On Inside PR this week: Spin Sucks!

IMG_0041Spin sucks! You know it and I know it. And Gini Dietrich knows it. But even more, Gini has written a new book, Spin Sucks, in which she shows us how to replace spin with authentic communications that your community will find informative, entertaining and useful.

Spin Sucks the Book has just launched. And in this week’s episode of Inside PRMartin Waxman and I talk with Gini about the book, what it tells us, and her innovative approach to marketing the book. (If you know Gini, you wouldn’t expect anything less from her than to turn the launch of her book into a marketing experiment. She’s always thinking of how to do things better.) This included a Brand Ambassador program to spread the word about the book so that Gini could maintain a much more limited travel schedule to promote Spin Sucks than she had to maintain when promoting her previous book, Marketing in the Round. Over 800 people applied to be a Brand Ambassador, agreeing to buy the book and write a review to coincide with the launch date. Ultimately, she selected over 200 of the applicants to be Ambassadors.

If you wonder what type of results Gini got from this approach, check out the quality of the reviews on Amazon.com. High quality, Well written, persuasive reviews from people who’ve read and loved the book. (At the time I write this, there are 76 reviews of Gini’s book. Sixty five are 5 star and eleven are four star.)

It doesn’t get much better than that.

This is an excerpt from an article originally posted on the Inside PR podcast blog

How I use 76insights for content marketing

76insights logo76insights gives publishers and marketers insight into how their content is resonating with their audience. It does this through an intuitive user interface that enables them to see patterns in which pieces of content are resonating, on which channels and social networks, and with whom. They can identify specific pieces of content that they want to further share with their audience and click out to the native application or their preferred application such as HootSuite to republish and share.

76insights is very different from any other social media tool that I have seen. And after I’ve described it to people, I often see that they are still puzzled about it.So this weekend, I decided to record a video showing how I use 76insights to do my work as a member of the Thornley Fallis content marketing team.

In this video I demonstrate how I use the analytics dashboard to identify patterns in which of our content was most resonant with our community, to identify who was interacting with that  content, and then to share items that I think will be of interest to one or more of my communities on different social networks.

76 insights is being rolled out by invitation to select content marketers and publishers. If you’re interested in knowing more or even in becoming one of the early adopters, click over to the 76insights site to find out more and, if you’d like, to request an invitation to be an early user.

Disclosure: 76insights has been developed by my colleagues at 76design and I’m proud as punch of what they are creating.

Gini Dietrich tells Third Tuesday why Spin Sucks

Gini Dietrich is coming back to Canada. Even better, she’s coming back to Third Tuesday.

Gini DietrichGini will be doing the Canadian launch of her new book, Spin Sucks, at Third Tuesday Toronto (#3tYYZ) on April 7 and then at Third Tuesday Ottawa (#3tYOW) on April 8.

“We live in a world where content farms, Internet spiders, and fake accounts have the potential to ruin one’s experience online,” Gini says. “It certainly would be easy – and quite possible to even make some quick money – by sitting back and gaming the systems.”

At Third Tuesday, Gini will talk about what is wrong with:

  • Whisper campaigns;
  • Astroturfing;
  • Media manipulation; and
  • Unethical business practices.

She’ll show us that these tactics aren’t necessary to achieve results. She will talk about how to communicate honestly, responsibly, openly, and authentically, to truly earn the trust of our customers, stakeholders, investors, and communities. And she’ll illustrate her talk with case studies on the organizations that are doing things ethically and responsibly…and winning.

Bonus

Every attendee will receive a copy of “Spin Sucks” when you check in at the event. So, you not only can hear and meet Gini Dietrich, you can get your copy of the book personally signed by the author.

Register online to attend

third_tuesday_140px_square

Don’t miss the chance to see Gini and get your copy of Spin Sucks. Register online to attend Third Tuesday Toronto (#3TYYZ) or Third Tuesday Ottawa (#3tYOW).

I hope to see you there.

Thank you to our sponsors

Third Tuesday is supported by great sponsors - Cision Canada and Rogers Communications - who believe in our community and help us to bring speakers not just to Toronto but to Ottawa as well. Without the sponsors we couldn’t make Third Tuesday a truly Canadian affair. So, thank you to the sponsors of the Third Tuesday 2014 season: Cision Canada and Rogers Communications.

We want students to be able to attend

Third Tuesday is a great opportunity to hear about the latest developments in social media and to network with business and thought leaders. And we don’t want students to miss out on this opportunity. So, if you are a student and would like to attend, don’t let the admission fee stop you. Simply present your student ID card at the time you sign into Third Tuesday and we’ll refund your admission fee, courtesy of Thornley Fallis.

Outside payments to journalists and independent, impartial Journalism at the CBC: A definitive guide

CBC News is in the throes of a crisis of conscience about the previously-undisclosed practice of its journalists to accept paid speaking engagements from organizations that are frequently covered in the news.

This episode has been driven by coverage by bloggers and online news sources. Thanks to their pressure and complaints from the public, CBC has initiated an internal review of its policies and CBC’s Ombudsman already has weighed in urging CBC management to change the current practice and either adopt a higher standard of disclosure or ban outside payments.

Who said what

This story may be about simple principles. But it has been complex in its unfolding, with a number of players speaking out over time.

Sifting through the sources and arguments can be time consuming. But it is worth doing. So, to help readers get up to speed quickly, I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be the primary sources with key content excerpted and brief explanatory notes where required.

I hope you find this helpful in understanding how this issue has unfolded.

The story about Rex Murphy breaks

Rex Murphy and big oil: friends with benefits?Press Progress

If you Google the heck out of Murphy’s name, you’ll discover that he’s Newfoundland’s most eligible keynote speaker at oil, gas and mining industry events all across the country. Since 2009, Murphy has been spotted or booked at the podium as a keynote speaker not once, not twice, but at least 25 times.

Big Oil knows what they’re getting with Murphy because the National Speakers Bureau, which negotiates Murphy’s speaking fees, includes a snippet of his friendly views with an embedded YouTube video in his profile. It’s called “Rex Murphy of CBC’s Point of View Rips into Environmentalists.”

Rex Murphy energy speech in Alberta, November 2013Youtube user Gazzornenplat

Rex Murphy, the oilsands and the cone of silenceAndrew Mitravica

In early January, I started researching the number and content of speeches that Rex Murphy has made about the oilpatch and the petroleum industry generally.

I found that Murphy has made several speeches to oil-friendly audiences who lap up his cheerleading about the industry and his wisecracks about Neil Young, environmentalists and do-nothing Easterners, including his CBC colleagues.

…I was wondering how responsible CBC News executives were in permitting Murphy to disparage Young and other oilsands opponents on the public airwaves without informing viewers that he had championed that very development in a so-called ‘speech’ several weeks earlier.

On January 30, I provided a lengthy list of questions for Murphy and the CBC respectively to Corey Black, a CBC News publicist. The questions concerned Murphy’s speaking fee, the speech’s content and journalistic probity…

I also requested an on-the-record interview with Murphy and a senior CBC news journalist. Six days later, on February 5, Black informed me that Murphy had “declined” to be interviewed. … Black never answered my questions. Instead, he bounced me to another CBC media relations guy, Chuck Thompson.

In a cryptic February 6 email, Thompson referred me to a short blog post by Jennifer McGuire, CBC News editor-in-chief, that — according to him — “addressed the matter” and my many questions.

McGuire’s post is dated — you guessed it — February 6. It is a hollow, self-serving bit of exculpatory nonsense that limply suggests that because Murphy enjoys a “freelance relationship” with the CBC, neither he, nor the CBC, has a duty or responsibility to disclose that he’s likely pocketing money from powerful outside vested interests on subjects that he rails about on the CBC.

McGuire’s note is also the cynical product of a bait-and-switch: Find out details from a reporter about the pending story’s potentially embarrassing focus, then “get out in front” of it to suggest that you’ve already “addressed” the issue. (McGuire also refused to be interviewed.)

A Question of ConflictJennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief, CBC News

The most important thing to understand is that Rex is not a regular reporter. He appears on The National as a commentator precisely to do analysis and offer his point of view on issues of the day. His work has to be approved by editors at The National and has to meet a clear and straightforward threshold: that it be rooted in fact and experience, not just opinion or kneejerk ideology. But taking a provocative stand is what we pay him to do.

As much as Rex is identified with the CBC, he is not a full-time employee of the CBC. We have a wonderful freelance relationship that allows him to appear on The National and host CBC Radio One’s Cross-Country Checkup. As a freelancer, Rex has the ability to do other work. So yes, he writes opinion pieces for The National Post. And yes, he does speaking engagements.

He is not alone. Other prominent CBC personalities are freelancers, too. When they’re not at CBC, people such as David Suzuki and Bob McDonald have more freedom to express their views in ways that full-time journalists at CBC News do not. Our regular staff abides by rules in our Journalistic Standards and Practices which state that “CBC journalists do not express their own personal opinion because it affects the perception of impartiality and could affect an open and honest exploration of an issue.”

The bottom line is that we are comfortable with the rigour of our policies, our editorial procedures, and our editorial leaders. And while it’s fine for people to challenge his views, I want to say explicitly that we’re comfortable with the content Rex has done for The National and Cross-Country Checkup, and we’re confident about his independence – his point of view is his own.

This issue reminds us of the benefits of being more transparent with our audience. We are working on that all the time …. And we’ve already launched an active discussion about what information the audience should expect to have about the outside activities of our journalists.

Rex Murphy is paid by the oilsands and the CBC won’t disclose or discuss itJesse Brown - Download Canadaland podcast episode

How much money have Oil Sands companies paid to Rex Murphy? When did the CBC and The National Post learn of this? Why won’t Rex Murphy answer questions about this? Why won’t the The National disclose his relationship, when they’ve disclosed lesser conflicts of interest in the past? What’s going on at The National anyhow? How could they possibly think this is okay, or that nobody would notice?

Speaking my mind, no matter the issueRex Murphy

I’ve given a lot of talks — perhaps more than a thousand. … And yes, I often get paid for my bon mots — usually more than a dollar.

Curiously, during all those encounters, spanning (sadly for me) five decades — I have not had so much as a single suggestion that anything I have said anywhere during that long saga was anything but my own words, flowing from my own motivations, and not opinions “for hire” to whomever I spoke.

Not once … till now. I value independence of thought and expression, intensely. If my thoughts are not my own, they are nothing.

Yet some bloggers now are questioning my commitment to that principle, thanks largely to a talk I gave recently to Business Forum, a gathering sponsored by the Calgary-based Bennett Jones law firm, featuring oil executives, First Nation leadership, premiers of Alberta and New Brunswick, and delegates from over the world.

In my speeches, I have a few goals. I try to give a good effort. I try to be interesting, sometimes even reach for humour. But what I absolutely guarantee is that what opinions people hear from me are mine. … I have never on television, in a column or in a speech said, written or delivered any views other than my own and what I actually believe. That’s my practice and I don’t much intend to change.

Jonathan Kay defends Rex MurphyJesse Brown Download podcast episode

Rex Murphy won’t answer questions about taking Oil Sands money , but his editor, The National Post’s Jon Kay, will.

The CBC responds to my complaint about Rex MurphyLorne Warwick

Lorne Warwick published the text of a letter he received from Jack Nagler, CBC’s Director of Journalistic Public Accountability and Engagement, in response to Warwick’s complaint, in which Nagler says:

While I don’t believe there is a conflict of interest, there is a serious issue about transparency, one that we are reviewing at the moment.

the very reason Mr. Murphy appears on The National is to do analysis and express his point of view – he is not a regular reporter. We even call his segment on the program “Rex Murphy’s Point of View” to distinguish it from regular reports. His perspective on the oilsands, whether viewers agree with it or not, is an analytical argument based on facts, and is perfectly valid commentary

the most important consideration for us is whether we are providing our audience with a varied and balanced perspective on an issue as important as oilsands development – and I believe we are. You may note that Mr. Murphy’s “Point of View” segment criticizing Neil Young was a response to a feature interview The National aired with Mr. Young two days earlier. 

In policy and practice we support the idea of transparency, not just for Rex Murphy but for all of our contributors. But implementing this is not always as simple as it sounds.

There are a set of complicating factors, ranging from how much we can legally demand of our freelancers, to privacy rights of our employees, to what constitutes “full disclosure”. Is it only paid speeches we should disclose? Or do we need to be concerned about journalists who attend charity events, or moderate a public forum? Does the content of a speech matter, or does the mere act of getting in front of a lectern make it a question of public concern? And finally, how do we share the disclosure so the audience can properly judge for themselves what’s appropriate?

All are good questions. In light of your concerns and those of others about Mr. Murphy, our senior editors are reviewing the way we deal with the issue to ensure we are appropriately transparent with our viewers. I expect that review will be completed in the next few weeks. When it is we’ll be sure to post it.

Peter Mansbridge is drawn into the debate

CBC reviews Rex Murphy oil conference speech but ignored when Peter Mansbridge did hisDean Skoreyko

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CBC editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire has created an unintentional problem for the CBC after bending to the anti-oil sands lobbyists complaining about Rex Murphy’s oil conference speech (see here) – a can of worms immediately comes to mind.

First, McGuire has fully opened-up the media’s dirty little secret of journalists hiding their lucrative speaking gigs and potential conflicts of interests and secondly, how the CBC didn’t have an issue when their Chief Correspondent and The National anchor did the exact same thing.

 

Peter Mansbridge Was Paid By Oil and Gas Lobby For SpeechMichael Bolen

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) paid Mansbridge to speak at its Investment Symposium in December 2012 and a photo of him giving the address on how “energy has moved to the forefront of news: economic, environment, safety” was posted to the group’s Facebook page.

CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson confirmed to HuffPost Canada that Mansbridge received permission from the public broadcaster to speak at the CAPP event and clears all his speaking engagements with the senior news team.

“Peter is encouraged by management to speak on a regular basis, it’s part of an outreach initiative in place for many of our hosts that ensures CBC News and in this case our Chief Correspondent is talking to Canadians in communities across the country,” Thompson said in an email.

“The content of those speeches is always about putting CBC News coverage into context and explaining what we do and how we do it but Peter never offers up his opinion or takes a position on anything that’s in the news.”

Oilsands Group Confirms Paying Peter MansbridgeJesse Brown, Canadaland

The Oil Sands is perhaps Canada’s most controversial and divisive news topic, with competing interests constantly vying for positive media exposure and public sympathy. As the CBC’s Chief Correspondent and anchor of their flagship national news broadcast, Mansbridge exerts undeniable influence over what Oil Sands stories The National covers and how it covers them. The fact that he has been moonlighting for the energy industry  is a clear (and undisclosed) conflict-of-interest.

Speaking of Speeches…Peter Mansbridge

I give about 20 speeches a year. … Many of the appearances, about half on average, I do with no fee involved. They are charities or journalism schools. The rest are handled by my speech agency, the same one that handles requests for many other journalists in this country and in the United States. In those casesa fee is negotiated between the agency and the group who want me to appear at their function. In some of those cases I donate part of the fee to a local charity; in some others I donate all the fee. And in still others I keep my share of what the agency has negotiated.

I don’t offer my opinion on matters of public policy or on certain divisive issues that often dominate the news. … I make it clear to all those who ask me to speak, whether it’s for a charity or not, that I will stick to what I know best – journalism.

Ever since I first started giving speeches, back in the mid-1980s and at the corporation’s request, senior management has approved who I speak to and are aware when I receive a fee and when I do not. Bottom line – I follow the rules and the policies the CBC has instituted governing journalists making public appearances.

I am a journalist and a public broadcaster but that doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to activities in my private life.

Peter Mansbridge receives speaking fees from oil industry group, CBC As It Happens

The CBC’s Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge has received payment for speaking at an event organized by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Questions about possible conflict of interest and ethics were raised when CBC President Hubert Lacroix took questions yesterday from the Senate Communications committee in Ottawa.

We requested interviews with Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy today. They weren’t available for an interview. Neither was CBC’s editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire.

Debating the ethics of journalists & paid speaking engagements, CBC The Current

We did ask CBC’s General manager and Editor in chief, Jennifer McGuire, to participate in this conversation. Ms. McGuire declined, and no one else from CBC management was made available. Ms. McGuire said CBC is now reviewing its policies and she would be happy to comment once that process is complete.

 You’ve Still Got Some Explaining to Do Mr. MansbridgeAndrew Mitrovica

 Mansbridge, like Murphy, continues to duck the issue at the heart of this growing controversy: disclosure.

Full disclosure means precisely that — providingall the relevant details, and not just to pesky journalists but to the audience as well, so they can judge and decide for themselves whether the fact that a journalist accepts money to speak from outside interests affects his or her reporting and editorial decisions.

I think Mansbridge and Murphy owe their audience and the profession full disclosure, without reservation, of how much they have made and who has paid them to speak.

CBCecrets: Mansbridge’s Oil Pay Makes the NewsJesse Brown - Download the podcast episode

Who broke the news that Peter Mansbridge has been paid by the oil industry? How did the story break through from social media to online press to the mainstream media? Who has dared to cover it at the CBC? Why is this such a fucking big deal? Why won’t CBC News talk to CBC Radio? Should journalists stop doing paid speaking entirely?

CBC’s Ombudsman releases her review of the situation

Review findings re Conflict of InterestEsther Enkin, CBC Ombudsman

The corporate policy provides a number of guidelines. The first is: No conflict should exist or appear to exist between the private interests of CBC/Radio-Canada employees and their official duties.

Whether there is a real or only an apparent conflict of interest, in matters of journalistic integrity it amounts to the same thing.

When journalists get paid to speak to powerful advocacy groups, it is hard to argue that this does not lead to a perception of conflict of interest. … CBC management must decide and be very clear about how that perception of conflict will be dealt with. … disclosure will go some way to mitigate the concern about this issue.

…since taking money leads to a perception of a conflict of interest, CBC management might want to consider, in the review they are undertaking, whether even with disclosure, it is appropriate for CBC news and current affairs staff to get paid for their speaking engagements. … At the least, management should think about the appearance of getting paid by interest groups who are likely to feature prominently in the news, or who are involved in public policy debates.

Given that Journalistic Standards and Practices spells out a commitment to independence, and the Conflict of Interest guidelines encompass perception of conflict as well, it is inconsistent with policy when CBC news and current affairs staff accept payment from groups that are likely to be in the news. To summarize, in the course of reviewing its policy, I hope CBC management will reconsider the practice of paid speaking engagements for its journalists and, at a minimum, consider how any relevant activity and payment can be on the public record.

CBC Policy on Conflict of Interest and Journalists, CBC

To preserve that independence, all employees involved in the creation of content that is subject to Journalistic Standards andPractices must carefully consider what organizations they are publicly associated with.

CBC Should Banish Paid SpeechesFrank Koller

…most importantly, there is public perception. You can’t have it both ways: tell allegedly anodyne political tales from the head table to oil executives who have paid you to speak on a Saturday night and then, appear credible to a national television audience on a Monday night while introducing an exposé about some oil industry environmental/financial transgression.

Here’s the fundamental question: exactly how would allowing CBC journalists to speak for a fee to an outside organization like CAPP, a lobby group, seem like a decision that wouldincrease Canadians’ confidence that CBC reports the news impartially?

Stay Tuned

This story isn’t over. Now all eyes are on CBC management and their promised review of policy. Stay tuned.

What ethical standards should we expect of journalists?

When you open your morning newspaper or turn on the evening television news, do you expect to receive independent and impartial reporting on events from newspeople free of unacknowledged biases? Well, if you live in Canada,  you may have to reset that expectation.

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This basic assumption of conflict-free news media has been called into question by reports that CBC news anchor Peter Manbridge and on-air columnist Rex Murphy have benefited from paid speaking engagements with organizations they cover in the news. According to the reports, both Murphy and Mansbridge have accepted paid speaking engagements from Canada’s oil industry. And neither Manbridge nor Murphy disclosed this when moderating or participating in discussions of energy policy, the oil sands development or the oil industry.

This story emerged from the reporting of a handful of bloggers and online news sources – most notably Jesse Brown and Andrew Mitrovica.  Mitrovica raised questions about Rex Murphy’s relationship with the oil industry in a story on ipolitics.ca. Jesse Brown picked it up on his Canadaland podcast and Canadaland blog.

Remarkably, CBC attempted to stonewall the issue. Initially, they refused to answer substantial questions about Murphy’s actions. When pressed over a couple weeks, they published aggressive counter arguments in blog posts by Jennifer McGuire, editor in chief of CBC news, and Peter Mansbridge himself. Rex Murphy took to his column in the National Post to print a rebuttal.

Then, on March 12, the CBC’s Ombudsman Esther Enkin presaged a dramatic shift in the standards of acceptable behaviour in her review of the situation. While finding that both Murphy and Mansbridge were onside with the CBC’s policies, Enkin challenged the policy itself. She stated,

Whether there is a real or only an apparent conflict of interest, in matters of journalistic integrity it amounts to the same thing….  since taking money leads to a perception of a conflict of interest, CBC management might want to consider, in the review they are undertaking, whether even with disclosure, it is appropriate for CBC news and current affairs staff to get paid for their speaking engagements. … At the least, management should think about the appearance of getting paid by interest groups who are likely to feature prominently in the news, or who are involved in public policy debates.

and concluded,

Given that Journalistic Standards and Practices spells out a commitment to independence, and the Conflict of Interest guidelines encompass perception of conflict as well, it is inconsistent with policy when CBC news and current affairs staff accept payment from groups that are likely to be in the news. To summarize, in the course of reviewing its policy, I hope CBC management will reconsider the practice of paid speaking engagements for its journalists and, at a minimum, consider how any relevant activity and payment can be on the public record.

Now, the ball is in CBC management’s court. Jennifer McGuire has indicated that the results of an internal policy review will be forthcoming soon. In light of the Ombudsman’s review, it’s hard to imagine how this new policy could maintain the status quo.

Discuss these issues with Jesse Brown at Third Tuesday

This affair raises a number of questions applying to all news media – both traditional and new online and social operations. Questions worth discussing at length.

Jesse Brown

And that’s just what we’re going to do at the next Third Tuesday. Jesse Brown will be our speaker at the March Third Tuesday Toronto and Third Tuesday Ottawa. Jesse will take us through the issues and the questions raised. Questions like:

  • Is it reasonable to believe that a journalist can be influenced or biased because he or she accepts payment from companies or organizations for services provided outside of the journalist’s main occupation?
  • How much transparency about outside financial payments to journalists is sufficient? How much is realistic and possible?
  • In a freelance economy, should we expect the same degree of disclosure from freelance journalists who must earn their living from a variety of sources?
  • Should news organizations enforce an outright ban on their journalists accepting payment from other sources or is disclosure of such payments sufficient?
  • What is the responsibility of the news organization to define standards for their journalists and what is the responsibility of the journalist as an individual?
  • Should a national broadcaster paid for by public funds be held to a higher standard of transparency than a private news organization?
  • What can we do when media outlets are slow to cover an issue in which they are directly involved?

We will talk about these issues and more when Jesse Brown joins us at Third Tuesday. If you’re interested in attending, register online for Third Tuesday Toronto or Third Tuesday Ottawa.

Learn more about this important issue

This is an important issue. And as such, I encourage you to read these original sources.

Rex Murphy and big oil: friends with benefits?, Press Progress

Rex Murphy energy speech in Alberta, November 2013, Youtube user Gazzornenplat

Rex Murphy, the oilsands and the cone of silence, Andrew Mitravica

A Question of ConflictJennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief, CBC News

Rex Murphy is paid by the oilsands and the CBC won’t disclose or discuss it, Jesse Brown

Speaking my mind, no matter the issue, Rex Murphy

Jonathan Kay defends Rex Murphy, Jesse Brown

CBC reviews Rex Murphy oil conference speech but ignored when Peter Mansbridge did his, Dean Skoreyko

The CBC responds to my complaint about Rex Murphy, Lorne Warwick

Peter Mansbridge Was Paid By Oil and Gas Lobby For Speech, Michael Bolen

Oilsands Group Confirms Paying Peter Mansbridge, Jesse Brown, Canadaland

Speaking of Speeches…, Peter Mansbridge

Peter Mansbridge receives speaking fees from oil industry group, CBC As It Happens

Debating the ethics of journalists & paid speaking engagements, CBC The Current

Q Media Panel on Maidan, Murphy and Mansbridge, CBC Q

The CBC Won’t Talk to CBC Radio About Mansbridge’s Speaking Fees, The Huffington Post Canada

You’ve Still Got Some Explaining to Do Mr. Mansbridge, Andrew Mitrovica

What Peter Mansbridge’s CAPP Speaking Fee Says About His News Judgment, Dan Rowe

Covering Climate Change, Jennifer McGuire

CBCecrets: Mansbridge’s Oil Pay Makes the News, Jesse Brown

Review findings re Conflict of Interest, Esther Enkin, CBC Ombudsman

CBC Policy on Conflict of Interest and Journalists, CBC

CBC Ombudsman Questions Peter Mansbridge’s Speaking Fees, Canadian Press

You Can’t Have the Cash and Keep the Credibility, Andrew Mitrovica

CBC Should Banish Paid Speeches, Frank Koller

Thank you to our sponsors

Third Tuesday is supported by great sponsors - Cision Canada and Rogers Communications - who believe in our community and help us to bring speakers to our community. Without the sponsors we couldn’t make Third Tuesday a truly Canadian affair. So, thank you to the sponsors of the Third Tuesday 2012-13 season: Cision Canada and Rogers Communications.

We want students to be able to attend

Third Tuesday is a great opportunity to hear about the latest developments in social media and to network with business and thought leaders. And we don’t want students to miss out on this opportunity. So, if you are a student and would like to attend, don’t let the admission fee stop you. Simply present your student ID card at the time you sign into Third Tuesday and we’ll refund your admission fee, courtesy of Thornley Fallis.

MasterCard ties one on, Facebook is mobile in Canada and the New Klout

This post was originally published on the Inside PR blog. I’m posting it here so that readers of this blog will see it. If you like it, please consider subscribing to the Inside PR podcast.

Gini Dietrich and I do a two-hander in this episode as Martin is on a train with only spotty online access.

This week we talk about MasterCard’s aggressive PR tactics around the Brit Awards, more evidence that we’re all going mobile and the New Klout.

MasterCard ties one on

Gini pointed to MasterCard’s efforts to tie  coverage of MasterCard to access to the Brit Awards. Dominic Ponsford detailed exactly what happened, from the PR company’s suggestion that access would be tied to agreement to mention MasterCard through the reactions to the Twitter backlash.

Ponsford published the text of an email to a reporter in which MasterCard’s PR company asked reporters to agree to tweet MasterCard messages in their feeds. The PR company went so far as to suggest content for tweets before, during and after the event:

Pre event – e.g. Really excited to be heading down to @BRITAwards tonight with @MasterCardUK #PricelessSurprises

Event night – live tweeting from the event including @MasterCardUK handle and #PricelessSurprises and to retweet @MasterCardUK tweets throughout the night where appropriate

Post event – tweet directing followers to @MasterCardUK BRITs YouTube videos

Needless to say, this prompted a backlash, with Twitter comments like this:

Good press coverage is hard to bribe. For everything else there’s Mastercard. #PricelessSurprises

— Felicity Morse (@FelicityMorse) February 19, 2014

The managing director of the PR agency didn’t back down, arguing that:

“The role of the PR agency is to pursue all coverage opportunities on behalf of its clients. This includes providing accurate brand references from the outset, for use across all platforms. It is a two-way conversation between the journalist and the PR in order to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. Editorial control always remains with the journalist.”

Gini and I discuss our views about this type of tactic. Gini sees this as an illustration of the fine line between legitimately promoting an event and the questionable offering of a benefit for coverage.

I see it as a clear example of tied coverage. “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. You give me reference to my client and I will give you access to the awards.”  Yes we have seen this before. Think of auto journalists flown to exotic locations to review new cars. But in recent years, the trend has been against these kinds of junkets, with many news organizations telling their staff to refuse the benefits. “You can’t blame a guy for trying. But you can blame the other guy for playing along.”

What do you think of MasterCard’s media relations approach? Too cheeky? Or taking fair advantage of the an opportunity. Or somewhere in between.

Canadians go mobile with Facebook

The world truly is going mobile. New stats out of Facebook Canada indicate that Facebook Canada is making more money on mobile devices than on PCs and stationary devices. Of Facebook’s nineteen million Canadian users, ten million check their Facebook account once a day via mobile versus only four million who check it daily from non-mobile devices like desktops.

To me, this just underscores the importance of think mobile first. If you are thinking about communicating with people primarily in front of PCs or laptops, you’re failing to follow the audience where they’ve actually gone. They are looking at the mobile devices in their hand.

Gini cautions against following an overall trend without looking at your specific circumstance. In her experience, many sectors are lagging behind in the move to mobile, with many of her clients’ sites continuing to receive the majority of their traffic from desktop applications. It’s important that you know where your traffic is coming from. So check your analytics.

A New (Improved?) Klout

And finally, we discuss the new Klout. Gini finds it useful, because it surfaces content from people with whom she already engages. Gini also finds the measurement tab to be useful in that it’s suggests which individual pieces of content have generated the greatest engagement. For my part, I find the metrics to be even more dumbed down than they used to be and of the dubious value. It appears to me that Klout is positioning itself as a tool to assist content creators in competition with established players like HootSuite or Buffer.

What do you think? Is the new Klout a step forward or moved to irrelevance?

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

 

Georgia Sapounas on Canada’s Digital Olympics Strategy

Georgia Sapounas, the Canadian Olympic Committee‘s (COC) Digital Media Director, came to Third Tuesday Toronto last night to talk about the COC’s social media program for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. And like the participants at Third Tuesday Ottawa the previous night, the Toronto attendees posted their observations and thoughts on Twitter. Here are the highlights of the Twitter stream that was posted to the Third Tuesday Toronto #3tYYZ hashtag.

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Georgia Sapounas sees Social Media on the Olympic Road to Sochi

The Canadian Olympic Committee’s Digital Manager, Georgia Sapounas, traveled to Ottawa yesterday to provide the Third Tuesday Ottawa participants with a glimpse into the Canadian Olympic Committee’s plans to use social media during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. And as always, the Third Tuesday participants tweeted extensively about what they were hearing and thinking. I’ve captured some of the highlights from the #3tYOW Twitter stream.


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Where has “honor in public service” gone?

I started my working career as an aide to politicians. I was proud to be involved in politics and government because I believed that I could make a positive difference.

It’s been a week like few others north of the border in Canada. Thanks to Rob Ford, we’ve garnered an unwelcome share of both national and international media attention. And that’s produced some remarkable moments. And all of them have been passed along through social media.

1. Vulgar Rob Ford

The raw video. Really raw video. You won’t believe the language he uses.

2. CBC’s National coverage of the day

Leading the nightly newscast.
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