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10 of the Worst Press Headlines Ever: a Learning Opportunity

bad press headlineMentorship is underrated and under-utilized.

With PR executives jetsetting, working remotely, stuck in a marathon of meetings, or hibernating behind an office closed door, there is rarely a chance to hunker down for a learning opportunity.

On that note, one of the most visible flubs for any flack is the press release – specifically the headline.

It’s what you use to grab a reporter’s attention…at your own peril. While most headlines are perfectly functional, some earn a special place on the conference room bulletin board.

Bad headlines do happen…so let’s review a few and try to make sure they happen to someone else in the future.  Read more

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Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

The New York Times Experienced Premature Publication on Keystone XL

NYT BuildingThe New York Times just can’t catch a break.

The editors of the Old Grey Lady have serious sight problems, as noted with this unfortunate front page drama and this mistreated story. We aren’t sure if it’s the ghost of former executive editor Jill Abramson haunting the newsroom halls, but something is afoot. And much like one with no socks in a crusty pair of Toms, it stinks.

Enter into the fray the much-debated story about the Keystone XL pipeline. (For context, our fearless leader posted on the leak of Edelman’s “strategy” documents regarding a similar project from the same company, TransCanada).

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Oxford English Dictionary Publishers Think We Yanks Are Vaping Idiots

vaping badMuch like a bad rash that sticks around even after you bought that expensive cream, it’s baaaaaaaaaaack.

The extremely British Oxford Dictionary has released its “2014 Word of the Year.” The word, perhaps best embodied by this brilliant sign in Geneva, New York (about 250 miles northwest of midtown Manhattan), is Vape

Yes, that’s “vape” as in the still-as-addictive-as-smoking-but-doesn’t-stink-as-much vaporizing. Toking vapors through just about every orifice in your body is the word of the year. It’s trending. It’s being reported. It’s causing publishers of the snootiest dictionary in the world to laugh their tails off at the silly Americans.

Let me mansplain

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COPYWRITER ALERT: 10 Words with Some Very Odd Origins

Inigo-Montoya-WORD-MEANS

So, you think you’re a “word nerd.” You brag about your disease “logophilia.” You believe “etymology” is something that deserves a CSI spinoff. You can torch anyone in Scrabble and AP-Styleguide update recalls.

We get it; however, there are a few words in the PR lexicon that have some unusual origins. Seems that some words you write almost everyday derived from a dank warehouse in the middle of a meth lab complex…or something like that.

These words?! Not so much, as you will soon see. Get your red Sharpies ready, kids. You may need it to stab your eyes out.  Read more

The New York Times Ignores Spell Check…Again

NYT building

Quick question: Anyone know any editors at The New York Times? Specifically, someone who works on the front page?

You see, we in the PRNewserverse are concerned about the paper nicknamed “The Old Grey Lady” because we believe the old broad has a serious case of glaucoma. Don’t get us wrong, we heart our journo friends at the Times and believe they’re some of the best reporters in the country. Their editors, though, aren’t doing them any favors recently.

Lately, the Times has been on a roll with a string of spelling kerfuffles, and its most recent issue is something most MS Word programs will flag with quickness. Pour a little liquor on the curb for that lady…

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Kung Fu Panda: Google Quietly Released Another Content Killer Update

kung fun panda

PR professionals that belong to integrated agencies, listen up! You hear that? It was a big Google update that whizzed right by you.

Less than four months after we spoke to Prezly’s Gijs Nelissen about learning Panda 4.0, the dudes in Mountain View switched things up on us again. And it’s important that we all stay up on these updates.

Did you know that, depending on the region or the website, this update affected about 3%-5% of all search queries? Was your client’s blog blasted? How about their website? Do you know what “thin content” is, and are you guilty of promoting it?

Those answers after the jump [cue scary laughter]…

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Amtrak Announces Writers’ Residency Winners, Keeps Romantic Sentiment Rolling

Amtrak-01-450x271

Just goes without saying
That everybody loves a train
Go ahead and call us insane
But we all just love a train

-- Perez Hidalgo, Los Lobos

Amtrak announced the 24 winners of the Amtrak Writers’ Residency program (a.k.a. #AmtrakResidency on social media) today from pool of 16,000 applicants. Flip through the list and you’ll find prominent writers who have significant social followings and commercial success.

There’s Chris Taylor from Mashable, Marco Werman from PRI’s “The World,” Jen Carson from Gothamist, fantasy writer and social media marketer Ksenia Anske, and poet/performance artist Saul Williams (to name a few).

All are very influential on Twitter. No surprise there.

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The 5 Most Common Grammar Errors That Aren’t…Really

Grammar-Nazi-PeanutsIf you spend anytime in PR, you are going to come across the self-proclaimed “Grammar Nazi” who wears the dreaded red Sharpie around his/her neck like a nerdy Flavor Flav. I should know, I’m one of those dweebs (most of the time).

And despite the mind-numbing changes by the AP Stylebook that really don’t need to be made, it is always nice to stay up on the reasons behind the edits because knowledge really is power.

For that reason, this week’s #5Things is important because there are actually some edits that don’t need to be made, as much as you may want to do that.

It’s okay. Breathe easy and push the Sharpie away.

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14 Words and Phrases PR Pros Need to Stop Using

word-or-phrase-people-should-not-use-in-2014We have discussed catchphrases and buzzwords that should be erased from memory immediately. They are the worst, and used so much that they have become the replacement of “um,” “uh,” and “you know what I’m sayin’?”

No! No, we don’t.

To add to that prestigious list are real words (except one seen below) that have been used in popular settings like new business pitches, client kickoff meetings, and media interviews. Yes, way.

Although we did this in June, which revolved around the word misappropriated term “homophobia,” here we go again. Please take note and spread the word. Save the industry. #PRCares.

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BAD WORDS: The Oxford Dictionary ‘Mansplains’ Our New Lexicon

OEDMost logophiles and word nerds cherish their local dictionary. Typically ensconced in a warm light, these go-to resources hold a place somewhere among any collection of great works of American literature (alongside your brutally earmarked volumes of the “for dummies” series).

Thank God for Noah Webster’s fascination for etymology at the turn of the 19th century!

However, that wasn’t good enough for the Brits. So, in 1857, the Philological Society of London decided “that existing English language dictionaries were incomplete and deficient, and called for a complete re-examination of the language from Anglo-Saxon times onward.”

As of today, that austere compilation of the Queen’s English known as the Oxford English Dictionary is officially the worst compendium of any language in the history of ever.

Here’s why…

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