Monday, December 31, 2007
SEO Copywriter- Massachusetts
Executive Editor- Santa Monica
Friday, December 28, 2007
But if you don't, here are more than 100 reasons to begin doing so: Internships.
There are numerous great opportunities listed at this link that include internships in reporting, blogging, editing, publishing, broadcast journalism, marketing and public relations.
Go check it out and if you land one of these awesome internships, comment and let me know. Good luck!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Web Copywriter- St. Petersburg, FL
FREELANCE WRITERS TO COVER NEWS, SPORTS, BUSINESS AND DINING- Tampa
Copywriter - Marketing Position - 20 hours / Week- Wesley Chapel, FL
Freelance education reporter- Seminole County, FL
Copywriter needed to join growing team- Jacksonville
Monday, December 24, 2007
In Maryland where I had lived for about three years, the grocery stores were weird, in my book. My most annoying peeve was that you couldn't take your grocery buggy to your car. All the stores had concrete poles that kept the buggies corralled just outside the doorways. So I would buy groceries, push the buggy outside and have to leave the groceries unattended, then go get my truck and pull up front where I would load my groceries and be on my way.
Then there's Publix. Friendly bagboys- and today, baggirls young and old- bag your groceries for you and take them out to your car, where they load them and then return your buggy.
For some odd reason, I see fewer and fewer people taking advantage of the baggers. People just want to take their groceries out themselves, it seems. That's fine with me, but what really gets my goat is the fact that they take their groceries out themselves and then leave the buggy in the parking lot, pounced and ready to roll into someone's car.
So this is my plea to all grocery shoppers: let the baggers do what they are paid to do!!! Let them take your groceries to your car. Then they will return the buggy to its proper place, and they will pick up all the stray buggies left by those other a-holes while they're at it.
I actually DIDN'T let a bagger help me to my car yesterday, but I had what I thought was a good reason. My bagger was an elderly lady to walked as though she had a bad knee or hip. I just felt guilty making Grandma walk me to my car. But I've had a change of heart since then. She obviously is able to perform the normal duties, so next time I'm going to swallow my pride and let her do her job.
Friday, December 21, 2007
She disappeared from her pen yesterday and when I went in there to look over the fence, I noticed eight eggs in her nest. I'm not brave enough to have kept all of them. Instead, I picked out the two with the least amount of poop streaks (there I go again with writing about poop!) on them and put the rest in the compost bin.
I think that banty rooster from next door must've made Big Bertha feel like a natural woman again. Hence, the egg factory is back in production.
In my experiences, writing for SEO purposes has been just like writing any typical article or press release. The only difference is that the Internet marketing firms identify key words that their clients want associated with their Web sites, and those key words must be included in the writing.
This type of work combines journalism and public relations, and might be great for students who have just graduated from college, writers who are looking to do a bit of freelance writing on the side, or writers looking for a slightly different career.
Here are a few opportunities I've found recently:
SEO Copywriter needed at Top Rank Online Marketing
Copy Writers Needed
Web Content Writer/Press Release Writer
SEO Content Writing Position
Thursday, December 20, 2007
One of them lost their mind yesterday and decided to poop in the house. Now, when I say "poop in the house," I don't mean one of them pooped on the back door rug because they were trying to get outside and I was ignoring them.
I don't mean one of them pooped in the middle of a room to make a statement about their displeasure with me having brought in two foster puppies from the SPCA, and now that those puppies are gone, here's a sign of things to come if I pull that stunt again.
I mean someone pooped in THE HOUSE. As best I can tell, this event began at the front door rug. Then I found something approximately half the size of a fun-sized Baby Ruth- minus the fun- in the dining room. Finally, I found poop nuggets at the back door.
All I can say is, thank goodness we don't feed our dogs table scraps. Clean-up was a breeze.
I have no way of proving who did this, although I must say that Callaghan looked pretty sheepish as I was muttering obscenities and cleaning it up.
It's a good thing these dogs are cute.
James Frankowiak, APR, a member of the DP/PC chapter, lead the discussion. He suggested a common sense approach to training spokespeople and offered a list of questions a public relations professional should ask themselves prior to beginning the training. Those questions include:
- Have I established appropriate media relationships?
- Do my media contacts have current information about my organization?
- Do we have policies and procedures in place for effectively handling media inquiries?
- Does senior leadership understand and agree with why we are engaging in spokespersonship?
- Who is the primary spokesperson? Back-up?
Frankowiak pointed out that the easy part is the training itself- the difficult part is making sure the spokesperson actually is ready to face the media. He said the most effective training is done on camera. When people are able to watch themselves on tape, they are better able to view how their clothing, mannerisms, facial expressions and body language translate on camera.
Spokespeople are more successful if they are able to get on camera three to five times during a training session, Frankowiak has learned. For that reason, it's best to keep training groups small enough to make that camera time possible.
The essence of media training involves knowing the audience being reached, establishing several communications objectives for every spokesperson opportunity and knowing the media person/gatekeeper for that opportunity, Frankowiak said.
Spokesperson training also involves preparing for the questions, situations and scenarios you hope never will occur. Be prepared to answer the toughest conceivable questions, he said. Finally, don't fall into the trap of using industry-specific jargon and lingo on camera. Speak on a topic as though the general public isn't familiar with it- they often aren't.
Spokesperson training also should teach people how to deal with extraordinary situations, Frankowiak said, such as the reporter with an "agenda," rapid-fire questioning, misinformation, or the reporter who simply doesn't have a clue. A well-trained spokesperson should be able to hold up under any of those circumstances.
As is often the case in informal brainstorming sessions such as this, as much good information came from the discussions during and after the session as the actual training. I like nothing more than getting into a room of PR professionals with much more experience than me. Often, they have so many great, real-world examples of training in action, and Tuesday's group didn't disappoint.
Lesley Corban of the U.S. Postal Service suggested that during training, those participating switch roles so that sometimes they are the person being interviewed and sometimes they are the interviewer. Being on both sides of the coin can help each understand where the other is coming from.
Jennifer Denham of the United Way of Central Florida gave examples of how being forthright with information to the media at all times can translate into future coverage opportunities for "good news" items, especially when reporters are desperate for something to cover. This happens more often than you might imagine, especially in smaller media markets.
Suleima Salgado of the Polk County Health Department gave an amazing example of how she recently dealt with a television reporter who kept trying to lead her into making a comment she didn't want to make. Salgado stuck to her guns and repeatedly returned to her communications objective during the interview. After becoming frustrated and angry, the reporter finally moved on.
Among the most important information I got from the training were these key points:
- A well-trained spokesperson should be comfortable, believable and sound honest on camera.
- Never let a spokesperson do an interview alone. A PR professional always should be waiting on the sideline, in the event the interview takes an unanticipated turn. The PR professional can work to ensure the interviewer stays on topic.
- Don't be afraid of dead air. Answer your question and then STOP TALKING.
- If you don't know the answer to a question, say so.
- Anticipate the tough questions you don't want to be asked.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Here's my criteria:
- He/she must be in Lakeland.
- He/she must have been in practice 10 or more years.
- He/she must be fluent in English. It doesn't have to be their first language, but I need to understand what the heck they're saying.
So please, PLEASE help me out. Post your suggestions in comments
As if the typical flu isn't bad enough, I seem to have contracted a strain usually common only in children. I quickly noticed I had no control over my sneezes. I'm normally a quiet sneezer, just bursting a bit of air through my nose with relatively little noise. This flu bug turned me into a snotty-nosed sneezer with the characteristics of an oscillating fan- or a 5-year-old. If I didn't have the forsight to grab a Kleenex or cover my mouth with my hand, I was spewing spit and phlegm for 10 feet within a 180-degree radius. And covering my mouth with my hand quickly made me wish I'd done otherwise.
On the bright side, this flu bug made me lose my appetite for three days. On the down side, I don't think I dropped the desired 80 pounds I had hoped for.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
The boxes contain toiletry items. If you can help, please call (863) 284-0828.
I volunteered to deliver Thanksgiving meals last month through VISTE, and am glad I did. First of all, it took very little of my time. I actually spent more time waiting in line to pick up the meals than it took me to deliver them and visit with the recipients for a few minutes.
There's a good reason why I waited so long in line- there were so many volunteers, it took a while for them to filter through.
So if you want to give of your time this holiday season, but you don't have a lot of time to give, I recommend taking advantage of this opportunity.
Black and Brew
BD's Mongolian Grill (thanks, Travis)
Mitchell's Coffee House
Surf Lakeland (WiFi hotspot in Downtown Lakeland area)
Southeastern University (get login code from IT Office)
Friday, December 7, 2007
Getting older sucks for several reasons. Lately, my chief complaint is that I seem so much less resilient to ailments than when I was a kid. I've been battling toenail fungus (ewww!) in my right big toe for several months now.
First, you must know that it completely grosses me out to even admit this, but I'm kind of doing it in support of my friend, who recently had a procedure performed on her toe. Shortly thereafter, her five-year-old cousin stomped on said toe with Clydesdale force, and now she's lost all but a couple of millimeters of her toenail. And she's horrified over how it looks.
So to make her feel less self-conscious about her micro-nail, I'm tossing aside all pride and dignity and sharing my fungus story with the blogosphere. That's just the kind of friend I am.
Several months ago I removed some month-old nail polish from my toes and noticed that my right big toe was cloudy yellow. I immediately was disgusted, because I thought I must have toenail fungus. I even hate the word fungus, let alone actually having it under my toe. I went to the dermatologist, who said it wasn’t fungus, that there was some moisture under my toenail and it had caused the nail to pull away from the nail bed.
I wasn't sure whether to believe him. He is a doctor, but he always plays down my complaints. I come to him with "skin issues," and he tells me, "I don't deal in 'skin issues,' Lorrie. I deal in skin cancers." And he says it rather haughtily, as though my complaint of small blister-like appearances on my face- that aren't pimples- and the beginnings of age spots on the backs of my hands and these strange red spots on my skin aren't worth his time. Bastard.
Anyway, I had done some online research prior to seeing him and I found this Web site on toenail fungus remedies. I saw repeatedly that you could put Vicks vapor rub under the nail and the issue would go away. I also heard you could soak your toe in Listerine. He said either one might work.
So weeks and weeks and weeks pass by and it appeared I was making some progress with the Vicks. My toenail went from half of it being cloudy to a quarter of it being cloudy. So I got cocky and quit using the Vicks. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed the cloudiness has come back with a vengeance. And in exactly the same pattern it was before.
All these months I’ve gone sans nail polish in an effort to keep the “moisture” out, and now I’m right back to square one.
My mom swears the dermatologist was wrong. With a cloudy yellow toenail that has taken on the appearance of a Ruffles potato chip, she swears it’s that…. f-word. So I’m back to putting Vicks on it, in hope that I don’t lose my whole toenail.
Now, in the evenings when we're lying down to watch TV and my loving husband offers to put lotion on my feet after a long day of standing, I get to utter these romantic words: "Careful! Don't squeeze the Vicks out from under my toenail!"
Here's what I don't understand: as a kid, I barely wore shoes. I could run barefoot across a yard full of acorns and hickory nuts like one of those idiots running across hot coals and never flinch. During the rainy season, the boys in the neighborhood and I would take inner tubes and float barefooted in about two feet of milky-colored water that collected in the bottom of a nearby pit. How I never wound up with intestinal worms or other parasites is beyond me.
But now I'm grown and I don't do things like that. I keep my feet clean. I use a nail brush to clean my toenails. And now my toenail apparently is so repulsed by the nail bed on which it lies that it obviously would rather pull up shop and run away rather than spend another minute there.
I need help, people. Does anyone know of other home remedies I might try? I refuse to go the prescription drug route. I understand prescription drugs may cure the fungus, but I don't want anything to do with the wacky side effects, such as extreme flatulence, loose stools, sudden gambling urges, decreased sex drive, more painful periods, liver disease, and sprouting of a third arm from my forehead that goes along with these miracle drugs.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
As she's putting the final polish on my pearly whites, I hear a strange sound coming from a nearby exam room. I couldn't be sure, but it was the sound of excruciating pain, or it was an orgasm. Either way, it freaked me out.
The hygienist rolls her eyes and says, "Some people are so melodramatic when they are at the dentist's office."
As I'm checking out, the dentist walks by and I ask him, "What in the world are you doing to that woman?"
It turns out she had an infected tooth. I guess that rules out the orgasm.
I looked at him and said, "I picked a good time to get the hell outta here."
Note to self: never let my toothaches get so bad that no one will be able to tell if my screams are in ecstacy or morbid pain.
But then I thought, well she does live in Chatanooga, population 156,000.
It's home. It's the only place I've ever lived besides Ocala that I have felt comfortable calling home.
I love Lakeland's Downtown area, where I meet my friends at Black & Brew for coffee at least once a week. I enjoy going to the First Friday events each month, grabbing a bite to eat Downtown and strolling around to listen to the saxaphonists, acoustic guitarists, bluegrass and folk musicians staged along the streets. Then there's Palace Pizza, my favorite place to grab a slice.
So Ashley, I hope this answers your question.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
This is how I've been spending my spare moments for the past week:
1. Wake up at 6 a.m. and feed the puppies.
2. Let puppies outside to go potty.
3. Take puppies for a brief run around the yard or up and down the street.
4. Put puppies in crate.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 over and over and over again.
And I'm loving every minute of it. I recently signed up to be a volunteer foster parent for the SPCA. I've wanted to do this since I read about the opportunity about a year ago on Polk Voice. At the time, my work schedule wouldn't allow for me to do this. Now I have my own business and work from home, which allows me to spend enormous amounts of time with puppies when I don't want to work. The picture above is of Clyde. He's six weeks old today. His sister, Bonnie, is not pictured, because I can't get it to post (I'm still kind of new to blogging). Following in the footsteps of their namesakes, they've been quite the handful. But they're so cute and so fun to watch, they just melt my heart before I can get upset with them for having an accident on my floor (it's hardwood, after all) or chewing through my black Crocs because I failed to keep them out of reach.
I’m trying to be a great foster parent. I'm attempting to crate train Bonnie and Clyde, as well as teach them to walk on a leash without acting like they're being dragged off to their deaths.
That's a fun process. This morning I had each of them on a leash for the first time and they reminded me of young fillies and colts being saddle broken. At the first tug, off they went, bucking and side-stepping, leaning back on their haunches and resisting me. When that wouldn't work, they tried the sympathy approach- whining and wimpering as though they were in excruciating pain. Then it was off to Plan C- launching onto their sides and into an alligator death roll in an attempt to free themselves from the evil leash. The drama was quite comical.
My neighbors swear that these two dogs will soon become permanent members of the Walker household. I insist it isn't true. I simply want to do my part to get these puppies to 9 weeks of age and then turn them back over to the SPCA where they can be adopted into loving homes just in time for Christmas.
If you have the time and patience, I highly recommend becoming an SPCA foster parent. The SPCA provides all the materials you need- food, crate, toys, etc. This time I have young puppies who aren't yet old enough to be adopted, but the SPCA also gets in young kittens and grown dogs and cats who need medication prior to being eligible for adoption.
I've found this to be a worthy cause, and an incredibly entertaining volunteer opportunity.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
This is a sad story, and not one that Keep Polk County Beautiful was anxious to talk about, I'm sure. But I think their actions in light of this unfortunate event are a good example of what to do when negative publicity comes your way: be forthright with information and don't avoid the media.
By all appearances, KPCB President Tom Parrotte provided all requested information to the media. He explained why the Board of Directors chose to terminate Davis, and he pointed out that despite Davis's judgment error, she was "a real go-getter" for the organization.
In a situation such as this, I think Parrotte took a good public relations approach by not bashing Davis in the media, but just stating the facts.
Earlier today, I stated in this blog that from a public relations standpoint, I don't think I would have issued a press release on this firing. An email I received this morning from James, a PR professional, brought up some good points and I have since changed my stance. This is what he wrote:
"It’s not clear from your blog or the media report who took the first steps relative to the media. My counsel would have been for the organization to seek meetings with its regular beat reporters and tell them what had transpired and why. Perhaps that is what happened. My experience has been it is far better to take that first step when there’s bad news to report. Hiding bad news is never a good strategy since it makes the media wonder what else is lurking in the background. Often this is a hard approach for senior management to take, but it is the right one.
Think about the Tylenol situation many years ago and how they handled the problem. That approach is still considered a sterling best practice."
Later, James responded with some additional comments that I also think are great ideas:
"Before initiating contact with the media regarding the termination, I would have recommended notification to employees and members, as well as any board members not involved in the matter. Also, any major funding sources like United Way or major supporting foundations. It’s never good to have employees or members of a non-profit or other stakeholders read about serious internal matters in the media."
Let's face it, this isn't news you want everyone to know, especially when you're a non-profit organization that relies on public and private funding to carry out your mission. This is the type of news that might jeopardize future funding.
If an organization chooses not to follow James' sound advice, and simply wait to see if the media inquires about a situation such as this, I certainly wouldn't recommend telling them, "No comment," or "This is a personnel issue, and we don't discuss personnel issues."
In response to James' statement about it not being clear whether the media approached KPCB or KPCB reported the firing to the media, the time frame makes one doubt that KPCB approached the media about this. Davis was fired on Nov. 19 and The Ledger reported it on Nov. 30. The News Chief reported it on Dec. 1, which makes it look like they saw it first in The Ledger.
To me, this news item drives home another important public relations topic, especially when it comes to non-profit groups. Leaders of non-profit organizations must maintain the utmost integrity and they should ensure that all of their actions are above reproach at all times. It might be an unfair truth, but the truth is that many volunteers and donors judge a non-profit organization by the actions of its leaders.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I served as the executive director at Keep Polk County Beautiful for three years. Davis took my place when I resigned.
Best of luck to KPCB in its search to replace Davis. In spite of this misstep, her shoes will be tough to fill.
To all you PR professionals out there, I would love to get your thoughts and opinions regarding how this situation was handled.
First of all, a HUGE thank you to the owners of Black & Brew, who stayed open an hour later to accommodate our meeting.
For this meeting, we made a special effort to get women to attend. I'm proud to say there were five of us this time!
We also had a great mix of bloggers and blogger enthusiasts. There were people who don't have blogs, but like to read them, people who blog as part of their work and people who are blogging just for fun.
For those in need of some technical assistance, Josh Hallett and Chuck Welch were on hand. I've heard past reviews of the area bloggers gatherings as the "Chuck and Josh Show," but I don't think this meeting could be called that. From my vantage point, everyone got to offer some input, as well as ask some questions.
Jess Wilcox, the new editor of Polk Voice , was there. She's making an effort to get more Polk County residents blogging. Additionally, she wants feedback. So if you're surfing at Polk Voice and you see a post that strikes your fancy, leave a comment. If you want to see something on Polk Voice that isn't there, email Jess. She wants to make this a true community blog site.
Lakeland Police Department Assistant Chief Bill LePere also was there. His Inside LPD blog is designed to give the public more insight into the department's activities, and he doesn't want to shy away from controversial topics.
Steve, who has a personal blog appropriately titled Blogging This, was there. He has the term "brief blogs" down to an art form. I admire that. I obviously don't have that talent.
Travis represented his Winter Lake Church blog, which he admits doesn't represent the church very much. But you should check it out, because it has one of the funniest videos I've seen in a while involving a newlywed couple's first dance as husband and wife.
Cat Carter, who writes the YLakeland blog, also attended, as did The Ledger's Tom Palmer and Barry Friedman. Tom has a blog at The Ledger, and a blog about his volunteer efforts at Lake Blue Scrub, while Barry writes the What's New Online blog at The Ledger. Other attendees were Ginger and Sal, each of whom blog a bit on their MySpace pages, and Darby, who works for Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing.
Billy Townsend, a Tampa Tribune reporter who blogs about Polk County at tbo.com, showed up as we were wrapping things up.
Gatherings such as this one help me learn more about blogging, as well as learn a little about why others blog. It's interesting to see what piques other people's interests.
Note: I didn't put everyone's last names in here, because unlike me, not everyone is an open book. So if you're in here by first name only and want me to add your full name, email me.