The Corrections: A New Take on Managing Reputation and Inventing News

Finally! There’s a Web site we can all go to that will set the record straight. How long have we been waiting for ICorrect to come along? I mean, until now, we had to rely on the normal modes of communication when a reporter gets a story wrong or a fact is twisted or we just don’t like the facts – we work with the media or directly with our stakeholders. Thanks to ICorrect, the “universal web site for corrections to lies, misinformation and misrepresentations,” reputations will be restored and to heck with journalists and the like. On the one hand, I do think ICorrect is brilliant: you can get attention for your client, your executive and yourself by sharing information that presumably no one even cared about until they checked out this site. There’s the “accusation” and then there’s “the correction.”  The site, developed in the U.K. and right now mostly showcasing British lies, misinformation and misrepresentations, got the attention of the New York Times on March 28 with front page/home page coverage, so that’ll be good for its site traffic for days to come. Oh, I almost forgot to mention a key feature of this site (and its business model): you can join the site as a “Corrector” for $1,000 per year.  So if you are someone who needs to pay a Web site to communicate facts and refute lies from the press, then this site is for you. If you are someone who knows how to “correct” the media and social media without paying to get your voice heard, then you’re better off viewing ICarly than ICorrect.

- Diane Schwartz

 

 

Did I Really Say That? Why Every Word Matters

There have been so many great sound bites coming out of the media lately, it’s been an embarrassment of riches for content curators.  Charlie Sheen alone is entertaining us with better one-liners than his “Two and Half Men” writers could ever conjure.  What should be irritating and instructional to PR professionals is when a well-tested script or sound bite gets taken out of context, not just in an article or on the radio, but on TV in those very helpful “calls outs” that run across the screen as the subject is being interviewed.  They are highly distracting and cater to the supposition that viewers aren’t really listening and need the producers to spoon feed them what they deem you need to remember.  This is where a well-intentioned or even irrelevant quote can get twisted and garbled. Case in point is a recent interview by Larry Kudlow on the Kudlow Report, where Trump (who’s entertaining a run for President) was speaking about various topics including the Japan crisis and nuclear dependency.  Watch the video and see for yourself how the producers are uploading Trump quotes by the nano-second, and if you were to walk into the room and glance at the TV, you”d think Trump was declaring:  “I’m a big fan of nuclear power.” That’s what was running across the TV screen, caught in the act of “out of context” reporting.  Trump went on, contritely, to say that “maybe we have to start reassessing just a little bit this whole attitude on nuclear.”

So that is an example of how every word and cluster of words need to be chosen wisely because they will be extracted and exploited for the sake of media ratings, more web site traffic, more readership, more tweets, etc.  It’s the nature of the beast. On the flip side, and staying on the topic of nuclear energy, there are times when people say things and you think, that must be taken out of context. And it isn’t.  She really said it. To wit, Ann Coulter last week on The O’Reilly Factor espoused the benefits of radiation: “There is a growing body of evidence that radiation in excess of what the government says is actually good for you and actually reduces cancer.”  Coulter surely sticks to her knitting and remains polarizing and controversial. The media covered it with passion and her media trainers, I’m guessing, were running for cover.

- Diane Schwartz

NCAA, CBS Should Leverage Tourney for Japan Outreach

Okay, I admit it, PR News. Today I went into CNN.com and watched the last 30 seconds of the Kentucky-Princeton game. I feel it’s my duty as an editor to explore the powerful video out there and write about it. However, in getting to the sports homepage, I went through the news homepage, which has some devastatingly powerful content on the Japan disaster. I guess we Americans are known for forging ahead and getting on with things, and we certainly have with March Madness (that includes you, Mr. President!). If I were the NCAA and CBS, however, I’d be thinking about interesting ways that the tournament could raise funds for the clean-up in Japan. Maybe some sort of a matching donation program. After all, the two parties are in the middle of an 11-year, $6 billion TV rights deal for the tournament. Millions of fans are tuning in to these games, and it would be almost criminal not to rally them around such an important cause. Do you agree?

–Scott Van Camp

After the Devastation: Helping Japan and the Pacific Region

It’s been pretty intense for the last several months around the world, and the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan definitely add to the drama—and human suffering. While its still too early to assess the toll, the devastation is pretty clear. So we’re asking our PR brethren to help. Of course, there are already numerous articles online warning of charity scams, but here’s a couple of stalwarts you can count on when making a donation:

Salvation Army: To donate, visit the organization’s website at www.salvationarmyusa.org, call (800) SAL-ARMY, or text the word “Quake” or “Japan” to 80888 to donate $10.

American Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or go to www.redcross.org/.

–Scott Van Camp

White House Comms Should Get Its Crisis Act Together

I hate to digress from Tiger blood, but this morning’s piece in The Wall Street Journal about the West’s talk of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya (to keep Gadhafi from killing protesters from the air) struck me as a huge communications snafu for the U.S. At one end of the spectrum you have Defense Secretary Gates criticizing “loose talk” about military intervention (playing it down) while testifying before Congress—while at the other end, Secretary of State Clinton has been supportive of a no-fly zone. That’s pretty contradictive stuff, coming from a couple of high-level officials. In the middle there’s Jay Carney, the new White House press secretary, who says the no-fly zone is being “actively considered.” Seems like everyone isn’t on point during this crisis. I wonder if this is a communications blip, or evidence of the Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience? In any case, if the White House is unsure of what to do about Libya, at least it should get its PR act together.

–Scott Van Camp

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