Some friends and I have a little joke on Twitter we call Why I Love The Internet This Week or #WILITW. Usually the subject matter is a video, but the premise is always “Without this amazing tool, we would have never had the opportunity to enjoy this.”
But for the Internet. I gave you this week’s entry:
Isn’t that adorable? Two cheers for the Wallkill Mighty Mites from Wallkill, New York. But now let’s watch it again and analyze some of the constituent parts. The first thing you notice, while keeping in mind this is in slow motion, that the entire team was running through that sign no matter what. That’s an admirable esprit de corps from such a young team so early in their season.
The second thing is the cheerleaders. Those girls never gave up the fight, and that’s a great demonstration of boosterism and support.
Which brings us to the mom in the foreground. She held her end of the sign for several waves of the team to break through. That’s dedication. That’s belief. That’s probably a mom who thought her son could get through the thing.
As opposed to the woman holding the other end of the sign. She literally turned her back on the pile up.
Meanwhile, the cheerleaders are cheering and clapping and jumping. And a half dozen kids will always remember this, all through their football careers, and they’ll never feel the need to be at the front of the team to break the paper on the high school gridiron.
The good news is they brushed it off and, apparently, won the game.
I got in a 43-mile ride yesterday evening. I was hoping for about 46, but I had to cut it short because of darkness. So I came home the slightly shorter way, with the big hill, which I was in no condition to deal with after 43 miles, thinking I need to start my rides earlier in the day.
My route was an amalgamation of two that I’m familiar with. It took me through a modern residential area, a shopping mecca, a historic part of town and then out through the countryside. I sailed by the old union headquarters that is now apparently a church and another old plant that will probably never have a new tenant. I was almost clipped by a pickup and the trailer he was hauling. And I worked my way back out into the countryside, where I turned off of a road with a name onto another with just a number.
The road bottoms out at a creek bed and you’re surrounded by judgmental cows and someone shooting a nail gun nearby. I went by a man sitting on his porch and another working on his roof. I cruised by the brand new post office that is shiny and new for a community that consists of a church, one store and a volunteer fire department. Just past that is a stop sign and that store, a junk store, where I years ago discovered my love for junk stores. If you go straight you find yourself on about a mile of the worst chip/seal pavement you can find in the rural South. But then you go under some trees, round a curve, pass a pasture and you find yourself on a brand new and nearly pristine asphalt and large rollers.
I did about five or six miles on that, surrounded by red clay and pine trees and only the most occasional house, before I turned around for home. I stopped there and took a few of the pictures that were shared here yesterday, where I was talking about the lumber yard and old wood. I also took this picture there:
What is in those woods? The whole road which, again, has always been eerily empty, is covered with various posted and no trespassing signs. But a human silhouette target sign? I didn’t previously care about that gravel path, but now I’m curious.
Things to read … because reading keeps us curious.
In short, while the journalistic staffing is shrinking dramatically in every mature market (US, Europe), the public relation crowd is rising in a spectacular fashion. It grows in two dimensions: the spinning aspect, with more highly capable people, most often former seasoned writers willing to become spin-surgeons. These are both disappointed by the evolution of their noble trade and attracted by higher compensation. The second dimension is the growing inclination for PR firms, communication agencies and corporations themselves to build fully-staffed newsrooms with editor-in-chief, writers, photo and video editors.
That’s the first issue.
The second trend is the evolution of corporate communication. Slowly but steadily, it departs from the traditional advertising codes that ruled the profession for decades. It shifts toward a more subtle and mature approach based on storytelling. Like it or not, that’s exactly what branded content is about: telling great stories about a company in a more intelligent way versus simply extolling a product’s merits.
With the president-felling image of Woodward and Bernstein still hanging over the profession, and a geekily hip narrative of data-driven analysis pointing to a new future, few journalists like to acknowledge the role PRs play in their stories. Many are well-informed, professional, clever, helpful and fun. Some are former colleagues. Some become friends. But for most journalists, it is an involvement we put up with warily. PRs are spinners of favourable stories, glossers-over of unfavourable facts and gatekeepers standing between us and the people we want to get to.
But as journalists bemoan such PR obstacles, they rarely admit an important fact: the PRs are winning. Employment in US newsrooms has fallen by a third since 2006, according to the American Society of News Editors, but PR is growing. Global PR revenues increased 11 per cent last year to almost $12.5bn, according to an industry study entitled The Holmes Report. For every working journalist in America, there are now 4.6 PR people, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 3.2 a decade ago. And those journalists earn on average 65 per cent of what their PR peers are paid.
The weekly post of extra stuff, full of extras that haven’t advanced beyond the lovely level of stuff. Here’s the stuff, then.
Scary thought I had the other night in the parking lot, “Is it possible that I’m getting tired of Whataburger? Is that the reason I stood beneath that sign, watching it like it was flying away?”
A few not-quite-wild brown-eyed Susans:
I believe this may be a thin-leaved sunflower that had just popped up in a walking path and was hanging on to the end of the season. Life finds a way:
Oh, just the most perfect pine cone in the world. At least this side of it was:
I put new handlebar wrap on my bike. Looks great, was very frustrating to get on and will be dirty instantly. But, finally, my handlebars match the saddle. I pulled some of it out of place on my first ride with it this afternoon, but it rewrapped easily enough:
I call this one, The Colors of My Day:
I wonder what is down that path. Through the woods there is a saw mill. You could smell them chopping up old lumber this afternoon. Old lumber, I decided, has a more dull smell on a calm afternoon. The new, green, good stuff has that crisp bite in the nose. What was floating around today just made you want to sneeze. But what is down there?