Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The Heartbleed bug grabbed headlines and seemed to cause near panic among some Internet experts especially amid word on Friday that the NSA knew about the “hole” but kept mum to gather info; Changing passwords was in vogue late in the week.

Elsewhere:

  • Bill Gross of Pimco kept the El-Elrian departure story alive by saying on Bloomberg TV, “Come one, Mohamed, tell us why”; no direct answer why though;
  • Tech stocks tumbled pretty hard last week and brought down the overall market, with the Dow sliding 2.4 percent to end Friday at 16,026; bulls seem to be hiding;
  • The Feds raised the amount of money banks must hold in reserve against its assets at 5 percent from 3 percent, which means the biggies must keep as much as an additional $68 billion or perhaps cut back some risky activities;
  • Meanwhile, bank profits were mixed with Wells Fargo up 14 percent (consumer lending strength) while JP Morgan, the largest measured by assets, dropped 19 percent; and
  • Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central “Colbert Report” fame will host “Late Show” post David Letterman’s departure. End of Story
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verdict_actionFor nearly two decades, the Internet has been an extraordinarily unique (and largely unregulated) marketplace, considered to be the foundation of the digital age. However, three recent developments have put its quasi-essential element, net neutrality—the premise that all users receive equal access/delivery of data, services, or applications over the Internet—in jeopardy. Net neutrality has long been a heavily debated topic, and if the first quarter of 2014 is any indication, it’s just heating up. Has big business finally won out over the "owned by no one and everyone" spirit of the Internet? Below are three issues that have catapulted the Net Neutrality debate back into media headlines this year:

  1. On January 14th, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in Verizon Communications Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission that the FCC has no authority to enforce Internet Service Providers to be neutral in their restrictions on bandwidth. Hailed as a victory for the cable broadband industry, the decision allows companies like Comcast and Verizon, to essentially pick winners and losers. Without restrictions, content providers could, in theory, be forced to pay telecom giants large sums for faster/more favorable service. Such a model would likely affect the everyday user, who could eventually end up paying more in the long run to offset the costs. There’s even concern that such free reign among cable/broadband providers could influence the content we actually see. Continue Reading »
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SAC_imgSAC Capital Advisors, Steven Cohen’s embattled hedge fund, changed its name to Point72 effective on Monday, just days before the firm’s plea of guilty to securities fraud charges is reviewed by a federal judge. This name change will accompany the firm’s transformation, pursuant to that plea agreement, from a manager of outside money to a family office, managing primarily Mr. Cohen’s substantial fortune. Sigma Capital, the firm’s equity long/short trading division will now do business as Point72 Asset Management and EverPoint Asset Management, while its multi-quant business, CR Intrinsic, will now operate as Cubist Systematic Strategies.

In the aftermath of one of the biggest insider trading investigations in Wall Street history, will the name change help the firm to move forward?

Our own Josh Clarkson and Melissa Barrero weigh in on the debate below.

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taxes_sdNoteworthy events for the month ahead . . .

The month kicks off with April Fools’ Day. Here is a look-back at the biggest pranks in 2013.

Panama plays host to the World Economic Forum on Latin America on April 1-3. The conference focuses on the region’s efforts in maintaining its economic growth, boosting the diversification of its economies, increase its productivity, fuel competitiveness, enhance trade and invest in human capital.

The Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference is on April 2-4 in Santa Barbara, CA. As always, the conference convenes experts from a diverse range of industries – oil, gas, alternative energy, clean tech, manufacturing, finance, and consumer businesses – to debunk myths and opportunities. This year’s speakers include chairmen and CEOs of Walmart, Tyson Foods, Statoil, Toyota, Waste Management, and more.

Something to look forward to on April 15 – a total lunar eclipse is visible to those in Australia, the Pacific, and the Americas. Speaking of April 15, don’t forget to file your taxes. Here are “10 Tips for Getting the Biggest Tax Refund.”

About 36,000 runners compete in the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21. Runners will commemorate those killed by the bombing at the 2013 race.

Celebrate Mother Earth on April 22. This year’s theme for Earth Day is Green Cities, which focuses on initiatives that help create sustainable communities. How will you do your part?

Rounding up the month, PRWeek hosts its PR Summit 2014 in London on April 29. A one-day strategic PR event, the focus of this year’s summit will be on the evolution of PR in the global and digital landscape.

Other important, if not quirky, events to take place in the month of April include National Walk to Work Day (April 4), World Pillow Fight Day (April 5), World Health Day (April 7), Passover (April 14), and Easter (April 19). End of Story

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As PR pros, we all know writing an effective email subject line is an art and a science. After all, it can mean the difference between a journalist reading your pitch or just deleting it among the hundreds of other emails they receive each day.

Email Subject LineWhile PR pros may say the skill tips toward “art,” a recent Wall Street Journal story, says writing effective subject lines is more science than art.

Adam Auriemma’s article offers a series of tips like using the word ‘you’, making the subject short and to the point, and explicitly describing why the reader needs to read your email.

Given the sheer number of emails journalists receive each day, the length of an email subject line is an extremely important factor.  In fact, according to a recent study by Retention Science on what email subject lines perform best for marketers, there is a magic number of words. Place your bets… how many do you think is just right?

Continue Reading »

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