Inside PR 476: Don’t delete the Public Editor!

In this week’s Inside PR podcast episode: The NY Times deletes its public editor. Facebook makes a concession to publishers. AVEs be gone. The GIF turns 30. Walt Mossberg retires. Terry Fallis rides again. And USC Annenberg Survey gets too personal.

Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and Joseph Thornley are together for another episode of the Inside PR podcast.

Terry Fallis’ sixth novel hits the bookstands

Terry Fallis is a PR-renaissance man. He co-founded his own PR firm, Thornley Fallis and when social media came along, he was one of the first PR podcasters, launching the Inside PR podcast with David Jones in 2006. But over the years, he has become celebrated as an award winning, best selling author of humorous fiction. His sixth novel, One Brother Shy, launched last week. And this week, we should see it at the top of the Canadian best seller lists. I’ve read every one of Terry’s novels. Every one brings a smile to my face. And his current novel, One Brother Shy, turns on Terry’s experience in  marketing. So, it will be especially resonant for anyone in the marketing and communications industries. So, if you haven’t read one of Terry’s novels, this is the time to try your first, One Brother Shy.

Happy thirtieth birthday to the GIF

It was thirty years ago today…. Or something like that. The GiF is thirty years old. That’s thirty years of arguing over a soft “G” vs. a hard “G.” The GIF. The JPG. The MP3. Good things come with three letter extensions.

Walt Mossberg retires

An era in tech journalism has come to a close with the retirement of Walt Mossberg. Mossberg invented a new approach to technology reviews, putting the perspective of the user at the forefront. In doing so, he covered the revolution in personal computers, the arrival of the world wide web, the unveiling of the iPhone and everything of note in technology over a quarter century. Walt’s last column looks ahead to where things will go from here as we enter the era of ambient computing (nice term Walt!). It, like everything else Mossberg wrote, is definitely worth a read.

New York Times deletes its Public Editor function

The New York Times is eliminating the position of Public Editor – and that is bad news. The Times announced the move as part of a round of layoffs, in which the Times streamlined its editorial functions, with the intent of freeing up salary to hire more front line reporters. More on the ground reporters is something to be applauded. However, the elimination of the Public Editor function is not. The Times Publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, suggested that the Public Editor is not required in an era in which the Times is constantly being scrutinized on social media. But it’s clear to us that the view from outside, regardless of how thoughtful it may be, cannot substitute for an independent critical eye from within. To maintain its preeminent position, the Times needs to excel in every way. And the critiques of Liz Spayd and her five predecessors as Public Editors have told truth to power, helping the Times to identify where it has fallen short and how it could improve. Cutting the Public Editor is one cut that is truly misguided and we hope that the Times will reverse the cut and restore the position of Public Editor posthaste.

Correction: Oops. In the podcast, I said that I shell out $1,000 per year for a New York Times subscription. I am a subscriber. My by online-only subscription costs me only about $250 per year. Pardon the error.

Another Correction : Oops. Oops. Did I really refer to NY Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet as “David” Baquet? Yes, I did. Ungh. His name is Dean. He knows it is Dean. I know it is Dean. Pardon another error.

Did Facebook just blink?

Facebook introduced Facebook Instant Articles with a carrot and a stick. The carrot: delivering a larger audience and more revenue to publishers. The stick: Content published on a publisher’s own platform would rank lower in the Facebook algorithm than Facebook Instant Articles. We’ve talked previously about how some publishers, including the Guardian and the New York Times, had reported their disappointment at the results they were achieving from Facebook Instant Articles and their pullback form the platform. Well, Facebook has made a concession to publishers. It has announced that publishers creating content using its proprietary software developers kit (SDK) will now be able to also produce that content for use in Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Apple News. This sweetens the deal offered to publishers who want to distribute everywhere by streamlining their content production workflow. And Facebook clearly hopes that what’s good for publishers will be good for Facebook, especially if publishers standardize on the Facebook SDK to produce their multiplatform content. A concession by Facebook that advances publisher lock-in? Hmmm.

CIPR, AMEC and Advertising Value Equivalencies (AVEs)

Gini brings us the “good news” that the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has thrown its support behind the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC) commitment to eradicate the use of Advertising Value Equivalencies (AVEs) in measuring communications programs.

Just how many times will we have to declare the AVE dead before it stops rearing its ugly head in corporate measurement programs? AVEs are meaningless people! You can’t equate paid with earned media. You cannot assign a value to earned media that any group of intelligent people will agree on. AVEs are fiction, pure and simple. Requiesce in pace.

USC Annenberg survey is just too personal

Did you spot this article on The Holmes Report? Did you complete the survey it pointed to? How do you feel about a questionnaire that asks questions about individual people, including whether you would hire them? What public interest is served by this? I think this survey is a misfire and totally inappropriate. Is this how fake news is manufactured?

It’s your turn.

We’d love to know what you think about the topics we discussed as well as your suggestions for questions you’d like answered or topics for future shows. Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], leave a comment on the Inside PR Facebook group or the FIR Podcast Network Facebook group, We’re also on Twitter. We’re @inside_pr or connect directly with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman.


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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 Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 447: The Future of Social with Jason Keath of Social Fresh

Major media outlets launch sponsored content with their Facebook Instant Articles and Jason Keath takes us through the highlights of Social Fresh’s Future of Social research report. Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley tackle these topics and more in this week’s Inside PR podcast.


Sponsored Content on Facebook Instant Articles

Screenshot 2016-07-03 10.33.45Neiman Labs reports that two heavyweight traditional news outlets, the Washington Post and The Atlantic, have begun running sponsored content in their Facebook Instant Articles. Happily, the illustration in the Nieman Labs story suggests that the content will be clearly labelled as “Sponsor Content.” I tried to verify that by reviewing my own newsfeed. However, I couldn’t find a single sponsored article from either the Washington Post or The Atlantic. That makes me think that either this sponsored content is so far very rare or Facebook is geotargeting the ads and my Canadian IP address puts me outside of the target area for them.

Jason Keath, Founder of Social Fresh

Jason Keath is the CEO of Social Fresh, which recently released The Future of Social, a report based on research involving over 500 social media managers and executives. Gini tracked him down and interviewed him about the report and the lessons we can take from it. Among the highlights:

  • Companies that invest in social media tools achieve a greater return than those who don’t.
  • 95% of respondents using social media software report a positive ROI on their social media activities vs. 63% who are not investing in tools.
  • Social media is best at connecting with existing audiences, customers, strongest leads, fans and stakeholders. Building awareness through social media can be an expensive proposition.
  • To increase leads and sales, focus more time on fewer pieces of content. For example, Social Fresh invests heavily both in their research and the conference. This enables them to stand out by being deeper and offering more unique insights.
  • Take your audience up the commitment curve. Ask little of them at the beginning. Reading a post. Downloading a paper. Registering. Then work them up the curve to larger commitments.
  • Instagram is on the verge of leapfrogging LinkedIn and Twitter to become the second largest ad platform.
  • Marketers report satisfaction with the results they are achieving with video content and they plan to increase their commitment to it in the coming year.

If you’re interested in more info about this year’s Social Fresh conference, it will be held August 18 to 21 in Orlando. Discounted registration is available until August 1.

We’d love to know what you think.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.


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 Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 430: The age of distributed news

Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I are all back together for Inside PR 430, the episode that marks the turn of the year. Out with 2015. Here comes 2016.

This week, we discuss the things that stood out for us as we left 2015 behind.

Remember Google Zeitgeist? Well, it’s a thing of the past, replaced by a new 2015-year-in-review site that takes advantage of the updated Google Trends site. Google Trends was relaunched in mid-year to provide data on searches up to the current minute. (Late in 2015, Google added a pop-out feature that enables you to keep a display of the trends and the latest stories on each that automatically update and scroll in your browser.) Google has used the new trends to curate the most significant searches of the year. And for those outside of the United States, Google has created a series of pages for different countries. And yes, we still have differences in interests. We share some things in common – the Paris bombings and the Pope, for example. But we also search for the more local events and people that are most important to us where we live. Google’s year-end was a smart way to highlight the new Google Trends. If you haven’t visited Trends lately, give is a try. It’s smart, timely and useful.

We’re moving to a mobile-first world. And that means that we are spending more time in mobile apps instead of on the Web. That’s a big problem for Google, which founded its business on Web searches. But Google, like time, never stands still. And in November, Google announced that it is integrating mobile app content into searches on the Google app. Users of the Google App will be able to see content that exists only in mobile apps. Even better, Google will enable them to “open” the app as a streaming app, even if they don’t have the app itself installed on their phones. Google says that this is still an experiment, and the company rolled it out to Android users in the US-only. Yes, US-only. The rollout to the rest of the world can’t come soon enough. And to the Google naysayers, here’s evidence that Google is not going to slip into irrelevance along with desktop computing.

And Google has to innovate to keep up with the new pacesetter, Facebook. One of Facebook’s biggest moves in the past year has been the launch of Facebook Instant Articles. The basic concept is that publishers will post their stories natively to Facebook. By doing this, Facebook is providing a near instant loading of these stories on Facebook’s mobile apps. The company marshalled behavioural data it had collected in order to convince publishers that they should accept that the future of publishing is distributed across whatever platform people want to use. And by far and away the biggest platform of all is Facebook. Facebook introduced Instant Articles on a limited basis in May and then rolled them out to all users in October. Judging by my Facebook news feed, Instant Articles have become a permanent fixture of the news distribution system.

Attention is fragmented. And we want content immediately on the mobile device we are holding. In 2015, Google captured the implications of this in the concept of micro-moments – those instants of undivided attention which may lead to decisions and action. Google backed up this concept with research and published a special Website for marketers dedicated to Micro-moments. If you missed the site when it was first published, it’s well worth a read now.

And with all these changes, what about SEO. Clearly, the SEO playbook has changed substantially in recent years. We talk about whether PR pros are keeping up with the changing environment, technologies and best practices.

Are we talking only to ourselves? We hope not. Please let us know what you think about the things we discussed on this episode.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.


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 Joseph Thornley.