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.
Bari Weiss Resigns from the New York Times — Earlier this week, Bari Weiss, opinion editor and writer for the New York Times, submitted her resignation saying she was bullied by colleagues and that, “showing up as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.” Weiss joined the paper in 2017 to help offer a different perspective following the Times’ “failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers.”
Eliminate Filler Language — Filler words and phrases are like dandelions. They can seem harmless at first, but, if not addressed, they can take over your interview or your lawn. Rashad Robinson, president and executive director of Color of Change, was featured on CNBC earlier this month. In a seven-minute interview, Mr. Robinson says “um” 24 times and “sort of” 17 times. This use of repeated filler language distracts the viewer and dilutes Mr. Robinson’s messages. To address this tendency, spokespersons should listen to each question and then pause briefly before beginning their answer. This brief pause will make it easier for spokespersons to collect their thoughts and speak at a more measured pace. With practice, filler language can be reduced or eliminated.
Review Your Background Before the Interview — Since COVID-19 hit, the vast majority of television interviews have been conducted via Zoom or another video conference service. We encourage clients to review their background, lighting and audio and look for anything in the shot that could distract the reporter or viewers. But mistakes keep happening. When European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde appeared at a recent online summit to speak about coronavirus, a book on her shelf by a jailed Islamic cult leader caused quite a stir.
Political Neutrality is What Made American Newspapers Great — Given all the recent discussion about the loss of objectivity in American newsrooms, this opinion piece about the New York Herald by John Steele Gordon from The Wall Street Journal gives great perspective. The New York Herald was founded by Scottish immigrant James Gordon Bennett in 1835, 16 years prior to the New York Times. The Herald pioneered impartial coverage, and, at the time of Bennett’s death in 1872, it had the largest circulation in the world.
Of Black and Blue: The Journey of African American Police — This one-hour special shares perspectives and insights of officers who find themselves balancing their identity as Black Americans with their roles on St. Louis-area police forces. In a time when the conversation about race and police-community relations is front-page news in America, the five officers profiled in “Of Black and Blue” work to promote positive change in their own communities. And while this film isn’t about media or communications issues, it’s an excellent, locally-produced documentary.
What we’re reading:
IN AWE — Rediscover Your Childlike Wonder to Unleash Inspiration, Meaning and Joy
by John O’Leary
: 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.