Six things PR pros need to know on Thursday, 11.20.2014

Anheuser-Busch InBev layoffs to affect marketing staff; Cosby demands AP cut sexual-assault questions; Uber's comms crisis.

1. Another on-campus shooting is leading the news cycle Thursday morning. A gunman wounded as many as three people at Florida State University early Thursday before he was killed by police.

2. Marketing staffers will be affected by new job cuts at Anheuser-Busch InBev. The layoffs will have an impact on "salaried employees in divisions ranging from marketing and procurement to sales and brewery operations," according to The Wall Street Journal.

3. The Associated Press released video Wednesday night of Bill Cosby demanding an interviewer "scuttle" questions about accusations of sexual assault against the comedian. "I think that if you want to consider yourself as serious, then [the question] will not appear anywhere," Cosby tells the reporter.

Netflix and NBC have cancelled projects with the entertainment legend after more than a dozen women came forward with allegations of sexual impropriety against Cosby spanning decades.

4. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) called on Uber to publicly clarify its privacy policies in a letter sent to the company this week. "[Reports by BuzzFeed and others] suggest a troubling disregard for customers’ privacy, including the need to protect their sensitive geolocation data," Franken wrote.

At a private technology conference staged by Goldman Sachs in Las Vegas, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said Wednesday night that the problem is his company has grown too fast, making it difficult to teach all staffers about its policies.

Communications experts told PRWeek that Uber’s latest crisis shows the car service has a disjointed comms structure, too decentralized to meet its needs.


5. At least one local newspaper isn’t a fan of the University of North Carolina’s crisis communications contract with Edelman. Criticizing the account, the newspaper noted in an editorial that the school has many successful alums in public relations roles, contending that the contract wasn’t necessary. Edelman is helping the university deal with its academic fraud scandal.

6. President Barack Obama’s Thursday night speech on immigration will set the tone for the final two years of his presidency, but it will have limited viewership on TV, with the major networks declining to air the address. In a new tactic for the White House, Obama teased the speech on Wednesday in a preview posted to its social media accounts. 

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