Issue Management

Timing Is Everything

A British public relations executive is cautioning PR professionals not to release bad news in the wake of Michael Jackson's death. "No-one can ever trump Labour aide Jo Moore's debacle during the September 11 attacks, but there'll be cynics out there watching very carefully for companies releasing stuff under cover of global mourning," said Dougal Paver, Managing Director of Paver Smith.

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An Army of One Viewpoint

U.S. Army officials have barred a reporter with the military newspaper Stars and Stripes "from embedding with a unit of the 1st Cavalry Division that is attempting to secure the violent city of Mosul" in Iraq. In the refusal letter to Stars and Stripes reporter Heath Druzin, an Army public affairs officer wrote that "Mr.

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Reputation Cleaning, After a Coal Disaster

Following a December 2008 massive coal ash spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA's) Kingston coal-fired power station in Roane County, Tennessee, local officials want a three-year, $1.9 million public relations campaign.

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BP: We Won't Blow You Up, Just Ruin the Planet

First, it was British Petroleum. Then, after a multi-million dollar rebranding as "green," the oil giant renamed itself Beyond Petroleum, or simply BP. Now, BP says its "number one priority" is responsibility. BP spokesperson David Nicholas described the change as "an evolution and expansion of green as a brand value rather than a replacement. ... 'Responsible' encompasses BP's original aspirations towards the environment, in addition to ...

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Alberta Lobbies for Its Tar Baby

The Canadian province of Alberta, which promotes the development of its tar sands oil, "has hired a team of consultants to improve [its] image in Washington ahead of climate-change talks." The lobbyists, who Alberta is paying $40,000 a month, include former Michigan governor James Blanchard and former U.S. ambassador and Canadian diplomat Paul Fraser.

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Oil Industry Advisor Comes Out of His Shell

The oil company Shell -- which is heavily invested in Alberta's tar sands, an especially dirty and greenhouse gas-intensive source of oil -- has launched a blog about climate change issues. It's "the first time a major oil company has used social media to make a public policy case," reports Siobhan Hughes.

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"Countrywide" Goes the Way of "Blackwater"

Countrywide Financial, the company infamous for its role in the subprime mortgage crisis, is now called "Bank of America Home Loans." Bank of America, which purchased Countrywide in July 2008, is using the name change "to separate itself from Countrywide's reputation," reports the Wall Street Journal.

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