September 2008

September 2008

September 2008

Rx alert! A recent survey of over 400 news and magazine health reporters found only 18 percent have specialized training in health reporting. Over half the journalists interviewed weren’t even familiar with the concept of health literacy. Take two grains of salt and read your newspaper in the morning.

Tuition: $50,000. Lux et veritas: extra. In the greatest jolt to the academic establishment since Sen. Chuck Grassley uttered the words “tax” and “endowment,” Forbes has entered the college ratings game. Its finding: brand institutions esteemed for their wealth, history or football programs are not, shall we say, always where it’s at. Princeton and Harvard are still up there, but so are Centre and Spring Hill. Meanwhile, at U.S. News & World Report, the number of college presidents returning the “reputational” survey has dropped from 67 percent a few years back to 46 percent today. The debate about college quality has permanently changed.

Only in America. Norman Podhoretz has written My Love Affair with America, infusing it with a saline charm that recalls other great Jewish interpreters of the American experience. At age five, he was confronted by a concerned teacher at his Lower East Side school. “Little boy, where are you going?” she asked. “I yam goink up deh stehs,” he replied. Alarmed by his accent, the Irish-American spinster sent him to inculturation class. A new voice for the American chorus was about to be tuned.

A small world, after all. It’s not really “six degrees of separation.” A newly released study asked different age groups to make online contact with strangers worldwide using personal connections. Participants were able to connect in only three person-to-person links – usually among family, friends or workmates. Of course, the World Wide Web wasn’t around in 1967 when “six degrees” was formulated.

Three cheers. Congratulations to last month’s winners – Bill Kitchens, managing partner of Arnall Golden Gregory, Kevin Doyle, communications director at Livable Communities Coalition, and John Tarpley, principal of Pinecrest Academy. Each submitted correct responses naming Charles Dawes as the only Vice President of the U.S. to “write” a No. 1 rock ‘n’ roll song. Dawes actually wrote the music for a piece called “A Melody in A Major.” Lyrics were added later, and in 1958 the tune became a No. 1 hit for Tommy Edwards under the title “It’s All in the Game.”

Quote to note: “There is something about a national convention that makes it as fascinating as a revival or a hanging. It is vulgar, it is ugly, it is stupid, it is tedious, it is hard upon both the higher cerebral centers and the gluteus maximus, and yet it is somehow charming.” – H.L. Mencken

Thanks for reading.

One day last month at our office, John was preparing a witness to deliver testimony before a U.S. Senate committee. Philip was helping a national client wrestling with the effects of a crisis involving multiple felonies at one of its locations. Allison was developing a new marketing position for an international professional services firm. And Stacey was drafting a product introduction plan for a company about to make cell phones even more useful to everyday life. The common thread: words and pictures, information and insight, large results. It’s what we do.

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