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Reputation

Russia Specialist Claims Putin’s PR Spend Is a Waste of Money

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Yes, we’re talking about you.

In case you missed it, yesterday Eli Lake of The Daily Beast enlisted a former Russian Federation employee and author who specialized in media relations to explain why all the money the Kremlin spent on reputation advice was a waste.

While Lake vaguely insinuates unflattering things about Ketchum, his source Angus Roxburgh’s main conclusion is that Vladimir Putin does whatever the hell Vladimir Putin wants to do, no matter what his foreign and domestic advisors tell him.

Roxburgh (who was never employed by Ketchum) is something of a Putin expert.

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Dottie Sandusky and John Zeigler Aren’t Helping to Repair Penn State’s Reputation

Just under a month ago, Yale School of Management senior associate dean Jerry Sonnenfeld published an op-ed in USA Today praising Penn State’s board for overcoming the Jerry Sandusky scandal by moving on rather than fighting.

A subsequent New Republic piece by Alec MacGillis criticized the op-ed, framing it as a summary of Penn State AOR Edelman’s (correct) damage control strategy rather than a statement of Sonnenfeld’s personal opinion. To outside observers, moving forward certainly feels like the right idea—but Matt Lauer and John Zeigler seem determined to make it harder for Penn State to do so.

While we don’t take great pleasure in today’s blanket coverage of Lauer’s interview with Dottie Sandusky, it is compellingly disturbing.

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New York Observer Editor Hired His Ice Cream Man to Defend Donald Trump

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It’s a tough job defending a guy like Donald Trump, but somebody’s apparently gotta do it. In this case, that somebody is the editor of his son-in-law’s newspaper…and that editor’s ice cream man, Bill Gifford.

You read that right. A communications “standoff” has emerged in the wake of what looks a whole lot like a 7,000 word article doubling as a hit piece on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a defense of The Donald.

ICYMI, Schneiderman just happened to file a 2013 lawsuit against Trump alleging fraud on the part of his real estate “university” seminar—an event whose attendees could, in Trump’s own words, “just copy exactly what I’ve done and get rich.”

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@GSElevator Reveal Shocks Absolutely No One

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How much can social media parodies really hurt a client? In the case of “Goldman Sachs Elevator“, the answer seems to be “very little.”

He’s not the only one. Top New York Times Wall Street guy/damage control expert Andrew Ross Sorkin didn’t even need to use the #ApologyWatch tag on Monday night when he outed the man behind the feed as John Lefevre, a 34-year-old trader from Texas. In fact, the biggest outrage we saw online concerned the fact that the Times used its considerable resources to get to the bottom of this mystery as opposed to reporting on something that mattered.

And it’s not like the feed really hurt Goldman Sachs’ already poor reputation.

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5 PR Lessons We Can All Learn from Maury

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For the past couple of months, I’ve been battling severe bronchitis. My lungs were on fire. My throat was closed shut. My voice was gone for weeks. And I was about as productive as Congress on a deadline.

To wit, I was forced to catch up on binge viewing and some trashy TV. As I was filling my body full of enough drugs to make Rob Ford jealous and filling my body my all sorts of trash, I was enjoying just watching dregs of society looking for their 15 minutes of fame (while using 12 of those trying to figure out how to speak a coherent sentence).

So, one good thing came of out this mid-morning experience — 5 PR lessons all flacks can learn from Maury

Yes, way!

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Bode Miller Defends NBC Reporter After She’s Slammed for ‘Tone-Deaf’ and ‘Shameful’ Interview

After becoming the oldest medalist in Olympic alpine history, Bode Miller found himself in an interview with NBC reporter Christin Cooper, who questioned him repeatedly about the death of his brother, and how that loss has shaped his experience at the Olympics. While such personal questions are often asked of athletes in this type of situation, Cooper seemed not to take any of the hints that her line of questioning was pushing Miller into an extremely emotional state, and she failed to let up until he had broken down into tears, hidden his face, and had been rendered speechless.

The scene sparked an angry outcry from fans and journalists alike, who felt Cooper lacked tact and sensitivity. The AP’s David Bauder, for instance, called the interview “tone-deaf and cruel, and short-circuited the thoughtful, intelligent perspectives Miller had started to offer until he couldn’t talk anymore,” and The New York Times‘ Richard Sandomir wrote that “Cooper and NBC lacked the sensitivity to know when enough was enough.”

In a classy and kind response to the uproar, Miller himself took to Twitter to thank his fans for expressing their concern for his well-being, but also to defend his interviewer.

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Here’s How NOT to Respond to a Copyright Issue: Magazine Sends Photographer Profanity-Laced, Threatening Email

We’ve been following Adweek‘s coverage of a he-said-she-said fiasco too bizarre to be ignored, and now that both parties have provided the news source with conflicting statements, the behavior of the magazine involved seems to have gone far past questionable and has entered the realm of actively self-destructive. In fact, if PR failures were presents, this debacle would be the gift that just keeps on giving.

Kathy Shea Mormino, who runs the popular backyard chicken website The Chicken Chick, says it all started when a fan alerted her that one of her copyrighted photos appeared on Survival Magazine‘s blog and Facebook page. As the magazine had not asked her permission to use her photograph, Mormino says she sent a Facebook message and an email to the publication, explaining the situation and requesting that her image be removed. When the magazine did not respond to her messages or take down the picture, Mormino filed a copyright infringement complaint with Facebook, which led the social network to remove the photo from the magazine’s Facebook page.

The magazine’s response to Mormino’s actions shocked her so much, that she shared it (along with the below screenshot as proof) with her fans on her own Facebook page, saying, “THIS is the email I just received from Survival Magazine. What on earth is WRONG with some people?!”

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‘Unapologetic’ Barbie to Appear in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Embargoed_Barbie_2014_Actual_SI_Spread_Image_2.11.14In a world in which ad campaigns are making headlines for saying “no” to Photoshop and some brands are committing to embracing broader, more realistic standards of beauty, others make no apologies in the face of many years of criticism for promoting unattainable, unrealistic ideals. So, we guess it’s about time two of those brands team up and defiantly, proudly, (bravely!) refuse to change. Or apologize. Together.

Aw, solidarity. How sweet.

A new campaign for Barbie will find the doll posing for her very own spread in the upcoming 50th installment of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, along with the tagline “Unapologetic.” The magazine will also be bringing back other Swimsuit “legends” to celebrate its 50th issue.

Now check out what a Mattel spokeswoman said about the campaign:

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AOL’s Tim Armstrong Gives Sincere Apologies

Or so says Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times in the first episode of his planned series #ApologyWatch (and yes, we know that others used the hashtag before him).

We like how someone just had to make the “we have too many lawyers in this country” non-joke and the way CNBC’s backing music serves as an Academy Awards-style call to wrap it up, already.

But yes, Lawrence Spiegel and Sorkin made some valid points about balancing the importance of waiting to ensure that there’s meaning behind the apology with the public’s desire for an immediate response in the social media era.

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PR and High Culture: MoMA Addresses Backlash Over Folk Art Museum Demolition

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Public museums need public relations, too. In a story that exposes a side of the discipline we rarely see, New York’s Museum of Modern Art has attempted to garner public support for a move that threatens to split the worlds of art and architecture and lead many wealthy donors to close their wallets.

Here’s a quick summary (trust us, it gets interesting):

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