Nuclear industry's Bond problem, Wikipedia vs Lord
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Nuclear industry's Bond problem, Wikipedia vs Lord

Paul Holmes

Well this is a new one. The president of the Royal Society of Chemistry, perhaps oblivious to events in Japan last year, thinks that Bond villains have tarnished the nuclear industry’s reputation. He’s got it wrong, though. If anyone in popular culture has affected perceptions of nuclear safety, surely it is Homer Simpson? Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales is on a mission to clean up the PR industry, one agency at a time. Wales recently visited Bell Pottinger, following revelations about the firm's unethical editing of client Wikipedia entries. The FT has a good summary of the "clash", which saw Wales concede that there are issues regarding Wikipedia's stance on paid advocates, a topic that we explored in some length last week. Lord Bell's dismissal of Bell Pottinger's astroturfing - "we've done absolutely nothing wrong" - is jaw-dropping, though. The PRSA interviews Mark Cuban about his assertion that start-ups should not hire PR firms. The evidence from Silicon Valley probably suggests that few startups are following Cuban’s advice, but the interview reveals that the Dallas Mavericks’ owner has a fairly intelligent understanding of the benefits that public relations can bring to a business. Israel does not see its public relations efforts as a war, which is, I suppose, reassuring. There is something quite enlightened about the Knesset’s decision to hold a special session on the country’s global PR strategy, although the decision to invite US local radio blowhard Lars Larson was a little more perplexing. Regardless, I’d suggest that the overwhelming use of martial imagery to describe Israel’s PR challenges puts the country at a disadvantage from the outset. The best public relations thinks in terms of mutual benefits, rather than reducing the situation to a zero-sum equation. A major Shell oil spill in Nigeria is attracting little attention from the world’s media, in stark contrast to the coverage of the BP leak in the Gulf of Mexico last year. BP’s share price slumped, while Shell’s is unaffected. “Chalk it up to the difficulty of reporting from such a remote region or chalk it up to racism,” says the Guardian’s Michael Keating. “Whatever you want to call it, it is a disgrace but also a call to action to anyone who cares about fairness and the health of our planet.” Meanwhile, a new BP campaign has attracted criticism for painting a post-spill picture that is a little too positive. Oceanographer George Crozier has it right when he says: “They should be a little more apologetic and less triumphant.”
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