The 7 stories PR pros need to know on Wednesday morning, 1.20.2016

Nielsen moves into the social media age; Davos gets underway; Michigan governor's sweeping apology for Flint water crisis; Harassment allegations force Heathcliff Berru to step down from Life or Death PR; IS makes it official: Jihadi John is dead; Palin's Trump endorsement.

Davos, Switzerland
Davos, Switzerland

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What to watch on Wednesday: Nielsen’s ratings get more social
Nielsen is expected to announce on Wednesday that it’s tweaking its TV ratings system to include comments made about programs from users of Facebook and Twitter. TV and advertising executives had accused Nielsen of allowing its ratings to become outdated.

Also: Davos gets underway
As the World Economic Forum officially kicks off in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Quartz handicaps who will be the confab’s big winner. Early contenders: actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kevin Spacey, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new prime minister.

Microsoft’s pre-Davos announcement
CEO Satya Nadella said the company will donate $1 billion in cloud services to nonprofits and universities over the next three years, noting he plans to bring up the proposal at the World Economic Forum. It hopes to help 70,000 nonprofits via the program.

‘I’m sorry, and I will fix it'
Those were the words of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who apologized for Flint’s water crisis on Tuesday in his State of the State address. Snyder said he will release his emails related to the situation. President Obama is set to touch down in the state on Wednesday, visiting a Detroit neighborhood and the North American International Auto Show.

Berru resigns from Life or Death PR after harassment allegations
Life or Death PR founder Heathcliff Berru resigned late Tuesday after Dirty Projectors singer Amber Coffman accused him of sexual harassment in a series of tweets. The Dirty Projectors’ label, Domino Records, has stopped working with the firm.

IS confirms ‘Jihadi John’ death
A media outlet affiliated with the Islamic State has published an obituary for propagandist Jihadi John, who was front and center in the terrorist group’s beheading videos. The US said in November it was fairly certain it had killed the spokesman in an airstrike.

Palin endorses Trump, but does it matter?
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin threw her support behind Donald Trump on Tuesday with a lengthy, unconventional speech. The endorsement is seen as a blow to Ted Cruz. Observers are divided on whether Palin’s backing will actually help Trump in the long run. 

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