Grammar Hammer: Whiling Away the Hours

the Grammar Hammer

While away the hours

While means to “pass the time, especially in some leisurely or pleasant manner”

I often see “wile away the hours” used interchangeably with “while away the hours,” so which is correct?

Technically, they both are, but there are some subtle differences one should consider.

“To while away the hours” means to “pass time idly” or to “pass time, especially in some leisurely or pleasant manner.” For example, “I spent hours whiling away on the beach last Sunday.”

“Wile” is generally used as a noun, meaning “trickery” or “cunning” (who could forget Wile E. Coyote?); “a disarming or seductive manner;” or “a trick intended to deceive.” It can also be used as a verb to mean “influence by wile.” In that context, wiling away the hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon could take on an entirely new meaning.

Therefore, “while away the hours” is the preferred expression. “Wile” exists as a means of poetic license to convey a particular mood or theme. For context, “Wile E. Coyote wiles away his time trying to catch that pesky Road Runner.”

Have a grammar rule you’d like me to explore? Drop me a line at catherine.spicer@prnewswire.com.

Author Catherine Spicer is a manager of customer content services at PR Newswire.

MEDIA News: Media Moves at: National Journal, The Atlantic, AP and More…

http://prnbloggers.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/agility-logo.png?w=127&h=125&h=125PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department makes thousands of updates to the  database of journalists and bloggers that underpins our Agility media targeting and distribution platform.  Below is a sampling of recent media moves and news from the research team.  Learn more about Agility media targeting here.

National Journal (Washington, DC): Washington Post Political Reporter Ben Pershing signs on as the new Washington Editor. And former American Prospect Executive Editor Bob Moser  joins @nationaljournal as a Senior Editor. Roll Call Reporter Daniel Newhauser (@dnewhauser) is now covering Congress here too.

The Atlantic (Washington, DC): Senior Editor Alexis Madrigal (@alexismadrigal) was promoted to Deputy Editor. And Katie Gilsinan (@kgilsinan) comes aboard as an Associate Editor. And Associate Health Editor Julie Beck (@julieebeck) was promoted to Health Editor.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN): The paper (@StarTribune) has announced that 19 of its journalists are taking a buyout and leaving after the sale of the paper recently. Among those that are departing include: Metro Reporter Jim Adams; Columnist/Tech Reporter Steve Alexander; Regional Reporter Laurie Blake; Reporter/Travel Blogger Curt Brown; Capitol Reporter Pat Doyle; Weather Reporter Bill McAuliffe; and News Editor Stan Schmidt.

Elle Magazine (New York, NY): Evan Campisi (@evancampisi) was named the Design Director @ELLEMagazine. He begins at the magazine on July 23rd.

Associated Press (New York, NY): Shelley Acoca (@ShelleyA) joins @AP as East Coast Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor.

Glamour (New York, NY): Abbe Wright (AbbeWright) joins @glamourmag as a Contributing Editor.

The Wall Street Journal (New York, NY): Elizabeth Holmes (@EHolmesWSJ) was promoted to Senior Style Writer @WSJ.

Seventeen Magazine (New York, NY): Aeyung Kim (@Aeyung) moves from Fashion Assistant to Fashion Editor. In addition, Accessories Editor Jasmine Snow (@jassnow) has been promoted to Senior Fashion Editor. Ms. Snow has been @seventeenmag since 2007.

Rolling Stone (New York, NY): Associate Publisher Michael Provus has been promoted to Publisher. Mr. Provus has been @RollingStone since 2010 and will succeed Chris McLoughlin.

Good Morning America (New York, NY): Veteran Producer Chris Vlasto (@vlasto)  has been promoted to Executive Producer. He will oversee the 7:00a hour focusing on breaking news and the morning’s top stories.

CNNMoney.com (New York, NY): Cullen Daly (@CullenDaly) is the new Senior Producer here @cnnmoney. He had been at Bloomberg News.

The View (New York, NY): ABC has confirmed that Rosie O’Donnell (@Rosie) is returning to the show as a Co-Host.

The New York Times (New York, NY): Former @WSJ Features Reporter Katie Rosman (@katierosman) joins the paper as a Sunday Styles Columnist and Editor. Ms. Rosman will begin late summer.

The Washington Post (Washington, DC): Former Digiday Senior Editor Josh Sternberg (@joshsternberg) has joined the @washingtonpost as a Digital Content Strategist.

Healthopolis (Washington, DC): This new blog produced by CQ/Roll Call covers healthcare policy. Paul Jenks (@PHJenks) is the head Blogger and Joe Warminsky (@jwarminsky) is the Editor.

NPR (Washington, DC): Former Marketplace Managing Editor Sarah Gilbert joins Weekend Edition (@NPRWeekend) as a Senior Editor.

THR.com (Los Angeles, CA) : Bryan Bishop has departed from Verge (@verge) to join THR.com (@thr) as News Director.

Buzzfeed (@Buzzfeed) (info@buzzfeed.com): Johana Bhuiyan (@JMBooyah) will soon be joining @Buzzfeed as a Technology Reporter.

Consumer Reports (@ConsumerReports): George Kennedy (@GKenns101) is joining @ConsumerReports as a Senior Associate Editor.

Yahoo! (@Yahoo)(media@yahoo-inc.com): Joanna Douglas (@JoannaDouglas) is now a Senior Beauty Editor for @YahooBeauty.

National Enquirer (New York, NY): Dylan Howard has been hired as the new Editor-in-Chief at National Enquirer (@NatEnquirer).

Los Angeles Daily News (Woodland Hills, CA): Sports Columnist Tom Hoffarth (@tomhoffarth) has stepped away from writing full-time in order to concentrate on a non-profit venture.

Winona Daily News (Winona, MN): Sports Reporter John Casper Jr. (@johncasperjr) has been promoted to Sports Editor.

The Salem News (Salem, MA): Longtime Sports Reporter Bill Kipouris has passed away at the age of 72. He worked @salemnews for 36 years.

Auburn Journal (Auburn, CA): Penne Usher (ajournal@goldcountrymedia.com) has returned to the Auburn Journal as the publications Managing Editor. Eyragon Eidam is the new City Hall Reporter.

The Ventura County Star (Camarillo, CA): Shanna Cannon takes the reins as the Regional Publisher @VCStar. Cannon succeeds Margie Cochrane.

The Moulton Advertiser (Moulton, AL): J.R. Tidwell has been named Sports Writer @MoultonAdv.

Commercial Dispatch (Columbus, MS): Brandon Walker (@BWonStateBeat) will soon be joining @CDispatch as the Mississippi State Sports Writer.

PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department provides daily updates on Twitter (twitter.com/PRNmedia).

Detailed outlet and contact information is available at agility.prnewswire.com.

You can view the full version of MEDIAware here: http://www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/public-relations/

Content We Love: Serving Audiences & Search Engines Equally Well

ContentWeLove

Click here to view the complete branded microsite

Click here to view the complete branded micro-site

The development of search engine algorithms continues to closely mirror the human process of researching information, making it more difficult than ever for individuals to manipulate results in their favor. For communicators who rely on search as a primary mechanism for reaching audiences, this may sound like heartbreaking news. In reality, it is an opportunity for brands to be more innovative in their content creation and messaging strategy. Brands that can organically surface to the top of page rankings will be deemed more credible and authoritative by consumers searching for related information, and that means creating content that search engines deem to be of high quality.

One of the most challenging aspects of Google’s latest algorithm for communicators is finding a way to target similar messages across multiple markets without violating duplicate content standards. The pressure to create even more original content might feel like impending doom for PR pros who are already strapped for time, but the communications team at Honda has found a brilliant workaround. Using a branded campaign micro-site titled, Honda Stage Launches at REVOLT Studios Delivering Performances and Artists Interviews Across Television, Web and Mobile Platforms for Music Fans,” they’ve delivered an umbrella message that caters to a broad spectrum of markets at once, and is visually stunning. Highlights from this fully-loaded micro-site include:

  • Hi-res photos and videos that bring this story to life, and are ready for sharing on social channels and re-purposing in earned media stories
  • A press release with highlighted bullet points and executive quotes presents different story angles for journalists to cover
  • Related news regarding tour dates and featured artists is available in both English and Spanish, which targets this content to local geographies, dedicated fan bases, and caters to multicultural audiences
  • A share button spurs engagement on social media
  • Related links drive traffic directly back to Honda’s owned properties

Keep in mind that it’s not just on Google that visibility is becoming harder to grasp, it’s happening almost everywhere information is consumed. The media continues to juggle between delivering hard news versus salacious stories that will drive traffic or ratings. Social networks are now favoring sponsored content in their newsfeeds, making it even less of a guarantee that your single tweet will be seen by the mass audience you are hoping to reach unless they happen click directly onto your page. But does this mean you should give up on the media, social networking, or tried and true PR tactics? Of course not!  It just means that PR needs to work harder to deliver messages that are of higher quality, and that story development and distribution tactics need to evolve, as we see in this forward thinking example from the folks at Honda.

ShannonShannon Ramlochan is PR Newswire’s Content Marketing Coordinator. Follow her on Twitter @sramloch.

How to Choose A Regional Accent for Spanish-Language Broadcast Campaigns

Tips for Regional AccentTo engage Hispanic audiences, many companies must decide whether their Spanish-language broadcast outreach should employ a voice-over talent with either a neutral or a regional accent.

At first glance, a neutral accent may be the best solution as it’s the easiest for all US Latino communities to understand. But, using a regional

accent may deliver the same message with a level of genuineness that could make for a stronger connection.

The Mexican accent may immediately be your first choice when choosing a regional accent, simply because Mexicans make up the largest percentage of US Hispanics. Plus, it’s also the regional accent most requested with voice-over talent.

Armando Plata platavoice@gmail.com www.armandoplata.com

Armando Plata
platavoice@gmail.com
http://www.armandoplata.com

“The Mexican accent is the most recognizable throughout Latin America due to the influence of Mexican cinema and the fact that the majority of TV shows and movies are translated over there,” says former journalist and voice-over talent Armando Plata.

A Bogotá, Colombia native, Plata credits his training as an actor as key to mastering regional accents. He feels in order to fully embrace an accent, it’s necessary to partake in each culture. That’s how he’s been able to manage Cuban, Mexican, and Argentine accents.

“On several occasions, I have gotten requests for regional Colombian accents, as

Raul Escalante esraul1@gmail.com raulescalantevoice.blogspot.com

Raul Escalante
esraul1@gmail.com
raulescalantevoice.blogspot.com

well as to narrate with a Mexican accent,” says Raul Escalante (Raul Escalante Productions – raulescalantevoice.blogspot.com), who’s also from Bogotá and can do a variety of local Colombian accents, including the Paisa, Valluno, Tolimense, and Cachaco. He also can speak with Mexican and Argentine accents.

Plata and Escalante agree that mastering a neutral Spanish accent has been a plus in their voice-over careers.

Escalante has worked as Jorgen Von Strangle, in ‘Los Padrinos Mágicos’ (Fairly OddParents) and with major brands such as Johnnie Walker, Univision, McDonald’s, and Lexus.

Plata has performed narrations for Disney, Coca-Cola, Walmart, AT&T, and Western Union.

Both agree that national and international brands generally request a neutral accent to reach a wider range of potential consumers.

Jessica AlasJessica Alas is Media Relations Director, Multicultural Markets and Hispanic PR Wire with PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter at @alasjessica.

Updated Tactics for Issuing Press Releases Across Multiple Markets

It’s not unusual for an organization to issue similar announcements across a variety of markets. Whether announcing award recipients, regional services or a multi-city tour, developing localized press releases with similar themes for multiple markets is a common and necessary PR tactic, and using a template for the messages has long been standard practice.

However, PR Newswire’s new copy quality guidelines caution against using templates, and for good reason.  Google’s recent Panda update targeted low quality content, and multiple redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations were specifically cited as indicators of low quality content.

So what’s a PR pro to do when faced with the task of creating similar announcements for multiple markets?  Here are some tips for developing messages that won’t be flagged as low quality content and (bonus!) are more likely to garner the attention of journalists, bloggers and local audiences:

  • Create unique messages.  Each headline, subhead and lead paragraph need to be significantly different – merely changing names of cities or people in each isn’t enough.
  • Emphasize different story angles.  For example, if you’re announcing special events at a variety of hotel locations across the nation, emphasize different aspects of each location – e.g. shopping on the Mag Mile in Chicago, touring historic neighborhoods in Boston, waterfront attractions in San Francisco, etc.
  • Localize and further differentiate content by including real quotes from people on the ground in each market.
  • Include market-specific visuals, such as pictures of a local storefronts, individual award recipients, etc.
  • As much as possible, encourage social sharing of the content by local contacts.
  • Stagger distribution.  Don’t unleash a spate of similar messages all at once.
  • Rethink your approach entirely. Instead distributing press releases over the newswire for each market, build more public awareness by creating a rich, compelling and highly visual multimedia press release that tells the whole story.  Then use your media database to identify relevant media and bloggers in the region, and send them market-specific details directly via email.  (Here’s a great example from Honda, announcing the Honda Stage Festival.)

There’s no doubt that creating unique, quality content is more time consuming that simply using a template to crank out messages, but audiences value rich content, causing Google (and PR Newswire) to raise the bar on content quality.  To deliver the best results for the organization, creating unique and useful content is imperative.

sarah avatarAuthor Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of strategic communications, and is the author of  the ebook Driving Content DiscoveryFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.

MEDIA News: Media Moves at: Conde Nast Traveler, Fortune, Investment News and More…

http://prnbloggers.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/agility-logo.png?w=127&h=125&h=125PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department makes thousands of updates to the  database of journalists and bloggers that underpins our Agility media targeting and distribution platform.  Below is a sampling of recent media moves and news from the research team.  Learn more about Agility media targeting here.

Fortune Magazine (New York, NY): Business Journalist Carol Loomis is retiring after more than 60 years @FortuneMagazine. She was most recently Editor-at-Large. Also, Clifton Leaf (@CliftonLeaf) is the new Deputy Managing Editor.

Conde Nast Traveler (New York, NY): Jennifer Hicks joins @CNTraveler as Associate Publisher.

Investment News (New York, NY): Matt Ackermann (@acketyack) was promoted to Director of Digital Content at @newsfromIN. He was formerly a Digital Editor.

The New York Times (New York, NY): Patricia Cohen (@patcohennyt), who previously covered the Arts since 2007 is moving to the Business Day section @nytimes. She will now report on Economic Policy. In addition, Melena Ryzik (@melenar) has changed beats and is now reporting for the Culture section.

Time (New York, NY): Justin Worland (@Justin Worland) joins @TIME as a Breaking News Reporter.

The Oregonian (Portland, OR): Mark Katches (@markkatches) has joined (@Oregonian) as Editor and Vice President from Center for Investigative Reporting where he served as Editorial Director. Mark officially begins his new role on July 21st.

Smithsonian Magazine (Washington, DC): Former Wired Technology Contributor Clive Thompson (@pomeranian99) will become the Tech Columnist @SmithsonianMag.

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA): Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) switches from Music Editor to Senior Pop Culture Writer for @LATimes.

Fashionista (@Fashionista_com): Steff Yotka (@Steff_Leopard) is now the Market Editor and will be covering fashion markets.

The View (New York, NY): Hosts Jenny McCarthy (@JennyMcCarthy) and Sherri Shepherd (@SherriEShepherd) have left @theviewtv. Ms. Shepherd spent seven years on the set and Ms. McCarthy joined in the fall of 2013.

The Verge (@Verge) (tips@theverge.com): Colin Lecher (@ColinLecher) is now a News Editor.

Women’s Wear Daily (New York, NY): Jayme Cyk (@Cykic) is the new Mass Market Beauty Editor at the outlet.

Rolling Stone (New York, NY): Gus Wenner has been promoted to Head of Digital at @RollingStone.

Fast Company (New York, NY): Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken) joins @FastCompany as a Technology Editor.

Chicago Magazine (Chicago, IL): Publisher and General Manager Rich Gamble is set to leave @ChicagoMag at the end of this month to become Senior Vice President of Operations at the Chicago Zoological Society.

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH): Eighteen-year veteran P-D Sports Reporter Mary Schmitt Boyer is retiring from (@ThePlainDealer).

The Washington Post (Washington, DC): Former Cincinnati Enquirer Sports Editor Angel Rodriguez (@ajrod) is the new Mobile Editor @washingtonpost.

Artnews (New York, NY): Izabela Depczyk is the new Publisher @ARTnewsmag.

WTXF-TV (Philadelphia, PA): Lauren Johnson (@laurendawn) moves from WOFL-TV in Orlando to Philly to be a Morning News Host @FOX29philly.

Nerdist (http://www.nerdist.com): Matt Grosinger (@MattGrosinger) is the new Music Editor @NerdistDotCom.
Bridal Guide (New York, NY): Katie Hoppenjans joins the staff @bridalguidemag as Assistant Fashion and Beauty Editor.

The Alexander City Outlook (Alexander City, AL): Mitch Sneed has joined the @alexcityoutlook as Editor.

The Advocate – New Orleans Bureau (New Orleans, LA): Nick Underhill (@Nick_Underhill) joins the sports team to cover the football beat and the New Orleans Saints @theadvocateno .

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, TX): Daniel Paulling (@DanielPaulling) joins the Sports team to cover Texas Tech football @lubbockonline.

Southeast Missourian (Cape Girardeau, MO): Former Kentucky New Era Assistant Sports Editor Trent Singer (@KNEtrentsinger) is now a new Sports Reporter @semissourian.

Kennebec Journal (Waterville, ME): Sports Editor/Reporter Gary Hawkins (@GaryHawkinsKJ) is putting down the keyboard after 38 years of Sports Reporting and retiring.

Ionia Sentinel-Standard (Ionia, MI): Chris Zadorozny (@ZadsISS) is the new Sports Editor @IoniaSentStand.

Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, MO): Sports Reporter Eric Ingles (@Eric_Ingles) was promoted to Sports Editor @SedaliaDemocrat.

Daily Chronicle (Dekalb, IL): Former Yuma Sun Sports Editor Eddie Carifio takes the reins as Sports Editor @Daily_Chronicle.

The Times-Leader (McLeansboro, IL): Jeremy Hall is the new Editor.

Yuma Sun (Yuma, AZ): Sports Reporter Jesse Severson (@YSJesseSeverson) was named the new Sports Editor @yumasun.

Waxahachie Daily Light (Waxahachie, TX): Geoff Gorman (@GeoffNDallas) is the new Sports Editor.

PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department provides daily updates on Twitter (twitter.com/PRNmedia).

Detailed outlet and contact information is available at agility.prnewswire.com.

You can view the full version of MEDIAware here: http://www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/public-relations/MEDIAwareJuly72014.html

Safeguarding Brand Visibility on Social Networks

brand hub

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all public companies, and as such, their primary objectives are to return profits to their shareholders, not drive visibility for the brands that have developed presences on their platforms.  It’s no secret that social networks strive to make their sites useful and attractive to users, employing algorithms to serve up content that will engage their audiences and keep them on the site longer (thus exposing them to more advertising.)  The recent news of Facebook’s experiment in manipulating user emotions by managing what they see in their newsfeeds is surprising to some, but the reality is this:  the brands we represent are not in control of social presences, and while there’s no doubt social media is a powerful communications medium, communicators are at the mercy of the social network companies and their fiduciary duties to their respective shareholders.

Changes in organic reach of Facebook posts since September 2012. Via Moz.com

The social network companies can make (and have made) significant changes to their platforms, increasing and decreasing visibility for brands seemingly at the drop of a hat.   As a result, except for brands willing to spend heavily on advertising, visibility via social networks can be unpredictable.

Here are four ways brands can safeguard their online visibility and social network traction.

Make your web site or blog the center of your content universe. Instead of using social platforms as the primary repositories for the content your brand produces, concentrate key assets on channels the brand controls.

Use social channels to build awareness and engagement, but don’t invest in creating communities on sites you don’t own.  Social networks are great places to find and interact with like-minded people. However, building communities and groups on sites your brand doesn’t own, for example, creates an asset for the social networking company, not your own brand.   If you’re going to invest in building a community, do so using a channel the brand owns.

Build a multichannel strategy for distributing content and messaging.   Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Building a multichannel approach to distributing content is crucial for building new audiences and maintaining engagement with people who are already connected with a brand.  Social media, commercial newswire services, online communities and a brand’s own digital channels reach different audiences.  Employ a mix, and fine tune messages to fit each, to maximize relevant exposure for your messages. You’ll also be creating a hedge against significant changes in the social media or search engine landscapes.

Let your audience do the talking.  Encourage social sharing (but point people back to your brand’s hub.)  As you develop content and plan strategies, make “social sharing” a goal.  Building content and crafting strategies with social sharing outcomes in mind will not only help amplify brand messages – you’ll build credibility through social proof, as well.   When possible, link shared elements back to your brand’s owned channels.

Using social channels to amplify brand messages while at the same time directing audiences towards digital assets the brand owns and controls enables organizations to capitalize upon the important benefits social media delivers, building visibility and interaction with key audiences  while protecting the brand’s investment in content development and outreach.  In addition to limiting downside risk to the organization in the face of changes in how social networks present brand content, smart communicators can develop traction with audiences on their brands’ own channels, developing increasing the return the organization realizes on the content it develops.

sarah avatarAuthor Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of strategic communications, and is the author of  the ebook Driving Content DiscoveryFollow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik.