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Trust but Verify

25 Oct

Questions about the Facts

Several weeks ago, a train in Hoboken, NJ crashed and quickly made national news.

The first alert I received from CNBC said, “Major train accident causes ‘mass casualties’ in Hoboken, NJ: WNBC.”

Just 25 minutes later, I received a second CNBC alert. This one read: “1 dead, more than 100 people injured in Hoboken train accident: WNBC, citing source.”

CNBC is a reputable news organization, especially among financial audiences and business leaders. I’d wager their writers are journalists with ample experience.

Tragically, one person did die in the Hoboken crash. But the first email from CNBC was based on information from WNBC that at first glance, appears to have been incorrect.

President Ronald Reagan used a Russian proverb when interacting with the country’s officials, “Trust but verify.” Meaning, I’m going to accept what you say at face value but I’m also going to confirm the accuracy with another source.

WNBC, and ultimately CNBC, likely reported exactly what a transit official shared in what had to have been a chaotic environment. But our digital 24-hour news cycle puts a premium on speed – often at the expense of quality.

After all, if CNBC was a print outlet, this error would have been less likely. CNBC would have had time to verify that one person – not many – had lost their life.

There were nearly 212,500 students enrolled in college journalism programs in 2012.

There were 305 million blog accounts on Tumblr in July 2016, up from 17.5 million in 2011. That’s just Tumblr – not WordPress or other platforms.

Why does that matter?

Trained journalists of today and tomorrow have to meet specific standards. Stories are edited and fact checked. And, the threat of getting news wrong haunts most reporters – even if it’s just misspelling a name.

On the flipside, bloggers may or may not be officially trained. Objectivity and accuracy isn’t mandated like it is for reporters at credible news organizations.

That doesn’t mean bloggers aren’t good writers. It also doesn’t mean that bloggers are okay being loose with facts. I assume most want to do good work.

But it does mean that anyone can call themselves a blogger. And, not everyone can claim to be a trained journalist.

Bloggers aren’t held to the same journalistic standards. And, they don’t have the same repercussions as traditional reporters for inaccurate reporting.

As we enter the final weeks of a presidential election fueled by hysteria, hyperbole and even panic, it only seems appropriate to reference the Gipper’s line.

Consider the source. Consider the outlet. Don’t just accept what you read online and regurgitate it as truth.

Trust but verify. Before you share, like, retweet – or repeat.

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The Agency Meet Market

22 Sep

Get to Know Your Creatives

light bulbs

 

hillman Guest Contributor: 
Matt Hillman, Creative Director

When you think about your agency relationship, it’s likely your account exec is who comes to mind—and rightfully so. Day in and day out that’s who services your business; it’s who you call when you have a need, an issue or a compliment. They solve your problems. For many companies, the account service person is the agency.

But behind your normal point of contact lies an arsenal of agency talent you may rarely meet. Sure, they’re a name you hear, an addressee on an email, a hand you shake during an agency tour, but their contributions may be hidden behind phrases like “the team” or “work their magic” or “back at the shop,” and as a result, you don’t actually know what they do for you.

So here’s a primer on the core roles of the creative department and what they bring to the table for you and your business:

Message – Knowing what to say, how to say it, and to whom is the function of the copywriter. These are people who use words much like a chef uses ingredients—continually sniffing out the right one, routinely trying new combinations, and never resting until the flavor is just right. Most have trained in English, journalism or communications and language is their hobby. With a sometimes fanatical appreciation for nuance, changing a word is no small matter. Trust them to understand your audience and what motivates them to notice, to care, and to buy.

Design – Regardless of the title—graphic designer or art director—those who compose visuals are all artists at heart. They are deliberate with the interplay of space, form, and color, using the elements to create visual messages. Behind the sometimes eccentric veneer is someone who has studied serious concepts like alignment, proximity, repetition, and white space. While they may style themselves strangely, their designs always value order and are thoughtful and measured. Trust them to understand the latest trends and how the eye moves through a layout.

Direction – Beyond simply making sure that message and design are working in tandem, the creative director is ultimately responsible for the vision that the writer and designer deliver to. Relying on inputs from the client (via account service) and the creative brief, the creative director is like a conductor of an orchestra; they ensure that all the musicians work in harmony. They interpret, shift, and adjust individual elements to delight (and sometimes surprise!) the audience. Trust them to contextualize every project from a higher “campaign” perspective to build the brand.

When working as they should, these three creative roles produce magic. Every brand campaign, print ad, 30-second spot, billboard or promotion you remember…all of them came from this triad of talent working together to deliver for their clients.

Sure, creative types are “different.” But that’s exactly what you want. They don’t see the world like most people, don’t arrive at the same conclusions, and rarely enjoy being on the bandwagon—and it’s a good thing they don’t. Because getting noticed and getting sales requires standing out, and that’s what your creative team lives for.

 

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links:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewhillman

https://www.aaaa.org/home-page/agency-stuff/human-resources/agency-job-descriptions/

http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles

http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/the-7-characteristics-of-highly-creative-people.html

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