Since Edelman was hired to handle Rupert Murdoch‘s phone hacking scandals, news media like Guardian and I had openly wondered if news insiders like former BBC’s Director of Global News Richard Sambrook, Global Leader of Edelman Crisis and Issues Management (link), has been involved in the Murdoch file.
Today Richard kindly confirmed in response to my earlier tweets,
I am not disappointed at all that Richard isn’t working on Murdoch‘s phone hacking scandal file. In fact, as someone who used to read Richard‘s blog and respect his opinions, I am actually relieved/happy that Richard is NOT working on Murdoch’s phone hacking scandal PR file!
Of course, as a reporter, I have to wonder why not?
May be Richard has another more important and urgent file that he is working on at Edelman?? But wait, the Murdoch‘s phone hacking scandal is the talk of the whole wide world. Easily the largest “crisis” any corporations have ever seen. A multi-billion dollars deal was killed because of this. Some suspect the scandal has the potential of bringing down or severely weaken Murdoch‘s media empire (a media company without trust or respect is not much if anything). And even capable of bringing down a government (just look at David Cameron’s recent damage control and tell me he is not worried)!
So as Global Leader of Edelman Crisis and Issues Management, yes Global Leader, why is Richard NOT involved in this most important and high profile Edelman file? I hate to put Richard on the spot because I used to admire him a lot and hope I can still admire him (but, what can I say, he is a “PR man” now). Will Richard be involved in the Murdoch‘s phone hacking scandal later, just not now? Or is Richard NOT involved by choice, quoting his own words when he joined Edelman,
The creditability of a man, especially a newsman, takes a lifetime to earn. I hope Richard‘s creditability and reputation can remain intact after the Rupert Murdoch‘s phone hacking scandals have passed with whatever outcome it will result in.
I want to close with Jeff Jarvis’s point, which I still think is right on, “Murdoch hires Edelman PR. This ain’t a PR problem, folks. It’s a moral problem.“
11:48am Update: I added the following comment in a CBC News Facebook poll “Murdoch apology: Is it enough? – Your Community” asking,
“No, we shouldn’t let the handy advice by global PR firm Edelman fool us so easily. Saying sorry in every single UK newspaper for ONE DAY can’t compensate for the news media culture established *personally* by Rupert Murdoch for close to *60 YEARS* since 1953.“
12:24pm, 16 July 2011 update: Here is a video interview with President & CEO of Edelman, Richard Edelman. Have a watch of what he thinks as he is the man leading the PR firm that is advising Murdoch on his handling of the phone hacking scandals.
Here is an interesting official Edelmon London video of Richard Edelman talking about trust, especially interesting in light of Edelman‘s role in Murdoch‘s scandals. And it is unfortunate that I come across a claim of a quote that Richard Edelman said in a media training session, “Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie.“ (See AdAge 2008 Feb, “Blog Wars: Gawker vs. Edelman – Blog Suggests PR People Lie; PR Chief Takes Umbrage”)
For the record, Feb 2010 press release “BBC’S RICHARD SAMBROOK JOINS EDELMAN” (emphasis added),
“Richard Sambrook, the BBC’s Director of Global News and a member of the BBC’s Management Board for the last ten years, will be joining Edelman, the world’s largest independent PR firm, as Global Vice Chairman and Chief Content Officer in May.
He will be the firm’s first-ever Chief Content Officer, helping Edelman clients produce written, video and audio content to tell their own stories in direct and engaging ways. Sambrook will report to EMEA President and CEO David Brain and will be based in London. He will also sit on the Global Executive Committee, chaired by Richard Edelman.
Global CEO and President Richard Edelman said: “We are delighted to have someone of Richard’s caliber and experience joining our global team. His journalism and senior media company management resume is difficult to rival; equally important to us and our clients, Richard has been at the forefront of the digitization of news and its interaction with the audience and stakeholders. Through his work establishing several BBC News channels (BBC News 24, BBC World News, BBC Arabic, BBC Persian) and his own long-term and personal commitment to social media, he understands very well how the audience is now – to use his own words – ‘on the pitch’, how content and news must be shaped by the needs of the consumer, and the new opportunities provided by social technologies.”
David Brain, Edelman President and CEO EMEA, commented: “With the fragmentation and decline in many traditional forms of media, every company needs to become its own media company. It has to tell its own story and in ways that people can easily engage with, share and shape. [Kempton’s note: key words for a PR firm are “shape” and also engage & share in this order.] That’s sometimes easier to say than it is to do. In Richard, we now have one of the world’s most accomplished creators and managers of content to help our clients do just this.”
Richard Sambrook said: “I’m delighted to be joining Edelman in this new senior role. They are a firm which I have long respected. Edelman’s leadership with digital media and their work on Trust and public engagement sets them apart, and I’m greatly looking forward to helping to develop their content production and their approach to crisis and issues management. [Kempton’s note: in Richard’s own words “approach to crisis and issues management“]”
Richard will also assume leadership of Edelman’s Global Crisis and Issues practice towards the end of the year as veteran Mike Seymour begins to stand down from his full time role in that position.
“It is impossible to overestimate the impact Mike Seymour has had on our business since he has been here,” said Richard Edelman. “He is one of the world’s best known and most respected crisis counselors. He has personally managed international crises for companies such as Bechtel, Coca-Cola, Hoffman LaRoche, Heineken, Nike and Unilever. He has also created a global network of more than 150 crisis experts across the Edelman office and affiliate network around the world that we believe is unrivalled. He is irreplaceable, and consequently I am delighted to say that he will continue in a senior counselor role after helping Richard get up-to-speed.””