Greek_ElectionThe Greek election took place this week and its results have left much of Europe in a tizz. Syriza, the radical far-left party, won the election with a minority and have since formed a coalition with the Independent Greeks. Syriza is an openly anti-cuts and anti-austerity party, and panic has erupted throughout the Eurozone in fear that Greece will seek to write off at least part of its €320bn EU debt. Now if only I could do that . . .  Read More

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has praised Ireland for its ‘tremendous progress’ in fixing its economy, comparing it to Greece. However, he has expressed concern for the joint currency of the Eurozone, criticizing them for their lack of integration. He compared the way that the United kingdom has helped Scotland since the drop in its oil prices, and that "without this risk sharing, the euro area finds itself in an odd position." Read More

The UK today commemorated the man who is almost unanimously regarded as the greatest British Prime Minister, if not greatest Briton, of all time. Fifty years ago today, the body of Winston Churchill was laid to rest. As thousands gathered throughout the streets to pay their respects, reports say that the crowds were just standing in total silence. Sir Winston is said to have preferred holding meetings whilst taking a bath. At the end of one such meeting with FDR, the President made to leave the room to leave Sir Winston in privacy, but Churchill responded “The Prime Minister of Great Britain has nothing to hide from the President of the United States.” And if you fancy feeling particularly British . . .  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87Xkr8z3lEo

British born Steve Easterbrook has been chosen as the new CEO of McDonalds. Easterbrook - having previously shown almost miraculous leadership as the head of McDonald’s in the UK and Europe—is hoping to turn around McDonald's poor Q4 results. Our very own intern, William Murray-Uren is determined to help him—cheeseburgers all round. Read More End of Story

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Noteworthy events for the month ahead.

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February is Black History Month and PBS has a full line-up of special programs for this month.

We kick off the month with the Seattle Seahawks defending their championship title against the New England Patriots in Arizona on Feb. 1. If watching grown men tackling each other is not your cup of tea, then perhaps check out Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl and Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl.

Conference season is in full swing at The Wall Street Journal. In the coming months you will see numerous high profile events, but let’s start with February. The CIO Network convenes chief information and technology officers from the world’s largest companies on Feb. 2-3 in San Diego. Speakers at this year’s conference include John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco and J. Craig Venter, Co-founder, Executive Chairman and CEO, Human Longevity Inc. (HLI).

If you’re in Los Angeles on Feb. 3, check out ENGAGE: The LA Digital Storytelling Conference. The conference looks at the intersection of the digital age and storytelling. Continue Reading »

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superbowl

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post for Unboxed Thoughts focused on the PR challenges facing the NFL.  At the time, domestic abuse was front and center in the minds of NFL football fans, as Ray Rice and Greg Hardy made headlines for their bad behavior.

Now, months later, a new PR headache plagues the league. The dominating performance of the Patriots in their blowout win of the Colts in the AFC Championship is now clouded by allegations that the Pats toyed with footballs to give their team an unfair advantage. In the first week following the game all the talk is about deflated footballs and little is discussed on sports radio and TV about the Super Bowl matchup itself. The NFL has another PR nightmare on its hands that takes the focus off the field.

ESPN, Fox Sports and the rest of the sports media love a heated controversy and excel at drawing viewers, listeners and readers in with around-the-clock coverage of each and every black eye facing the league. From domestic violence to weapons charges to DWI, there has been no shortage of off-the-field discretions to cover.

After 17 weeks of meaningful football and a month of preseason, I am geared up for what should be an incredible Super Bowl. I couldn’t care less about how much air the Patriots put in their game day balls against the Colts. I am focused on the Big Game and not on the minute details of how many ounces each ball is required to weigh by the NFL.

Continue Reading »

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Media Navel GazeThe Week Unpeeled

Big news-packed week, with President Obama delivering the State of the Union (complete with full-scale digital coverage from the media and the White House), where the president seemed to close the chapter on the economic downturn and upturn the focus on helping the middle class by taxing higher earners; some pundits said the delivery was more of a end-of-term victory lap one year ahead of schedule.

Elsewhere:

  • The King of Saudi Arabia died, raising uncertainty in the relatively stable nation;
  • The US-backed Yemen government collapsed; raising uncertainty in a highly unstable nation;
  • Europe is launching a QE program, proposing to buy $58 billion in bonds a month;
  • The Dow rose a bit last week, up 0.9 percent to end Friday at 17,672, helped a bit by the Eurozone stimulus announcement;
  • “American Sniper” was a box-office winner and fodder for red and blue commentary on combat, guns and war all week;
  • Google’s going cellular, planning to offer wireless service;

Continue Reading »

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Round-up news from across the Atlantic . . .

Printing MoneyI want to start this week’s Bightsize Blighty with a story: When I was a child, I remember asking my parents why the banks didn’t just make more money so everybody could be richer (I was a unique brand of social capitalist). My question was quickly dismissed, however my four year old self was vindicated this week as the ECB FINALLY took my advice and announced a huge money-printing programme (ok, that’s not quite right, but let me have my day). Anyway, whose idea it was isn’t important, particularly not to hedge fund guru Crispin Odey who likened the decision to “pushing on a string”

As the race for the 2015 General Election continues apace, plans were announced this week for TV debates that include the leaders of the seven biggest political parties. Importantly, the organisers said the debates would go ahead “regardless of whether any party leader refused to take part”, and with the latest Guardian/ICM poll showing that British voters would favour “serious consequences” for any leader who ducked out, the heat is definitely on. (P.S. I’m not sure what the average Brit means by “serious consequences”, but it sounds sinister). Read more

For anybody attending a party this week, bear this cautionary tale in mind: Five year old Alex Nash missed his friend’s birthday party recently and found himself being invoiced by the boy’s mother for non-attendance. This seemingly ridiculous story has been front page news this week and has caused huge debate about the etiquette of attending parties. Read more

The Sun’s infamous Page 3 became page one news this week after The Times reported that it would no longer be printed (for those of you unfamiliar with Page 3, you can find out more here – don’t worry, it is a safe link!). The group that had been campaigning for it to be banned declared victory, however this was short lived as The Sun announced on Thursday that the page was back, and hadn’t ever been cancelled in the first place – oh those jokers! Read more End of Story

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