Nine things for PR pros to know Thursday morning, 9.4.2014

Brands ready for NFL kickoff; Fast-food workers go on strike; Layoffs at 'USA Today;' Gun-control group puts more pressure on Kroger; Bloomberg returns to company he founded; Home Depot data breach likely nationwide.

Nine things for PR pros to know Thursday morning, 9.4.2014

1. The National Football League’s 2014 season will kick off tonight, with the defending champion Seattle Seahawks taking on the Green Bay Packers. One brand getting into the act early Thursday morning was Bose, which sponsored the #KickOffTheNewYear trending topic on Twitter. Last month, PRWeek looked at how brands and the NFL itself are getting ready for the new season.

2. Fast-food workers in 150 cities around the country, including as many as 60 locations in Kansas City, Missouri, are planning to go on strike today. The protests are part of the non-union labor movement Fight for $15, which is pushing for better wages for employees.

3. The group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is buying ads in a half-dozen newspapers taking a somewhat humorous approach in its demand that Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket company, ban the open carry of firearms in its stores. The spots point out things that are prohibited in Kroger stores, such as shirtless shopping, contrasted with people carrying rifles. They ask readers to "guess which one" isn’t allowed.

The group began pressuring Kroger to ban the open carry of firearms in its locations last month.

Click here to read PRWeek’s profile of Kroger communications leader Lynn Marmer from our September issue.

4. Employees from two Chinese PR firms were arrested, along with staffers from the prominent newspaper 21st Century Business Herald, on Thursday as part of a government corruption crackdown. The two affected firms were Roya Investment Services and Nukirin.

Last month, Edelman said it had lost track of the whereabouts of DJE China Group CEO Steven Cao, who was reportedly cooperating with Chinese authorities’ investigation into services the firm supplied a Chinese TV station at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2009 and 2010.

5. The Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department has been notified that the US Justice Department will conduct a broad civil-rights investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown and the days of unrest that followed in the city. The probe could be announced as soon as Thursday.

6. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is returning to the top perch at Bloomberg LP, the company he founded, after moving out of City Hall nine months ago. The billionaire philanthropist and gun-control and climate-change advocate is reentering the fold at the company as Bloomberg Media is expanding the types of content it produces.  

7. The reported data breach at Home Depot likely affected all of its US stores, according to new information from security researcher and blogger Brian Krebs, who broke the original story about the breach. The home-improvement chain took steps on Wednesday to get ahead of the story by keeping customers up to date on its investigation via press release, Facebook, and Twitter. USA Today explained what happens to consumers’ credit-card data once it’s stolen in a Thursday morning story.

8. General Motors’ August sales dropped 1% year-on-year, while those of Chrysler were up 20% and Ford’s incased 0.4%. Meanwhile, Toyota’s August sales jumped 10.2% year-over-year.

9. About 70 editorial and business staffers at USA Today were laid off on Wednesday, representing about 10% of the outlet’s total workforce. The job cuts "will allow USA Today to reinvest in the business to ensure the continued success of its digital transformation," spokesman Jeremy Gaines said in a statement to The New York Times.

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