Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Random Mentions: R&B, Ink, and an Olympus Stylus

J.D. McPherson's new R&B-flavored CD, "Signs and Signifiers," is a terrific piece of retro rockabilly-swing-R&B. I think he's from a punk band I don't know. This is very different. But you can sample a bit of this great recording here.

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I have a very severe pen-collecting habit, heavily influenced by German-made Lamy Safari, Logo, and Noto ballpoints. But I'm currently hunting one of Uniball's rubber-body Jetstream ballpoint pens. They work very well for lefties. The ink usually dries quickly, before I can smudge it.

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As the move the digital photography hastens, I'm left with a ridiculous quantity of outdated 35mm film. Most film can be used for a year past its expiry date, unless it's been kept in a warm place (think of a car trunk). Mine has been in a generally cool basement, but not refrigerated. So this week, I'm testing a roll of chromogenic black-and-white film in an Olympus Stylus camera. I'd forgotten what a joy these are to use. Photos to come, assuming they are printable.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Copy editors on Twitter? MIA

Journalists who live on Twitter -- and there are plenty -- like to re-tweet other news accounts, as well as their own. PR people call this "repurposing" content. If done thoughtfully, it can be a useful way to draw readers to content that they may have otherwise overlooked.

This re-reporting is less effective, however, when the tweeting reporter adds his or her own 'take' on the story. Not so much to editorialize, but to add a snappier 140-character headline to snag a few more readers.

Thus, a recent story about a developer who'd run into financial hurdles while trying to develop an upscale restaurant amid a street of bakeries, sub shops, Chinese takeout place, and a guitar store was viewed as a "swanky" neighborhood. His son had sold a popular gaming website for millions of dollars, a few years ago; the re-reporter on Twitter said the developer owned that gaming site.

Wrong. And wrong.

  • Did the developer have financial issues? Yes. That was the accurate part of the story.
  • Did the developer own the gaming website? Nope.
  • Was the neighborhood in question a "swanky" area? Judgment call. In my opinion, one upscale steakhouse amid delis and OTB parlors isn't swanky.

My issue: if the re-reporter had submitted this to his or her news editor, that editor would have asked the questions I've placed in bullets, above. Great copy editors challenge assumptions. They insist on facts, and frequently overrule perceptions that can't be substantiated. Swanky leaps to mind.

Twitter has no copy editors. No one to challenge the veracity of news reporters who re-post material they didn't originate.

As a former newspaper reporter, I know how tough it is to file accurate stories, day after day, on deadline. That's why newspapers employ copy editors: to ensure the reporter's story has its roots in fact, not assumption.

Twitter has no copy editors. There's no one to hold writers accountable for repurposed, re-headlined stories they didn't originate.

So before evolving into a Twitter-based news service, re-reporters must make certain their breezy 140-character tweeted headlines are based in fact.

Friday, March 30, 2012

All the pen junkie sites you'd ever need


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kodak's travails provide multiple lessons

Thought for today:

Kodak's travails provide multiple lessons: You’ve undoubtedly seen the news that legendary companyKodak is in se...

This guy nails it. If the business model is built around a high-margin consumable -- disposable diapers, razor blades, or even gasoline -- reconfiguring the business to be self-sustaining from low-margin products is a pretty big challenge. Witness the newspaper business, where the high-margin consumable is printed advertising, which has all but evaporated to the web.

Many of the same media outlets doing Monday-morning quaterbacking on the decline of Kodak are much closer to the same sort of drop-off. Let's see them create a sustainable business model around a digitally delivered product.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When you see these initials, RUN

This is how FTI Consulting describes itself (italics are mine):

The Strategic Communications practice of FTI Consulting is one of the world’s most highly regarded communications consultancies. With more than 20 years of experience advising management teams in critical situations, the Strategic Communications practice supports clients in protecting and enhancing their reputation in the capital markets, society and the political environment. Services of the Strategic Communications practice are financial communications, corporate communications and public affairs, with specialty offerings that include strategy consulting, research, creative engagement, crisis and issues management, and change communications. The Strategic Communications practice of FTI Consulting is an established market leader in M&A communications and has been for many years.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,700 professionals located in most major business centers in the world, we work closely with clients every day to anticipate, illuminate, and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management and restructuring. Our workforce includes numerous PhDs, MBAs, CPAs, CFEs, JDs, and technologists with expertise across a broad range of industries including automotive, chemicals, construction solutions, communications, media and entertainment, electricity, financial services, insurance, retail, healthcare, energy, real estate and life sciences. Since our founding in 1982, clients have turned to us for high-stakes issues that require specialized expertise.

= = =

Translation: these are the people who parachute into your workplace and orchestrate the non-message-rich communication when the company's reorganizing or filing for bankruptcy. "Business challenges" is the red-flag word.

Be forewarned. FTI = RUN.