The 5 stories PR pros need to know on Thursday, 4.21.2016

Volkswagen agrees to deal with U.S. authorities; Trump professionalizes campaign ahead of convention, general election; ESPN fires Curt Schilling for latest offensive comments; Facebook unveils group calls for Messenger; Barbie sales drop again in the first quarter.

Volkswagen, U.S. authorities reach refund deal
Volkswagen will buy back 500,000 diesel automobiles with "defeat devices" programmed to evade emissions testers, according to the framework of a deal it reached with American authorities, according to Reuters. Volkswagen shares were up on the news. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi is facing its own crisis for falsifying test data.

Trump pivots to general election stance
Donald Trump will begin taking the advice of policy experts and speechwriters, using teleprompters, and making policy addresses as part of his pivot to attract general election voters turned off by his primary rhetoric. Representatives from his campaign, as well as Ted Cruz and John Kasich, met with party leaders on Wednesday to discuss the Republican National Convention.

ESPN finally has enough of Curt Schilling
The former baseball star was fired on Wednesday night by ESPN after he promoted, but denied posting, content on his Facebook account stereotyping transgender individuals, then blamed readers for being offended by the post in the first place. The commentator also compared Muslims to Nazis last year.

Facebook rolls out group calls for Messenger
In its latest enhancement to Messenger, Facebook unveiled a feature that allows users to make group voice calls. David Marcus, the platform’s divisional leader, announced the new technology in a Facebook post. Last week, the social network revealed enhancements to help brands use Messenger.

Tough Q1 earnings for Mattel, Barbie
Mattel posted a wider loss for the first quarter on Wednesday. Sales of Barbie were down 3% in the period on top of a 14% loss last year. In January, Mattel rolled out a more diverse line of Barbies with three new body types and seven skin tones. 

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