And you thought fourletterword was a bad thing

This interview was an assignment for TV class. We were asked to interview an industry professional. Glenda and I interviewed Leanne Havelock who owns her Freelance company, Fourletterword Media. This was an amazing project to work on. Leanne is wonderful and very helpful, and we've finally learned all the elements that go into shooting and producing a video - shooting, sound, lighting and editing. Now it's time to take my skills and go out into the world!


Don’t blow in a dog’s face - unless you want to get bit

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday.  Don’t blow in a dog’s face because it will bite you.  Don’t ask me why I didn’t know this, but any time I’ve done this before dogs just squirmed and tried to get away – this apparently is not the case, especially if the dog is quasi-crazy and dominant.

So now I have this freaking ugly looking scratch on my face.  But I guess we’re both responsible, because he should have know better and I should have know better – it’s a case of the should have known betters.

I was crazy upset at first, but when I had a chance to calm down I realized this was a valuable life lesson.  Not only did I learn dogs don’t like this, but also that this lesson can transcend into my relationships with people both in and out of the PR profession.

One, if someone doesn’t like something stop doing it, because the last thing you want to do is ruin a perfectly good relationship or the chance of one.

Two, stay away from crazy people and animals.  Sometimes a fight is just not worth fighting; so don’t even waste your breath.

And three, try, try, try your hardest not to piss people off especially ones with exceptionally large teeth and those who are your superior.

This ugly looking scratch on my face is now a constant reminder of how I should leave stuff alone, but only sometimes.  Sometimes battles are worth fighting.  However, the key is to know when it’s worth it, what price you’re willing to pay and what you’re willing to lose.


RRC Princess Street Campus, what’s the real name?

Since I started school here last year and since even before that I’ve been calling the RRC campus downtown the Princess Street Campus.  But it came to my attention last week that the campus might actually be called the Exchange District Campus.  So what is the campus actually called?

I can understand why the college might have all these names flying out there for the college.  The Exchange District Campus for one is an homage to the area and the combination of the old and new architecture.  The Princess Street Campus, on the other hand, is a signifier of where the campus is and makes it easy for people to find.  So how do you edit the name of a place to both blend it into the area and make it easy for people to find?

But wait, there’s another name to add to the list: Roblin Centre at the Exchange District Campus.  Will this name become THE name for the campus, or will it just be another name people use?


Gleeful news conference

The PR students put together a news conference on Thursday for the Broadcast J students.  It was so much fun – for us PRs.  If you don’t know about Broadcast J all I have to say is be very afraid.  No, I’m kidding.  It actually sounds like a really fun class, but it’s intense.  The students have very strict deadlines to meet, and both Journalism and Media Production students are thrust out of their comfort zones and have to swap jobs very once in awhile.

Needless to say, there was a huge difference between the PRs’ experience at the press conference and the Broadcast J students’ experience.

First, I want to extend my kudos to Melanie for creating an excellent assignment.  At the beginning she was so excited about the day of the press conference, but I had my doubts.  Melanie, I’m sorry I doubted you.  I thought it would be a lot more nerve racking then it actually was.  But I digress; the assignment was actually super fun.  In our group we created and put together a media kit.  We did it all.  We wrote the content, took the pictures, and created the design and concept for the media kit itself.  We had a lot of fun.  We ate candy and listened to music and literally did arts and crafts all day Tuesday.

Then came the day of the conference.  After meeting at school bright and early at 8 a.m. to get ready, our news conference started at 11 a.m.  I admit I was nervous, but once we started playing the soundtrack from the first season of Glee and every one in the room was dancing and having a good time all the anxiousness went away.  I even did an interview with Kiran Dillion, and I think I did a great job.  I stuck to my group’s key messages and had a lot of information to provide.

So while the PRs were tickled pink that it was all over, the Broadcast J students went about doing their thing.  From what I hear it was hell.  Most of the shooters and editors this week were Journalism students, and well some of them are more apt with shooting and editing than others.  To be fair they don’t get a lot of chance to practice with final cut pro.  There was some crying and sadly a lot of assignments that weren’t handed in on time.  So while the PRs were hugging and eating candy, the poor Broadcast J students were quietly crying in their edits suites.  Sometimes us PRs cry too.  But the thing to remember is that CreComm hurls the worst at us, and hopefully when we get out of school and into the real world it really won’t be as bad – at least that’s what I tell myself.


Editing reality

I’ve been sick the last couple of days, and like I’m sure you all know when you’re sick you really don’t want to do much – except lie on the couch and watch TV.  There isn’t much to watch on daytime TV, so I find myself watching “reality” TV.  Some stations are now entirely dedicated to “reality” TV, like Global reality and A&E.

But how real is the “reality” TV we watch?  For example, is Chef Ramsey on Hell’s Kitchen really that mean or is it all an act?  To be honest, I never really thought about how fake things on reality TV could be until I watch a CSI: Miami episode about a reality TV star that gets killed.  Horatio and his team find out that every single thing on that TV show is a shame – even the characters aren’t who they claim to be.  I know it’s only a TV show but it got me thinking.  Before I might have thought certain things on reality shows were staged, but now I’m questioning the entire existence of “reality” TV.  Needless to say, “reality” TV can’t get anywhere near as real as a documentary.

Here’s a thought, maybe it’s called “reality” TV because it changes the lives of real people.  What do you think?


Remembering our veterans

*this story is something I wrote last year but wanted to share. Lest we forget.
Quiet tears stained the faces of people at the Remembrance Day ceremony at Bruce Park on Portage Avenue yesterday.
As the parade of service men and women, family members of fallen solders and Girl Guides and Scouts of Canada made their way onto the grounds from Portage Avenue not a sound came from the crowd except the cries of a young child.
The service began with the singing of ‘O Canada’, and the flag that began resting at half-mast slowly made its way to the top.
The crowd this year was bigger than Muriel Barton has seen in awhile.
“We usually get over 1,000 people, but today because of the beautiful weather there was more,” said Barton, who has been involved with the St. James Legion branch number four for over 25 years.  “I handed out around 700 programs, on top of the 700 my husband Bruce handed out, and there was still a lot of people that didn’t have one.”
After the opening prayer by chaplain Captain Gordon Mintz, Major Brian Slous read a somber thank-you to the veterans of the First and Second World Wars and a heartfelt message to the men and women serving in Afghanistan.
As the Canadian flag once again descended to half-mast during the Last Post, a young boy holding a portrait of a family member killed in Afghanistan buried his face into the arms of his silent family.
At 11 a.m. for two minutes not a word was spoken as the crowd silently thanked the men and women who put their lives on the line so that Canadians would never have to experience war at home.
Near the end of the ceremony, wreaths were placed on the war memorial that read, ‘Their names live on forever’.   MP Pat Martin, representing the Government of Canada, laid a wreath in memory for all those who sacrificed their lives.  MLA Bonnie Korzeniowski laid a wreath for the province, and Councilor Scott Fielding presented one for the city.
With the sun shinning bright, the solders gave their final salute and began the parade down Portage Avenue.


Editing my habits

The other day I was asked to do a survey regarding my drinking habits. Now you may be thinking the survey was just asking about my “drinking” habits, but it included how much coffee, water, pop and alcohol I consume. So I was pretty honest about most things, but when I got to the section about how many servings of alcohol I may drink each week I really had to think about my answers.

This is another form of editing. While I don’t have any “issues” with alcohol, I still wanted to lower the number of servings. I edited my habits to so that the person on the other end of the survey didn’t send me an email with a link to AFM – even if the survey was anonymous. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to rack up the number of servings of alcohol you consume each week.


Over thinking headlines

Part of this week’s headline assignment was to revise two of our own headlines from our blogs.  Picking the bad headlines I wrote wasn’t hard, but I did find it challenging to revise them.  I knew what I hated about my headlines, but it was difficult to figure out what was the best way to fix them.

The Canadian Press Stylebook provides a lot of useful information when writing a headline, but it can also be very daunting.  The Stylebook says to be specific; give enough information about the story but don’t give it all away; use strong verbs, and the list goes on.  But as I struggled to revise my headlines I tried to keep all these “rules” in mind, and come up with headlines I would find interesting but that a larger audience would also understand.

After working on this assignment, I realized how very important headlines are in the editing process.  Not only does it sum up the basis of the story, but it also gets people interested in the story and the newspaper, website, journal or whatever as a whole.  A headline is what sells, and if the headline editor doesn’t get it right people won’t be interested in reading what the publication has to say.


The Best Show for a Great Cause - Children's Rehab Rockout

I know last week I promised more about Russell Williams, but my presentation was over 20 slides, and I really don't want to put all that on my blog.  Instead, I thought I give everyone a little update about my IPP.  

Like most of you know, I'm working with my partner, Christa, to plan Children's Rehab Rockout, a concert to raise money for the Children's Rehabilitation Foundation.  So far things are going really well.  I've got four bands on board so far, which makes me really excited.  I have quite a bit of anxiety about the whole thing, though, because I'm terrified that some of them will end up cancelling on us.  I'm staying positive, and I do have faith that the bands will show up and do an awesome job.  But there is always that thought in the back of my mind that something WILL go wrong.

My next step now is to set up meetings with the bands that are onboard.  I need to get them to sign a contract so they are, hopefully, less inclined to back out at the last minute.  I also need to get some music and photos from them so that we can start our contest for "Winnipeg's best local band."  I need to get that done in the next couple of weeks so that our website can get up and running - October is virtually over and before we know it the concert will be nipping at our heels.

One thing I'm really impressed with over the course of planning this event is the enormous amount of help from the foundation.  On Tuesday for the first time, I met the new fundraising coordinator, Erin Kangas.  Because of my job this summer, I never had the chance to meet Erin, but when I finally did I was overwhelmed with how amazing and helpful she is.  She gave Christa and I some really positive feedback, and overall she is an amazing person.  She offered to get me in touch with a lady who works with local bands in order to help fill the last spot. I couldn't believe how quickly she got in touch with the woman and directed her to me, so that I could answer any questions she had.  Erin was also really impressed with the work Christa and I have done so far.  I just want to say that Christa is doing an amazing job with the sponsorship stuff, so I have a lot to live up to.  Erin thinks we are way ahead in terms of getting our stuff together.  In the "real world" she said we are way ahead of the game, which is really nice to hear.

There is still so much to do, but at least I feel good about what we accomplished so far.


Mistakes we maybe don't want to fix

What is one to do when they've printed out a bunch of promotional materials, like Red River College for example, and someone that they've used in their material changes jobs?  Does one A) make the change and get the poster reprinted, or
B) leave it because they use to work there and that's good enough anyway?

This is precisely one of the issues I came across the other day when I saw one of RRC's promotional posters hanging in the atrium highlighting Ms Eva Kovacs.  If you don't know, the RRC promotional posters highlight graduates, where they work and the position they hold.  The poster with Eva says she's the co-anchor of Global Winnipeg's Prime News.  Well if any of you ever watch Global News, you will know that Peter Chura has been the lone anchor since December.  Eva has moved over to the "dark side."  She currently works in the Public Relations department at the WRHA.  

So RRC, what are you going to do?  She was an anchor and that's cool, but now she works somewhere else; highlighting her new job will show the rest of Manitobans how versatile your grads are.  Time to update RRC's promotional material.  I wonder how many others are outdated? 


"Canada's golden lie"

I don't want to spoil my presentation on Tuesday, but there was some serious PR today on the part of the Canadian Government about the Russell Williams case.  Both Prime Minister Harper and the Air Force made statements today regarding Williams.  I haven't had the chance to really dig too deep into it yet, but from a quick google search the earliest statement that I could find from the Air Force was on February 8, 2010, the day after Williams arrest. Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, Chief of the Air Staff made the statement on behalf of the Air Foce, but there appears to be no other statements in the months leading up to Williams court appearance this week.

So it seems as if the the government and the Air Force were letting police take the lead on any comments to Canadians, and decided instead to keep their comments to themselves after Williams was convicted and sentenced off his 88 offenses.  Now I'm not going to say too much more, because I have a lot more research to do and I don't want to spoil anything good I've found or might find for my presentation next week.  Check out my blog next week when I post my presentation of my analyses on the PR surrounding this case.



I'm sorry, but I don't know if I have anything to say about editing this week.  I'm trying to think how having a crappy week has anything to do with editing.  I don't think it does.  Maybe instead I'll talk about how disappointed I was with my own editing this week.  Well not this week, but an assignment I got back this week.

Yesterday I got my PR communications strategy back.  My good ideas where lost on the fact that my editing skills were crap.  I'm not sugar coating it, I lost big marks because of it.  How upsetting.  How stupid.  As I reread the document and the comments all I could think about was, "What the hell was I reading when I edited this?"  It's hard to believe I actually spent time editing this document, because my editing sucked so bad.  To be fair to myself, because I'm starting to sound like a Debbie Downer, all the attention I paid to proper names paid off - that's a bonus.

I find it amazing that you can spend an enormous amount of time editing something and there are still errors.  It's funny how the eye plays tricks on you when you're brain knows what you wanted to say.  The moral of this sob story, give yourself time and give yourself a break when editing so that you can catch all the little tricks your brain is playing on you.


33 miners freed, but what happens now?

Over the last 30 hours, 33 Chilean miners were rescued from the San Jose copper and gold mine over 600 meters underground.

The rescue was absolutely amazing.  Family, friends and countrymen gathered at the site in Copiapo, Chile, and over a billion people around the world watched and waited as each man came up to deafening cheers.  According to cbc.ca, the rescue took only 22 hours and 39 minutes much quicker than the he original estimated time of 36 to 48 hours. 

But what happens now?  The mine collapsed because of poor conditions and lax safety standards.  This time the Chilean government and the mining company, San Esteban, can’t put a band aid on the problem and make it go away.  The whole world witnessed this ordeal, and the safety issues and overworked miners have become front and centre of the issue.
Now it’s time major public relations comes into play from the government and the San Esteban company.  In a cbc.ca story updated October 14 at 10:59 a.m., Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said, “This mine will definitely never open again.”  Pinera also acknowledged that his government will not allow safety issues to be ignored, and that the accident “will not go unpunished.  Those who are responsible will have to assume their responsibility.”

Great.  Pinera is beginning to restore his country’s faith in this ability to look out for THEIR best interests.  Talking the talk is not all Pinera’s been doing to restore his country’s faith in his government.  He’s fired top regulators, and created a commission to investigate the mine’s regulatory system and the San Jose mine collapse.  He’s also been at the site.  He’s talking with family, friends and miners; he’s working hard to be accessible to family members and the miners.  Pinera was also one of the first people to greet each miner after they came up.

So what has the San Esteban company done to build relationships?  From what I can see it’s not done much.  On its website there is a link to a small story, but no mention of the collapsed mine its news section.  Also company press releases can only been seen by logging in with a special username in password.  Not very open and transparent.

As President Pinera works to better protect Chilean workers the company that employs many of them remains silent.  Sooner or later the San Esteban company will have to issue something publicly.  As a president and his country look for answers, and 27 of the 33 rescued miners are suing the company for negligence and compensatory damages San Esteban better speak up soon.


Editing more than words

I’ve been thinking all week how editing works its way into our lives.  Last week in class, Sandy brought up a really interesting point about editing a debate.  I never thought about that before, I mean editing outside of writing.  But editing is a part of everything we do.  We edit our lives by keeping secrets and deciding whom we share them with. 

We also edit photographs.  We shape the poses and gestures of the models so they tell a story the way the photographer wants.  We edit photos to show perfection or the impossible.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before.  This class is called Editing for Print and Online Media and my class after is called Image Editing. 

And that’s precisely what we do.  We’ve learnt how to create one holistic image out of many different images, and we’ve learnt how to manipulate objects and people to make them look exactly how we want.  The image editor can take off years or pounds or blemishes simply by clicking on the right tool. 

It’s amazing the amount of editing in suspected and unsuspected places, and it’s amazing how it can affect people in different ways.  By re-touching a model a girl can feel ashamed about herself and idealize a look that’s impossible to achieve.  But by putting together images of hungry children people feel inclined to give and that child gets a second chance.  


Where do you draw the line?

In business there is a fine line between the bottom line and pleasing the customers.  Now just let me be clear, I don’t have an business degree and the closest I’ve gotten to a business is working in restaurants.  But, I do believe that pleasing the customers to the best of your ability creates an excellent relationship between business and customer, which in the long run will benefit the bottom line.  This is especially true for small business, because there is a much, MUCH smaller customer base.

For five years I have worked as a server/manger at a local St. Vital restaurant.  Throughout my years of serving, I’ve notice that nine times out of ten customers appreciate you going the extra mile; not only in the tips they leave behind but the fact they return time and time again.  So why would I not continue to help make my customers’ experience the best possible one they can get?  As a public relations specialist, the goal is to meet or increase the businesses’ bottom line by creating valuable, long-lasting relationships with clients.

Last Friday, for example, I was at work and friendly couple came in to have a couple of drinks and some food.  I could tell they were good for business – they ordered drinks, one of them a double, and a bunch of food.  The guy ordered a plate of our famous nachos, and asked me if it would be ok if he substituted the salsa for an extra sour cream.  No problem, until I went into the kitchen and told them what I wanted.

“You’ve got to charge them,” the guy said to me.

“You can’t be serious?!!  They only want to swap.”

“Sour cream is more expensive.”

“I really don’t care. Give them what they want.”

According to the cook, my bosses informed the kitchen that anything more or extra needs to be charged for the bill.  This is bull.  I mean, what are they thinking?  Money, money, money, mon-eh.  The business has quite a bit of competition with some pretty serious companies, like earls and Montana’s, pleasing the customers should be common sense.

If you make the customers happy they’ll come back again and again and again.  But where does that fine line end?  When is it time to put the breaks on giving the customer whatever they want just to keep their business? 


Feed the Sex Line?

Regardless of whether you’re a sports fan, you may have heard of the big, BIG, B-I-G typo that hindered the fundraising efforts of Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

On a box of Ochocinco's, that's a cereal in Ohio, there was a toll-free number that was suppose to connect people with the charity Feed the Children.  Instead a single number error sent would be donors to a sex line where seductive voices answered the phone.  OOPS.

Once the error was discovered late last week, Ochocino cereal was pulled from the shelves, but will be sold again once the mistake is corrected.

Ochocinco’s went on sale in early September so either no one called the number until recently, or no one has wanted to donate until last week.

According to the Detroit News, Ochocinco told a local TV station the number was CLEARLY a mistake and he’s sure the maker will fix the problem. 

When was the last time a typo was big news, or even news for that matter?


Planning what? Confessions of a non-planner

I've never been one to plan, anything.  I just kinda go with the flow, and if it ends up biting me in the butt later than, well, I have no one to blame but myself.

Most of the time it works for me.  I've travelled around the world and only one time did I have most of my trip planned out.  Even then we deviated from the plan and almost missed a huge part of the trip, but there were unforseen circumstances, like our bus getting tear gased.  But if we had stuck to the plan I guess that wouldn't have happened.

Let's take Tuesday as the most recent example.  There was a bake sale at school and my boyfriend suggested that we make cream puffs, what were we thinking?  Cream puffs need to be refrigerated, hence the cream part.  Ok, covered.  I brought a cooler to school and figured I'm set.  NOT.  A cooler is not a fridge.  The cream melted and, of course, I didn't think to bring whip cream to school.  So, with melted cream on the cream puffs, I set out to Young's Market on William to get whip cream.  Needless to say that was a disaster, because not to many people had ever bought it.  I was stuck with moldy Cool Whip - one of the grossest things I've ever come across.  So the cream puffs were not all that creamy, but I'm told still super good.  Ugh, stress.

But I digress.  The point is I'm going in to the professional field of public relations, and it's high time I step it up and plan.  I'm going to need to be prepared not only for my sanity, but also the fact that I need to keep my clients happy.  I've heard other people mention that in second year CreComm Melanie talks about being prepared for EVERYTHING - absolutely everything - and having a "what if" kit.  This kind of terrifies me.  Not only because I'm not a planner and have NEVER really planned anything out in my whole life, but also what if I forget something?  I don't even know where I'd begin.

Can a non-planner be reformed?  I really hope so, because if I don't I have a long, hard road ahead of me.


Pencil marks

What would you do if this were your assignment?  Would you cry?  Would you turn it over to see the next page?

Maybe not, but I did.  I did, and I was pleasantly surprised to see what it said.

The comments say, “Way to go!” That’s right, Steve Vogelsang used an exclamation point.  “Your best work so far!”  Twice!

If you look closer you will see most of the editing notes are check marks – good job – or very good and really good. 

Regardless of what most of the comments say, it’s daunting to see all that pencil on 438-word story.  The fact of the matter is, though, that as a writer, a professional one to boot, there will always be small changes or big changes or comments that an editor will make to help IMPROVE a writer’s abilities.

As a writer learning that someone will always have something to say about your work or know how to say it better is a hard pill to swallow.  But it’s best to choke it down because an outsider’s opinion can sometimes lead to amazing ideas. 


I’m officially a videographer this week.  Well sort of.  For the first time this week, Nicki and I edited a short silent film we shot last week for continuity.  It was totally amazing to put two different images of the same action together and have it tell a story.  I don’t know if any of you reading this blog has done this, but it is a totally amazing feeling to know that you can tell a story with film.

(I wanted to include the silent film here, but it's taking forever and this blog is due at 6.)

Another notch on the old videographer’s belt is recording sound.  Until today I had NEVER recorded sound.  Before last week I didn't even fully comprehend just how important and difficult sound is.  In first year, I filmed and edited a montage but that was just one music track and the continuity assignment was silent.  This morning Nicki, Glenda and I finally took out the sound equipment to record a phone call.  I held the boom mic over Nicki's head as she played  her part, and watched as the audio levels peaked up and down - it's really important.  Next week involves taking all we learnt, shot composition, editing for continuity and sound, and put it all together to create a piece that is officially a video.  

I'm really excited to see how it all LOOKS and SOUNDS.  If you had asked me two years ago if I ever saw myself doing or even liking this I don't if I would have said yes.  This last year has opened my eyes to so many different things I could never have imagined.  


What's the U about?

“Dad, why do we use U in words like colour and neighbour?”

“I don’t know that’s just what we do.  It’s kind of silly actually.”

That’s my dad, spoken like a true Canadian with British heritage – we have no freaking clue.

When you spell words like colour, flavour, honour there is always that little red swiggly line from your old pal spell check letting you know that word is spelt wrong, and if you’re like me you don’t change it.  But do you know why?  Maybe it’s something in our subconscious telling us that we, Canadians, spell these words with a U just to be different.

After a little research, I found that there is no earth shattering reason why we do this.  The British do it this way so we do it this way.  The website I found hints that Americans changed the language as a way of breaking free from the British – big shocker there.  Canadians, on the other hand, continue to use the British spelling as a way of preserving a sense of heritage and tradition.

U isn’t the only thing Americans changed in the English language.  Here are some others that even Canadians adopted:




Why do you say paper jam when there is no paper jam?

My printer is giving me a headache – a huge freaking headache.  It keeps saying paper jam when there is no paper jam, or at least is there is no reason why there should be a paper jam.  The paper is just sitting there nice and neat until it goes in the printer, and before it can even get half way done it jams.  UGH, not again.  Freaking paper jam.
The first time I notice how crappy this printer is was the other day when I had to print something out for school.  I hit print and then I got an error message, “communication error.”  Ok, let’s try this again.  Print… “Communication error.”  Why are you doing this to me, just print!  Again and again I tried for about an hour.  Press print then hold the paper as it feeds into the printer.  “Communication error.” Shit.  Then I tried to change the black ink cartage.  “Communication error.”  Ok, ok, let’s try changing the colour cartage too.  “Communication error.”

After that I gave up.  This is absolutely ridiculous.  I’ll just print it out at school.

The day after fighting with the printer for over an hour, I decided just for fun that I would try to print something.  Like a bad horror movie when the victim runs upstairs instead of running outside, and all the audience can do is yell, “don’t go upstairs – run outside,” the printer decided to work.  That stupid, freaking thing worked – the first time.
Damn you printer!  I’ll show you.  I’ll go buy a new one and then take you out to the field behind my house and smash you to pieces just like they did on Office Space.  Just wait, you’ll get your headache.


Edit me life why don't ya

On Facebook people are always posting what they think, what they’re up to and just any random thought that comes to mind. Sometimes everything in the sentence is grammatically correct and sometimes it’s not.

I specifically remember a couple of posts I made this summer while tired or aggravated that may not have been up to the editing standards of my instructors at RRC. But whatever, I didn’t think I was going to get a hard time from anyone, because after all it’s a social networking site and not everyone is perfect all the time. I mean I wouldn’t post some of the comments or pictures a lot of people put up there - I’m not judging - why does someone feel the need to judge me?

I don’t remember what I said, but there was an error, not a huge error but an error nonetheless. A few people, who are only Facebook friends, made comments like, “Aren’t you in a writing program or something?” or corrected my mistake for me. I was so annoyed that I wrote a grammatically correct post with no spelling errors about how I’m human, and as long as I’m not handing in a project to an instructor or employer it isn’t the end of the world. We all make mistakes sometimes, but has Facebook and Twitter given people the power to make editing comments regardless of the medium?


Epicurious, you bet yah!

Apps are everywhere.  Apps can pretty much do anything you want, need and anything you can and can’t think of.  As a Blackberry user, I found out with a tinge of sadness today that I’m missing out on some apps.  When I search apps for my phone I don’t get the enormous array of possibilities that are available on iTunes for iPods and iPhones and iPads – I’m jealous.


I found an awesome app.  It’s called Epi.  It’s a free app from Epicurious.com, an online food magazine, which pretty much entails every thing that deals with food and eating it.
The app allows you to search from over 28 thousand recipes from top chefs, popular cookbooks and leading restaurants.
          Identification principle

Epi answers the question “What’s in it for me?” by giving its users thousands of recipes at their fingertips.  People are busy.  Whether it’s a student swamped with schoolwork, a family busy running kids from play dates to piano lessons or a single guy planning a romantic dinner, Epi allows you to find recipes easily and create a list your of favorites so you can always find them.  No more hunching over cookbooks or searching the web, you can find recipes anywhere.
         Action principle

Epi not only helps users get recipes anywhere any time, it also makes preparing to cook easier with the shopping list feature.  By putting in what you’ve got in your fridge, Epi will find the best recipe for any occasion or diet.  If you do need something from the store, it creates a shopping list for you and checks off each item.  If you can’t make it to the store, you can send shopping lists via email, so if someone is out and about they can pick up whatever you need.
      Principle of Familiarity and Trust

Epicurious.com works together with familiar cooking magazines, like Bon Apétit and Gourmet magazine and use to have a cooking show on the Discovery Channel.  By using recipes from cookbooks, chefs and restaurants we are familiar with it gains the users trust  - we know it’ll be good.  iTunes says Epi has already had 1.6 million downloads and was voted Best Mobile Application in 2009 by the American Society of Magazine Editors.

            Clarity principle

Like I said earlier, I don’t have an iPod, that’s app compatible, iPhone or iPad so the only way I can really see the Epi app is to look at screen shots.  It looks to be organized into what type of meal you want to make for any diet.  Let’s say you want to make something with grilled meat.  All you have to do is click on “grilled meat” and recipes with pictures will pop up.  I love pictures because they always make my decision easier to make.
On top of making it easy to help you decided what to make, the shopping list function breaks down your list into sections, so when you are in the produce department you know what you need to get.

Now all I need is a 32G iPod. 


The REAL power of words

A single word can take on so many different meanings.  Take the word REAL, for example.  It can be used in many different ways. When you use the word REAL you usually intend it to mean one of the following:

1 actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed
• used to emphasize the significance or seriousness of a situation or circumstance
Philosophy relating to something as it is, not merely as it may be described or distinguished.
2 (of a substance or thing) not imitation or artificial; genuine
true or actual
[ attrib. ] (of a person or thing) rightly so called; proper : he's my idea of a real man | Jamie is my only real friend.
3 [ attrib. ] informal complete; utter (used for emphasis) : the tour turned out to be a real disaster.
real 2 |rāˈäl| |reɪˈɑl| |riˈɑl| |reɪˈɑːl|
noun ( pl. reals or reis |rā sh; rās|)
the basic monetary unit of Brazil since 1994, equal to 100 centavos.
( pl. reales |rāˈäles|or reals) a former coin and monetary unit of various Spanish-speaking countries.
ORIGIN Portuguese and Spanish, literally ‘royal’ (adjective used as a noun).

Needless to say, words can be confusing, fantastic and multi-functional. 
Editors like to play with the meaning of words.   They take familiar words and use them in many different ways to make us think.

Five minutes away from my house is a little market gardener.  Like all market gardeners, they sell mostly local produce.  This local farmer, however, loves to advertise his home-grown goodness by calling it “REAL” -  “REAL” corn, “REAL potatoes and “REAL” blueberries. 

These signs annoy and intrigue me.  Why would anyone call local produce “REAL” ______?  What ever happened to using good old words, like local, farm fresh, homegrown?  I mean “REAL”, really?  Oh course, it’s real.  I can feel it, see it and, most importantly, taste it.
Whoever chose this slogan thought of a way to get my attention and to get me thinking about their product with one word. This is the power of words.  They can get us thinking and feeling about anything. 

As an editor, it’s important to attract your audience with interesting words and visuals that stops them in their tracks.  With all the competition in the market, it’s important to use whatever means you have to stick in the audience’s mind, and words can have a huge impact on getting your audience's attentions.