Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Media: Blunders, Bumbles and Bungles

Monday, April 29th, 2013

By Neil Kuvin

My perspective on the media comes from having spent more than 45 years working at major network affiliated TV stations in cities including New York, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit and Pittsburgh. So I don’t come by my extreme opinions by way of a back road.

These past few years we’ve all witnessed journalism, both broadcast and print, at its best and recently its worst. There’s a plenteous supply

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of muddling, blundering and just plain screwing up to make us all sick and ashamed. Examples of shoddy media coverage is not just the mis-reporting of international events. Agree or disagree with network International reporters, we’ve been witness to a growing demonization of the Syrian state by the media. I disagree with the matter-of-fact reaction to their mistakes. Like the purposeful, planned and terribly reported Benghazi incident. In 2011, many news organizations misreported that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had died. Recently, in Newtown, Conn., many news outlets wrongly identified the shooter.

I’m sick of the fabrications and then the palms-up denials. The fingerprint of the current cycle is the blisteringly inadequate, unprofessional and embarrassing coverage & then the rush to release incorrect information, painfully surrounding the terrible Boston Marathon tragedy.

It all actually started for me in the last election cycle when WCPO, the ABC affiliate up I-71 in Cincinnati on Oct.19, 2012 declared President Obama had won Ohio. Ummm – wasn’t the election still two weeks away?

Put aside the blunders for a moment and focus with me on the other truly unforgivable media activities; the despicable language and browbeating verbiage being routinely spat forth by print members of the fourth estate. For what? A competitive edge? Competing with whom? “Hustler?” “Playgirl?”

Consider a very recent “Media Matters” column: “Kelley (as in Megyn Kelley) is the most despicable whore among a cast of despicable whores on the Fox Lies news.”

Recently, this same laudable member of the print journalism fraternity, in defense of President Obama and Planned Parenthood and against Fox News, emitted their typical foul-mouthed venom at Kirsten Powers, Monica Crowley and Megyn Kelly, calling them “despicable whores” and other open-minded, free-thinking smears. Tolerance indeed. And “Media Matters” says they are “the nation’s premier progressive media watchdog, research and information center.” Rrrrright!!

How about a recent Washington Post article published the morning after the Boston Marathon bombs left behind their devastating marks. The reporter said two men had been arrested. Even published their pictures! Ratings the evil one here?

Before I go on too long, let’s bring up those three once-proud broadcasting letters; the news brainchild of Atlanta’s beloved media culture tycoon, Ted Turner. I know Mr. Turner quite well. Almost went to work for him. Did you hear about the CNN reporter who mistakenly told us that there had been an arrest in Boston? There had been none yet.

A wonderful, unrehearsed reply went to a reporter by former President George W. Bush who was asked by Diane Sawyer: “Do you miss all of us?” “W” responded: “Well, I miss you as a person. But I don’t miss your profession.”

And I’ll close this rambling thesis with the award for the most ridiculous blunder of the year so far. A CNN reporter, covering the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings was in the immediate area where the bombs exploded. She looked around. Turned back to the camera and reported. “Oh… it looks like a bomb went off here!”

The bottom line: We oughta be ashamed. We who are still part of the once-proud and dignified fourth estate, and the rest of the unknowing, unaware general public. The average Joe and Jane in our country get their news from fewer than two sources each day. That’s downright scary. Don’t take it from me. I just work here.

Case in Point: The Power of Public Relations

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Public Relations and the Tylenol Case

By Tiffany Engleman

Over the past few decades, a variety of organizations have executed some of the most influential public relations campaigns known to the field. An abundance of knowledge can be acquired from the research and study of these iconic cases. The strategy behind these campaigns can power organizations through crises and prove how momentous the practice of public relations was then and still is today. The Johnson & Johnson Tylenol crisis is a prime example of exquisitely executed public relations strategy.

Tylenol Crisis: Johnson & Johnson had their hands full when seven people died from ingesting cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules in the Chicago area on September 29, 1982.  The nation was in a panic and many believed that Tylenol would never recover from the devastation created by the tampering.

Nevertheless, the company began the recovery process by issuing a complete recall of Tylenol products. In addition to the recall, the design of the Tylenol bottles was reconstructed with tamperproof packaging. Last but certainly not least, Tylenol launched a media campaign with full-disclosure to ensure that the public was fully informed on the status of their products.

You might think there is no coming back from a crisis such as this, but Tylenol was capable of pushing through with the guidance of an all-star public relations team. An organized strategy was executed to regain the trust that Tylenol had previously held with consumers. The Tylenol case resonates with public relations professionals because it truly illustrates the importance of having a public relations team as a resource. Their work may at times be behind the scenes, but it will always be crucial to have a team in place backing your organization when all the chips are down.

Works Cited: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.

Non Profits and Social Media

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Does your non profit have a strategic social media plan and know how to measure it?

By Joseph John

Congratulations! Your organization is keeping current. You are doing everything necessary in order to keep up with social media trends — all the while promoting your non profit organization. So, what’s your media?

OH. You were one of the first non profits to create a website and blog. That’s fantastic. Do you recall when you last updated your website or freshened up the blog with some new information? Or, let’s look at some other social media that you may be utilizing:

  • Facebook? Check.
  • Twitter? Yep.
  • YouTube? Check.
  • LinkedIn? Uh huh.
  • Pinterest? Maybe.

And possibly other social media platforms of the day — social media dujour. Check!

Ah, yes. You’ve got it all. You’re just beaming and your monthly non profit board meetings are full of “high fives”. “Wow. We are ALL OVER the social media spectrum.”

OK. Like I said, “Congratulations.” Now, step back. Do you know WHY you’re on all (or some) of those sites? Is it because “Well, everyone else is doing it,” or to use an old phrase “We need to be keeping up with the Joneses.” And now the most

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important question: What’s your organization’s strategic plan for using social media? Huh? A strategic plan for social media?

Yes, a strategic plan. What committee was charged with writing the plan and determining what sites are best for YOUR organization?

Are you using social media sites for “friending” and building new followers in the community? Are you using the sites for fundraising? Are you promoting your brand on those sites? Are you using those sites to keep people informed of trends and events in your organization? Or, sadly, are you using the sites merely as a presence, while your site remains very static and hasn’t been updated in a long, long time.

Do you know how many “likes” you have received, or “followers?” Here’s the most important question, before we discuss “metrics” which will be covered in another article: WHO is keeping your social media sites up-to-date, keeping the information fresh, following up on people that are “touching,” “tweeting,” “following,” “liking,” and — the list goes on.

Two firms, Ventureneer and Caliber, joined forces several years ago to develop a survey of non profits’ social media usage. Their final document titled, “Nonprofits and Social Media: It Ain’t Optional,” related the results of the survey.

Let me just share a few of the “ten highly

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successful media habits for nonprofits” that comprised the introduction to their survey findings:*

1. Excel at social media by dedicating the time to it. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it: to do social media well, non profits have to allocate at least 25 staff hours per week.

2. Use social media for more purposes. The more time a non profit puts into social media, the more it gets out of social media. …those who are power users are using it to: boost a non profit’s visibility, drive traffic to websites, and build community.

3. Start slowly, build a foundation, and then add more media

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(and time) to the mix. The longer non profits use social media, the more kinds of media they use.

Here’s the bottom line for non profits engaged in (or wanting to use) social media: Develop a strategic plan so that you’ll know why you’re using social media, how you’re using social media, and how to keep the messages and the site fresh. Then, and only then, will you be able to use metrics to gauge your success and your organization’s visibility in the social media arena.



Writing the News Release: Inverted Pyramid

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The Inverted Pyramid Drives News Release Structure

By Tiffany Engleman

There is a framework used when writing news releases that can aid a public relation’s professional in the creation of a successful news release. This framework is known in the public relation’s field as the inverted pyramid. The inverted pyramid illustrates just exactly what editors and/or reporters are looking for when reading a news release. 1. Interesting information should be presented within the first three-four lines of a news release. Otherwise, an editor or reporter may not use the news release. 2. The main details of the story should appear at the beginning of the news release. Editors tend to cut stories from the bottom. With

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this idea in mind, potentially most of the original information might be removed from the news release. If the important details of the story appear in the beginning of the news release, there is a greater chance of the major points remaining intact after it has undergone editing. 3. Readers do not always read the entire story. The majority of the time, readers focus on the headlines or the first few lines of a story. It is important to include the significant information as close to the beginning of the news release as possible to enhance the likeliness for exposure of the message. The inverted pyramid is a critical component in the

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construction of a news release. By utilizing these techniques, a public relations professional can create successful news stories and gain the most exposure possible for their clients. Works Cited: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.

News Release: Where to Start

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Four Major Questions When Constructing a News Release

By Tiffany Engleman

When preparing a news release, there are four questions that should be answered beforehand. These four questions will help focus the news release and additionally gain the necessary attention from the target audience to increase awareness.

  1. What is the key message? The key message is essential in the creation of a news release. The key message is typically expressed in one sentence and will express the main idea of the news release.
  2. Who is the primary audience? The answer to this question will determine what channel is used when publishing a news release. Is the primary audience a consumer interested in purchasing products or services? Or purchasing agents in other companies? Answering these questions will inform a public relations professional of whether or not to publish in a community newspaper or a trade magazine.
  3. What does the target audience gain from the product or service? Are there any potential rewards or benefits?
  4. What objective does the release serve? Is the news release centrally focused on increasing product sales? Or possibly enhancing the organization’s reputation? How about increase attendance to an event? The answers to these questions will ultimately alter how a news release is crafted.

Once a Public Relation’s professional has these key questions answered, he/she can begin to start writing an effective news story that will include all the elements necessary to attract the target audience and retain the attention gained from the news release.

Works Cited:  Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.



Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Ground-Breaking Red Bull Content Marketing Creates Brand Personality

By Andrea Donaldson

In 1997, Red Bull introduced the United States to the modern energy drink. The company has since established a ground-breaking content marketing strategy to create a brand personality targeting young adult audiences.

O’Brien, McCoy, Rhodes, Wagoner, and Wolfson released a study for the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, titled Caffeinated Cocktails: Energy Drink Consumption, High-Risk Drinking, and Alcohol-related Consequences among College Students, in March 2008.

The article examined how Red Bull utilizes “student brand managers” and “mobile energy teams” in order to target college students. These teams gather information about specific college cultures in the area as well as distribute free samples to college-aged individuals. The teams also specifically target young adults at events based around extreme sports, in an effort to convey a message of invincibility. These integrated marketing strategies have enabled Red Bull’s brand awareness to skyrocket as though it had wings itself.

Energy drink competitor, Monster, has been tackling the drink market with an entirely different strategy. The company has been engaged in brand extensions since their launch in 2002. According to their website, Monster now boasts up to thirty unique flavor extensions.

The popularity of these options has pressured Red Bull to establish brand extensions of their own. In March of 2013, Red Bull launched three new extensions in the United States. The extensions are labeled the red, blue, and silver editions. Each edition has a unique flavor associated with the beverage. However, the flavors curiously relate to those of traditional bar mixers.

Red Bull’s new red edition is the same Red Bull with essentially the same ingredients. The only difference is the addition of cranberry flavoring. Cranberry juice is a critical mixer to any bartender, due to the popularity of vodka and cranberry drinks.

Red Bull has also released a silver edition. This edition features a lime taste so strong, that puckering is inevitable. Considering lime juice has also been a common staple in bar mixers, it is featured in popular drinks like mojitos, margaritas, and gimlets; the release of these new editions create endless opportunities for new mixed-drink creations.

Although, the mixture of Red Bull and alcohol has been heavily criticized by the media, internet webpages feature over 65 different cocktail recipes for the popular drink. The use of Red Bull as a mixer for alcohol has been growing in popularity for the last several years. In the same article previously cited, Caffeinated Cocktails: Energy Drink Consumption, High-Risk Drinking, and Alcohol-related Consequences among College students, researchers published statistics suggesting that a quarter of all college students in America engage in mixing alcohol with energy drinks.

Mixed Messages: Alcohol and Energy Drinks, published by the organization Alcohol Concern, in June 2011, cites Red Bull’s own website noting they encourage young adults to mix alcohol and Red Bull. The website says, “Having maximum fun at a long lasting club session or a house party requires robust physical endurance. That’s why a whole generation swears by the boost of Red Bull to fly through the night.”

It is clear Red Bull has utilized their marketing strategies to encourage energy drinks and alcohol consumption. Red Bull’s new brand extensions further suggest that the company is willing to risk the ethical implications associated with marketing their product with alcohol. As concerns are raised about the potential health hazards of these products on young adults, it will be interesting to track how Red Bull addresses that media predicament.

Facebook for Public Relations

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Public Relations: Three Key Elements to Use for Facebook

By Tiffany Engleman

Facebook can be a tricky forum, especially when trying to find a niche for public relations within this social media platform. When creating a public relations profile on Facebook, there are three key elements that should always be included: audience analysis, media relations, and connecting with your target audience.

Audience analysis

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is essential during the initial creation of a Facebook profile to ensure that your page will contain the appropriate information. Questions to be considered when activating a Facebook account for public relations purposes include: Who is your target audience? Is your audience active in any groups? How does your audience use Facebook? By answering these three questions, one can then tailor a Facebook page to appeal to the proper target audience for a company or brand.

Facebook provides an innovative communication channel between media and public relations staffs. A virtual atmosphere tends to forge

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positive relationships between public relations and the media. Creating a Facebook page will open up lines of communication between bloggers and key journalists. By focusing on what bloggers and journalists are reporting online, you can learn what they are interested in and how to counteract any attempts at bad press for clients you may be working with on your public relations Facebook profile.

Connecting with the target audience is the final element that a Facebook page can provide for a public relations team. Facebook can create an intimate connection with a client and its consumer base, as well as stimulate communication between these parties. Facebook also offers a “share” option and this is advantageous for a public relations Facebook profile. The positive stories that are posted on the public relations profile page can be “shared” by viewers and then “shared” with all of that individual’s friends, which will increase positive exposure for a client.

When used in a correct fashion, Facebook can be an advantageous communication channel for public relations purposes. After performing an audience analysis, fostering positive media relations, and connecting with the target audience, Facebook can become a reliable source of information between consumers, the media, and public relations professionals.