Morning Joe

I admit it.  I’m an addict.  The minute I get up in the morning I click on Morning Joe on MSNBC and smile to see the familiar morning gang huddled round the table.  Joe and Mika, Willie and Barnicle are just some of the early risers, though Willie is off to co-helm the 9am hour on the Today Show.

Morning Joe is sophisticated and smart TV, from its scrappy discussions and up-to-the minute debates to its cool bumpers and promos with great music and très hip “brewed by Starbucks” graphics.  It is head and shoulders above the other morning shows even though it doesn’t always get the ratings it deserves.

Yup, Joe is out there in right field and Mika sometimes needs to do a better job of reeling him in or cutting him off at the pass when he starts to rant, but the guests are top notch and the news is as fresh as the coffee.

Whether tackling the recent Brown/Warren debate and the missteps by both candidates, analyzing the latest Euro soccer stats or making chit chat author Mark Halperin about Emmy pressure, these knights of the round table are cool, candid and comprehensive in their approach to latest inside- and outside-the-beltway buzz.

And who thought I’d ever wake up to Joplin, Santana and Coldplay – especially in the breaks of a morning news show?  I salute the dudes who came up with the music, graphics and look & feel of Morning Joe.  It’s my kind of show.

I love the show as much as I love my morning coffee.  Cause if its way too early in my place, it’s definitely Morning Joe.

Ride Sally Ride

Sally had the ride of her life.  The first woman in space went where no woman had gone before.

Sally Ride died this week of pancreatic cancer.  Too young.

What a trailblazer – a woman growing up in the 50s and 60s to become a scientist, space traveler and, as the world has just learned, a lesbian.

So now pundits are coming out of the woodwork taking potshots over whether Sally should have come out sooner to show the world “it’s OK to be gay.”  Kinda like Anderson Cooper did.

For me, it was Sally’s choice.  No one else was in Sally Ride’s skin as she grew up and made a career and life choices.  If she wanted to keep her relationship on the down low for professional or personal reasons, who has the right to dispute her decision?  No one.

And when Anderson came out because he felt it was the right thing to do, slam dunk for Anderson.  He, too, did what he needed to do at the time that was right for him.

Every one of us has issues and each of us has to deal with them in the way that works best for us.

To me, Sally Ride was a brave astronaut who must have plowed through some heavy duty politics to become a national hero.  And she died as bravely as she lived, with the understanding that her private life would finally be in the spotlight.  It was Sally’s last call.

The Heat Wave is Worth Talking About

It’s too damn hot.

I’ve lived in DC since 1984 so I’m used to swamp-like weather in the summer, but this has been one blistering month even by DC standards.  And it’s the warmest January-June stretch ever recorded.  Ouch!

So, naturally the storms, power outages and chill-seeking are all making headlines.  Add in some flash floods and chunky hailstones and it’s like the 10 plagues, except it’s all heat-related.  And it’s a great story for bloggers, Tweeters and reporters.  “RECORD HEAT BLASTS COUNTRY.”  The heat story rotates as lead between the political wars and the countdown to the Olympics.  Check it out on CNN, MSNBC, WebMD and probably even Pinterest.

At lunch today someone around our conference table actually said it felt much better out today…”it’s only 90.”  Who knew 90 degrees was cool?  Let me run and get a sweater.  Better yet, my arctic parka from college (the navy one with fake fur around the hood).

I was big-time lucky last week when my power stayed on after the storm of the century.  I looked out my terrace and it was like the aliens were invading.  The sky was strobing blue and white with thunder, lightning and pounding rain.

Post-storm fallout has not been pretty.  Just google weather on YouTube and check out the downed trees, power lines and raging rivers not to mention the fires out west.  It’s like the end of the world and it’s not even the Mayan calendar.

In a stab to beat the heat, I flew to long Island this past weekend.  I figured it’s always cooler at the beach.  Wrong.

So, what to do?  Besides the online tips to drink water and stay indoors I have one better.  Go to the movies!  See Magic Mike, Savages and Spiderman 12, a triple feature.  Sit in a cushy seat, eat some popcorn and get your fluids while you chill next to an a/c vent.

I know….not everyone can go to the movies when there’s a real disaster at the door.  But, when it’s just too damn hot out and the power is still on, just give me an ice cream and a DVD of White Christmas and I’m happy.

If it bleeds it leads

I learned the media credo, “If it bleeds it leads,” more than 30 years ago as a reporter/anchor at an all-news radio station in Miami. I was co-anchoring one day with a veteran radio guy when a plane crashed in Miami. The wire services kept updating the number of deaths and as the death toll increased, my co-anchor kept gleefully telling me, “Our story’s getting bigger.” It took me a while to understand that as an all-news station with a ballooning story, we would have more listeners tuning in…or tuning in longer.

The irony is that over the years nothing much has changed. I’m not exactly blaming the media. As a former local and network correspondent (and now a PR veteran), I know a thing or two about hyping a story. I honestly believe the media give their audiences what they’re looking for…though they maybe extend the story a bit too long. It’s like a train wreck. You can’t look away.

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Not all PR is good PR

This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Hailey discusses the bad PR Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea have received from the Trayvon Martin case.

Photo: newsone.com

The Trayvon Martin case has been all over every media outlet recently, and it’s causing a lot of controversy. However, I’m not going to get into the case itself. Instead I’m going to focus on the smaller pieces that have grown to be symbolic of something much larger. I’m talking about Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea.

When 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Florida on the way home from the store, he was carrying a bag of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea. Because of the controversial causes of the tragedy, the story has spread like wildfire and resulted in unwanted PR for both brands. Protesters are stapling labels to their signs and using Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea as symbols of racial injustice.

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Earth to DSK: Keep your pants on

Photo: telegraph.co.uk

What a public relations headache. As if the Sofitel Hotel “kiss and tell” alleged rape of a NYC maid wasn’t enough of a spotlight for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, now, he’s really gone and done it. The French law is on his tail for running a prostitution ring. Did the former IMF chief ever think he’d see the adjective “pimp” before his name? I bet he thought he’d see the title President much sooner.

Though prostitution is not illegal in France, this is way beyond Jimmy Carter’s “lusting in his heart.”

DSK’s lawyer said, “Everyone can say whatever they want about the moral side of things. But that doesn’t mean it’s forbidden anywhere in the penal code.” Maybe that should be penile code.

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Don’t rock the boat, baby

The cruise industry has hit some choppy waters lately, to say the least. Everyone in the world has seen the pictures of the Titanic-like Carnival Corp’s Costa Concordia. It’s like Captain Schettino fooled around while the ship sank.

And now the latest crisis to rock the boat – more than 100 passengers on the Ruby Princess, operated by a unit of Carnival, have picked up the nasty Norovirus that triggers vomiting and diarrhea for 1-3 days. And this was after ANOTHER ship was hit with the same bug the week before. So it’s no picnic for Carnival right now.

Talk about a PR crisis. First a luxury ship that sends passengers scrambling to lifeboats and then two ships that send passengers running to the toilet. They need some cruise control ASAP.

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