Month: February 2014

Do Presidents Tally Brownie Points?

Over the years, people have questioned how much of an effect sponsors, donators and people who financially support any given president have on the man in the oval office. When it comes to the president making decisions about appointing certain people to certain positions we must wonder, do these fiscal sums add up? Do presidents keep a chart tallying how much money so and so gave in support?

Recently, Obama has appointed a few new foreign ambassadors who seem shockingly under qualified.

Sounds like a lot of “ums,” “uhs,” stutters and general uncertainties to me. I am not an expert on any of these foreign countries by any means. But, I’m not trying to become the ambassador for any of them. As Juliet Eilperin said in her Washington Post article said, “There is no specific requirement that ambassadorial nominees, whether career or political, have visited the country in question…But nominees are often fluent in the country’s language or have some connection to the region.”

Now, Obama is not the first president to elect political allies. In fact, working with allies is generally a smart move. This is a common trend. However, this occasion is truly alarming. My personal favorite line from the whole thing is when Senator John McCain sarcastically said, “I have no more questions for this incredibly highly qualified group of nominees.”

So what does all of this mean? Should people who want to run for a future ambassador position assume they must financially support whoever happens to be the president at the time despite their actual political feelings? Will they need to perfect their teacher’s pet skills in order to gain such a position? I certainly hope not. But as long as King Obama remains in power who knows how many gold stars and demerits he’ll give out while still in office.

Here’s an article that best explains the new appointees. 

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Has Bill O’Reilly Managed to Charm People?

It should come as no surprise that millenials would prefer to watch Comedy Central over Fox News. This continually preached message should motivate Fox to compete with this level of humor and popularity among Generation Y. Fox should try and start a satirical late night show in an attempt to gain a younger audience. Maybe try and find smart, funny people who possess qualities similar to Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert.

Well, guess what? It turns out, Fox News is taking a step in the right direction. The O’Reilly Factor has added a new segment to their show called, “Watters’ World.” The five minute portion generally consists of a young man, Jesse Watters, interviewing people on the street about various political topics.

Now, I realize that as soon as Bill O’Reilly is mentioned, millenials tend to cringe. O’Reilly is indeed an opinionated fellow who is not afraid to speak his mind- even if he comes off as kind of an asshole sometimes. Trust me, I get it. However, it seems O’Reilly is beginning to understand how to target the younger generation in a more appropriate manner.

Jesse Watters is a young man who’s dweeby charm makes him funny. He may not be stand-up-comedy funny, but his nerdy, nice guy appeal could be compared to Michael Cera’s character as  Paulie Bleeker in Juno. You know? The kind of twerpy guy who seems sweet and kind of awkward and that’s why we find them humorous. That’s Jesse Watters.

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Courtesy of foxnews.com

Watters is the perfect candidate for this type of on-the-street interviewing for a couple of reasons. First off, he’s approachable. Standing on the street with his big dopey smile and perfectly tucked in polo makes him seem amicable to the general public. Secondly, he asks questions in a non-threatening manner. His tone is innocent and curious. You can tell he genuinely just wants to know how people feel about certain topics.

It’s funny that O’Reilly decided to hire Watters because O’Reilly is really quite the opposite. Between his sour-puss face, condescending tone and interruptive interview style, the two really could not come off more opposite. However, that’s where Watters succeeds.

Each segment, after the video is played, the camera turns to Watters sitting with O’Reilly in his studio. The way Watters just sits there with a constant grin on his face chatting with this intimidating, kind of mean, old man is just charming. The kid has unintentional charisma. And the juxtaposition of the two personalities is genius. So no, Bill O’Reilly has not managed to charm people himself, but he’s hired someone who can.

Check it out for yourself. New episodes of The O’Reilly Factor air on Fox News, Monday through Friday 8:00pm eastern time, 5:00pm pacific time. Or go online to check out video clips of Watters’ World.

Can Audio Be Audacious Enough to Go Viral?

Have you ever thought about why audio hasn’t hopped on the social media bandwagon? We’re used to seeing words, hash-tags, memes, gifs, videos and more fill up our newsfeeds, but we never really see audio go viral. Why do you think that is?

Well, audio requires people to actually sit down and listen. Normally, social media users can scroll through words, skim over articles, look at pictures for about five seconds, and fast forward through videos. Audio requires patience. Patience is not only a virtue, but a rare quality among most people today.

It seems people have become accustom to fast-paced lifestyles, especially within the social media world. So, how can audio become more popularized?

Eric Athas writes about National Public Radio’s (NPR) attempt to make audio more appealing to the social media crowd. Read about it here.

npr_news_icon

Courtesy of therecapp.com

After reading Athas’ article we realize how difficult it is to come up with noteworthy audio pieces. They don’t even have to be noteworthy, but entertaining, or attention-grabbing is necessary.

NPR’s attempt is admirable. However, the nature of audio doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. Audio’s ability to truly go viral seems to have too many limits.

What do you think?

What is a Millenial?

The term “millenial” is being used quite often these days to describe young people. But, what exactly does the term mean? Who are they talking about specifically?

Well, according to Wikipedia, a millenial is any individual who was born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. They are also known as “Generation Y.” “Generation X” refers to any individual born from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. And “Baby Boomers” include any individual born between the years 1946 and 1964.

The infographic to the left  describes what being a “millenial” means. (for a larger, more extensive version click here)

As millenials, we embrace technology. Social media and smart phones are second nature to us. We are the most formally educated generation in American history.

Last week in my PR class we were assigned to create an infographic. I looked at tons of examples for some creative ideas. A few infographics sparked my inspiration in creating my own. After some additional research, I decided to make my infographic based on how news sources should target millenials.

So how should political figures, news channels and news sources gain the attention and support from millenials? Humor. Clear and simple. Make us laugh.

You see, news is generally negative. It’s just a fact of the nature of the news. However, having the ability to poke fun, make jokes or laugh at such topics makes news more enjoyable and memorable.

50 percent of millenials get their news from television. And surprise surprise! 60 percent of us watch The Daily Show while 53 percent watch The Colbert Report. Never would have guessed.

But here’s that catch. Most people trust news sources like CNN and Fox to give us the facts of the news. However, a majority of those viewers do not always agree with the manner in which that info is given to the public. The ways in which people form their opinion on news issues is a different process. And social commentary shows like The Daily Show play key roles in shaping such opinions; especially the opinions of millenials.

So, when given the task to create an infographic of my own. I decided to show how millenials prefer that their news be dispersed with humor.

Courtesy of Shaina Hayutin

Courtesy of Shaina Hayutin

Here’s the thing. As effective as The Daily Show and Colbert Report are and have been, they only provide two points of views (both that of Democratic ones). Their is quite a myriad of political view points out there in America. Ranging from conservative, republican, democratic, liberal, statist, libertarian, green, constitutional, independent, populist, socialist and a whole lot more. These points of views need to be heard through the millenial ear. These view points need to speak up. If they want to grab the attention of the millenial generation they’re going to have to utilize the same tactics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert seem to have mastered. That’s how my generation is going to listen. More importantly, that’s how they will form their opinions. They just need to hear those perspectives from someone they will listen to.

Social Media vs. Solicitations

Social media seems to be the talk of the century. If people don’t have a personal account, they most likely work for an organization that does. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn or the plethora of others, everyone is hopping on the social media bandwagon.

The organizations that choose to use social media tactics have good reason. Social media is capable of getting a message out to tons of people in the quickest and most efficient way the media has ever seen. It allows said organizations’ audiences to become aware. However, once those target audiences are aware, are they really going to follow through with steps to take action? According to a study conducted at Georgetown University’s Center for Social Communication and Waggner Edstrom, people seem to follow through.

After taking a look at the results from the study, we learn that people are more likely to become more active when hearing a message online than offline. This is due to convenience, efficiency and influence. People seem to feel they have more control over causes when they can participate on their own time.

This makes sense. How else do we hear about nonprofit causes or organizational messages? Through advertisements, solicitations and people on the streets. Advertisements are everywhere. They’re on televisions, billboards, poster boards and now social media. But, think about when you go to the grocery store or when you walk to campus for class. How many times do people approach you to ask for a few minutes of your time? Whether it’s to take a survey, answer a few questions, sign a petition or just listen to their 30 second schpiel, they always are attempting to get some message across to such pedestrians. The same goes with door-to-door or on-the-phone solicitations.

In reality, how many times do you stop to listen to this person? Does it depend on the cause they are supporting? Does it depend on if you’re in a rush to go somewhere? Does it depend on if you received the phone call during dinner? Or is it true that most of the time, we don’t want to stop and talk to people on the street because they are approaching us.

You see, people want to feel in control. They want to do things based on their individual prerogative.  Having a stranger approach them is not only invasive, but it’s taking that sense of control away.

With social media, that problem does not exist. People are free to scroll through their newsfeed as they choose. They can read e-mails as they please. They can “like” a Facebook page if they want to. And they can search an organization when they are sincerely intrigued. The right to support a cause is in the hands of the individual and that’s why social media is so effective.

Batman Technology May Be the Future of News Consumption

Remember watching Batman when you were little and being fascinated by all of his gadgets? Between his bat-mobile and utility belt, he seemed to always be armed with super cool technology.

In particular, he had a wrist watch that he could talk into to communicate with Lucius Fox- Wayne Enterprise’s resident tech-geek. Back in the days of watching Batman, we thought these gadgets were just fantasy. Turns out, technology is becoming so advanced these days that those gadgets are becoming a reality. 

In the past, such smart watches have been used as notification centers or bluetooth devices for smart phones. However, technology is gearing towards making these smart watches equipment that is independent of smartphones.

“Omate TrueSmart”  and “Neptune Pine” are among the first within the smart watches scene to work independently. Both are android devices that are changing the way in which people receive their information. Considering these fully functioning devices are smaller and can be worn on the wrist, it makes for an easier, user-friendly experience.

This technology has the potential to be groundbreaking. The possibilities in store may be endless. In terms of news consumption, this proves the game is ever-changing. News outlets are just beginning to figure out how to adjust their methods to reach their intended audiences through smartphones and social media. The whole idea of becoming “mobile first” is quickly turning to an even smaller scale.

News sources must use this to their advantage. They must ensure their audience continues receiving their news through appropriate measures while receiving the same full experience. Whether it is in a newspaper, on television, on a computer screen, a smartphone or a smart watch, these news sources must be capable of fitting to the appropriate outlet.

Who would have guessed that fantasized, super hero technology would become a tangible product in the real world? If news sources do not take advantage of this new technological gear, they are in danger of losing its key audiences. And as Batman would say to any of his defeated nemeses, “I guess the real joke is on you.”

So, moral of the story: take advantage of the ever-changing world of technology. Your audience will appreciate it and Batman will be proud.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of TopNews.in

GOP Response to SOTU was Less Than Grand

After the president gave his State of the Union Address last week, the GOP responded with not one response, not two, not three, but FOUR different responses. Yes, because the State of the Union Address is not long enough, the Republican Party decided to prolong it even more. How concise.

Starting off the series of events was the ever disturbed-smiling Cathy McMorris, the congresswoman representing eastern Washington.

Next up, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen representing South Florida (If you speak Spanish, that would probably be helpful).

Third, we have Mike Lee, United States senator for Utah.

And lastly, is United States Senator for Kentucky, Libertarian and Snapchat superstar Rand Paul.

Indeed, it is quite a difficult task to come up with a response to something you have yet to hear. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the game. Regardless, it really shouldn’t have to be said that the response should only come from one person’s mouth.

Maybe the GOP wanted to prove its diversity this year. If that was the case having a congresswoman, a Cuban congresswoman, a Tea Party senator and a Libertarian senator was a pretty darn thorough strategy. Really, politically correct experts around the country were so proud. Using this diverse gang as the faces of the demonized, misogynist, immigrant-hating party may have been a smart move in theory. The execution, however, is a hand-on-forehead, shake-your-head-in-disappointment kind-of-moment.

If an organization is working to portray an all-inclusive, patriotic, American image, they need to ensure the faces of that organization are well-spoken, intelligent, personable individuals. This is why McMorris was not suitable. Talking down to the American public with a kindergarten-teacher tone and a seemingly phony smile does not capture those qualities of a such a delegate. But hey, maybe the Republican Party doesn’t have many women to choose from to represent their point of view in the first place. This must be true in some light considering Ros-Lehtinen’s response wasn’t even given in English. Maybe they were trying to reach the Hispanic and Latino community in a more personable manner.

Mike Lee, didn’t seem to say anything controversial, but let’s be honest it wasn’t noteworthy either. Maybe he was trying to emulate the president’s approach this year.

And finishing off the responses with senator Rand Paul was, once again, not the best move for the Republican Party. Not to continue to come down hard on the Snapchat superstar, but there must have been a better libertarian candidate to address to public.

Maybe instead of preaching four separate messages, the Republican Party should work on working together. If we learned anything from these four responses, it’s that the Republican Party is extremely disjointed. Rather than continue to complain about how Democrats try and solve issues in America, maybe they should come up with solutions themselves. For example, establishing a replacement bill to the Affordable Care Act instead of shutting down the government in opposition would be a great start.

Anyway, in case you missed the twelve hour event, click here for a good synopsis.

2014 SOTU Sounds Oddly Familiar…

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A few days ago, President Barack Obama gave his 2014 State of the Union address. The much-anticipated speech was not only underwhelming and misleading in content, but questions of plagiarism have risen as well. Wonderful.

The president did, however, succeed in a few areas. Let’s start with the positives. The always enthralling and charismatic personality utilized his captivating story telling and speaking skills yet again. He told anecdotes to win over Americans. It’s a brilliant strategy. Really though, when a political leader is able to successfully display his apparent concern for individuals it is priceless. He told the story of Misty DeMars, (23:28 in SOTU Video) the mother who’s unemployment insurance was cut off. And he ended by telling the story of a brave army ranger, Cory Remsburg (59:36 in SOTU Video). These two narratives managed to exemplify two common situations for Americans today; one struggling with unemployment and tax issues, another risking his life for our country and freedoms. This, Obama executed brilliantly.

Courtesy of Visit W3Schools

Courtesy of Forbes

As wonderful as his public speaking abilities are, he continues to prove he lacks any real leadership ability. Why is this true? Well, someone who is capable of twisting facts and statistics in such a dramatic manner really shouldn’t be in any sort of leadership position. Don’t we want a leader who is transparent and willing to compromise? Whatever your stance may be on the Affordable Care Act(ACA), shouldn’t Obama have realized how unsuccessful the rollout was and taken real action? He was more than aware of the flaws before the rollout and he pushed to proceed anyway. Now that over five million people have lost their insurance, you would think he might show some sympathy for those millions, but instead he bragged about its “success.” Despite his poor judgment in that area he should have been willing to make changes;
from the beginning, but now would be good too.

Initially, the president had no need to compromise because he had the majority in the House and Senate. However, an effective leader would have understood that a bill this massive would eventually need bipartisan support. Such a leader would have come up with a plan to gain that support and be willing to make some changes. Isn’t compromise a big part of how our country was founded and how our constitution was established? Obama on the other on, decided to proceed with his large majority in Congress and ignore the people who represent the other half of this country. Subsequently, he will be remembered for this failing piece of legislation. The founding fathers would be so proud.

So not only is the president incapable of compromise or adjusting his strategy when faced with failure, but he is kind of a hypocrite too. Sounds harsh, right? But, he has been accused of using lines from president Bush’s 2007 State of the Union address.

Marc Thiessen, the lead writer for President Bush’s 2007 State of the Union address, explained how many parts of President Obama’s speech this year sounded extremely familiar. So why is it okay to label Obama as hypocritical? Because after so much bashing of Bush’s strategies, Obama turns around and uses exact lines out of his speech. Classy.

So what should Obama have said?  Admitting to his faults and coming up with solutions to proceed would have been a good place to start. Anything of substance really would have been better. These are some of the many reasons why this years’ SOTU address is really quite historically insignificant.