My Archives: June 2003

Friday, June 27, 2003

I have a number of July assignments coming up. Here's an extremely broad description of some of the topics I have so far (if any PR people are looking):
* employee procrastination habits
* non-monetary raises & bonuses (how employers can use them)
* managing creative employees
* silence in the workplace
* trends in training at quick-service restaurants
Please drop me an email to learn more. Thanks!

Posted by Chris @ 01:57 PM EST [Link]

Friday, June 13, 2003

For centuries, historians have wondered what was wrong with Rembrandt's left ear lobe, which looked increasingly swollen and mis-shapen in portraits taken throughout his later years. Now a British doctor says the famous 17th Century Dutch painter was the victim of a botched ear piercing session that was either self-performed or performed by one of his assistants. I guess Rembrandt not only suffered for his art, he suffered for his fashion, too. In other news, it appears that the President needed a few lessons before he attempted to navigate a Segway. And while I'm on the topic of politicians who have taken a fall lately, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott says he's thinking about writing his own tell-all book about life on Capitol Hill. "I'm going to tell all," he told reporters the other day. "Whoo-ee, there are going to be a lot of nervous people around here."

Posted by Chris @ 09:02 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

The United States has the Superbowl. South America and Europe love the World Cup. And the homeland of my ancestors, Finland, has the Air Guitar World Championships. You may have thought of this isolated, lake-laden burg of blonde-haired people in Northern Europe as merely the home of the sauna ("Sow-na"), cell phones and a very strange language, but noooo -- they have much more going on in those woods. As proof, the 8th annual Air Guitar Championships will be held August 27-29 in Oulu. The national air guitar champions from Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Austria, The Netherlands and The United States will "play" rock songs they choose themselves as well as a song chosen by the event organizers. The grand prize is a real electric guitar.
But wait, it gets better: In the "true spirit of sportsmanship," air guitarists and their groupies can participate in a "high altitude training camp" before the event where they get a training session with former world champions on how to maintain their instruments. (Huh?) As stated by the AGWC: "The purpose of Air Guitar World Championships is to promote world peace. According to the ideology of air guitar playing all war would cease to exist and all bad things would disappear if everyone only played air guitar. That is why all people in the world are invited to play air guitar simultaneously at the end of every competition." The event will be webcasted live on the Internet. If air guitar competitions don't interest you, check out Finland's annual wife-carrying competition in early July.
Kiitos, Finland. You know how to have a good time.

Posted by Chris @ 04:36 PM EST [Link]

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

We live in an age of synergy and endless cross-promotion. And with new FCC ownership rules taking effect, you can expect to see only more synergy. In the media, this means more newspaper and magazine reporters being interviewed on television and vice versa -- in other words, journalists interviewing journalists, ad nauseum, 24/7/365. But as this PR Week article adeptly points out, journalists are among the worst at being interviewed. We can ask good questions and note great sound bites when we hear them, but ask us to provide our own soundbites and we're about as effective as using a fork to eat your soup. A bit of media training is in order to turn journalists into interesting interview subjects, but print reporters are resistant to media makeovers given by PR people. So keep an eye out for my fellow print journalists on your TV screens. We won't be hard to find. We'll be the ones with the deer-in-the-headlights stare, the bad haircuts and the bland soundbites. Keep that mute button ready.

Posted by Chris @ 04:30 PM EST [Link]

Monday, June 9, 2003

South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond isn't dead yet, but if do a Google search, you might think he is. Evidently, both CNN and a South Carolina newspaper have a flood of coverage stored behind the floodgates to mark Thurmond's passing when it happens. This type of background preparation is common at a daily news operation, but what these media outlets didn't count on was Google pulling it off their sites and archiving it online for the world to see. The hypertext links don't work yet, but at least Strom can get an idea of the coverage his death will generate before he packs it all in. But who wants to read their own obituary over morning coffee and bran flakes?
I've also come across an interesting report from The Pew Research Center, which studies the impact of the media on the public. The Pew Global Attitudes Project surveyed 16,000 people in 20 countries and the Palestinian Authority in May, and came to a few startling conclusions. Among them, more than half the people in Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait and Moracco expect the United States to launch an invasion against them. In case you just glossed over it, more than half the citizens of Russia (71% to be exact) think the United States could invade their country. And when asked which world leaders can be expected to "do the right thing" when it comes to international affairs, Bin Laden ranked in the top three among five of the countries listed above. The U.S. appears in the top three twice. Anyway, it's a fascinating study. Find it here. Okay, back to work...

Posted by Chris @ 02:54 PM EST [Link]

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Well, I've been glued all day to CNBC's coverage of Martha Stewart's indictment today on 9 counts of insider trading, obstruction of justice and stock fraud. Read the 41-page indicted here.

Stewart and her stock broker, Peter Bacanovic, both pleaded not guilty to all charges and it appears they'll be taking their respective cases to court for a jury to decide. If convicted, Stewart will have damaged a $1 billion branding empire and possibly do jail time, all to save allegedly a mere (for her) $45,673 in lost value on her Imclone stock. Now that's a real stop loss. Besides, can her brand recover without her? I saw the Martha, Inc. movie starring Cybill Shepherd, by the way. Consensus: Very weak and sometimes incoherent script, but Shepherd pulled off Martha well with snappy signature lines such as, "Is anybody listening, or did I not ask for MERLOT!?" The movie is destined to be a cable classic. Well, maybe not. Whatever happened to "Moonlighting," anyway? But I digress.
Tony Blair is taking a real beating in Britain over the lack of WMD in Iraq. It will be fascinating to see to what extent the stories coming out of London gain traction in the U.S. media. The next week should be intriguing, particularly now that the FCC has loosened the media ownership rules and Congress is taking up the issue of media reregulation.

Posted by Chris @ 04:51 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, June 1, 2003

Posted by Chris @ 09:59 AM EST [Link]

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