Search Results and The Medal of Honor

I was watching David Letterman tonight and his guest was Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta. You might have heard his name as he was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest military honor our country can bestow.

During the show I did a search for “Medal of Honor,” and this was the result:

The first two results are for a video game. The official site for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society came up third.  One way to increase ranking within search results is with inbound links. So, I’m doing my part by linking to the site of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Below is a video of Staff Sergeant Giunta receiving his award from President Obama.  On this day of thanks, thank you to those who serve.

Note, if your search is for “Congressional Medal of Honor,” the first result is the official page.


Product PR Doesn’t Happen Overnight – Sometimes It Takes 147 Days

For consumer product PR one of the big pushes is obviously around the holidays.  Some companies can generate the vast majority of their annual revenue in the five weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  With this much activity, many shoppers look for guidance and they find it in gift guides.  The thing about gift guides is that many of them get “put to bed,” early. What does that mean?  A lot of decisions about what to include are made in July and August.

Here’s an example. On June 29th, I responded to an inquiry on HARO for “green gadgets for the holidays.”  We received a response to ship a product to the reviewer on July 1st. On July 7th, we received word we were going to be included.  Now, being told you are going to be included, doesn’t mean you will be.  A lot can happen. Articles can get shelved, you can get pushed out for another product, or sometimes you just get cut during editing. So you never know until you actually see it in print, or in video. And you wait. In this case, we waited 147 days:

Lessons learned:

HARO works; and

Be patient.

A few reasons you should subscribe to your local newspaper

Yes, you can get the news for free online. No, it doesn’t cost anything. And then it’s gone.  I’ve been thinking of why I keep paying for the newspaper.  Besides that I like holding the paper when I read it, I’ve narrowed it down to why I think we need newspapers, and why I continue to subscribe to my local paper.

Online news is subject to revisionist history.  Everything online is seen through the lens of the moment when it is read, since it could have been edited at any time, and often is. That’s the beauty of reporting on the web, but also the danger. You never know if what you are reading was what the actual zeitgeist was at that moment, or what looking back someone thinks about it.

There is a prevalent idea that “the media is liberal,” and that is why some claim they don’t subscribe to a local paper. I don’t buy that.  The vast majority of the news that is in a newspaper is not political. Yes, in every paper, on every newscast you can find something you don’t agree with. The same thing could happen if you’re walking down the street,you shouldn’t close your eyes just because you don’t like what the person in front of you is wearing. So, don’t let a perception of bias make you walk in front of traffic.

Take a look at the pictures I have below of a few newspapers I have. Obviously we start with the most important:

Next we take it back a few years:

Yes, the big news that day was about the passing of The King, but look at what else was going on, the article right below is about The People’s Temple speeding up their move to Guyana.  We know how that tragically turned out, but you see it happening here, without any hindsight. Also, look in the upper right corner, “The Son of Sam,” was having his day in court in New York. 1977 and 1978 were strange years.

Now, the next front page isn’t from the San Francisco Chronicle. Its from a few miles east of here:

This shows how news as distributed. You went with what you had, and unless you ran out a “Special Edition,” later in the day you waited until the next day to update the story. This paper came out after the US dropped the atomic bombs on Hirsohima and Nagasaki, but before Japan had surrendered.

This is why we need newspapers.


Do you respond to a negative story?

If you don’t agree with something a newspaper says, you can respond.  There are many ways to respond. You can buy ads, you can write about it on your own blog, or you can go a little old-school and just respond in the paper with a submission to the Opinion Page.

The articles below are about an ugly incidence of sexual assault at my alma mater. The Sacramento Bee wrote an article about the sealing of records related to the case, and a representative from UOP responded with an article in The Bee as well.

Sometimes, it’s best not to respond, sometimes you have to, but it’s good to know what all of your options are.

Should they have responded? I’m not sure yet, but The Bee seems to feel like they are onto a story here that might keep going.

December 1st – There will be one professional comedian and many amateurs in Sac

I’ve always been a bit of a comedy geek.  It might make sense if I were funny, but I’m happy to just laugh at others.  If you enjoy comedy, and are a bit of a political wonk, check out the California Gridiron dinner being put on by the Sacramento Press Club on December 1st.

If you closely follow politics in Sacramento, you either have a good sense of humor or spend a whole lot of time being angry, in which case you likely spend your days posting comments to articles at

I won’t be able to make it since I’m teaching that night, but I’m holding out hope that someone will be able to get both Governor-elect Brown and Craig T. Nelson in the same room, because no one has been able to convince me they aren’t the same person.

Go buy your ticket here!

What is it about “junk,” that caught on?

To say that John Tyner’s actions at San Diego International Airport have touched a nerve is an understatement.  This all started at a security checkpoint on the way to a flight on American Airlines on November 13th, two days ago.  The complete event is written up by Tyner on his blog.  He uploaded a video of the events on the same day. As of right now, that video has been viewed 350,000 times on YouTube and on many, many newscasts. It’s below:

At 3:45 in the video, he is heard saying, “If you touch my junk, I’m going to have you arrested.”  It’s that line, and theme that has caught on. Why?

In my communications classes in the early 90’s the talk was always about the “sound bite.”  What would  you say in an interview that would be the eight seconds they would use during the newscast.  At the time, you were at the mercy of news editors, not any longer. Now, it’s the power of the meme.  So, why did this one catch on?

  • Timing – lots of people are still worked up over the election, and semi-pro politicos are still in “election-mode” and have large groups of like-minded people on speed-dial, or more likely as Twitter followers;
  • Growing concern over TSA searches at airports, particularly as we get into the travel season and news organizations are looking for travel-related stories; and
  • Linguistic novelty – the inclusion of a specific word, that can have multiple meanings, but the one used in this case is not the usual usage by most people, and when used in shorthand in this moment many people will know what you are referring to.
Image from

All of these things together have made “Don’t touch my junk,” the meme du jour even though he never actually says it in the videos I watched. I think this might make it somewhere up there with,”Play it again Sam,” as one of the most famous lines never actually said, at least for this week.

If it looks like a Duck…Heck, just buy one of these backpacks

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then it must be duck. What if it looks like a ballcap, but is really a backpack?

The Oregon Ducks are the #1 ranked football team in the country. It pains me to say that but it’s true.  These days I seem to be surrounded by Ducks.  From my friend who has a “unique” garage floor:

to another one who makes Duck backpacks:

The one above is also a cooler, but they have regular backpacks as well:

If you’re more of a Stanford fan like me, you aren’t out of luck:

Bottom line, these backpacks from PlayersPack are awesome, buy one now.


PS – Not a client, just a cool product created by an old friend of mine who lives right around the corner.

PPS – Local folks, they have UC Davis and Fresno State available as well.