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Friday, February 26, 2010

Chris Georgacas honored by Minnesota Republicans

Chris Georgacas, Goff & Howard president, was honored last night with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Republican Party of Minnesota.

The award, which is presented annually at the GOP’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, recognizes the recipient’s contributions to the party. Chris served two terms (1993-1997) as state chairman of the Republic Party of Minnesota, transforming its fundraising, communications, technology, and grassroots organizing operations.

At the dinner, current party chairman Tony Sutton hailed Chris as having been a “transformational chairman” who modernized the state GOP and made later election successes possible. Other tributes to Chris were made by Governor Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and former Republican National Committeeman Jack Meeks.

Steve Sviggum, former House Speaker and current Minnesota Commissioner of Labor and Industry, was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the event. Previous honorees include U.S. Representative Jim Ramstad, former Minnesota Governor Al Quie, and former U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz.

Congratulations, Chris, on this remarkable honor.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rock Head PR Move: Feeling the Payne

If you're wondering how to turn one unhappy patron into more than 3,300 people supporting an all-out boycott of your business, just ask Steve Payne. He managed to do so with one hot-headed e-mail in response to a moviegoer who had a less-than-enjoyable evening at the St. Croix Falls theater that he runs. Throw in a little social media (Facebook) and a few unreturned calls from reporters, and you've just turned a blockbuster into a bomb.

Read more here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rest in Peace, Ron

Every time Ron Maddox walked through the doors at Goff & Howard, his presence was immediately and enthusiastically felt. He was always filled with passion, new ideas and deep loyalty for his family, his community and his beloved St. Paul. Ron will be sorely missed by all of his friends here at Goff & Howard.

Read the Pioneer Press story here.

Spoiler Alert – This Year’s Olympic Controversy

The world is buzzing with Olympic fever, and the Olympics wouldn’t be the Olympics without a controversy – seemingly underage Chinese gymnasts in 2008 and a skating judging scandal in 2002, to name a few. This year, the controversy involves the media. Some Americans are outraged that other media outlets are reporting event results as they happen instead of after they are broadcast on NBC.

This is a classic example of how the world has changed in the Internet and social media age. During the pre-Internet Olympics, the media – or NBC – controlled the flow of information, and I was forced to wait until just before 10 p.m. to know if Lindsey Vonn won the downhill. Now my phone buzzes with tweets the second she leaves the starting gate.

By refusing to publish results as they happen, NBC is underestimating the savvy of its audience. Even if they find out Shaun White won the halfpipe before it was broadcast on television – which they most likely will, they will still tune in to see the Flying Tomato twist and flip through the air in a true testament to his athletic prowess.

Rather than spoiling the results, media outlets are reporting news as it happens. Isn’t that what we want them to do?

Click here to read more about the controversy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Take the Tiger Woods News Conference Poll

Tiger Woods is set to host a news conference Friday morning where he will speak publicly for the first time since his car accident and marital infidelity was exposed three months ago. This news conference is a huge opportunity for Tiger, whose reputation was tarnished by a nine iron and a multitude of women claiming to have had affairs with him. Tiger will speak at 11 a.m. EST from the headquarters of the PGA Tour in Florida.

Friday, February 12, 2010

This Month in History: Happy Birthday to a Great Writer

“Writing – the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye – is the great invention of the world.”

So said Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, whose birthday we celebrate today, February 12. Although Lincoln is best known as one of our most beloved Presidents – the one who sustained our country through the Civil War – he is also known for his eloquence. He prepared speeches with great care, selecting just the right turns of phrase. He wrote correspondence filled with genuine emotion, connecting him to the common people of his time. Perhaps his most notable letter was sent in 1864 to Mrs. Lydia Bixby:
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln
Today this letter reminds us of Lincoln’s literary achievements and sincerity, his enduring gifts to us on his 201st birthday.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Memo to the White House Press Corps

In the media/communications world, the historic timeline can be divided into two very distinct eras: before the internet (BI) and after the internet (AI).

In the BI world, established mainstream entities had the ultimate control over what we read, saw or heard, and the media controlled access to the President through the White House press corps.

When Obama ran for President, his campaign embraced the AI world, and he was able to directly reach voters of all ages by combining new and traditional communications efforts. Obama continues to use the same AI ideas while he governs.

Despite accusations that Obama was becoming “overexposed” due to the increased number of live prime time news conference he demanded from media executives, the White House press corps is now complaining that he is bypassing mainstream media sources for news conferences streamed on YouTube and interviews with the Huffington Post.

“It’s a source of great frustration here,” said Chip Reid, CBS’s White House correspondent. “It’s important for us to hold the President’s feet to the fire.”

NBC White House reporter Chuck Todd called the situation a “shame,” saying the administration is trying to control the message rather than allowing Obama to be seen “unscripted.”

“What’s lost is the ability to get beyond talking points,” said Michael Shear, a White House reporter for The Post. “This is a President and a White House that know how to be very scripted and very on message. . . . Frankly, we make our living studying and following details of these issues so we can zero our questions in on where the real tension lies in a particular issue.”

The White House press corps needs to come up with a strategy to counter Obama’s effort to bypass them. There is a real public policy concern when any elected official can ignore questions from people who have a deeper understanding of an issue than the general public. We need informed debate to understand the significance and context related to issues like health care and the national debt.

Elected officials do need to engage the public, and social media makes this process easier. Mainstream media also needs to join the conversation; they just have yet to find their niche in the AI world.

Read more here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Climate (and Journalism) Change

Matt Ridley in the latest issue of The Spectator hails the difficult, pioneering work of grassroots journalists in the recent exposure of corrupt “climate change” science:
Journalists are wont to moan that the slow death of newspapers will mean a disastrous loss of investigative reporting. The web is all very well, they say, but who will pay for the tenacious sniffing newshounds to flush out the real story? "Climategate" proves the opposite to be true. It was amateur bloggers who scented the exaggerations, distortions and corruptions in the climate establishment; whereas newspaper reporters, even after the scandal broke, played poodle to their sources.
Mature, skeptical investigative journalism is thriving outside of the mainstream media.

Read the whole piece here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Starting the 2010 Session at the Chamber

Goff & Howard kicked off the legislative session yesterday by attending the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Session Priorities dinner. This annual event features speeches by lawmakers and a lot of networking among the more than 1,500 fellow business leaders from across the state.

This year, the Chamber’s legislative priorities are focused on making sure that Minnesota creates policies that support job growth and sustainable economic development as the state continues to recover from the recession.

Goff & Howard is a proud member of the Minnesota Chamber, and several team members are active on the Chamber, including Jennifer Hellman, who is a member of the 2010 Leadership Minnesota class, and Patty Dunn, who is on the Energy Policy Committee.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Staying Informed during the 2010 Session

At noon today, the 2010 session of the Minnesota Legislature officially began. Our legislators are tackling key issues important to all Minnesotans – including a multi-billion dollar deficit. Most of us don’t have the time to go to the Capitol to listen to committee hearings, floor sessions, or conference committees, but there are easier ways to stay informed about legislative proceedings.

Here are some useful digital tools to stay informed about legislative activities:

MyBills: A personalized bill-tracking application that allows people to track the status of bills through an RSS feed that is updated daily.

House and Senate webcasts: Live video and audio streaming feeds of all floor sessions and high-interest committee hearings.

Session Daily and Session Weekly: Nonpartisan newsletters about House floor and committee activity. Currently, there are no publications for the Senate due to budget restrictions.

• Twitter: You can receive up-to-the-minute breaking news about legislative activity by following the House, Senate and Capitol beat reporters on Twitter. Here are some that we recommend following:



@RachelSB (Star Tribune)

@PolAnimal (Pioneer Press)

@tomscheck (Minnesota Public Radio)

@stowydad (Associated Press)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rock Head PR Move

While we GH Spin bloggers love to point out Rock Star PR Moves, we’re sometimes so moved by a media gaffe that we must comment. Let’s just say we’re feeling for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s media handlers today as they try to stuff the words “stop driving your Toyota” back into their boss’s mouth. It seemed only seconds after LaHood made the statement that he tried to undo it. And he’s quickly learning how difficult – impossible? – that can be.

Click here to read more.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A social media “offer he couldn’t refuse”

We at Goff & Howard work hard to bring the latest thinking and savvy to clients’ social media applications. But even we are sometimes surprised at the innovative uses some people make. Here’s an astonishing news story alleging that Colin Gunn, one of Britain’s most dangerous gangsters, has been using Facebook to run his criminal syndicate from prison. Apparently not all real-world Mafiosi live by the cinematic Don Corleone’s axiom: “I spent my life trying not to be careless.”