Stories by Tony Silber

BuzzFeed CEO’s Vision of Media’s Future (and Great PR)

September 9th, 2013 by

Last week, Buzzfeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti published a long memo on LinkedIn. It was titled a memo to the staff, but really was only partly directed to the staff. It was also a PR message to all stakeholders as well as competitors. At any rate, it was brilliant. It was the most clear-headed,… Continued

When the Picture Doesn’t Match the Story

August 28th, 2013 by

In the tech world, one of the iconic moments of the 1990s was when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997. He went to Macworld and gave one of his best speeches, during which he announced a partnership with Microsoft. Bill Gates made an appearance during that speech, projected on a giant screen behind Jobs.… Continued

LeanIn.org’s Promise

August 19th, 2013 by

Late last week, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s foundation, LeanIn.org, got some negative media coverage. An editor from the organization posted a call on her Facebook page for unpaid interns. The criticism was immediate and furious. How could a non-profit dedicated to empowering women, and fighting the glass ceiling, engage in what many people say are… Continued

Avoid the ‘Snapchat’ Press Release

August 18th, 2013 by

I was at a PR News Conference a couple of weeks ago, and during a Q&A with a panel critiquing press inquiries, the question came up of when and how to follow-up with a non-responsive reporter. I was the moderator of the panel, and I counseled persistence. I’ve found in my career as a journalist… Continued

Native Advertising: Sticky or Icky?

July 19th, 2013 by

The second story on BuzzFeed’s website this morning was…wait for it…“12 Comebacks We Can All Agree With.” (I say ‘wait for it’ because anyone who knows BuzzFeed’s editorial approach knows its love for lists.) It was a sponsored story—paid advertising—posted on behalf of Hostess, whose Twinkies and other brands are back after the production ceased… Continued

Fixing the Major Image Problems of Big-Time Sports

July 12th, 2013 by

The ugly story of Aaron Hernandez raises again the issue of perception challenges in big-time sports, both on the professional and collegiate levels, and it’s worth some time thinking about how we got here. We’re a sports-obsessed culture. Always have been. It goes way back in the country’s psyche. I recently read a book called… Continued

Lessons From The Dunkin’ Donuts Customer’s Racist Rant

June 13th, 2013 by

One of the bigger viral stories of the last two days was the foul-mouthed racist rant by a Dunkin’ Donuts customer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who filmed herself abusing the store’s employees and posted the video online. The coffee-shop chain has a policy that states that if employees neglect to provide an accurate receipt, then… Continued

Tips From a Reporter on Great PR Writing

May 28th, 2013 by

We’ve been doing a lot of writing in PR News lately on great PR writing and as I was reflecting on this very intricate craft—a form of writing that requires immense skill—I thought it might be useful to reflect on what a journalist looks for in PR writing—not just press releases, but also corporate letters,… Continued

On the Power of Optimism in PR Communications

May 10th, 2013 by

Earlier this week I noticed this tweet from Business Insider’s Henry Blodget: “RT ‪@SullyCNBC: I’ve interviewed many successful people over the years. Many began with nothing. ALL shared one trait—optimism.” Blodget, of course, was retweeting a comment by CNBC’s Brian Sullivan, whose tweet sparked a conversation among his followers and was retweeted more than 30… Continued

Why I Ignored a PR Pitch

March 13th, 2013 by

Last week I got a pitch from a PR person related to the magazine industry. (I’m also general manager of Min and Folio:, brands that serve that market). I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but the pitch was a followup from one the day before, and that one was a followup from one sent… Continued