Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Public Relations for Law Firms

My article, "Public Relations for Law Firms," was published in the May/June 2005 issue of The Declaration, the monthly magazine of the Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators. Courtesy of the editor, you can download a PDF of this article from my website by clicking the title of this posting, or by clicking here.

Surprise! The mainstream media send mixed messages...

A couple of items in the mainstream media caught my eye this week and deserved to be blogged.

The first deals with the odd juxtaposition of stories on the CBS Evening News Sunday night. The first story was a typical “tsk-tsk, shame on the media” report based on an Associated Press news item by Erin Texeira (TV people always want you to think they come up with this stuff by doing original reporting…CBS did not give on-air credit to the AP for the story) about how news coverage of missing people disproportionately focuses on young, white women, when the vast majority of people who go missing (“go missing” has entered the American lexicon from the UK; we used to say people who “disappeared.”) The report featured the frustration of an African-American woman in upstate New York who was unable to garner any media attention for the disappearance of her 42-year old sister.

The lesson from this report clearly has been lost on CBS News.

Don’t believe me? Flash forward to the next report on the very same newscast.

Barry Peterson, a veteran foreign correspondent, weighed in with a “Reporter’s Notebook” feature on how the survivors of last year’s tsunami are faring six months after the disaster. The report showed indigenous religious ceremonies in ornate Buddhist temples. It showed the efforts of living local residents to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. Then the report turned the camera’s eye on a memorial wall to those who died in the tragedy. Every photograph highlighted in this report showed a white, American face.

Are we in that much denial about the ethnicity of the vast majority of the tsunami’s victims? Most of those who died were nonwhite, poor residents of countries most Americans can’t even point out on a map, not white, blonde, and American.

Do we focus on the "runaway bride" and the "missing in Aruba" blonde teenager because they are more photogenically palatable to a white audience? The statistics in the original Texeira AP story suggest that there are more black men missing than blonde white girls. Here's a quote from that dispatch:

"To be blunt, blond white chicks who go missing get covered and poor, black, Hispanic or other people of color who go missing do not get covered," said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Washington-based Project for Excellence in Journalism. "You're more likely to get coverage if you're attractive than if you're not."

When was the last time the network news media turned out to an inner city neighborhood with satellite trucks to broadcast live because a black man hadn't come home to his family?

Second item: This one is sort of funny, it's about locking the front door but forgetting about locking the one in back.

Comcast Cable is running a series of house advertisements urging subscribers to take advantage of the “parental controls” feature of its digital cable system to keep the kids from watching objectionable content. (I don’t bother with these controls, since my kids learned most of their shock vocabulary from the restroom walls at the elementary school, and there are no parental controls available there!)

Anyway, the commercial shows the kids sitting at home, trying unsuccessfully to access naughty cable content while Mom is out of the house, tooling around the other side of town in her SUV. And Mom can drive around in her gas-guzzler with total peace of mind, because she knows how to use the Comcast parental controls.

As evidence, the kids fail to dial up a porn show and express G-rated exasperation that Mom has outsmarted them.

But wait a minute! Aren’t those liquor bottles sitting on the open-sided wall unit behind the couch where the kids are sitting?

Good think Mom blocked them from watching The Sopranos, but let’s hope the kids don’t turn around in sheer boredom and look for some other mischief to get into…

Sunday, June 26, 2005

LOBP #6: A Podcast from the PRSA Silver Anvil Awards

Lubetkin's Other Blog Podcast #6: Live soundscape report from the Public Relations Society of America's Silver Anvil Awards Evening, held in New York City June 9, 2005. Interviews with participants and sounds of the awards ceremony, introduced by Steve Lubetkin.

A complete list of Silver Anvil Award winners is available on the PRSA website.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Coincidence or Premonition?

John Grogan's column in the June 7 Philadelphia Inquirer, "Honked off by bumper sticker," describes his encounter in a massive traffic jam recently with a white SUV that cut him off. The gas guzzler was sporting a bumper sticker that said "I want to kill you." John rightly described the adult driver of the SUV as being sociopathic to think such a bumper sticker is funny.

In the print edition of the paper, the column appears on page B2 in the South Jersey section. Directly opposite on page B3, is the story "Hit-and-run SUV kills woman, 83." In that story, the search continues for a white SUV that ran over a woman and kept going.

Connection, you think?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

CBC to Develop a National Podcasting Show (I Love Radio .org)

Podcasting is gaining ground in the radiosphere, that is, the in the
"legitimate" sphere of radio broadcasting.

CBC Radio, Canada's public broadcaster, is developing a weekly on-air
program about the blogosphere and podcast community, using the voices of
audio bloggers and podcasters, reports Tod Maffin on his I Love Radio blog.

CBC has commissioned Tod (http://www.todmaffin.com) to host and produce the
show and a pilot is currently in production (not all pilots make it to air).
Maffin is an active podcaster and blogger, and maintains CanadaPodcasts.ca.
He has been a national producer and host for CBC Radio for several years. He
is also the network’s technology columnist.

I've just completed a CompuSchmooze podcast interview via Skype with Tod
about his excellent e-book, "From Idea to Air: Podcaster's Edition, A
Podcaster's Guide to Making Radio," which gives practical, step-by-step
instructions on how to script audio features for radio and for podcasting.
The book spends a worthwhile amount of time on podcasting equipment and
software for recording, and how to edit a show. You can get the book for $15
for a limited time at http://todmaffin.com/ideatoair/podcast_edition.htm

The podcast interview with Tod Maffin will be posted to our CompuSchmooze
podcast/blog in the next few days.

According to Tod's blog entry, over the next week, he will be travelling to
major Canadian cities to host a series of podcaster meetups in Vancouver,
Toronto, and Ottawa (with a special invitation to Montreal podcasters) to
field questions about the show pilot and explain how podcasters can get

Should the pilot get approved, the program will likely be called The Feed
and its web site is at http://thefeed.org

Tod's blog reports that the CBC podcast show will air "the very best moments
from the best podcasts from around Canada and the world," and adds that
"Podcasters selected for the show will be paid a license fee to air their
material." Steve calling Tod: "Hello, I'm ready to license!"

The Feed will also be available for acquisition by other public radio
networks via the prx.org licensing site, Tod said. He added that he expects
CBC to announce what he called "a series of major podcasting initiatives
over the next few days."

More info at Tod's I Love Radio blog: