Ketchum Speaks … sort of

Ketchum PR took a lot of heat for its less than stellar entry into the blogoshere. Kethum promoted its new Personalized Media practice as a way for clients to understand and use blogs, search engine optimization (SEO) and really simple syndication (RSS) in the PR mix. Kethum was immediately attacked by hordes of bloggers who were offended that Kethum did not have a blog or RSS of its own – how could they understand what they do not use?

True enough. The Ketchum podcast on blogs, RSS and SEO is generic and pedestrian at best (personally, I fail to understand how blogs, SEO and RSS intersect in the PR mix). If Ketchum has any special insight into the blogosphere they are not sharing it. Further, Ketchum’s response to blogger inquiries has perpetuated its bad PR.

Constantin Basturea’s blog PR meets WWW has become the central forum for Adam Brown, Ketchum’s “Personalized Media” group leader, and influential PR bloggers to hash it out. As of now, Brown is remaining mum until his interview with PR blogger Jeremy Pepper is published.

A note of caution to PR agencies looking to capitalize on online communication — how Ketchum handles criticism within the PR blogger community could effect the success of its Personalized Media offering. Brown has been on the defensive and so far refuses to admit that Ketchum stumbled in its entry into the “personalized media” space. This story will continue …See Mark Rose Bio

Citizen Journalism In Action

I published my first piece on OhMyNews, a Korean Internet news source that is pioneering “citizen-journalism.”

OhMyNews employs 50 staff reporters and editors plus 38,000 citizen reporters who submit app. 200 stories a day. Much of the professional staff time is spent on editing and fact checking these stories before they are posted.

I wrote my piece on the London bomb blasts late last night. I got an immediate response from an editor in Seoul. I emailed graphics and background. This morning I see the story on the front page of the web site, with some additional info added by the editor.

The story was selected for the main page, top (above the fold in print terms), and earns me 20,000 won in cybercash, app. $20 US. OhMy! – you won’t rake in the bucks like Carl Bernstein but the system works. | See Mark Rose Bio

London & New York, Survivors

A few days ago I posted an item, below, congratulating London on the Olympics. The tone invoked typical New York chauvenistic brio – take the Olympics, please. Within 24 hours, after bombs blew up a bus and ripped through subways in London, the post seemed insensitive and inappropriate. News moves fast.

I walked through the New York City streets for hours the day of the London blast. Security was obviously tightened. My brother called from California. “You afraid to go in the subway?” he asked. I laughed, probably the same reaction you would get from a Londoner to that question. The City seemed quieter, in solidarity, although no less determined.

We are seeing a lot of photos of the London blasts taken with cell phone cameras. The BBC posted photos that were sent in by citizens. Once again we are reaching beyond traditional news sources for information, visuals and “feelings” attached to a tragedy.

An Italian graphic artist named dario.agosta blogged this at

To me, London tube is a major symbol of London, and its identity is a major symbol of what good graphic design should be.

…none of us can really feel he or she is safe and sound from what happened in London yesterday, or from what happened in Madrid last year, or from what happened in New York in 2001, or from what happened and still is happening in occupied countries. None. Of. Us.

But, what can I really do (apart from quitting writing such drivel ?). Good point, gosh. I am a designer, I design bloody things.

So there you are.

Echoed from across the Atlantic: New York Stands. Unafraid. See Mark Rose Bio

London, Not New York? Phew!!!

Despite the ubiquitous advertising, the money, the celebs and the political stunts, few “ordinary” people I know in New York wanted the Olympics here in 2012. London got it and they are very happy and I am happy for them. Why?

First, why do we want to bring the world to New York when the world is already here? Diversity and teeming masses don’t impress us, we live in it. Second, New York operates perennially on the brink of breakdown. Add the stress of the people, infrastructure and security of the Olympics and we could completely disintegrate. Third, the Olympics have been all about politics and we’ve had enough. Mayor Bloomberg thankfully didn’t jam through an atrociously ugly stadium he claimed was necessary for he Olympics but he did manage to get the zoning necessary to turn the west end of midtown Manhattan into a condo mall.

Fourth, do the Olympics really make money? No. Fifth,and most important, bad timing. About 2012 Brookklyn will be a major metropolis with Bruce Ratner’s dozens of high-rises around the new Nets Stadium, the “Freedom Tower” – replacement to the World Trade Center will be up and occupied, and the west side of Manhattan will re-named Trumpville. The British are sensible, stable people. Let somebody else host the world for a change.
See Mark Rose Bio

PR Blog Spat

I love the Internet in general and blogging in particular because you can engage in intellectual prize fights without a printing press or podium.

PR Watch, published by the Center for Media and Democracy, posted an item called “Edelman’s Rescue Plan for the PR Industry.” Bob Burton slammed Edelman and claimed that his post in his blog about “500 influencers” proved that he was little more than a propagandist.

I took exception in a reply. Burton replied to my reply and Sheldon Rampton countered and I came back with a solid left hook. Before I knew it we were in round four. What irks me about the PR Watch attitude is that they really don’t know how the PR business operates. It is not all big agencies spinning news to the detriment of the masses. Individuals, emerging companies, any legislator, and even PR Watch employs elements of PR. PR is not about evil manipulators behind thick curtains bending minds and limiting choices (at least not all of it).

My point is that the Internet is opening up communication like never before and the PR industry is being forced to alter its practices. Big PR agencies, like big companies, can no longer maintain absolute control over their internal or external communication. Journalism is also experiencing a parallel revolution as “citizen-journalists” and bloggers redefine how news and opinion is delivered. PR Watch is operating on an old model and its criticism is staid and confused.
See Mark Rose Bio