Dwarf rapes nun: if it bleeds, it still leads

I had several other blog posts in mind but when the link above my email was this headline, I had to click on it and read the story.

It’s rare to see a semi colon in a headline, but given all the other dramatic news Maclean’s is fighting this week, between the shocking attacks in Mumbai and the roller-coaster ride the global economy is on, it obviously had to do something.

Telling the whole story in the headline is obviously one way to go; with ‘Somali pirates hijack tanker; guards jump into sea, rescued by NATO helicopter’ you’ve pretty much got the gist of it. It’s not the first Somali pirate attack this week, I don’t think, but with the added elements of the NATO tanker rushing in to try to prevent the ship being boarded and the drama of some crew members jumping overboard, this headline has curb appeal.

For the patriotic introverts among us who feebly want to know what’s going on in our own country, we’ve got ‘Tyrannical Majority to PMO: Check.’ There would be a certain delicious irony if Dion did end up as Prime Minister, even if it was only for a few months.

And in Health news, it’s all about The Angry Breast Cancer Survivors and the fact that no one wants to hear the reality of what life is like for those whose recovery cannot be described as ‘buoyant.’

Media relations is a powerful tool to get your message to your target audience. A strategic media relations plan can drive sales, help you attract and retain the best and the brightest employees, and draw investors to fuel growth. The headline competition is tough though, and the single biggest challenge I’ve consistently had to face as a public relations practitioner is managing client expectations regarding coverage they’re likely to see for their company after they’ve made an initial investment in PR. For more on my thoughts on media relations, if you have half an hour or so, listen to the podcast I did a few months ago with my strategic partner, Out-Smarts. Naturally I didn’t prepare myself for the podcast as I would have prepared a client. Naturally I said things I wish I hadn’t said – or said things I wished I’d phrased a little differently. That’s why you’re supposed to be the spokesperson, not me!

As for Arnold Sawislak’s little gem, Dwarf Rapes Nun: Flees in UFO – I guess I should have held onto my copy, since this first edition is listed on eBay for $98.


About ruthseeley

Ottawa born, Toronto educated, lived in the Lower Mainland and southern AB for more than a decade. Passionate about community, democracy, and good books. Fond of the Oxford comma.
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2 Responses to Dwarf rapes nun: if it bleeds, it still leads

  1. headlines are fascinating. like haiku, in a way 🙂

    here’s something i often wonder about, and perhaps, with your blog called “no spin”, you have something to say about it: where does spin end and prudence begin? of course, there are obvious cases. but what made me ask this question are your words here:

    “Naturally I said things I wish I hadn’t said – or said things I wished I’d phrased a little differently.”

    in the (idealized, i know) world of no-spin, transparent social media – is that a problem?

  2. ruthseeley says:

    Prudence hopefully begins at the outset and spin never begins.

    If you want people to talk about you or your company and they don’t, that’s one thing. It’s easy to make a story more compelling, to look at what’s happening from a different angle, see if there’s a business or societal trend to which it can be tied, make incremental gains in coverage until a buzz begins to build, no matter how slowly. There are still, thankfully, slow news days.

    If you want people to talk about you or your company and they do talk about you but they don’t seem to say any of the things you think – based on what you’ve said to them – that they should be saying, that’s another thing. When a socio-political issue so clouds the coverage of a company that they can’t get their annual earnings onto the business pages (despite the fact that they’re a runaway success), you’ve got a problem. You’re not going to be allowed to tell your story until you’ve told the story the media, the public, your shareholders, your staff, and ultimately, if you’re really unlucky, the government wants you to tell.

    When you have limited collateral with the media, you have to be even more careful about how you phrase what you say, and ever more precise in your messaging so you won’t end up wishing you’d phrased things a little differently. I should have done a media prep for myself so I had better, more appropriate supporting points for my key message about managing clients’ expectations for media coverage.

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