Category Archives: Media

CNN effect


Can you believe it’s been 36 years since the dawn of 24 hour news?

In June 1980, CNN became the first television channel to provide 24-hour news coverage and was the first all-news television channel in the US.

Twenty-four-hour news seemed to garner instant appeal with the American public and made a dramatic impact on the nightly network newscasts, CBS, NBC and ABC. Bringing together the latest technology with the new news format. It was a powerful change to the industry. And a change to the way people watched and absorbed news.

Powerful stories, often with raw, unedited footage, gives live news a certain flavour which communicates real human emotion. It stood out against its competitors and carried a lot of credibility.

Have you heard of the CNN effect?

This effect was first noted when footage of starving children in Somalia pressured U.S. officials to send troops there. Horrifying footage of Somalis dragging the body of a dead American soldier through the streets followed, prompting U.S. officials to withdraw. The effect describes “saturation coverage” of events like the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the fall of Communism in eastern Europe, the first Gulf War, and the Battle of Mogadishu and the strong influence of the “right in your face” images have on political and social consciousness.

Fast forward to 2016. Citizen journalism ensures that pictures of “breaking news” are beamed straight to a global audience. Either bought up by traditional news channels, or spread on social channels. News can be fed to us instantly through live bloggers – at a speed the user can control.

We take 24 hour television for granted now, and instant access to news is part of our everyday life. We see people scrolling through their phones for tit bits of news and have access to stories with the click of a button. 24 hours of news. It’s a lot of content. It gets you thinking what is newsworthy? How to filter out the trash?

CNN in 1980: the social media of today – the perfect communications cocktail: an ability to cover events live, continuously, upside down and inside out. Citizen Journalists can do this now from their portable devices. But does this make news stations like CNN obsolete? Certainly not.  News is no longer just the 6.30 dinner time slot. It’s now a snack you can have anytime of the day. If it’s happening around the world, it’s bound to be shown on your screen shortly after, if not instantly.

The power of portable devices has made stories more accessible, more transparent and media more influential than ever. Live political debates, reports from war-torn areas, natural disasters and terror (think Sydney Siege).

If it’s not printed or trending it didn’t happen.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Cinema, couture and classic casting: contagious combination


We had the pleasure of watching The Dressmaker this week – and at the risk of sounding like Margaret and David I’d have to rate it 5 stars. It’s one of those movies that everyone can take something away from. Kate Winslet plays a character who is striking, real, and a bad girl come heroine with a little bit of mystery. Her performance along with a cast of Aussie greats makes for an incredibly moving film which keeps you stuck to your seat.

Movies like this have a cast of helpers behind them. Hours of direction, writing and costume production go into making them fabulous. On the other hand, short videos that flood the internet are often just moments captured on film. Some only ever seen by a few, others go viral.

Check out this video from The Ellen Show featuring eight-year-old Britton Walker who knows everything there is to know about James Bond, and helps Ellen out by educating her. And then by interviewing Daniel Craig on the red carpet. C = cute.

There is no secret recipe for the perfect viral video, and yet there are videos that receive millions of views every year. What’s the common thread? Generally if you throw a cat, a kid and a piano in you’ve got a good c = combo.

Remember that night watching Susan Boyle’s first performance on X-Factor. No, nor do we. Because we all watched it courtesy of YouTube. So why was her video contagious… ?

Just this week, following the #parisattacks social media erupted in support of Waleed Aly’s condemnation of the Islamic State as ‘weak’. Responding to the deadly attacks in Paris, The Project co-host and GQ ‘Media Personality of the Year’ urged viewers to pull together, and not to play into the hands of the terrorists.

Elon University conducted a study into what makes a video go viral. Here is a quick summary of what their extensive research revealed:

8 Common Characteristics of Viral Videos

A few factors were determined to be the most prevalent (and therefore most important for creating a viral video):

  • Title length: 75% of the videos had short titles (3 words or less), with the average title length being 2.76 words.
  • Run-time:60% of the videos had short run-times (3 minutes or less), with an average run-time of 2 minutes and 47 seconds.
  • Element of laughter: 30% of the videos featured the element of laughter (defined as seeing or hearing someone laughing within the first 30 seconds of the video).
  • Element of surprise:50% of the videos exhibited the element of surprise (defined as seeing or hearing an expression of surprise, such as a scream or gasp).
  • Element of irony: 90% of the videos featured an element of irony (defined as an element contrary to what was expected). The majority of ironic elements in the videos displayed the breaking of social norms.
  • Musical quality: 60% of the videos displayed a musical element (defined as singing, background music, or popular song references).
  • Youth: 35% of the videos featured children seemingly under the age of 18. 20% of them displayed children seemingly under the age of 10.
  • Talent: 30% of the videos were composed of songs, dances, or performances that required practice and talent.

Perhaps we’ll share some old home movies and see if they go viral?

Cheers, Jack and the c word crew

Centre stage: #QandA, again


You wouldn’t think it would be possible, but there is another crisis brewing (or perhaps brewed) at the ABC’s Q&A office. With staff just recovering from the controversy involving Zaky Mallah, accusations of being terrorist sympathisers and a government-ordered inquiry into the program, producers are now facing criticism over the tweets they choose to flash up on screen on Monday night.

Article Lead - wide999688241gj6rjrimage.related.articleLeadwide.729x410.gj6sdt.png1440460642172.jpg-620x349All was forgiven, and the questions and answers were flowing again, until some (opposite of a genius) decided to tweet under the Twitter handle @AbbottLovesAnal, which slipped through ABC’s moderators mouse clicks and landed Q&A back in hot water. The content of the tweet itself was not offensive (although an insult to the English language), it was the crude tone of the @handle.

With the right use, an appropriate handle and a “normal” person behind a smart phone, Twitter can really come into its own, especially when wanting to interact at a networking or professional development event.

The skill involved in live tweeting is common sense, a good use of language in 140 characters or less, and keeping content clear and precise. Here are our top five tips when attending a corporate event and using the tool.

  1. Make sure you’re using the correct hashtag – if it’s trending you want to be involved. There’s no point tweeting for the sake of it –unless you’re Kim Kardashian then you can do whatever you like.
  2. Engage with people prior to the event. Get Twitter handles of speakers in advance. Connecting with people before the event is the perfect opportunity to learn more about them, set up meetings and learn about their companies (and what they can do for you – or more importantly what you can do for them).
  1. Quote speakers correctly. Always add their Twitter handles to attribute their authorship. If they’re not on Twitter, simply include their name in the Tweet so you don’t confuse their ideas with yours.
  2. Add  visual content
    1. There is so much more to tweeting than just text. Add pictures of the speakers and the venue. This is engaging and shows your audience what you’re talking about. The quality of pictures taken by our smartphones is more than adequate for the budding photographer.
    2. People love seeing themselves in pictures. Take a selfie with your new “friends” and tag them to enforce your new connections and get more retweets.
  1. Live tweeting from an event is a great way to get high number of followers in a very short time. Be generous, retweet and favourite other posts to increase your social footprint. Using the event hashtag, your tweets will appear in the live stream and people will start following you. Make sure you follow them back so the newly created connections can extend to offline meetings too. Tweet consistently but wisely – keep your “digital footprint” out during the event to keep appearing in the tweet stream. This keeps your brand out there for everyone to see. More and more events are holding live streaming of tweets during the day which allows your content to be displayed. So if you don’t want it out there don’t tweet it. Think of it like a live campaign for your company and what you say reflects on you.

Lastly, if you are the moderator of the tweets. Set the ground rules, block any content that shouldn’t be displayed and be thorough. Make sure your hashtag is prominent and the audience knows it.

The moderators at Q&A blamed the large volume of tweets coming through for this recent mishap. It’s critical that you arrange a small bundle of tweets and sort through these. Avoid any anal abbott outbursts or any other overtly political statement for that matter.

Happy tweeting!


Jack and the c word crew

Columns, cats, celebrities and cash


ausnewsNews making news this week, The Huffington Post has launched an Australian version, with co-host of Today Lisa Wilkinson appointed as its editor-at-large.

Supported by Fairfax Media, HuffPost Australia appears to be a positive addition to burgeoning local online media
landscape. Other players in the competitive field include the Guardian Australia, Buzzfeed and the Daily Mail Australia. In addition there are traditional players including, Fairfax digital mastheads and ABC News online. The combination of players brings a range of content for a diverse readership – all easily accessible for the ever-growing audience.

And to give you a sense of the growing audience: HuffPost AU’s twitter following has almost reached 5,000.

The Huffington Post has a massive following in the US and sets its own political agenda (watch out Donald Trump). It allows readers to comment on the columns and have their say. How will the Huffington Post survive in the sunburnt country?

HuffPost Australia has outlined a goal to be profitable within three years, but it has already sparked controversy over its practice not to pay all of its contributors to its blog. It’s something also done by Buzzfeed; offering those who contribute ‘exposure’ rather than ‘cash’.

With the overwhelming success of platforms like Buzzed our crew at the c word thinks the Huffington Post with its broad range of content and opinion pieces has a great chance of survival in the local market and will be a great addition to the digital media we can get our hands on.

“HuffPost Australia will be dedicated to producing great original reporting about the critical issues that Australians face, and to telling stories that focus on helping Australians live more fulfilling lives, while opening up our blogging platform to voices from all across the country to start a conversation on the topics that matter to Australians most,” said the Queen of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington.

To celebrate the arrival of the local version of the Huffington Post, we took a look at the c word sections that this online medium contains in its columns, including a whole area dedicated to cats (we know this is popular after channel 7’s TV show last week).

Here are our top five c word picks from the original US version:

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew



Collection of colour, creativity and caches


The best (or maybe the worst) thing about the internet, is the ability to get lost or distracted when you’re doing research.

We’ve been glued to our screens this week researching for a number of clients as they prepare to refine their websites. We have come across so many sites, some awe inspiring, and some just plain hard to navigate, and have decided to share five with beautiful design to draw you into  the content and stimulate the imagination. Some inspiration if you’re on a similar journey.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.46.05 am

Cooking with manners

Martha’s website offers up recipes, cooking tips and home and lifestyle blogs. Martha’s flair for all things home and decoration is evident on this site. It is user friendly, incorporating mouth watering images and Martha’s infamous flair for decoration, design and perfection is evident.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.47.25 am

A lovely French designer

This amazing site for Parisian designer Mahedine Yahia is a real masterpiece. It acts as a resume and portfolio for Yahia, who most likely will never be out of work again given the site’s flawless design work and concerted focus on great imagery.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.49.52 am

Strong Russian coffee anyone?

Check out this beautiful page from coffee (yes finally a c word) roasters in St Petersburg. Fresh like roasted coffee, this site is definitely up to date and beautifully designed. They’ve combined beautiful colour graphics with parallax scrolling and different types of navigation. It really brings the website to life and keeps the reader intrigued.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.52.02 am

A little bird

We still think that Twitter’s simple design and user friendly experience is one of the best social media sites out there. Perhaps that’s why it’s becoming more and more popular.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.47.55 am

And finally, a crisp classic – simple, elegant, beautiful

It’s a question that will go unanswered: just how did Steve Jobs get something we use everyday to be so damn pretty? The Apple website and specifically the iTunes site are flawless. You could keep exploring the vivid colours and images for hours. (and just been us, we often head there for a little inspiration drooling). Macs are so beautiful that they’d probably be fixtures in movies and on TV even if product placement didn’t exist. They are artwork on their own. Their slim lines, the simple colours, the shape of that iconic apple on each piece. So of course the website is going to follow suit in its design.


Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Inside Media House – PRIA members visit The Age and 3AW

Media House with The Age and 3AW

Media House with The Age and 3AW

“People don’t actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath.” – Communications theorist Marshall McLuhan

Whether you like your newspaper with your morning coffee or prefer to save it for the weekend lie in, there’s no denying that newspapers play an important role in our lives and the professional lives of communicators.

Last week, I put my presidential hat on (ok I don’t have a special hat but perhaps I should get one?) and joined 12 members of the Public Relations Institute of Australia for an exclusive tour of Media House with The Age and 3AW. Following the tour we sat down for lunch with three journalists from the paper.

Fellow PRIA member and Communications Manager for The Age, Miranda Schuppan, led the exclusive tour. She started at the epicentre of editorial operations – the modern newsroom with numerous journalists working across the day to produce news for print and online versions of The Age.

Shane Green a senior journalist with The Age talked through the various areas of the newsroom. He’s held a number of roles with the organisation and was happy to share his insights with our members.

We then huddled around the screen of editor, Daniel Sankey, and saw how quickly they were able to publish stories. If you think the back end of your website is impressive, consider how it would cope with hundreds of new stories a day and thousands of unique visitors a month. At the time they were just about to break a World Cup 2022 story.

Daniel told us about the peak times for online news viewing. They are 8am when people are arriving at work, lunchtime when people are munching on their sushi and a little before 5pm when they’re packing up to head home. Hands up if you head to at one or all of those times?

If you’re a regular visitor to you’ll know that video content is being used more and more. What you might not know is that it is produced at Media House. We were shown the well-equipped studio, which is just like a mini commercial television studio and is used for video interviews, panel discussions and other reports.

A few floors up, we met David Mann or “Mann about Town” as many people know him. He’s been at 3AW for many years and has held both on-air and behind the scene roles.

David shuffled us into one of the studios that was free at the time and provided the group with an insight into 3AW’s production process. He gave each of us some handy hints on working with the team at 3AW and answered many of our burning questions.

We also met some of the voices behind the news broadcasts and were delighted to learn that one of our fellow PRIA members, Keith Hainsworth from Deakin University, had started his career in the 3AW newsroom.

David showed us the impressive technology that keeps the station on air and said that the greatest technological advancement for radio was the invention of the mobile phone. He said that mobile phones have produced thousands of news reporters for radio stations. Effectively, every listener is a reporter, because when anything happens in Melbourne, they ring in immediately with first-hand accounts of the unfolding event.

Finally, David and Miranda gave us some great advice for preparing clients for radio and press interviews. Over lunch with Daniel Sankey, Shane Green and Laura Hamilton we spoke about a range of topics from what different sections cover to the best way to present stories to The Age and 3AW.

Here are some tips:

  • relationships with journalists are critical, particularly knowing what topics/rounds they cover
  • read something written by the journalist or listen to a show that you’re pitching to
  • make sure your pitch/story is newsworthy and pick an interesting angle
  • make sure you know what time of day is appropriate to call a journo or producer. And even pick the right minute to phone in. For example, don’t call a radio producer on the hour or half hour, because they’ll be listening to the news bulletin. Best time to call is quarter past or quarter to the hour.
  • always spell a journo or producer’s name correctly.

Finally, a big thanks to Miranda, David, Daniel, Shane and Laura for sharing their time with us and showing us around Media House.


Jack @ the c word

Let’s Get Digital


PRIA's Let Get Digital Panel: Kristen Boschma, Liz Green, Jason Whittaker and moderator Jack Walden

Last night the c word’s Managing Director, Jack Walden, moderated a panel of digital communicators at an event appropriately named ‘Let’s Get Digital’. The panelists for the evening were:

  • Telstra’s Head of Online Communications and Social Media, Kristen Boschma (@Kristen_Boschma)
  • ABC TV’s Digital Communications Marketing Manager, Liz Green (@ABCTV_australia)
  • Deputy Editor of Crikey, Jason Whittaker (@thetowncrier)

With representatives from Australian organisations providing leadership and innovation in the digital arena, the panelists provided some fascinating insights and points for discussion.

Telstra’s Kristen Boschma explained the use of three Rs to guide their social media policy; representation, responsibility and respect. She also stressed the need for flexibility in social media and empowering your staff to know how to respond and engage. Telstra’s approach is about equality in service, which means they respond to everyone on Twitter; not simply those with a huge following.

Kristen likened good social media to a great dinner party with great food, great guests and great conversation. The same analogy works for bad social media; the bad dinner party where one drunk guest sits at the end of the table and just talks at the other guests.

Liz Green from ABC TV spoke about the flexibility of ABC TV’s social media policy. Their four-line policy guides staff on how to interact on Twitter and Facebook, while allowing personalities to shine through. In total, the ABC has an impressive 438 accounts across Facebook and Twitter.

Liz also highlighted the value of strategy; although social media is cheap, it is also resource intensive, which is why you need to be strategic about how to best use your resources. One example of this is the ABC blog, which has become a primary channel to distribute press releases.

Jason Whittaker, Deputy Editor of Crikey is another champion of flexibility on social media. Although rules and guidelines are important, he said you need to be able to respond quickly. Journalists nowadays need to be on social media to be privy to where stories are being broken; he stresses however you can get caught out if you rely solely on social media for your information.

He attributed Crikey’s success to not trying to be something for everyone, rather they define their reader and seek them out. He believes if traditional media is to continue to exist, they have to relinquish the appeal to a mass audience and find their niche audience.

All three panelists agreed social media was a commitment to quality exchange rather than simply broadcasting a message. Some key points to take from the evening:

  • You can’t run a Twitter account without monitoring and responding to conversations
  • People can sniff spin. And the beauty of social media is they will tell you
  • Social media is resource intensive, which makes it essential to have a plan about how best to use your resources
  • Social media has empowered the customer, and potentially hundreds of thousands of people see complaints through Retweets making it important to respond quickly
  • Successful media companies will produce content across many platforms and give audience the choice on how to consume it.

You can view the panel’s Twitterstream on #priadigital to get a great overview of the discussion.

Chin chin,

the c word