Blogs vs. PR

Trevor Cook reports that The Economist, that most venerable of news magazines, features an interview with A-list Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble in which the publication speculates about the possibility that blogs will replace traditional PR. From where I sit, this suggestion—even coming from the economist—represents a woeful lack of understanding about what PR agencies do. I imagine most people envision PR people cranking out press releases and spinning bad news—another reason the profession needs to do something about its own image.

While blogs will certainly change much of PR, and even replace some aspects of it, such roles as… Read More »

RSS on intranets: NewsGator is working on it

Greg Reinacker, who founded and runs NewsGator (the company that makes the RSS plug-in for Outlook and hosts an online RSS aggregator) notes in his blog (free subscription to NewsGator required) that the company is working on an enterprise RSS server, code named Dino. Companies are already setting up RSS feeds and, since their employees already use Outlook, NewsGator is an easy way to introduce the concept to employees; the feeds show up in folders just like e-mail. Reinacker writes,

Imagine NewsGator Online, picked up and installed on a server behind a corporate firewall. Imagine it also (optionally) connecting with Active Directory…

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Should blog discussions be threaded?

A few efforts are underway to enable discussions in blogs—including both comments posted appending a post and those posted to another blog and linked via trackback—to appear as a discussion thread like those on a message board. Lee LeFever, author of the excellent CommonCraft blog, says he usually likes ideas like this. Not this time. “I believe that blogs and message boards are two different things and they play two different roles. To morph them together may take the power away from each.” LeFever’s analysis of the notion is worth a read.

First corporate podcast a bust

It was inevitable that business would figure out the value in podcasting. The ability to deliver audio that would never make it to the radio airwaves, but that consumers can still listen to intheir cars, was bound to be irresistable to business. It was General Motors that made the first leap into this space with a podcast that Christopher Carfi calls “a big miss” and “ungood…five minutes of corporate dronology.”

After listening, I have to agree. It’s a carefully scripted five-plus minute commercial, complete with music. The fact that it’s a recording of a live presentation (you can hear the applause) doesn’t help. Considering the… Read More »

PR firm quiet on accusations

I guess even PR firms have lawyers. I have often gone head-to-head with corporate attorneys who advise their organizations, in time of crisis or public scrutiny, to say nothing. “We’ll deal with it in court,” they say.

Qorvis Communications LLC, a Beltway PR firm, is in court right now, side-by-side with one of its clients, accused of making “false and misleading claims” about sugar substitute Splenda. Qorvis evidently was involved in efforts to disparage the zero-calorie sugar substitute developed by asserting that its claim to be made from sugar are false. The maker of competing products Equal and Nutrasweet went so far as to file a… Read More »

Transparency and political blogs

Transparency is perhaps the most significant business and media issue of the decade. Following the uncovering of ethical lapses by everyone from Enron to Ketchum, the public—not to mention regulatory agencies—are demanding transparency. Even journalists appear willing to have their source material exposed to public scrutiny (see “Can PR Handle Transparency?”) And yet political bloggers on both sides of the fence seem to believe they can still get away with masking their identities in order to promote their personal political ideologies.

The latest case, reported by Howard Kurtz, involves Jeff Gannon, who writes for conservative Web… Read More »

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