Posts Tagged ‘writing’
Late last month, Dallas/Fort Worth learned that Big Tex wasn’t the only legendary face on the state fairgrounds.
Her name was Jean Carpenter, and although she had her own practice in North Texas, she was known for representing the Texas State Fair annually for the past 30 years.
“Jean was just running every direction that morning making sure things came together the way they were supposed to,” Ms. [Nancy, of retired State Fair fame] Wiley said. “Pretty much everything did, except for the trained pig. We discovered pigs don’t like to get up before dark and perform. Jean was right out in the middle of it, herding the pigs in the direction they were supposed to go. She was tremendously versatile.”
The last memoir there describes what true flacks do. This is not a 9-to-5 gig. It’s round the clock, ofttimes thankless but erstwhile rewarding. And that’s what Carpenter made it.
I had the privilege of working with her once on behalf of another client. Although Big Tex towers over the fairgrounds, that woman clearly wore the huge pants around that place. She ran the joint and no one got through that gate without her consent.
Including yours truly… and I had approval, only the news didn’t make it to security that one fateful morning. Sigh.
Chutzpah and credibility, all in one bound Dallas package. She will certainly be missed.
To really appreciate a more personal approach, Rawlins Gilliand wrote an amazing celebratory piece that Big Bob Wilonsky posted in Unfair Park. Please visit, it’s worth the read.
Ms. Carpenter is survived by her companion, John Patrick Byrne of Dallas, and a sister, Jerry Stevenson of Lufkin, Texas. Memorials may be made to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children or the State Fair of Texas Scholarship Fund.
So, eh, breaking news? Newspapers are closing their printing presses everywhere.
It’s not they are running out of ink or stories, just money. And so, publishers have been hurling their heads into their desks trying to figure a way out of this Internet mess.
Then, without fail, faster than a speeding IRS agent, more powerful than a local blog and able to leap tall requests with a single check… here comes the U.S. Government, thanks to HuffPo.
Yeah, yeah. Get your barf bags ready and let’s say those two magical words together, “Bail. Out.”
Hosted by Sen. John Kerry, some of this country’s most influential publishers caucused on Capitol Hill with shades, a cane and a dirty coffee mug in-hand awaiting a hand out.
Among the blind… er, publishing magnates were James Moroney from the beleaguered Dallas Morning News, who claimed a “quasi property right” over facts that were being used for “commercial gain,” not by readers but by “someone else.”
Yeah, that’s called public information once it’s online, so I’m fairly sure that “someone else” would be every person who regretfully isn’t interested in buying a paper to see the advertising… uh, read the stories first-hand.
Why Kerry? Among the near-dearly-departed who be his beloved Boston Globe. So his impartial and unbiased interest in saving that paper is about as transparent as Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan being interested in the goings on of the automotive industry.
Now, Kerry and the gaggle of civil servants who gathered are looking into a proposal to steer around labeling it as a bailout – allowing papers become non-profit entities.
I wonder which of those former-writers-gone-publishers was responsible for that ironic twist. Hrm.
With the advent of this Internet thingy, more and more people are relying less and less on common sense and due diligence. They don’t research anymore.
Rather, at the last minute, they logon and frantically search for a Cliff’s Notes version of whatever it is that has them trolling Google pages 30 – 35 at 3 a.m.
Long gone are the days of the door-to-door Encyclopedia Britannica salesman. Today, it’s Wikipedia or bust.
The only problem with that is history is not the determining factor, people and their often misled opinions are.
How’s that working out? Glad you asked.
Shane was looking for a focus group on “the dangers of relying too heavily on the Internet for information.” His group? The world.
Oscar-winning French composer Maurice Jarre died on March 30, and to commemorate his passing, Shane goes to Jarre’s Wikipage and invents a quote that was then used in major newspapers around the world. Nice.
It didn’t take Dr. Zhivago to figure out the ailment – the media got bamboozled because they collectively took a short cut to be the first to get a story out… and on Google.
There is something to be said for that ubiquitous horse’s mouth, even it did belong to a dead movie score composer.
George Orwell. Conspiracy theorist to some. Genius to others. Regardless, I dig his writing.
And I presume when he coined “doublethink” and “newspeak”, his crystal ball or tea leaves took him straight to some of the stuffy public relations executive boardrooms we have all been inside, yet, dare not discuss at parties.
Why? It would put people to sleep and cause them to nose dive into their onion ranch dip.
Can you imagine a tête-à-tête full of Orwellian psychobabble like “we need to be laser focused,” “move the needle” and “let’s create some synergy”?
Just writing those made me throw up a little in my mouth.
Well, thanks to the handiwork of David Meerman Scott (big marketing guy) and his “analysis of 711,123 press releases,” [what the…] we now have the list of the Top 25 Gobbledygook Words from 2008.
Some big players I have personally seen, begrudgingly and worked diligently to avoid are the following:
- [Very] unique
- New and improved
- 120 [or 110] percent
Now, there are some repeat offenders in my lexicon, such as commitment, partnership and leverage. But hey, sometimes it’s what works.
But these point to a clear source of angst among those we pitch in our fare burgh, there’s no need to trick up an e-mail, a release or even Web copy.
Journalists are searching underneath the cushions in their couch for good stories, but if they get pitches full of “strategery” and other Web 2.0, needle-moving, and innovative words, they will get filed in that special bin and our clients won’t be discussed.
People get quoted because what they said works. Consider Shakespeare, “Brevity is the soul of wit” the next time you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard.
And I could talk about that for hours, but only after I mix in a thesaurus.