2020 Olympic Games postponed, Facebook offers more ways to fight COVID-19 misinformation, and CVS to hire 50K

Also: AP Stylebook’s guide to COVID-19 coverage, how PR pros in the U.K. are affected by the pandemic, buzzwords to excise and more.

Good morning, PR pros:

The AP Stylebook recently expanded its Topical Guide on the coronavirus:

In its March 23 #APStyleChat on Twitter, editor Paula Froke shared several AP style rules and tips for COVID-19 media coverage:

Here are today’s top stories:

International Olympic Committee postpones 2020 Summer Games

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed on Tuesday morning that the Olympic Games set to start in Tokyo on July 24 has been delayed for one year. It’s the first time in the event’s “124-year modern history” that the Games have been delayed, though world wars led to the 1940 and 1944 Olympics cancellations, The Guardian reported.

The New York Times reported:

The decision became inevitable after the national Olympic committee in Canada announced on Sunday that it was withdrawing from the Games, and Australia’s committee told its athletes that it was not possible to train for this summer under the widespread restrictions in place to control the virus. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, after initially declining to take a stand, joined the fray Monday night, urging the I.O.C. to postpone.

In announcing the decision, Abe said he had asked Thomas Bach, president of the I.O.C., for a one-year delay and he had “agreed 100 percent.” I.O.C. leaders have acknowledged the disruption but said that a delay was the only way to ensure that athletes could train safely and the more than $10 billion that Japan has spent to prepare for the Olympics during the past seven years would not go to waste.

Why it’s important: Postponing the world’s largest sporting event will upend athletic teams from the more than 200 participating countries, along with Tokyo and the Games sponsors who have already spent billions preparing for the event. Stay alert for the ripple effects of this decision, which can serve as a reminder that no mattered how prepared your crisis strategy and business contingency plan are, it’s crucial to remain flexible and ready to pivot at a moment’s notice.


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

One PR firm shares how they have made the switch from in-person events like Coachella to virtual interactions to keep clients and still deliver the necessary traffic and buzz.

Read the case study here.


MEASURED THOUGHTS

 A recent #FuturePRoof survey revealed most PR practitioners in the United Kingdom (nearly 81%) are worried about a loss of income in light of the current COVID-19 crisis, with nearly a third (31%) concerned trading will cease. These concerns will continue over the next several months:

Image via #FuturePRoof.

 PR practitioners are turning to a variety of solutions to overcome COVID-19’s affect on their organizations, including offering sick pay, seeking new business opportunities and adjusting employees’ schedules (especially important as more work from home):

Image via #FuturePRoof.

Facebook offers new ways to combat misinformation

The social media platform is working with health experts and organizations to more effectively share information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and is debuting tools that can decrease the spread of fake news.

CNet reported:

On Monday, Facebook Messenger said it’s launching a new program to help government health organizations and UN health agencies team up with developers so they can use the social network’s messaging service to share accurate information and respond to people’s questions. Developers will help these groups for free in the wake of the pandemic.

Hoaxes and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus continue to spread on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. False claims include that the coronavirus is caused by 5G or that drinking bleach is a cure for the illness. Misinformation has also spread in messaging apps including Facebook-owned WhatsApp, making it harder for social networks to find these type of messages. At the same time, as more people stay at home and practice social distancing, the social network has also seen an uptick in the use of Facebook’s services including Messenger.

Facebook Messenger is also testing a feature that limits how many times a message can be forwarded at one time:

Why it matters: It’s not just social media platforms’ responsibility to fight against fake news. No matter your industry or organization, you can help your audience become more savvy information consumers by sharing updates from reputable sources along with tips on how to identify misinformation.


SOCIAL BUZZ

Are there buzzwords from the coronavirus outbreak that are starting to irk? Some readers have taken to Twitter to share their displeasure and try to problem solve about other words to use.

PR Daily Editor Ted Kitterman breaks down the words that should be avoided and some of the advice on offer from experts around the web.

CVS to hire 50,000 in response to COVID-19 measures

The drugstore chain is hiring 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary positions across roles and locations throughout CVS Health locations. It’s also offering its employees bonuses from $150 to $500 along with paid sick leave.

A press release read, in part:

“Our colleagues have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to providing essential goods and services at a time when they’re needed most,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Health. “As they continue to be there for the individuals and families we serve, we’re taking extra steps to provide some peace of mind and help them navigate these uncertain times.”

Employee safety has been a focus for CVS Health from the start, and the company has been prioritizing distribution of protective gear to the hardest-hit areas.

“The health and wellbeing of our colleagues has always come first. We’ve been working around the clock to increase availability of supplies and update protocols to ensure our stores are safe for colleagues and customers alike,” Merlo stated.

Why you should care: Your employees are the lifeblood of your organization, so focus on their needs and concerns within your crisis response strategies. Doing so can help you to weather the pandemic more effectively and can also help strengthen your reputation among consumers and employees alike.


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked how you’re helping to boost employees’ moods and productivity while many work from home, and nearly 78% of you are providing resources and inspiration to help the members of your workforce. More than 11% have turned to community and corporate social responsibility initiatives:

 

Amanda Ponzar, chief communications and strategy officer for Community Health Charities, said she keeps employee engagement up with video calls and virtual trainings:

ARPR said video conference meetings and Slack enable them to virtually collaborate:

 

Justin Kramp, content systems director at VMLY&R, keeps morale high with video reviews, virtual meditation sessions and online happy hours:

How are you helping to separate office from home time? Share your thoughts under the hashtag #DailyScoop. You can also check out work-from-home tips here.


SOUNDING BOARD

How are you adjusting media relations efforts as the pandemic takes over headlines?

Weigh in via our Twitter poll and tell us about your pitching efforts under the hashtag #DailyScoop. Check out tips for pitching around COVID-19 here.

COMMENT

One Response to “2020 Olympic Games postponed, Facebook offers more ways to fight COVID-19 misinformation, and CVS to hire 50K”

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    A top PR firm may counsel: “Since we can’t sponsor teams of athletes, can we gain worldwide media coverage and intense public gratitude from billions of people by sponsoring medical teams fighting Covid-19 and cancer?

    Could the world’s major media and billions of fans care almost as much about doctors beating Covid-19 and cancer as about athletes running a second faster or pole-vaulting an inch higher?

    Every five minutes an American is diagnosed with lymphoma, an “equal opportunity” blood disease that afflicts both genders and all ages, not mostly the old.

    The head of Lymphoma Research Foundation, Meghan Gutierrez, already works with companies and individuals that sponsor research programs of anti-lymphoma doctors. Just as Dr. Anthony Faucci is probably the world’s top expert on Covid-19, Dr. Andrew Zelenetz–fluent like Dr. Faucci—is probably the world’s top medical expert on lymphoma. He’s at America’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

    Can you imagine the worldwide love a company could get by sponsoring the work of Dr. Faucci, Dr. Zelenetz or both?

    Since every year a medical research team may make several newsworthy advances, can you imagine the opportunities for press briefings and news of progress announcements on a company’s website and in the annual report?

    The Olympics have been postponed but some PR leaders may sponsor doctors instead of athletes. Medical research doesn’t award medals but research sponsors may succeed in going for the gold.

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