Category Archives: Online Influence

Media News & Moves for May

MEDIAware, PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department newsletter, features recent media news and job changes in the industry. Here is a sampling of this month’s edition:

Fort Lauderdale’s South Florida Sun Sentinel ( won the prestitgious 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its outstanding series “Above the Law: Speeding Cops”.  The series led to numerous police officers being suspended and one who got fired for his excessive abuse of speed. Investigative Reporter Sally Kestin, Investigative Editor John Dahlburg and Database Editor John Maines were part of an entire team at the Sun Sentinel that worked on this series. You can read the winning series here:

The Denver Post ( won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News with its coverage of the Aurora Movie Theater mass shooting last year.  The Pulitzer cited the Post’s use of social media, video and the written word in their winning coverage of the story. You can check out their winning coverage here:

The Alcohol Professor ( is a new blog about liquor, spirits & ale. It was started by beverage connoisseur Adam Levy ( who also founded the New York International Beverage Competitions. The sites main contact is Senior Editor-in-Chief Amanda Schuster (

Minneapolis’ Star Tribune ( won two 2013 Pulitzer Prizes for Local News and Ediorial Cartooning. Glenn Howatt, Brad Schrade and Jeremy Olson won the Local News Pulitzer for their work on a series about the rise in infant deaths at Minnesota day-care centers. You can read that series here: And Steve Sack won the Editorial Cartooning award. You can view a bunch of his great political cartoons here:

Columnist Daniel Ruth and Editorial Editor Tim Nickens won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for the Tampa Bay Times ( Their op-ed pieces and columns were a campaign that helped reverse a decision to take fluoridation out of the water system in the area. You can check out pieces of their work here:

The New York Times has made its own crossover as for the first time ever, they have published an article in Spanish. “A Drug War Informer in No Man’s Land” will go down in NYT history.
You can read it in Spanish here: or in English here: 

Representing The New York Times in the category of Investigative Journalism, David Barstow ( and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab were selected as Pulitzer Prize winners for their year and a half long project which centered on Walmart’s interests in Mexico. The journalists investigated the Multinational Retail Corporation’s use of coercion as a means to gain a competitive advantage in Mexico. Eventually, the exposé led to an investigation by the Justice Department into whether Walmart violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

A series of 10 articles which covered the business practices of Apple and other technology companies, won a group of journalists at The New York Times a Pulitzer Prize in the category of Explanatory Journalism. The series focused on the question of whether or not the United States could be considered a lucrative place for innovators to manufacture new products. Apple’s choice to employ cheaper manufacturers in China, passing over the opportunity to invest in the United States’ turbulent job market, was one example used in the series. The reporters included Keith Bradsher (, David Barboza (, Charles Duhigg (, David Kocieniewski (, Steve Lohr (, John Markoff (, David Segal, David Streitfeld (, Hiroko Tabuchi (, and Bill Vlasic (

The Pulitzer Prize in the category of International Reporting was given to David Barboza (, Shanghai Bureau Chief of The New York Times. Barboza composed a series of articles that focused on the overwhelming wealth which many of China’s top leaders have kept in hiding. According to Barboza, over the span of a year he “pieced together hundreds of names and a web of connections among more than 100 companies found in China’s official financial records.”

Sports Reporter for The New York Times John Branch ( was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in the category of Feature Writing. Branch composed an article entitled “Snow Fall: the avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” about a fatal avalanche in the Washington Cascades. Branch combined text, online video and graphics to vividly illustrate what took place.

The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines, N.C. is launching yet another magazine. It already publishes PineStraw and O. Henry. Now it adds Salt magazine to its line-up of cultural publications. As with the other magazines, Jim Dodson will head up Salt as Editor. The free, monthly magazine is scheduled to launch later this month with a distribution of 18,000.

Following up on a Charlotte, N.C. story previously reported on in MEDIAware, the FCC gave final approval on the sale of WYMT-TV and WJYZ-TV to Fox Television. With the ruling, the stations were free to hire more personnel. Lynda Grahl was chosen as VP of Finance and Jay Abbattista was added as VP of Sales. Both report to the previously hired GM Karen Adams. As a result of this purchase by Fox, another local Charlotte station, WCCB-TV, will switch affiliations from Fox to the CW this summer.

There have been two personnel changes at the Cooking Channel and Food Network. VP of Digital for Emerging Brands Mark Levine ( has been promoted to VP of Programming and Multiplatform. And new to the stations is Todd Weiser, who was hired as VP of Programming and Development. He arrives from Animal Planet, where he was previously Director of Development.

After 21 years in print, The Rhinocerous Times ( is now an endangered species. The publication originally had two editions: Greensboro and Charlotte. It folded the Charlotte edition back in 2008. Now with a growing debt, the Greensboro edition is closing as well. The website will remain but for how long is not known.

Culture Critic Philip Kendicott of The Washington Post won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. In one of the articles submitted for the award Philip examined the use of controversial photographs in the media. You can read the piece here:

Aereo ( been hit with a copyright lawsuit by almost every major network trying to prevent Aereo from creating a free streaming of their content. This is something to keep an eye on, as it can change the way networks will distribute its content if Aereo wins the case.

KSL-TV, the Salt Lake City NBC affiliate, has announced on its Facebook page as well as its website that it will no longer air episodes of the network series “Hannibal.” This decision was made due to the extensive graphic nature of this show. The time slot will be replaced with a special edition of KSL 5 News at 9 pm. “Hannibal” is a TV show about serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a literary character created by author Thomas Harris and initially made famous by the movie “The Silence of the Lambs.”

KMOV-TV in St.Louis won the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. Craig Cheatham and Jim Thomas won in the category of “Ware Zone: The Destruction of an All-American City.” Read more at

Mike Herrera, Long-time New Orleans broadcaster, passed on April 6 at the age of 66. Herrera who for the last five years served as an engineer at WWL-TV previously worked as a staff announcer, Weathercaster and Producer/Director at WVUE-TV for more than four decades.

William Glaberson says farewell to The New York Times. His 25-year career at the newspaper came to a halt on April 26th. He most recently served as Court Reporter, throughout these 25 years he covered Guantanamo Bay and the Crown-Heights trail.

Highly respected Chicago Sun-Times Movie Critic Roger Ebert has passed away. Over the course of his expansive career, Ebert hosted various television programs such as “Sneak Previews”, “At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert”, “Siskel and Ebert and The Movies”, alongside Gene Siskel, and the series “Ebert & Roeper & the Movies”. He also produced his most recent show, “Ebert Presents: At the Movies”. Ebert was an author of more than 20 books and won a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

Nils Larsen has stepped down as CEO at the Tribune Company. He managed Tribune local stations, WGN America and WGN Radio. Jonathan Wax has been named Senior Vice President of scripted programming for WGN America. Wax currently serves as Vice President of drama development at Twentieth Century Fox, Inc.

Edible Milwaukee, a new magazine set to launch its May issue, will focus on the production, distribution and consumption of food in the greater Milwaukee area. The magazine reaches out to the local and regional food consumers and buyers who are zealous about food quality. Jen Ede will serve as Publisher and Editor for the quarterly. You may reach her at or

You can view the whole May issue of MEDIAware here:

And all of the Regional Updates here:

You can also follow all of the latest media moves and news from PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department on Twitter at:

Vulnerabilities in Social Media: The AP Twitter Hack and How They Recovered

Hacking happens. Today it resulted in the following false and malicious information being tweeted from the @AP Twitter account: 

“Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”

S&P 500 dips drastically after @AP Twitter hack.

S&P 500 dips drastically after @AP Twitter hack.

Unfortunately the Associated Press, a normally very credible source of information, was victim to a hack and the results were devastating for the stock market. According to Bloomberg, the malicious tweet tanked the S&P 500 by $136 billion within two minutes.

@AP quickly tweeted that their account had been compromised and it was soon suspended and remains so now. The stock market regained strength and I think a lot of people nervously took their first breath after several long minutes.

Who should we blame?

Of course there are lots of people playing the blame game. At the top of the list is of course is the hackers themselves, and I agree! But who else holds responsibility for this crisis? The AP? Re-tweeters? Twitter?

The fact is, we’re all as vulnerable as the AP. I recently attended a panel featuring Eric Carvin, social media editor at the AP. He spoke of the efforts they put into securing their social accounts and gave some very sound security tips.

They were doing their due diligence. Unfortunately, there are always people out there who can get around almost any online wall.

The tweet was retweeted thousands of times within minutes. All of us with the power to retweet or repost messages ‘must’ be more vigilant about confirming through a second and even third sources, information that seems incredible.

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used for good, and which can easily turn to evil by our very own laziness to verify what we’re posting.

Is Twitter to blame? Perhaps Twitter can put better security measures around its service, but in the end, online vulnerabilities are everywhere, and that includes all social media platforms. Not just Twitter.

After securing our passwords and linking social accounts to something other than an easily hacked free email address, part of doing our due diligence is to have a plan of action in case such a crisis occurs.

The AP made the right moves to recover quickly today:

1. They quickly caught and countered the false tweet on their own twitter account, @AP.

2. They had AP journalists with strong Twitter presences Tweet out that the tweet was false.

3. They put out a media advisory with information making sure the story was clearly represented.

4. They told their own story on their own web properties.

At the end of the day the stock market was stable and I don’t think anyone questions the AP’s credibility as a source of news anymore than at the beginning of the day.

UPDATE:  The AP Twitter account is back up and running this morning.

Victoria Harres

Victoria Harres is VP, Audience Development & Social Media at PR Newswire, the main voice behind @PRNewswire, social media lead for @Business4Better and a frequent speaker and writer on social media for business. 

Casting a Story: How Journalists Select Subject Matter Experts

If sourcing a story is like casting a movie, experts are like celebrities. They can impart gravity and credibility and eloquence that the facts can’t on their own. They can boost ticket sales.

But finding the right expert is easier said than done. Subject-matter experts, like celebrities, don’t pick up the phone for everyone. But good reporters know when and how to work the phones and email to put top sources in their stories.

How do they do it? To find out, we recruited reporter Bob Van Voris, a legal reporter for Bloomberg News.

Bob Van Voris of Bloomberg News and John Hazard of Contently

Van Voris, a former practicing attorney, was the featured speaker at a freelancer meetup we co-hosted with Contently. He shared his advice on and experience with finding sources, vetting their expertise, identifying the ones that will give you great quotes, and more. It was a great event, and Van Voris was generous with his time and experience.

Here is a recap of some of his insight and advice. A tip of the hat to Contently’s John Hazard, who did a great job moderating the discussion.

What was the source that was farthest afield from what you were covering?

What I was at the National Law Journal, I was covering a story about a lawyer in California who developed a practice specializing on litigation involving penile augmentation gone wrong. My editor suggested I contact a mohel.  So I did, and I awkwardly asked him what happens when there’s a mistake. Needless to say, he really didn’t want to talk about it. I went back and convinced my editor that the story didn’t really need a mohel.

But when you’re writing about something that’s complicated and you need to explain it to readers, you don’t want it to sound like a seminar. If it’s dry, you need people who can make it understandable. You need to give readers something a little fun, a little compelling.

How do you identify someone who will give you a great quote?

It’s definitely trial and error. First, start with a pool of people to choose from. You can find them through ProfNet, or on the lists of people who attend conferences on the topic. Talk to a few of them and see how is good at expressing the point in a way that will appeal to readers. You have to put in the time and talk to people.

Of course, sometimes you don’t have that luxury and you have to talk to a specific person. If you aren’t getting what you need, don’t be afraid to bring them to the same point two or three times. Ask them, “How would I tell this to my mom?” to get them to simplify. Sometimes, by the second or third time through, they’ll be a lot looser and will give you a better quote.

There will be conversations that will go nowhere, but those can still be useful because you can learn about the topic, especially if it’s something you’re not too familiar with.

What about using other reporters, like at niche publications, as sources?

Members of the local press are good sources for background; trade magazine reporters are too. They know the gossip, and they like to talk about what they know. They like to talk.

How do deadlines affect this “audition” process? I would imagine you have very tight deadlines at Bloomberg.

I often have three bylined pieces a day, so I don’t have a lot of time for those. But for my second-day stories, I find ProfNet to be a good tool. I’ll put out a query in the morning, and when I’m ready to start in the afternoon, I have several emails waiting.

What do you do when you hit the source “wall” and you don’t know whom to contact?

I recently had to get sources quickly for a story covering a gay-marriage case in the Second Circuit. It’s not ideal, but I’ll look at who has been quoted in the Times that I can contact quickly.

How do you then make sure you get something unique?

You try to get them off their talking points. Anyone on a wire deadline will have two or three go-to people. You’re not going to have a really deep interview with them. The interview will be two minutes long, and you’ll get a good quote, but those people tend to get over-represented. That is a really good reason to go on ProfNet, go on Google, call two or three new people — so you’re not getting the same people.

On a short deadline, the important thing is getting your call answered or getting a call back in two minutes. The source who is new to you today might be a regular source down the road.

How do you vet the experts who’ve responded to your query?

If I’m on deadline, it’s pretty ruthless. If I get 20 emails, I can kind of sort through them just by their responses. You don’t want people who have been in every newspaper or program.

You can check their education, what kind of committees they’re on, their résumé, if they’ve written about the topic. You can’t spend hours on it, but you need to do it. Sometimes I do it while I’m on the phone with the source.

I don’t want to sound like a commercial (and they didn’t ask me to say this), but I like ProfNet because the people are motivated and they know how it works. Responses usually come from PR people. You can tell them, “Here’s my story. Make sure the expert really fits. Give me an idea of what they have to say.”

My biggest fear is, I don’t want to be played; I don’t want to look like an idiot. Anytime you have a new source, you need to question them about their position, but you also have to use your instincts.

Have you ever been played?

Yeah, sure. Back when the AGs were suing tobacco companies, there was one guy who would spin you aggressively and would tell you things that would make you look dumb. When that happens, or when someone lies to you, you freeze them out.

Do you ever have trouble getting someone to talk?

You’d be surprised what people talk about. If you ask a question, people will usually help you out. I’ve always been shy, and I was nervous about talking to people in the beginning, but people like to share their knowledge. They do have a vested interest in getting publicity, too, but people also like to get their knowledge out.

How do you balance getting a story out quickly vs. doing the best story possible?

Everybody is a wire service now. The good thing is, you can always update. You can get the story out now and then add depth later.

Who decides, you or your editors?

It’s a mix of both. I have to be satisfied with my story, but sometimes my editors will say, “We need another voice.”

Do you ever give experts quote approval?

I always let them see the quote, but I’ll never let them change it or take it back. But it’s not an adversarial relationship. You don’t want to make them look bad.

Sometimes they do try to edit the quote. What I’ll do is say, “OK, let’s talk about this a little more,” and I might get a better quote.

I do sometimes run paraphrases by them if it’s not something I fully understand, but always by phone. And I never show them the story – just the quote.

Do you get quotes by email?

Yes, but it’s not going to be the freshest quote. It’s going to be labored. If I do use a quote I got by email, I will mention it in the story for the readers. I think it’s kind of dishonest not to tell them.

ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, connects PR professionals with journalists and writers in need of subject-matter experts.  Each month, ProfNet users are quoted in hundreds of media outlets, ranging from major newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times to trade magazines like Risk Management and QSR magazine.  Users receive queries about potential story opportunities daily, and can manage the type and volume of queries received.  Want to know more? Get a quote or request a free trial at:

Inside PR Newswire: Meet Customer Content Services Manager Cathy Spicer

The Grammar Hammer, who is also known to her friends as Cathy Spicer, is on vacation this week.   So while she’s away, we’re giving our readers a chance to know her better, in this edition of Inside PR Newswire.

cate fluteThe key to quieting the chatter in Cathy Spicer’s life is simple.

She picks up her flute.

“My outlet is music. It’s important to have a creative outlet to balance the work stress,” says Spicer, PR Newswire customer content services manager in Cleveland. “I’m always in such admiration of the people who play professionally because they’re so skilled and talented. It shows me just how much I have yet to learn.”

Spicer has been playing flute for 30 years. She especially loves duets and remains in awe of flutists who flawlessly play complicated pieces of music.

cate big flute

“I can appreciate the effort that goes into a person trying to master a piece of music,” she said. “You’re so focused on the music and what the next passage is going to be.”

This kind of focus and thinking also has benefitted Spicer in her PR Newswire life. In April, Spicer will celebrate her 18th year with the company.

Spicer started out as an assistant editor in the Cleveland office. It was her first big job out of college.

Today, she oversees an eight-person team that’s the primary contact with clients from the northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, with the exception of New York. Her team primarily handles the editing of news releases, and it manages customer calls to the PR Newswire 800 number.

The calls into that line cover the gamut: Billing questions, inquiries from new prospects, clients with an immediate release to send out, or clients with changes to make on a current release.

Spicer is incredibly proud of her group.

“They have good instincts,” she said. “They know our policies and procedures, and we have a lot of great resources around us. We work in a very collaborative environment.”

Spicer spent some time opening the PR Newswire office in Chicago, where she spent 10 years before moving back to Cleveland.

In addition to managing her team, Spicer also can be found immersed in social media.

Spicer is the new Grammar Hammer contributor on the PR Newswire Beyond PR blog. She’s also part of a three-person team that curates the @PRNcnsmr Twitter feed.

On Twitter, Spicer and her colleagues from Albuquerque tweet PR Newswire consumer-related content.  The feed currently boasts nearly 900 followers.

It’s a world she’s already pretty familiar with – Spicer also tweets and curates @ClevelandFlute for the Greater Cleveland Flute Society.

You could say music always has been a part of her family – her father was a newspaper publisher by day and a jazz player by night.

Cleveland features an impressive music scene with its Institute of Music, Cleveland Orchestra, and the Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College.

Spicer said she prefers to play with small groups. That’s why she joined the flute society.

“The trick is to play with people who are better than you,” she said. “You learn so much just paying attention with whom you’re playing.”

Cathy's venerable feline, Sid.

Cathy’s venerable feline, Sid.

When she puts down her flute, Spicer loves to cook. But she admits she’s not a great baker, which “requires a lot of precision.” She also has a 20-year-old cat named Sidney.

Christine Cube is a media relations manager for PR Newswire and freelance writer. You can follow her @cpcube.

Do Press Releases Help SEO?

seo factors 5 10

The debate over whether or not press releases distributed over a commercial newswire like PR Newswire have a positive effect on SEO has raged for years, resulting in confusion over whether or not using press releases to build visibility for a web site in search engines is an effective tactic.

Years ago, sending out press releases with embedded anchor text links rewarded the issuer of the press release with dozens – if not hundreds – of backlinks.  In many cases, the associated web site was catapulted to the top of the search engine results pages and voila, a popular tactic was born.

Since then, search engines have become more intelligent, and even more focused on their users.  Google’s updates (especially Panda and Penguin) have focused on winnowing out poor quality content.   Many of the press releases that are created link-building tactics don’t pass muster in the engines’ ongoing evaluation of content.

Google’s Matt Cutts is on record advising that links from press releases are no longer contributing to page rank.  However, a recent test by the SEO Consult blog offers evidence to the contrary.

So what’s the answer?  Do press releases matter when it comes to site SEO?  Yes, they do, but not in the way they used to.

The old days of using press releases as a link-building tool have not gone, the evidence shows it can still be beneficial, but the bar has been significantly raised.

On the other hand, content that is written for the audience and is subsequently valued by the audience fares well, whether or not it’s a press release, article or blog post.

“Our advice is that we should write for our audience first, and then work to make the press release findable,” notes Rod Nicolson, PR Newswire’s vice president of global reporting. “By sharing information that your audience needs, or providing them with something else they want you’ll be using best practice that is as old as press releases themselves.”

“Matt isn’t saying that press releases won’t help,” commented SEO Round Table reader Joshua Butler, in a comment on the post titled “Links in Press Releases Don’t Help Your SEO? This Experiment Proved They Do, where a lively discussion on this subject has ensued.   “What Matt is saying is that press releases that are posted to press release sites without getting picked up by real news sites won’t help. He’s saying:  links from press release sites won’t help your rankings.  So what do you do? Still do press releases, but make them newsworthy enough to get picked up by news sites. Getting links from industry news sites that have a long history (3 or more years old) are great links to get.”

Whether or not a press release (or, for that matter, any other content your organization syndicates or publishes) is effective in terms of building traction in search engines and ultimately becoming  a source of valuable and authoritative inbound link to your web site will depend on a few things, including:

  • The subject matter & content: Is your content germane to your audiences’ interests?  Is it written using language they use and will search for?
  • The competitiveness of the subject matter and associated keywords:  Competing for attention when using extremely popular search terms such as “Michelle Obama” or “Super Bowl 2013” is difficult, because of the sheer volume of information available about popular topics.   A more targeted key phrase will generally deliver better results.
  • Where the content appears:  Newsworthy, well-written content appearing on relevant, high-authority web sites will be noticed by search engines, and the net effect will be positive.   PR Newswire’s web site has been continuously online serving our customers and their audiences since 1995, and our content syndication network  includes some of the web’s largest news outlets, as well as thousands of well-respected, tightly-focused and subject-specific news sites.
  • Whether or not people actually read it (and share it):  Content that is published but not read achieves nothing – both in terms of human impressions and search engine traction, and it’s a waste of resource to boot.  When people read and share content, they generate signals indicating to search engines the value of a particular piece of content.  So generating strong readership has a dual benefit – in addition to spreading your message virally, your search engine visibility is boosted, too.

The take away here is that there is no cookie-cutter formula for using press releases to build web site rank.  However, emphasizing value to readers in all the content published by the organization will ultimately generate lasting visibility in search engines and increased credibility with your brand’s audiences.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

Improve the visibility of your content:

Need tips on improving the visibility of your press releases and other content you publish?  Here are some simple, straightforward and easy to use best practices that you can start using today.

Readers’ Choice: The Top Blog Posts from 2012

Picture-Quotes-For-New-Year2-600x450It’s always interesting to look back over the year and see which blog posts were most popular with our readers. For 2012, the most popular posts were a blend of commentary on emerging PR trends, tried and true PR tactics -served with a side helping of humor.

Without further ado, here are the top posts for 2012, in descending order:

1) Trends in Public Relations for 2012

Trends are a popular topic, which is no surprise in the fast-changing field of PR.  We do our best to stay on top of emerging technology innovations and changes in the media and information markets, in order to help PR and communications pros capture as much attention (and opportunity) as possible.  We’ve started identifying 2013 PR trends, too.  See our two PR trends for 2013 posts :  Outcomes & Tactics and Evolving Media & Social Business

2) 33 Signs That You Work in PR

Sometime, laughter is the best medicine.  Bookmark this hilarious post by guest author Beth Monaghan (@bamonaghan)  for when you’re having one of those days.  It’s guaranteed –  at the very least – to elicit a wry smile.

3)  Getting on Daytime TV Talk Shows

Written in 2011, this post has been popular since it was published, because it offers detailed advice on the devilishly difficult challenge of garnering a spot on daytime TV for your client or your brand.

4) 5 Emerging PR Trends & the New Public Relations Skill Set for 2012 (& Beyond)

This post, published mid-year, considered trends in terms of the skill sets required of PR pros now – and in the future.

Promoting a Blog

Another oldie from 2011, this post tells the somewhat ridiculous story of how we (okay, in truth, I) came late to using our own newswire service to promote this blog.  Needless to say, the tactic worked in spades, and we now regularly use the wire to promote not just the blog, but other content we publish.  Simply put, you can’t deny the necessity of distribution in any publishing model – including the publishing found in  content marketing and public relations.

Auld Lang Syne

As this year closes and we look forward to 2013, we’d like to thank you all for stopping by and reading our blog this year, and to wish you all a very happy and prosperous upcoming year.

Free eBook: “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement: A collaborative work of industry peers”

eBook_blogThe terms “social networks” and “social media” make it easy to forget that people – more than a billion of them worldwide – are the means by which conversations propagate and ideas spread.  Smart communicators factor the human element into the communications plans they develop and the content they create.

Every group of people, whether you’re talking about an informal cluster or people conversing via hashtags on Twitter, a private group on Facebook or a coffee klatch at a local café, has its own influencers.  Respected and quoted by many, influencers are the members of the community who sway opinions through a combination of personal expertise and social connectedness that put them at the center (and often at the start of) many conversations.  Influencers exist for every imaginable topic.  They might be hobbyists, academics, journalists, professionals, or simply the person next door.  Each brings a unique point of view to a conversation, and developing relationships with them is important for brands building a connected digital presence.

We invited you –the industry experts – to pen a chapter and share your thoughts, ideas and best practices on the topic of social media influence.  The result:  a comprehensive eBook called “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement, A collaborative work of industry peers,” which delves into the different kinds of influencers you’ll find, their role in shaping online conversation and how brands and organizations can build valuable relationships with key influencers within their markets and as well as become influential themselves.

Read “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement” and thank you to all of our contributing authors!

Learn more about PR Newswire’s other programs at the AGILITY@work website.

Media Moves & News for November

MEDIAware, PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department newsletter, featuring media news and job changes in the last month, is now available. Here is a sampling of this month’s edition:

Newsweek ( it will cease printing with its last issue on Dec. 31st. Newsweek will be an online publication only in 2013. Newsweek estimates that its been losing $40 million annually on the print edition. Layoffs are expected in the transition. The new online product will be called “Newsweek Global”. Some Newsweek articles will continue to be available on The Daily Beast ( free website run by the same company. Newsweek began in 1933 and competed and battled with Time magazine to provide readers with the top weekly news stories in the newsweekly magazine business. The magazine peaked in 1991 with 3.3 million readers and was down to 1.5 million at the midway point this year. The lack of advertising dollars for a national weekly losing readers played a part in the demise as well.

It’s stormy weather for employees of The Weather Channel ( lately as approximately seven percent were laid off last month. The Atlanta-based company, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, had to lay off employees as part of a restructuring. The restructuring affected about 75-80 people. The last such layoff was in 2008 after NBCUniversal acquired a controlling share of the company. Meteorologists Jeff Morrow and Adam Berg were among those out.

The Seattle Times ( reported on its own employees protest against the company, following the company’s controversial decision to purchase a full-page ad supporting the Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna. More than 100 Seattle Times news staffers – including reporters, photographers, columnists, artists, editors and online news producers – signed a letter protesting the Times Co’s decision to sponsor newspaper ads supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate McKenna and a statewide referendum for legalized gay marriage. The employees cited threats to the paper’s credibility and neutrality as reasons for the protest.

Anderson Live (, Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, will not return for a third season. The program will run until Summer of 2013 completing its second season. You can still see Anderson Cooper on his CNN program “Anderson Cooper 360″ (

After Newsweek announced its move to digital earlier this month, popular Senior Correspondent Peter J. Boyer makes a major move. The former New Yorker and Vanity Fair Staff Writer has been named the new Editor-at-Large of Fox News. The new hire was named by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in a statement to his staff, describing Boyer as a “talented and insightful journalist.”

Former “CBS This Morning” Co-host Erica Hill has joined NBC’s “Weekend Today” as its new Co-host. Hill will host on Saturdays and Sundays beside Lester Holt. In addition to her new Co-hosting duties she will be a national correspondent for NBC News reporting on “Today” and “NBC Nightly News”.

Comedian Adam Carolla has joined Fox News Channel ( as a Contributor mainly on “The O’Reilly Factor” program ( Carolla is set to appear each Monday on the show to comment on political and social issues. In addition to appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” he will make appearances on other Fox News Shows. You can also see Carolla on his daily podcast show “The Adam Carolla Show” (

As countless publications continue to take major hits due to the economic recession Condé Nast Corporation ( announces several cutbacks. Eight editorial staffers and three business staffers were laid off at Self Magazine as part of Condé Nast’s 2013 budget cuts. According to New York Post, reports state that each title under the major publishing house must cutback by an estimated 5%. Although the cutbacks are said to continue within the coming months, large brands such as Vanity Fair and The New Yorker may escape staff reductions this time around. However, other powerful names were not so lucky, such as Susan Portnoy (Vice President Media Relations for Digital and Corporate Communications), most commonly known for her involvement in New York’s annual Fashion’s Night Out.

LANG ( which include the Los Angeles Daily News, the Torrance Daily Breeze and seven other papers has taken the obvious next step into becoming a regional news operation with an emphasis more on digital and less on geographical. Carolina Garcia will take over as Managing Editor of digital news for all LANG papers.

The Chicago Sun-Times ( has announced the hiring of Actress and Author Jenny McCarthy as Columnist. Ask Jenny will appear in the newspaper’s Splash section, and her blog will run Monday through Friday at The column will focus on and answer questions about love, sex, parenting, friendship, fitness and duties of a single mother.

Wired ( is bringing advertisers and the blogging community together by running ad-sponsored blogs.

The Los Angeles Times ( circulation figures are showing an increase due to paid digital subscriptions:

Meteorologists Dick Albert of WCVB-TV ( in Needham, MA and Steve Cascione of WLNE-TV ( in Providence, RI are teaming up to create a weather-focused online forum called SkyWatchers ( which is set to launch by the end of this year. SkyWatchers will be a platform for weather lovers to connect with and share information about all things weather. They are tweeting:

The Press of Atlantic City ( powered on through Hurricane Sandy and printed 24-page editions on Tuesday Oct. 30 &  Wednesday Oct.31st.

You can view the whole October issue of MEDIAware here:

And all of the Regional Updates here:

You can also follow all of the latest media moves and news from PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department on Twitter at:

Blog Notes: Random Edition

As you might imagine, I read a lot of blogs. It’s literally my job to find and promote the best blogs out there. And while most of the blogs I profile fit nicely into one category or another, often times there is an overflow of quality sites that don’t necessarily fit into one bundle. That”s not to say they’re not worth reading! They are worth it. But, for whatever reason, they haven’t been profiled here… yet. So with that in mind, I’d like to take a brief tour through some random and also awesome blogs.

August, Interrupted is the story of one brave woman’s fight with cancer. It has all the resolve, courage and inspiration you might expect from such a blog. But, what you might be surprised to find on this blog is humor. But, you’ll certainly find a lot of it. If I were to pitch this blog, I’d look for stories on oncology and living with cancer. I’d also be prepared to be moved to tears. I was. Check out the full review here.

Bike Gang! is the online home for stories relevant to biking, reviews of products, cool pictures and just about everything else two-wheeled. They also review ‘real people’s bikes’ as well as promote information on best practices for road safety. If I were to pitch this blog, I’d look for anything bike related. I understand they’re friendly to product reviews, too. Check out the full review here.

The Daily is the first “newspapers” for the digital age. It came about with the advent of the tablet reader and it “delivers” once a day. But, unlike most print publications, it updates constantly. But, like most newspapers, it covers just about everything you’d want to know about. If I were to pitch this blog, I’d look for stories on any topic. They seem to cover it all. Check out the full review here.

ONA Issues is a blog dedicated to the growing cadre of digital journalists. Not surprisingly, this is a growing concern. The world is going digital and so, too, is the news. But, that doesn’t mean that the rigorous ethics of journalism should go the way of the printed paper. This blog is here to keep those standards alive. If I were to pitch this blog, I’d look for anything to do with social media and journalism. Check out the full review here.

Four Pins is a fashion blog with a  great sense of humor. But, don’t get it twisted. They also have a very good sense of fashion. In fact, I might be checking this site before I go fall clothes shopping. But, this is a blog I’d follow even if I didn’t have clothes to buy. If I were to pitch this blog, I’d look for stories not just about fashion, but about where fashion intersects with other parts of life. Check out the full review here.

That’s all for now. In the meantime, if there’s a blog I should be reviewing, drop me a line or a note in the comments, and I’ll take a look. Until next time…

Author Tom Hynes is PR Newswire’s manager of blogger relations. And as you may have guessed, he has a twitter account.

Nonprofit Blogs: Good Work Done Well

This week my focus is on nonprofit blogs.  I enjoy charity and giving. (I actually run my own nonprofit.) And it’s not surprising that these things should be enjoyable. For as Portia says to Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, the “quality of mercy… is twice blessed, it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” In other words, it feels good to give. We should do it more often. Still, it should be done wisely. It’s great to give of ourselves. But, it’s even better to do it well. So with that in mind, let’s gather up some canned food, write this off as tax deductible as we enjoy this brief tour through some of the best nonprofit blogs I’ve seen lately.

Passionate Giving is a blog born out of Veritus Group. Or better yet, the Veritus Group is their job. Passionate Giving is, you guessed it, their passion. They believe in nonprofits. But, they also believe in having fun. This blog is about where those two worlds meet. If I were to pitch this blog, I’d loom for stories about major gifts. Things concerning nonprofit consulting might also work. Check out the full review here.

Points of Light is a blog about nonprofits. But, really, it’s about the individual. It’s about the people who make changes in their worlds. It is through this lens that they examine the world of charity and giving. If I were to pitch this blog, I’d look for stories about how individuals can affect change in their communities. Stories of successful nonprofit launches might also work.  Check out the full review here.

Stanford Social Innovation Review examines how the worlds of academia, business, nonprofits and government offer solutions to the pressing problems of the world.  If I were to pitch this blog, I’d run whatever I was about to say through spell check first. This is a Stanford publication, after all. Check out the full review here.

Future Fundraising Now is concerned with making fundraising as effective as possible. And, in their opinion, the donors are the most important thing on which to focus. After all, how else to effectively raise funds than to focus on those who give and why. If I were to pitch this blog, I’d look for stories about fundraising, specifically ones about how it can be done better. Check out the full review here.

OneOC is a nonprofit blog specifically geared towards Orange County, California. Still, the methods, best practices and case studies outlined in this blog could more than likely be applied to just about anywhere else in the world. It might also be beneficial to mimic the passion and energy portrayed here, too. If I were to pitch this blog, I’d look for stories about charitable giving in Southern California. Check out the full review here.

That’s all for now. In the meantime, if there’s a blog I should be reviewing, drop me a line or a note in the comments, and I’ll take a look. Until next time…

Author Tom Hynes is PR Newswire’s manager of blogger relations. And as you may have guessed, he has a twitter account.