Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Koch Brothers a Bigger Danger to Media Than Al-Jazeera?

The Middle East oil fields are paying quite well this summer in America – and the beneficiaries are American liberal journalists.  The launch of Al-Jazeera America can very well forever change American media. Spending time each summer in Europe, I watch Al-Jazeera and even as a political conservative, find it to be excellent TV.  It is well-produced, professional TV which has flourished in the ratings in the 130 countries in which it is available.  Not unlike other TV stations, they have a political bent and it’s to be expected.

Yesterday, The New York Times reported that Al-Jazeera America is rapidly growing and poised for success in the United States.  As former CNN anchor Ali Velshi put it, “This is the first big journalism hiring binge that anyone’s been on for a long time.” What better time could there be for a station which is owned by Qatar, one of the richest countries in the world, to enter the American market – which they have long tried to enter. American journalists are overwhelmingly liberal — and the Arab nations are now able to pay reporters while few others can and will.  Scary times indeed.

The fact that when Al Jazeera was founded it received a $147 million subsidy from the Qatari government and continue to receive at least $100 million annually in Qatari subsidies will surely not be widely reported or known.  And the media outlet – owned by the Qatari royal family – was described yesterday by a senior executive as “an American news channel that broadcasts news of interest and importance to its American audience.” Indeed, very American.

Al-Jazeera has taken the studio space at the renowned Newseum in Washington, D.C., which was formerly that of ABC’s “This Week” program, and are opening at least 12 news bureaus throughout the U.S. nationwide, and planning to have original programming which emanates from the USA. Liberals need to be kvelling: A sitting United States president with a Justice Department that searches and seizes records from Fox News and the Associated Press, and a former United States vice president who makes hundreds of millions of dollars selling his TV network to the government of Qatar.

And money isn’t an issue – as the United States Department of State has said, Qatar uses Al-Jazeera “as a bargaining chip in foreign policy negotiations by adapting its coverage to suit other foreign leaders and offering to cease critical transmissions in exchange for major concessions.” They are willing to lose money to spread their propaganda, in pursuit of political agendas. Who cares about losing some money in TV – as business between the US and Qatar continues to expand rapidly (billions of dollars annually) and they can influence policy in the Mid East and elsewhere? Surely, it’s a wise investment.

Al Jazeera will be a force to be reckoned with and will have a major impact on news coverage worldwide.  It’s owned by the Qatar royal family, rulers of one of the world’s richest nations, who don’t worry about stock market prices or shareholders.  Qatar is ruled by sharia (Islamic law) with tremendous oil and gas reserves.

They aren’t in a rush to open and are dedicated to doing it right.  They have hired a smart PR Agency in Qorvis Communications, which has shilled in the past for Bahrain, where there is mass torture of citizens and at least 60 people have been killed by government security forces in the past few years, as well as Saudi Arabia after 9/11.

Now, don’t be alarmed about Al-Jazeera, as their entry to the U.S. has been paved by a former American vice president.  Of course, we do read and hear endlessly of the danger posed by the possibility of the conservative Koch Brothers buying the eight Tribune Co. daily papers and plenty of shouts from “media watchdog” organizations reminding the public of the need for independent, non-biased media.

Now, of course American conservatives are a danger – but don’t question Arab emirates.  That would not be appropriate.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Inspirational Quotes ... Share Yours

As CEO of 5WPR, I regularly seek inspiration from quotes – and enjoy sharing some of my favorites with others in the business community.  Some – and more can be found on the blog of Ronn Torossian as well:

  • “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” Bill Cosby
  • “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Swami Vivekananda
  • “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
  • “I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan
  • “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” Abraham Lincoln
  • “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” Vince Lombardi
  • “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” Dale Carnegie
  • “Action is the foundational key to all success.” Pablo Picasso

Tweet Ronn Torossian on Twitter @rtorossian5wpr with your favorite quotes.

SOURCE http://insights.wired.com/profiles/blogs/inspirational-quotes#axzz2UCYulXmC

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Al-Dura Statement Can’t Take 11 or 12 Years

The government of Israel pays a lot of lip service to the importance of Public Relations, but clearly the importance of a timely response is something they need work on. As CEO of a PR agency, I know well the importance of reacting and acting quickly.  Media doesn’t wait.

In the Year 2000, worldwide headlines described an incident in which 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura was killed by Israeli soldiers while hiring behind his father.  The story dominated worldwide headlines – and this incident and strong images caused a tremendous amount of damage to Israel.

This week, more than 12 years later, the government released a 36-page report which accused the France 2 television station who filmed the scene of fabricating the report – and claimed that indeed al-Dura was never hit by gunfire.  As the report stated “The review revealed that there is no evidence that Jamal or the boy were wounded in the manner claimed in the report, and that the footage does not depict Jamal as having been badly injured. In contrast, there are numerous indications that the two were not struck by bullets at all.” There was a lot more said in the report, and Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the incident was “a blood libel.”

Whether they are right or wrong, what took 12 years to release this report? 12 years in an era of social media? Awful, terrible and not acceptable.

And this isn’t an isolated incident. A month ago, the Israel Defense Forces announced that the IDF is making a movie of its own to counter the original Jenin movie which was produced in 2002 and won many awards worldwide.  A movie was made – and it took 11 years to respond? 11 years?

There is a ton of advice which Israel needs in the Public Relations arena – but certainly responding within the same decade of an incident’s occurrence would be a start. Israel is really awful at projecting their image and I hope and pray it gets better.  Media today moves instantly – no crisis PR issue can take 11 or 12 years to respond to.

Ronn Torossian

SOURCE http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/al-dura-statement-cant-take-11-or-12-years/

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ronn Torossian and 5WPR Make a BIG ‘Move’

The Real Deal/JPUpdates: Communications firm 5W Public Relations has taken a 38,166-square-foot space at Minskoff Equities’ 1166 Avenue of the Americas, the company’s CEO, Ronn Torossian, told The Real Deal today…

5W PR sublet [38,000 sqf which is] the entire fourth floor in the 44-story, 1.5 million-square-foot building from investment management firm D.E. Shaw & Co. The deal runs until February 2017, and asking rents for the space were $46. CBRE’s Roger Griswold brokered the deal, but declined to comment.

Torossian is a board member of RAJE (Russian-American Jewish Experience), ZOA, Aish Hatorah and other Jewish organizations. He is well respected as a Jewish leader within the community.

SOURCE http://jpupdates.com/2013/05/18/ron-torossian-of-5wpr-makes-a-big-move/

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ronn Torossian Influential Jewish PR Guru Finalist in Major Award

A PR Agency, 5WPR whose CEO Ronn Torossian is involved with the Jewish and Pro-Israel community has been named a finalist in the Public Relations Agency of the Year category in The 2013 American Business Awards. The American Business Awards are the nation’s premier business awards program. Ronn Torossian, the founder of the company was named as a finalist for the PR Executive of the Year category.

Torossian is a regular contributor to the Algemeiner, Times Of Israel and other media outlets. Via his Ronn Torossian Foundation he is also a board member of a number of Kiruv organizations.

Details about The American Business Awards and the list of Finalists in all categories are available at www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.

SOURCE http://jpupdates.com/2013/05/09/ronn-torossian-influential-jewish-pr-guru-finalist-in-major-award/

Monday, May 13, 2013

Israel Public Relations Doesn’t Change

The more things change, the more they stay the same. This week, Israel’s deputy foreign minister Ze’ev Elkin said Google jeopardized the “peace process” by creating a “Palestine” home page.  Clearly some in Israel understand the importance of media – and indeed Google is the world’s most powerful media organization. Although there doesn’t seem to be much of a peace process anyway – in a statement, Google said they are following the lead of the UN … and other international organizations.”

As Israel continues to get creamed in the reputation industry – nothing’s changed since the remarkable 2002 Israel State Comptroller’s report which said that “since its establishment in 1948, Israel’s intelligence organs have not succeeded to respond to the broad-based propaganda and incitement by the Arab world.” As the findings of the State Comptroller showed there is “A lack of an overall strategic public relations conception and objective”, and also “No comprehensive budgetary analysis to serve government public relations requirements.”  And nothing has changed.

Then there was criticism of the state report when Israel had wall-to-wall criticism of the world’s media during the siege of Yasser Arafat’s Mukata compound. And it happens time and time again – and happens whether the right or left is in charge of the Prime Minister’s office.  And there is media bias, and on a regular basis Israel is maligned in the media.

But, there are few PR Agencies retained by Israel and few professionals staffing the various needs of Israel to communicate to the media.  Public Relations is a crucial element of war – yet Israel is woefully prepared for this aspect of the war.

As Elkin in the Knesset said “Israel’s hasbara budget is a total of NIS 9.5 million, compared to NIS 200 million for the Palestinians. How are we expected to deal with that? It’s like a small vehicle fighting a platoon of tanks.”

SOURCE http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/ronn-torossian/

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What is Leadership?

Over the next few weeks, a slew of different Jewish organizations are hosting dinners honoring leaders of the community. This very publication, The Algemeiner is hosting a ‘Jewish 100′ gala where they will honor the top 100 people positively influencing Jewish life.  At the same venue. a week later, RAJE,  the Russian-American Jewish Experience will host an event honoring people who help Russian Jews become more Jewish.

This week, The UJA-Federation of New York released their 40-under-40 list of the top movers and shakers, and chose participants for their “drive, determination, achievement, character, and ability to lead the community.” Some of the folks who were honored included PR firm owner Matthew Hiltzik, Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm of EMM Group, and a slew of others.

As a parent and an entrepreneur, every day I need to lead, and so do many others, each in their own way.  Here are some inspirational quotes about the power of leadership which are worth sharing:

  •     “To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’” – Lao-tsu
  •     “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.” – John Kenneth Galbraith
  •     “Act while you can: While you have the chance, the means, and the strength.” – Talmud
  •     “One who is wise, humble and fearful of sin may be made a community leader.” – Tosafot
  •     “The best is he who calls men to the best. And those who heed the call are also blessed. But worthless who call not, heed not, but rest.”  - Hesiod
  •     “My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.” – General Montgomery
  •     “A person should first put one’s house together, then one’s town, then the world.” – Rabbi Israel Salanter
  •     “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” – Ken Kesey
  •     “We do not know the extent of our own power to change and to effect change. But we must act; that is in our power.” – Rabbi Baruch Bokser
  •     “Who is wise? One who learns from every person. Who is strong? One who subdues one’s evil inclination. Who is rich? One who is happy with one’s lot. Who is to be honored? One who honors others.” – Pirkei Avot 4:1

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a New York PR firm.

SOURCE http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/04/14/what-is-leadership/

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Random Musings on This Week’s Public Relations News

It seems like not a week passes that some local newspaper doesn’t complain about someone hiring a PR agency.  This week, it was a newspaper called The Day in Connecticut griping about the fact that the town of Groton, Connecticut hiring “a firm founded by former Connecticut television newscaster Duby McDowell, to help spin the story of the staggering cable television losses.” McDowell was seemingly hired because the city lost $27 Million dollars in a cable TV business – and there was a possibility the city’s bonds would be downgraded. Clearly this is a case where Daniel Boorstein’s quote would be applicable – “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” Clearly this program was no star – and needed excellent spin.  Hence, the necessary hiring of a public relations pro.

In preparation for a public hearing, and a media onslaught a professional was hired. What could be more obvious than hiring a communications professional to deal with the media? Is not perception everything? Amazingly, one rarely reads of accountants or architects being attacked by the media – but the PR business is regularly slammed and am simply tired of it. Wish we in the PR industry had better advocated advocating for us. Am sure McDowell did great work and deserved to be hired.

Point Two

The jury is still out in terms of business applications for social media – but a statistic I read this week from Slicktext.com which revealed that 98 percent of text messages are actually read, this is simply stunning.  One can expect to see an increase in B to B usage of SMS text messages – it is completely opt-in and has to be an area which sees a lot of growth as people continue to be more inundated with marketing messages. In generally, for B2B social media in 2013, Twitter is the most-used platform and LinkedIn is second.  One wonders if that is a direct study or considerations based upon SEO are considered.  Interesting food for thought.


Interesting video on EBay Looking to Mobile Markets by FT which shouldn’t be overlooked.  Interesting story: http://video.ft.com/v/2316693458001/Ebay-looks-to-mobile-market – and indeed as Richard Feynman said “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”  Mobile isn’t going anywhere, and even behemoths like EBay cannot rest on their laurels.  In order to grow, corporations must be prepared to evolve.  Kudos to EBay.

SOURCE http://everything-pr.com/random-musings-on-this-weeks-public-relations-news/242073/