Paula Deen’s Outrageously Insane PR Apocalypse Explodes like the Death Star and Alderaan Combined – PRNewser

There is simply no other place to begin this post except in outer space, but the truth is Paula Deen’s decisions wouldn’t make any sense in any galaxy anywhere. This is interstellar bat crap crazy.

via Paula Deen’s Outrageously Insane PR Apocalypse Explodes like the Death Star and Alderaan Combined – PRNewser.

I can’t add a damn thing to this except to shake my head. The tweets it pulls in the jump just go to show that the art of PR and crisis management was completely and utterly lost on Team Butter Queen.


Watch as Vine becomes the next great news-gathering tool | CNET

What if the Arab Spring, or Hurricane Sandy had been Vined?

Much has been made over the years about how Twitter is one of the world’s most important new tools for reporting breaking news. But with the launch of Vine, has Twitter now expanded its control over citizen journalism to video?

via Watch as Vine becomes the next great news-gathering tool | Internet & Media – CNET News.

This is an interesting article on Vine, Twitter’s new 6-second video app. Makes a lot of sense and I’ll be interested to see how it develops.

I’ve been trying to master Vine, without much success!

Twit Much?

UnknownIn case you didn’t know it because you’re spending all of your time on Google+, Twitter is the fastest growing social network in the world at the moment. One of the most curious things about Twitter is outlined in this article from MediaBistro’s AllTwitter blog:

Of greatest interest is the growth of the “passive” Twitter user. All social media platforms define an active user as somebody who engages with the platform in some way over the past month, but on Twitter, only 51 percent of all active users claim to have posted a tweet over that period. Which means that almost half of all Twitter folk – 100+ million people – are simply reading them. Planning Events, Watching TV And Chatting About Products – How Do We Use Twitter? [STUDY] – AllTwitter.

This is interesting to me. So many of us are looking at how people interact on social media, but we’re not accustomed to thinking about passive users. Those who, on Twitter, follow but do not interact.

My curiosity is peaked even further when I think about my own Twitter use. Mostly, I do follow. I tweet occasionally. I tweet much more when I’m on vacation because I don’t have to carry my computer, I can snap a photo on my phone and tweet it out effortlessly. Plus, on holiday I link my Twitter to my Facebook page so that community of friends can interact with it.

At work, I use Twitter primarily to engage our community during bad weather or emergencies. It’s BRILLIANT for emergency communications.

And, as evidenced by my earlier post today, I’m trying to figure out Vine, so I’ll be tweeting more. Follow me @markrblackmon and let me know when I’ve gotten Vine right!

Is it real? Witness builds an app to verify user-submitted content » Nieman Journalism Lab

Is it real? Witness builds an app to verify user-submitted content » Nieman Journalism Lab.

By now, it’s a familiar cycle: An amazing image is discovered — and then proven to be fake.

Whether it’s photos of flooding during Hurricane Sandy, or videos of eagles stealing babies, it’s not always easy to detect fakery. And when you think of the number of videos and photos produced by our phones each day, it can be problematic for news organizations trying to deal with submissions from readers.


The Middle of the Night Phone Call

In the 1987 film Moonstruck, Vincent Gardenia playing Cosmo Castorini, wakes up his wife Rose, played by Olympia Dukakis. She wakes with a start and immediately says, “Who’s dead?”

Several times a year, my phone rings in the middle of the night. I’m in charge of emergency communications at the college where I work, so on the rare times a student is accosted or someone’s dorm room is broken into or someone sees a person who may or may not have a weapon, I’m awakened to make sure the statement with the proper wording goes up on our website or out via text message.

Last Friday, at 2:50 a.m. my phone rang. The caller identified himself and said, “Mark, we’re assembling the emergency team and we need you to come in. Three of our students were hit by a train.”

A train? What? How? That’s positively 19th century. Who gets hit by a train? Good Lord. “I’ll be there in a half hour,” I said, and hung up.

Now what?

I’ve handed student deaths before — suicides, traffic accidents — but nothing like this. I knew from my initial phone call that one student was killed, and the other two were not in good shape. They’d been airlifted to the nearest trauma center.

I debriefed my partner, who immediately went to local news sites to see if he could glean anything. I ran into a hot shower in an attempt to wake up. While dressing quickly, he read me the story from the local paper, so at least I had a few details before setting off to campus.

I set up shop in the security director’s office. I got more details as the rest of the team assembled. The dining hall brought in coffee and bagels. The President, calling from the hospital, wanted classes suspended for the day. I needed to write things.

The first thing I did was be glad that my laptop had a full charge. Secondly, I opened the following tabs in my browser: our website, our site’s admin page so I could edit, the local newspaper’s coverage of the incident, Facebook, Twitter, and Google News. I logged into my e-mail. Then I opened Word. Then I began to type.

The next several hours were a blur, people coming and going, planning other pieces of the operation. I sent multiple iterations of the story to the President and the Provost, who were at the hospital. I spoke to the coroner. I listened as our security team called the police in another town to enlist their help to find parents that we could not raise. We sent the text that cancelled classes. As soon as that hit, I put up the story on the homepage of the College’s site, then posted it on Facebook and Twitter.

Then I packed up and went to my office. It was a little before 7:00 in the morning. I had 6 voice mail messages when I arrived. I listened to them, took notes, wrote down numbers and then did the only sensible thing there was to do: I turned on the coffee pot and went to the bathroom.

It was going to be a very, very long day.

By 7:30 a.m. I had done live phoners for a couple of radio morning shows. We set up for the first live shot of the day and I dispatched an early-arriving co-worker for a bagel. As the TV crews from two markets began to swarm, I held a mini news conference and tried my best not to let them loose on campus to ambush students. It mostly worked.

How did I accomplish this? I simply told them that they couldn’t. Press relations aren’t difficult. The answers are usually: “Yes,” “No,” “I don’t know but I’ll check,” or “No.” Did I say that before? Well, learn it. “No, I’m sorry, we can’t allow that” or “No, I’m sorry, I’m bound by Federal privacy regulations” are my most used stock phrases.

At 3:00 p.m. I was officially spent. I had spent the better part of eight hours on camera, unshaven and bleary, telling the same story over and over and over again. And it’s not a pleasant story to tell. Young people getting hit by train; there’s nothing pleasant about it.

I went home. I napped on the sofa because I just simply fell over. I slept lousily that night. When I got back to work on Monday, I spent most of that day clearing my desk and mopping up details, assembling coverage, filing my notes, dealing with the insistent ones who demanded to know information that I wouldn’t — or couldn’t — give them.

Advice to impart? Some. Simple stuff really.

  1. Have your computer and/or devices charged or at least have access to electricity.
  2. Be organized. Plan. Know what you need beforehand so that when your phone rings in the middle of the night you don’t spent precious minutes running into walls.
  3. Be compassionate yet forceful. Get the information you need.
  4. Thank the people who help you to do your job.
  5. Remember: these are people who have died or who have been injured; they’re not just names on paper. I always think, “If this were my son or daughter, what would I want this institution to do.”

And finally, know when you’re too exhausted to do a good job. Hand over the reins to the next person on the emergency team and go home. When you do, make sure you allow yourself to feel. So much of this work is about being a face for an institution or organization where you need to be as dispassionate as possible, but when you’re out of the spotlight, and it has affected you, just let it happen. You’ll definitely feel better in the morning.

New Emergency Resources from Google

Google Introduces New Emergency Resources in Response to Sandy (NYT / Bits)

Google has scrambled to post online resources for people who want information about the deadly storm Sandy, including maps showing evacuation routes and shelters and a new service that sends emergency alerts to Google users.USA Today The Public Alerts system — which provides warnings for natural disasters and emergency situations based on targeted Google searches and location-specific enquiries — was planned for release later this week but the team decided to speed things “so they can be helpful to people,” given the effects of the hurricane in New York. SlashGear Google gathers its Public Alerts data from “a network of partners,” which includes the USGS and NOAA, which utilize the Common Alerting Protocol. More partnerships are planned in the future, according to the announcement. A list of all current public alerts are available on Google’s main Public Alerts page.

H/T mediabistro 10/31/12

Good stuff. Important stuff. Talking about this with members of my emergency management team at work as well as with several friends who live and work in NY and who deal with audiences. You need to be prepared and you need to be able to communicate easily and effectively in times of crisis.

The one thing none of these pages gives you, curiously, is the link to this Google page. So, here, allow me.