Author Archives: Barb Jones

Denver Startup Week: Life Lessons from Serial Entrepreneurs

Cuban Laughing at Denver Startup Week Session: Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention - A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad FeldI had the opportunity to attend one of the more than 350 sessions that were part of the 2017 Denver Startup Week. Now in its sixth year, Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America, and is one of the best resources in the nation for those looking to start or grow a business, or in my case, to learn from the best in business.

One of the sessions I attended, “Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention – A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad Feld,” was highly entertaining and included a candid discussion with successful entrepreneurs.

While admittedly I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m in awe of gutsy business leaders who just go for it and live their dream. Charlie Ergen is the co-founder of Dish Network; Brad Feld runs the Foundry Group, a Boulder venture capital fund; and Mark Cuban is the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of “Shark Tank.”

Read more after the jump…

What Words and Phrases Can We Eliminate From Our Writing?

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 10.57.36 AMHow can Twitter’s 140 character missives, and pithy Snapchat highlights get translated into our everyday writing as communicators?

Every time I reach for my AP Style Book, I am reminded of a college journalism professor who left her mark on me for a couple of reasons: First, we had weekly quizzes on the AP Style Book, which was a great way to learn and practice the rules. And if you weren’t sure there was a rule, at least we all learned to use the book to see if a rule existed.

Second, she was a stickler for writing in the simplest terms, using concise, action words and cutting out fat from our writing. Following is a list of words or phrases that should be eliminated from our writing, along with a suitable replacement word. Just like Bitly and Tiny URL help us shorten URLs for social media, this list can help tighten all of our writing. What are some of your favorite words or phrases that can be omitted and replaced with a single word?

Instead of: Use:
In order to To
Utilize Use
Very ugly, very fat, very angry Hideous, obese, furious
In the event that If
On account of the fact that

Because of the fact that

Due to the fact that

Because
In spite of the fact that Although, though, despite
In the absence of Without
In the event that If
A large proportion of Many
In a situation in which When
There is a need for Must
Subsequent to After
Impact on Affect
Along the lines of Like
At the present time Now, currently

 

 

Working From Home Trend Getting Some Push Back

digiden copyNational Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal recently did stories about how some employers are cutting back on allowing employees to work from home, citing the need to have people together to enhance creativity and collaboration.

A number of large companies in recent years announced similar measures – Yahoo, HP and IBM – all began to recall home-based employees to work in the office.

Still, teleworking is extremely widespread. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 40 percent of employers allow employees to regularly work from home.

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One Journalist to Another: The Game Has Changed

Adele Arakawa, 9News Evening AnchorThis week marks the end of an era for one of Denver’s most beloved journalists as 9NEWS’ Adele Arakawa officially signs off on June 30. She’s been the evening news anchor for 24 years.

I couldn’t help but feel a little wistful after reading Joanne Ostrow’s article on Arakawa as it seemed clear to me from the article that she is not just ready to retire, but she may be disillusioned with the state of journalism today. If you haven’t read the article, it’s worth a read and you can draw your own conclusions.

It seemed only fitting that Ostrow wrote the piece on Arakawa, as Ostrow had bid farewell in a column less than a year ago to her job at The Denver Post. Ostrow shared her thoughts on a long and productive career reporting about the media for newspapers and magazines, and all the changes she too had seen in the news and entertainment industry.

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Shrinking News Hole Hits the “World Leader of Sports”

ESPN | Shrinking News Hole Hits the “World Leader of Sports”Communications professionals have long accepted the shrinking news hole and the impact it has had on how we share news and information about our clients.

Newsrooms are much smaller; TV reporters shoot their own stories and regularly report using Facebook Live. Newspapers are a fraction of the size and print reporters are covering more beats and are expected to produce many more stories each day for their online and social media channels.

It took some time, but now the cable sports world is feeling the same pain. According to Sports Illustrated, ESPN, which had roughly 100 million U.S. households paying for cable in 2012, recently laid off more than 100 journalists, including some well-known, on-air talent. A hundred journalists may not sound like a lot, but that’s on top 300 in 2015, and ESPN is now in 12 million fewer U.S. homes.

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Are You Addicted to Your Smart Phone?

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 7.06.34 PMWhy do so many of us feel compelled to check our smart phones so frequently? And why do we get an anxious feeling if we haven’t checked our phone recently? In a recent 60 Minutes segment, Anderson Cooper explored our obsession with our smart phones and the physiological reaction many of us have, such as every time we get an alert on our phone, it triggers a release of cortisol, which makes us anxious, and our goal is to rid the anxiety so we keep checking in.

Addiction Explained

Everywhere you go today, in the U.S. or abroad, you see people of all ages walking around with their heads down looking at their phones. According to Tristan Harris, a former Google product manager, the smart phone is like a slot machine, every time you check it, you’re pulling the lever to see if you get a reward. And the rewards are texts from friends, new likes, cute emoji’s, etc.

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Leadership and Other Lessons Learned from a Wise Woman

Dinner With Mary HoaglandEvery once in a while, if we’re lucky, we meet truly inspiring people that leave us in awe. Mary Hoagland, is one of those people.

As a group of us recently had dinner with her earlier this week, she had a lot of wisdom to share about her 92 years in this world. As we’re inundated with sensational stories in the media and on social media, it’s refreshing to hear from someone who is so accomplished, yet humble, and happy to live in the moment.

After graduating from Smith College in 1946, then marrying and raising four children, at the age of 48, she decided she wanted to go to law school. Her husband was a successful attorney in Denver, so why couldn’t she become one? After being turned down twice from the University of Denver School of Law because of her age, on her third attempt she showed up with her tuition check in hand and told them: “You’re a business, and you need my money.” They finally relented and admitted her in 1972. She graduated and went on to run her own family law practice for 16 years, which included representing women in serious, often dangerous, family situations.

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Journalism and a Trump White House: What are the PR Takeaways?

Saturday Night Live Sean Spicer Press Conference SkitNo matter what side of the aisle your political beliefs fall, it’s hard not to watch the very public antagonistic relationship President Trump and his administration are having with the media.

While President Obama had his fair share of scuffles with the media, they didn’t get the kind of attention President Trump’s school-yard battles are getting now. After several decades during which the media has lost trust, credibility and interest among Americans, will the new President bring back the Fourth Estate to its former glory?

I recently came across a Politico article titled: Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again. According to the article, there’s always been a quid pro quo in Washington, where journalists groom sources, but sources also groom journalists. “There’s nothing inherently unethical about the back-scratching. When a reporter calls an administration source to confirm an embarrassing item, the source may agree to confirm as long as the reporter at the very least agrees to listen sympathetically to the administration’s context.”

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Fake News vs. Real News – How Can You Tell the Difference?

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-8-53-19-amThere was a lot of news coverage of “fake news” leading up to and following the recent presidential election, but after doing some digging, it became clear that fake news and fake news sites are nothing new.

And it’s not just fake news that’s getting attention. I came across a story about how a police department in Central California issued a fake news release to the media to protect a person who was sure to be killed by rival gang members. Many in the local media were highly critical of the police’s actions, but the Santa Maria police made no apologies.

In an ever-shrinking media landscape with fewer and fewer “real” media and reporters, how do you tell real from fake news? The New York Times covered this topic in an appropriately titled headline: Inside a Fake News Sausage Factory: ‘This Is All About Income’. The article covered how a computer science major from Georgia (the country), started creating fake stories about Hillary Clinton on a website he set up, and watched his Google ad sales soar as more and more people found the site. He really started making money when he began creating content about Donald Trump.

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Skills That Are Needed for Today’s Communications Jobs

My colleague, Karla, and I recently had the opportunity to speak to a class of college students as part of a PR 101 class. The students, most of whom were studying communications with an emphasis in PR, were interested in how to get hired once they graduated from school. As we described what a “typical” day looks like for us, we also shared some of the critical skills that are needed to work in marketing communications today.

What Matters:

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