Media Navel GazeThe Week Unpeeled

Big news-packed week, with President Obama delivering the State of the Union (complete with full-scale digital coverage from the media and the White House), where the president seemed to close the chapter on the economic downturn and upturn the focus on helping the middle class by taxing higher earners; some pundits said the delivery was more of a end-of-term victory lap one year ahead of schedule.

Elsewhere:

  • The King of Saudi Arabia died, raising uncertainty in the relatively stable nation;
  • The US-backed Yemen government collapsed; raising uncertainty in a highly unstable nation;
  • Europe is launching a QE program, proposing to buy $58 billion in bonds a month;
  • The Dow rose a bit last week, up 0.9 percent to end Friday at 17,672, helped a bit by the Eurozone stimulus announcement;
  • “American Sniper” was a box-office winner and fodder for red and blue commentary on combat, guns and war all week;
  • Google’s going cellular, planning to offer wireless service;

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Round-up news from across the Atlantic . . .

Printing MoneyI want to start this week’s Bightsize Blighty with a story: When I was a child, I remember asking my parents why the banks didn’t just make more money so everybody could be richer (I was a unique brand of social capitalist). My question was quickly dismissed, however my four year old self was vindicated this week as the ECB FINALLY took my advice and announced a huge money-printing programme (ok, that’s not quite right, but let me have my day). Anyway, whose idea it was isn’t important, particularly not to hedge fund guru Crispin Odey who likened the decision to “pushing on a string”

As the race for the 2015 General Election continues apace, plans were announced this week for TV debates that include the leaders of the seven biggest political parties. Importantly, the organisers said the debates would go ahead “regardless of whether any party leader refused to take part”, and with the latest Guardian/ICM poll showing that British voters would favour “serious consequences” for any leader who ducked out, the heat is definitely on. (P.S. I’m not sure what the average Brit means by “serious consequences”, but it sounds sinister). Read more

For anybody attending a party this week, bear this cautionary tale in mind: Five year old Alex Nash missed his friend’s birthday party recently and found himself being invoiced by the boy’s mother for non-attendance. This seemingly ridiculous story has been front page news this week and has caused huge debate about the etiquette of attending parties. Read more

The Sun’s infamous Page 3 became page one news this week after The Times reported that it would no longer be printed (for those of you unfamiliar with Page 3, you can find out more here – don’t worry, it is a safe link!). The group that had been campaigning for it to be banned declared victory, however this was short lived as The Sun announced on Thursday that the page was back, and hadn’t ever been cancelled in the first place – oh those jokers! Read more End of Story

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keep-calm-and-be-productive-2While making resolutions is a good start to planning a successful New Year, it is as important to reflect on the previous year and improve upon it. From a productivity standpoint, here are my top three lessons learned from 2014:

1. Take a Break. Vacate.

As mentioned in my previous blog post, taking mini breaks throughout the day as well as vacations throughout the year will increase your overall productivity. This recent survey shows that Americans (and Brits!) are not taking this advice!

In order to remain productive, people need to use their vacation days – we give them to you for a reason! Disconnecting briefly from the work environment can help revitalize you and relieve stress. It also gives you something to look forward to, ultimately putting you in a better mood at work. Small breaks can have a similar effect. Continue Reading »

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michael-jordan-first-trophyA recent article on sports website Grantland analyzes the difference between two polarizing, hall-of-fame basketball players, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Both are known as maniacally competitive highly idolized athletes whose drive led to huge success.   One of MJ’s most memorable moments is him sobbing in his locker while clutching his just-won championship trophy on Father’s Day, his first championship since his father was brutally murdered.  Kobe on the other hand, has never let his emotional guard down in such a public display.  We know Kobe has to feel something., but he chooses not to show it.  Because of this, we as consumers of his public image feel like we’re being ripped off.  How can we relate to another human, a public figure that we idolize, no less, with no feelings? For this reason, Jordan is more idolized partially because he showed enough of himself publicly for people to understand his full story.

The same yearning for storytelling applies to the PR industry.  Continue Reading »

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Media Navel GazeThe Week Unpeeled

Global news and commentary (with a new term seemingly surfacing called “terror analysts”) continued to focus on threats with Al Qaeda claiming responsibility for the Paris attacks and solidarity speeches and demonstrations taking center stage, with Charlie Hebdo selling an estimated 3 million issues on its debut following the massacre.

 Elsewhere:

  • The Swiss franc surged after the central bank in Zurich lifted the cap on its currency against the euro, causing extreme volatility in bond and foreign exchange markets around the world;
  • The Dow fell 1.3 percent for the week, to end Friday at 17,511, hurt in part by sluggish bank earnings and a slowdown in retail sales;
  • President Obama readies for the State of the Union Friday, clearly presenting a full agenda on the economy, terrorism, cyber attacks, energy, education and Obamacare, to name a few topics;
  • Mitt Romney made his potential bid seem more real last week, saying the run for president was a “serious consideration” with his wife providing support;
  • The World Bank cut global growth rate predictions to 3 percent for 2015, reflecting uncertainty in Europe and emerging markets;
  • Bolivian president Evo Morales begins his third term this week;
  • The corruption investigation into Brazilian oil titan Petrobras continues, with authorities this week arresting ex-executive Nestor Cerveró; and
  • Woody Allen is the next big name to sign onto Amazon streaming service network to create a yet-to-be decided or at least announced TV seriesEnd of Story
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