Diary: SpinWatch spins own website launch

Readers beware - self-appointed watchdog and exposer of underhand and deceitful PR practices SpinWatch is getting its communications systems in order.

The organisation of academics, journalists and researchers this month launches a website that it promises will 'counter corporate PR and government propaganda'. However, PRWeek wonders if SpinWatch itself is practicing a little bit of media manipulation to maximise its buzz.

In what seems like a contradiction, SpinWatch is 'launching' a website that it claims is already receiving 400 hits a day from people in 70 countries and has been live for more than a month.

Surely controlling the timing and flow of information is a central allegation levelled at PROs?

Perhaps the website's 'launch' is being used as a means to promote its latest conference, major reports and SpinWatch expose, details of which fill the vast majority of the launch press release.

Franks takes Seed to Luton Uni centre

A new batch of businesswomen are to be trained in the art of being fabulous this week as self-styled guru Lynne Franks launches the latest in a series of her Seed courses.

The Sustainable Enterprise and Empowerment Dynamics Programme (Seed) is part of Franks's move to build a virtual resource centre for women entrepreneurs, based at Luton University.

The lack of women running their own businesses in the UK is no laughing matter, and Franks has teamed up with the Department of Trade and Industry in a bid to tackle the issue.

Franks told PRWeek: 'Women work differently to men. They are more motivated about creating a value through their business rather than just economic gain.' Hopefully Seed will help sprout more of them.

Roche email in Aids research PR gaffe Drugs firms rely on the prevalence of disease to develop and market their products - but it's rare that they claim that this is a cause for celebration.

But that was the position Roche Pharmaceuticals seemingly found itself in last week. Its PR agency Ronald Trahan Associates wrote to journalists to publicise the company's work around World Aids Day - and made what has to be one the PR gaffes of the year.

'I wanted to get in touch with some story ideas surrounding (World Aids Day),' went the email. 'This year's event is even more exciting, given that we are celebrating 20 years of Aids...'

Somewhat callous? 'I left out a word at the end of that sentence,' Ronald Trahan Associates account executive Susan Sweenie, tells us. 'That word was research.' Indeed.

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