How Media Brands Are Building Trust in the ‘Fake News’ Era

October 30, 2017

commweek1They are some of the biggest names in media today — so well-known that the President has aimed attack tweets at more than one of them — but is that enough to thrive in today’s cluttered communications climate?

In a word, no.

And yet, according to panelists at the New York Women in Communications’ panel, The Clicks Are In: How Major Media Brands Maintain Trust in the Era of Viral Media, held on Oct. 19, 2017, at Time Inc. headquarters during Communications Week, while the game is ever-changing, the real work remains the same: Finding the facts and telling the story.

Moderated by Joanne Lipman, senior vice president and chief content officer of Gannett and editor-in-chief of USA Today, the wide-ranging conversation of the state of the media industry featured Edward Felsenthal, editor-in-chief of Time; Mindy Massucci, head of Bloomberg LP’s soon-to-launch Twitter network; Allison Murphy, vice president of ad products & news partnerships for the New York Times; and Shareen Pathak, co-executive editor of Digiday.

“People want our brands because of the swirl of misinformation elsewhere,” Edward observed. “Audiences come to us largely because of the abundance of false news out there.” He is, indeed, optimistic about the media industry’s future: “We’re seeing record audiences and are learning the power of our own authority.”

The panelists agreed that they are learning the power — and pitfalls — of new platforms changing our industry. “Social media give us a unique platform for users to engage and establish trust,” said Mindy, who noted that Bloomberg aims to be as bipartisan as possible in its reporting. “Our part is to make sure that the data and facts are there to let consumers draw their own conclusions.” Allison agreed, adding that the “best way to build trust with our audience is to look for those facts.”

commweek2Another great way to build trust is through increased transparency in reporting — a trend that has been helped by the proliferation of podcasts. “Podcasts are a great, unfiltered way to tell news stories,” explained Shareen, whose brand has been producing shows featuring interviews with media leaders since 2015. “Through this technology, outlets can talk to their sources directly.”

Of course, podcasts are only one new way to tell stories. Increasingly, said Allison, the Times is considering upfront all the methods it wants to use in presenting its reporting, from video to print to social to digital. “How we tell a story, share it on the best platform and translate on other platforms, are all important,” she said.

So, too, is the question of revenue, which, not surprisingly, continues to be a key concern for all media properties today. “Not long ago, ads and audience flowed in,” said Edward. “Now we have to go find the audience where they are.”  And Mindy agreed, noting, “If you’re going to pitch a story, you have to monetize it.” 




Photos: Jan Goldstoff



Posted by: 
Wendy Maurice

"Don't Take No for an Answer"

May 17, 2017

Carlyn ReichelGovernment, finance and public transportation are not sectors that typically come to mind when considering careers in the communications industry, but they were front and center at “Non-Traditional Communications Jobs That Rock” panel on May 9, 2017, at Treehaus MiMA. The event, which was hosted by NYWICI’s Young Professionals’ Committee, featured three panelists who pivoted from “typical” communications jobs and went on to build successful careers elsewhere in the industry.

Carlyn Reichel started out at a public relations firm in Washington, D.C. before pursuing a career in political speech writing, and she is now director of communications at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. Dana Deubert Blythe worked in television production before shifting gears to a career in financial services and is now managing director of global public affairs at Citi and Beth DeFalco spent years “chasing crises” as a reporter for several outlets before shifting to the other side of crisis communications, which led to her current role as communications director of the MTA.

Dana Deubert BlytheWhen it comes to their careers being considered “non-traditional,” Carlyn pointed out that more women pursuing roles in these sectors can help change that perception. Here are some takeaways from the panel discussion:

On the skills needed to pursue a communications career…
According to Dana, it all starts with good writing. “I often question that and pick at it a little, but it really is your entry point to becoming a communications person. And I have yet to meet a peer who says that isn’t so.” In addition, presentation and speaking skills also play an important part in getting your foot in the door.

Beth added that the ability to build honest relationships of a transactional nature is also important when pursuing a communications career. “It seems sort of blunt but I found it to be more expedient…We can never figure out what people want, and sometimes all you have to do is ask,” she said.

Beth DeFalcoAnd Carlyn noted that in speech writing particularly, preparation and research skills are critical.

On forging a new path…
All three panelists agreed that you don’t necessarily need to have worked in the sector you’re pursuing in order to land a job, but rather should be able to articulate that your skills are transferable. “One of the things I always talked about [in interviews] is I’m a really fast learner, and I’m a mimic and I’m a chameleon,” said Dana.

“Don’t take no for an answer,” Beth stressed, while recounting a story in which her journalism professor told her she didn’t have enough experience for a job she was pursuing.

And Carlyn went to grad school to help forge a new career path, but agreed that persistence is what landed her a speech writing job. She also emphasized that offering to work for free is often “a magic sprinkle in the sauce” when trying to win over a potential employer.

On managing a crisis…
According to Beth, while you might not be 100% accurate, making quick and clear decisions are extremely importance in a crisis. “The waffling is where the crisis spins out of control.”

Dana advised remaining calm in the face of a crisis and understanding that “the crisis is what’s happening around you, you are not part of that crisis. You’re part of mitigating the crisis.”

On being a woman in their fields…
Carlyn was able to navigate a “very white, male-dominated space” by taking a more aggressive approach. “I don’t know that I would advise this in every office, but judging my relationships as it were...I think there are opportunities to push back a little bit.”

A game changer, Beth admitted, was learning to stop apologizing for things and getting past the notion of being liked. “I stopped asking for ‘thank yous’ and just started doing my job.” 



Posted by: 
Marissa Piazzola

Don't Waste Time Being Afraid of Your Dream Job

May 9, 2017

Carlyn ReichelWhen you think of jobs in communications, gigs in public relations, marketing and journalism typically come to mind. The Young Professionals Committee will shed light on intriguing communications roles in financial institutions and government at a panel on May 9, 2017, “Non-Traditional Communications Jobs That Rock”.

We caught up with panelist Carlyn Reichel, who served as former Vice President Joe Biden’s foreign policy speechwriter from September 2015 through the end of the Obama administration. Carlyn now works as Director of Communications at Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

What was your first job out of college and how did you land that role?
By the time I graduated college, I knew that I wanted to work in Washington. So, I moved across the country and dropped off my resume in a lot of congressional offices. Unfortunately, it was August, and Congress was in recess — not a great time to try to land a job in DC. But I did get an offer to join a boutique PR firm in town that handled an array of clients from the government and non-profit sector.

I don’t have a great story about how I got that job: I applied to a posting I saw online while searching for communications jobs in DC, interviewed with a series of people, and ultimately accepted the job so I could get my feet under me in Washington. I figured out relatively quickly that I wanted to be more directly involved with politics and policy making — the whole reason I moved to DC in the first place — so I started looking into grad schools. But, because it was a small company, I got to try a lot of different aspects of PR work, which was helpful in sorting out what I did and did not want to pursue in my career.

How did you wind up becoming a speechwriter? Was there someone in particular or an experience that motivated you to follow this career path?
Well, I didn’t so much “wind up” becoming a speechwriter as I aggressively pursued the chance to try my hand at it and then worked a lot of long hours for many years to develop my skills. But it’s fair to say that I didn’t always know this is the direction my career would take.

I was in graduate school during the 2008 campaign, and I spent most of that summer on a journalism fellowship talking to people in Minnesota about the idea of the American Dream and how it was changing. I interviewed people and politicians, covered the state party nominating conventions, even sat in the press pen for a rally with then-candidate Barack Obama. And by the end of the summer, I knew in my heart-of-hearts that I didn’t want to report, I wanted to advocate. I had clear opinions about the direction our country should go, and I wanted to fight for them. 

What are some misconceptions about your career that people would be surprised to hear?
I think there might be an overly romanticized idea of the speechwriter alone with a computer, agonizing over the perfect turn of phrase that shifts the course of history. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of agonizing — something all writers understand. The pressure is immense. Deadlines are real.  And, especially when you write on behalf of representatives of the United States government, your words carry serious consequences, so you better have your facts right. But great speeches most often aren’t made up of the fanciest words or the showiest sentences. They convey something real and powerful in a way that immediately connects with the audience. People want to feel that a speaker understands their problems and gets what their life is like. And since speeches are meant to be heard, not read, being simple and sincere with your words is almost always more effective than trying to be convoluted or clever.     

Can you share an exciting moment in your career?
I had so many incredible opportunities during my time working for the Obama Administration, it’s hard to pick just one exciting moment. I’ll never forget my first time landing in a foreign country in one of those Air Force planes with “United States of America” printed in big blue letters on the side. Or the first time walking through the gates to start my job with the National Security Council and realizing, “OMG, I work at the White House.”

For an American Studies major who grew up watching The West Wing, those were pretty amazing moments. But my best memories are all from times when I got to see how a speech or an article that I worked on made a difference to someone,—,gave them hope, or encouraged them to keep going, or just let them know that someone cared. That’s what I cherish most.              

What is your best piece of advice for young professionals?
Don’t waste time being afraid. I know that’s easier said than done and the only real antidote is experience, but it’s also an energy suck that consumes a lot of time that would be better spent just doing the work. Because I started my career in speechwriting by working for a high-profile principal — then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — I fought a lot of anxiety early on about whether or not I deserved the opportunity.

I don’t think I’d heard the term “imposter syndrome” at that point, but certainly I didn’t believe I’d earned the right to call myself a speechwriter. It didn’t matter that I was surrounded by incredible people who saw my potential and who were willing to invest the time to train me. My fear was my biggest stumbling block. And when I was finally able to internalize the fact that even people with important jobs are just people—when I was able to be myself around them without fear—that’s when I really started to come into my own. 



Posted by: 
Cori Rosen

Communications Is Not A Hobby

May 8, 2017

Dana Deubert BlytheWe all know the typical jobs in communications: public relations, advertising, magazine publishing etc. But there are a lot of communications’ jobs that you don’t often hear about. The Young Professionals committee is highlighting those jobs and the incredible women that hold them at the “Non-Traditional Communications Jobs That Rock” Happy Hour on May 9, 2017, at 6:30 pm.

We caught up with one of the featured panelists, Dana Deubert Blythe, the managing director, Global Public Affairs, Global Consumer Banking Communications at Citi. We asked her how her career path led her to financial banking and what advice she had for young professionals thinking of pursuing a non-traditional job in communications.

Your career trajectory shows you’ve always had an interest in communications. What brought you to the financial sector of communications?
It hunted me down and captured me.

What are some common misconceptions about your job?
Myth: If you can talk or if you can write a memo then you are a communicator. Nailed it!

What is some advice you have for young professionals looking to break into a communications role at a bank?
Be willing to do it all. Place chairs for a town hall meeting. Show up first to offer support to nervous presenters. Always look serene, not stressed. Speak up — you are there for your honesty. Value your skills so others will too — your skill is rare and share it generously. Be a consultant and not a cop.

Why are you excited to speak on this panel?
It's a glimpse at the potential quality of the future of communications. This is not a hobby. It is a profession.

What has been the best thing about working for Citi?
Citi opened the world to me.



Posted by: 
Mandy Carr

Helping the MTA Run

May 3, 2017

Beth DeFalcoNot every job in communications is like the one you read about in a textbook — writing, editing, reporting. There are jobs that encompass political communications, financial communications and crisis communications to add to the mix.

To be competitive and enhance your career options, think outside the box in your career path. NYWICI's Young Professional Committee has put together a panel on May 9, 2017, “Non-Traditional Communications Jobs That Rock” to help you do just that. You won't hear from top editors and other executives but from women with intriguing jobs that you might have never considered before.

We caught up with one of the panelists, Beth DeFalco. She is communications director and chief spokeswoman for the MTA, and we asked her about her non-traditional job — and the common misconceptions that go along with it.


What made you choose this communications path?

I was a reporter for 15 years, so communications was a natural fit. Also, I like to talk.

What are some common misconceptions about your job?

That I understand engineering.

What is the one thing you love most about your job?

That what we do is at the very core of what makes this amazing city function. There is nothing more quintessentially New York than the subway.

What is some advice you have for young professionals looking to break into an industry like yours?

Don't take no for an answer at work. It's just the beginning of a negotiation.

If you weren’t doing what you are doing today, what would you be doing?

I would be a screenwriter.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Stop apologizing. Explaining is fine when things don't go perfectly. Save your "I'm sorry" moments for friends and family and events that truly warrant contrition.


Posted by: 
Alyssa Barnett

10 Year iPhone: How It Changed the Way We Communicate

January 17, 2017

iPhone salesSince Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone back on Jan. 9, 2007, one billion devices have been sold worldwide, revolutionizing the entire mobile phone industry. It’s not a stretch to say that the iPhone — which Jobs defined at its introduction as three devices in one, “a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device” with its many iterations over the years — has changed the world and fundamentally altered the way we communicate.

The iPhone has made employees more connected than ever. Email and calendars are easily accessed on-the-go, and push notifications ensure we never miss a message or an appointment. We’re hyper connected 24/7, responding faster than we ever have. Many people I know use their personal iPhone for business rather than have a separate work phone: The iPhone has blurred the line between work and personal life.

And then there’s texting. I’ve been texting since my preteen years but not texting in paragraph-long spurts the way I do now. Remember those QWERTY keyboards? And word limits? They made texting more of a novelty than a primary form of communication. In the fall of 2008, just one year after the iPhone hit the markets, Nielsen reported that texting increased by 450% from the same period in 2006. With the iPhone’s touchscreen and easy-to-use interface, texting has now become as natural as speaking.  

The iPhone changed how we browse the Internet: We’re connected 24/7, either through WiFi or a cellular network. This means we are constantly consuming information and value being connected to the virtual world around us — but not necessarily the people around us. We’re scrolling through our phones at bars, at dinner, while walking or while riding the bus. Moments of down time are filled by looking at our phones, allowing for fewer personal interactions on the go.

The iPhone also fueled the rise of social media. Snapchat, of course, is mobile-only, Instagram is mobile-first and more than 90% of Facebook’s daily active users access the platform via mobile. We broadcast vacations and nights out by taking photos on our phones and instantly sharing them through an app. We check and post news in real time through Twitter. We share live video and funny moments we eventually want to disappear. The iPhone is an active participant in our lives and the catalyst behind most of our social interactions, real and digital.

I was a latecomer to the iPhone revolution. I bought my first iPhone in 2012, five years after its release, when I realized my Samsung “smart” phone was completely obsolete. But now I can’t imagine life without it. My iPhone is my calendar, my alarm clock, my camera, my calculator, my travel companion and my GPS system. It’s how I communicate with friends and family, find out the weather, jot down notes for stories, post to social media and pay for my coffee. My iPhone is where I get my news, my bus tickets, my restaurant recommendations and my music.

And sometimes — but rarely — my iPhone is just my phone.



Posted by: 
Sara Felsenstein

NYWICI Must Reads May 27, 2016

May 27, 2016

For Women at Every Career Stage

Reaching the Age is a Liability - Especially for Women (The Washington Post)

In Case of Emergency, Break Glass Ceiling - but Only in Case of Emergency                     (Pacific Standard)


The Changing Landscape of Communications

White Men Working at the Washington Post Make Way More Money Than Their Peers (The Cut)

New Media Shares Old Media's Roof (Bloomberg)

Leading a Brainstorming Session with a Cross-Cultural Team (Harvard Business Review)


Technology News

Snapchat Wants a $40 CPM for New Video Ads (DigiDay)

Stand-Up Meetings Don't Work for Everybody (Harvard Business Review)







Posted by: 
Davida Arnold

NYWICI Must Reads May 20, 2016

NYWICI Must Reads May 13, 2016

NYWICI Must Reads May 6, 2016

May 6, 2016
Posted by: 
Davida Arnold


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