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University of East Anglia spent £112,870 on ‘climategate’ PR

Public relations is an uncertain science. There are some widely agreed ground rules – be on top of the facts, be proactive, etc – but each event or crisis also demands a uniquely tailored response.

The University of East Anglia (UEA) found itself in just such a PR “hole” in November 2009 when thousands of private emails exchanged between climate scientists were dumped online in an incident that became known as “Climategate“. In the following months, the university and its scientists became the focus of an international maelstrom with all sorts of wild accusations and claims were being made against them, particularly online. It was exactly the sort of situation that required expert and sustained handling by PR professionals.

What has emerged this week, though, is just how much UEA paid the Outside Organisation for its services during this period. A Freedom of Information request by Graham Stringer MP (pdf) has finally forced this figure out of the university, which had tried to resist releasing it citing the commercial interests and confidentiality of the Outside Organisation. The Information Commissioner’s Office indicated that it disagreed and, as a result, we now know this figure to be £112,870.71.

Read more here.

Leo Hickman | The Guardian | 24th April 2012

Neil Lennon bomb plot trial: Legal aid bill hit £10,500 before trial

ONE of the men convicted of sending parcel bombs to Celtic FC manager Neil Lennon, and other prominent fans of the club, notched up more than £10,000 in legal aid fees before the trial even started.

Neil McKenzie, 42, and Trevor Muirhead, 44, were found guilty last month of conspiring to assault Lennon, former Labour MSP Trish Godman and the late Paul McBride MSP, as well as people at the republican organisation Cairde Na hEireann, by sending devices they believed were capable of exploding and causing severe injury.

McKenzie was also convicted of a separate charge of sending a hoax device to Lennon in order to scare him. Both men are due to be sentenced this week.

A freedom of information request to the Scottish Legal Aid Board (Slab) revealed that McKenzie, who changed his instructing solicitor during proceedings, cost £10,529.05 before the case went to trial, and the figure is expected to rise.

Read more here.

The Scotsman | 23rd April 2012

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