Re-‘Open the Doors to All’

The 19th Century education advocate and diplomat Townsend Harris wrote: “Open the doors to all. Let the children of the rich and the children of the poor take their seats together and know distinction save that of industry, good character and intellect.” Harris founded City College of New York, an institution called one of theContinue reading “Re-‘Open the Doors to All’”

Amazon’s Long Island City Romance: A Colossal PR Failure

How can people who are so bright act so dumb when it comes to community and government relations? I am speaking about Amazon’s decision to withdraw from a plan to establish a satellite corporate headquarters in Long Island City. Had the project come to fruition, it would have generated between 25,000 and 40,000 new jobsContinue reading “Amazon’s Long Island City Romance: A Colossal PR Failure”

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I recently attended a panel discussion presented by the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island on crisis communications. Speakers from Stony Brook University, PSEG-Long Island, Good Samaritan Hospital and Nassau BOCES shared their thoughts and best practices. One of the speakers reminded the audience that crises eventually come to an end and life goes backContinue reading “The Gift That Keeps On Giving”

Why the Son of a Bus Driver Might Become Florida’s Next Governor

I was delighted to learn of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s victory in the Democratic primary in Florida governor’s race. He has had a remarkable career in public service that dates back to 2003, when he became the youngest person elected to the Tallahassee City Commission at the age of 23. I think he is someoneContinue reading “Why the Son of a Bus Driver Might Become Florida’s Next Governor”

How to Make Commencement Memorable

Commencement is probably the most important event of the academic year. It is a celebration of student success, and, at a time of rising skepticism about the value of a college degree, it may be higher education’s best marketing opportunity. Yet, often it is squandered. I worked 11 commencements during my tenure as director ofContinue reading “How to Make Commencement Memorable”

Working in Higher Ed: Great Crisis Communications Training

If you’ve worked in higher education public relations you know life on campus never gets dull. All sorts of crisis situations will confront you. Just this week, the Binghamton University community was shaken by the second murder of a student within five weeks. Some 70 miles to the north, my alma mater, Syracuse University, suspendedContinue reading “Working in Higher Ed: Great Crisis Communications Training”

Changing the Conversation and Dead Cats

One of my favorite lines from the television series “Mad Men” was “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” Sadly, the protagonist, advertising executive Don Draper, delivered it in the context of defending one of the worst corporate travesties of my lifetime, the destruction of New York’s Pennsylvania Station. Draper framed theContinue reading “Changing the Conversation and Dead Cats”

Ten good reasons to publicize research

At City College, I was fortunate to work with many prominent research-active scientists and engineers in a wide range of fields. Many were great sources of story ideas we could use to publicize the college as well as their work. Others, however, were publicity-shy, and concerned only with getting published in the relevant journals. IContinue reading “Ten good reasons to publicize research”

What makes a ‘good story well told?’

Mark Twain said “I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself.” Who doesn’t like a good story well told? J.K. Rowling turned the story of British school children with magical powers into a multi-billion dollar cottage industry. When one of my first editors wasContinue reading “What makes a ‘good story well told?’”