NASCAR unites behind Bubba Wallace, tech speaks out against immigration visa freeze, and AP Stylebook capitalizes ‘Black’

Also: Google adds ‘fact check’ label to images, 78% of sentiment around Pride Month content is positive, Ben & Jerry’s explains ‘defund the police’ with ice cream image,  and more.

Hello, communicators:

 AP Stylebook has updated its race-related coverage guidance to include capitalizing “Black” when using it in a “racial, ethnic or cultural sense.” Communicators should also capitalize “Indigenous”:

The AP Stylebook said it will decide whether “white” will remain lowercase within the month. In the meantime, you can learn more about race-related terms and AP style guidance in Wednesday’s #APStyleChat or by reading the resource’s race-related coverage guidance, which is open to all:

Here are today’s top stories:

NASCAR stands with Bubba Wallace

The racing organization’s drivers and crew members joined together before Monday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway to push the sport’s sole African American driver, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., and his No. 43 car to the front in a show of support and solidarity as the hashtag #IStandWithBubba trended on Twitter.

The display was in reaction to a noose that was hung in Wallace’s garage stall on Sunday.  NASCAR is investigating the incident and its president, Steve Phelps, said he would ban for life the person(s) responsible.

The Washington Post reported:

… In heeding Wallace’s call to ban displays of the Confederate flag at its tracks, NASCAR sent a clear signal June 10 that it stands on the side of diversity and inclusion. If the cost was losing fans determined to use stock-car racing to celebrate what many regard as a symbol of hate, NASCAR executives deemed the price worth it to ensure that all potential ticket-buyers, corporate sponsors and future drivers feel welcome at its events.

Though there were people protesting the Confederate flag ban at the race and on social media, NASCAR’s recent moves have grabbed a number of headlines as well as overwhelming support from social media users. The organization embraced the new viewership with the following tweet:

Why it matters: Consumers are wanting and waiting for organizations to do the right thing and stand up for social justice. Don’t waste this opportunity to make a difference and increase consumer trust by remaining silent so as to not spark controversy.


Ben & Jerry’s recently posted to Instagram a visual representation of what it means to “defund the police,” using cartoon images of its ice cream:

The effort underlines the opportunity communicators have to simplify complex initiatives into simple explanations that their audiences can understand. It also highlights the power of images to relay information. Consider how you can use these concepts the next time you have to explain a complicated process.


Sprout Social revealed in its report, “#BrandsGetReal: Brands Creating Change in the Conscious Consumer Era” that 70% of consumers think it’s important for organizations to take a stand on social and political issues. The majority of those who say brand managers should get involved feel that way because they think organizations can cause real change (66%) and organizations reach large audiences, further spreading the message (63%).

Image courtesy of Sprout Social.

Along with organizations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, many are continuing to support Pride month through social media messages, content and campaigns—and some, such as Duolingo, have combined messages:

Sprout Social reported that from June 1 to June 21, the top five hashtags associated with Pride Month conversations (#pridemonth, #pride2020, #pride, #blacklivesmatter and #LGBTQ) racked up more than 3.4 million mentions.

Image courtesy of Sprout Social.

 The majority (78%) of consumer sentiment around these social media conversations are positive as well, underlining the push for brand managers to be more vocal about social justice issues:

Image courtesy of Sprout Social.


Looking for more insight on how to address the current global crisis and lead your organization into a strong recovery?

Join Ragan’s Crisis Leadership Board to network and brainstorm with peers, get the latest intelligence and research, and start to strategize for the future of your organization.

Learn more about this exclusive membership here.

Google adds ‘fact check’ feature to images

The search giant announced it’s applying the label to its image results “that come from independent, authoritative sources on the web that meet [Google’s] criteria.” The feature joins “fact check” labels that already appear in Google’s search results and articles under its News tab.

 In a blog post, Google’s group product manager of Search, Harris Cohen, wrote:

Photos and videos are an incredible way to help people understand what’s going on in the world. But the power of visual media has its pitfalls⁠—especially when there are questions surrounding the origin, authenticity or context of an image. Starting today, we are surfacing fact check information in Google Images globally to help people navigate these issues and make more informed judgments about what they see on the web. This builds on the fact check features in Search and News, which people come across billions of times per year.

Image courtesy of Google

 The Washington Post reported:

Google’s efforts are the first widespread initiative to try to fact-check images, said Nina Jankowicz, a disinformation specialist at the Wilson Center and author of the forthcoming book “How to Lose the Information War.”

Seeing manipulated images and video can be a lot more convincing to people than disinformation in text, Jankowicz said, and she’s hopeful that Google’s labels will at least cause people to think before they post. It won’t work for everyone, she said.

Why it’s important: As technology companies and social media platforms ramp up their efforts to fight misinformation in the months leading up to the U.S. presidential election, communicators across roles, organizations and industries can join in the battle against fake news by checking sources before sharing articles, along with publishing content from trusted sources. As much as you can, encourage your colleagues and employees to do the same.


The COVID-19 crisis has drastically changed the landscape for communicators and PR pros. More than ever before, communicators must gain key skill sets and employ strategic communications and media relations strategies to boost their organizations’ coverage, reputation and overall brand.

Learn what the 315 communicators we surveyed say about what parts of the PR function are more important than ever, how to adjust for COVID-19, and more with our free report revealing insights that can help you persevere during this uncertain time.

Download your copy of the report here.

Google, Twitter, Amazon and more speak out against work visa freeze

Several technology companies and their executives are protesting President Donald Trump’s freeze on immigration work visas. Though Trump said the suspension is necessary to protect U.S. workers during historic unemployment levels, the companies said the move can affect innovation and competition.

Business Insider reported:

Tech companies rely on H1-B visas in particular to import engineering talent from around the world, helping them maintain Silicon Valley’s competitive edge in an increasingly global market. Last year, Google and Amazon were each granted roughly 9,000 H1-B visa applications.

“Preventing high-skilled professionals from entering the country and contributing to America’s economic recovery puts American’s global competitiveness at risk,” an Amazon representative told Business Insider. “The value of high-skilled visa programs is clear.”

 Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google and Alphabet, tweeted:

Amy Weaver, Salesforce’s president and chief legal officer, wrote:

Aaron Levie, chief executive of Box, tweeted:

Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, vice president of policy and philanthropy for Twitter, said:

Why it matters: When making stands on political and social issues, put your chief and other executives front and center as much as you can. These leaders can add a much-needed human element to the values for which your organization stands. For communicators, this means brushing up your executives on media training and crisis communications best practices.


We asked how you feel the business community has responded to the wave of protests around racial inequality, and nearly 66% of you said it’s been a mixed performance, with nearly 21% of you saying it’s too early to say:

Tressa Robbins, vice president of client onboarding for Burrelles, said that organizations taking action should see greater consumer support and trust:

As you continue to navigate your crisis responses and diversity, equity and inclusion strategies, focus on your actions and plans for the future and how your organization will remain accountable for the commitments it makes.


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