Signal AI Weekly PR News Roundup 6 December 2019

12.6.19 / 6 min read

Google co-founders bow out of management roles

Big news in the tech giant world.

The co-founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have announced that they are stepping down. They’re both leaving their roles as leaders – CEO and president respectively – of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Their departure from the company comes at interesting times for both Alphabet and Google; marked by senior PR and Comms hires and a period of heavy scrutiny from government regulators. However, whilst the two tech leaders will be giving up their day-to-day management roles, they will remain on the company’s board.

In their place, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, will lead both companies – Alphabet and Google. Best of luck to him.

Source: Google Co-Founders Page, Brin Give Up Management Roles, Wall Street Journal (3 December 2019).

Global campaign for airline passengers with disabilities doubles support

Travel technology company, Travelport, have made it big with their latest PR awareness campaign. The global campaign, launched by the travel company, was designed to raise awareness of a dedicated Special Service Request (SSR) booking code.

SSR booking codes are used in the travel sector to communicate the needs of travellers to airlines. They are delivered through standardised four-letter codes implemented by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). DPNA SSR codes are used specifically to alert airlines to a passenger that has an intellectual or developmental disability and needs assistance.

However, Travelport found evidence in their research into SSR booking codes that use of the codes are exceptionally low. Indicating a lack of public awareness of the option. This led to the launch of the Travel Unified campaign in March 2019.

Since the launch of the campaign, requests for assistance by airline passengers with intellectual disabilities have nearly doubled. Awareness of the DPNA SSR booking code has skyrocketed, with use of the code on flights booked through Travelport increasing globally by 89% compared to last year.

In specific regions, use of the code has increased 273% in Asia, 259% in Africa, 94% in Europe and 22% in Oceania. Despite low usage in both North and South America, all signs are pointing up.

Source: Global campaign doubles support for airline passengers with disabilities, PRWeek (3 December 2019).

CTA Download for PR & Media Intelligence Glossary

This is it. The future is upon us. The way we live will never be the same again…

Is the angle the world wide web takes every time a new technology striving to achieve something vaguely scary hits the internet.

And this is exactly what happened yet again, when it was announced that Chinese scientists are working map a person’s face from a sample of DNA. The process they are using is called DNA phenotyping and is in its early stages. However, the blood being used for the research has been collected from ethnic Uighurs incarcerated in detention centres in China’s Xinjiang region.

The ethically questionable source of the blood and the fundamental nature of DNA phenotyping have already marred the announcement. With Dr. Pilar Ossorio, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stating that “What the Chinese government is doing should be a warning to everybody who kind of goes along happily thinking, ‘How could anyone be worried about these technologies?’”

The long term impacts of the research could be potentially devastating. The DNA-produced images may be able to be fed into China’s mass surveillance system, tightening the government’s grip on society.

however, the technology is being developed across the globe, specifically the US and at least two of the researchers working on the Chinese DNA phenotying have ties to institutions in Europe. But critics say that the lab in Beijing is exploiting the international scientific community as many of the the subjects from Xinjiang have no choice.

Source: China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West, New York Times (3 December 2019).

O2 in-housing comms: Will the trend ever slow down?

The in-housing continues!

O2 (Telefónica UK) has hired an in-house Head of External Communications. Adding to the ever growing list of large companies that are in-housing their communications functions. Jumping on the in-housing bandwagon with Sony Music, GoogleHuawei earlier this year, HSBCAirbnb and more.

The business has appointed Alex Reilly, former head of communications at eBay, to join the corporate affairs team Alex Reilly. With half a decade at eBay under her belt leading on consumer campaigns and corporate communications and sustainability at J Sainsbury, Reilly is perfectly poised to take over at O2.

Source: O2 Hires Alex Reilly As Head Of External Communications, Holmes Report (3 December 2019).

Increase downloads of Rise of the Challenger Brands whitepaper

PR News ‘Top Place to Work in PR’ Award given to Ketchum for 10th Consecutive Year

It’s nice to be recognised once in a while. Especially when the recognition is for your company culture and the work environment you build for employees. And it’s even better when it’s for the 10th consecutive year.

That’s what’s happened for leading global communications consultancy, Ketchum. The PR consultancy has been recognised as one of the Top Places to Work in PR by PR News for the 10th year in a row. The award honours the firm’s “outstanding educational, social and cultural programs that support employees’ growth and success.”

The award was adjudicated by an outside panel of industry peers and experts and PR News editors. Awarding the winners at the famous Top Places to Work Awards Luncheon Ceremony on 21st November. With the partner, president and CEO, Barri Rafferty, stating that:

“This recognition is a testament to the collegiality and generosity our employees have fostered throughout our nearly 100-year history. Our talent values our commitment to flexibility, inclusivity, career development and continuous learning as we set a high bar to attract and retain the industry’s most in-demand talent. Our people are our greatest asset, and it’s critical that we provide a true sense of belonging for all.”

it also follows the consultancy being names Global Creative Agency of the Year at the Holmes Report‘s Global SABRE Awards ceremony in October, 29 Cannes Lions, and PR Week’s Best Agency of the Past 20 Years.

Source: Named Top Place to Work in PR for 10th Consecutive Year, PR Newswire (2 December 2019).

Tune in next week for another Signal AI news roundup of the top PR news of the week. But for now, you can find out more about us here.