Don’t forget that every story has a beginning

October 12, 2018

Every story has a beginning, middle and end. But many public relations professionals neglect to emphasize what can be the most important part: the beginning. Let me explain by giving you two examples. At a large bank where I was once employed, I started working with a new regional president who had transferred to my […]

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Avoid crises by being aware that times constantly change

June 23, 2018

Many years ago I took a media training class in Portland, Oregon presented by veteran journalist and communications consultant Paul Hanson. The wise Paul explained that one cause of a corporate communications crisis is that “times change”. Paul explained that behavior on the part of a senior executive that was acceptable in the past might not be acceptable […]

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When it comes to media relations, do you want to be the Apple or the Donut?

January 8, 2018

At PRSA’s annual international conference in Boston last October, I had the opportunity to hear a variety of speakers from a large number of different companies. Speakers at two of the breakout sessions I attended represented a vast difference in media relations strategy that I wanted to share with you. One of the breakout session […]

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How to get the most out of attending a national communications conference

November 5, 2017

During my career, I’ve attended more than a few of the national communications conferences organized by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the International Association of Business Communicators. The most recent one I attended was 2017 in Boston when I was among the 2,300 attendees at PRSA’s national conference. These conferences can be […]

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The instant nature of today’s news: Will your organization be ready when CNN calls?

July 4, 2017

My hometown newspaper, The Oregonian, reported today that a small airport in the small Oregon city of Hillsboro was the site of a bizarre helicopter hijacking attempt yesterday (July 3). The incident ended when police shot and killed the would-be hijacker. The last paragraph of story caught my eye because it contains an important lesson […]

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The news topic that attracts the most eyeballs

March 26, 2017

The topic people most want to read about in their newspaper, hear about on the radio or see on their television news is … other people. Don’t believe me? Let’s say the front page of your newspaper today includes three stories. One story is about the latest argument in Congress. Another story is about a […]

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Comedic tv show has scary lessons for PR pros

February 11, 2017

My son and wife recently introduced me to a Comedy Central show entitled “Nathan For You.” I watched an episode dubbed “The Movement”* and found myself laughing hysterically but, in the end, wound up quite scared for the lessons it taught about the news media and the public relations profession. The premise of the episode […]

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Here’s some advice for PR pros from two national reporters

June 1, 2016

I attended a “Meet the Media” event today that I helped organize on behalf of the Portland Metro chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. The two speakers were Portland-based reporters from national news media outlets: John Maxfield from the Motley Fool and Tim Dickinson from Rolling Stone magazine. I want to share some of […]

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Communications lessons from almost 40 years of experience

May 9, 2016

I was among the speakers at the 20th annual Portland Communicators Conference held recently in Portland, Ore. In my presentation, I shared 14 of the lessons I learned from my almost 40 years of working in journalism, public relations and corporate communications. The focus of my remarks was how to survive, thrive and even prepare […]

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Two words of advice: Try harder

April 30, 2016

Many years ago the Avis car rental company’s slogan was “We try harder.” I loved that slogan. The company was acknowledging that it was not as big as market leader Hertz, but that it wanted your business because its staff would try harder to please you (according to an article I read online by AdvertisingAge, […]

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