Saturday, September 10, 2011

Around the Word

Remembering 9/11 by the book: With the ten year anniversary of the September 11th attacks this weekend, many literary types are contributing to the mass look-back at how the world has changed over the last decade. One that caught our eye was this piece by Edward Nawotka, the editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives, which examines his industry's response to 9/11. He argues with pride that the publishing community has been at its best in helping Americans understand 9/11 and its causes. "Today, people are much better informed about the world around them," Nawotka writes. "There are a myriad of titles available to Westerners addressing Islam, Middle Eastern history and politics, Afghanistan and Arab-American life." We can only hope that the last ten years have increased tolerance and understanding around the world.

The e-volution meets the E-conomist: You know the e-volution of the book industry has reached critical mass when the  Economist devotes major ink to exploring the digital explosion. The piece in the mag's most recent edition is a nice summary of the major issues facing the publishers today: the popularity of e-books, the difficulty of pricing them fairly and the dominance of Amazon in the e-book marketplace. Take a look and let us know what you think. Has the Economist provided a fair snapshot of what's happening in the book world?

Did Obama's speech to Congress do its job? There's no shortage of pundicating from communication pros whenever President Obama delivers a big speech, and his address Thursday to Congress outlining his new jobs agenda drew a wide spectrum of reactions. Typical was this piece from NYU PR professor Fraser P. Seitel, who gave the president mixed marks on technique but was generally positive overall. "He didn't exactly hit it out of the park—there were still too many platitudes, not enough detail, and the hectoring "Pass this jobs bill" refrain became annoying. But despite the odds against him and contrary to the universal "same old, same old" criticism from the right, the president did smack a clear double, which successfully put the pressure on conservative Republicans to "put up or shut up." What did you think of the president's address?

Release your creativity: Is it time to say goodbye to the traditional press release? Hip companies like Google, Zynga and Groupon are increasingly trading in stuffy paragraphs for zippy tweets and gimmicks when they have news to share. As the New York Times reports, Google announced its acquisition of restaurant ratings guide Zagat with a tweeted haiku poem. Groupon, a company with a notoriously wacky writing style, joked in a recent press release that it had raised, "like, a billion dollars" in its latest financing round. Is this informal style here to stay? How do you add punch to your press releases?

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