A Stately Trump?, Journalist ...


The Grab Bag post returns for a second 2019 installment.

Again, the story lines in these posts can’t quite shape stand-alone posts. Yet, I hate to see a shard of a story go to waste.



TIME Cover Photo Depicts a Stately President Trump

Take a gander at the cover of TIME Magazine August 22, 2016.

time magazine cover trump meltdown illustration


That’s the beauty of illustration, depicting President Trump melting down right before our eyes.

Now fast forward to the most recent TIME cover photo, dated July 1, 2019.

Doesn’t the President look, dare I say, stately?

The two cover photos would have us believe that Trump’s wiring went askew two years ago, but he’s now under control and downright presidential.

Of course, that’s not the case, so what gives?

The President’s communications team cut a deal with TIME that went something like this. If you put a portrait of Donald in the Oval Office on the cover — no illustrations showing him doing an imitation of the melting witch in the Wizard of the Oz — we’ll give you exclusive access to the President and his reelection team.

That’s how we end up with the incongruent cover photo.



Media Still Experimenting with That Magic Elixir Called “Engagement”

Publications are keen for their journalists to get to know their readers. This way, the thinking goes, the journalist will write stories more in tune with the target audience, and the target audience will feel a connection with the journalist. The people that count the money refer to such deeper engagement between readers and the journalist as “sticky.”

I bring this up because I noticed the New York Times experimenting with a new form of engagement called “Office Hours With Farhard Manjoo” allowing readers to talk with a real live journalist.

While I’m a huge fan of the NYT, that opening line — “Farhad wants to talk to readers on the phone” — isn’t exactly truthful. I suspect it’s the NYT marketing department that wants Farhad to talk to readers. Two, it needs to be a certain type of reader as filtered through the two questions, “Tell me something about yourself” and “What would you like to talk about?” who gains the tap on the shoulder to talk with Farhad.

Well, you can’t blame the NYT for trying new approaches.



A Branded Mug that Goes TikTok

TikTok reminds me of the Beatles’ initial trek to the U.S., Shea Stadium and the Ed Sullivan Show.

Maybe you haven’t heard of TikTok, but anyone under 25 has. The video app hit 1 billion downloads globally last February, and that doesn’t even include Android use in China.

To demonstrate how TikTok can bring the most mundane subjects to life, our Taiwan team decided an Agency mug should be the star of the show.


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