Back to the future. Facebook and Google bully tactics make an RSS newsreader relevant again

Facebook and Google have stepped up their anti-Online News Act campaigns, announcing that they will remove links to Canadian news.

Don’t be too worried. Before advertising-supported social media, there was RSS. And there still is RSS. In fact, I think it’s a better way to get the news you care about from sources you trust – delivered directly to a newsreader that you can open in your browser when you want. You, not the social networks algorithms, are in control of what you read.

I use Feedly to subscribe to news sources I trust. It’s simple to set up and then just works – reliably and constantly.

So, if you’re wondering how you will access trusted Canadian news sources after Google and Facebook turn off the taps, check out Feedly.

Organizing a government meeting online when you can’t meet in person

COVID-19 has forced many organizations to conduct business through online meetings in place of in-person meetings.

Emily Mack from the Department of Metropolitan Development for the City of Indianapolis describes how Indianapolis moved many meetings online. Good insight into the practical steps necessary to stage online meetings, with tips and learnings from Indianapolis’ experience.

The American Planning Association podcast covers topics relating to planning and local government, featuring expert guests with backgrounds in planning, public engagement, government budgeting and related areas. If you are a podcast listener, this is worth subscribing to.

Equating the Unequal, Pizzaz and Polarization

For those of us who are trying to understand why news coverage today seems incapable of conveying the factual truth, Margaret Sullivan‘s analysis of The two big flaws of the media’s impeachment coverage – and what went right (paywall) shines some light on habits in current media coverage that obfuscate or demote the facts.

Some essential thoughts:

Equating the Unequal

In an unceasing effort to be seen as neutral, journalists time after time fell into the trap of presenting facts and lies as roughly equivalent…”

If it ain’t pizzazzy, it ain’t newsworthy

“the expectation that every major news event should offer drama in the style of a reality TV show. … When that excitement level isn’t met, the media often steps in to provide it. That takes the form of dramatizing the nation’s polarization, compete with laments about ‘divided America.’

It’s the type of writing that justifies a subscription to the Washington Post.

Source: The two big flaws of the media’s impeachment coverage — and what went right – The Washington Post

The “Illusory Truth Effect”

Talking about The Hill’s retweeting of Donald Trump’s tweets, regardless of their truthfulness, Media Matters reminds us of a concept we should all bear in mind before hitting the publish button.

the “illusory truth effect,” a concept by which a lie begins to seem more true the more it’s repeated. A 2017 Wired article explains this as “a glitch in the human psyche that equates repetition with truth” and quotes University of Toronto psychologist Lynn Hasher as saying it’s “likely more powerful when people are tired or distracted by other information.”


Source: The Hill can’t stop spreading misinformation about Trump’s impeachment

I just realized I don’t have a radio any more

The Guardian posted an article this morning, “Is streaming killing the radio star?” including this fact: “Since 2010, around 840,000 15 to 24-year-olds have switched off for good, according to research from Enders Analysis.”

As I read this, I realized for the first time that I’m one of those people. I no longer own a radio! That’s not something I consciously decided on. I simply had drifted over to spending all my time streaming music and listening to podcasts. The on-demand delivery of what I want when I want it has become the norm for me, not the linear format of radio.

And while I never made a conscious decision to stop listening to radio, over time, one by one, all my radios, from clock radio by the bed to kitchen radio, had been replaced by speakers that connect to my iPhone.

And reflecting on it today, I realized that the only time I ever hear a radio is in my Dentist’s office or if the Lyft driver turns a radio on.

This isn’t earth shattering. But it got me thinking about the quiet ways that change occurs. Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Go Inside PR – January podcasts

The Inside PR podcast is entering its 13th calendar year. Thirteen years. That’s a lot of Internet time. And the podcast still is going strong.

This month, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I talked about a number of issues relating to social media, privacy and

Inside PR 533: The Best You Can Be

On Inside PR 533, we discussed

Inside PR 532: We’ve Got Resolutions

And for our first podcast of the year, Inside PR 532, we talked about our business and communications resolutions for 2019. Why not start off the year with great ambitions!


If you’re looking for more information on the topics we discussed this month on Inside PR, check out the articles, videos and podcasts at the links below.

Canada’s Prime Minister shows he understands meaningful public engagement

It’s not necessary for government to agree with everything they hear from the public. In fact it’s an impossibility on issues on which the public is divided. But it IS necessary for government to listen, acknowledge the input, and explain how it was used and explain the final decision. Only then will a reasonable person feel their input on a public issue was valued.

While speaking yesterday to the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the question of building consensus and listening to people. I believe that every public engagement practitioner will recognize in his remarks the fundamentals of the best practices that we strive for. To hear these sentiments issuing from a national leader is encouraging. It helps me to believe that, amid the daily noise of government, wise and thoughtful leaders are still working to achieve a more equitable, responsive and representative government.

CBC has posted a video of PM Trudeau’s exchange with Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson.  Starting at around minute 4:15 as Trudeau says,

Can we build consensus? Can we do the right kinds of things? And when we move forward on some of the things that maybe some of you will disagree with, can we move forward in the least worst way?

By listening to you.

By responding to your concerns tangibly and concretely.

By making adjustments so that you understand that it is done in a sense of respect and collective responsibility.

Inside PR 517: Did the NY Times decision on Sarah Jeong mark a turning point?

Inside PR 517 has been posted – and it covers a lot of ground.

On Inside PR 517, we talk about the Sarah Jeong controversy that erupted last week. If you aren’t familiar with this, I have included links to key articles that will provide the background in the Linkworthy section below. Here’s a quick recap. Last week, the New York Times announced that Sarah Jeong would be leaving the Verge to join the NY Times as lead writer on technology. And then a Twitter storm erupted as attention was drawn to tweets authored by Jeong that were derogatory of white people. The Times quickly reaffirmed its decision, pointing to the context in which Jeong wrote those tweets and indicating that they would not be acceptable in future now that she has joined the Times. Coming in the wake of the James Gunn and Les Moonves controversies, could we indeed be seeing the a restoration of the balance between nuance and absolutism? As Martin asks, could we be back to a time in which we can admit to a mistake, own it, show contrition, and move on? We can only hope so.

Also, in this episode, we know that many listeners to this podcast speak about their area of practice to conferences and at professional development events. If you do this even once a year, you’ll be interested in a post that Gini Dietrich wrote on the SpinSucks blog, Six ways to generate leads from a speaking engagement. Martin and I both thought it offered practical advice that we would put to work – and we asked Gini to discuss it with us.

Finally, a couple #IPRMustKnows, things worth noting and acting upon:

  • WordPress is one more step closer to the full rollout of Project Gutenberg. This week, WordPress pushed out a maintenance update that included a prompt to all users to turn on the Gutenberg update. Gini did this for SpinSucks – and she raves about how great the new experience is. This may be the final release before WordPress 5.0 is pushed out to all users. And with WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg 5.0 will be turned on by default for all users. So, if you publish on WordPress and you haven’t turned on Gutenberg yet, now is your time to try it out.
  • Feedly is, in Joe’s opinion, the best newsreader available for people who want to curate their online information sources via RSS feeds. When Google closed down Google Reader, a substantial part of the Reader community migrated their reading lists to Feedly. That was a time of rocket ship growth for Feedly, which enabled users to access, read and curate their news sources on every device – desktop, tablet and mobile phone. Now the good folks at Feedly have initiated a major rewrite of the Feedly iOS app – and they have invited their community of users to test the app as it is being developed and provide their feedback. The Feedly team have set up a dedicated Slack Workspace for the beta phase, to announce the new features introduced or refined with each week’s release and asking for feedback on these features. And to enable participants in the beta to see that their input is being incorporated in the development team’s work, they’ve gone a step further, setting up a Trello workspace and posting links to it so that the participant community can see the state of work. The Beta program is just about to hit its midpoint. But new users still are joining. So, if you use Feedly and want to make it better, you too can still sign up to participate in the beta. Kudos to Feedly for building their app the right way, co-creating with their community will yield a much better product that meets both mainstream and specialized needs.


Subscribe to the Inside PR podcast

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Inside PR in July

The last half of July may have been the hottest on record. But that didn’t mean that we took a vacation from Inside PR. In fact, we posted several episodes. And you can catch up with them here:

All in all, a busy month. You can catch up with the podcast by clicking on any of the links above.