Charity cross-USA cycle for poverty housing

Cycling Across America charity
In my 7+ years of blogging I’ve never asked for much from my readers; just a bit of attention and engagement for the cases and critiques I sometimes offer. However, I recently made a resolution to generally “pay it back” to those less fortunate. 
So, in June I will ride my bike 3,600 miles across the United States starting in Atlantic City, NJ and finishing on the pacific coast in Astoria, OR! This ride will support The Fuller Center for Housing, a Christian non-profit that builds and renovates homes as a helping hand in partnership with those in need, not as a hand-out. I’m the first Australian to ever take part in this Continent-spanning charity marathon. My personal fundraising goal is to raise US$5000. Would you sponsor me as you are able? Could you contribute $10, $50, $100 or $1 per mile if you can? I’m personally giving $500 in addition to covering my own airfares there and back. Donate here please:

Fiji government hires US PR guns to polish its global image

PR expert Gerry McCusker was interviewed by Radio Australia this am – exploring the Fiji Govt’s use of online PR and social media. McCusker told Radio Australia it makes perfect sense: “If an organisation posts regularly online through blogs and tweets and online press releases, and by feeding this material with the kinds of search terms that people are using online PR can influence what is said about any organisation, any corporate, any brand, any government, whether it is a democratic government or slightly less democratic one,” he said.

No PR disaster; 50% of Aussie newspapers PR-driven

Champagne corks are popping in PR offices as a survey by the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism has found that, on average, more than 50% of newspaper content could be identified as from a media release or clearly of a promotional nature. In late 2009, the survey looked a 5 days of coverage in 10 Aussie metropolitan newspapers analysing more than 2,000 stories. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph was shown to have 70% PR-driven (or drivel) content. Previous surveys by RMIT in Melbourne suggested an average of 70%, while Aussie stat guru (and my fellow presenter at IABC Hong Kong) Jim Macnamara suggested up to 80% of all newspaper editorial stemmed from PR sources. My old blogpal Trev Cook discusses it too.

Bush PR man Fleischer to restore Tiger Woods' PR?

Sometimes controversial political press secretary Ari Fleischer is in place to advise Tiger’s re-entry to the world of golf. Word suggests that Ari’s team has been working with Woods to make a major announcement about his future, perhaps by the end of next week. Commentators point at Ari’s blemished PR history, including his work with baseball’s steroid slugger Mark McGwire and, of course, Dubya himself.

Aussie PR hires actresses to fake a news story

Aussie PR Jothy Hughes has created a PR disaster that should sound the death knell for his PR career. Dumb-as-you-could-imagine and deeply-duplicitous, Jothy briefed a model agency to find actresses who’d pretend to be profiteering widows selling their marital gold at jewellery parties (for his client Gold Parties Australia). Despite hollow claims of “I made a mistake…”, Hughes is a former PRIA member, so well knows PR right from wrong.

Ta 2 Mumbrella as source.

First proper PR disaster of 2010?

Another ex-journalist-turned-PR is at the centre of a whale fishing/spy scandal PR disaster in Australia, proving that a decent hack doth not a good flack make! IMHO, it’s often professionally flexible ex-journos who give PR practitioners a bad name.

Despite allegations that the New Zealand PR lied to the air charter companies when booking charter flights for his pro-whaling Japanese clients, this high-flying “PR” has remained non-contactable since the story broke.

Thanks to Mr Lexus for the nod. Readallabahtit!

YouTube Direct expands into citizen journalism

Kinda hot on the heels of my last post “What Is Real News“, we learn that YouTube is moving into CGNC (citizen generated news content). As well as creating another discreet news channel with YouTube Direct, the move will help resource-strapped TV and online news editors to obtain video from free providers, so-called “citizen journalists” — and even request such video be shot by amateurs. PR industry commentator Gerry McCusker, believes that some razor sharp PR outfits could use YouTube Direct to seed client news stories!. A few noteworthy editorial sites (Huffington Post, NPR, Politico, the San Francisco Chronicle) are already testing the free service. And Mr Murdoch won’t be happy.

Will Google Sidewiki keep organisations' PR more honest?

At a socio-personal level, I’ve encountered a few issues with organisations making claims on the web that are false or invalid – like Lasseters desert Hotel in Alice Springs; but Google’s Sidewiki promises to help web users to instantly check the veracity and validity of any claims made on a website. I recently chose to stay at Lasseters Hotel Casino in Alice Springs, ‘cos their website (and several other travel-related sites) said they offered free golf green fees at the local course. On sign-in, I asked for the offer and was flatly told the promo ran out 6months previous. Disappointed, I emailed them asking for compensation as the free fees promoted influenced my hotel selection; the manager Craig Jervis nicely refused saying they’d now amend the erroneous claims. As the above link shows, they’ve only partially done it – sneaky stuff from Lasseters or what? As recently visited by colleague Julian Lee at the SMH, Google’s Sidewiki bookmarklet is a browser sidebar, kinda stored as a coded bookmark. When you click the bookmark, it opens a new window where you can write a new Sidewiki entry or see entries that others have written alongside any web page you’re viewing. Maybe I should Sidewiki all those sites mentioning Lasseters free green fee offer? Sidewiki (I’d dub it “Snidewiki” if the comments made are deliberately injurious) is yet another new frontier for PRs looking to manage organisational reputation; should help keep companies (including my pals @ Lasseters) more attentive and honest about false or misleading advertising (even within digital editorial spaces).

PR disaster for journalism, as YesMen hijack Chamber of Commerce brand

(From HuffPost) Reputation hijackers, The Yes Men, have taken credit for a prank in which they posed as Chamber of Commerce officials pushing for comprehensive climate change legislation.  Pretending to be the business lobby, the YesMen hosted a fake news conference at the National Press Club (hoodwinked or what!!) announcing a “dramatic” shift in its position on climate change. After a fake press release and media event note was sent out, Reuters, Fox and CNBC were all, it seems, initially duped by the fake PR stunt.