Rodman on Kim Jong-un: “The guy’s awesome”

Alarm bells are ringing all over the world.

In the United States, after narrowly avoiding the apocryphal fiscal cliff, sequestration will bring a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to defense and discretionary domestic spending that will total 1.2 trillion dollars.

In Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI became the first to resign his post in almost 600 years amid scandalous allegations of gay priests, male prostitutes, and blackmail.

In the nebulous world of cyberspace, Anonymous leads virtual attacks on the Pentagon, News Corp., and the Israeli government using exotic titles like “Operation Last Resort.”

And in North Korea… Kim Jong-un spent the day with Dennis Rodman.

“What a great time we’re having,” the North Korean crowd chanted in perfect unison.


Ostensibly, this was Rodman’s attempt at diplomacy as well as an attempt on Kim’s part to tell his side of the story.  Through basketball.  But when you factor in Rodman’s accompaniment of VICE Media staffers, the Harlem Globetrotters, and a team of HBO documentarians, it becomes obvious what this is:  a media grab.  [VICE premieres April 5.  “It’s not TV.  It’s HBO.”]

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Livestrong Still Standing after Armstrong’s Resignation

Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal has been controversial news for many weeks. The controversy started after he won seven consecutive Tour de France competitions. Many people suggested that he may be using performance enhancing substances, but he constantly denied allegations that he used drugs to secure his victories. Finally, through a candid interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong confessed to illegally using EPO, blood transfusions, and testosterone while riding in all seven Tour de France competitions.

Before this scandal, Armstrong was not only known for his Tour de France wins but also for his battle with cancer. He also developed the Livestrong Foundation that was started to help those struggling with cancer. Once this scandal was revealed, many wondered where that left the Livestrong Foundation. Would it collapse? Would donations cease to exist? Would Armstrong continue to be affiliated with it?

Ultimately, Armstrong stepped down from the board of directors in hopes that his tarnished reputation would not implode the reputation of the Livestrong Foundation. Now Livestrong is severing its ties only with Armstrong’s Tour de France wins, not Armstrong himself. They removed Armstrong’s seven winning jerseys that once hung on the office’s wall, but Armstrong’s name still appears on the founders’ wall. Livestrong also wants to stay away from any celebrity endorsements, including Armstrong’s. Instead, they want to focus on the real people of the foundation, the cancer survivors who benefit from the generosity of the Livestrong Foundation. They want to demonstrate how Livestrong’s efforts can help cancer patients with their fight for life. Livestrong is emphasizing their free counseling sessions and patient transportation, therefore, demonstrating how these procedures benefit patient’s lives. Finally, they want their main focus to be on their mission to help fight cancer and to help those suffering with cancer.

Livestrong hopes that by focusing on the positive efforts of the foundation, they can continue to succeed. They know that it is important to focus on helping people fight the battle with cancer and not to focus on the mistakes that Armstrong has made. It is also important that Armstrong stepped away from the foundation’s board of directors, so the public doesn’t begin to question the validity of the Livestrong Foundation.

The Livestrong foundation has helped raise over $500 million and helped support over 2.5 million people affected by cancer. Without its efforts people suffering from cancer will have one less support system and one less organization that they know they can count on.

Livestrong should continue their efforts with releasing positive information and news stories. Their effort to give a new face to Livestrong, the cancer survivors who prosper from Livestrong’s efforts, should help shed light on the cause and deter any associations with Armstrong’s doping scandal. If the public can see how important Livestrong is in many people’s lives, then hopefully people will continue to donate and support the foundation.

See the story here:!/news/local/Livestrong-Goes-on-After-Lance-Armstrong/193190361




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What Makes a Positive Public Profile?

Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta

Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta

What makes a positive public profile? Usually non-profit organizations and organizations that dedicate their time to helping others maintain positive public profiles.

An excellent example of an organization with a good image is Ronald McDonald House. The main purpose of the organization is to provide temporary housing to sick children and their families while they are going through their illness/treatment for that illness. If a child is currently admitted to the hospital, their physician will grant them permission to be transferred to the House where they know they will get the proper care they need. It is a sanctuary for families, because it is a place that they can all be together. Many families have to travel from other regions in seek of treatment from specialists and the Stollery Children’s Hospital – one family traveled all the way from Jamaica – and the House allows them to all be able to stay in one location without having to pay the high costs of hotel accommodations. Children need to be in the company of their loved ones, and that is what Ronald McDonald House provides for them.

Currently, I am an intern for Ronald McDonald House® Northern Alberta, and am proud to admit so. The organization is one that fully engages itself with both the public and the media in positive ways.

CTV’s Erin Isfeld is one of the main endorsers for RMHNA, and is currently situated on the organization’s committee board. She is set to emcee the House’s second annual Storybook Ball, alongside CISN’s Chris Scheetz. This is a good example of positive media connections – RMHNA has worked hard to make these connections, and have chosen the correct media spokespeople who have somewhat of a connection to what the organization does.

Isfeld and Scheetz aren’t the only endorsers of RMHNA. There are many other media connections that the House has, mainly because people are willing to be a part of something that works toward the greater good of the public. There are many instances when CTV Edmonton and Global Edmonton are at the House filming promotional videos and conducting interviews – Just yesterday (February 26) Erin Isfeld stopped by the house for an interview and a tea party with some of the resident children.

CTV Edmonton and Global Edmonton film promotional videos for the organization so that they can send them to current and potential donors and partners. I personally think this is an excellent use of resources, because it allows these donors and partners to have an inside look at the organization and how it operates – they get a real look at what goes on and how the organization is working to make the families’ stay the best it can be.

The organization also holds many family-oriented events and fundraisers, which appeals to a specific audience. Families relate to other families, especially ones with sick children. This draws them in to participate in the events and fundraisers, and allows them to have fun with their own families.

The organization is one that is family oriented all around – whether it’s sick children and their families, or families in the community. In my opinion, the goal of RMHNA is one that everyone could possibly want to endorse and support.

– Amanda McCarthy

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Using Google Hangouts and Twitter to bring learning on disaster communication into the classroom

By Karen Zypchyn, Faculty, Bachelor of Communication Studies

I like days like today. “This is what teaching is all about,” I was thinking to myself as my guest speaker, Kat Powers, Director of Communications of Red Cross Eastern Massachusetts, talked to my students via Google Hangouts about disaster communication.

There Powers was, projected on the screen at the front of my class, thanks to Google Hangouts. I had just finished teaching my students about how to use hangouts last week, so the timing was great.

With almost 20 years experience in newsrooms, and now her leap into disaster communication for the American Red Cross in Eastern Massachusetts, Powers has much to offer 21st century communication students. She has also presented webinars on online news and social media at the Poynter Institute. 

And my students seemed to agree that the learning experience was great. Powers had great insight and advice to share with my students, and Powers fielded questions from my students via Twitter (@katpowers) during her presentation.

MacEwan student Miranda Broumas posts a pic to Twitter of Kat Powers, Director of Communication of Red Cross Eastern Massachusetts, talking to the class via Google Hangouts.

MacEwan student Miranda Broumas posts a pic to Twitter of Kat Powers, Director of Communication of Red Cross Eastern Massachusetts, talking to the BCSC 202 Online Communication class via Google Hangouts.

Powers spoke about how the American Red Cross has been using social media to communicate about disaster preparedness to her audience of 4.9 million people in the Eastern Massachusetts area.  That area was recently hit hard with an historic snowstorm. The Twittersphere was busy with people posting comments and photos about their experience of the storm while the news media and Red Cross along with other similar organizations helped people deal with the snowstorm.  Roads were shut down, businesses were closed; major power outages left thousands of people without power.

My students had comments and questions directed at Powers, who was at ease disrupting her train of thought to look at her iPhone and to field tweeted questions from my students. Brilliant, I thought. That’s exactly what my students need to learn to do.

comments and questions for Powers

I was very proud of my students’ effort to engage with Powers. She encouraged them, and they jumped in demonstrating their knowledge of how to communicate via Twitter.

Check out my students’ Twitter posts to learn some of the great advice Powers had to share about communicating through social media networks. Use the Twitter search field and add @katpowers (most are here) or use the hashtag #MacEwanU (a few are here) in the search field.

So much of what we’ve been learning together this term in my BCSC 202 Online Communication course came together today. It was a good day!





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Pope Quits His Day Job


After a short papacy, Pope Benedict XVI, formerly known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, announced he would be resigning as pope on February 28, 2013.

There were many aspects that made this story newsworthy, the least of which was its unexpectedness. There was no hint or sign in the months following that Pope Benedict had any intention of resigning. The only one who was aware of the Pope’s intention was his brother, Georg Ratzinger, who said he had been aware of Benedict’s decision for a few months already. In a statement, the Pope said his reason for resignation was his ailing health: Continue reading

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The Resignation of Pope Benedict

 Image courtesy of

The very fact that you are reading this poses an interesting question: Why exactly is the resignation of a far-away religious figure in an increasingly agnostic world such big news? Being Canadian, and hearing about this Vatican City event almost the moment it happened, this story clearly has a lot of power behind it, but what gives it this power? I will be going over the five factors of a newsworthy story to try and deduce this.

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cbc logo

ckua logo with microphone





I’m a student getting my degree through Grant MacEwan University’s “Bachelor of Applied Communications in Professional Writing” program.  One of the courses I’m taking to fulfill my degree’s requirements is called “The Media and the Message.”  A part of the course has the class take three field trips to see real-world communications professionals in their work environment.  I don’t know about you but the last time I took a field trip with my class a big yellow bus, noisy pre-pubescent class mates and a frazzled home room teacher was involved. Continue reading

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Crisis Communications at Covenant Health

Salima Bandali and Rayne Kuntz, senior members of Covenant’s communications team, share the story of a privacy breach at the Misericordia Community Hospital. Continue reading
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Meet Kathleen Thurber – Alberta Innovator

Meet Kathleen Thurber, a senior communications specialist at Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions.
Tell us about your communications experience.

I am the Corporate Communications Director at Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS), a position I’ve held for 17 years. I’ve also worked for several cultural institutions in western Canada, including a stint as a private art gallery director in Edmonton and Vancouver. Continue reading

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The Uncommon Journey of Earth Common Journal

In academia in Canada and elsewhere, opportunities for undergraduate students to publish research papers are rare. One project, based here at MacEwan University, provides these valuable publishing opportunities for undergrads.  The uncommon journey of Earth Common Journal is an example of how to create a venue for student research and demonstrates that undergraduates are capable of undertaking high-quality research. Earth Common Journal is a peer-reviewed, international, online, undergraduate journal that focuses on three critical environmental issues: sustainability, conservation, and global warming. It is student-driven and student managed and is published through the Bachelor of Communication Studies program at MacEwan University.

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