We love this piece in The Guardian by Kristal Brent Zook - Award-winning journalist, author, scholar and professor at Hofstra University in New York - who talks about how she's often wondered why academics don't make more of an effort to publish for general audiences. She put the question to a few academics and their answers surprised her.
The recent announcement that Australia and the United Kingdom have agreed to form a joint working group to tackle profit shifting by multinational companies such as Google, Starbucks, Apple, and Microsoft is welcome news. But why is it government officials, rather than business leaders, who are leading this charge?
Love it or loathe it, you can't deny that The Sun is one of the UK's most widely read tabloids and it's in an ideal position to use that to influence and drive the news agenda. Which is something it's been doing for many years – remember the headline "It's the Sun wot won it" which appeared on the front page on Saturday 11 April 1992 following the unexpected Conservative victory in the 1992 general election?
There is a wonderful phrase first heard in the movie of the book "Into the Wild" which summarises values which, to us at Mana, are core, important and completely necessary to all: "Happiness is only real when shared". We won't give you any spoilers of the movie but suffice to say the main character says it when he realises all his efforts in doing something were void of meaning because there was no one to share them with.
Sharing and giving are at the centre of our existence. At a biological level, it's only through sharing that we, as human beings, actually exist. There is nothing in our world is which is not made better when shared.
1. Time – we share and give our time and space in celebrations, social media and special moments.
2. Experiences – when we achieve something it seems that it is only truly achieved after sharing it with our friends and family.
3. Love – obviously in whatever form or shape, we all seek love, we want to share ourselves and actually when we share and give love it grows and multiplies.
4. Lives / History – our past, present and future only has meaning when we share it.
But sometimes we forget about the power of sharing and giving and we do exactly the opposite. A little like when you are learning to ski and they tell you "lean back, it's less dangerous" but you of course, lean forwards.
And our society gets distracted and selfish and we just miss the point of sharing or giving, this can be seen with the advent of modern crazes, such as the fashion for taking "selfies" – I want to see me! – and the way we consume seems to be all about individual packages (food, obsession with clothing, etc...) in effect saying "I want to spend my money on only ME".
A pinnacle of these distractions are days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We have come as far as to devote an entire day to buying, consuming... mostly things for ME. So it's great when someone comes up with a wonderful idea of doing the complete opposite: #GivingTuesday.
The Mana team loves this campaign for many reasons but mostly because:
a. It helps us refocus on what REALLY matters, and what really makes us happy.
b. As PR professionals we think the guys of 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation (founders of the campaign) have done something amazing.
c. The campaign has now engaged over 10,000 organisations worldwide. Nearly $46 million raised for charity over a 24-hour period, according to initial numbers released Wednesday.
And what we really love about it is that it shows how PR and media (social media and journalism) can be an incredible source of good.
It's thanks to campaigns such as the #unselfie that Giving Tuesday has become a world phenomenon. It's this kind of ethos that is the core of Mana. We are very proud to follow that incredible spirit of "giving" by sharing and giving what is of most value to us in business - our time, expertise, professionalism, care and attention - to important and noble causes by supporting charities and NGOs with pro-bono PR work.
Such as our friend, Glen Hulley, a former Australian detective who gave up a lot to take on a role with Terre Des Hommes Netherlands and left Australia to head up ProjectWATCH where he is working with local South East Asian private investigators to enhance their evidence-gathering and detective skills. The aim of the project is to see a greater number of sex offenders operating in South East Asia convicted for their crimes. You can read more about Glen in our blog Mana Loves a Great Cause.
Following that great experience, Mana is now working hard to establish and formalise the way we will offer these services to the third sector. We are looking forward to sharing what we do best to those who are changing the world.
We're thrilled that Carla Vargas-Puccio has joined Mana Communications as Director to head up our London offering from this month.
It's been an exciting period of growth for Mana, with Carla's arrival following on from the appointment of fellow Director, Andrew Hamilton, to our Sydney office in August.
"Carla and Andrew are exceptionally talented PR professionals and we now have a strong executive team in place which I envisage will lead to a period of growth over 2015," says Caleb Hulme-Moir, Managing Director, Mana Communications.
"Existing clients in our two core markets of Australia and the UK are already benefiting from Carla and Andrew's combined experience and we will continue to work in Europe and Asia Pacific from Sydney and London."
Carla is a multilingual communications specialist with extensive experience in media relations at an international level. She joins from IESE Business School, ranked in the top 10 globally, where she was International Communications Director. Over a 10 year period Carla was responsible for dramatically growing IESE's brand and media profile in key markets outside of Spain.
"Having worked in a business school environment watching students explore entrepreneurial ventures, I'm excited to now be part of one," says Carla.
"I am particularly attracted to Mana's commitment to support low-income companies and charities carrying out valuable work through providing free or reduced-fee consultancy and PR services. I will be developing this offering in Europe."
Over 13 years working in communications, Carla has developed deep sector expertise in education, business and management, economics as well as arts and the third sector. She will be responsible for overseeing Mana Communications work in the UK, Western Europe and Latin America.
Joining Mana from an Account Director role with global PR firm Edelman, Andrew Hamilton, has a great depth of experience across corporate communications, including, financial services, B2B technology and higher education. He has worked with major brands including Samsung, Intuit and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Andrew said, "I joined Mana Communications because I was excited by the opportunity to play a major part in driving the growth and success of the business. We already have a fantastic client roster and I look forward to the road ahead.
"Beyond that, another key element in my decision to work with Mana is the genuine values-match that is shared between Caleb and myself, and now Carla, and our commitment to doing highly rewarding pro bono work for causes we believe in. This is something which deeply resonates with what drives me as a practitioner."
A big part of the Mana ethos is that we try to work with people and organisations we respect, have an interesting story to tell, or a difficult communications challenge to solve. Our client's values interest us more than their balance sheet. That's why we're honoured to have been working with Glen Hulley.
Mana Comms was recommended to Glen by a friend of our Founder and Managing Director, Caleb Hulme-Moir, and Caleb found himself really moved by Glen's story. Former Australian detective, Glen, was shopping in a busy market in Cambodia whilst on holiday when he was approached by a stranger asking if he wanted a girl. Confused, Glen asked the stranger what he meant. "Young girl, as young as you like," was the response he received. Sadly, child exploitation is a huge problem in South East Asia.
Glen said the trip, taken in July last year with partner Meaghan, was life-changing and made him question his comfortable existence in Australia after seeing the extreme poverty and exploitation first-hand. He has now taken a role with Terre Des Hommes Netherlands, a charity that works to support children through healthcare and child protection.
Glen is giving up a lot to take up this role and will soon leave Australia to head up ProjectWATCH where he will work with local South East Asian private investigators to enhance their evidence-gathering and detective skills. The aim of the project is to see a greater number of sex offenders operating in South East Asia convicted for their crimes.
We're sure you'll agree that Glen is doing something amazing, but his paltry local salary meant that he'd find it very difficult to be able to get back home to visit family, so that's where Mana came in. Glen had no media experience but wanted to raise awareness of both the work of Terre Des Hommes Netherlands and, hopefully, raise some funds to support his small salary and enable him to get home occasionally.
Mana's Sydney office Account Director, Andrew Hamilton, started off by helping Glen to define his marketing more clearly and then began pitching out his story. We were thrilled with the level of interest and absolutely delighted when Glen's story ran across the majority of News Limited's online news network including being lead story on News.com.au, Australia's leading online news website, for over three hours. It was soon being shared across all the major social media platforms, appearing on the Daily Mail online and BBC World online too.
Andrew Hamilton said, "We knew if we could share Glen's story with the right people, we could get some great results however what's happened to date has defied all expectations. Glen's story truly went viral, with popular Australian parenting sites such as Kidspot sharing Glen's story through their Facebook page and attracting thousands of likes, shares and comments from people all over the world.
"In the PR game it can sometimes be difficult to link media coverage to tangible results, but in this instance we have it all including widespread recognition of both Glen and Terre Des Hommes, ongoing media opportunities, and thousands of dollars raised that will make a major difference to Glen, his work, and his family."
Not only has the profile of Terre Des Hommes Netherlands been raised but Glen has, to date, raised an amazing AUS$13,625. Everyone at Mana is so pleased that this campaign has gone so well, as we said at the start, our client's values interest us more than their balance sheet, and this campaign is the perfect example of why this is the case.
Glen is a great guy, giving up a lot for a cause he believes in. He deserves our support, and yours. So if you'd like to show your support to Glen you can donate to his gofundme page.
Andy Coulson, former editor of Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct British tabloid News of the World and ex-communications chief for British Prime Minister David Cameron, was convicted on Tuesday of conspiring to hack phones. But his wasn't the only conviction at the high-profile hacking trial in London.
A guilty verdict was entered against a certain approach to journalism, one where all that matters is getting the scoop, the sexed up, often salacious story that no one else has found. It's certainly a condemnation of the British tabloid culture, whose pressures impelled the News of the World to listen in on the conversations of unknowing citizens to uncover their deepest, darkest secrets.
But it's also a valuable cautionary tale for journalism in general. In the ferociously competitive, rapid-fire world of today's digital journalism, the perceived need to get something up quickly is enormous. So is the determination to find stories that will prove irresistible to an extremely large number of eyeballs.
This is, of course, hardly new to journalism. It just happens to be supercharged in recent times. Fierce competition can lead to powerful, important stories being broken which are in the public interest. But it can also lead to tabloid sleaze that does more harm than good. It can create a desperation that leads to the cutting of corners, the dumbing down of standards and not just in the form of phone-hacking. Think of all of the fabrication disgraces that have marked the recent history of journalism.
The News of the World broke many a story – and MP/celebrity/public figure - in its time and the need to satisfy the insatiable appetite of its readers drove it to set up an elaborate hacking campaign featuring private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. Certainly this verdict could have been a whole lot worse for Murdoch, who in the summer of 2011 was seriously hobbled by the scandal.
There were a number of acquittals, most significantly that of Rebekah Brooks, Coulson's predecessor as editor of News of the World and a person so highly regarded by Murdoch that, at the height of the scandal, he famously declared her as his top priority.
This whole episode is a vivid reminder that bad behaviour often has real consequences and Murdoch, while still incredibly dominant, has paid a price of sorts. He was forced to close the News of the World, once Britain's highest-circulation newspaper. He was subjected to in-depth scrutiny during the Leveson Inquiry into the episode and has been forced to pay hundreds of millions of pounds in lawsuits filed by hacking victims and legal bills.
As for Coulson, who presided over the highflying News of the World at the height of the hacking scandal and was a top aide to British prime minster, David Cameron, he now faces a stint in prison. Thus closes a particularly dark chapter in the history of the news media. It remains to be seen whether lessons have been learned.
Have you noticed that phone etiquette is changing? Once upon a time you called a landline and the other person picked up not knowing who it was. These days people no longer need to take that gamble, you pretty much always know who is calling before answering. So what are the implications of this for PR professionals?
The advent of the internet threw the business model of newspapers into complete crisis. That we know. And ever since, doomsayers have heralded the end of professional journalism while media organisations have scrambled to survive.
But what if we are not witnessing the end of high quality news journalism? What if we are seeing the beginnings of a new golden era for journalism?
Caleb Hulme-Moir was recently interviewed by Kevin Anselmo of For Immediate Release on Higher Education, the communications podcast for academics, marketers, public relations professionals and administrators within higher education. In the interview, Kevin speaks with Caleb about his experience of using media relations to help academic institutions build their brand and reputations.