Wednesday, November 18, 2015

News jacking is out. News Hacking is in.

Posted by Greg Matusky
A couple of months ago, my colleague Mike Lizun announced the end of one of the most overused concepts in all of PR, news jacking. For the outsider, news jacking is nothing more than a PR person who does their job, follows the news, and then injects a client into trending stories by working their contacts and knowledge of beat reporting. Mike believes it also belittles public relations, our professionals and processes by suggesting that all you need to do is ride the coattails of a breaking news story.

Mike believes the industry has moved well beyond that to a more skilled take on the complexities of media and our work within it. He terms these advances news hacking, or the reverse engineering of news cycles to uncover optimal opportunities to position clients while simultaneously eliminating reputational risk.

We loved the concept so much that we named our newest blog after it. takes the concept of reverse engineering news cycles to a whole “nother” level. It looks behind the simple PR platitudes to apply a more scientific and granular point on PR. It also sets forth a manifesto of sorts, which identifies the key steps to news hacking…such as:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Melissa Click just doesn’t get it and should be fired now!

Posted by Greg Matusky
As of this morning, the much-maligned assistant professor of mass media from the University of Missouri Melissa Click still has a job. She shouldn’t. She should have been fired, and made an example of for failing to understand the most treasured and principled ethic of journalism: Access breeds truth, and the world is best-served by open ideas and a free media. Instead, this fine woman, who has dedicated her life to studying Lady Gaga and 50 Shades of Grey rather than real reporting, defaulted to the very steady state used by fascists since time immemorial, she called for some “muscle,” and sought to blot out the truth.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

You’re missing the best journalism in the world if you are not reading FiveThirtyEight

Posted by Greg Matusky
Want a contrarian view of the world? One built on data instead of dogma? Analytics over opinion? Then you have to regularly read FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver’s online ESPN property that covers a huge litany of contemporary topics and issues. The former New York Times property made an early name for itself as a political analyst site.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Kardashianization of Lamar Odom: A disgrace

Posted by Greg Matusky
If you want to know everything that’s wrong with American pop culture and the media, read this ESPN article. It’s about Lamar Odom, and gives the details about his personal struggles and fall from grace. It cuts a sympathetic view of Odom, and plays his character as a victim to life’s losses and indignation, such as losing two friends, bouncing around the league late in his career, and separating from Khloe.
The media portrays Lamar Odom as a victim, when they should condemn his actions.
That’s enough to destroy anyone, and especially someone who has earned maybe $50 million really doing nothing more than being born with a frame that grew to 6-foot-10. The article contends that Odom is the world’s sweetest guy, forced to find solace in a drug-infused, four-day sex binger at some perfectly legal brothel, spending more in 72 hours than the average American family earns in a year. The girls at the ranch can’t say enough good things about him. Former teammate Luke Walton is quoted as saying, “I love this man, he's as good as it gets.”

No Luke, he’s not as good as it gets, and no amount of Kardashianization can change that fact. As good as it gets are the millions of working Americans who struggle to pay the bills, raise their kids, contend with inevitable losses, and do it with an element of grace and profundity Lamar Odom knew nothing about as he lay there indulging his excesses. As good as it gets are American heroes who work to protect and serve the public, defend our country, and face many more challenges than Lamar Odom’s humiliation over some tabloid headline.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How ‘The Donald’ has changed political communications forever, and what other, more rational candidates can learn from him

Posted by Greg Matusky
If I watch another canned, hamstrung debate of practiced talking points and blathering talking heads, I am quitting this country. No Hillary. People don’t talk like that. They don’t act like some Shakespearean actor delivering a line for the ages. And Ted Cruz, you talk like a bad pharmaceutical commercial, all practiced and FDA-compliant.

Whether you love or hate Donald Trump, the truth of the matter is he brings with him a new measure of authenticity to an audience sick and jaundice of politically correct, guarded doublespeak that doesn’t really say anything but then again, doesn’t risk anything.

I seriously doubt (and personally hope) Donald Trump is not our next president. But for better or worse, he is changing the nature of political communication in our country. The irony is that as Trump surges, other candidates refuse to learn from him. Instead, they prefer to hide behind teleprompters and surrogates. They refuse to change out of arrogance and ineptitude. Here’s what America’s political class could learn from The Donald:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wideos and next gen storytelling

Posted by Greg Matusky
Word-driven videos promise to transform public relations with the same effectiveness of the 140-character Tweet. You might not know what wideos are, but you have certainly seen them, and probably sat through dozens on social feeds.

Wideos are short, fact-driven videos that use oversized captions to move a story forward with little regard for audio. In fact, in the world of wideos, audio plays a limited role, usually stock music. Instead, wideos relay meaning by playfully presenting anywhere from three to 25 words superimposed over video scenes, animation, and even still images.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Un-Pope-ular: Philadelphia’s PR disaster tarnishes its second-class self-image

Posted by Greg Matusky
Some 1.5 million people were expected to converge on Philadelphia last month when Pope Francis made a visit to our fair city. According to some crowd security experts, the real turnout could have been as low as 140,000. The City, which had hoped to gain a bounce in image and reputation from the visit, was left to explain away the miss and soothe the anger of restaurant and hotel operators who lost big bucks because of the no shows.
Philly blew a national PR opportunity by promoting the Pope’s visit as a crisis instead of a once-in-a-lifetime event

What happened? Classic PR missteps all around, such as:
  1. Negative narrative always leads to nightmares. Instead of presenting the Pope’s visit as a once-in-a-lifetime event, the City and its PR team painted it as a natural disaster on par with a major hurricane. Major fail. They should have led with the positives instead of the negatives such as traffic, potential terrorism, and overall inconvenience.
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