Archive for October, 2007

PR conference for progressives

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Here’s info about a conference I’m organizing Jan 31 – Feb. 1, 2008:

A National Conference on Media Relations for Progressives

True Spin Conference, Jan. 31 …• Feb. 1, 2008, Denver, CO

Join some of America’s best progressive PR practitioners for two days of panels, workshops, networking, and fun.

This conference brings together flacks from progressive advocacy groups around the country to exchange ideas and learn new and creative PR tactics.
Officials from giant corporations meet all the time to share their latest and greatest media relations strategies. This is our turn. It’s the only national conference of its kind.

Keynote Speakers:

Lori Dorfman, Berkeley Media Studies Group;
Alan Jenkins, The Opportunity Agenda;
David Sirota, Author, Hostile Takeover;

Other Faculty:

Medea Benjamin, Code Pink;
Andy Bichlbaum, Yes Men!;
Kathy Bonk and Emily Tynes, Authors, Strategic Communications for Nonprofits;
Beach Codevilla, Spitfire Strategies;
Martin Kearns, Green Media Toolshed;
Robert Perez, Fenton Communications;
Rashad Robinson, GLAAD;
Heath Wickline, SPIN Project.

Read more about these folks and other faculty here.


The last True Spin Conference was held in 2006 and sold out. We had about 200 registrants from around the country, including PR people from all types of progressive organizations. Click here to read more about the 2006 event.

To register, visit our website.

Session topics include:

  • How to Work with Hollywood;
  • How to Deal with EDs who Just Don’t Get it;
  • YouTube: Show and Tell;
  • Strategic Media Planning;
  • Be like GLAAD;
  • New Communications Technologies;
  • Theatrical Protest: A Case Study in Pink;
  • How to Collaborate with the Netroots and Bloggers;
  • Connecting PR to Fundraising;
  • See preliminary program here

Rockies, Christianity, and “character”

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd told a Denver talk show that he’s got a 14-point litmus test to determine whether potential Rockies players are of good enough “character” to join the team.

This deserves more scrutiny, as explained here, especially given the prominence of Christianity among the Rockies players, management, and owners, as reported, for example, here and here.

O’Dowd says a “byproduct” of his litmus test for “character” is “faith.” I think O’Dowd was referring to religious faith as opposed to faith in humanity or something nonreligious, but he may not have been. If he was referring to religious faith, would athiests lose points in O’Dowd’s 14-point method to evaluate “character?” Would gays? Would other sinners, as defined by various religions, be frowned upon by the Rockies?

In any case, are political beliefs on O’Dowd’s list? What behaviors or beliefs would exclude a good person from the Rockies team?

Here’s a partial transcript of the inteview with O’Dowd, Vice President and General Manager of the Colorado Rockies, Oct. 17, 2007 on KHOW, 630 AM in Denver, on the Caplis and Silverman Show.


Dan O’Dowd: Honestly, I think that the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that the model that was followed here is a model that can transcend many organizations and actually many people in how they go about leading their lives. I think that the players that we have are made up of the right stuff. But I do think that was a focus that started here many years ago. It’s just now coming to fruition.


Dan Caplis: Well that’s right, and when you look at the Colorado Rockies website, even in the official biography of Dan O’Dowd, it says, quote, …A key component in that process,’ this system that Dan’s referring to, …is finding players who possess character both on and off the field.” And Dan when you took the stage the other night out behind second base at Coors Field and it was your turn on national TV to talk about your team, you zeroed in on just that.


Dan O’Dowd: Well, for me character is symbolic of many of the qualities that we’ve tried to develop up here in this organization. But it really centers on the heart. The heart is the determination of how you live your life day in and day out, what your value system is, how you treat people, you know, how selfish you are, and how you go about making a difference in the world. We try to focus on players, certainly. We want to focus on players that have ability. But really the character issue gets directly to their attitude, how the approach life. And again, I think the thing we are all most proud of here is the fact that we have a group of players who look at life they way they should look at it.




Dan Caplis:  So impressive Dan. I’m sure folks are driving down street, whatever they do for a living, and thinking, okay, how do I apply this to my life, to my business, that sort of thing. Give us some of the nuts and bolts, say whether it’s Tulowitzky or a Matt Holliday.


Dan O’Dowd: I think we started with the basic philosophy here when we realized the position we were in, which was not a good position. One, I think we dealt with the reality of it. We didn’t deny it internally. And we tried to create then a system for how we were going to approach it. You know, quite honestly, it started with a system of basic communication, trying to develop the best communication model we possibly could so at least we could communicate with each other day in and day out-.


And then I think, as this unfolded, we realized that could not focus on results. We had to stay within the process of day in and day out, meaning that we had to create a system through scouting and development where every day we would focus on other aspects to create something positive going on in the organization.


And then finally, as a byproduct of that, we realized talent that didn’t match with character was a completely empty approach for us. So we began, from an evaluation standpoint, trying to develop, which we did, 14 points, of trying to measure character. And I’m not going to get into that, because I think it’s a competitive advantage, but it was a way for us to try define those players within our system or before we even drafted them or we acquired them or we found them in Latin America, those particular players that would answer as many of those 14 points as we could possibly find. Now the by product of that has been faith, humility, accountability, trust, integrity, patience. There’s been an incredible amount of by product to all those things which I think makes our organization, in my mind, right now special.

Now the true test will be if we can maintain this over a long period of time. But I think if we don’t bet away from the basics of what we created here we should be fine.




Dan O’Dowd: I don’t think any of that is coincidence, nor do I think the things that are happening now. I I do think we’re being honored. But I do think we are being honored because when you follow a set of principles and stick with them and don’t compromise your values as it relates to what you’re trying to accomplish, I think good things happen.




ROX vs. FOX Continued

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Posted by Matt Poundstone 

A short side note in Jason’s last column urged people who might own Fox News hats to do like his father and take a marker to the FOX logo,  turning the …F’ to an …R’ and spelling out …Rox News’ in support of our World Series-bound Rockies.

This suggestion is sound advice for free-media loving Americans and baseball fans alike.  But it also begs the question:  Who out there would actually wear a Fox News hat?

For inquiring minds that want to know, here’s what a quick Internet search revealed.

First of all, the phrase “Fox News hat” yields few instructive results on Google.  The same thing goes for “sporting” and “wearing a/his/her Fox News hat.”  It doesn’t help a Google search when the word …hat’ appears frequently in the blogosphere vernacular.

But overall, the web reveals some limited utility in wearing a Fox hat, ranging from the provocative to the absurd.

If, for example, you are trying to annoy Hollywood anti-war activists like Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, walk up to them with a microphone and a Fox News cap and ask whether they want America to succeed in Iraq.  The hat turns out to be the cherry that gets extra press for a guerrilla interview.

If you’re an outspoken member of the alleged liberal media elite, the cap can also be hip and ironic.  At the memorial for journalist Molly Ivins, a slide show featured a photo of her in a Fox News hat.  The sight drew roaring laughter from the audience.

Finally, from the Random Celebrity Sighting files:  a man in a Fox News hat appears at a paintball adventure with none other than William “James Tiberius Kirk” Shatner.  The man in the photo is listed as Col. David Hunt, who is (you guessed it) a Fox News contributor.

So, if you’re in the mood to agitate the left or engage in simulated combat with a TV celeb, a Fox News cap might be for you.

For the rest of us, there will always be the …Rox News’ alternative…-or the often wise example of Molly Ivins to treat the whole enterprise as a joke.

Tax-freeze lawsuit to be filed by end of the month

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

I emailed Jon Caldara yesterday.

Hi Jon …•

You’re milking your threat of a tax-freeze lawsuit into significant media coverage. That’s a good PR tactic for you, but it’s bad for people like me who have better things to read about in the newspaper. For my blog or column, do you still plan to file a lawsuit? If so, when? By year’s end? Or after? Or have you already filed it?

As usual, he responded quickly:

The law suit (sic) is a go.  I expect it to be officially filed by the end of the month, unless I want to milk it some more 😉


Now, I want to know if Caldara is buying a suit to wear to law school? Or was he referring to the the lawsuit he’s been threatening to file?

Carman quits

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Denver Post columnist Diane Carman has resigned to take a job on the Presidential Climate Action Project at UC-D.