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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Newspapers’ circulations may be worse than they seem

In October, a study was released reporting that the circulation of 400 daily newspapers had fallen 10.6% during April-September 2009. Over the weekend, a little reproduced AP story reported that the Audit Bureau of Circulations standards have changed and may be masking a greater decline in reader circulation than previously reported.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Serving Our Troops Recognized Nationally

Yesterday, Serving Our Troops, a Minnesota-based volunteer organization that Goff & Howard has supported from its beginning, received the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Civilian Award for Excellence. Serving Our Troops is the first civilian group ever to receive this award from the Joint Leadership Conference.

Since 2004, Serving Our Troops has given active-duty Minnesota National Guard soldiers and their families the opportunity to share a meal together, despite the distance. Live video-links between Minnesota and the various locations where troops are on active duty allow the families to share time together. So far, Serving Our Troops has shipped and served more than 40,000 steak dinners to Minnesota National Guard soldiers in Kosovo, Iraq, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Saint Paul and Rochester, Minnesota.

This December, Serving Our Troops volunteers are preparing to send more than 10,000 steak dinners to soldiers stationed in Iraq and Kuwait. This will be the organization’s seventh event. Serving Our Troops is looking for volunteers to help with the event, which will take place Saturday, December 12. For more information, visit www.servingourtroops.com or call 651/698-4615.

Congratulations on this well-deserved award! We appreciate all that you do to support our troops and look forward to supporting this worthy cause in December.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Giving back during the holidays: More than just good PR

The holidays provide us with many opportunities to give back to the community. You might ask why I’m bringing this up at the beginning of November, but now is the time to sign up for holiday charity opportunities.

The economic downturn has caused an increased demand at food shelves around the Twin Cities. Second Harvest Heartland needs food and volunteers during the Holidays. Also, the Salvation Army is looking for bell ringers. In December, Goff & Howard will be participating in Ramsey County Community Human Services Department’s Family Sponsorship Program in December. And, there are countless more opportunities for you to give back to the community.

While these philanthropic activities are first and foremost about the charity, they can also generate publicity opportunities for your company. Businesses that are new in the community, working to build a base of support, or trying to encourage others to donate may want to publicize their donations. By choosing to publicize your donations, you can build public goodwill for your company.

If you need help figuring out if and how to share information about your companies’ philanthropic activities, we are happy to help you. Thank you for giving back to the community – it’s the right thing to do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last summer's Twitter revolution in Iran now seen as “Astro-turf”

What with bad economic news, heated health care policy debate in Washington, H1N1 scares, and other recent news, it’s easy to already forget one of the summer’s seemingly remarkable news stories: the revolutionary use of Twitter by Iranian dissidents to communicate with the outside world after Iran’s controversial presidential election and the subsequent political crackdown.

Well, the much-vaunted generation of young citizen-activists who were using social media to take back their country from the clutches of Ahmadinejad’s regime turns out to be a lot less connected and representative than we were told. A pair of British media analysts will soon issue a report which concludes that the Iranian Twitter revolution was overblown and oversold by the U.S. and European mainstream media. “The meme was just too tempting, it seems, for anyone to dig into its veracity. The media…loves to write about Twitter,” writes Ravi Somaiya at Gawker.com about the authors’ work. The report will contrast fulsome Western claims with sobering data about the connectedness of the Iran people developed by a social media analytics company.

It turns out that many non-Iranian Twitter users switched their “locations” to Tehran to inflate the miniscule number of Iranian users cited by foreign reporters at the time. All of this is not to denigrate the grassroots courage of Iranians fighting their repressive government at home or the small number of genuine social media users who organized others at home and shared real information with the rest of the world. But in our turbulent era of mass communications, technological innovations, and disruptions, we should beware of oversold claims about “revolutionary” change.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cautions for Thesaurus Junkies

Have you ever found yourself adding multi-syllable words to your writing in hopes of making yourself look smarter? Is the thesaurus your favorite function in Microsoft Word? If so, take the time to consider the following.

When using big words, good communicators should ensure that both they and their audiences know the meaning of the words. Written and verbal communications are only effective if people know what you are trying to tell them. Although a large vocabulary is an important addition to your verbal and written repertoire, your credibility will instantly decrease if you misuse large words. Without taking the time to assess your verbiage, you run the risk of sounding either unintelligent or pretentious.

So, when you press shift F7 and the thesaurus offers large word after large word, remember it’s often better to trade your syllables for clarity.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Congratulations Chris Coleman!

Mayor Chris Coleman was re-elected to his second term as Saint Paul’s chief executive yesterday. Mayor Coleman is an alumnus of Goff & Howard, and all of us here have enjoyed working with him and his staff on a variety of issues on vital interest to Saint Paul. All of us at Goff & Howard, a company proud of its Saint Paul connections, extend our former colleague heartfelt congratulations!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Don't forget to give credit where credit is due

As a recent college graduate, I am well aware of the importance of citing my sources. Each semester, professors reiterated the same spiel on the evils of plagiarism. I listened to them and never wrote a research paper without properly giving other authors credit for their work. But, as I was writing essay after essay, it never dawned on me that citing sources would be a valuable skill outside of college.

To write the most accurate and compelling material, Goff & Howard’s writers draw from all types of sources – government reports, company surveys, and scholarly works only begin to touch the surface of the research we do at Goff & Howard.

Citations legitimize the information presented in written work. By attributing facts and statistics to their original authors, readers are able to return to the original source to double check the statistic or learn more about a topic that interests them. Rather than bog down a sentence with excessive wordiness, these simple citation phrases actually help each sentence flow into the next.

If you question when or how to properly cite your sources, Goff & Howard’s writers can help you any time.