Breakfast Briefing, 3.10.2017: What to watch as SXSW kicks off

The annual get together of techies, marketers, and grandees from the business and political worlds starts today in Austin, Texas.

Austin, Texas. (Image via Wikimedia Commons, by User: Argash, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34882567)
Austin, Texas. (Image via Wikimedia Commons, by User: Argash, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34882567)

What to watch as SXSW begins
First, bring an umbrella if you’re heading to the opening day’s events in Austin, Texas. Rain is in the forecast, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Opening-day speakers include SXSW chief programming officer Hugh Forrest and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). Several major brands have reduced their SXSW footprints this year, according to Digiday.

Former players’ suit alleges painkiller abuse by NFL teams
Washington Post: Former NFL players are accusing the National Football League’s teams of flouting federal drug laws and giving players dangerous amounts of painkilling drugs, according to court documents revealed Thursday night. More than 1,800 retired players are suing the league’s 32 teams.

New from PRWeek this morning: New global head of comms at Xbox
Microsoft has hired Ken Birge, a veteran of Edelman shop Assembly, to lead global communications for Xbox and gaming across the tech giant. Crisis timeline: U.S.A. Gymnastics struggles to display transparency amid sexual-abuse allegations. United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz named PRWeek U.S. communicator of the year.

VW expected to plead guilty in emissions case
Executives from the German automaker are due in a Detroit court on Friday morning, where the company is expected to plead guilty to three criminal counts related to its emissions scandal. Volkswagen agreed to pay $4.3 billion in penalties last month. Several Volkswagen employees also face charges, according to the Associated Press.

Trump budget could purge public broadcasting
President Donald Trump’s views on the press are well-known. However, one part of the media that could be directly affected by the new administration is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Station operators are concerned Trump will target the organization, which funds TV and radio stations across the country, by draining the amount of money allocated to it, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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