote for Liars”—and it’s been making its way around the worlds of PR and journalism this week. A little incendiary, no?

Our first instinct is to defend the PR business against Shafer’s generalizations, though his quote does play back into one of this week’s most contentious questions: Whether the growth of the PR biz—and the corresponding decline of objective journalism—truly “threatens democracy”. If everyone who speaks to the public is a publicist or a politician, then who will check their facts and call them out on their lies? The mere promise of honesty is not very reassuring.

Shafer points to the growing importance of fact-checkers in a polarized political media landscape, writing that “If either presidential candidate met you, he’d tell you a lie within 15 seconds of shaking your hand, and if he knew he were going to meet your mother, he’d invent a special set of lies for her.”

Why do they lie? Because the political market places very little value on honesty, no matter how much we citizens express our desire for a more noble brand of politics. This is nothing new.

And, of course, we deal with many degrees of untruth in politics, from the tiny insignificant lie to the blatant misrepresentation to the bizarre and unnecessary fib told to create a false sense of camaraderie. There are even lies about lies—Al Gore, for example, never actually claimed to have “invented the Internet”, but everyone’s familiar with the anecdote anyway.

OK, point taken about politics, Mr. Shafer. But why does that sentence treat the general dishonesty of PR execs as a given?

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