The New York Times’ remarkable corporate self-criticism

While The New York Times may be the most successful news organization on the planet, it faces the existential threat of digital disruption. This, as Clayton Christensen would say, is a recipe for disaster. But maybe not. The Times’ 2020 Group has published a manifesto for change. The cogent self-criticism in this document is amazing. Learn from it. The Times’ … Continued

Vote for the biggest bullshitters of 2016: Bullshitty Awards ballot

I’ve reviewed and analyzed all the most outrageous bullshit from last year. Now you get to choose who gets the ultimate recognition in the form of the 2016 Bullshitty Awards. Which corporate statements were the most craven: Samsung, Wells Fargo, or Yahoo? Who hid the most outrageous thing in a public statement: United Airlines, Mylan, or … Continued

Hide your delight at BuzzFeed’s unsubstantiated anti-Trump accusations

You can believe everything positive about the candidate you favor and everything negative about the one you abhor. Or you can believe proven truth and be skeptical about innuendo. I’ve chosen; I’m for truth. And that means I’m holding Trump responsible for his actual reprehensible actions, not the reprehensible innuendoes that BuzzFeed published. Let’s review what Trump … Continued

Did Russia hack the election? Intelligence report is active and persuasive.

When you think of government reports, do you expect clarity or doubletalk and jargon? The report on Russia and its influence in our elections, from the U.S. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, is brief, direct, and unequivocal. It’s a great study in how to use clear language to persuade. This document is a joint production … Continued

The most vacuous press release ever: Revolt PR

Sometimes, when I boil down a piece of writing, I find nuggets of truth embedded within a matrix of jargon and bullshit. But sometimes, I just find nothing but platitudes, emptiness, and evidence of incompetence. That’s the apparent communications strategy of Revolt PR. Here’s what the press release says: Revolt PR believes it can help … Continued

When journalists step over the line: the Julia Ioffe incident

The Trump era is a rough time for journalists. No matter how much they’re provoked, if they show too much bias and disrespect, they could lose their jobs, even for a single tweet. That’s what happened to Julia Ioffe at Politico, and it’s a revealing case study. I’ll get to what Ioffe did in a moment. … Continued

Comcast recovers nicely from a slippery situation

Everybody loves to hate Comcast, America’s biggest cable company. On Monday, in Indianapolis, its repair technicians created a situation that led to multiple car accidents, then behaved arrogantly and denied being responsible. Comcast’s response is not bad; it’s direct, personal, and promises to make things better. What happened in Indy? Several Comcast repair trucks with “cherry-pickers” … Continued

Talentedly email: communications experts have a burden to be clear

A friend of mine got an email from Talentedly, a company that “informs, educates and inspires people at work by combining technology and experts to create products that are affordable, accessible and make work feel amazing.” When you describe yourself that way, your communications had better be simple and clear. Theirs wasn’t. Some people start … Continued