Argyll and Bute Council hires new press officer in wake of school dinners blog internet brouhaha

Argyll and Bute Council, which trended worldwide on Twitter over the case of a nine-year-old girl’s blog on school dinners, has hired a new communications officer.

The Herald reports that Aileen MacNicol, formerly a reporter at the Dunoon Observer weekly newspaper, has been brought in as a press officer, with additional responsibilities for social media.

The appointment follows a few months in which the council has experienced suspensions, resignations and the censorship of the nine-year-old girl's blog turned into an international sensation.

The Herald reports that the council has suffered from 'a number of PR disasters' highlighting the suspension of its communications director Jo Smith, after The Herald revealed she had been advising fellow PR professionals to set up ‘spy’ accounts on Facebook.

Also suspended were press officers Dinah Mackay and Janet West,following an investigation over a practical joke against a collegue, leading to their resignations.

Last month also saw claims of censorship leveled against the council, when schoolgirl Martha Payne was informed that she was no longer allowed to take photographs of her school dinners for her blog. The story gained coverage all around the world, and saw high profile politicians and celebrity chefs back Payne, leading to a U-turn from the council.

As a result, Martha has raised £112,000 for charity Mary's Meals.

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