Stories by Seth Arenstein

University of Maryland Backs into a Decent Crisis Solution

November 1st, 2018 by

A sigh of relief emanated from College Park, Maryland, early on All Hallows’ Eve, when University of Maryland (UMD) president Wallace Loh announced his firing of head football coach DJ Durkin. It was one of the few correct notes sounded during a crisis that centered on the death of student and athlete Jordan McNair. The… Continued

USA Gymnastics’ Errors Form a Primer in Crisis Mismanagement

October 17th, 2018 by

With so many examples of how not to navigate crises in the news, you’d think more brands and organizations would know the basics of managing them. While many do, the outlier that fails to be transparent, communicate clearly with stakeholders and think deeply about the court of public opinion often produces a tone-deaf response. In turn… Continued

Poorly Written Blog Post Hides Google+ Data Breach

October 11th, 2018 by

That hissing sound you hear is the Edelman Trust Barometer dropping like a lead zeppelin. The main culprit this time is Google. Did you read its Oct. 8 blog post? In “Project Strobe: Protecting your data, improving our third-party APIs, and sunsetting consumer Google+,” the search engine leader says, among other things, it’s phasing out Google+.… Continued

Is Amazon’s $15 Wage More Than Good PR?

October 3rd, 2018 by

On October 2, Amazon pledged to pay all U.S. workers $15 per hour beginning next month. All 250,000 Amazon employees and 100,000 seasonal staff will receive the higher wage, as will workers at Whole Foods. “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do and decided we want to lead,” Amazon… Continued

Wells Fargo Still Struggling to Get It

September 27th, 2018 by

Coming up with a PR crisis management plan is not particularly difficult. The steps are well known: move promptly to accept responsibility (this might include someone losing her/his job) and be transparent about what occurred; apologize with humility; launch an internal investigation and release results; and enact a plan so that the mistake won’t happen… Continued

The PR Implications of Judge Kavanaugh’s Situation

September 17th, 2018 by

News broke this weekend when Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s heretofore-anonymous accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, came forward alleging Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her when the two were at a party in high school. This makes the likelihood that he’ll be approved for a lifetime appointment as a Supreme Court justice more precarious… Continued

Ethics and PR Do Mix, But It’s Up to PR to Tell That Story

July 25th, 2018 by

During the winter and summer holidays the PR department of a big pharma company sends employees a note about the company’s views on issues that might arise during conversations with friends and family at social gatherings. With so many negative stories swirling around the health and pharmaceutical sector and 80% of people believing pharma puts profits ahead… Continued

How Immigration Communications Is Part of Trump’s Rewritten PR Playbook

June 20th, 2018 by

It’s difficult to know what will become of the Trump administration’s immigration policy that includes separating children from their families at U.S. borders. It’s a moving story at the moment. As of this writing, it appears the president, after a June 19 evening session with congressional Republicans, has promised to “sign something” to presumably keep families… Continued

The Message Behind ABC’s Cancellation of ‘Roseanne’

May 30th, 2018 by

After waiting about 24 hours, President Trump responded earlier today to ABC’s cancellation of “Roseanne” yesterday (May 29), tweeting, “Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE… Continued

Will You Be Ready When the President’s Words Move Your Market?

May 24th, 2018 by

Communicators are more aware than most that words matter. Words can move markets. There are few better examples of this than several small statements made May 23. President Trump said the U.S. automobile industry’s health is a national security concern: “Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a nation,”… Continued