Santa Claus, Secret, Stealing & Squander: Wrapping up the 2015 SABEW Spring Conference

“Why are you here?”

This was a question I was asked a few times last week while attending the 2015 Society of Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) fall conference in Chicago.

These bi-annual events are attended by a who’s who of business journalists from the U.S. and Canada, as well up-and-coming journalism students from acclaimed universities such as Northwestern and Missouri. There aren’t many PR professionals running around, so it didn’t surprise me when there was curiosity and perhaps skepticism about my participating.

But the answer to this question is pretty simple: I’m there to learn just like everyone else. Attending SABEW provides a unique opportunity to hear what issues and challenges business journalists are facing in the industry and how they cover the news. It’s also an opportunity to network and gain a greater understanding of the best ways PR professionals can work with reporters. These lessons keep us one step ahead and help shape the integrated communications plans we create for our clients.

Now onto some of the highlights from the conference.


By |April 28th, 2015|Blog Post|0 Comments

Know your narrative: 5 PR lessons from NBA star Kevin Durant’s media outburst

While amazing athletic feats and extremely passionate fans define the sports world to most, this industry has also provided PR pros a variety of lessons and case studies on topics such as crisis communications, reputation management and transparency.

The latest example pulled from the sports back page involves NBA All-Star Kevin Durant. In a recent interview, Durant ripped into media asserting that, in addition to not knowing anything about basketball (though using more colorful language), media essentially were going to write what they wanted, despite what he would or would not say.

By |February 23rd, 2015|Blog Post|0 Comments

Brian Williams and the state of media: A conversation with longtime newsman David Lyons

In the wake of the Brian Williams scandal and subsequent suspension from NBC News, I spoke with longtime newspaper reporter and editor, David Lyons, to get his take on the situation and how he currently views the media.

David has been a journalist for more than 40 years including as a writer at The Miami Herald, editor-in-chief at the Daily Business Review and his current position as editor-in-chief at EXECUTIVE South Florida magazine.

Below are my questions and his responses, which have been edited for brevity.


By |February 18th, 2015|Blog Post|0 Comments

Brian Williams’ “Hero Syndrome”: What media, companies and brands can learn from this anchor’s big mistake

NBC’s emotional coverage of a tribute for a retired soldier who provided ground security in Iraq for Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams certainly had some unintended consequences. Namely, the discovery that Williams’ claims of being on a helicopter that was forced down by an RPG hit during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion in Iraq are false.

Over the past few years, hundreds of companies have developed programs to support and honor our military and returning soldiers. It is truly wonderful that our country has rallied to support those who make the tremendous sacrifice to defend our freedom and honor in the armed services. At the same time, aligning with the military is also a smart brand move. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, the military continues to rank as the most trusted institution in America, a position it’s held for almost 25 years.

However, as organizations consider the best way to honor, engage and support military families, there are unique considerations that come into play.


By |February 18th, 2015|Blog Post|0 Comments

"Future of Journalism" panel: How the newsroom is entering the 21st century

Five years ago, most journalists probably wouldn’t have predicted where the industry would be in 2015, what with the rise of digital media and its impact on traditional journalism.

Still, in my opinion, technology hasn’t killed journalism. It’s shaken up the media business model and ushered it into a new age – one where journalists aren’t simply responsible for storytelling but also engaging with their audiences through social media, blog posts and other mediums.

In fact, social media is dramatically shaping the way news is consumed, distributed and reported. For example, 30 percent of Americans, including myself, are increasingly turning to Facebook for news updates, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

But all these changes weren’t really “news” to the six media experts selected to join the Future of Journalism panel presented by PRSA Miami and Social Media Club South Florida in January 2015.


By |February 3rd, 2015|Blog Post|0 Comments

Shifting attitudes about media make a case for integrated communications

Americans’ faith in the major news media platforms is at record lows, according to a Gallup Poll published in June 2014. The actual behaviors of the average consumer, though, should make PR pros take notice, given that media relations is a significant portion of what we do.
Gallup’s Poll shows that people trust newspapers the most, followed by the Internet, with television news bringing up the rear. However, the American Press Institute notes that this order is reversed in terms of how Americans actually consume the news. Television, which reportedly has the lowest public confidence, is the most frequently used medium for getting the news, with laptops/computers ranking second and newspapers coming in last.
While trust in the Internet as a source is slightly lower than when Gallup first measured public confidence in 1999, this year marks the first time that another news medium (television, in this case) has fallen below the Internet in public trust.


By |July 23rd, 2014|Blog Post|1 Comment

How to Reach Hispanics: Communicate in English

It’s been an interesting week for Hispanic media outlets. First, the ratings reports showed Univision is on track to be the most-watched network for the month of July, beating out ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Then, the Pew Research Hispanic Center releases a study saying more Hispanics are getting their news on English television, radio, print and online outlets.  Huh?

While this sounds like a contradiction, it’s easy to explain. Telenovelas and entertainment programming are huge draws for Spanish-language TV outlets – just look at Univision’s Sabado Gigante, which has been on the air since 1962 and still draws 2.2 million viewers.

For the news, however, the study found a 10 percent drop in the amount of Spanish language news consumption, and a 22 percent drop in the number of viewers that get their news exclusively in Spanish. This can be attributed to a few reasons pointed out by researchers – there are more U.S. born Hispanics, a growing number of adult Latinos speak English well, and immigration has slowed down.


By |July 26th, 2013|Blog Post|1 Comment

How much is THE HOBBIT movie trilogy worth per page? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Film fans were delighted and befuddled by the recent announcement that THE HOBBIT, J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy book about the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, would be made into a trilogy by filmmaker Peter Jackson instead of being released as a pair of films as originally planned.

Shortly after Peter Jackson posted the news on his Facebook page, the Internet responded with mixed reactions. After all, THE HOBBIT is a much shorter tale than Tolkien’s three book epic, LORD OF THE RINGS. Is there really enough material to warrant a trilogy from a book less than a third the size of the tomes that inspired Jackson’s first trilogy? Or is this about squeezing as much money as possible from audiences?

We at rbb had our own heated discussions on this topic, some of us siding with Jackson’s decision, others taking a more suspicious perspective. As the debate rages, we created an infographic to put the numbers in perspective, illustrating just how valuable THE HOBBIT might be in this “page by page” comparison against its predecessors.


By |July 31st, 2012|Blog Post|10 Comments

Five mistakes public relations pros make when pitching

Pitching the media to secure stories for our clients is a big part of what we do as public relations professionals.

However, in the digital era, where the media is easily accessible and therefore bombarded with pitches, a small error can easily cause a journalist to ignore you.

Before you hit “Send” on that painstakingly crafted email, check out our list of pitching don’ts to make sure a simple mistake doesn’t ruin all your hard work.

By |June 12th, 2012|Blog Post|3 Comments

3 tips for PR pros to succeed in today’s sensationalistic media environment

The Miami Hurricanes, Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Kardashian…three vastly different stories that took the media landscape by storm in the past month, flooding the airwaves and pages for the “news” hungry.

And just like the dramatic spike in page views that resulted from these stories were no mistake, neither are the quotation marks around the word news. The reporting of “news” today is inconsistent and often sensationalistic.

But this is a PR-centric blog. This is not just about media reporting and the public’s clamoring for “news.” (For the record, I think media only pander to their audience and the real blame is on the American public). Rather, this is about how the current environment affects the public relations industry and the mindset today’s practitioners need when trying to secure headlines.


By |September 27th, 2011|Blog Post|0 Comments