Author Archives: Gil Rudawsky

The Art of an Apology Tested in the Past Week

sorry_desuIt’s been a week of very public apologies: Pepsi, United Airlines and White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Without getting into the merits of each crisis communication instance, since we have already worn a path around the water cooler, in general there are some best practices to make an effective apology that will at least take a bit of the sting out of a negative situation.

Immediacy: When something goes wrong and your reputation is at stake, the sooner you apologize, the better. This can be difficult, without knowing all the facts and when dealing with legal issues. But, an immediate apology that expresses remorse, admits responsibility, makes amends and promises that it won’t happen again should still feel real without having completed a full investigation.

Use Social Media: Either through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube — apologize on a platform that your target audiences are following. Read more after the jump…

Journalism and Growing Trend of Click-Baiting

HBO’s John Oliver takes on the media’s attempts to sell his show’s content through sensational headlines and clickbait.

As media outlets look to grow their shrinking audiences and advertising budgets, they are turning to popular online platforms to share stories and drive engagement.

The New York Times for instance, is setting the bar for how it presents its stories online, by including video, graphics, podcasts and photos. It’s refreshing compared to the tired ink and paper version that fewer and fewer people find on their door steps each morning. But, as some media outlets are looking to truly engage and embrace online platforms, there are others that are simply driving their audiences to digital properties to drive clicks, which they will somehow count as audience growth and sell to advertisers.

This trend is called clickbait, content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page or to comment, with the goal of growing audiences and digital revenue. It has nothing to do with journalism, although it can be cloaked as such.

Read more after the jump…

Respond to a Social Media Crisis #LikeABoss

twitterThis year created a library full of social media crisis communication case studies, both what to do and what not to do.

Heading into 2017, we advise all of our clients to refresh their social media crisis communication plans given the rapid growth and updates with social communication channels. To help get started, here are a few basic points that should be part of a plan:

Read more after the jump…

Reprise: What You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You

bhribahcqaax1h9Given the non-stop media chatter about leaked or hacked emails and recorded conversations, here is an updated blog post from several years ago with tips on how to keep yourself or your company out of the media cycle.

The scrappy Aspen Daily News has one of the best mottos in the business: “If You Don’t Want It Printed, Don’t Let It Happen.”

In the world of communications, we have a similar motto that we share with clients who are facing a pending crisis or are in the midst of one: “Anything You Say, Write, Email, Skype or iChat Can Be Used Against You.” It’s not as jocular as the News’ motto. But it just happens to be the truth in our increasingly litigious and curious world.

Clients can face all types of situations that are sensitive, controversial and deal with legal issues. While the lawyer’s role is to protect clients from and defend them during litigation, crisis communicators are focused on managing, protecting and — if needed — rebuilding the client’s reputation. They work closely with companies on strategy, messaging, stakeholder communications and media relations before, during and after a crisis.

Read more after the jump…

Reports: Denver Post Hedge Fund Owner Squeezing Profits

The Denver Newspaper Guild held a rally outside The Denver Post condemning downsizing actions by owner Alden Global Capital. Provided by Denver Newspaper Guild

The Denver Newspaper Guild held a rally outside The Denver Post condemning downsizing actions by owner Alden Global Capital. Provided by Denver Newspaper Guild

Media covering itself is always a challenge particularly among competitors. But alternative weekly Westword did a good job of detailing the changes and challenges facing The Denver Post in a long-form article this week. Also, this week 5280 magazine did a piece on the Post’s new normal.

The focus of the articles is on its hedge fund owner, and its track record of squeezing profits at the expense of a diminishing product. The Westwood piece chronicles the failed attempts by the newspaper and its owner, Media News Group, to reinvent itself in the changing media market. In case you don’t want to read the entire article on the Post, here are some highlights:

Read more after the jump…

John Oliver “Reports” On Loss of Newspapers, Journalism

John Oliver is witty, profane, irreverent and dead serious, all at the same time.
So when the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” took on print journalism as his long-form topic earlier this month, the result was insightful and devastating.

His 19-minute tribute to local newspaper journalism covered what those in the industry already know, but he presented it to a wider, general audience not familiar with much more than simply the industry is on life-support. He offered the “why” and, more importantly, “what it means.” As he tells it, quite accurately, local newspapers are the bread and butter of journalism and create most if not all content for television reports.

To bring home the point of how local newspapers have changed, Oliver and his team created a comic version for a fake movie trailer based on the journalism biographical movie “Spotlight.” It’s deadly how accurate it is.

Take a look at the entire segment:

PR Complaints About Journalists

Changing JournalismMedia complaints about public relations pros are well known: too many lame pitches, misleading pitches, ill-timed pitches and incessant follow-ups.   But it’s a two-way street.  PR folks can be just as frustrated with with the media. Digiday offers some pet peeves that agencies have with the media. I can attest that all of them are based in some reality. Here are some of the highlights submitted by PR firms to Digiday, along with some personal experiences: Read more after the jump…

The Shrinking Denver Media Landscape

crumpled-newspaperThe shrinking Denver media just got even smaller. Last week, the Denver Post announced that 20 journalists took buyouts, and it was followed by an unknown number of additional layoffs.

This brings the total number of newspaper reporters working for Denver’s only metropolitan daily to less than 100. In perspective, 10 years ago, there were an estimated 400 journalists working for either the Post or the now-closed Rocky Mountain News.

Without getting into the critical role the media plays in our community, here are a couple points to consider as we work on behalf of our clients to navigate the Denver media landscape:

Build relationships: It will be nearly impossible to catch the attention of a journalist, let alone build ongoing relationships with the new crop of reporters. Just think, there are 90 journalists, half of which work behind the scenes, covering a metro area with 2 million people.

Strong pitches:  Getting a client’s news in the newspaper will be even more of a challenge, and only the best pitches will succeed. Strong news hooks and trends remain important. Read more after the jump…

AP Style Alert: Don’t Capitalize “Internet” or “Web”

CfC8A9LWQAMsHF_For all of the copy editors, grammar nerds, journalists and language style sticklers, there is news of a relatively big-ish change in the rules.

As of June 2016, The Associated Press, AP for short, is updating its rules to lowercase the words “internet” and “web” in all instances, including web page, the web, web browser.

The AP Stylebook is a media and business standby, and offers a guide in grammatical correctness and language nuance. What’s behind the change? Some wordsmith bloggers are saying that it marks the inclusion of the Internet (uppercase here since rules are not in effect yet) in our culture and expansion of the meaning of the word.

Read more after the jump…

Forget News, Media Cares About The Digital Hits

ChicagoTribuneIt’s common knowledge that media outlets are pushing their audiences to digital and social media platforms as traditional news mediums keep shrinking.

But last week there was a pretty blatant example of how desperately the media are pushing the digital angle. As reported by media blogger Jim Romenesko, the Louisville Courier-Journal recently started a contest among its reporters to push mobile and social media content.

It was set up similar to a March Madness bracket, and the reporter who gets the most hits, shares and follows over five weeks will win an Apple Watch.

Read more after the jump…