Lazy or Resourceful? It’s A Fine Line Online

I’ve subscribed to the Medill School of Journalism alumni list-serv for about six years. It’s been a terrific resource as we grads seek sources for stories, hunt for full-time and freelance work opportunities, debate various journalism/marketing/PR issues and on and on… For any given alum, myself included, most of the posts are of minimal interest: […]

Happy Birthday To Me!

It’s my 40th birthday. More than any other birthday, I’ve viewed this one with a strange mania, for at least a year now. A variation on the mid-life crisis, though without the big boat, sports car and “what happens-here-stays here” trip to Vegas. It’s all really silly, of course, and is a product largely of […]

Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Stories

My wife Bridgett’s aunt, Carol, had a book launch party last night. Carol is a splendid writing coach, based in Chicago but accessible online, and couldn’t have crafted a better plot if she’d tried. By any measure, the event at Women & Children First bookstore, on Chicago’s North side, was a huge success. Nearly 100 […]

Citizens Bank Saga: Giving (Partial) Credit Where It’s Due

Doing the right thing when nobody’s looking is so much better than being shamed into doing it when the world is watching. That’s the lesson I take away from the Citizens Bank saga that I first chronicled on this blog a month ago. In my follow-up Citizens Bank post, I detail how Geoff Williams wrote […]

If You Read Only One 7,300-Word Story…

If you read only one 7,300-word story this month, make it this one: a superbly crafted piece that Gene Weingarten (pictured) wrote for the Washington Post in April 2007. The story’s centerpiece was a 43-minute solo performance by Joshua Bell, the world’s preeminent violinist who gamely agreed to play in a most unorthodox setting. In […]

Developing Strong Story Ideas at Heart of Good PR

Working as a journalist for about 20 years, I learned that the best way to avoid getting assigned a lame story idea was to have a long list of cool stories I was already developing. “Hey, Mike, I really wish I could take on that macrame conference story assignment,” I might say, “but I’m already […]

Honk For Peace? A Plea For Traffic Serenity

A regular staple of transportation media coverage is the Most Dangerous Intersection story. The subject is ripe for the reporter’s picking, with official statistics providing a tally on the number of collisions, injuries and fatalities at a given spot. But today I offer another, more subjective category: Least Peaceful Intersection. In my neighborhood, a top […]

Online Video: A Vital Channel to Bolster Your PR Pitch

Four reasons why publicists should shoot their own videos: 1. It provides another avenue for communicating directly with your target audience. Uploading a clip onto a site like YouTube creates a permanent home for you to convey your message, long after the story pitch’s original timeframe. 2. It is a helpful tool in making your […]

PR Tip: Be Way of Any Hyphenated Stat

Fastest-growing” this, “Biggest-dropping” that Always be wary Of any hyphenated stat Of all the numeracy tips that I’ve shared with reporters and publicists, in training sessions and columns, this one about “fastest-growing” claims is certainly in the Top 5. In the PR world, abusing and misusing the phrase leaves the user open to attack as […]