NEW YORK — Weber Shandwick and New York University’s Steinhardt School have partnered up in creating a residence program for media and communications grad students. Called NYU at Weber Shandwick: Masters in Residence, the program is designed to help foster a diverse and savvy group of next-gen communicators. Bridging the gap between academia and real-world practice is another goal. Participants in the 2-year residence are embedded in Weber’s content, client, integrated media and insights teams, who serve as mentors and coaches.

TORONTO — FleishmanHillard Canada and High Road have completed the merger underway since September, creating a new agency called FleishmanHillard HighRoad, or FHR. The merger brings together FleishmanHillard’s public affairs and reputation offerings and High Road’s brand marketing and digital practice under one umbrella. FHR has offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Los Angeles.

MIAMI — rbb Communications has launched a new crisis and issues division, called Reputation & Risk advisors. The division focuses on crisis preparedness planning, issue-oriented advocacy campaigns, litigation communications and programs to reduce risk and reputational damage during M&A transactions. Executive VP Laura Guitar will oversee the new group.

BOSTON —Industry vets Greg Peverill-Conti and Adam Zand (pictured) have launched their own Boston-based agency, SharpOrange. Peverill-Conti brings more than 25-years experience in communications, most recently serving as InkHouse Media and Marketing senior VP. Zand, whose experience includes running his own agency, has handled communications for a range of companies including Sonos, Thomson Financial and TomTom.

CHICAGO — Cision has made enhancements to its Communications Cloud that will allow marketers to make more data-driven decisions and improve audience engagement, according to the company. The additions the platform, designed to help marketers identify influencers, craft campaigns and put value on their work, expand data analysis around social engagement, and provide integrated data using Google and Adobe analytics. The new features provide users more insight into audience sentiment and behavior, Cision said.

CHICAGO — The crisis communications company Blink OnDemand PR has rolled out a software system to help agencies manage crisis PR planning and response. The cloud-based system offers a step-by-step process that addresses team role definition, risk assessment, spokesperson training, media response and reputation recovery. The software also provides practical tips and pointers, detailed instructions, templates and starter copy to help novices in the field develop crisis plans.

DALLAS — Idea Grove, a boutique agency serving tech companies, has been given platinum certificated agency partner status by HubSpot, the digital marketing and sales platform.  HubSpot’s certified agency partner tier program acknowledges agency partners who execute digital marketing services to the highest standard, while also actively engaging clients on the platform. The tiers are calculated by combining a variety of metrics, such as monthly recurring revenue, retention, software engagement and inbound marketing success.