Trip!!!

How are you doing? This has had to come in a hurry and it has left me in a devastating state. My family and I had a visit to (Istanbul , Turkey) unannounced some days back for a short vacation, unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed,all cash, cell phones and credit cards were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us.

We’ve been to the Embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves tomorrow but we’re having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills. Please I really need your financial assistance..Please, Let me know if you can help us out?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
Manoush

My media makeover

I’m in the midst of finishing up my enhanced (that means multimedia. that means it will have video) ebook called Camera Ready: How to Present Your Best Self and Ideas Online and On-Camera.  So I’m upgrading my website (please check back shortly) with Command C and I finally joined Facebook.  5 years ago I had to decide- have two kids or do Facebook and I chose the former.  Then it became a point of pride and differentiation!  But I succumbed.  Here’s what the new homepage will look like. Would love any feedback.

Oh, hello. I speak Latin.

A Media Trainer says please don’t call me that.

All mustache no substance.

I’m really starting to hate the term “media training”.  I feel like such a cheeseball when I tell people that’s part of what I do.  It makes me think of Ron Burgundy, Will Farrell’s corny anchorman who is all mustache and no substance. So I’m working on a redefinition….

Traditionally a “media trainer” coaches someone to talk to a reporter and give a decent interview while looking composed.  But seriously, how many companies, non-profits, or professionals are dealing with the traditional press on a daily basis?  And should that even be their priority? Local or national media coverage can give you a boost but creating your own media constantly is key- from tweeting, to having a facebook page, to making videos for your website.  And coming across composed (snooze…..) isn’t necessarily the way to go.

Here’s where my “new media training” (“Cool Media Creation”? “On-Camera Upgrading”?) comes in…let’s say you are a researcher at a non-profit and suddenly you are being asked to be in a video about your fact finding missions.  Uh, that sounds time consuming and anxiety producing, you think.  Not if we sit down and sketch out 2 reasonable ’30 second stand-ups (you speaking to camera) that succinctly explain who you are and what your doing (“Hi, I’m Jane Non-Profit it and I’m in Kampala talking to Ugandans who have been granted money by our organization.  In this video you’ll see how your donations are actually building local businesses.” Video montage follows.)   We practice, pick out a shirt. It takes Jane an extra 30 minutes on her trip to film it.  And BOOM- she’s making a connection with people who believe in the cause, possibly raising more money, and giving everyone a glimpse into her work, in addition to her written report.

Some people LOVE being on-camera and are good at it.  Most people kind of stink or just don’t take simple steps (like looking the right way, or adjusting their webcam, or organizing their ideas) that would help them make a better impression, bigger impact, etc, all those true cliches.

We are starting to conduct all our business by video, whether it’s informal like skype or internal like a company webchat or for the outside eye, like how-to’s on  your company’s website.  If you have a better term for “media training”, PLEASE leave me a suggestion.

Finally. I updated my reel.

Are You Polarized Enough for PollPosition.com?


I’ve been checking out Poll Position, the new website from former CNN chief news exec Eason Jordan.  I got to know Eason over the summer when I hosted Mediabistro’s Start-Up Bootcamp and he asked some of the most pointed (and best) questions.  Poll Position has already been quoted by Reuters, Fox News, etc.  Here’s how Eason describes his endeavor:

“We provide exclusive public opinion poll results and an online platform for everyone to vote and comment on big news and timely issues. Polls are conducted in two ways: scientific polls (by phone) that reflect a representative sampling of the American people, and online polling, which reflects the views of Poll Position users voting online.”

Politico applauds the site’s transparency but wonders if Americans are as versed on current events as Poll Position needs them to be: “Each survey questions at least 1,000 people on a wide variety of topics, many of them on the news of the day. As a result, some polls elicit a large amount of ‘no opinion’ answers — like a recent poll on ESPN’s decision to yank Hank Williams Jr. from its NFL broadcast. 26% of respondents had no opinion.”

Maybe they had ‘no opinion’ because they aren’t ill-informed, just unexpectedly see multiple points of view (some call it wishy-washy)?!  Here’s how I answered the following questions online:

Is cellphone restroom talk OK?  Yes, if it’s me.

Was electing Obama a mistake?  Depends on the alternative.

Electronic readers or books?  Both.

Check out Poll Position.  How does it compare to Gallup (arguably the most well known poller)? Give Eason some feedback at @EasonJordan

When Tech Resurfaces…the NYT and Microsoft’s “Surface” Computer

I was relieved to see that something interesting & educational, not just commercial (I was picturing hotel lobbies), is happening with Microsoft’s Surface computer technology.  I did a piece on it for Reuters over 4 years ago (see below).  Now, according to the Nieman Journalism Lab, the New York Times is working on  “a Times’ screen-top version of a kitchen table. It’s based on Microsoft’s Surface technology, modified by the Research & Design Lab to create a Times-oriented user experience that reimagines the old ‘around the breakfast table’ reading of the paper.”

Cool.  Watch the original video from 4 years ago and then watch the new demo for an interesting contrast and comparison.