Katie Cotton Stories January 27, 2016

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Natalie Kerris, former senior director of Worldwide Corporate Communications at Apple, is rumored to be in line to head Twitter’s communications department. Re/code reports that Twitter has been courting her to help turn around perceptions that the company has been lacking in innovation.

Kerris has recently spent a lot of time talking to top Twitter execs and is the leading candidate for the job. If hired, she will report to general counsel Vijaya Gadde and not, interestingly, to newly named CMO Leslie Berland. Gadde conducted the search, which has been taking place for months. She would replace Gabriel Stricker, who left Twitter and is now working back at Google on its fiber effort.

Kerris held the senior PR role at Apple for 14 years, playing a key role in the launches of products ranging from the iPod and iPhone through to Apple Pay and the Apple Watch. It was thought that she made the decision to leave the company after failing to win the vice-president role vacated by Katie Cotton …

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Katie Cotton Stories April 22, 2015

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Natalie Kerris, a longtime senior executive within Apple’s PR and Communications group is retiring from the company, she confirmed today on Twitter. Journalist Ed Bott first indicated her retirement via Twitter. Bott says that Kerris informed him of her retirement for a LinkedIn message, and Kerris has updated her LinkedIn profile. Kerris joined Apple 14 years ago, and she led PR for Apple’s major product lines such as the iPhone. Kerris’s position within Apple’s PR group grew upon the retirement of former VP of Communications Katie Cotton.

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Katie Cotton Stories April 16, 2015

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Apple has officially named long time director of public relations Steve Dowling as its new Vice President of Communications, as noted on the company’s executive bios webpage. Dowling succeeds former Apple Communications head Katie Cotton, who left Apple in 2014 following Apple CEO Tim Cook choosing to take Apple in a new direction PR-wise. Dowling has led Apple’s Communications division for several months following Cotton’s departure, and he was internally named interim head of PR last October. Following the departure of Cotton, Apple’s PR strategy has been more open, with the company commenting more frequently on various news matters and seeding product review units to more news organizations. Dowling has been seen alongside Cook at various media appearances across the world. Last year, we published an extensive profile of Apple’s PR, Communications, and Marketing department, noting that Dowling would likely become Katie Cotton’s official successor in the near future.

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Katie Cotton Stories February 17, 2015

Long-time Macworld editor Chris Breen joins Apple

Chris Breen, a long-time writer and Senior Editor for Macworld, has decided to leave a long-time career of journalism covering the Cupertino company and take his talents straight to Apple itself.

According to a post on his personal blog:

Just a note to say that I’ve left Macworld to work for a Cupertino-based technology company you may be familiar with.

There are loads of reasons for the change, but blend them together and they add up to my desire to try something different before I don the large shorts and spend the bulk of my remaining days looking for my misplaced spectacles.

“Chris has been such an essential staff member that the word “essential” seems woefully inadequate to describe him,” wrote Macworld’s Susie Ochs.

This news comes several months after another long-time journalist, Anand Shimpi of AnandTech.com, also retired from writing to join Apple.

As with Anand, it’s not known what Breen will be doing at Apple. Being part of the post-Cotton PR team at the company is definitely a possibility, but the fact that another Macworld Editor Jon Seff was picked up for the secretive Apple University training program might shine some light on what Apple is doing with these journos.

Katie Cotton Stories October 2, 2014

Tim Cook recently visited Palo Alto Apple Store alongside Steve Dowling

Tim Cook <a href="http://9to5mac.com/community/tim-cook-iphone-6-launch-video/" target="_blank">recently visited Palo Alto Apple Store</a> alongside Steve Dowling

Re/code reports today that Apple has chosen longtime Apple PR deputy Steve Dowling to lead Apple’s public relations efforts as interim PR chief. The report notes that Dowling’s role as head of Apple PR is not yet permanent as Apple continues to look for candidates outside of the company.

Sources close to Apple tell Code/red that Dowling was tapped as interim head of public relations last week by CEO Tim Cook. […] Dowling’s appointment has been framed to employees as an interim one and I’m told Apple will continue to evaluate worthy outside candidates if one should pop up. That said, the fact that Cook has officially put Dowling at the top of Apple’s PR organization suggests he could remain there.

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Katie Cotton Stories September 10, 2014

Jay Carney joining CNN after reportedly being considered for Apple PR chief

Former White House Press Secretary for the Obama Administration Jay Carney is joining CNN as a political commenter, Politico reports. The announcement was made by the cable network and Carney today.

“I’m thrilled to be joining CNN at a time when there is so much happening in the nation and the world,” Carney said in a statement.

Carney’s move to CNN surely means the end to reports that the former White House Press Secretary is in the running for Apple’s top PR spot vacated by now-retired Katie Cotton. Re/code reported earlier this year that Carney was among the top candidates in the running for that role, and Bloomberg later corroborated that report. This likely means Apple was in talks with Carney, but Apple and Carney will be going in different directions. The search for a ‘friendlier, more approachable’ PR chief continues.

Katie Cotton Stories August 31, 2014

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AnandTech founder and EiC Anand Shimpi announced last night via a post on the site that he had decided to retire from technology journalism, but didn’t specify what he’d be doing instead. Today, Re/code reports that Shimpi will be going to Apple, as confirmed by the tech firm’s representative, though his exact role is still unknown.

Earlier this year AnandTech’s Brian Klug also left the site for a role at Apple with a focus on building mobile processors for the company’s iOS lineup. It’s possible and perhaps likely that Shimpi will be taking up a similar role in quality assurance or marketing.

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Katie Cotton Stories August 29, 2014

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Apple CEO Tim Cook with former VP of Worldwide Communications Katie Cotton

“Beautifully, unapologetically plastic.”

“Feature for feature, it’s identical to iPad Air in every way.”

“Just avoid holding it in that way.”

Apple’s public relations (PR) department is probably the best in the world — certainly more impressive at shaping and controlling the discussion of its products than any other technology company. Before customers get their first chance to see or touch a new Apple product, the company has carefully orchestrated almost every one of its public appearances: controlled leaks and advance briefings for favored writers, an invite-only media debut, and a special early review process for a group of pre-screened, known-positive writers. Nothing is left to chance, and in the rare case where Apple doesn’t control the initial message, it remedies that by using proxies to deliver carefully crafted, off-the-record responses.

Except for a few big exceptions, such as the memorably off-pitch quotes above, Apple’s “tell them what to believe” PR strategy has worked incredibly well for years. But it has also created tensions between the company and the people who cover it, as well as within Apple itself. The company’s long-time head of PR, Katie Cotton, left the company earlier this year as CEO Tim Cook openly sought to make a major change in the way Apple interacted with the press and its customers. As the hunt for Cotton’s replacement is still in progress, and the depth of Apple’s commitment to change remains unclear, we look today at the techniques Apple has used to quietly manipulate its coverage over the years.

You can navigate between the chapters, below:

– Part 1) Apple Events and Shredded White Booklets

– Part 2) Introducing the Teams: How PR Is Organized at 3 Infinite Loop

– Part 3) Strategies: The “Art of Deep Background” and Controlling the Press

– Part 4) The Departure of a “Tyrant”

– Part 5) Two Heads In Place Of One

– Part 6) Controversies: From Maps to Beats to Haunted Empires

– Part 7) Product Reviews, Briefings, & Reviewer’s Guides

– Part 8) Steve Jobs and the Process Behind Press Releases

– Part 9) A Friendlier, More Transparent Future?

Two months in the making, this article is the product of over a dozen interviews with journalists, bloggers, and PR professionals, including many who have worked at Apple.

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Katie Cotton Stories July 14, 2014

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A new report from Re/code today suggests that Apple is currently considering hiring Jay Carney as its new head of PR. Carney worked as White House Press Secretary from February 2011 until June of this year. Prior to joining the White House staff, he worked as Miami Bureau Chief for Time Magazine and Director of Communications for Vice President Joe Biden.

Carney would replace Katie Cotton, who stepped down from the position earlier this year. It has previously been reported that Apple is looking for an external candidate to lead its communications team in the hopes of finding someone “friendlier,” although several internal candidates were also being considered.

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Katie Cotton Stories June 9, 2014

Apple looking to externally hire ‘friendlier, more approachable’ PR chief after Katie Cotton’s retirement

(Tim Cook in China with Katie Cotton)

Now that Apple’s PR chief and VP of Corporate Communications Katie Cotton has officially joined the growing group of retiring Apple leadership, Tim Cook is searching for the company’s next VP of Communications. Re/code reports that Apple is looking outside the company, however, rather than promoting someone internally to permanently fill the role.

And though there are at least two well-qualified internal candidates for the job — comms veterans Steve Dowling and Nat Kerris — Apple is also looking outside the company for Cotton’s replacement. Sources in position to know tell Code/red that CEO Tim Cook is overseeing the search, aiming to find some high-profile external candidates for consideration. And he’s paying particular attention to those he believes could put a friendlier, more approachable face on Apple’s public relations efforts.

Katie Cotton Stories May 30, 2014

Katie Cotton finishes up at Apple just ahead of WWDC

Following up on their earlier report, Re/code is reporting that Katie Cotton’s last day at Apple is today. Cotton has been Apple’s PR chief and Vice President of Corporate Communications since the return of Steve Jobs in the 1990s. Her departure comes just days ahead of Apple’s developer conference, but you can bet Cotton was heavily involved in decisions surrounding the event. Kara Swisher has a great tribute to Cotton’s career that is well worth a read. 

Katie Cotton Stories May 7, 2014

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Just hours after disclosing the upcoming retirement of Communications VP Katie Cotton, Apple has disclosed that Vice President of Sales for North America is, too, leaving Apple. Apple VP Doug Beck, who currently runs sales for Japan and Korea, will add North America to his portfolio of responsibilities. Apple told the WSJ: expand full story

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