Entries Tagged as 'newspapers'

A 40+ year reminder that words matter

WHEN SOMEONE YOU NEVER MET emails you today and says that something you wrote in 1980 at the age of 15 is still making an impact in the life of his family right now, what do you say?

Well this weekend it happened to me and I am still not sure what to say…I started with thank you (and that feels woefully inadequate).

Let me tell you what happened.

In 1980, when I was a sophomore in high school, our English teacher had us write an essay on a topic that mattered to us…it was basically a creative writing exercise.

I wrote an article basically saying don’t always follow the pack, don’t be afraid to *not* conform sometimes and the cool kids really don’t know anything more than anyone else.

In essence. – ‘Don’t bother to try and keep up with the Joneses’.

My teacher liked it and asked me to submit it to our local newspaper, the Buffalo News. They published articles written by local high schoolers every month. For my efforts, I got a gift certificate from a local record store.

I’d long ago forgotten all of this.

What my younger self didn’t take into account was just how big that newspaper readership was…or that many people I never met would read my story.

Fast forward to this weekend when I got an email from a gentleman named Eric, whom I have never met or communicated with previous to this weekend.

In his email, he introduced himself and included a photo of my actual article, cut out from the Buffalo News by his Mother in 1980. His Mom gave my essay to him because she thought my high school words would resonate with him. It did.

He held on to the article all this time and has it posted in his house for his own children to read (that’s a picture of the article from his house).

Wow. This humbled me so greatly I was speechless.

But the greatest message for me, besides his compliment of keeping my article, was this: we just don’t know how what we say or write can help or hurt people who we’ve never met.

Conceptually we all understand this, but Eric’s email made it real in a way I could not know until I felt it.

I will share now that I will work to make my words more positive (in person, in emails and online) because when people experience what I say…it can have a bigger impact than I might have first considered. I will work (cause I’m not perfect) to lead with positivity in what I say, whenever possible.

Bring others up.



154,748 pairs of eyes + 50 cents = advertising

Why wouldn’t any business owner want the opportunity to place their brand in front of 154,748 pairs of eyes.

In essence, they are all potential customers.

It’s true that most of them might not be, depending on your business. But even when marketing to a specific market, you can’t always know who is and who is not a prospect. I believe the marketing term is “fudge factor”.

That’s especially true in voice-over.

Video producers, ad agency commercial producers, small business owners and probably about 50-75 other jobs titles make up the voice talent’s target audience. If you were to run some numbers on the cost of print, radio or on-line advertising to all of them, I’m not sure whether you’d feel more faint or nauseous but I’m pretty sure we can agree you couldn’t really afford it.

So where does the 50 cents come in?

Between the cost of a stamp, a piece of letterhead and logoed envelope, I reckon that’s the cost to mail a press release to a local newspaper touting your latest project.

And if the circulation numbers from Wikipedia are correct for my city’s local paper (and I have no idea if they are), 154,748 pairs of eyes represents the total number who will see my press release in my paper if they print it.

No, they won’t likely see the whole thing, maybe just a part of the release that an editor sees fit to print, but it will be out there.

Will all of the readers see it? Nope. How many will read it? Wanna guess with me?

Let’s say that circulation number is overblown by 50% and that actually only 77,374 people read the paper daily.

Of all those people, about 1/2 (or 38,687) read the business section where a voice over press release might get printed.

Of that, let’s say only 1/2 of them read the little press release blurb section that newspapers run (in my paper, it’s called “On The Record”).

That would mean that 19,343 and a 1/2 people in Western New York would read my press release if the Buffalo News printed it in its paper (not counting the on line version of the paper – which most cities now have).

So to get all those readers, all those pairs of eyes – none of whom I am guaranteed will be a target audience for me – I have to invest about an hour’s worth of time writing a press release, printing it and mailing it to the paper. Costing me in real hard dollars about 50 cents (ignoring my hourly fee – let’s say I did it on my lunch hour, N/C)

Will the newspaper print the press release?

YOU will never know unless you write it, print it and mail it in.

is there too much noise?


The reason I ask this question is that I just enjoyed a nice three day weekend, pretty much away from the computer. This AM, opening up my Google reader, I see over 900 blog posts and over fifty of them are in the voiceover category.

What is it we think we all have to say? And I include me in there too.

It’s a vicious circle, mind you. You should have a blog to be an active participant in social media (and SEO/SEM) and everybody has the right to share whatever they like. Equally true, we can all subscribe and unsubscribe to any blog at any time (except this blog, you can check in anytime you like, but you can never leave).

With all this content, what are we all contributing to? And how many people are not just reading (Feedburner +) but understanding? Are we communicating or are we just spewing? Because more important to social media than the tool (a blog) is the content…saying something of relevance.

A blog writer has to assume that their posts resonate with someone if they have even one subscriber (and by the way, not for nothing, I mean it when I say thank you for subscribing). But when I think about 900 posts over three days multiplied times content on radio, television, newspaper, Facebook et al multiplied times international content….my head literally spins a bit.

Today I will hit “mark all as read” on my Google Reader very often and likely erase some quality content that I cannot make room for. I must move on.

Am I simply oversubscribed or overwhelmed? Have these thoughts ever occurred to you? How do you deal with all this communication, all this noise? Do you tune in more or totally tune out? Any tricks you care to share?

“the year media died” – way creative!


If your business in any way involves advertising, marketing or social media, this is worth a look.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with the plight of media portrayed in this clip, I was very impressed with the time, effort and talent put forth.

Just to save you a bit of time, after you hear the chorus once, you can zip past it cause its the same lyrics and graphics each time.

I’d tell you to enjoy it but some folks who are living this right now may not completely enjoy this as it may cut a bit close to home.

newspapers: devalued and devolved


I am my father’s son in many ways I guess but one example is that I like to read newspapers as he did. We always got two newspapers in our house – the morning paper (the Courier Express) and the afternoon paper (the Buffalo Evening News). Around 1982-83, the Courier folded and Buffalo became a one newspaper town…seemingly before that became the national norm.

I’m a morning paper guy. When I travel (usually in the morning), I bring four newspapers with me on the plane to catch up on the days news and to get different perspectives.

You’d have to have been on a deserted island for the past few years not to know the terrible plight newspapers have been in (and this was before the economy tanked). Circulation is down (thank you internet) so ad sales are down and all major newspapers are scrambling to keep from folding. Some majors, like the Seattle Post Intelligencer couldn’t hold out – it has since gone all on-line.

Two newspaper stories caught my eye recently. One made me sad and the other confirmed my suspicions.

If you had worked in radio at all for the past 30 years, you’ve likely read Radio and Records. Well as of June 5, 2009, Radio and Records newspaper is dead, kaput, straight-lined. I had not read the paper in years as I couldn’t justify the subscription rate versus other business expenses. That didn’t mean it wasn’t a great paper. It was terrific.

But think about how big media chains are simply doling out play lists to their stations, homogenizing all their on air content seemingly ignoring true localization, trying to cut costs (mostly people) while their ad sales plummet and you can see why all that radio static doesn’t bode well for a newspaper dedicated to covering this sadly sinking medium. It’s just another stake in the heart of radio that depresses me. I’m probably being too nostalgic.

When publications have to start selling assets to make ends meet as The New York Times has done you know the newspaper industry’s problems are pretty severe. When it comes to New York City newspapers, I’ve always been a New York Post guy. The New York Times always came across as kinda “holier-than-thou” and I don’t trust people or institutions like that. And if you’re “the newspaper of record” as people and the Times itself sees the publication, you cannot be seen to have an angle on a story or an ax to grind.

So when I read this first-hand account by Michael Arrington of Tech Crunch about an interview he did recently with the New York Times and how the story ultimately came out, I just was not surprised. “All the news that’s fit to print” implies that the New York Times knows what’s best. Based on the Arrington incident and numerous other journalistic blunders by the New York Times, the publication is only the newspaper of THEIR record, how they want to news to appear and that’s not professional journalism.

Does the Radio and Records or New York Times issues bug you too or is it just me?