Surveys: Creating your own news hook

Usually, home-grown surveys provide an easy news hook for your pitch – especially if they’re tied to a topical and timely subject, like the growing popularity of blogs, natural allergy remedies or anticipated Christmas purchases. Or so the Brewers of Canada thought when they decided to release a survey of student perceptions of drinking behaviour, […]

Graphic Designers: It’s a report, not art!

So, your graphic designer has brought in the cover concepts for the new report. It’s not meant to be an award-winner. Just a strategy document, to show to the advisory council next month. The designer’s pulled out all the tried and true graphic stereotypes for a strategy document: a compass, a ship under sail, even […]

Pitching a PR Blog

I have to echo Tom Murphy’s comments about an elegant and persuasive weekend pitch from Dan Price. In my case, Dan opened up by discussing a previous post on VNRs that references his site, and then dropped in a casual mention of his new book, Slick.

RSS: excerpt or full post?

If you’re reading this by RSS, do you prefer the excerpt or a full post? I’m thinking of changing the setting. colin(at)

Steven Colbert: smoke machines and cowardice

Steven Colbert, of the Daily Show, has a short interview in the September Esquire. Two excerpts: ESQ: How do you make a candidate feel relaxed and trust you? SC: I approach all interviews with fear. I’m frequently afraid that somebody is going to take a punch at me. It’s only cowardice that keeps me from […]

He ain’t heavy …. he’s my lawyer

They can be your allies or the bane of your existince. They can provide valuable strategic advice, or shred one of your documents beyond legibility. They’re the corporate counsel. The Houston firm Fulbright & Jaworski surveyed 300 US general counsels about their corporate and professional concerns, and there are startling parallels for PR folk. While […]

Tricked-out, tech or grassroots industrial design?

No matter if it’s tricked-out, grassroots or just plain pimped, Clive Thompson appreciates the work consumers and companies alike have been putting into customizing their technology. Anyone can mail off a picture of their dog to put on a mouse pad, but conceptualizing an entire electronic device takes, y’know, work. … I lust after iPods […]

Stirring paens to Olympic glory – with strings by Yanni

The National Post’s Aaron Wherry has analysed the lyrical stylings of the anchors hosting the coverage in Athens. It’s not that we hate Bob Costas. It’s just that he makes us feel like our decidedly pedestrian existence is little more than a piece of wax that has fallen on a termite, who is choking on […]

Mel Gibson, leading the unwashed from the technological desert?

Digging into my clippings pile, I saw this tidbit about the highly targeted marketing of The Passion DVD, due out today: “We’ve initiated outreach to churches and para-church organizations,” [a FOX SVP] says. “There have been a variety of mailings and e-mail campaigns, much of it at a grassroots level.” In a unique promotion, Fox […]

Selling Policy? Drop the syllables

Greg’s played off a Marginal Revolution post and NYT article to make an important point about public policy communications: The takeaway: If you’re trying to do more with PR than just push laundry detergent or the newest spring line by Hugo Boss, then you need to get people educated about not just your issue, but […]

Olympic Spokesman: a White House Press Secretary Manqu�?

It’s becoming glaringly obvious that ticket sales are down at the Athens Olympics. Empty seats scamper across the background of many camera shots. The event organizers are becoming, justifiably, defensive. Michalis Zacharatos is the Athens Olympic Committee media general manager, and he’s slowly being pilloried in the international media for his upbeat forecasts. “As the […]

Community journalism at its most transparent

If you’re a student in a college town, there’s only one data point you regularly seek out in your community newspaper: entertainment options., an award-winning mixed media site serving the students and residents of Lawrence, Kansas really knows its audience. Today’s drink specials points the thirsy Kansan – or traveller – to the cheapest […]

Required Canadian Content

Joey’s asked for CanCon (Canadian Content) songs from the 80s and 90s – songs that didn’t cross the border. Cherry Beach Express – Pukka Orchestra Wave Babies – Honeymoon Suite L’Affaire Du Moutier/Closer Together – The Box C’est Zéro – Julie Masse and Walter Ostanek, of course. Here are David Akin’s suggestions.

The Brush-Off: picking your words carefully

You’ve huddled, evaluated the situation and decided no good can come of responding to a reporter’s questions. It may just be a timing problem. Improbably, the VP actually is on vacation. Maybe you’re in a mandated quiet period. Now you have to rebuff the reporter’s firm advances in as few words as possible. What’s your […]

Deep thought on reputation systems

I’m a month late on this meme, but it’s still a valuable read for PR folk. “Manifesto for the Reputation Society” is an exercise in sketching out the benefits and hindrances of encouraging a growing reputation system, based on easily available information, shared opinions, personalized experiences, categorized relationships and maybe a touch of accreditation or […]

Move away from the shift key: it’s internet – no cap!

It’s official. Wired has thrown in the towel. The hype of 1998 is over. We don’t need to capitalize internet anymore. Or web. Or net. As Tony Long, Wired’s copy editor, notes: … in the case of internet, web and net, a change in our house style was necessary to put into perspective what the […]

Don’t let the boss see you writing that: Bonjour paresse

Corinne Maier is a trained economist (among other things) working for Electricité de France, a state-owned utility. She’s penned Bonjour paresse, a hit guide for the disenchanted and disengaged employees of France. In a stunning example of institutional blindness, her employer is now pursuing disciplinary action against her – because of the book. Over lunch […]

Imagery, community relations and footie

Sometimes even a good Rugby World Cup parade won’t completely rehabilitate a symbol. In past years, the cross of St. George has been dragged into the gutter as the visual of choice for unreasonable bigots and heavy-drinking football hooligans. Billy Bragg, however, thinks that the flag, as it is rehabilitated through careful community liaison, may […]

Talk about full disclosure: David Akin

David Akin, a Canadian tech journalist who also blogs, has whipped up a remarkably honest disclosure statement. It doesn’t just identify his professional allegiances – it it also makes clear his relationships with his service provider, AdSense and TuCows. But where’s the information on his domain registrar? Is there a tale waiting to be revealed?

Social Networking Bingo

Remember Bullshit Bingo? It was funny, and you flipped it to all your colleagues as a joke. But there was a horrible, cruel, irony in your actions: you probably used three to five words from the bingo card every day. (empower, parking lot, vertical) Any longtime tech-head can build a good drinking game out of […]

Dear Chase Manhattan: You suck!

A friend of mine has some service issues with Chase Manhattan, his bank; enough to drive him to actually put pen to paper. Dear Chase: I know this won’t do anything, but can I just tell you what drives me crazy about you guys? I deposit two checks on Friday, totaling over $8k. (Again, pocket […]

Personalized Elle covers? Not all Hungarians are pretty

I hope to God there’s some sort of editorial screening in the new European Elle promotion. Readers can superimpose their own picture on the latest cover, then print it out? This screams out for some form of culture jamming. You know, though, that we’ll see far more covers of naked and fat Europeans.

GAYDAR and your local chain restaurant

Waylon Smithers, Snagglepuss and T.G.I. Fridays? Misty Harris, a columnist for the Canwest papers, has deftly pulled all these popular cultural references together in a discussion of the expected “outing” of a Simpsons character next season. Two great quotes jump out. They speak to a continuing obsession among many cartoon viewers: figuring out which of […]

A technology sliding into undeserved obscurity

A fantastic short documentary on the delicacy, detail and devotion of John Kristensen‘s Firefly Press to letterpress printing. Produced by Chuck Kraemer for Boston’s WGBH, the documentary has a disconcertingly staggered narration. It reminds me of fresh reporters trying to mimic the famous and exaggerated intonations of BBC Radio reporters – with a little Charles […]

Paddywhack! You’re Googlewhacked!

I seem to have a comment spam problem from one particular knobgobbling spammer. If this keeps up, I’ll have to turn off the comments until I can identify a solution.

Church Sign Marketing

MarketingSherpa has pointed to Godvertising, a brand new blog ostensibly about church sign marketing. Some of the examples are amusing, but not as gut-wrenchingly hilarious as the signs found at Church Sign Generator or Jesus Hits Like a One Liner! Apparently, there’s a real market in helping uninspired, non-creative pastors put butts in the pews.

Message Control, Boston Style

Vainly, Carter Eskew tried to stop Ryan Lizza from contributing to the swamp of political process stories coming out of the Boston convention. “There’s some silliness about all the reporting about the policing of the message,” says Carter Eskew, one of the Democratic Party’s most respected media gurus. “There’s nothing new about that. That’s what […]

Personalizing e-groceries: the ASDA way

Vera Stratford, a British pensioner with MS, has an usual way of doing her shopping. Once a week, she calls her son Mark and he books an online delivery from ASDA, the British grocery chain. But Mark lives in Toronto. When ASDA heard about the Stratford’s unusual approach to shopping, their executives arranged for Mark […]

Duct Tape Wallet: 3M’s gift to practical design

3M Canada has a step by step schematic guide to folding, cutting and taping up your own duct tape wallet.

Blogs and Question Period debating?

Down in New Zealand, the Minister of Environment pulled a blog out of her hat during a Question Period exchange with opposition Parliamentarians about the Resource Management Act: Hon MARIAN HOBBS: First of all, I want to draw that member�s attention to Russell Brown�s very good blog, Hard News, in which he lines up Mr […]

Gillmor, Jarvis, Rosen, Akin and a panopoly of others

Some notes taken while sitting at the Exploring the Fusion Power of Public and Participatory Journalism conference yesterday (back row, a reversal from the old school days). Joey deVilla made some great notes as well. Some observations: Gillmor commenting on the dozen+ bloggers in the room: “it’s good for journalists to have journalism done to […]

Fusion Power Conference: now with added Canadians!

More comments from exploring the Fusion Power of Public and Participatory Journalism. Len Witt on public journalism: “if the journalists don’t get it, the citizens and the bloggers certainly do.” I don’t know if it’s disconcerting or value-added, but as Len Witt was speaking, Akin or Gillmor were coughing up web pages related to Witt’s […]

Some last Fusion Conference thoughts

Jan Schaffer: story is not about blogs. It’s about media participation. The creation and distribution of Scream mp3s. MoveOn campaign ads. Low budget high impact Documentaries. It’s story making versus story telling. Schaffer: it’s about hyperlocal citizen media. This is often low-tech. You can’t shut out the non-wired audience. and others. Don’t forget low […]

Now THAT’s earned media: Arnold in Fortune

Arnold must be basking in the warm glow of the 4700 word feature published about his tenure as Governor in this week’s Fortune magazine. Democrat Fabian Nunez, the Speaker of the Assembly, and an outspoken opponent of Schwarzenegger, says: “The governor has to define who he is. Is he the diplomat? Or is he the […]

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