Thursday, June 26, 2008

Love Comes in Many Forms

I'm all about evident from the title of my blog and many of the items I post about. So of course I tend to read articles that have to do with love or that have love in the title.

I was perusing through the Detroit Free Press Web site as I so often do throughout the day when I came across an article by Rochelle Riley titled "Love left no room for hate at friend's wedding." Rochelle -- you go girl. I've read quite a few articles by Rochelle and each time I'm impressed not only by her words, but also by the topics she chooses to write about. She's a very passionate woman who is heavily involved in the community (she was the MC at the Governor's Service Awards last week). That was the first time I heard her speak, and she was as effervescent and inspiring in person as she is in her column.

This article is about a different type of love, one that despite being prominent in our world nowadays, is still unaccepted and bashed by many. The article is thought-provoking and makes you realize just how many variations of love exist. Doesn't matter if it's traditional or non-traditional -- love is love. And love makes the world go 'round.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Twist Magazine Needs Your Help!

If you haven't read my recent post about the death of newspapers and the ever-changing world of journalism, you should because what I'm about to write about aligns perfectly with that post. I learned today that one of my favorite publications, Twist Magazine (part of the weekend edition of the Detroit Free Press), will no longer be published come August. The Detroit Media Partnership announced today a voluntary buyout program in response to dwindling advertising revenue and a challenging economy. Along with that comes the elimination of Twist and the Community Free Press sections. Not to mention, this probably means a good portion of the journalists that my company has solid relationships with will no longer be at the Freep or Detroit News in the next few months -- which is another enormous disappointment.

I was so fired up today that I e-mailed Twist's editor to express how sorry I was to hear about this change and to let her know that every weekend, the first thing I do is dig Twist out from among the sales paper and read it word for word. The stories are heartwarming, inspiring and connect with readers on a variety of different levels. The editor, Laura Varon Brown, was just as genuine in e-mail interaction as she is in her weekly column. She expressed her gratitude for my kind words and stressed that she is working relentlessly to ensure the Twist brand and content continue making a solid impact in the Sunday main edition of the Freep. She did note it's important that she hears from readers like myself who are in opposition to the Freep editors calling it quits with Twist. If she hears from enough people, it will help her make her case against why this decision is wrong and why it will affect a large amount of loyal readers, not only of Twist, but of the Free Press in general. Laura may compile some expressions from readers in an expanded letters column in print.

So, if you read Twist religiously on the weekends, if you've only read it here and there, and even if you don't know a darn thing about it, trust me when I say that many people will thank you if you take the time to send a note expressing your thoughts to Laura. Her e-mail is

I hope enough people create a voice that's loud enough for Freep editors to hear. I'm sure other people in the communications world who pay loads of attention to the news can attest to the fact that pubs like Twist give us a pleasant departure from what the media deems "news" nowadays....i.e. shootings, fires, crime, robberies and every other depressing thing that happens on a daily basis in Detroit, Michigan and around the world.

I'll be rooting for you, Twist!!! Best of luck.

Target Fireworks Light Up Detroit's Sky for 50th Year

** Photo obtained from DetroitYES forum, taken from Coach Insignia in the Ren Cen.

In my world, fireworks = happiness. Every year, I look forward to the Target Fireworks (it was the 50th annual this year!) on the Detroit River. Back when I was a youngster, I would go over to the Canada/Windsor side and spend the entire afternoon and evening there anxiously awaiting one of the best fireworks shows in the country. Now that I'm an old-timer and have a job, I unfortunately cannot spend "fireworks day" lounging on a blanket and stuffing my face. But luckily, I was fortunate enough to have General Motors passes to watch the fireworks up close and center on the gorgeous Riverfront Plaza. And it just so happens that classic rock diva Pat Benatar is kicking off the summer's COOLEST concert series on the Riverfront this Friday (sorry, had to get a plug in for Rockin' On The Riverfront!)

OK, back to the fireworks. I'm not really sure what it is, but fireworks and the Fourth of July really do make me happy and melt any worry or stress that may be encompassing my world. Even though I've seen the Target Fireworks annually for about seven or eight years now (shout out to my BFF Natalie in Arizona who I used to watch the show with every year!), the show never ceases to awe me. Yesterday, just like every year before, I sat wide eyed through the entire show with a gaping jaw admiring the bursts of colors lighting up the sky (and trying to make MAL enjoy the show as much as I was!). The show and the fireworks themselves are a bit nostalgic for me (if I tried to elaborate I would go on forever), but it's a spectacle that I really look forward to every year. It was so nice to see Detroit and the Riverfront filled with people all joined together for a common cause -- to start the Fourth of July and fireworks season off with a HUGE bang!

So congrats to all involved and the city of Detroit for pulling off another great fireworks display -- and for giving me a much needed excuse to chillax, sit back and enjoy one of my favorite events of the year.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Future of Newspapers Doesn't Look So Bright

It's the question that keeps circling around and around in the fields of communication and journalism: How much longer will newspapers survive? When I say newspapers, I mean the actual hard copy of a newspaper...not the concept of newspapers in general.

A group of prominent Illinois/Chicago journalists came together to discuss this very topic and share their thoughts about the future of newspapers and journalism as a whole. Check out the videos (they're short, I promise!) here and here. Here are a few snippets from the videos that I found to be the most interesting:
  • Hard copies of newspapers will not exist in 40 years.
  • Journalism isn't dead, but people get their news in different ways now than in the past.
  • People want free and immediate. We live in a "right now" type of world.
  • One journalist gave the example of her 21-year-old son only reading the newspaper if it was put right in front of his face...literally! But once he had it in front of him, he read it front to back. For the "youngsters," journalists need to give them the news wherever they want it and whenever they want it.
  • Every story is chosen with more care in order to sell the newspaper...meaning that typically only very local and very relevant news will make the cut.
  • If and when hard newspapers are gone, people will still find news on a variety of Web sites just as fast as they turn the pages of a newspaper now.
The whole "newspapers are dying" theory is really quite disturbing for PR professionals. Sure we've adapted quickly to the whole Web-based and social media revolution, but it's still extremely gratifying to see that article you worked so hard to get in the print copy of a newspaper. And to many clients who haven't quite gravitated toward the Web revolution, it means more to them to see an article in the hard copy of a newspaper as opposed to online. It will be interesting to see which path newspapers take in the future.

On a more positive side (and because I have to give props to my alma mater), Central Michigan University's student newspaper, CM Life, will celebrate 90 years of publishing on Aug. 21 of this year. 90 years is amazing!!!! I worked in the ad department at CM Life and it was by far one of the most beneficial experiences of my life, so I have mad love for that newspaper! But this just goes to show that not all newspapers are dying. Some are still plugging forward full force. Maybe the answer is that newspapers need to be free...would that solve the problem?

Whatever the solution is, I am very intrigued by the way journalism, communication and the media is changing right before my eyes. It makes the PR profession more of a challenge...which isn't a completely negative thing because challenges build character, right? :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

I am a self-proclaimed emotional sap. I've mentioned that in my blog before, and I'm sure I'll mention it many more times. I get choked up when I watch the news and see how the Red Wings took the Stanley Cup to Children's Hospital to visit with those poor little kids...and how a 90-year-old man who is finally getting his high school diploma is being honored.

I don't think people realize it, but expressing gratitude and taking the time to display random acts of kindness can make or break a person. We're all stressed...we all work too much, vacation too little and don't spend enough time with friends and family. We don't know how to take a minute to just sit back and relax (c'mon people, I know I'm not the only one feeling this way!). Life zips by you at 80 mph speeds. One day it's 15 degrees in January, the next day it's 95 degrees in the middle of June. So when someone goes out of their way to make me feel appreciated, or I witness this happening to someone I know, it makes my day...heck it probably makes my week! That's how much I appreciate knowing that I'm not taken for granted, and the way I live my life and the things I do for other people and my job/clients does not go unnoticed.

Two very spontaneous and random acts of kindness affected me and L-Pan (only four more days until it's officially L-Weber!) in the past week at work, and I can't express how much of an impact it made on the both of us. Of course we know we are appreciated. I would never work in a setting where I felt I was taken for granted. But according to The 5 Love Languages, I am Words of Affirmation...meaning I need to hear things to truly believe them. This may be my quote unquote love language, but I think it applies to all facets of my daily life. Deep down I may know that I do a good job at something or that I'm appreciated, but it won't really sink in until someone affirms it. I could be criticized for this, but hey I am what I am. So needless to say, the spontaneous expression of appreciation meant more to me than the tangible gift itself.

Being kind to others and caring more about someone than I do about myself makes me who I am. My best friend of 19 years lost her best friend and grandfather this past week. It broke my heart to see her in so much pain, and although I was looking forward to nothing other than dressing in 80's gear (check out the Facebook photos!) and celebrating Lauren's last weekend as a single woman, I took time out of my bachelorette celebration weekend and stood by my friend's side as she buried her grandpa. She told me how much it meant to her, and I appreciate that through her suffering she still expressed gratitude. So even though I balled my eyes out, I was happy to know that my presence alone brought her comfort.

Random acts of kindness and expressing gratitude for others can cure so much. There's even an Acts of Kindness Foundation! I know how much I appreciate the "little things" in life. Because it's really the little things that matter most after least I like to think so.