Round-up news from across the Atlantic . . .
WoodWeasel

I was reminded of all the schoolyard insults from my youth this week as David Cameron was branded a wimp, a scaredy-cat and a spoilsport for refusing to take part in a pre-General Election head-to-head TV debate with the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband. The Prime Minister has said he is happy to take part in one seven-way debate amongst all parties, but that a head-to-head is out of the question.

In economic news, Mario Draghi announced this week that the enormous stimulus package for the eurozone will begin on March 9th. In a briefing in Cyprus, Mr. Draghi appeared more optimistic about growth and less worried by deflation as he announced the purchase of €60 billion a month of sovereign and other bonds.

This week was World Book Day, but what should have been a great opportunity for kids to dress up as their favourite fairytale character turned ugly in Manchester when one 11-year-old boy arrived at school dressed as Christian Grey. The boy’s exclusion from school has sparked controversy with some pointing out that characters such as James Bond – arguably a promiscuous womaniser with murderous tendencies – is a more unsuitable character. What do you think?

The country came to a standstill this week to enjoy the beauty of two animals living in harmony together...until we realised it was actually a weasel trying to kill a woodpecker. The memes that followed brought smiles back to our faces though. End of Story

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wsj eventIt’s no surprise that the dynamic of the newsroom is changing, in large part due to social media.

Last week, a number of us had the opportunity to learn about some of those changes at the WSJ’s “Inside the Newsroom” event. Hosted by WSJ+, the event consisted of a five-person panel, a tour of the newsroom, the video production studio and even inside look at some of its famous stipple drawings!  Included below are a few key takeaways from each of the esteemed panelists:

Emily Glazer, a banking reporter at WSJ, admitted to “going around the PR wall” to gain access to sources and information. Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Facebook, makes that considerably easier than it used to be. Emily explained that using social media allows her to qualify sources by observing certain characteristics of the individuals (their commenting habits, preferences, location, socio-economic status, etc.). For example, by trolling the comments sections on Facebook, she was able to locate a very specific type of person for her story on Wells Fargo (i.e. a low income consumer using multiple Wells products—checking, savings, CDs).

Emily’s reliance on social media echoed a lot of points made by Carla Zanoni, the audience development director at WSJ. Carla noted that each morning meeting now includes the global conversation as told by social media. While the results of their social media analysis may not directly impact editorial direction, they can be used to determine which stories could use additional resources (i.e. a graphic, video, an extra blog post, etc.). In discussing today’s age of journalism, Carla mentioned that she would like to begin seeing online WSJ stories shorten in length as they are churned out at a greater volume than ever before.

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Noteworthy events for the month ahead. SpringForward

March is National Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, according to the National Women’s History Project, is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.”

The Economist hosts two important events in March. With the theme of “The Age of the Entrepreneurial CMO,” The Big Rethink 2015 (March 5) event convenes senior marketing executives, thought leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs in New York to share actionable insights on winning in today’s global market. Then at Innovation Forum 2015 (March 26) in Chicago, The Economist convenes and facilitates conversations amongst Fortune 500 CEOs, policymakers and entrepreneurs on the topic of “how exponential technologies, frugal engineering and radical business models are disrupting top industries.”

Set your alarm to “spring forward” an hour on March 8 and be prepared to lose an hour of sleep.

Gorkana continues its “Connects” series with an “exclusive briefing with members of The Wall Street Journal Law Team on March 11.” Continue Reading »

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Media Navel GazeThe Week Unpeeled

The Mideast returned to lead the headlines all week, with debate in the US raging over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the US this week, where he is scheduled to talk in front of Congress (some are opting not to attend in protest) against the White House efforts to limit Iran’s nuclear program, a seeming low-point in US-Israeli relations.

Elsewhere:

  • “Jihadi John” was identified;
  • Net neutrality became more of a reality as the FCC voted to regulate broadband providers as public utilities;
  • RBS is cutting 1,000 jobs in the US as it drastically scales back global operations;
  • The Daily News is on the block, with Lazard reportedly retained as the financial-advisory firm;
  • Nothing passive about It: The oldest active investor died last week at 109; Irving Kahn made his first trade some four month before the 1929 crash;
  • Spock dies at 83; Vulcan hand salute;
  • Stock markets were mixed all week with the Dow ending little changed to close Friday at 18,132; for the month the Dow is up 5.6 percent;
  • Hope it’s better than the chicken: KFC introduced edible coffee cups in the UK, which unfortunately will make the java ritual full of calories; and
  • Color divide: Dressgate happened.

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2D274907905979-150227-blue-black-white-gold-dress-inline.blocks_desktop_mediumThe German parliament has today voted to extend financial aid to Greece until June. Although the extension passed comfortably, there was some dissent in the ranks from Angela Merkel’s own party, casting doubt on how much support Greece will have for future debt extensions. Read More.

The UK political establishment was rocked by more scandal this week after it emerged that two well-known political figures (both former foreign secretaries) had been secretly filmed offering their influence to private companies in exchange for cash. Although both claimed to have not broken any roles, one of them has since been suspended by his party and the other has said that he will stand down at the next election. Read More.

It has definitely also been a week to forget for Natalie Bennett, the leader of the UK’s Green Party. In a radio interview earlier this week, Bennett was unable to answer basic questions on her party’s housing policy, leading to a series of prolonged awkward silences. Later describing the experience as “excruciating”, she blamed her poor performance on “brain fade” and a common cold. Commentators have described it as one of the worst political interviews ever, but have a listen yourself and see what you think! Read More.

Somebody else having a bad week was Madonna. Her long awaited return to the Brit Awards was overshadowed by a pretty calamitous wardrobe malfunction that led to her being hoisted backwards off the stage. Madge carried on like the true pro that she is but later revealed that she had suffered whiplash as a result of the incident. Somewhat ironically, the accident seemed in perfect sync with her lyrics; falling on "I let down my guard, I fell into your arms" and getting back on her feet to sing "now that it's over, I'm going to carry on” Read More.

Finally, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t have been able to escape the most mind-numbing debate of the week...is that dress blue and black, or white and gold. My first thought was “who cares?”...but it seems a lot of people do; the hashtag #TheDress was trending worldwide this week. Thankfully, the Mail Online have explained “the science behind the dress” for those of use without anything better to do. To find out more, click hereEnd of Story

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