Archive for the 'Media' Category

Apr 19 2010

Say that again?

Published by under Comms,Media,Russia

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I must be slacking.

I’d missed, until today, the announcement a couple of months ago that Ketchum had fused with Pleon. I’d probably still not have noticed it, but for receiving an email from someone there today.

All good mergers involve a bit of rebranding. So the new firm is called, perhaps understandably, Ketchum Pleon. Except that the email I got today wasn’t from Ketchum Pleon.

It was from (anonymised to protect the sender) Let’s look at that again:

How’d you pronounce that?

Why, it’s


of course.

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Feb 08 2010

Compare and contrast

Published by under Media,Misc,Music,Russia

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Moscow, January 13, 2010: My pal Luke Harding reports that James Cameron stands accused of ‘borrowing’ from Russian Sci Fi author brothers Boris and Arkady Shrugatsky in creating the world of ‘Avatar’.

Luke further tells us that the sole surviving Shrugatsky, Boris, ‘shrugged off’ the suggestion, denied accusing Cameron of plagiarism. No harm done. And in a delicious potentially plagiaristic sub-plot, numerous other outlets play the same obvious ‘shrug’ gag the following day.

Sydney, February 5, 2010: The Australian Federal Court rules that an incidental flute riff in Men at Work’s ‘Down Under’ bears too much of a resemblance to the old girl scout refrain, Kookaburra, penned by one Marion Sinclair in 1934. That, when our heroes weren’t busy buying bread from men in Brussels, their dastardly deeds included stealing tunes off of Aussie schoolgirls.

The contrast? Boris Shrugatsky, 76-year-old niche sci-fi writer appears, as we’ve said, unfazed by Avatar’s resemblance to his work – and perhaps, justifiably, even a little flattered by the comparison. No accusations made, no damages sought.

Kookaburra’s owner, however, is Larrikin music, who bought the rights from Marion Sinclair’s estate 56 years after she wrote it, and shortly after her death. Larrikin is seeking substantial damages from the boys in the fried-out Kombi. Says Larrikin’s MD, Norman Lurie, of Kookaburra:

“It’s earned a hell of a lot of money for us since we’ve bought it.”

Moral high ground’s all yours, Boris. Vegemite sandwich?


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Nov 14 2009

New kid on the block

Published by under Comms,Digital,Media,Misc,Politics

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Let’s all give a big blogosphere welcome for … Andrew Fairburn!

On their new blog at, Regester Larkin are looking at some interesting reputation management issues. My friend and former H&K colleague Andrew Fairburn (who’s always reminded me of Tiff Needell, although I’m not sure he knows that) is doing much of the writing. This is great to see; many of my better postings on my old H&K blog started off as office banter with Andrew.

I shall watch with interest. Particularly like yesterday’s Nuclear post.

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Apr 17 2009

Why am I not a journalist?

Published by under Digital,Media,Misc

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People often ask me if I’ve ever worked as a journalist. Which is a fair enough question. Some of my ilk indeed are former hacks. In this line of work you need an understanding of the media mindset, you need to understand what makes the media tick and how to get the best from each other.

Some people tell me I ‘think like a journalist’, which I take as a compliment. One colleague recently commented that I dress like a journalist, which I think is a compliment.

But I’ve never been a journalist, barring the odd primary school magazine piece. Not that I would rule it out. Actually I think it would be quite fun.

‘What sort of journalist would you be?’, a (journalist) friend asked me the other day. Not a TV one. It looks dangerous.

(thanks to Theo for the clip)

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Mar 17 2009

BBC fail

Published by under Digital,Media,Tech

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No offence to Neville, but this amused me:


Perhaps a Google Reader thing – the clip works fine on his blog when not using a reader.

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Feb 24 2009

Twitter: What I like, and what I don’t like

Published by under Comms,Digital,Media,Tech

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Too much noise on Twitter.

Stuff I like:

- Tweets that make me think, that are part of a debate
- Tweets that show me stuff I hadn’t seen before
- Retweets that introduce me to new and interesting people

Stuff I don’t like:

- Hearing that you’ve just put the kettle on. Save the mundane and the banal for facebook.
- Being told to read your latest blog entry. If I’m following you on Twitter, I already know you’ve got a blog. And if I want to read it, I will.
- Tweets like @BorisBorisovichBorisov: yeah, me too – that’s what DMing is for

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Feb 05 2009

Happy Birthday, Sky News

Published by under Comms,Media,Misc

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Sky News will celebrate its 20th birthday at 1800GMT today. And I’d like to wish everyone there many happy returns. Not that they’ve been shy of congratulating themselves

I like Sky News. I spent a thoroughly enjoyable day at their place in Isleworth a few years ago, coming away mightily impressed with the professionalism of those who work there.

I like ‘Boulton & Co‘, and I like Tim Marshall’s ‘Foreign Matters‘. And I like Alex Rossi here in Moscow, too. Or, as I should properly call him, ‘Alex Rossi, Sky News, Moscow’. It’s a shame, though, that most of Russia can’t (legally) get Sky.

Just the other week, I watched an A321 floating serenely on the Hudson, live on Sky News. Seven and a half years ago, I watched 911 unfold on Sky, from my office in Cape Town. I’ve at various points had relatives call me to tell me they’ve glimpsed me on Sky News in the margins of someone else doing something important. I’ve had half an eye on Sky News while sitting at my desk for significant chunks of my career. I’ve routinely dashed home from work to put Sky on, in case my story’s moved on. And pretty much every morning I eat my breakfast with Sky in the background.

So join me in wishing Sky News a very Happy 20th Birthday. There’s some pretty cool stuff on their 20th Birthday website – take a look.

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Jan 30 2009

Engaging the disengaged?

Published by under Comms,Digital,Media,Politics,Tech

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So the PM says the web will be

as essential to our future prosperity in the 21st Century as roads, bridges, trains and electricity were in the 20th.

And he’s probably right.

Thought, though: In the digital age, will we need special task forces to engage with the minority who don’t have broadband?


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Nov 19 2008

Media frenzy ahoy!

Published by under Media,Politics

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A quick question on all this piracy that’s been in the news (and everywhere else) lately.

Did the frequency of such attacks suddenly spike? Or have they been doing it for ages and the world’s media have only just noticed? And if the latter, where/when was the tipping point?

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Nov 04 2008

Some election-day links

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Yes, it’s that election today. I’ll be off to the Election Night Party at the US Embassy in just under 24 hours.

In the meantime, some links to amuse and / or take your mind off the waiting.

Solve the Italian Job cliffhanger once and for all – RSC puts up a prize for the best entry. C’mon, we know they got away with it.

What’s wrong with Neil’s new MacBook?

Cool, we made Sky’s caption competition. You’d all have got better photos if you’d backed off like I asked …

See Obama, Hook Up! h/t Wonkette. Really?

Large Hadron Colliderscope – h/t Theo

President Medvedev and I share the same taste in hardware – according to TUAW

… and finally, some Plinkety Palin (and McCain), via Tim Ireland. Brilliant.

PS not entirely sure what happened to the ‘Scouting for Girls’ post – it was there, and then it wasn’t, and now it’s back again. Odd.

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