Flak Attack

If it’s in the news, the Flak attacks!

Posts Tagged ‘economy

Internships: The new interview?

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NEWS FLASH: The economy blows.

And besides the current 8.6 percent in this country who are feeling it the most, quite possibly no other audience has more to hurdle than the broad jumpers currently graduating college.

Think about it: they are unproven, they have no contacts, they have nothing to fall back on and… that resume? Woof.

What’s a graduate to do in this profession, and in this market?

Answer: Become an intern – anywhere!

The class of 2009 is ready, willing and able, so why work for free? How do they make it?

According to this article from San Bernandino Sun, those questions are considered in-between cramming for finals and those drunken stupors allegedly dealt with on a bi-weekend basis.

“It’s exciting to be graduating, but very frustrating,” said Christina Dudley, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Cal State San Bernardino in June. “It makes you wonder if it’s even worth it going to school all these years, paying all this money and then not being able to find a job to pay back student loans.”

No kidding.

The article continues to discuss the deft trifecta these students are facing:

  1. The job market blows as much as the economy does.
  2. Consider the usual competition for PR jobs, now multiply that by 10.
  3. The market sucked last year too, so all those graduates are still looking for a gig.

Which leads me to internships. Sure, you may have to get a part-timer sacking groceries, but interning creates four magic words on a resume your diploma can’t buy: “On the job training.”

More and more, agencies have a need at the assistant account executive or account coordinator level but are waiting for the summer months to hire. No, not at your level but that one intern who will do everything, get everything, help everyone and be happy doing it.

Agencies don’t have the cost of benefits and stil get a hungry person willing to show off a little to get a little. And possibly a lot more in the fall. Yes, that’s why!

Interns get their foot in the door, develop a new skill set not foreseen during semester mid-terms and get a lot closer to a managing director than your resume ever will.

So, if you’re out there, fresh hair cut, creased pants, diploma in-hand and still without the job, consider the intern. I’ll bet more of them get hired in the next coming months than more of you.

Written by theflak

May 28, 2009 at 11:00 am

Warren Buffett and his nail for the newspapers’ coffin

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Warren Buffett – he’s one of the most beloved philanthropists and investors, one of the richest dudes on the planet and a guy who knows a thing or two about newspapers.

The only place in America where the paper is still read

The only place in America where the paper is still read

Much to the latter, Buffett was quoted at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting discussing the recent plight of dwindling newspaper circulations and the fact America doesn’t fancy itself as a reading nation any longer.

“For most newspapers in the United states, [his company that dabbles in publications] would not buy them at any price,” he said in response to a question about whether he would consider investing in newspapers. “They have the possibility of going to just unending losses.

Talk about kicking the crap out of an industry while it’s down. Publishing magnates everywhere collectively inhaled and choked on their stogies when this quote went transcontinental.

So, how so, O’ Sage of Omaha? Well, to paraphrase Buffett’s street savvy, “It’s all about the Benjamins.”

As long as newspapers were essential to readers, they were essential to advertisers. But news is available in many other venues, such as the Internet, which means a dramatic drop in advertising revenue.

So, is this pandemic Google’s fault? Nah. It’s ours. Folk enjoy anything that can chucked into a microwave and bought at a drive-thru. Our quest of diversify our calendars has been the driving force to plunder newspapers everywhere.

We enjoy the Cliff’s Notes versions found online rather than sifting through countless headlines and ads to find just exactly where was the last place Brangelina or TomKat was seen in public.

Why look for the story when we can hunt for the Google images and copy that in our Facebook page? Who knows.

Written by theflak

May 20, 2009 at 10:00 am

Imagine paying rent at a homeless shelter

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Signs of the Times?

Signs of the Times?

Ever been to New York City? If you work in public relations, the answer is probably, “Yes.”

It’s the media mecca. It’s the holy ground of journalism. And it’s the… most friggin’ expensive place on earth!

My God, man. A brother can go broke there without ordering room service.

I mean, has anyone bothered checking out the home prices in that city?

$1.5 million for a 660 square-foot tin shanty, but hey, it’s got a view… if you look waaaaaaaaaay in the corner of that rear window in your bathroom, you can see a tree past those gutters. Sweet.

Well, the economy is evidently still putting the squeeze on real estate in the city that never sleeps.

According to this alarming story from Newsday, city officials have begun charging rent to families living in… wait for it… homeless shelters. Classy.

The spin:

The policy applies only to shelter residents who have income from jobs.

Sure. Never mind those jobs are typically dishwasher, asbestos cleaner, sewage drainer and pooper scoopers, but hey, it’s a gig. Right?

The catch:

They could be expected to pay up to half their earnings.

Because when you are living in a homeless shelter (oxymoron, eh?), you can easily afford that kind of scratch on three hots and a cot… for you and your family.

Pathetic. In a world where the economy is public enemy #1 and charity is sorely floundering amidst public panic, New York City shows up in a sterling fashion.

I understand every city has to get their cut, but to get “stimulated” on the backs of the disenfranchised, impoverished and destitute? Hrm.

The Big Apple looks like it has sour grapes to me. Poetic. And nutritious too.

Written by theflak

May 14, 2009 at 4:48 am

“Swine Flu” is actually media pork

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The world is dawning surgical masks like they are in style. Americans are considering a mass influx to synagogues or the local mosque. And why?

According to the nation’s hog farmers, “This little piggie can kiss my [bleep].”

pigs-uniteEvidently, as noted in this CNN story, the moniker given this flu bug is a grave misnomer and those aforementioned farmers are winning the battle of nicknames.

This sardonic concoction is actually a mix of human and animal strains, with not an ounce of bacon in sight, yet it’s the pigs who get picked on. Poor ol’ piggy.

“This flu is being called something that it isn’t, and it’s hurting our entire industry,” said Dave Warner, communications director for the National Pork Producers Council. “It is not a ‘swine’ flu, and people need to stop calling it that … they’re ruining people’s lives.

And so, the CDC has now begun calling this dreaded flu strain (and tweeting it no less), “N1H1” but the hog farmers are yawping, “Too little; too late.”

“The real issue is that anything is bad now because producers for the past 19 months have already lost money,” Warner said. “On average they’ve lost about $20 a pig. So even if they lose $2 more, it’s hard on them.

And besides all this talk about pork making me hungry, it makes me think of another thing: It’s not Kosher. Literally.

We will call it Mexico flu. We won’t call it swine flu,” Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman, a black-garbed Orthodox Jew, told a news conference Monday, assuring the Israeli public that authorities were prepared to handle any cases.

Ah well. I don’t see anyone from a big White House calling the Holy Land looking for a mea culpa on that P.C. insensitivity. Maybe I just missed that story.

Anyone bothering the good Muslims? I hear they aren’t big fans of pork roast either. Oy Vey!

Written by theflak

May 4, 2009 at 12:00 pm

PR really does “Ad” up

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“Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.” ~Will Rogers

Now I may not need a G.I. Joe with a Kung-fu action grip for my little man, but if he sees enough advertisements, desire jacked up on steroids takes in and off to the store I go.

However, if enough spineless jellyfish parents like me see that G.I. Joe purchases will be directed to the troops overseas, we see bald eagles flying overhead and hear “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as we slide that bruised credit card.

In other words, advertisements create impulse but PR can create emotion. And that befuddles this practitioner because more brands don’t use it effectively – if, at all – to increase awareness and try to impact the bottom line.

Recently, HuffPo published an irksome story, “The 12 Brands That Will Disappear by 2010.”

How many of these brands have you seen championing a cause, feeding kids in the Sudan or even appearing like they care about their consumers lately:

1. Avis/Budget Rent-a-Car
2. Borders
3. Crocs
4. Saturn
5. Hearst Publications
6. Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic
7. Eddie Bauer
8. Palm
9. Condé Nast Publications
10. Chrysler

You think any of those giants could use a CSR campaign, grassroots outreach or media relations? Oh, before you answer, #11 on the list was the infamous AIG.

Any takers on PR yet? Call me.

Written by theflak

May 3, 2009 at 1:29 pm