“This Land” belongs to all of us

If you haven’t seen the parody of “This Land is Your Land,” which blasts President Bush and John Kerry with equal vigor, I have to wonder what desert island you’ve been stranded on. I’ve had at least 50 e-mails directing me to this hilarious bit of animation from JibJab Media Inc.

Ludlow Music, Inc., publsiher of the classic Woody Guthrie tune, didn’t think it was funny. They thought it infringed on their copyright and filed suit. JibJab went to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, seeking help in proving that its work fell under the “fair use” clause. The EFF’s investigation revealed that the song has actually been in the public domain… Read More »

First the goal, then the tactic

There’s a lot of road in Texas. A lot of long, straight, mind-numbing road with nothing to look at but barren, flat Texas landscape. People get tired driving those long ribbons of highway. When they get tired, accidents happen. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) knows that fewer accidents would occur if people just took advantage of all those rest stops they’ve built over the years. Most people, though, just whiz on by.

TxDOT grappled with the problem. How do you get people to stop and rest when they just want to get where they’re going? The answer: Free Internet WiFi hot spots at every rest stop. And if you’re not… Read More »

Warts and all

When I first left public journalism in 1977 and joined a corporation, I worked for the best damn editor I’ve ever known. His name was Ken Estes, a former reporter/editor for a Dallas daily and a ghost writer for several celebrities (he ghost-wrote Billy Carter’s biography). Ken’s been gone for over a decade, but I still remember everything he taught me. I learned more from Ken than all my journalism schooling combined.

One thing Ken said was that everyone needs an editor. “There’s one writer whose contract stipulates he can’t be edited,” he told me. If memory serves, that was Dan Greenberg at Sports Illustrated, but I could be wrong.… Read More »

Giving in to RSS

Neville Skype’d me yesterday. As we chatted about this and that, he noted that he was unsubscribing from e-mail mailing lists and switching to RSS feeds. One PR blogger noted he offered his readers the opportunity to switch to RSS (although only three took him up on the offer). And Dan Gillmor said in a Bulldog Reporter teleseminar that he was readying an update to his Dear PR People notice (which hasn’t been updated since 2001) informing readers that he’d prefer to get press releases via RSS than e-mail.

That’s enough momentum for me. My monthly e-mail newsletter will be available as an RSS feed. I don’t expect huge numbers of… Read More »

CEOs blog

Everybody else is reporting on it; why not me? A list of CEO blogs, assembled by Constantin Basturea (with help from some others) is available at The New PR Wiki and, as reported by Neville Hobson, who instigated it, the list is growing.

It should be no surprise that most of the blogging CEO crowd run high-tech companies (like Ray Ozzie from Groove and Jonathan Schwartz from Sun Microsystems). It’s to early to know if the trend will spread to brick-and-mortar industries. Will GE’s Jeffrey Immelt ever become a blogger? Somehow I doubt it, and if he does, I suspect someone from his PR staff will handle scribing duties. Still, the idea of… Read More »

Metroblogging to trump city sites?

Citysearch is one of a gaggle of Web sites designed to tell you what you need to know about a city—restaurants, entertainment, recreation, services, and the like. Advertising-supported, these sites offer reviews, maps, weather, and a host of other resources. They may be going the way of the dinosaur.

A new breed of blog is emerging called a metroblog. As Metroblogging puts it, “Event listings to general rants, photos to reviews - metblogs are a hyper-local look at what’s going on in the city. A group of regional bloggers give each site a new perspective on daily life. Less calendar listing, more friendly advice.”

A variety of… Read More »

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