Mark Geary and Gráinne Hunt to Perform at AM:PM PR

We’re delighted to announce one of Ireland’s finest songwriters – Mark Geary – is returning to perform at AM:PM PR June 27th for a “Living Room” concert in AM:PM PR’s living room, located at 2006 SE Clinton. Doors at 6:30 p.m., $10 suggested donation recommended, but not required.

Mark is touring to promote his upcoming 5th studio release titled, The Fool. In a recent piece writing for RTE 1, he explains, “I’ve always been the fool.” While we’re not too sure about that, we do know you’d be a fool to miss this intimate performance, featuring frequent musical partner, Gráinne Hunt.

RSVP with Karly if you’d like to join.

In the meantime – check out his new single titled, Battle of Troy.

More.
Dublin-native Mark Geary began his career in NYC’s East Village performing at the acclaimed Sin-é cafe with artists including his friend, Jeff Buckley. Time Out called Geary, “… one of the East Village’s favorite adopted sons.”

Over the last 20 years Geary has toured across Europe, the US and Australia, and has shared the stage with Glen Hansard, The Swell Season, The Frames, Josh Ritter, Bell X1, Coldplay, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders and Joe Strummer, to name a few.

Critics describe Geary as the “quintessential singer-songwriter” and his records have been hailed as encapsulating boisterous joy – and gentle, delicate moments evoking comparisons to artists including Van Morrison, John Lennon, Elliott Smith and Richard Thompson.

His body of work features 5 studio albums, 2 live recordings and collaborations including the release of a charity version of his song ‘Christmas Biscuits’ with Glen Hansard in aid of St Vincent De Paul in Ireland. In 2005 he scored the film Loggerheads, followed by Steel City (2006) and TriBeCa Film Festival favorite, Sons of Perdition (2010).

Mike’s Summer Book Club

Summer is right around the bend, and for me, that means it’s reading season.

This blog is to announce I’m kicking off a summer book club (mostly to incentivize myself to read titles I’ve been begrudgingly putting off due to grad school). And while I’ll have to stuff Games of Thrones and Harry Potter onto the back shelf just a little bit longer, the following titles will be paired with interesting guest speakers to accompany what’s most likely to be engaging and spirited conversation!

About.
The plan is to meet up once per month to discuss a title. We’ll do it in the office, as with our Speakeasy and with snacks and beverages provided. We’ll kick each event off at 6 p.m. to give people more time to unwind after a long day. I have three guest speakers lined up. I’ll even turn on the a/c!

Here are the titles – dates and times to follow soon, but get cracking on the first – we’ll do the craic’ing in July (Irish joke. Not funny).


July: The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan

immortal irishThe Immortal Irishman is the Irish-American story, with all its twists and triumphs, is told through the improbable life of one man. A dashing young orator during the Great Famine of the 1840s, in which a million of his Irish countrymen died, Thomas Francis Meagher led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony. He escaped and six months later was heralded in the streets of New York — the revolutionary hero, back from the dead, at the dawn of the great Irish immigration to America. Meagher’s rebirth in America included his leading the newly formed Irish Brigade from New York in many of the fiercest battles of the Civil War — Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg. Twice shot from his horse while leading charges, left for dead in the Virginia mud, Meagher’s dream was that Irish-American troops, seasoned by war, would return to Ireland and liberate their homeland from British rule. The hero’s last chapter, as territorial governor of Montana, was a romantic quest for a true home in the far frontier. His death has long been a mystery to which Egan brings haunting, colorful new evidence.

In addition to a discussion, we’ll have a thought leader from the Portland chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians to share news of fundraising efforts for Portland’s Famine Memorial – currently the only such memorial located on the West Coast.

 

August: Hard to Grip by Emil DeAndreis

hard to grip small

In 2008, after a record-breaking career as a D1 college baseball player, Emil DeAndreis’ life seemed set: He was twenty-three, in great shape, and had just been offered a contract to pitch professionally in Europe. Then his body fell apart. It started with elbow stiffness, then swelling in his wrist. Soon, his fingers were too bloated to grip a baseball. He had Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease that causes swelling and eventual deterioration of the joints, mostly targeting old people and women. Hard To Grip tells the story of a young man’s body giving out when he needs it most. It chronicles an ascending sports career, the ups and downs of life in the NCAA, and the challenges of letting go of pro baseball due to a dehumanizing condition. In a series of humorous anecdotes, Emil takes the reader on his bittersweet journey of a young man’s having to grapple with an “old woman’s disease.” From striking out future major leaguer All Stars, to sitting in support groups; from breaking university records, to barely making it up the stairs; from language barriers with Chinese healers to figuring out how to be employed as a vegetable, this book unveils the disease with humor and fearless honesty through the eyes of an unlikely victim. This memoir is an honest, rueful and at times hilarious story about learning to come to terms with a new reality, and an inspiring account of how Emil learned to run with the disease and not from it.

Emil will be joining us during the second week of August. More details to come!

 

September: Eve of a Hundred Midnights by Bill Lascher 

eve of a hundred midnightsEve of a Hundred Midnights is the unforgettable true story of two married journalists on an island-hopping run for their lives across the Pacific after the Fall of Manila during World War II—a saga of love, adventure, and danger. On New Year’s Eve, 1941, just three weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese were bombing the Philippine capital of Manila, where journalists Mel and Annalee Jacoby had married just a month earlier. The couple had worked in China as members of a tight community of foreign correspondents with close ties to Chinese leaders; if captured by invading Japanese troops, they were certain to be executed. Racing to the docks just before midnight, they barely escaped on a freighter—the beginning of a tumultuous journey that would take them from one island outpost to another. While keeping ahead of the approaching Japanese, Mel and Annalee covered the harrowing war in the Pacific Theater—two of only a handful of valiant and dedicated journalists reporting from the region.

Bill Lascher is a local Portland author and irregular Speakeasy attendee. He’ll join us during the second week of September. More details to come!

Homeland-Sock-Puppets

Momentum Shift: The Fake News Problem and Who Is Working to Fix it

(headline image credit: Homeland “Sock Puppets”)

Mounting criticism for enabling the spread of fake news during the 2016 presidential campaign has pressured Google, Twitter and Facebook and others to get involved in dispelling and discrediting fake stories.

An April 6 Facebook blog outlined three approaches the platform would use to halt the spread of misinformation and false news:

  • disrupting economic incentives because most false news is financially motivated;
  • building new products to curb the spread of false news; and
  • helping people make more informed decisions when they encounter false news.

Like the last bullet point, Google is also tapping into its user base to identify and flag fake news stories. Wired reports, “the company will roll out an expanded feedback form for reporting inappropriate snippets, search results, and autocomplete suggestions.” Additionally, the company has made tweaks to its algorithm to remove or hide blatantly fake stories from appearing at the top if its searches. On some of the more popular conspiracy theories, like 9/11 being an inside job, the platform includes snippets from credible sources debasing some of the wilder claims.

The Guardian reports that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will create a new community combining journalists with volunteer contributors to combat the fake news problem. The crowdfunded platform, titled Wikitribune, was inspired by Kelly Anne Conway’s remarks about ‘alternative facts’ and will initially be UK-centric.

Twitter is well known for enabling legions of bots to increase the spread and reach of fake news stories, and is used by foreign actors including Russia and ISIS to do the same. Twitter is also used by the President of the United States to share misinformation and doublespeak in an effort to confuse people or shift media attention from the misdeeds of his administration. The platform has been known to ban extremists like Charles Johnson that spread hateful content.

Foreign Threat

The most intentional and effective disinformation threat comes from foreign governments like Russia, a country with a tight grip over its own broadcast media and a history of using propaganda for dubious means.

The New York Times reports that Russia hosts massive buildings full of government-funded internet trolls that exist solely to sow confusion in democratic societies. Articles from reputable media sources have demonstrated Russia’s strategy to use soft power to influence its political ambitions in regions including: the Baltic states, the Balkans, Britain, Ukraine, The United States, The Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany and recently fears have grown of interference in Mexico.

Western democracies have been noticeably slow to identify the source of these problems, and most efforts have been anemic. Addressing fake news is challenging in that it comes from multiple sources and for different reasons. Organizations including EU Mythbusters, EU East Stratcom Task Force, NATO Stratcom, and stopfake.org exist to challenge politically-funded fake news organizations directly, but often tackle the exciting headlines and sophisticated efforts of their adversaries with a dull, academic approach. The existing network of fake news capabilities is defeating by comparison.

Cue the sad trombone.

The Fake News Business

Hostile foreign governments are not the only curators of fake content. Enterprising capitalists from every region of the world and every segment of the political spectrum have learned they can drive users to their websites with salacious, hyperbolic and fanatical (mostly political) headlines and content. Reputable media organizations uncovered how fake news creators were able to use social platforms to spread fictional content to rile up a base of gullible web users, and social media accounts offered the perfect medium to spread these stories. These visits lead to clicks on advertisements leading to a monetary incentive to create more fake news.

Examples:

Profile of fake news creator:
how a fake news creator makes money

Inside a Fake News Sausage Factory: ‘This Is All About Income’:

a fake news sausage factory

This is how Facebook’s fake-news writers make money:

how Facebook fake news users make money

How to Stop the Spread of Fake News

A more concerted effort between Western businesses, governments and academics will strengthen the defense and help nullify the negative effects of misinformation campaigns, but a more proactive effort is needed to keep bad actors from continuing to dilute faith in democracy through propaganda and disinformation.

Sadly, with its current administration lacking all credibility due to countless examples of Russian interference and blatant lies emanating from the executive office, the United States government is not in a position to take a leadership role in this effort. But that doesn’t mean its citizens cannot be informed, and I strongly encourage everyone to explore this topic (using credible sources, of course).

I’ll end this blog with 10 tips Facebook offered to help its users identify fake news in their feeds. This list can be applicable to most media sources.

  1. Be skeptical of headlines. False news stories often have catchy headlines in all caps with exclamation points. If shocking claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they probably are.
  2. Look closely at the URL. A phony or look-alike URL may be a warning sign of false news. Many false news sites mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. You can go to the site to compare the URL to established sources.
  3. Investigate the source. Ensure that the story is written by a source that you trust with a reputation for accuracy. If the story comes from an unfamiliar organization, check their “About” section to learn more.
  4. Watch for unusual formatting. Many false news sites have misspellings or awkward layouts. Read carefully if you see these signs.
  5. Consider the photos. False news stories often contain manipulated images or videos. Sometimes the photo may be authentic, but taken out of context. You can search for the photo or image to verify where it came from.
  6. Inspect the dates. False news stories may contain timelines that make no sense, or event dates that have been altered.
  7. Check the evidence. Check the author’s sources to confirm that they are accurate. Lack of evidence or reliance on unnamed experts may indicate a false news story.
  8. Look at other reports. If no other news source is reporting the same story, it may indicate that the story is false. If the story is reported by multiple sources you trust, it’s more likely to be true.
  9. Is the story a joke? Sometimes false news stories can be hard to distinguish from humor or satire. Check whether the source is known for parody, and whether the story’s details and tone suggest it may be just for fun.
  10. Some stories are intentionally false. Think critically about the stories you read, and only share news that you know to be credible.

Source: facebook.com

For more in-depth guidelines visit this piece from Elia Powers, PHD.

karly tarsia account coordinator social strategist

Introducing Our New Account Coordinator and Social Strategist

Today we’d like to formally announce the addition of the newest member of the AM:PM PR team, Karly Tarsia, who is hereby officially christened as an account coordinator and social strategist.

Karly joined AM:PM PR as an intern to help with media monitoring during a fall political campaign. At the time, our office was a flurry of activity, and hundreds upon hundreds of news stories demanded her patient, meticulous attention and laborious entry into an excel document.

karly tarsia account coordinator social strategist In another early notable sacrifice, she spent election night in the basement of a Portland hotel to help prep for the release of a media statement, while the rest of the country gathered in celebration (or defeat) to learn who would become the next commander in chief. She also played a vital media relations support role during the Oregon Leadership Summit last fall, and later wrote a blog about the experience.

Karly brings a fresh millennial perspective to the team. I’ve been pleased to discover that whenever a pop culture phenomenon doesn’t make sense I can go to Karly to straighten me out (though I may never fully understand why ‘kids these days’ are paying for the Kardashian app).

Her natural instinct for strategy and her investigative approach when researching client opportunities continually demonstrates her value to us. We also noticed when she immediately set to work mentoring prospective job applicants to share job seeking advice and best practices for cover letters and resumes.

She’s adept with social media best practices and new technology. If you need to factor in a geofence with an advert for your latest Snapchat filter, we’ve got someone with a special insight. Throughout the past six-months Karly has offered a bright and refreshing intellect when discussing client projects and any manner of communication-related topics.

Welcome to the AM:PM cyrkus, Karly. We’re delighted to have you on our team.

 

 

Dissent is Patriotic

STORIES FROM THE FRONT LINES OF THE MOVEMENT – What ACLU-Oregon, IRCO & NWGSDPDX can tell us

Have you felt a chronic sense of anxiety over the last 100 days? Has the last 100 days felt like 300? Does a feeling of dread come over you every time you see another “Breaking News” alert? Well, we might have just the thing for you.

 

AM:PM PR Speakeasy Panel Discussion with ACLU and Nasty Women

 

Come join us at am:pm PR this Thursday, April 20th at 4:00 pm to hear from some of the heroes fighting for us on the front lines of the movement. Come to listen, come to learn, come to support, come to help, or come for the feeling of solidarity.

Our Inspiration

A recent New York Times (NYT) article referred to this as the “political age of anxiety” in response to a poll taken by the American Psychological Association where nearly 60 percent of Americans said the current political climate is a very or somewhat significant source of stress and the level of stress is rising.

Dr. Stephen C. Hayes, a psychology professor interviewed by the NYT, advised Americans, “Use your anxiety to motivate you. Think about what you value most and take action.”

Hayes goes on to say that taking action gives you a sense you have some control over your environment. That perceived self-efficacy can relieve stress and help you feel empowered. Whether signing a petition, participating in a march, making a donation, joining a group, hosting an event or just taking the time to be a better person – action at any level can provide a sense of purpose and hope.

So, you could say this is a selfish effort. I admit, I wanted to be in a room of like-minded and inspiring people. I also wanted to meet my new heroes – the Nasty Women who created the “In Our America” you see multiplying everywhere, members of the ACLU who are fighting harder than ever to preserve and protect our civil liberties and those at the Immigration and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) who are working with those that feel most threatened right now.

Thankfully, representatives from each of these organizations have agreed to join us a for a panel discussion on just what the hell is happening right now, what they are doing about it and what you can do to help, if so inclined.

I hope you can join us for this group therapy session, but whether you are able to or not, here’s a list of videos, articles and sites that might give you the same feeling of hope and inspiration they give me:

 

 

The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

 

Melissa McCarthy as Spicer

 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

 

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

 

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

 

 

Listen Learn Lead with Nasty Women Get Shit Done PDX

 

Anti-Trump Resistance School Starts at Harvard - CBS News

 

Recover Resist Reform - Anti-Trump - American Prospect

“I can’t overstate how unprecedented the grassroots energy of this resistance is,” said Anna Galland, MoveOn’s executive director.

 

American Prospect - No Factions in Foxholes in Anti-Trump Movement

 

Indivisible Group Guide

 

 

Portland Mercury Resistance & Solidarity Calendar

 

Resistance Calendar

 

 

 

Postcard from space

Crowdfunding Crises Offer Communication Case Studies

Earlier this fall I read a news story about a Scotsman who raised money on a crowdfunding platform for a project that would purportedly send the world’s first postcards from space.

The project was in the news, not because the venture promised to strap a couple cameras to a weather balloon and take photos from twenty miles into the earth’s atmosphere, but because it failed to deliver on its basic promise. Angry customers formed an online revolt that led a newspaper reporter to take notice.

I don’t know if this SpaceCard was simply part of a clever self-funded publicity ploy to get the postcard app ByPost into the news, but the online reaction does offer another intriguing case study for my grad school terminal project.

Anatomy of a Typical Crisis.
My terminal project will explore crisis communication responses to crowdfunding crises. My interest was initially piqued last year after a company contacted AM:PM PR for crisis communication messaging help. They had created a great product funded through Kickstarter but were over a year behind schedule delivering the product. Additionally, the company was struggling to communicate its challenges to its backers and needed to open new sales channels to fund operations while navigating manufacturing conundrums. The appearance of the product for sale online before most backers received theirs threatened to create a firestorm of angry comments on review sites, which could have ballooned into news stories and increased undesirable attention. The situation was blunted with our help, and by honest and clear communication. No media picked up the story, and as of last check, the company is still quietly working away to get its product to its initial backers while concurrently offering its product for sale through a variety of channels.

Apology Videos.
The following apology video is for a project from Canada called the “Peachy Printer.” It raised $50,000+ on IndieGogo and another $650,000 on Kickstarter. Backers were supposed to get their printers in 2014, this apology video is from Oct. 2, 2014.

On October 23, 2016 the project creator posted updates at IndieGogo and Kickstarter to share news of police investigations after an investor was accused of using funds to build a house.

Since we helped that unnamed organization stave off a consumer revolt last December, I have been collecting stories like the “Peachy Printer” – and about other companies facing similar challenges. There are tons – from Seattle to Portland to San Francisco to Scotland and beyond. The challenges faced by these crowdsourced campaigns are similar to those faced by many entrepreneurial endeavors, and I intend to contribute to a growing body of research with my project.

Scholarly Research.
I’ve already done a fair amount of due diligence exploring existing scholarly research that may apply and form a foundation for my efforts. There are entire fields of study that may be relevant including crisis communication, issues management and operations management-related studies. One researcher whose work I’ve enjoyed is Timothy Coombs. His research offers insights that may be applicable to crowdfunded campaigns, including the Situational Crisis Communication Theory. Part of the theory suggests that companies that are new or without a track record will receive more flexibility in the court of public opinion for their fledgling efforts to meet customer demand and expectations. The key component is clear communication, yet most crowdfunded campaigns (and startups) I’ve observed are run by passionate and proud individuals that aren’t quick to admit when they’ve made a mistake.

Case Studies.
The Coolest Cooler is another interesting case study. The company created a cooler that includes a blender, Bluetooth stereo, USB charger and corkscrew in addition to other amenities. The company ran into trouble when it experienced manufacturing delays and then had to start selling its product through online retailers before all backers received their cooler. This led to negative commentary on review sites that de-evolved further into a crisis of communication when media began running with the story. My research will help to come up with guidance other businesses may follow to avoid experiencing the same painful dilemma.

Other similar crowd-funded products facing similar crises include a talking robot called Jibo that’s two-years behind its delivery schedule. The Glowforge printer, which broke customer’s hearts again this past week when the company admitted it wouldn’t get product out for the holidays, is now on track to deliver two years behind schedule.

Opportunities.
These crowd-funded projects are fascinating to study because they provide an opportunity to observe consumer reaction to business decisions in real time. You can see what the company did (or didn’t do) to communicate clearly, and review and gauge consumer reaction. The information will help to inform future best practices for crowdfunded projects, entrepreneurs and traditional startups.