Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On a personal note

Today was a big day for me. And yet, everything from my commute to work to my day’s assignments was perfectly ordinary. I glanced down at my watch at around 9:30 AM and couldn’t fight the grin that came across my face. At the start of the day’s daily stock trade, two hours away, my Dad was ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

Ever since I was little, it has always been he who was proud of me, but a few years wiser, I can now really appreciate his professional success and the happiness and fulfillment it undoubtedly gives him. To see him ring the bell to start the day’s trading, with an ear to ear grin, wearing an orange tie because, according to him, “orange is the coolest color,” was akin to the day I showed him my college acceptance letter. The pride I saw in his eyes that day was mirrored in my eyes today.

Though I may never ring the bell on the NYSE (just ask my college accounting professor), I know that he and I have reached a point where we can celebrate each other’s successes not just as father and daughter, but as I get older, also as friends.

Do you Twitter?

Twitter appears to be an excellent social media tool for public relations. The idea is simple, based on one question we ask our friends all the time “What are you doing?”

Friends and strangers alike are responding to that question on Twitter either posting on the Website or via SMS (text message). Members can invite friends to join and Twitter privately with them, or they can Twitter with the masses, posting their response to every Twitter member. The site has even launched a Facebook application so Facebook users can add it to their Facebook page.

At first I thought the idea was silly, but after reading Cohn and Wolfe’s Boomerang Blog on Twitter, it seems Twitter has the potential to generate PR for businesses.

If you’re a blogger, you might Twitter- “I just posted a blog on x, y and z, check it out!” (using 140 words or less). Or if your company is launching a PR campaign you might provide a sentence pitch or link to the website.

It’s worth checking out, for no other reason than to see what people are talking about-from the outrageous to the mundane, there’s a million and one ways to answer the question, “What are you doing?” As for me, I’m finishing up this blog and grabbing another cup of coffee!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Content Leaks on the World Wide Web

Ben Worthen of the Wall Street Journal’s Business Technology Blog wrote an interesting blog on Tuesday about content leaks on the World Wide Web. I almost didn’t read the blog, in fact, I almost averted my eyes and jumped up from my desk because of its title- Data Breach of the Day: Harry Potter Leaked on the Internet?

Though my friends and I will be at the beach this weekend, we have already planned ways to get our hands on a copy of the final book in the Harry Potter series we’ve grown up with. This is more than just beach reading for many fellow readers regardless of age and the limitations of a college budget. So imagine my concern when I thought the Wall Street Journal, a long-trusted, esteemed news source in my house implied a leak!

Don’t worry- the plot twists and surprises of the final Harry Potter book weren’t leaked on the WSJ’s blog, though they may be elsewhere on the Web. Instead, the blog discussed content leaks as they relate to business-using the Harry Potter series as a current example. Companies spend a great deal of time and effort ensuring that their clients won’t leak files. But the files aren’t always the issue.

According the blog, Harry Potter’s publisher spent millions making sure no one could get their hands on a copy of the book prior to the release, but Worthen touched on a more important issue- a content leak. He suggested that most could care less about having the book; they want what’s inside, showing that in this day and age, content leaks are more of a risk for companies.

Though many companies have put in place procedures to prevent employees from copying files, what matters is the information in the files. Intellectual property theft is a big concern for businesses with all of the emerging technologies out there, and companies should focus their efforts on protecting their property through the prevention of content leaks above all else. In my opinion, engage a good law firm and plan for the crisis… Then hope it never happens.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Newspaper Ad Sales Continue Decline

Newspaper Ad Sales Continue Decline

According to Emily Steel of the Wall Street Journal,

“Last fall, newspaper executives and analysts were caught by surprise by the severity of a slump that took hold last summer. Since the beginning of this year, the rate of decline in advertising revenue has accelerated. Total print and online ad revenue was down 4.8% to $10.6 billion in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to the Newspaper Association of America, compared with its full-year decline in 2006 of 0.3%.”

. . .

“Gannett, which publishes 85 daily newspapers, including USA Today, said its newspaper ad revenue dropped 6.8% in May. Ad revenue at New York Times Co.'s News Media unit -- which includes advertising generated at its media properties, but not -- dropped 9.9% in May. At McClatchy, which publishes 31 dailies, ad revenue in May dropped 11.5% to $153 million. Ad spending at The Wall Street Journal was down 3.4% in May."

Steel focuses on the stock tailspin that the decline has caused in the newspaper industry, leading to restructuring and consolidations. The decline in ads sales also affects the public relations industry and in particular, our clients. Fewer ads mean less printed pages which equates to fewer and fewer editorial opportunities. I believe this is a big reason for the public relations industry’s push to harness the opportunities afforded by the Internet, especially social media. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out over the next decade or so as the Baby Booming print readers make way for Gen X and Gen Y, both of which are migrating more and more to digital media for their news delivery.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Where were you when the lights went out in New York City?

“Where were you when the lights went out in New York City?” These are the lyrics to a song made popular by Philly’s own, The Trammps, back in 1977.The song “"The Night the Lights Went Out" likely makes no sense to most Gen-Y’ers today. And yet, my poor husband and kids have heard me tell the story many times as we’ve driven through the Lincoln Tunnel – 30 years ago today.

I was reminded this morning when reading the New York Times that on July 13, 1977, a 25-hour blackout hit the New York City area after lightning struck upstate power lines. I remember it like it was yesterday. . . my mother’s worry while the lights disappeared in the tunnel. . . my father’s protective nature and determination to “get us out of this mess.” And then pulling into “The City” to find that the only lights were those of the cars trying to maneuver amidst the chaos.

We slept in our Chrysler Cordoba that night which was parked just outside Central Park. I remember looters banging on the car windows, a lot of noise and mayhem. My father promised to keep us safe and kept telling me to go to sleep, that he wouldn’t let anything happen to us. He was right.

So today, I reread the New York Times article: Power Failure Blacks Out New York; Thousands Trapped In The Subways; Looters And Vandals Hit Some Areas. What memories it brings back. And just think, who would have thought back in 1977 that we’d be able to re-read the headlines 30 years later without entering a hot and dusty attic or accessing the library’s microfiche?

Tell me, where were you when the lights went out?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Can you be sued for opinions in your blog?

In this week's Business Insurance magazine, Judy Greenwald writes that a New York blogger ruling from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may have a wider impact. She says a federal appellate court's dismissal of a defamation lawsuit brought by Brooklyn moving company Best Van Lines Inc. against Iowa blogger Tim Walker "will have influence outside New York State."

On June 26th, the court reaffirmed other courts' rulings that the Iowa blogger who "runs a nonprofit Web site that provides information and opinions on household movers" is not liable for what the plaintiff claims to be "defamatory statements" under the state's long-arm statute. Walker published two blog entries stating that according to court documents, the moving company was "performing household moves without legal authorization and without the required insurance."

Greenwald quotes Mass.-based attorney, Robert J. Ambrogi as saying, "I think this is going to be one of those seminal cases that becomes kind of a turning point in defining the law on this issue."

Beth Bar of The New York Law Journal spells out the facts of the decision very well.

It appears that our freedom of Internet speech - even if "defamatory" - is still protected. So, blog on my friends, but remember if you publish it online and someone doesn't like what you have to say, there is always the chance for a lawsuit no matter what sayeth the courts.

Monday, July 09, 2007

ALM Sold to Incisive Media

It was announced last week that Incisive Media, a London-based publishing company recently paid $630 million for American Law Media, the parent company of several U.S. law publications including, IP Law & Business, the Minority Law Journal, the Legal Times, the National Law Journal, the New York Law Journal, Texas Lawyer, and Philadelphia’s own, Legal Intelligencer.

The multi-million dollar deal is set for the end of the third quarter and will keep ALM’s management in place while doubling the size of Incisive, a quickly growing, global publishing company with publications in Hong Kong, New York and London.

What does this mean for ALM publications’ readership?

It’s hard to say what this really means for legal publications in the U.S.A. It’s one of those “only time will tell” situations. Just like the Philadelphia Inquirer’s purchase by Brian Tierney last year, this is another “wait and see” game.

The goal of the merger is of course to grow Incisive, but also to bring legal publications to Europe and Asia. However, Incisive Media CEO Tim Weller and ALM CEO William Pollack say the merger will not affect the integrity of the legal publications ALM currently offers. The idea of the merger is to expand business for both companies according to Weller and Pollack, not to alter the content and spirit of the publications.

To paraphrase Alison Frankel of American Lawyer Media, U.S. readers shouldn’t see a change in any of ALM’s 30 national and regional publications.

In Europe though, Parisians could soon be reading a new L├ęgal Journal, Romans, a new giornale legale, and Berliners, a new zugelassene Zeitung, modeled after any of ALM’S U.S. publications.

It’ll be interesting to see how plays out in all of this too. Keep your eyes and ears open for more change.