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    Online observations of public relations, marketing, advertising and social media; the occasional frivolity; and The Rundown show notes. Jump in, the water's fine.

    Please Note: Everything posted on this blog is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of my employer or its constituents.

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Forward podcast picks up a co-producer, Peter Shankman guinea pig

canwedothat.jpgforward_podcast144.jpgI’m very excited to announce that I’m co-producing the Forward podcast with Paull Young over at the Forward blog. Forward is an online resource for young PR Pros and students. I interviewed Peter Shankman, CEO of The Geek Factory, for Forward Podcast 28 this week. Peter may be surprised to find out (or not surprised at all) that he was my guinea pig interview.

Peter is an unique PR professional with scads of experience, skill and understanding for such a nice young man. He authored the recent book Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts and Why Your Company Needs Them, which is an entertaining, informative business book for anyone, but especially PR pros.

Give it a listen to and let me know your thoughts on my interview style, podcasting skills or anything we talked about. And check out Peter’s book, I highly recommend it. Forward Podcast 28.

Forward Meet-up

Well, after faking a geek dinner with some of my PR heroes, I finally had the opportunity to really meet some of my PR folk face-to-face this past weekend. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. WAY more.

In what turned out to be the best Forward meet-up in Ohio this year, Erin Caldwell, managing editor; Paull Young, director of the Forward Podcast; and I, principal contributor, got together to discuss the state and future of young PR professionals; share some great dinners; and enjoy each other’s company. Forward, of course, is the on-line springboard for up and coming young PR professionals. Paull stopped by on his way back from Canada and Erin made the journey direct from DC. My ever-patient wife and I hosted the Forward meet up.

We spent some time wandering aimlessly through the rolling eastern Ohio landscape surrounded by horses, buggies, and our own voiced ruminations.

It was a great moment of social media flexing the social aspect of its name. Real people with real relationships from places in the world real far away meeting face-to-face to discuss the things that brought them together in the first place. No one knows this better in this space than Paull.

If you’ve not had your first meet-up with on-line faces, it’s all true what they say. You feel right at home. Of course, I was at home, but you know what I mean.

After a fresh change of batteries, the three of us recorded hours and hours of audio of our groundbreaking, intellectual discussion that was only interrupted by the sound of my wife pointing out that we’d been talking into the TV remote for three days. As it was too late to record any more, I dropped them off at the airport.

Thanks for the visit, Forward team, next time we’ll try to choose our recorders more carefully. Enjoyed every second. Peace.

Are you proud of PR?

Here ye, here ye. If you’re proud of PR, we want you to shout about it!

Well, maybe shouting is a bit harsh, but my good friend Paull Young wants to hear why you’re proud of PR. And I mean “hear” you. Paull’s seeking audio comments for an October release of the Forward Podcast. Read his post here for more information. Deadline is October 5th.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned pro, new hire, recent graduate, or freshman in college. There’s got to be a reason why you choose PR as your career. Even if it was a terrible mistake and you’re miserable, send Paull a comment so we can save other almost-PR-pros. Seriously, be proud of our field, stand up and tell someone. So fire up your Waxmail, your Audacity, your lame Windows Sound Recorder, your GarageBand, your Skype, or audio recorder of choice and send him an mp3 today!

Forward Frivolity

It’s a little twist on the ever-popular Friday Frivolity we’ve all come to know and love. Well, know, anyway. I’d like to take this time to plug my Forward family and some of the excellent work that they do.

Forward is an online springboard for young and up and coming PR pros. Although, I think it’s great for pros of all ages. Humbly, I admit that I am a contributor, but my thoughts pale in comparison to some of the excellent seasoned pros and educators who donate time and energy to the site. I do what I do amongst them, as a jester to a court, as Laverne to Shirley, as “that oddly hairy 40-something former-frat boy who never grew up” at his annual company party.

A few things happened recently that I want to drive attention to. First of all the Forward Podcast is really growing into its own. With Master Paull Young in control, the podcast has really gotten interesting and matured. Something young Paull has altogether failed to do (even though he’ll be the ripe old age of 23 this Monday – a pup, I tell you).

I thoroughly enjoyed the last podcast, Forward Podcast #9 with Matthew Stibb from the Bad Language Blog. A new favorite of mine, I’m subscribed. Matthew’s no-nonsense attitude and dry humor make the podcast worth a listen. His writing vocation and open frustration with PR people makes his blog worth the read. Good lessons for PR folk, there. Besides, in that podcast he used such great words that I think have really fallen by the wayside in the English language; words like “dismal,” “lexicon,” and “turgid.” Real ear candy.

I’m also excited about Forward Podcast #10 which should be out soon. The interviewee on that podcast will be Ohio’s own Kevin Dugan of Strategic Public Relations and the Bad Pitch Blog. Both excellent reads. He was also recently featured in a suprisingly not-overly-sensationalistic article on blogs in PRSA’s The PR Strategist magazine. I’m looking forward to that immensely as well.

In other news, Aussie blogger Paull Young (didn’t I just mention him above?), after months of lonely blogging in Australia is headed on a World Blog Tour. To honor his courage and daring bravado, I have taken it upon myself to ridicule his dream in public on the Forward site. I think you should check it out, it could be some of my finest heckling. Hey, what are friends for?

So check out Forward, smarter people than I write some great stuff on it. But when you’re ready for some less mature reading, come back to me. I’ll be here, keeping the whoopie cushion warm.

Newspapers – nothing new here

This post originally appeared on the Forward blog

Newspapers. We’ve been hearing about their demise for years now. But, seriously, is that ever going to happen? Let’s see, the only medium I can think of that really went offline was the telegraph. And that was a rare case.

As Shel Holtz is fond of saying: “new media don’t kill old media, they just force them to adapt” and I believe it. Radio changed the world, and forced newspapers to change. Television changed the world again, but radio and newspapers adapted. Now we have the Web, which is forcing everything to evolve again. The demise of newspapers? I don’t think so.

Readership may be declining, but enrollment in journalism schools is on the rise. This article from Seelye in The New York Times is outstanding. Witness:

“Students are also driven by the very changes that are upending the old media. For one thing, many do not read the print version of newspapers. As Dustin Hodges, 22, who is graduating from Missouri in August, put it, ‘I don’t pick up a newspaper unless it’s in front of me and it’s free.’ For the latest news, he hops online, where he spends three or four hours a day anyway.

Today’s students have grown up immersed in the Internet and with the ability to adapt rapidly to new technologies, giving them a comfort level with things that newspapers are just discovering, like blogs, podcasts and video clips.”

You bet they are. And they’ll be blowing in on the winds of change when they come. The Boston area is working on a new program. And Philadelphia is working on something as well, figuring out how to tap into the online readership revenue. If this article from the USAToday is right, Philadelphia might be on to something. I think they are.

And it’s when old media don’t adapt that they run into problems. When certain news organizations figure out that when they are reporting is no longer news they will be fine. News is called news ‘cause it’s new. Today’s newspapers are reporting yesterday’s news. That’s not news, it’s…a story, a fact, a bit of trivia, human interest, local information, or in-depth coverage; but not news.

Of course, I’m reminded that there is a growing divide in our culture. We have folks without Internet access being left behind in the digital divide. We have people who choose to use the Internet for e-mail – and that’s it. We have people who could have Internet access and choose not to.

So as PR professionals we have the added challenge that the newspaper industry is facing: how do we get our messages to our target audiences? Newspapers are using the Web to do this in conjunction with hard copy. PR people are using media relations to secure hits in trade magazines, word-of-mouth campaigns, conversational blogs, and advertorials. When you need to reach a target audience, you need to use the channel in which they are accustomed to getting messages. For teens it could be MySpace or TXT. For college grads, blogs, podcasts, and the web.

And I’ll stop there because in my mind it’s not about age. I know grandmothers using Flickr and I know teens who are unable to recognize anything Web 2.0. It has nothing to do with which generation; it just happens to fall that way many times. PR has to adapt and evolve as well. Many Forward readers are aware of this, but there are many, many more PR pros out there that choose to ignore the reality of the changing landscape. If only just to offer clients a new channel to reach target audiences, it’s important. At the lowest level, monitoring the ‘net for mention of your clients’ brands is a must. But some remain blissfully ignorant.

So how do you keep abreast? Pardon the pun, but you have to stay relevant and current. And if that doesn’t work, you could always do this to get some press.

Voices in my head

At first, they appeared to be in my head, but then I remembered that I was on a conference call