Past Issue

The Flack™ for Friday, May 21, 2021

By May 21, 2021June 4th, 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.


University President Resigns After Plagiarizing Speech — May is commencement season. Unfortunately, that can also mean plagiarism season. Last week the University of South Carolina accepted the resignation of President Bob Caslen, who admitted he plagiarized part of a speech by the former head of U.S. Special Operations Command during a weekend commencement speech. In a letter Caslen said he was “truly sorry” for having shared a well-known quote by Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the successful raid that killed Osama bin Laden. McRaven’s commencement speech has been viewed more than 13 million times on YouTube and years later is still an inspiration to viewers.

Facebook Wants to Make Sure You’ve Read The Article You’re About to Share — Have you ever shared an article via Facebook without reading it first? If so, you’re not alone, and Facebook wants to do something about it. The company announced on Twitter it will start testing a pop-up message that asks users if they’re sure they want to share an article they haven’t opened. The pop-up message will prompt users to read the article, but they can also choose to continue sharing it if they want. Facebook says the message is meant to help people stay more informed about the articles they share, likely as an attempt to combat the spread of misinformation the platform has struggled with in the past.

Follow The Rule of 3 Questions to Be More Likable — According to a 2017 Harvard study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, asking a question and then asking at least two follow-up questions will dramatically increase how likable you are. The authors write: “We converse with others to learn what they know — their information, stories, preferences, ideas, thoughts, and feelings — as well as to share what we know, while managing others’ perceptions of us. When we ask more questions, we are perceived as higher in responsiveness, an interpersonal construct that captures listening, understanding, validation, and care.” This article from Inc. looks at the study and explains how asking three simple questions can vastly improve your conversations.

How ‘The Tipping Point’ Spawned a New Kind of Business Book — When The Tipping Point was published in 2000, it marked a sea change in the world of books. Selling over a million copies, Malcolm Gladwell’s “biography of an idea” convinced publishers that — told well — serious books about economics, social change, history, science and business could appeal to readers. A new genre of silo-busting, multi-disciplinary nonfiction was born. And even though it drew largely from academic research, it wasn’t stodgy, it was fun. And its central thesis: “there is a simple way to package information that — under the right circumstances — can make it irresistible,” was broad enough to talk about over a beer. Suddenly books about ideas were cool.

To Understand Amazon, We Must Understand Jeff Bezos — Brad Stone’s new book, Amazon Unbound, takes an unflinching look at the company and its founder, Jeff Bezos. On its surface it’s a business book that seeks to explain the rise of America’s most important private enterprise, a giant company also notable for its opacity. In that sense, it is a sequel of sorts to Stone’s 2013 best seller, The Everything Store, which introduced Bezos and explained his relentless and single-minded drive to take over online commerce. Amazon Unbound is particularly valuable in explaining how the company makes money, and the day-to-day decisions that end up having a big effect on consumers: Is it worth it, for example, to sell pallets of bottled water, with their low cost and expensive shipping? Dig into this review from The New York Times.


Feed Your Head:  How to Spot a Misleading Graph




: 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.