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Can You Define Public Relations in Three Words or Fewer?

May 2, 2013

In a previous blog post (“What the Heck is Public Relations?”), I noted that even though we’re supposed to be communications professionals, we’ve done a miserable job defining what we do.

Here’s a chance to remedy that.  Tell me how you would define public relations.  Leave a comment on my blog or in a discussion group.

Who Says Rust Never Sleeps?

April 24, 2013

It’s a story rich in irony.  As part of a multi-bank settlement, some of the country’s largest mortgage lenders are paying out $3.6 billion to former homeowners whose homes they foreclosed on.

Except some of the checks are bouncing, thanks to a big oops by third-party vendor Rust Consulting.

Steve Viuker, a writer for The Warren Group who is based in New York City, wrote about the bouncing checks for Total Mortgage Services in his article, “Follow the Bouncing (Mortgage Settlement) Checks.”

He quoted this blogger as follows: “When does tragicomedy become farce?  Foreclosed homeowners who failed to pay what they owe now have big banks failing to pay them what they owe.  Hopefully, the banks whose checks bounced will be adding a bounced-check fee to their payments to the foreclosed homeowners.”

Best of luck to Rust Consulting.  We hope the float was worth it.


Where’s Jimmy Carter Now?

April 24, 2013

Jimmy Carter validated the election of Hugo Chávez when he became president of Venezuela in 1998, playing a part in condemning the country to 15 years of misery under the dictator’s rule.

Now that Chávista standard-bearer Nicolás Maduro has defeated challenger Henrique Capriles by a margin of just 1.6% (about 250,000 votes), the former leader of the free world has been silent about the outcome.  Nothing has been posted on The Carter Center’s Web site.

A World Full of Junk

Apri 23, 2013

The “Pros and Cons” blog now receives dozens of comments a day.  Unfortunately, though, most of the comments are trying to sell basketball shoes, Ugg boots or Coach pocketbooks.

In the pre-Internet days, junk mail and telemarketing calls were the only annoying interruptions.  Today, throwing out the trash is practically a full-time job.

One Space Or Two?

April 22, 2013

If you write for a living, you likely spend way too much time worrying about little things, like when to use a comma, whether it’s OK to split an infinitive or when to write in second person.

Nothing is too trivial to escape attention.  For example, I’ve long wanted to know what happened to the extra space at the end of a sentence.

It used to be routine to use two spaces at the end of a sentence.  Now, no one (except for real old timers, like me) uses two spaces.  When did one space become acceptable?

Two spaces are much better than one.  The double space reinforces the end of a thought.  It makes a sentence a sentence.

Maybe it’s more efficient to use one space, but if you want the reader to think about each sentence, an extra space can create an opportunity to pause for a nanosecond or so before moving on to the next sentence.

So give me back my space.


PC Police Nix "Master Bedroom"

April 22, 2013

With its overtones of sexism and male dominance, the term “master bedroom” is becoming the latest victim of political correctness.

It does have a Fifty Shades of Gray sound to it, I guess, but I doubt that anyone other than the PC police have given much thought to the term “master beroom.”

The preferred substitute, “owner’s bedroom,” doesn’t do much to remove the connotation of slavery in the term “master bedroom,” though.

I’d be fine with calling it a “mistress bedroom,” to balance out all those years of using the term “master,” but I don’t think my wife would be thrilled by the term.

Here’s an idea.  Why not just call it by the term we used when I was a kid – “bedroom.”

Marathon Bombings Bring Out the Best and the Worst in People

April 19, 2013

Tragedy brings out the best and the worst in people.

After the Boston marathon bombings, the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, Boston residents became united.  Many at the scene helped the injured and there was a widespread outpouring of goodwill.

SEC Joins the 21st Century

April 19, 2013

After considering cease-and-desist proceedings against Netflix for posting on its Facebook page that it is not streaming more than a billion hours of video a month, the Securities and Exchange Commission has done an about face and has decided to allow public companies to make material disclosures via Facebook and Twitter.

Welcome to the 21st century, SEC.

Hanoi Jane as Nancy Reagan

April 17, 2013

You just can’t make this up.

Jane Fonda will be playing Nancy Reagan in an upcoming movie called, “The Butler.”  That’s kind of like Fidel Castro playing George Washington.

Hanoi Jane as the former first lady has not played well with some.  As Larry Reyes, a Navy veteran and founder of the “Boycott Hanoi Jane Playing Nancy Reagan” put it, “I’m not a conservative or a liberal, I’m an American.  And that was a slap in the face.”

Why Jane Fonda of all people?  Must be her physical resemblance to Mrs. Reagan.

Discriminating Against the Jobless

April 17, 2013

Can we just start treating everyone the same already?

Should it matter whether someone is black, white, Asian or Hispanic?  Should it matter whether someone is a man or woman, straight or gay?

Of course not.  It’s illegal to discriminate based on race, religion, sex or creed.  So why do we need special laws to protect special interest groups?