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Category: Humanity

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Smart People Fail at Evaluating Online Sources

Nieman Lab published an article last week, “Even Smart People Are Shockingly Bad at Analyzing Sources Online,” that lives up to the headline. In one exercise, those in the study — a mix of fact checkers, historians and students — were asked to compare two websites and make a judgment call on the one they …more

Kevin Durant Airballs Brand-building Moment

Today’s professional athletes cultivate their brands with attention to detail that would make a product manager at P&G proud. Certainly Kevin Durant fits into this category. That’s why his “Thank You to Everyone” ad published in the San Francisco Chronicle last week was disappointing. The creative could have come from a summer advertising workshop for …more

Apple’s Savvy in Communicating a Job-creation Narrative

Apple plays the communications game with the ferocity of the guy at the poker table with all the chips. It has a way of exerting its will on others, including journalists. Combining an unconventional media relations strategy and owned media, the company’s announcement of a fund for advanced manufacturing dominated the media at the end of …more

United Airlines’ Latest Customer Letter Hits the Right Notes

It’s easy to pile on United. More than the mistakes, it’s the type of mistakes, lacking that quality known as common sense. I’ve certainly taken my shots at United over the years with posts ranging from “The Worst Customer Service Narrative in the History of Branding” to the recent “United Enters Third Stage of a …more

United Enters the Third Stage of a PR Grieving: the Shake Down

It’s been a rough week for United Airlines. When my mom — who is still getting the hang of this thing called the internet — asks if I’ll continue flying on United, you know the PR debacle has reached the masses. I have this theory that a PR crisis typically breaks down into five stages: …more

The Best Obituary I Have Ever Read

As a student of business writing, I don’t turn to obituaries for inspiration (probably a good thing). The typical obit adheres to a formula that goes something like this: He or she passed away Source of fame Key achievements Surviving family There’s a reason that newspapers assign the “obit beat” to newly hired college grads. …more

Is $4 Toast and the Tech Industry Still Ruining San Francisco?

Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary since VentureBeat and Jolie O’Dell’s focus group of one correlated expensive toast to the decline of San Francisco. The O’Dell discourse came with jagged edges, damning the tech industry for a cycle that goes something like this: Someone creates a business for consumers with too much money and pretensions of …more