The Roads We Travel

A few days in a life journey.

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

PR in Politics

It’s election season and that means my hiatus from the news is officially over.

So, I started my venture back to “newsie-land” by watching the Republican debate the other night on Fox News. Well, I started listening in my car on the ride home, then watched the rest from my computer at home — we’ve decided to opt out of cable TV, but that’s for another post.

I’m not going to rehash the comedy of that night, but I just wanted to share some observations.

Donald Trump, the front-runner. I probably don’t need to say more than that and you know where I’m going, but my observation from a PR standpoint is very different than from my personal views. Personally, I think, what an a$$hole. See, this is why decent, honest, hard-working women in business can’t get ahead because the system is stacked in favor of the slimy-back-office, golf-course-wheeling-and-dealing, buying-political-favors, misogynistic businessmen like him.

Professionally though, we can all learn something from The Donald. He’s found his voice, I’m sure all of his money helped, but in finding his voice, he’s found his tribe. The people who follow him are willing to support his business ventures, his entertainment brands, and vote his crazy ass into the White House. His special brand of crazy resonates with so many people because it’s authentic and consistent.

When I’m working with clients, I try to capture their authenticity and build that consistently into their communications and marketing campaigns. Your authentic voice and message won’t resonate with everyone, but those who get it will become a part of your tribe — the folks who will follow you to the ends of the earth because they believe in what you’re saying and doing.

There is a caution here though… Not everyone can go full-tilt crazy because you just want to “keep it real.” Understand that you might not have the Benjamins, the right connections, the dominant racial identity, or the gender influence to back you up. Donald Trump can afford to lose a few friends, customers and sponsors on his journey to the Oval, but not all of us can, so yes be authentic, but also be sensible.

Another observation that I wanted to share has to do with Ben Carson. I remember going to see a play about his life at a dinner theater in my old town, Columbia, Maryland. I was fascinated by his story and very inspired. He’s an impressive man, obviously a brilliant surgeon and very charming as well.

That said, is anyone else scratching their head about why he’s running for the highest elected office in the land. I mean I’m all for aiming high, but shouldn’t he serve first in his community, county council or even in the state senate? If you are really serious about running the executive branch of government for the United States of America, then shouldn’t you at least hold an elected position on your HOA? I mean something.

The only professional experience he highlighted in his closing speech was his surgical experience, and again, while it was impressive — and humorously put together — I was baffled. His press team needs to come up with something better and more compelling.

Look, I love telling my children and others that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up. I don’t want to put limitations on what they might achieve, but there are very real obstacles that you can and should prepare for (see my itemized list above as an example).

Well, I’m excited. News is back in my life, I’m writing for me again and other than that, I’m looking forward to the next sideshow in September.


Written by Shara

August 10, 2015 at 11:59 am

I Didn’t Vote for Miss Cleo. Did You?

News MediaLet me just put this out there right at the start of this post… I am a news junkie. I am seriously hooked on the news and not just in the moments of crisis (e.g., Ukraine), but all the durn time.

CNN makes a regular appearance on my television throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll venture to other news stations and the local news channels to see what they’re talking about, but I usually don’t stay very long. I especially like to hear the international perspective, so I tune in to CNN International as well.

Side Note: I remember a trip that I took to Amsterdam, probably close to 10 years ago, and turned the TV to CNN — expecting to find something familiar. It was like a whole new world opened to me when I realized that CNN was totally different abroad.

Okay, so back to me being a news junkie…

I know that too much of anything is not good for you. I know that watching the news too much is not healthy for your mind, but is it me or has the news become more entertaining? Newsertainment, right? I find myself talking back to the radio while I’m driving. Oh, did I mention that I listen to CNN radio in my car?

Sometimes I wonder, where do they find these commentators? They say some of the most vexing things. Of course I have to remind myself daily that the reason they say such provocative things is so that they keep their jobs. Good television needs drama. And most of us like a little drama in our lives.

Oh, we don’t want to live the drama. We declare ourselves drama-free in our own lives, but life without a little spice is like eating rice cakes all day — bland and dull! So, bring on the TV drama, right? A little reality TV, a little Scandal, and did you hear 24 is coming back?!

So, I like to mix it up with Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon and Roland Martin, just to name a few. Then the other day I realized that Wolf’s voice makes me anxious. Just hearing his voice makes my heart beat faster and not in an ooo la la way, but in a nervous kinda way. Everything he says about this Ukraine crisis makes me feel like something is about to jump off at any minute now. Is it just me?

And, why, please tell me, why is every little thing breaking news?

Uh, this just in… Vladimir Putin doesn’t give a crap about what we say or do.

Every time I hear “Breaking New” or “This just in,” I’m like Pavlov’s dogs and I’m salivating, my ears at full attention.

This bring me to the point I wanted to write about in the first place. Why are the news anchors and their guest commentators so up in arms about intelligence failures by President Obama and the intelligence community? If I hear one more person mention how we should have seen this coming… Really? Because I didn’t vote for Miss Cleo, did you? Among the list of qualities I was voting for in a President, clairvoyance wasn’t one of them.

Just a few months ago the news media’s criticism was that the intelligence community was crossing the line — violating the rights of our partners abroad, tapping Angela Merkel’s cell phone and such. I’m not saying it was right or wrong, but the same people who were spinning up the drama around that are now the same people today criticizing our intelligence, or lack thereof.

Maybe if all the NSA’s business wasn’t put on front street… and maybe if the news media didn’t make such a big hullabaloo out of it, then maybe, just maybe, we would’ve been privy to one of those calls between Putin and Merkel and we could have seen this Ukraine crisis coming. #ijs

So, the news media are doing what they do best: spinning the tale, creating the drama, and getting me to tune in every durn day. That is all. You know where to find me. 🙂

Written by Shara

March 6, 2014 at 10:29 pm