Past Issue

The Flack for Friday, April 9, 2021…

By April 9, 2021April 23rd, 2021No Comments

The Flack highlights changes and trends in the news, examples of communications practices, and content we at BYRNE PR thought you might find useful.

We hope you enjoy, and we always welcome your feedback.


New Hemingway Documentary Peeks Behind the Myth — By 30, Ernest Hemingway had done more living than most men do in a lifetime. After high school he wrote for the Kansas City Star, and the newspaper’s style guidelines — “Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English.” — influenced his writing for the rest of his career. His sparse, tight writing style became his signature, and it allowed him to become a Pulitzer Prize winner and the most celebrated American writer of his time. The new, three-part PBS documentary, Hemingway, takes a look at the man, the myths, the life he led and the work he produced. This excellent review from The New Yorker gives a good glimpse.

We Live in a New Age of Email AnxietyEmail is more important than ever, with so many people working remotely in isolation. And it has the power to freak people out in so many ways. With life in overdrive for many of us, mustering up the emotional fortitude for the perfect response feels even more stressful. How do you convey gratitude, warmth and that “message received” sentiment without sounding long-winded or neglecting to do the initial dispatch justice? How soon do you have to respond? What’s the exact moment that shows you care, but assures you’re not stalking the sender? This brief article (or six-minute listen) from The Wall Street Journal looks at the issue and provides some quick tips to reduce stress and simplify your life.

Illinois State Senator Wants to Preserve Journalism, Eliminate ‘News Deserts’More than 15 years of declining advertising revenue and circulation have translated into fewer newspapers, fewer newsroom jobs and news deserts around the country. Illinois State Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, a former local TV news anchor, wants to do something about it. He is sponsoring a bill to create a Local Journalism Task Force with the aim of providing local news to underserved communities around the state. The number of daily and weekly newspapers in Illinois fell from 573 in 2004 to 383 in 2019 —  a 33% decrease. During the same time frame, total newspaper circulation dropped from 6.4 million to 4 million. This story looks at the senator’s plan to change things.

No, Volkswagen Isn’t Rebranding Itself Voltswagen Volkswagen’s U.S. subsidiary said last week the company would rebrand itself as Voltswagen of America to promote its electric car strategy, but a spokesman for the parent company in Germany later said the move was a joke. The name change, which immediately lit up social media and online news sites, was originally intended as an early April Fools’ Day stunt to get people talking about VW’s ambitious electric-car strategy as the company rolls out its first all-electric sport-utility vehicle in U.S. dealerships, the spokesman said. The problem for VW is that everyone took it seriously, creating confusion about the company’s intentions and putting VW’s communications team on the defensive. Was this a joke or an intentional ploy to get publicity for the company’s EV strategy? The Wall Street Journal takes a look.

How to Say ‘I Don’t Know’ With Confidence … And Why You Should — It takes a lot of confidence to say, “I don’t know.” There will be times, in any job, where you are asked a question, and you simply do not know the answer. Acknowledging you do not have the answer — and saying you’ll find out and circle back, when that’s possible — is far, far better than trying to bluff your way through or risking giving inaccurate information. In fact, one of the things people who are great at their work and widely respected have in common is that they’re willing to say “I don’t know.” It actually makes them look more confident and credible, because they’re secure in their overall competence and standing, and they know they don’t need to (and can’t) have every single answer. Inc. takes a look at how to say, “I don’t know,” and boost your credibitily.


Words Matter:  Pollster Frank Luntz Discusses Why Leaders Should Stop Saying “Vaccine Passport”




: one who provides publicity



: to act as a press agent or promoter for something

The word flack was first used as a noun meaning “publicity agent” during the late 1930s. According to one rumor, the word was coined in tribute to a well-known movie publicist of the time, Gene Flack.