black-friday-macys

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many of us are wrapping up our shortened work weeks, getting travel plans in order and finalizing dinner menus. Retailers on the other hand are ramping up for one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Black Friday has long been known as one of the busiest and most profitable days of the year and it’s been common for stores to open in the early morning hours to capitalize on the anticipated crowds.

In recent years, however, Black Friday has slowly encroached on the Thanksgiving holiday itself and this year a number of retailers, including Macy’s, Target, Walmart, Toys ‘R’ Us and RadioShack, are boasting store openings as early as 6:00pm on Thursday. While shopaholics will rejoice, the unfortunate reality is that thousands of retail employees across the country will have to cut their holiday short. This has prompted widespread backlash, including a number of petitions from consumers who believe retailers have lost sight of the holiday’s meaning and are instead being driven by greed.

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Media Navel GazeThe Week Unpeeled

The gloves came off at home last week in quite a few cases with President Obama pulling a run around Congress and announcing a plan that would give millions of immigrants some protection against deportation, a move that is sure to raise ire among lawmakers and make for an even more contentious final two years in the White House.

Elsewhere:

  • In an equally offensive move, the Fed said it is reviewing oversight of major Wall Street banks in an effort no doubt to counter any perceptions of lax governance;
  • And also, the Keystone pipeline vote failed to pass, by one vote, setting the stage for battles for additional votes.  Stay tuned;
  • Amazon is planning to enter the streaming video market, making for a suddenly crowded market;
  • NBC’s Today show exec Jamie Horowitz from ESPN was fired after just 10 weeks on the job;
  • Orange County Register reporters, in a bid to save money, have now been asked to deliver the paper after filing stories;
  • The markets staged a global rally last week, with the Dow hitting another record, closing Friday up 1 percent to end at 17,801;
  • The British government barred entry last week to England for an American who claims and promotes himself as a “pick-up artist” (others use much different language), the first probably sexism charge at the border and one that clearly manifested itself by the traveler’s viral self promotions;
  • Director Mike Nichols, died, an obit that appeared on many front pages, including The New York Times, last week; and
  • Shirtstorm happened. End of Story
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Round-up news from across the Atlantic . . .MAIN-Band-Aid-30-arrivals

The irrepressible Bob Geldof gathered together a band of altruistic pop stars and dusted down the lyrics to “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – the hit song originally released in 1984 to raise money for victims of famine in Africa. This time around, the song is aiming to raise money to support the fight against Ebola. However, the song is not without its critics; Geldof and the song’s amended lyrics have been accused of being patronising and not an accurate reflection of modern Africa.

RBS, which is 81 percent owned by the taxpayer, received a £56m fine this week following a breakdown of their online banking system in June 2012, which left customers locked out of their bank accounts for days on end. The fine comes only eight days after the bank was fined £400m following the forex rigging scandal. So not a great couple of days then.

The Labour Party created a Twitter storm for itself this week after MP Emily Thornberry tweeted a photograph of a house clad in the St George’s Cross in an apparent attempt to belittle the owner. She was subsequently belittled by the Twitterverse before being asked to step down from her position in the shadow cabinet. Ouch.

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Woman-and-man-reading-Dai-007

As PR professionals, one of the questions we get asked all the time is whether a story will be in print. Sometimes I think it’s the clients’ favorite question to ask, but is also very outdated and not nearly as important as it once was.

Many people assume a print story carries more prestige than an online story (“It was on A1, above the fold!”), and though this was once a long held truth by both communications professionals and journalists, this is no longer the case. Why you ask? Let’s look at the facts.

News reporting happens around the clock – daytime, evening, middle of the night and even weekends. It never stops and with competition hitting an all-time high – the result of many things, among them the 2008 financial crisis which caused everyone to tighten their belts and prove their worth – media outlets can’t wait for the next day’s print edition to break a story. Today, stories break as they happen.

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Media Navel GazeThe Week Unpeeled

The best news story of the week was literally otherworldly when a robot of sorts made the first-ever landing on a comet and beamed back pictures to mere mortals on Earth, thanks to the French.  Other otherworldly events starred Kim Kardashian (but not even going there #breaktheinternet).

Elsewhere:

  • President Obama signed a “landmark” agreement with China last week to reduce greenhouse gas pollution;
  • Warren Buffett buys Duracell;
  • Oil trades below $75 a gallon;
  • Goldman names 78 to partner, the second-smallest class on record since going public 15 years ago;
  • Hasbro acquisition talks of DreamWorks breakdown;
  • Halliburton in talks to buy Baker Hughes in a move no doubt tied to declining oil prices and may be the start of more consolidation;
  • Stocks continued to make record highs with the Dow gaining 0.4 percent on the week to end at 17,634;
  • High Art:  Sotheby’s and Christie’s staged fall auctions in what has been called the “hottest two weeks ever in art history,” selling more than $2 billion in works with headlines focused on Warhol’s and Steve Cohen’s $101 million purchase of a Giacometti sculpture; and
  • Low Art: Duck Dynasty may hit the Great White Way as a musical. End of Story
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