Five things for PR pros to know Monday morning

Congress makes a plan for reform at the VA; Dollar Tree buys Family Dollar; Virgin America files for IPO.

House and Senate negotiators reached a tentative agreement over the weekend to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs' healthcare system. The legislation is expected to include a budget to hire more doctors and nurses and expand treatment centers. The negotiators will outline their plan in a news conference on Monday. The VA, which just tapped former Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald as the department's new head, came under fire earlier this year for problems at its medical facilities, including excessive wait times for some patients.

Dollar Tree has agreed to buy fellow discount retailer Family Dollar Stores for about $8.5 billion. The combined company will continue to operate both brands and have more than 13,000 stores in the US and Canada. The deal comes amid pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, who began pushing last month for a sale of Family Dollar.

Virgin America has filed for an IPO as it looks to expand in the US airline market. The company, which launched in 2007 and is partly owned by English billionaire Richard Branson, offers flights to 22 cities in the US and Mexico.

BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith apologized to readers for serial plagiarism by its viral politics editor Benny Johnson. The publication fired Johnson after uncovering more than 40 instances of plagiarism in his work.

Netflix is expanding its documentary lineup, with films such as Virunga, which follows a team of park rangers at a national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Outlets including CNN and Amazon have also increased their documentary offerings. After the success of original TV series such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix said it plans to spend $3 billion on content this year and continue to expand its original programming.

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.

News by email...