A Downpour of News this Week

April 20, 2018

If April showers bring May flowers, then April snowstorms ought to bring something pretty

epic. In the meantime, we can always count on social media and current events to distract us as we wait for spring to finally arrive. Here’s a round-up of stories and topics that kept our attention this week.

  • Frozen in Time – Winter-weary Chicagoans awoke to disbelief on Monday morning as snowfall descended on the region. While many of us did a double-take at our calendars, our neighbors in Wisconsin fared much worse – breaking records with 23 inches of snowfall in Green Bay. As one of the coldest Aprils on record, it may seem like we’re actually on the 110thday of January, but this weekend’s sunny forecast provides a bit of hope that spring may eventually come our way.
  • Starbucks Leaves a Bitter Taste – Starbucks went into full crisis mode after customers shared cellphone videos of two black men being arrested at a store in Philadelphia while waiting for a friend. The clips immediately went viral, sparking outrage and calls for boycotts across the country. In response, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson took to the airwaves to apologize and announced the company would be closing all U.S. stores on the afternoon of May 29 for bias training for its 175,000 U.S. employees. Reaction is split as to whether the bold move is enough, but addressing the situation head-on is an essential part of a crisis communications strategy. We’ll be watching this one closely.
  • Southwest Tragedy– Southwest Airlines experienced a crisis of its own when an engine failure on a flight from New York to Dallas sent shrapnel through the cabin of a plane, killing a passenger. With “nerves of steel,” pilot Tammie Jo Shults, who happens to be one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy, safely made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Amid the chaos, tragedy and confusion, Southwest leadership took to social media to provide updates in real time, and followed up with a heartfelt video statement from CEO Gary Kelly. The airline industry isn’t exactly known for communicating effectively (United, we’re looking at you), so this insight from Linda Rutherford, head of Southwest Airlines communications, makes for an interesting read.
  • Sad Farewells – Here in the U.S., Amercans mourned the loss of former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died at the age of 92 on Tuesday evening. The wife of the 41st president and the mother of the 43rd, Mrs. Bush was only the second woman in American history to have both a husband and son become president. (Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams, was the first.) Her obituaryfrom @NYTimes provides a fascinating look at her life and many accomplishments.
  • Across the pond, Queen Elizabeth II had to say goodbye to her nearly 15-year-old corgi Willow – the last descendant in a line of corgis stemming back to her days as a princess. It’s the first time in nearly eight decades that a corgi hasn’t waddled its way through the halls of Buckingham Palace, truly marking an end of an era. For a look at Willow in happier days, revisit this videofrom the 2012 London Olympics, where Willow steals the show while sharing a scene with the Queen and Daniel Craig’s James Bond.
  • It’s in the Mail– In happier royal news, royal fiancée (and Northwestern University alum) Meghan Markle was spotted around Chicago this week. Since our invitation seems to be lost in the mail, we presume it’s to deliver it to us in person? Meghan, if you need an updated address, just let us know…

Have a wonderful weekend!