Monday, January 26, 2015

Sports Public Relations: Live From "The Classroom"

Calling all Sports PR fans! The Marist PRSSA Regional Conference committee has booked a session that you absolutely cannot miss. Join Dr. Keith Strudler, founder and director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication, for an interactive chat and live radio/TV broadcast of “The Classroom,” a weekly sports talk show which airs Saturdays on ESPN 1220 and on America ED TV. This show is the first ever partnership between an academic center and an ESPN affiliate, so do not miss the opportunity to get an inside look! Check out archives of the show that are available on iTunes for a sneak peak of what this exciting session has to offer.

Strudler, executive producer and co-host of “The Classroom,” will spend the first half-hour sharing tips and answering questions on how public relations professionals can successfully pitch sports stories that grab a producer’s attention. Strudler is a true expert in his field as he has written sports commentary for the Poughkeepsie Journal and airs a weekly radio commentary on sport and society for WAMC, a public radio station in Albany, NY, that broadcasts over seven states in the Northeast. 

The second half-hour of the session will have the conference attendees serve as the studio audience, getting a unique view of the inner workings of real sports broadcasting as it goes live at 10:00 a.m.  Whether you are interested in sports, media broadcasting, or both, this session will be the perfect fit for developing your public relations skills.

Don’t miss Sports Public Relations: Live From “The Classroom” at the Marist PRSSA Regional Conference on February 28, 2015 from 9:30 a.m - 10:30 a.m. Register now on Eventbrite!

Be sure to follow @ESPN_Classroom on Twitter and like their Facebook page! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Year in Review

This is Marist PRSSA's round up of 2014's most notable PR crises and how they were handled. This list first appeared in Vol. 6 Iss. 2 of esPResso, which can be found here. Thank you to esPResso Committee Chair Lizzy Peper on all her help with this feature.

Most Poorly Handled Crisis
Winner: Ray Rice and the NFL
Ray Rice allegedly assaulted his fiancĂ©e in Feb. 2014, but the NFL decided to cover up the incident. When TMZ released footage of the event, the NFL’s PR strategy began to crumble. The firestorm of a PR crisis hit not only the football player but also the league. Still not fully resolved, it will be interesting to see its path. 

Runner Up: Amazon/Hatchette Disputes

The mega e-commerce site was in a public dispute with Hatchette publishing for much of 2014. The battle was for the future of e-books and how publishers would be compensated. Amazon and Hatchette did not handle the situation well, gathering many critics along the way for antitrust

Worst Social Media Crisis

Winner: American Apparel Challenger Picture
In an effort to be patriotic American Apparel posted a photo to its Tumblr of what they believed was a picture of smoke. But to the company’s dismay, a young international employee did not know that it was a photo of the space shuttle Challenger exploding. The company apologized for the tasteless mistake, but that does not make up for the oversight. 

Runner up: #MyNYPD
This hashtag was trending for all the wrong reasons. #MyNYPD was started as a campaign to thank the police force for its help and achievements, but it soon turned into a forum for people to post photos of police brutality. What had good intentions quickly showed that not every organization should use social media for branding.  

Most Avoidable Crisis

Winner: General Motors Recalls
In February, General Motors began recalling more than 2.6 million cars after 13 deaths which were caused by a faulty ignition switch that went unrecalled for more than a decade. GM has been cited as being not empathetic about the situation and failing to respond properly to an issue that it has known about for years. 

Runner Up: Target Photoshop Errors
Not once but twice Target was caught Photoshopping its clothing models in the most unflattering way. With thighs being erased and entire parts of the body missing, Target may want to consider hiring a new photo editor or at least look before posting an image. 

Most Global Crisis

Winner: Ebola in the U.S.
In September the first of 14 cases of Ebola in the U.S. was reported. The next month health screenings and questionnaires were administered at U.S. airports receiving planes from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Obama later appointed a Ebola response coordinator but many criticized that the appointee has no experience in the field of health or medical care. 

Runner Up: Malaysia Airlines
After eyes were already on Malaysia Airlines because of a plane carrying passengers that went missing in early March, another of its planes was shot down over Ukraine in July.  Both flights were fatal for all on board. The airline considered changing its name to avoid the negative connotation currently attached to Malaysia Airlines. 

Most Comical Crisis

Winner: Dumb Starbucks
In July, comedian Nathan Fielder created a parody coffee shop called “Dumb Starbucks” to use in his show Nathan for You. Starbucks took a laid back approach and representatives calmly stated that the trademarked name could not be used. The shop is now closed. 

Runner Up: Bending iPhone 6
After the release of the iPhone 6 Plus in September, complaints that the larger phone was bending after customers kept it in their pockets for a prolonged period of time came to light. What became known as #Bendgate was trending on Twitter and numerous videos of the manufacturing malfunction were posted on YouTube. 

Best Handled Crisis

Winner: Under Armour Olympic Uniforms
When the U.S. speedskating team started the Winter 2014 Olympics with worse performances than expected, several athletes blamed the Under Armour uniforms they were wearing. The company responded by supporting its technology without turning blame on the athletes. Before the Olympics came to a close, Under Armour committed to sponsoring U.S. speedskating until 2022, solidifying its support of the sport.

Runner Up: Virgin Galactic Crash Response
The crash of a Virgin Galactic space plane being tested for potential tourism resulted in the death of one of its pilots. The company’s chairman took control of the situation and visited the site of the crash in addition to providing a statement of respect to the people affected during a press conference and on social media.