Sunday, September 13, 2009

Outbursts 2

Add to this week's list:
Kanye West cutting off Taylor Swift during her acceptance of the "best video" award at MTV's VMA telecast...he jumped in front of her, he grabbed her mic, and said that "beyonce had the best video ever"...even Beyonce, with the camera trained on her face, was shocked.

Rude. Uncalled for.


This week's Boneheaded Outbursts awards go to:

Senator Joe Wilson (Yells "you lie!" to the President during Wednesday night's health care speech); even McCain thought it was disrespectful Postscript: Wilson lines his reelection pockets and signs autographs following apology to Obama

Serena Williams (Profanity penalty earns defending U.S. Open Champion loss at match point)

Bob McDonnell (Virginia gubernatorial candidate drops F-bomb during candidate interview on radio)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric hold two of three flagship network newscast slots

For the first time, two of the three solo anchors on the prestigious network evening newscasts will be women, according to a recent National Public Radio report about Diane Sawyer's ascent to the World News evening anchor slot for ABC.

Charlie Gibson is leaving the post he took three years ago, after a long career in broadcast journalism including ABC's morning news show slot co-hosting Good Morning America with Joan Lunden. Gibson retires at 66. Sawyer starts her job in January 2010 at the age of 63.

When I saw the "Frost/Nixon" movie recently, I was tickled to learn that the blonde helping prepare Nixon for his interviews with talk show host David Frost was Diane Sawyer. I hadn't paid much attention in 1972 when Watergate actually happened, being only 12 at the time.

In any event, hats off to Ms. Sawyer at this auspicious achievement in her career, having risen through the ranks of the male-dominated broadcast news world long before it became fashionable for women to be there.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite dies at 92


CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, legendarily known as "The Most Trusted Man in America," passed away today at his home in New York at the age of 92. He had reportedly been suffering from cerebrovascular disease.

With the face of a small-town druggist, an easily-parodied delivery that was both herky-jerky and orotund (“As-tronaut Juhn Glenn...”), and a mien of utter seriousness, Walter Cronkite was the acknowledged king of the golden era of network news. Serving as the managing editor of the CBS Evening News between 1962 and 1981, Cronkite projected a professional authority and personal integrity that invested him with a credibility no contemporary journalist, operating in a more skeptical era, possesses. When Cronkite ended a broadcast with his signature “And that’s the way it is,” neither he nor his audience doubted that it was true.

Born in 1916 in St. Joseph, Missouri, Cronkite entered journalism as an undergraduate. But it was during World War II, as a reporter for UPI, that Cronkite first distinguished himself. He sent classic dispatches from battlefields in North Africa, Normandy, and from the belly of a B-17 bomber over Germany, and parachuted with airborne troops into Holland. He joined CBS News in 1950 and soon distinguished himself with his coverage of the Korean War. “He had that special quality that television demands,” David Halberstam wrote in The Powers That Be, “that audiences sense, and that is somehow intangible -- he had weight, he projected a kind of authority.”

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Social Media Today Blog has important message

This blog post frames the question:

Will Google WAVE Eliminate the Need for PR as Media Relations?

Check it out!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Take a look at this vid-kid

I absolutely adore the expression on this kid's face when the company guy hands him the cardboard truck. This is one of my favorite TV commercials right now; it never fails to get my attention if I am multi-tasking with the TV on.

Ally Bank is making a play in the market, talking about being honest (beyond usual "fine print" tactics) in their practices, yadda yadda yadda.

I really haven't figured out what they are trying to say, but the kids' facial expression at the end of the spot speaks volumes!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cynthia Wright of The Wright Image gives back

Click on the headline above to read the latest news about friend and former colleague at California Baptist University, Cynthia Wright.

(Thanks, PressKitn!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cell phone revolution: people of Iran "beg to differ" with Ayatollah

It's astonishing and certainly an historic moment in our world history, where hundreds if not thousands of Iranian citizens are videotaping or sending SMS messages to points around the globe giving us glimpses of the post-election chaos in Tehran.

Demonstrations. Police crackdowns. Violence. Death.

The theocracy no longer meets the needs of the people. It is clear they are unwilling to accept the "holy ordained" edict of the Ayatollah that the election results stand. The people of Iran want change: the economy, the current leadership, the integration into a greater world society. It is a nation divided. There is no outside nationality trying to take power or change things...pray for this nation, and its difficult time of change.

"A nation divided cannot stand," we learned in our own American history lessons. It is not about religion. It is about freedom to choose. In a pluralistic society, we must allow one another space, and respect, despite our differences--no matter how emotional we are about them.

Global Voices
"Here goes everybody," by Clay Shirky

Saturday, June 20, 2009

L.A. area professor uses social media to reach Kutcher

L.A. area professor uses social media to reach Kutcher

Shared via AddThis

Seeking Ashton Kutcher

Okay, they say it's can a tiny chapter of professional public relations practitioners (forgive the alliteration) get megaproducer/star/celebrity and husband of Demi Moore to Riverside to speak/make us laugh at our annual awards ceremony? And, saddest of all...we can't even set up an episode of "Punk'd" to see how Ashton would react when we offered him only $500 to show up for 20 or 30 minutes one hour east of Los Angeles where he lives?

I Tweeted this morning that I need help reaching the famous funny guy (and prolific Tweeter). Stay tuned...can six degrees (more like a thousand in this case, by the time you add up the entourage he no doubt has protecting him from pedestrian folk like me) work? We need Ashton to wow us on Oct. 21, 2009. We also wouldn't mind him giving away a Nikon camera - that would be the PR coup of the decade for our 80-member club!

Let me know if you can pass on my request to Ashton, thanks! :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Colbert ribs Iraqi officials on show from Baghdad

NPR's Quil Lawrence reported yesterday about Stephen Colbert's on-show antics as he broadcast live from Baghdad his unique brand of parody. Interestingly, Colbert's character from The Colbert Report--a "pretend" journalist--interviewed several high-level Iraqi politicians, and they received his ribbing well. Here's part of NPR's account:

The first guest was Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih. Colbert asked him about progress toward democracy.

"We are making progress," Salih said. "We are moving along, thanks to the help of this wonderful U.S. military, who have come from afar to help us and give us a chance at building a decent nation here." The troops in the audience responded with loud cheers and applause.

"Please, sir," Colbert interrupted. "Let me tell you how this works: I do the pandering, OK."

Salih protested that he meant what he said. He is one of the few members of the Iraqi government who will publicly thank American troops for being in Iraq. Salih is from Iraq's ethnic Kurdish minority, which strongly supports the American occupation from its autonomous region in the north of the country.

"Now, sir, you're a Kurd," Colbert said. "You once advocated for a separate Kurdish state. Why is a united Iraq the best answer now?"

"Life is not about perfect solutions," Salih said. "Perhaps every Kurd would like to see an independent Kurdistan still. But we all have accepted — Kurds, Arabs, Shiites and Sunnis — that a democratic Iraq will provide all of these communities of Iraq with most of what they need."

"So you're kind of like Texas?" Colbert quipped. "You'd like to be your own state, but you see the reality on the ground."

"That's a good one," Salih said, laughing.

The next guest was the head of ground operations in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby. Again, Colbert demonstrated the growing power and influence of news parody. It was a rare instance in which Jacoby spoke to a journalist — or at least someone who plays a journalist on TV.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Everybody knows his name...

I wrote a story on my laptop about a pleasant bartender at the Ontario International Airport "Applebee's" restaurant while waiting for a plane last week. [So that my CBU colleagues don't freak out: no, I wasn't drinking in a bar, I was there for coffee in the a.m., but happened to sit near the bar since the restaurant and bar were proximate!]

This morning, I sent the story about "Doyle" to Jennifer Dean at the Press-Enterprise newspaper, who writes and maintains a blog for moms/families in addition to her reporting duties as a feature reporter. She posted it this afternoon:

[Thanks, Doyle, and Jennifer!]

Monday, June 8, 2009

L. Gann going places!

I love this story! I have been getting calls for over a year from a persistent young representative for Meltwater, which offers media distribution and monitoring services online. This rep, Lawrence Gann, effectively outsold my current vendor, and we moved our services to his firm last week. So, the young Lawrence comes to CBU to train me and my ITS colleague on the use of the service and its features, and as we are chatting over lunch following the training he mentions he attended the American Idol finale party at Fox.

Lawrence had not watched ANY American Idol segments this season, and as he was sitting with executives from FOX, Chris Allen walks over and Lawrence starts chatting with him. Lawrence introduces himself first, being the friendly, confident sort. Upon introducing himself, Lawrence hears laughter from behind him as he says something to the effect of "I'm Lawrence Gann...and you are...?"

The Fox guys let Lawrence know that he is shaking hands with this year's AI winner. Chris Allen laughs, too, and says, "I guess you didn't watch the show?" Lawrence admits that he hadn't, he just came to the party at the invitation of his Fox pals.

Lawrence then had his photo made with Chris, which he sent me a copy of and I am posting here.

This kid (Lawrence) is going places!

Not everyone under 30 is glued to the tv, afterall!

I love this story! I have been getting calls for over a year from a persistent young representative for Meltwater, which offers media distribution and monitoring services online. This rep, Lawrence Gann, effectively outsold my current vendor, and we moved our services to his firm last week. So, the young Lawrence comes to CBU to train me and my ITS colleague on the use of the service and its features, and as we are chatting over lunch following the training he mentions he attended the American Idol finale party at Fox.

Lawrence had not watched ANY American Idol segments this season, and as he was sitting with executives from FOX, Chris Allen walks over and Lawrence starts chatting with him. Lawrence introduces himself first, being the friendly, confident sort. Upon introducing himself, Lawrence hears laughter from behind him as he says something to the effect of "I'm Lawrence Gann...and you are...?"

The Fox guys let Lawrence know that he is shaking hands with this year's AI winner. Chris Allen laughs, too, and says, "I guess you didn't watch the show?" Lawrence admits that he hadn't, he just came to the party at the invitation of his Fox pals.

Lawrence then had his photo made with Chris, which he sent me a copy of and I am posting here.

This kid (Lawrence) is going places!

Friday, June 5, 2009

CBU College of Professional Studies students are its biggest fans, greatest success stories

Photo taken walking by Ground Zero today

I took this photo from 1 World Financial Center, while walking through an indoor breezeway to dinner at THe Grill Room, which overlooks the Hudson River at Liberty Street. The World Trade Center site, former home of the Twin Towers, is a gaping hole surrounded by the trappings of construction, but at dusk as we passed by, I didn't see any signs of work going on.

We break at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow, and I will begin to explore the neighborhood...our hotel is literally a stone's throw from Ground Zero, and I can see the Statue of Liberty from my hotel room window. Ambition to hop on the subway, too, and check out select targets as far north as 23rd Street, but staying on the southern end of the island this trip. Kids may be disappointment, because a trip to take a photo of the American Museum of Natural History would require further explore up to Central Park West, and I'm not inclined to try to cover so much ground in so little time.

PRSA Leadership Rally rocks...very organized, PRSA staff is great, and learning lots from fellow chapter officers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day, 2009

I am so blessed! Katie's friends Savannah and Alex spent the night, and we made a fabulous "girl's dinner," with everyone in the kitchen and setting the table beautifully, dressing up, candles, the whole deal. They are such amazing young ladies, even at 11 years old. Just a delight.

This morning, Alex, who is a skilled pancake "designer" (!) made a heart-shaped pancake stack for me, and Katie made the scrambled eggs, and they brought the breakfast to me in bed. I'm attaching a photo.

In addition, this really blew me away - Alex's mom, whom I've only met once, brought over a beautiful floral bouquet of long-stemmed Irises or Lilies, I'm not sure which flower family. Photo uploaded as well.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New student video below...or click on Vimeo post at right for full-screen version!

CBU intramurals can be fun, and frustrating, as depicted in this video report produced by a team of Journalism students at a soccer match in mid-April, 2009, at California Baptist University in Riverside, CA. As often happens on the Front Lawn during extra-curricular athletic events at CBU, it was a sunny and BLUSTERY day.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Student vlog assignment

Here are links to the 90-second "broadcast" news segments that students in the JRN220 "Podcast/broadcast" basics course at California Baptist University were assigned in mid-April, 2009:

Monica, Rochelle, Kelly...present

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"This internet thing..." by Dr. M. Wesch

You gotta watch this one, too...Michael Wesch (not to be confused with Michael Welsch who plays "Mike" in the Twilight movie) presents more than 40 minutes of video that his students at Kansas State University compiled from YouTube to illustrate the anthropological aspects of YouTube for a presentation the professor made at the Library of Congress in 2008.


By Dr. Michael Wesch, Digital Ethnography at Kansas State University

This video by a professor of cultural anthropology at KSU explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information. This video, Dr. Wesch says on his YouTube Channel, was created as a conversation starter, and works especially well when brainstorming with people about the near future and the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate, and create information effectively.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Does Jon Stewart protesteth too much?

Story by The New York Times News Service
Courtesy of Riverside Press-Enterprise

Thursday, March 12, 2009

PR Works - Episode 1

PR Works - Episode 1

Posted using ShareThis

Lee Weinstein of Portland, OR, chats with Dave Mingey, Director of Olympic Marketing for Johnson & Johnson. Topics include: the upcoming Winter Games in Vancouver, the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing and other Public Relations topics.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not teacher, but learner "guide"

Social constructivist scholars view learning as an active process where learners essentially take responsibility for their own learning. The role of the facilitator in the social constructivist viewpoint is that the instructor and the learners are equally involved in learning from each other as well (Holt and Willard-Holt 2000).

The "introduction to podcasting" course that I've been responsible for guiding as an adjunct professor at California Baptist University this semester is a prime example of an active learning process. Students have learned largely by "doing." The assignments have been built so that my primary role has been as facilitator, or guide, helping students get to their own levels of understanding. The classes have been geared to create an environment for hands-on learning, with an emphasis on individual responsibility for setting assignment goals, production schedules and quality.

I have encouraged students to collaborate, both in and out of class. For the most part, students seem to be enjoying taking part in activities which are directly relevant to the application of their learning--when it's fun to do, and it's something of a social exchange or opportunity, it can help the learning process.

On the other hand, since this is an introductory course and not all of the students have a foundation in journalistic writing or practices, the course might benefit from more guided instruction. With little or no prior knowledge of the subject matter, the students have necessarily had to practice new skills with feedback several times up to this point in the course, now about mid-way. For those who have the J background, the tasks may seem repetitive and pedantic. For those without the orientation, the practice may only just now be creating the requisite comfort level to move to the next level.

In any event, I have been trying to actively assess their individual progress up to this point in the semester, taking each student's learning approach and motivation into account and allowing for generous flexibility in scoring.

One particularly gratifying outcome of the class so far for me: several students are leaving their own imprint in the learning process. I encourage and support their boldness, and willingness to fully participate in this didactic trial.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Let the dinosaur stay

I blogged earlier in the year about my reluctance to let John King fill my weekly date with CNN's early Sunday morning talk shows, when he replaced Wolf Blitzer as host. This morning, there was an exchange between King and Howard Kurtz, host of "Reliable Sources," a segment of King's "State of the Union" show that analyzes media coverage each week, that won me over.

Kurtz commented on Fox's Sean Hannity's rant about a segment that Kurtz had done the prior week on his show. Hannity's remarks were taking Kurtz to task, basically, about doing his job.

The exchange between King and Kurtz that followed allowed King to remark about the difference between a reporter and a commentator, he being the former, and Hannity being the latter.

King's comments were pointed, and self-effacing, and well, the guy was just elegant. He said something like "Call me a dinosaur, but I'm still a reporter," drawing reference to the dying breed of journalists carrying prime TV slots who are still practicing unbiased, balanced reporting "the old fashioned way."

It was great! He put Hannity in his place, without being rude--he gave Hannity more grace than he deserves, IMHO, calling him a commentator.

Kurtz's part in the exchange was also good-tempered. The two were professional and commanding. I loved it...I say, "let the dinosaur stay"!

I'll try to find a clip of the exchange, and share it here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Journalism Jobs are plentiful...

...just not in traditional journalism (i.e. daily newspapers) so much anymore.
Take a look at and note the variety of open positions:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama Signs Fair Pay Act

Today President Obama continued to create the change he promised by signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which assures women receive equal pay to men. The bill cancels out last year’s disgraceful Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Supreme Court decision which gave plaintiffs only 180 days to sue employers for not paying them the same amount as other employees doing the same work.

Lilly Ledbetter worked for Goodyear for 19 years before learning she had been denied promotions and paid lower wages due to her gender. I don’t know about your job, but I’ve never worked in a place where employees went around comparing paychecks. It takes time to discover when pay discrimination is being practiced. You can’t just ask your boss about it.

For more on this historic act, I’ll let the President tell you himself:

“Lilly Ledbetter did not set out to be a trailblazer or a household name. She was just a good hard worker who did her job — and she did it well — for nearly two decades before discovering that for years, she was paid less than her male colleagues for doing the very same work. Over the course of her career, she lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in pension and Social Security benefits — losses that she still feels today.

“Now, Lilly could have accepted her lot and moved on. She could have decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle and the harassment that would inevitably come with speaking up for what she deserved. But instead, she decided that there was a principle at stake, something worth fighting for. So she set out on a journey that would take more than 10 years, take her all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, and lead to this day and this bill which will help others get the justice she was denied. …

“I intend to send a clear message: That making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone. That there are no second class citizens in our workplaces, and that it’s not just unfair and illegal — it’s bad for business — to pay someone less because of their gender, or their age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability.”

Thursday, January 29, 2009

CBU student hosts Financial Aid Q&A segment

Financial Aid Q&A from Jeremy Zimmerman on Vimeo.

Rochelle Guillen, a senior at California Baptist University, recently took the leap to try out her on-camera talk show skills by serving as host for a videotaped Q&A segment on the topic of financing a college education. Rebecca (Becki) Sanchez, CBU's director of Financial Aid, was the guest host. The video is posted on CBU's institutional website as a way to assist parents and students with the complexities of navigating Financial Aid - we produced the video in conjunction with Riverside County Office of Education in support of a "February is Financial Aid month" promotion, because the federal aid filings for "FAFSA" and the state aid applications for "CalGrant" funds are due by March 2 this year. Students and parents all over the nation are cramming to file their paperwork--it can be an overwhelming or arduous process, and every student who receives aid of any kind has to re-file each spring (new students AND continuing students). The bottomline, according to Becki, is "do it early," and get it over with--if you miss the deadline, you will still be eligible to receive aid, but not all funding products are available after the deadline so you reduce your options.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday talk show transition

My week usually allows me scant time to heed daily news, allowing only a cursory scan of print and electronic headlines, mostly. However, I relish the Sunday morning talk shows, apart from church attendance, to catch up on the headliner news and enjoy Wolf Blitzer putting the week's news through its paces for latecomers like me.

Today, Blitzer, who has led the Sunday lineup on CNN for eleven (11) years, moves from his slot to make room for John King, who is launching a new format that includes the high-tech wizadry and "We The People" democratic type input from citizen viewers that dominated the network news coverage during the recent U.S. Presidential campaign.

As cool, professional and detached as Blitzer usually comes across, I will rather miss him. He says he will still be putting in time in The Situation Room, which is CNN's weekday political news program, but I doubt I will catch up with him there. I believe one personality trait I've detected about Blitzer that probably drew me to him is his lack of an apparent "celebrity ego" that tended to dominate the network news anchor scene the past thirty years. He was somewhat self-effacing, and at times, actually generous.

So that leaves me with John King, whom I am going to have to learn to enjoy. King will host a show called "State of the Union," which begins airing next Sunday before the Obama inaugural events, January 18, 2009. King has not developed detectable personality traits that make him appealing to me--wonder how my over-45 demographic will respond. It's not that the technology isn't appealing (I'm still in awe over the holograms used during the elections), but the anchor's appeal is still central to such a show's success. Maybe CNN is going for the younger set.

Time will tell.

The Daily Show's John Oliver had a good time with a parody of King and CNN's use of the "magic wall" during the elections in November with this skit.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Course Syllabus

This class examines the dynamics of communications between people. Students will learn the development of self-concept, perception, listening skills, and feedback as they affect the communication process. Non-verbal communication, attitudes, beliefs, and values will also be explored.


This course is an introduction to the theoretical and practical aspects of interpersonal communication. Students will gain practical insights into how to become better communicators, with an emphasis on the spoken exchange (and non-verbal cues) rather than the written word. Coursework includes opportunity to test comprehension, apply learning in real-world situations, analyze communication challenges and suggest solutions, and interact with peers and others throughout the learning process.


1) Students will understand the role of interpersonal communications in relationships and in personal growth and development.

2) Students will be able to explain communication influences within family dynamics, in social and work situations, in friendships, and within committed romantic relationships.

3) Students will demonstrate conflict management techniques.

4) Students will analyze real-world, personal communication styles and opportunities.

5) Students will apply sociological, psychological, political and ethical concepts to their study of interpersonal communication.

6) Students will collaborate with peers during class, actively practicing and observing skills; students will also participate in self-directed activity using online tools to collaborate with peers.

7) Students will practice active listening and other feedback techniques designed to improve communication and understanding.

8) Students will practice facilitation skills that are designed to enhance workplace communications, including improving team interaction and business meetings.


1) Cognitive: Students will assess and set goals for personal change.
2) Performance: Students will improve communication, listening, feedback, facilitation and conflict resolution skills .
3) Affective: Students should strive to improve relationships, social stature and self-confidence through improved interpersonal communication.


Julia T. Wood, “Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters” 5th Edition

ASSIGNMENTS/Points Breakdown:
Late work must be discussed with the professor prior to the due date.


2 JOURNAL ENTRIES -- You will prepare five (5) sets of journal entries based on reading assignments between class meeting dates. (5 x 20 points ea. = 100) These will be shared and discussed with peers using Blackboard interaction (discussion board format).

Each student will need to submit his or her own entry to that week’s journal prompts (from instructor, per the reading assignments), as well as offer feedback to at least two peers’ postings each week. That’s a total of three postings, minimum. Rubric for scoring includes: quality of thought/reflection, value of contribution to peer’s self-exploration process, and evidence of the care taken to prepare the communications.

3 FILM analysis applying key concepts from text. (200 points)

4 MIDTERM (online) - 100 points

5 FINAL EXAM – Students will need to complete the Final Exam available on the Blackboard site, due on June 23 at 6 p.m. (200 points). Instructor may require printed version of final exam be brought to final class meeting as well (so don't wait to the last minute to complete the exam!). For the final class meeting, come prepared to report on the progress of the Personal Communication Plan you developed at the beginning of the course.


Total Possible Points = 1,000


The following scale will be used when calculating final grades:

A 93-100%
A- 90-92%
B+ 87-89%
B 83-86%
B- 80-82%
C+ 77-79%
C 73-76%
C- 70-72%
D 63-66%
D- 60-62%
F 0-59%