Eight things PR pros need to know on Monday morning, 11.24.2014

Darren Wilson tries out potential interviewers; Obama defends immigration executive order; Veteran motorsports PR executive Denny Darnell dies.

1. Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot Michael Brown in August, has met with prominent TV news anchors such as ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, CBS’ Scott Pelley, NBC’s Brian Williams, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon. The sit-downs, held at a secret location, are a precursor to a possible interview with the police officer, who has been in hiding since this summer.

A grand jury that is considering whether to indict Wilson is set to reconvene on Monday as citizens of the St. Louis suburb continue to wait anxiously for its decision. The death of Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, set off days of unrest in August.

2. President Barack Obama went on This Week on Sunday morning to defend his executive order on immigration, which protected more than 4 million undocumented workers from deportation. Asked about harsh Republican criticism of the plan, Obama said, "My response is, pass a bill."

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3. Two firms invited to pitch FIFA for an assignment polishing the reputations of the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar, respectively, have declined. Edelman and Bell Pottinger are taking a pass on the account. Burson-Marsteller, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and Weber Shandwick were also invited to pitch.

4. Veteran motorsports communications executive Denny Darnell died Saturday of an apparent heart attack. "He approached his job seriously and professionally, but few could bring laughter like Denny. He was a public relations institution, and will be greatly missed," said NASCAR SVP and CCO Brett Jewkes.

5. One company that placed its bets on Sunday night’s American Music Awards was carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which aired custom music videos from stars such as Eminem and Fergie during the broadcast that featured new cars from its brands.  

6. Bill Cosby briefly touched on sexual-assault allegations made against him in a Friday interview with Florida Today. "I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn't have to answer to innuendos," the comedian said. "People should fact check. People shouldn't have to go through that and shouldn't answer to innuendos."

7. Sarah Crowe, UNICEF’s chief of crisis communications, chatted with PRWeek about her experiences fighting Ebola on-the-ground in West Africa. One of the organization’s biggest challenges was demonstrating, often through images, that it was able to operate in Ebola-stricken countries.

8. The Indianapolis Star apologized and pulled an editorial cartoon from its website over the weekend that appeared to show an immigrant family climbing into the house of a white family to crash their Thanksgiving meal, playing off Obama’s immigration executive order. 

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