The Gorkana Weekly News Brief: 23 to 29 January 2016

Pitch Wins

New Scientist has appointed Kaper to help launch New Scientist Live, a festival around science, technology and culture, which takes place in September at London’s ExCeL Centre.

Headland has been brought in by The AA to support the relaunch of its financial services arm.

Alton Towers Resort has brought in Mischief as its consumer PR agency, following a competitive pitch. The brief will see Mischief work on two major new attractions for the theme park in 2016 – Galactica and the Rollercoaster Restaurant.

The Gym Group, the low cost gym operator, has appointed Instinctif Partners as its retained business comms adviser, following a competitive pitch process.

Festival Republic has called in W to handle all comms activity for V Festival 2016. The V Festival celebrates its 21st anniversary this year.

People News

Alstom, the French rail transport multinational, has hired Will Roberts and Alex Burrows as comms director and marketing and strategy director, respectively, to build the company’s  strategy and comms expertise in the UK and Ireland.

Chris Dobson INDEX

Speyside’s Chris Dobson

Speyside Corporate Relations, an emerging markets corporate affairs consultancy, has hired Edelman’s Chris Dobson to manage the company’s “rapid growth” as president in Central and Eastern Europe.

Stripe Communications, which is ten years old this year, has named Chris Stevenson, former director of client service and business development at Emanate, as MD of its new London office.

Sport, entertainment and comms group Chime Communications has named Diageo’s former chief executive, Paul Walsh, as its new chairman. Chime was acquired by WPP and private equity group Providence Equity last year.

Global advisory firm FTI Consulting has appointed Kathleen Versland as MD in the firm’s governance, risk and regulation practice in London.

Rostrum, the corporate PR and content marketing agency, has appointed Michael Kahn as a director, with responsibility for its human resources and development department.

Deal and Launch News

freuds has acquired US-based tech agency Brew Media Relations. It will continue with its existing operations on a day-to-day and will report to freuds’ CEO Andrew McGuinness.

Zeno Group, sister agency of Edelman, has acquired 3 Monkeys Communications for an undisclosed amount.

Rhizome PR has rebranded to Rhizome Media as it expands beyond media relations to include social media campaigns and community management work for SME clients.

Matt Battersby ALERT

Matt Battersby

Following last July’s acquisiton of PR and social specialist agency Tea & Cake PR with creative comms firm Capitalize, the agencies have rebranded as one business called ALTER.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K) has launched a behavioural insights and strategies team, under the leadership of Matt Battersby, the co-head of its financial and professional services division.

Journalist News

Toby Moses has been promoted to assistant opinion editor at the Guardian, while Martin Belam, formerly of The Mirror‘s Ampp3d site, has been appointed social and new formats editor.



Mark Vandevelde is now global retail correspondent at Financial Times.

Paul Newman has now been appointed as editorial director of Future PLC‘s Film, Music and Technology portfolios in the firm’s new Magazine Division.

Matthew Dathan has been made UK political correspondent at MailOnline.

Anthony Cuthbertson has now joined Newsweek Europe as technology reporter


CNBC-briefing-main THIN

Gorkana Media Briefing with CNBC International
CNBC International looks to run stories that both move markets and affect people every day. Just one of the key messages that were heard as Gorkana hosted a media briefing with CNBC International’s news editor, Katrina Bishop, social media editor, Cristy Garratt, and digital managing editor Phillip Tutt, on 27 January.

“The perfect story is a story that both affects markets and affects people everyday so that’s why one of my favourite stories every month is about inflation figures.”

Retail discounts: how PRs should respond
The line between promotional seasons in retail has become blurred. Who can tell where Black Friday begins and the summer sale ends when there is a concoction of mid-season discounts in between, both online and off? And how should PRs respond in this unpredictable environment? We asked comms experts what they think about the trend.

Case Study: The Higgidy Sofa Supper Club
When Aduro Communications was tasked with creating a stand-out ‘WOW’ moment for pie brand Higgidy, the agency came up with the world’s first ‘Sofa Supper Club’ with the help of Gogglebox stars Chris Steed and Stephen Webb.

Sir Ray Tindle positive on local prospects
Sir Ray Tindle is the biggest champion and defender of the UK’s local press. Over a 68-year career he has built up his media empire Tindle Newspapers to become one of the biggest UK publishers in the UK. While commentators note the continuing decline of the industry, the 89-year old remains evangelical about the local press’ ability to both adapt and remain relevant in the digital age, writes Gorkana’s Ronan George.

Behind the Headlines with MWW’s Ked Mather
Ked Mather
, senior account director at MWW PR, on the power of “old fashioned networking”, the importance of being an all-rounder in PR and the need to make the industry more accessible for ethnic minorities.

60 seconds with Victoria Main, Cambre Associates
Victoria Main
, director of media at Cambre Associates, on her passion for media relations, how the PR industry should cut down on jargon and dispelling the myth that communications is all ‘spin and Champagne’.

Facebook’s results: 3 takeaways for PRs
Facebook reported its financial results for the quarter ending on December 31 2015 yesterday (January 27), highlighting its wide user base, with more than a billion monthly active users worldwide, its “strong quarter” and its plans for future projects.

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