Category Archives: Media Relations

Redact This! A Recovering Journalist’s Look at the (REDACTED) Administration of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

In my years as a journalist, I filed hundreds of requests to taxing bodies through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. Over time, it became clear that some entities wielded FOIA as a mechanism for suppressing information—they would drag their heels before coming up with a highly questionable basis for limiting information they provided or […]

7 Ways That Thought-Leader Pieces With Odd-Numbered Tips Really Have Gotten Out of Hand

If you’re like me, then you are less likely to read something that touts 33 Ways to Tell When Someone Is Going to Ramble on Forever than to sneak a peek at 3 Really Beautiful People You Should Meet. Let’s face it: most of us like three-word phrases that precede a colon. Oh, and really […]

Auto-Reply Creativity: A Fun Way to Stand Out & Hop the Ho-Hum Fence

We fence ourselves in sometimes. Color inside the lines. Steer clear of stretching beyond the norm. But in an increasingly automated world, where so much is standardized and sanitized, it’s such a refreshing thing to see creativity jutting out of the most unexpected places. Here’s one way to hop the ho-hum fence that we, often […]

Ease the Media’s Load: Tip, Don’t Tease

If you were an underpaid and overworked reporter (yeah, that’s redundant), which of these pitches do you suppose would move you to action? Pitch A: Joe, Wondering if you would you be interested in looking into a story suggestion involving the village of Anywheresville and its (mis)handling of a garage construction approval process for a new […]

Voicemails Aren’t Dead—As Long As You Liven Them Up

The other day, Brad Farris of Anchor Advisors made a strenuous argument against leaving voicemails. Brad’s very smart, exceedingly accomplished in business, and someone I hold in high regard. But take his advice at your own peril, particularly if you are in the media relations/public relations game. The key is not to avoid the specter […]

Rising Above Cliches, Jargon & Other Assaults on Our Story-telling Senses

“In an amazing, unique development that will leverage cutting-edge technology with grassroots principles, the Acme Redevelopment Group, Inc. is utilizing a new game-changer in the burgeoning lint removal industry.” If you had not detected the patent ridiculousness of that opening line already, the last few words should have been a tip-off: lint removal industry? Although […]

How to Pass the ‘Caller ID’ Gauntlet: 3 Keys to Boosting Your Phone-Calling Reputation

For the longest time, back in the days when I actually had a home phone line, I resisted getting caller ID. Instead, I took a certain pride in maintaining this “purist” approach to picking up the ringing phone without any indication of who was calling. I was old school, by golly, and my stance meant […]

Desperation, The Mother of Determined Creativity, Can Spark PR Success

Last week, my kids were intrigued by a question from a neighbor: “Are you interested in making a little money?” The intrigue turned to excitement when they found out the task related to the compensation: the family was going on vacation for 10 days and, in their absence, they were hoping the Baron children could […]

How Photography Gives You a PR Boost, Part 2

In the first of this two-part series, we explored the media’s rising dependence on other sources to provide photographs for the stories they tell–and the potential for publicists to fill the void that is created by that shift. Here we explore two of the more common reasons why publicists and marketers fumble the opportunity that […]

How Photography Gives You a PR Boost, Part 1

In journalism, “sure shot” is a term that I first encountered as a young newspaper reporter. It’s the practice of taking a simple photo, or set of photos, while on the scene of a story. Whether it is a building fire or a feature profile of a baseball card shop owner, the idea is for […]