This month has again seen more allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World (NoW) dominating the headlines. The story first came to light back in the 2005 court case that saw Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire jailed for hacking into the phones of royal aides. In July 2009 the Guardian reported that up to 3000 phones of celebrities and politicians had been hacked by the NoW and the company made several compensation payouts. Despite the fact that hacking is illegal, there have been claims that the phones of murder victims, relatives of killed soldiers and families of the London 7/7 bombings have all been targets of the paper.
Advertisers were the first to act, publically withdrawing their business from the paper, and it was announced on 7 July 2011 that the 168-year-old tabloid would print its last edition. Andy Coulson and Rebecca Brookes have been arrested over the affair, and met police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson quit. David Cameron called for an inquiry after the police investigation: “It is absolutely disgusting, what has taken place, and I think everyone in this country will be revolted by what they have heard and what they have seen on their television screens”.
The media and social network coverage as one of their own ships sunk has been phenomenal, and journalists scrambled to report the ongoing story as it broke. Tweeters and Facebookers alike all gave their opinion with several groups calling for resignation of then editor Rebecca Brooks. There’s been rumours that the Sun will simply take over the NoW’s Sunday slot, and that the apparent grand gesture of disbanding the paper was just a gimmicky PR stunt by Rupert Murdoch in a last ditch attempt to save face.
The other tabloids have been quick to jump on the grave of NoW, creating television adverts encouraging the public to buy an honest Sunday paper and even billing themselves as “the Sunday paper you can trust”. However, empathy is being used as a PR tool on both sides.
Prior to the hearings at the House of Commons Brookes and Murdoch are rumoured to have consulted with body language experts. Critics watched the pair like hawks for any subconscious messages or slip ups. The media training largely seems to have paid off, although the protestor’s cream pie attack also helped create sympathy for the older Murdoch. Public relations professor Trevor Morris commented “The three key messages were: we’re very sorry; we’re doing something about it; and it’s not really our fault. If it had been me advising Murdoch, I’d have got them to focus on saying they took their eye off the ball. A little more humility wouldn’t have gone amiss.” (http://www.prweek.com/news/bulletin/UKDaily/article/1080954/?DCMP=EMC-CONUKDaily).
The hearing ended up being more like a well rehearsed play. Murdoch’s side seemed to have successfully scripted his lines using a double attack of PR training and legal advice. However, even after using all the help he could get and employing the oratory winning power of three technique (http://www.bluewoodtraining.co.uk/blog/?p=613), Murdoch’s publicity team are going to have their work cut out. Rival journalists writing about other corrupt journalists know all the tricks and certainly won’t be pulling any punches. It would take a pretty big miracle to get Murdoch’s reputation out of this one unscathed.
Written by Admin– www.bluewoodtraining.com – July 2011
The recently launched Google plus may be able to boast 20 million members but none of these will be businesses. The research firm ComScore reported that 20 million of us have already investigated Google plus in its first three weeks of being launched, with the most members coming from the US and India. Google plus is the latest in social networking sites and Google’s most successful venture into the field yet. Its last attempt at becoming a serious contender in the race to challenge Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was “Buzz”. Buzz wasn’t so much of an overnight success as Google plus as some users contacts were automatically made public, and privacy settings weren’t up to scratch.
Google plus has some similar features to rivals Facebook and Twitter but has introduced the concept of “circles” of different groups of friends. New features also include “sparks, hangouts and huddles”. Launched on the 28th June it was initially invite only which increased its exclusivity and appeal to some members of the public. Some even sold invites to Google plus on Ebay. Members are required to enter their real name and reveal their gender. This was initially made public and therefore it was criticised for lack of privacy. There is also more scope for companies to advertise, in fact the sparks stream can be used to place adverts that are targeted to what the user is interested in, making it all the more attractive to businesses. Members can tailor the site to make it easier to target specific groups of friends, with this aspect appealing to companies.
However, as businesses started to jump on the bandwagon and set up their profiles, Google plus has started to disable them including IBNLive.com and Ford. Google had previously asked companies not to begin establishing profiles as they hadn’t finished designing specific business features yet. Google said that while they worked on the profiles select companies would be given pages in order to trial run the features. Perhaps Google should have sorted out all of its features for its original launch as “businesses have always been early riders on new social media vehicles and Google’s not having an option for business profiles right from the onset seems to be an oversight and now the company is attempting to make amends” (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/google-deletes-business-profiles-from-google/169306-11.html). Not having businesses set up from the outset not only doesn’t look very professional but also holds back the success of the social network. Project manager Christian Oestlien says that “doing it right is worth the wait”. Google plus looks to integrate other tools like Google maps into business pages similar to how their earlier attempts at social networks functioned.
Will Google plus be more successful than its predecessors? Or has the market already reached saturation? Only time will tell if it’s a social network success, and a lot also depends on whether it can get up and running smoothly with all its features fully functioning before losing momentum and public support. It appears to have been an initial hit but whether from curiosity or because it’s genuinely what the public wants is yet to be decided.
Written by Admin– www.bluewoodtraining.com – July 2011