Archive: 2009


A Mass Comms Curriculum Alone Short-sheets Tomorrow’s PR Pro

I was delighted when Steve Farnsworth asked me to contribute a guest post to his blog. The content follows. While it’s not exactly focused on storytelling, it still falls under the communications umbrella. Steve originally approached me to share my perspective on the changing role of internal PR practitioners. No question, the economic downturn has …more

Classic Storytelling Still Requires Local Characters

Boy meets girl. David topples Goliath. Money. Overcoming hardships. Goliath meets girl. All the basic themes of classic storytelling work in any culture and in any language. But this doesn’t mean you can develop stories in your home market, fling them over the fence to far-reaching countries and expect them to resonate with the local …more

Never Underestimate The Power Of A Great Story

The headline comes from a Canal+ video (brought to my attention by one of our vice presidents, John Radewagen). Our protagonist in this story cheats death four times by his recollection in the space of 74 seconds: Bullets Cut-down tree Waterfall Lumber mill blades Of course, the real twist comes at the end when he …more

Iron Reporter: Wall Street Journal Versus NY Times On A Russian Train

Siemens recently took its new high-speed train for a spin with reporters on board. The story provides the perfect fodder to resurrect “Iron Reporter,” the forum in which we contrast how two reporters tell the same story. Today’s challenge pits Andrew E. Kramer from The New York Times (“Siemens Fills Need for High-Speed Trains in …more

Grading Out President Obama’s Image Management

Politics aside, one would have to grade out President Obama’s image management as a solid A (assuming he turned in all of his homework assignments). Given he inherited an economy teetering on the brink, he’s followed the first rule in any crisis; i.e., consistently communicate the story which, in turn, minimizes any voids. And don’t …more

A Modern Pipeline Story Comes to Life in The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal nails the story “Huge Pipeline Delivers Bonanza to Towns on Route.” What makes it compelling? Let’s start with timing. After slaving on this 1,679-mile wonder, the last leg is now being laid and welded. The end is literally in sight. With a helping hand from REX’s PR department, Journal writer Ann …more

Revisiting a Storytelling Master, Warren Buffett

I wrote about Warren Buffett’s gift for storytelling last year. If executives would simply take one lesson from Buffett’s communications, be conversational, the world would be a better place (cue the Coke music). In his most recent letter to shareholders (2008), there’s a paragraph that showcases Mr. Buffett at his best. All of us have read …more

Technology Review Goes Behind the Wolfram Alpha Curtain

Technology Review claims to be the oldest technology magazine in the world, going back to 1899. Coming out of MIT, there’s a certain cachet to the publication as it strives to educate us mortals on emerging technologies. Not exactly considered the magazine for hammock reading during a lemonade summer day. And certainly not a magazine …more

The News Embargo: Much Ado About Nothing

No doubt by the time the U.S. wakes up on Wednesday morning the Twitterati will be out in force reacting to PaidContent’s story that the Wall Street Journal is giving up embargoes (apparently the new year’s diets went out the window in February). In short, the Journal won’t accept embargoes for stories, but will take …more