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Damage Control

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?

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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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‘Meet the Press’ Admits Ratings Fail, Invites Will.I.Am as Guest

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Because this is what you need to stay awake just to watch it, perhaps?

Ever since the fateful day when the great Tim Russert left this mortal coil, NBC has been praying to the stellar reporter roundtable in heaven for some supernatural ratings help. David Gregory just hasn’t been getting the job done. In fact, ratings for the Sunday broadcast is at historic lows.

Many people at NBC have been trying to figure out how to get the ratings back up, which have included conversations about replacing Gregory as host. The show is even losing top people, like its EP for 12 years who recently got the same gig with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s ‘This Week.’

So, for a quick ratings grab, the show deviated from its [insert another talking head senator here] format to that whimsical political hack named … Will.i.am. Wait, what?!

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‘Fox and Friends’ Hosts and Guest Scientist Exchange Insults After Segment Didn’t Go as Planned

Fox smears science editor as a ‘coward’ after he exposes network’s climate change ban

An appearance by a Scientific American editor Michael Moyer, on Wednesday’s “Fox & Friends” morning show has left the hosts of the show and Mr. Moyer hurling insults at one another via every channel imaginable — TV, blog post, Twitter, etc.

The plan had been for Moyer to appear on the show to discuss scientific trends that might impact the future. The first thing that came to Moyer’s mind, he told Business Insider, was climate change, but he says that the producers asked him to steer clear of that controversial subject, requesting he replace that talking point “with something else.”

Then things slowly fell apart.

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The White House Knows When Your Clients Should Disclose Security Breaches

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Yesterday Target announced a new CIO and a new card processing system to help minimize the impact of last year’s massive security breach.

Many have faulted the company for being behind the news cycle, only acknowledging that a problem existed after others reported it, and gradually increasing the official estimate of how many customers had been affected.

The biggest PR question at the time was “how and when should clients reveal such security weaknesses?”

This week we got a little advice on that front…from The White House.

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Target Hopes New Hires and New Card Tech Will Do the Trick

TargetTarget is taking steps to remedy the problem that led to one of history’s biggest data breachesand its team wants you to know.

To its credit, the company seems to have been attacking the problem on all fronts since the breach first occurred last year, and now it’s ready to begin the rollout.

The move comes in stages: last month the company’s VP, who had been in charge of its website and internal computer systems since 2008, “resigned” (quotations ours).

At that time, the company also announced its decision to replace its existing card security tech with a system called “chip and PIN”. Last night brought the official update: Target hired a new chief information officer, who will oversee the implementation of this new security strategy.

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