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    Expert Roundup: 2016 Presidential Election (Continued)

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 1:23 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Following area additional experts who are available to discuss various election-related issues. You can view the original roundup here:

    You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it’s easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:

    Will McInnes
    “It’s no secret that social is changing almost every landscape, including politics. It’s also not surprising that, traditionally, presidential candidates might not know how to draft a tweet, yet they do understand the power social yields and surround themselves with people proficient at creating and sustaining social campaigns. For 2016, social will be critical for reaching various demographics – just take a look at how each candidate chose to announce their candidacy and it’s clear that the battleground for the popular vote in the 2016 presidential race will take place largely via social. This week’s first GOP debate is the first indicator of who’s leading the race – on social.”
    McInnes can speak to trends in the industry that will impact the race. Brandwatch has up-to-the-minute data on which candidates are winning in the battle for buzz and which topics are getting the most social traction.
    Contact: Marissa Toselli,

    Matthew Gerber, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Communication
    Director of Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum
    Baylor University
    “A good public debater should have strong presence. Presence is a little hard to define, but it entails confidence and the ability to communicate one’s expertise and qualifications to the audience. It is often not the candidate with the most political experience that ultimately wins the election. It is the candidate who has the ability to persuade the audience that they he or she is the most qualified for the job, even if he or she lacks significant political experience. At least part of that persuasive ability rests in the candidate’s presence and rhetorical skill.”
    Gerber, who directs Baylor University’s nationally recognized debate program, is a seasoned debate coach and judge who can provide expert commentary on the U.S. presidential debates. As a college debater, he qualified for the National Debate Tournament three times. He’s judged hundreds of college, high school and public debates during his career. His research areas include argumentation and debate, rhetorical criticism and, specifically, the rhetoric of American foreign policy. Baylor’s debate program has been represented at the National Debate Tournament more than 50 times since 1947, including three national championships and nine Final Four appearances.
    Contact: Eric Eckert,

    Harlan Ullman
    The Killowen Group
    “Not one candidate at the Republican debate had specific plans for how to repair a government that was badly broken along party lines -- only the belief it could be done. And many were simply ill informed or not informed on basic facts. Some of the biggest whoppers, for example, concerning only the Iranian nuclear deal were: abrogate the agreement on taking office irrespective of whether it was working or not; deny Iran all nuclear capacity even though the non-proliferation treaty guarantees nuclear power for peaceful purposes; re-station missile defense in Europe to protect against a nuclear Iran even though, over the next few years, the process is underway to deploy such systems. Equally blunt critique could be liberally applied to the other topics. That is not to say Democrats are any better. Perhaps because that field is a quarter of the size, their debates will be less entertaining. But the Democrats have one big advantage Republicans ignore at their peril: to win the presidency, the magic number is 270 electoral and no popular votes. Arguably, the Democratic candidate most likely over 200 electoral votes virtually assured. Demographics for women and minorities are also skewed in their favor, especially as the Republicans in the debate had little to say to change that dynamic. And Mr. Trump's answer to a question of why he has described women as "pigs" and worse did little to gain the female vote. If Republicans are truly serious about winning the White House, they need to come to their electoral senses. First, facts matter. Words are cheap. Basic understanding of reality, rather than fantasy or whim, must underwrite policy prescriptions. Second, women and minorities most likely will determine the next president. Third, politics in Washington and internationally are far tougher, more complex and complicated. The naiveté shown by many of the candidates will not survive prime time. Will their prescriptions improve? One hopes, but hope may be the only possibility.”
    Washington, D.C.-based Ullman is a former naval officer with combat commands in the Vietnam War and later in the Persian Gulf. He chairs The Killowen Group, which advises leaders of government and business at the highest levels, including presidential candidates here and abroad, through a brains-based approach to strategic thinking. Since the 1980s, he has developed a reputation as a strategic thought leader and thinker in the public and private sectors. He is known for the doctrine of shock and awe and sits on advisory boards for the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander US Forces Europe. Currently a senior adviser to the Atlantic Council and Business Executives for National Security, he was a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the National Defense University and professor of military strategy at the National War College. A student and practitioner of global economies, he writes often on the financial crises in UPI and other media, and sits on the boards of both private and public companies in the high-technology and financial services sectors. His latest book is “A Handful of Bullets -- How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace.”
    Contact: Ryan McCormick,

    How to Turn off a Reporter With Just Five Words

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 11:27 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    If you were on Twitter yesterday, you may have seen tweets with the hashtag #sourcefromhellin5words.

    The brainchild of Linda Formichelli, co-founder of The Renegade Writer and, the hashtag gave writers the opportunity to share five-word phrases that make them never want to interview a source again.

    Here is a roundup of some of the top phrases shared by writers:

    • “Can I review before publishing?” (@joyfc)
    • “I must approve final draft.” (@write4income)
    • “Oh, don’t use my name.” (@seanfdriscoll)
    • “It’s all off the record.” (@lisarab)
    • “Don’t quote me on that.” (@Steph_Steinberg)
    • “Hey don’t use this, but…” (@josephcurrency)
    • “Don’t use any of this.” (@seancolahan)
    • “Has this been published yet?” (@urbanmusewriter)
    • “Make me sound good, okay?” (@sheehanwriting)
    • “Just quote from my book.” (@gwenmoran)
    • “Read Chapter 7 of my book.” (@urbanmusewriter)
    • “Answers are in my book.” (@caroleenoury)
    • “It’s all on my website.” (@anngol)
    • “Just get quotes from my website.” (@write4income)
    • “Can’t you just email me?” (@urbanmusewriter)
    • “Just email me the questions.” (@clarionev)
    • “Totally forgot about our interview.” (@savvysuburban)
    • “My idea’s better than yours.” (@cassiemccorvey)
    • “My lawyer has to approve.” (@mariannevill714)
    • “We’re creating a new paradigm.” (@lformichelli)
    • “That publication isn’t big enough.” (@willieshamorris)
    • And, my favorite (albeit more than five words): “Write the story, let me read it, and then I’ll decide if I want to be interviewed.” (@annielogue)

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. All you have to do is fill out a quick form telling us what you’re looking for, your deadline, and how you want to be contacted, and we’ll send it to the appropriate experts in our network. The best part? It’s free! Get started here: Send a query.

    Breaking Into Beauty and Fashion Writing

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015, 12:28 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    Most people think writing for beauty and fashion publications is all about glamorous events and free product samples. Well, that is part of it, but being a beauty and fashion writer is also a lot of work.

    On Tuesday, Aug. 4, I interviewed Janene Mascarella (@MrsWrite), a well-known beauty and fashion writer, via Twitter. Janene shared her insight on beauty and fashion magazines and how you can break into writing for them.

    Janene is the beauty director of BELLA New York, overseeing the luxury magazine’s Beauty Scene section. She writes and assigns about 10 splashy pages in each issue, featuring the latest beauty tricks, tips and trends. She has also been published as a freelancer in various publications, including Washington Post, Newsday,, Cosmopolitan, Self, Glamour, Health, Cooking Light, Women's Health, USA Today, Scholastic Parent & Child, Woman's Day, Parenting, Parents, Family Circle, Babytalk, American Baby, Weight Watchers, Arthritis Today, Working Mother, Fodor’s Travel, AOL Travel, CBS News, Hamptons Magazine, AARP Bulletin, American Way, and many others. She is also a weekly columnist of Parade Magazine's Community Table.

    Janene, thanks so much for joining us today! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do for BELLA New York? What’s a typical day like?

    I’m always working on something fun for BELLA. It’s such a fabulous publication. It’s really my dream job!

    I handle the Beauty Scene section and a two-page home décor feature called “Sophisticated Spaces.” I do get a crazy amount of pitches/products/press releases. Staying organized can be a challenge.

    And it may be 90 degrees out here in New York, but right now I’m working on holiday gift guides!

    It’s so important for people to remember magazine lead times.

    Yes, we’re already done with the fall issues!

    Some people think beauty and fashion writing is all about attending parties.

    There are lots of events and parties – more than I could possibly attend – but there’s so much non-glam work involved too. It’s really great to get up from my computer chair and network. BELLA is having a big celebrity White Party in the Hamptons next week. I’m excited to get dressed up and mix and mingle.

    What is something writers might not realize about writing for the beauty and fashion industry?

    When writing beauty and fashion copy, you want to strike a balance of being informative, entertaining, relevant and useful to readers. Useful is key. We try not to make readers feel like they need that $50 eye cream to be beautiful. There are just so many products and brands out there. I really do try and test so much.

    Do you deal only with experienced beauty writers, or would you take a pitch from someone new to the industry?

    For the print version, it’s not a beginner’s market. Experience is important, as is having the contacts in the industry. But I got an assignment for a national magazine my first time pitching – not a clip or a clue. I just never mentioned it. I had an idea and followed through with confidence. So I say swing for the fences!

    For BELLA’s website, there is always room for new talent. We have a “Write for BELLA” tab on the site:

    In general, what do beauty industry editors look for from freelancers?

    What catches my eye: clever packaging; delivering the info in a fun way; a smart way to frame the topic; a catchy headline. Don’t just give me a list of products.

    Also, knowing and nailing the magazine’s voice is so important. Pitch the magazines you love to read.

    And being nice and easy to work with is everything.

    What is a big no-no for a writer pitching a beauty/fashion story?

    What we were just talking about – not knowing the magazine’s tone or demographic. Some are obvious that they never even read the magazines, with pitches far off in left field.

    Also, don’t address the pitch as “Dear editor.” I don’t like that.

    What kinds of things do you look for when being pitched by a writer?

    First, be fun. Beauty and fashion should be fun! Magazine writing should be chatty and conversational. Lots of folks miss that!

    Also, connections and contacts in the industry. There is just no time for handholding. Print works many months in advance. You need to pick up on trends before they emerge, so having fashion and beauty PR contacts is a must.

    Is it more important to have a background in beauty/fashion industry (even if not as a writer) or as a writer in another industry?

    It’s extremely helpful but if you’re passionate about it, you have to start somewhere. Immerse yourself in the industry, pay attention, network. No background? Start building one!

    Do you have to live in a major city, like New York?

    I don’t think so at all. I never was asked where I live until they needed to send the check.

    How can freelancers find out the best person to pitch in a particular industry/publication?

    This is a no-brainer: call! In the age of email, a phone call is most welcomed (and noticed) at many pubs. Ask nicely, and chances are you’ll get someone friendly and chatty and willing to help you.

    What are some of the hottest topics in the beauty and fashion industry right now?

    DIY/at-home spa and salon treatments are very popular. Also, there are a lot of high-tech devices to beautify -- lasers, microdermabrasion, etc. – but they can be costly and not all deliver as promised. I happen to love the “beauty subscription box” trend. It’s a fun way to try and discover new things, delivered to your door. There are also lots of great apps that are like the Uber of beauty. You can book an at-home manicure, airbrush tan, facial, even a massage. I actually tried the at-home massage service and it was amazing. I LOVE MY JOB!

    Any last words of advice to aspiring beauty and fashion writers?

    I hear this all the time: “I started a beauty blog and am waiting for editors to notice me.” Editors are super-busy and probably not scouring the Internet for new talent. Stay dedicated to that beauty blog, but don’t just wait around. Find a magazine you love and read, and start pitching ideas. Don’t wait hoping something big will happen. Go out and make it happen. Pitch something only you can write – an essay, perhaps – something funny or relatable. If you truly have your heart set on beauty and fashion writing and you believe in yourself, it will show – and pay off.

    Thanks, Janene. That’s great advice!

    And writers, remember: When you’re writing those articles, ProfNet can help you find sources, at no charge:

    Expert Roundup: 2016 Presidential Election

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015, 10:42 AM [Expert Alerts]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    With the 2016 presidential election season under way, we put together a roundup of political experts on various election-related issues. We will be updating this and adding new experts throughout the 2016 election.

    You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it’s easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:

    Thomas P. O’Neill III
    Founder and Chief Executive Officer
    O’Neill and Associates
    A former lieutenant governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, O’Neill offers a veteran’s view of New England politics and running political campaigns. During his term of office from 1975 to 1983, O’Neill created and administered the Office of Federal-State Relations in Boston and Washington, D.C. Prior to becoming lieutenant governor, he served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The son of the late U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr., O’Neill offers a unique vantage point from which to comment on the politics of the 2016 presidential race, the U.S. Congress, and New England statewide races, as well as the past, present and future of the Democratic Party, from FDR to today. The founder and CEO of O’Neill and Associates, New England’s leading government relations and communications firm, O’Neill is an expert in messaging, crisis communications, public speaking and the intersection of government and business. He is available to provide analysis on the following topics: the New England political landscape; a historical and current perspective on intraparty relations and governing in times of partisanship; current state and direction of the Democratic Party; the changing Democratic electorate.
    Contact: Jennifer Hardin,

    Patrick Flavin, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Political Science
    Baylor University
    “Teachers, historically a group with a high turnout in elections and a tendency to vote Democrat, may be less predictable, given many prominent Democrats’ call for tying teachers' pay to student performance and expanding charter schools -- ideas unpopular with teachers' unions. You might see less enthusiasm, or teachers might be more likely to stay home than vote.” Conversely, recent moves in several states to roll back teacher collective bargaining may spur them to vote, he said. Young voters, meanwhile, could pack a considerable punch for the Democratic nominee: "The question isn't whom they would be more likely to vote for, but how much they'll turn out to vote. In 2008, there was a big increase in young voters. But they're still the least likely age group to vote."
    Flavin studies American politics, particularly political inequality, government representation of public opinion, political behavior -- including teachers’ union political activism -- quantitative methods and the impact of political processes on citizens' quality of life. In his research, he has studied why the political opinions of poor citizens are underrepresented in the policy decisions made by state governments. In a 2005 study, he found that people living in countries with governments that have a greater number of social services report being more satisfied with life. His findings, based on data from the World Values Survey, were published in the journal Politics & Policy.
    Contact: Terry Goodrich,

    Curt Nichols, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Political Science
    Baylor University
    “It has become progressively harder for presidents to become so-called ‘transformative’ leaders,” Nichols says. “Some suggest that this development is an artifact of the welfare state and the general ‘thickening’ of the institutional environment that trails in its wake.” Yet political actors have more ways to affect change than just ripping out and replacing -- or “displacing” -- institutions, he said. In fact, within an environment that affords defenders of the status quo strong "veto possibilities," it also is possible to “layer” institutions, “convert” them, or allow them to “drift.” It thus still may be possible for modern, environmentally constrained presidents to successfully reorder institutions. Nichols has shown this in his recent scholarly work, in which he employs computer simulation and historical case study to demonstrate the viability of alternate leadership possibilities. “Presidents exploiting what context gives them should still be able to get a lot done," Nichols suggests.  "What may be hard to do, is for us to give up the hope for transformative leadership and see that presidents are better seen as playing a key role in the periodic rejuvenation of governance."
    Nichols’ research often intersects at the crossroads of presidential studies and American political history. He has two book-length projects in the works. They separately examine the role that the president and the Supreme Court play in the American governing cycle. His historically oriented work has been published in American Politics Research, The Forum, Law and Social Inquiry, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Polity. He has further used a statistical method known as regression analysis to evaluate presidential ranking polls conducted by The Wall Street Journal, C-SPAN and the Siena Research Institute.  He concludes that eight factors are consistently used by experts to give presidents their rating scores.
    Contact: Terry Goodrich,

    Darren Davis
    Professor of Political Science, Associate Vice President of Research
    University of Notre Dame
    “Presidential polling is not always an accurate predictor, and results often are misleading; one can get public opinion polls to say what people want them to say.”
    Davis is a nationally recognized expert in public opinion, elections and voting behavior. He is the author of “Negative Liberty: Public Opinion and the Terrorist Attacks on America.” His research includes political and social consequences of fear, political correctness, measurement of racial attitudes, political tolerance, and the social-psychology of African-American political attitudes and behavior. Expertise: political psychology and behavior, elections and voting behavior, racial politics.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Robert Schmuhl
    Director, John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics & Democracy
    Professor of American Studies and Journalism
    Schmuhl is a critic of the current state-by-state caucus and primary process: “The process for selecting the highest office is hopelessly confusing, constantly changing and seriously flawed.”
    Schmuhl often serves as an expert resource for reporters seeking comment on the American political landscape and its relationship with the media. He is the author or editor of 11 books, including “Statecraft and Stagecraft: American Political Life in the Age of Personality,” which describes the cult of personality taking over politics, and “Wounded Titans: American Presidents and the Perils of Power.” Expertise: relationship between politics and the media.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Joe Urbany
    Professor of Marketing, Mendoza College of Business
    University of Notre Dame
    On negative campaigning, Urbany said: “In our studies, we find that even though people believe that negative advertising is less influential, that it’s going to be less persuasive, they counter-argue it more, they give fewer support arguments to it, yet it has a stronger impact on migrating or changing voter tendency. Even if they don’t like it, it still can have an impact on shifting attitudes overall.”
    Urbany is among the nation’s most productive and leading authors of consumer marketing research and was a widely quoted source during the 2008 presidential election on negative campaigning. He is the co-author of a paper titled, “Confirmation and the Effects of Positive and Negative Political Advertising.” Expertise: negative campaign ads research.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Daniel Birdsong
    Lecturer, Political Science
    University of Dayton
    "The 2016 election will be fascinating to watch as unlimited Super PACs bring more money into the race than before, and candidates harness social media tools to reach voters and influence the news media. Ohio will be at the heart of it all as a critical battleground state for the general election. No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio, and since 1960 no Democrat has won the presidency without winning Ohio."
    Birdsong teaches on American politics, the presidency, campaigns and elections, media and politics, and public opinion and political behavior. He has a background in polling and policy research.
    Contact: Meagan Pant,

    Jamie Longazel
    Assistant Professor, Sociology
    University of Dayton
    "After decades of politicians presenting themselves as ‘tough’ on crime, the United States now imprisons far more people than any other country in the world. As we approach the 2016 election, it appears the political winds have shifted: both parties are now touting criminal justice ‘reform.’ Republicans seem eager to reduce penal costs while Democrats are attentive to disparities in the administration of justice. It will be interesting to see the proposals that come out of various campaigns."
    Longazel's research focuses on crime and inequality, race relations, and immigration law and politics. He is co-author of The Pains of Mass Imprisonment. He is currently investigating the politics surrounding local immigration laws such as those in Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina, and Hazleton, Pa.
    Contact: Meagan Pant,

    Joe Valenzano III
    Assistant Professor, Communications
    University of Dayton
    "From a communication standpoint, both party's candidates will have very different, but equally important, challenges. For Hillary Clinton, the challenge is one of both style and ethics. For the nominee who emerges from the crowded Republican field, the obstacle will be primarily in developing content that broadens the base of the party. It is quite possible that whoever overcomes their rhetorical issues better will sit in the Oval Office in January 2017."
    Valenzano's research focuses on rhetoric and public communication, political communication, and religious communication and culture.
    Contact: Meagan Pant,

    Joshua Ambrosius
    Assistant Professor, Political Science
    University of Dayton
    "The urban electorate is identifying less and less with the Republican Party’s candidates and platform. Urban appeal should nonetheless be a key consideration for Democrats in the post-Obama age as they craft their ticket. The trends uncovered in my research suggest that Democrats will continue to paint our biggest towns blue — even if the shade is a bit lighter next time around without President Obama's urban credentials. Republicans must compensate for their deficiency in the nation’s densest counties by softening their harsh stances on social welfare policy, immigration reform, religious freedom, and same-sex marriage and diversifying the top of the ticket. While some GOP candidates may address one or two of these, others are digging in and bolstering their conservative credentials on these issues."
    Ambrosius studies voting patterns in urban areas. He published "Blue City...Red City? A Comparison of Competing Theories of Core County Outcomes in U.S. President Elections, 2000-2012" in the Journal of Urban Affairs.
    Contact: Meagan Pant,

    Michelle Pautz
    Associate Professor, Political Science
    University of Dayton
    "Environmental issues are likely to take a back seat to other policy issues, despite growing movement internationally to address climate change. Although significant portions of the American public say they would like candidates to address environmental issues, candidates are unlikely to do so. A candidate's view on climate change is likely to continue to be an important litmus test with the base of their political party."
    Pautz's research focuses on environmental policy and regulation; government accountability; film and politics; and the administration of policy.
    Contact: Meagan Pant,

    Peter Berlin
    “The main force driving Trump’s surge right now is lack of ‘political correctness.’ The electorate (and certainly the GOP electorate) really sees this as refreshing. People are so used to politicians (and many in media altogether) watching their every word, being afraid of being called intolerant and apologizing at the drop of a hat for anything that they question most politicians’ sincerity. Moreover, they believe an honest discussion can rarely be had in that type of environment because everyone is walking around on their tippy toes afraid to have something come out of their mouth that can potentially be seen as offensive. Trump doesn’t care. He doesn’t apologize, he’s brash and he doesn’t fold. It seems that many of his current supporters believe in the basic principles that he espouses, but that they wouldn’t themselves say it the manner he does (e.g., the John McCain comments). Yet, I think the supporters believe that they ‘know’ what he means and that he breaks the mold by not backing down or apologizing for every slight misstep of the tongue. They find this more refreshing and exciting than the political speak that goes around from one election cycle to another. Many voters want to hear ‘normal’ discussion of issues in the way they themselves think and discuss them with their friends and colleagues, not in the stifled way it’s done on the cable news networks today.”
    Based in Los Angeles, Berlin is a frequent commenter on high-profile legal, legislative and other matters, and has been interviewed and provided commentary to Forbes, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, Law360, and a host of other newspapers and related media. His commentary and expertise revolves around center/right-based political issues that include: gun control, legislation, candidacy performance and strategy issues, foreign affairs, as well emerging political issues facing the current crop of hopefuls.

    Carl Christman
    Speaker and Mentalist
    Christman, a mentalist and body language expert, is available to offer insights into what the candidate’s say about them: “What candidates say is not nearly as important as how they say it. Their body language and micro-expressions often tell us more about their true feelings than their actual speeches.”
    Christman is a teacher, author, and speaker. He plays with language, psychology and non-verbal communication to educate and entertain audiences. His bestselling book, “How to Read Minds and Influence People,” explores communication from a radically different perspective. It unlocks the science of mind reading and helps people harness the power of persuasion. It offers readers the tools to relate to people and positively influence them.

    Grant Neeley
    Department Chair, Political Science
    University of Dayton
    "We have an unprecedented number of candidates for the Republican nomination. Given recent historical rulings and legislation that have settled some of the larger social issues like same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act, it will be interesting to see where candidates go with their policy issues. With the number of foreign military issues that the U.S. is currently involved, a candidate's vision of how the U.S. should engage the world is a policy area that is of utmost importance."
    Neeley's research interests include public opinion, voting behavior, public administration and political behavior. He also teaches classes in morality policy, public sector human resource management and has published research on concealed carry laws and traffic safety. Neeley is a public affairs officer in the Navy Reserve and has worked for the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati and the Social Science Research Institute at the University of Tennessee.
    Contact: Meagan Pant,

    Rich Rubino
    Political Analyst and Author
    Rubino is a walking encyclopedia of political knowledge, has his finger on the pulse of all the candidates and prospective candidates, and can compare these candidates to those who have run for election in the past. He is the author of three books: “The Political Bible of Humorous Quotations from American Politics,” “Make Every Vote Equal: What a Novel Idea,” and “The Political Bible of Little Known Facts in American Politics.” He blogs regularly for the Huffington Post; appears weekly as a political analyst on KFBK in Sacramento; and has made numerous appearance on TV (MSNBC, FOX News, Al-Jazeera) and more than 100 radio stations.  He has also worked for Support Popular Vote, a group working to change the way electoral votes are allocated within the Electoral College. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from Assumption College, and a Master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Emerson College.
    Contact: David Thomson,

    Mark Noll
    Professor of History
    University of Notre Dame
    Noll is one of the nation’s foremost scholars of religious and cultural history and is a prominent participant in dialogues between evangelical and Catholic scholars. Selected in 2005 by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America, Noll is the author of numerous books, including “God and Race in American Politics,” which traces the explosive political effects when religion and race intermingle. A former professor of religion and history at Wheaton College where he co-founded the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, Noll has served as a visiting teacher at Harvard Divinity School, University of Chicago Divinity School, Westminster Theological Seminary, and Regent College of Vancouver, B.C. Expertise: intersection of race, religion and politics.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Kevin Fullington
    Co-chair, Government Relations Practice
    Herrick, Feinstein LLP
    Fullington is co-chair of the government relations practice at Herrick, Feinstein LLP, a prominent 140-lawyer firm headquartered in New York City. He regularly comments on New York state and national politics on television as a Republican consultant. Before joining Herrick, Fullington spent 10 years in government, most recently as the liaison to the New York City Council during the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, negotiating legislation, advancing his legislative agenda, testifying before City Council and making policy recommendations. He can discuss: Republican presidential primary and general election strategy; news regarding specific Republican candidates; U.S. House and Senate Republicans' legislative agenda and the balance of power in each chamber; New York City and statewide political topics, including Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo.
    Contact: Tim Ragones,

    Christopher Malone, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor and Chair, Political Science Department
    Pace University
    Malone is an expert on presidential elections and voting whose academic research focuses on race and American political development, democracy and citizenship. In January 2004, he was identified by the Washington Post as one of the nation's most innovative professors. From 2004-2010, he co-taught a course on American Politics and Public Policy with C-SPAN’s Executive Producer Steve Scully that aired every Friday afternoon on the C-SPAN networks. During the 2000 presidential campaign, he helped produce and appeared in the PBS show for teens, “In the Mix,” teaching young voters about analyzing campaign ads. Malone reviews books for the Law and Politics Book Review and has analyzed politics for Good Morning Hudson Valley, USA Today, The New York Times and WINS 1010 in New York City. He has also been quoted in more than a hundred news articles on presidential politics and has appeared on local New York City television news shows analyzing presidential politics.
    Contact: Bill Caldwell,

    David A. Caputo
    President Emeritus, Professor of Political Science
    Pace University
    Caputo has taught courses on “Presidential Leadership: Politics of Change,” “Road to the White House,” and “The Future of Democracy: Presidency.” He received his B.A. in government in 1965 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. As the recipient of a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship, Caputo enrolled at Yale University, where he went on to earn two master’s degrees in political science and his Ph.D. (1970). He has contributed to news organizations including Fox, CNN, ABC, and CBS.
    Contact: Bill Caldwell,

    Christopher P. Borick
    Professor of Political Science and Director, Institute of Public Opinion
    Muhlenberg College
    Dr. Borick is a political scientist and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion in Allentown, Pa. He is a nationally recognized public opinion researcher who has conducted over 200 large-scale public opinion surveys during the past 15 years. The results of these surveys have appeared in numerous national newspapers and other publications. He currently conducts surveys for the Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pa., and has published and presented over 30 articles and four books in the area of public policy and public opinion. He can speak to a wide variety of topics related to public policy analysis and public opinion across the country, with particular interest in Pennsylvania and the northeast.
    Contact: Nikki Rhoads,

    Melissa Deckman
    Professor of Political Science, Washington College
    Affiliated Scholar, Public Religion Research Institute
    Deckman’s areas of specialty include religion and politics, Maryland politics, and women and politics. Her forthcoming book, “Mama Grizzlies: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Tea Party in America,” is under contract with NYU Press. Her examination of the impact of the “War on Women” on the 2012 presidential election (co-authored with John McTague) was published recently in American Politics Research. In addition to more than a dozen scholarly articles, she is the author of “School Board Battles: the Christian Right in Local Politics” (Georgetown University Press 2004) and co-author of the textbook “Women and Politics: Paths to Power and Political Influence,” with Julie Dolan and Michele Swers, now in its second edition with Pearson/Prentice Hall. She appears frequently as a guest for a variety of public affairs programs on public radio and television to discuss Maryland politics and has been cited in numerous articles, including those for the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Christian Science Monitor, and Pundifact.
    Contact: Kay MacIntosh,

    Chris Markowski
    Markowski Investments
    Markowski is an author, radio personality, investment broker, and political analyst. As the personality behind “Watchdog on Wall Street,” he is never afraid to fight against the lies and manipulation of Wall Street. He has warned American consumers about the largest scandals and corruption years before they made headlines. His honest approach to business is in stark contrast of what many investors are exposed to every day. His stance as a politically independent, conservative libertarian is an ideology that is on the upswing but still has few publicly recognizable advocates. Markowski is always up-to-date on current news topics and welcomes interviews.
    Contact: Alexa Miller,, or Brian Hart,

    Jonathan Alpert
    Psychotherapist and Author
    As a psychotherapist, Alpert can offer a unique perspective into the minds of the candidates and voters.  He has his finger on the psychological pulse of the nation and can offer insight into how people are feeling, what they want, and the psyche of the candidates.
    Alpert is a Manhattan psychotherapist and author of “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.”  He appeared as an expert in the 2010 Oscar-winning film “Inside Job,” about the financial crisis. He has television experience and is often interviewed on current events, lifestyle and hot-button issues, and more.

    John McGlennon, Ph.D.
    Chair, Department of Government
    College of William & Mary
    McGlennon, a professor of government at William & Mary since 1974, has been widely published on presidential nominating politics, political party activists, Southern politics, and especially Virginia politics. He has provided commentary to the New York Times, NPR, Christian Science Monitor, Orlando Sentinel, Red Eye Radio and other media outlets.

    Brian W. Smith, Ph.D.
    Professor of Political Science, Associate Dean, School of Behavioral and Social Sciences
    St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas
    An active teacher, Smith teaches a range of courses, including “The Presidency,” “Voting Behavior,” “Congress,” and “Political Statistics.” He is the recipient of the University's Richard B. Hughes Teaching Excellence Award and was a finalist for the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. He is a frequent political commentator for KVUE-ABC Austin, KTBC-FOX Austin, TWC News Austin, and nationally and locally on NPR. His research interests include third-party voting, Texas politics and comparative electoral systems. He earned his Ph.D. in political science at Pennsylvania State University, a Master’s degree in political science at Pennsylvania State University, and his Bachelor’s degree in political science at Bloomsburg University. Topics he can discuss include: electoral issues, voting behavior, Texas presidential candidates, Texas voting behavior, Texas presidential elections, and Texas presidential campaigns.
    Contact: Ryann Collier,

    Kent Syler
    Adjunct Professor of Political Science
    Middle Tennessee State University
    Syler has been involved in Tennessee politics for over 30 years. Starting as a campaign “sound truck” driver in 1978, Syler has gone on to become one of Tennessee’s most respected political strategists. He managed Congressman Bart Gordon’s first campaign in 1984 and his tough re-election campaigns in 1994 and 1996. He served as Gordon’s Tennessee chief of staff from 1985 until his retirement in 2011. Syler has been actively involved with dozens of other campaigns ranging from city council to governor and U.S. Senate. He has taught as an adjunct professor, assistant professor, and lecturer in the Political Science Department since 2002. He has BS and MA degrees from MTSU.
    Contact: Gina Logue,

    David Campbell
    Professor of Political Science and Department Chair
    University of Notre Dame
    Campbell studies writes and lectures on American politics, political participation, religion and politics and education policy. He is particularly interested in and articulate about the influence of religions and cultures on political behavior. He is the author of many essays, reviews and books on these subjects, including “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us,” which he co-authored with Robert Putnam and which has won two awards, and “Why We Vote: How Schools and Communities Shape Our Civic Life,” in which he argues that a strong sense of civic duty springs not only from a person’s contemporary social environment, but also from one’s formative experiences, especially adolescence. Expertise: religion and politics, political behavior, education policy.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Michael Desch
    Professor of Political Science
    University of Notre Dame
    Desch is an expert on U.S. foreign and national security policies. His current research focuses on how to bridge the gap between academic research and policymaking. He is the co-author of, most recently, "Privileged and Confidential: The Secret History of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board," as well as “Power and Military Effectiveness: The Fallacy of Democratic Triumphalism,” “When the Third World Matters: Latin America and U.S. Grand Strategy,” and “Civilian Control of the Military: The Changing Security Environment.” Prior to his academic appointments, Desch has served on the staff of a U.S. Senator, as an intelligence analyst at the U.S. Department of State, and as national defense analyst at the Congressional Research Service. Expertise: American foreign policy, international relations, international security.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Luis Fraga
    Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership and Political Science
    University of Notre Dame
    Fraga's primary interests are in American politics, where he specializes in the politics of race and ethnicity, Latino politics, immigration policy, education politics, voting rights policy and urban politics. His most recent co-authored book is “Latinos in the New Millennium: An Almanac of Opinion, Behavior, and Policy Preferences” (Cambridge University Press 2012). He is the co-author of several books focusing on Latinos and education. In 2011, President Obama appointed him to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. He is co-chair of the Postsecondary Education Subcommittee. In 2011, Hispanic Business named him one of the top “100 Influentials” in the U.S. He is the immediate past president of the board of directors of OneAmerica, an immigrant rights and advocacy organization based in Seattle. He is also one of six principal investigators on the Latino National Survey (LNS), the first-ever state-stratified survey of Latinos in the U.S. Expertise: politics of race and ethnicity, immigration policy, voting rights policy.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Geoff Layman
    Professor of Political Science
    University of Notre Dame
    Layman specializes in political parties, political behavior, and religion and politics, focusing especially on long-term changes in the parties and their electoral coalitions. His first book, "The Great Divide: Religious and Cultural Conflict in American Party Politics" (Columbia, 2001), examines the growing division of the Democratic and Republican parties along religious and cultural lines. Layman currently is involved in two book-length projects: one on "conflict extension" and polarization in American party politics, and another on the political causes and consequences of growing secularism in the U.S. Expertise: religion and politics, public opinion, electoral behavior.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Vincent Phillip Muñoz
    Professor of Religion and Public Life
    University of Notre Dame
    Muñoz’s recent research has focused on the theme of religious liberty and the U.S. Constitution. In his award-winning book, “God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and Jefferson,” he questions the traditional view of the founding fathers’ stance on religious liberty. Muñoz rejects the consensus view that the founding fathers agreed about the meaning of religious liberty by showing how Presidents James Madison, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson disagreed about the separation of church and state. He explains why the founders’ disagreement means that no single church-state position can claim the exclusive authority of America’s founding history. In doing so, Muñoz reveals how the founders have been misused by Supreme Court justices, demonstrates the limits of “originalism” in church-state jurisprudence, and explains how the founders’ different positions would adjudicate contemporary church-state controversies. His scholarship on the meaning of the First Amendment's protection of religious liberty has been cited by the Supreme Court. Expertise: constitutional law, American politics, political philosophy.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Dianne Pinderhughes
    Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies and Department Chair
    University of Notre Dame
    Pinderhughes studies inequality with a focus on racial and ethnic politics and public policy. She is the author of “Race and Ethnicity in Chicago Politics: A Reexamination of Pluralist Theory” and co-author of "Uneven Roads: An Introduction to U.S. Racial and Ethnic Politics," as well as numerous articles, including several for the National Urban League’s “State of Black America.” She also is interested in the creation of American civil society institutions in the 20th century and is analyzing their influence on voting rights policy. Pinderhughes is the first vice president of the International Political Science Association, the former president of the American Political Science Association, and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Expertise: racial, ethnic and urban politics, voting rights policy.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Benjamin Radcliff
    Professor of Political Science
    University of Notre Dame
    Radcliff works at the intersection of American and comparative politics. His current research focuses on the social scientific study of happiness within the multi-disciplinary field sometimes labeled happiness economics. His most recent book, "The Political Economy of Human Happiness" (Cambridge University Press), has received wide attention within both the academy and the popular press. Radcliff has also produced a series of empirical articles focusing on political participation, elections and public policy outcomes in the industrial democracies and across the American States, with a special focus on the role of organized labor. Expertise: politics and happiness economics, organized labor.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Christina Wolbrecht
    Associate Professor of Political Science
    Director, Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy
    University of Notre Dame
    Wolbrecht is the author of "The Politics of Women's Rights: Parties, Positions, and Change" (Princeton, 2000), which received the 2001 Leon D. Epstein Outstanding Book Award from the Political Organizations and Parties Section of the APSA, and the co-author of the forthcoming "Counting Women's Ballots: Female Voters from Suffrage Through the New Deal" (Cambridge, 2016). She is the co-editor of "The CQ Guide to U.S. Political Parties" (CQ Press, 2014) and of "Political Women and American Democracy" (Cambridge, 2008). Expertise: American political parties; women and politics.
    Contact: Mandy Kinnucan,

    Angela D. Ledford
    Professor of Political Science
    The College of Saint Rose
    Ledford specializes in contemporary political theory and teaches courses primarily in democratic theory, feminist theory, modern political thought, and race and class in America.  She has published articles on topics such as the movement to relocate the Confederate flag in South Carolina and the relationship between political representation and social class.  Her first book, “Group Representation, Feminist Theory, and the Promise of Justice,” published in 2012, makes the case for alternative electoral arrangements to increase the representation of women and minorities in Congress.  Ledford received her doctorate in political science from the University of South Carolina and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in political science from Texas Tech University. Topics she can discuss: campaign/electoral strategies; race, class, gender and sexuality in electoral politics; domestic policy, especially as it relates to labor, the environment, immigration and mass incarceration.
    Contact: Benjamin Marvin,

    Ryane McAuliffe Straus
    Associate Professor of U.S. Politics
    The College of Saint Rose
    Straus’ research interests include race and ethnicity, urban politics and public policy, with a particular interest in urban education policy.  She teaches courses in American politics, education politics, urban politics, public policy, and racial and ethnic politics.  Her dissertation focused on the use of magnet schools to desegregate the Los Angeles Unified School District, and her publications include “Reconstructing Los Angeles Magnet Schools: Representations in Newspapers” in the Peabody Journal of Education (2004), “Measuring Multi-Ethnic Integration” in Education and Urban Society (forthcoming) and several encyclopedia articles on education.  Straus received her doctoral and master’s degrees from the University of California, Irvine and her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Topics she can discuss: education and politics; race and politics; issues related to education and race, especially the recent spate of police shootings.
    Contact: Benjamin Marvin,

    Patrick Miller
    Assistant Professor of Political Science
    University of Kansas
    Miller can speak about national politics, social media and politics, voting trends, polling analysis and race in politics. He monitors state and national polling made available and tweets analysis at
    Contact: George Diepenbrock,

    Burdett Loomis
    Professor of Political Science
    University of Kansas
    Loomis is available to speak about Congress, U.S. politics and lobbying.
    Contact: George Diepenbrock,

    Mark Johnson
    Lecturer in Journalism and Law
    University of Kansas
    Johnson, also a partner in an international law firm, can speak about voter eligibility, post-election disputes over results, campaign finance, including contributions and expenditures, as well as The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United and what it meant for American elections.
    Contact: George Diepenbrock,

    Don Haider-Markel
    Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science
    University of Kansas
    Haider-Markel can speak about national political trends and races and potential policy implications. His research includes American politics and public policy.
    Contact: George Diepenbrock,

    Christina Bejarano
    Associate Professor of Political Science
    University of Kansas
    Bejarano is available to talk about U.S. politics. Her work focuses on women and Latinos in U.S. electoral politics, both their voting trends and political candidates. She has written two books: "The Latino Advantage: Gender, Race and Political Success" and "The Latino Gender Gap in U.S. Politics.”
    Contact: George Diepenbrock,

    Paul Johnson
    Professor of Political Science
    Director, Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis
    University of Kansas
    Johnson is available to discuss polling data, public opinion, elections and voting behavior. His broad research interests include interest group politics, electoral institutions, public opinion and data analysis.
    Contact: George Diepenbrock,

    Alesha Doan
    Chair of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department
    Associate Professor of Political Science
    University of Kansas
    Doan can address political issues nationally and in Kansas related to women, including topics of abortion, reproductive policy.
    Contact: George Diepenbrock,

    Robert Rowland
    Professor of Communication Studies
    University of Kansas
    Rowland researches political rhetoric, including political debates and the rhetoric of presidents. Recently, he published a journal article on the first 2012 presidential debate.
    Contact: George Diepenbrock,

    Gary Reich
    Associate Professor of Political Science
    University of Kansas
    Reich is available to speak about immigration-related issues and policy. His research includes immigration policy at state and federal levels.
    Contact: George Diepenbrock,

    Updates will be posted here:

    ProfNet Success Story: Freelance Writer Terri Williams

    Friday, July 31, 2015, 11:43 AM [Success Stories]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    For this month’s Success Story, we caught up with Terri Williams, a freelance writer with a long and versatile list of business, education, career, and lifestyle clients, including USA Today, Yahoo, U.S. News & World Report, and Robert Half. Her work has also been published in the online editions of The Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Arizona Central, and Livestrong.

    In addition, Terri writes about issues in digital ethics for Loyola University-Chicago’s Center for Digital Ethics and Policy. Her work was included in “A Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics,” a book published by Loyola University in 2014.

    Terri, how do you choose which ProfNet experts to work with when you submit a query?

    Usually, the type of expert I use is determined by my client’s needs. For example, for an education client like U.S. News & World Report, I generally need college professors and deans. For my business, HR, and talent management clients, I use executives, managers, and HR personnel. For the Yahoo Homes vertical, I’m looking for mortgage lenders, Realtors, and personal finance experts. I also have a client in the healthcare industry, so I’m seeking responses from health policy analysts and lawyers, and healthcare practitioners for those stories. I love, love, love being able to find all of these sources in one location!

    Also, I like variety, so I’ll include responses from the dean of an Ivy League school, assistant professors at lesser-known colleges, and instructors at online universities. I’m looking for a range of perspectives to provide a complete story.  

    I usually receive so many great responses that I try to include as many as possible, which makes the articles much longer than anticipated, and sometimes leads to “spin-off” articles. For example, one time I sent out a query for a story on freshmen students dropping out of college. The responses led to a second article on depression among college freshmen, a third article on the decline of male students in college, and a fourth article on the financial factors that determine how students choose colleges.

    What do you look for in responses?

    Coherency! A few sources provide rambling answers with no consistency. At the same time, I need more than a one-sentence response. I always provide specific questions in advance so the sources have time to think about their answers. Also, the responses should address the question and not promote a particular organization or person. If the question is, “What makes data science a good degree choice?” your response should not be “At ABC school . . . students at ABC school . . . graduates from ABC school . . . the staff at ABC school . . .” because the article is not about ABC school.

    In addition, I look for well-rounded responses. For example, one business school dean listed both the pros and cons of pursuing an MBA. A nursing administrator once said, “Yes, students can get a nursing certificate or an associate degree, but no one tells them that most employers are only going to hire the applicants with the bachelor’s degree.” A mortgage lender once stated, “While your credit score should be in this range, if it’s not, you still may able to secure a loan if you do this.”

    Do you have any tips for PR pros and experts for responding to ProfNet queries?

    Yes. It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then, someone will respond to the query and pitch another story. If the query is about accounting and finance jobs, and I receive an email pitching a story idea on industrial psychologists, I am notorious among the ProfNet staff for flagging these types of responses.

    Also, be sure to thoroughly read the query and requirements. My editors are dogmatic about fact-checking sources. If the query is limited to U.S. sources, and you tell me you’re in the U.S. but you’re not, they will find out and they will yank your quotes out of the story.

    Thanks, Terri. That is great advice!

    Follow Terri on Twitter at @Territoryone or find her on LinkedIn:

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: Breaking Into Beauty and Fashion Writing

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 1:00 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Most people think writing for beauty and fashion publications is all about glamorous events and free product samples. Well, that is part of it, but being a beauty and fashion writer is also a lot of work.

    On Tuesday, Aug. 4, we’ll interview Janene Mascarella (@MrsWrite), a well-known beauty and fashion writer. Janene will share her advice on how you can break into beauty and fashion writing.

    Janene is the beauty director of BELLA New York, overseeing the luxury magazine’s Beauty Scene section. She writes and assigns about 10 splashy pages in each issue, featuring the latest beauty tricks, tips and trends.

    Janene has also been published as a freelancer in various publications, including Washington Post, Newsday,, Cosmopolitan, Self, Glamour, Health, Cooking Light, Women's Health, USA Today, Scholastic Parent & Child, Woman's Day, Parenting, Parents, Family Circle, Babytalk, American Baby, Weight Watchers, Arthritis Today, Working Mother, Fodor’s Travel, AOL Travel, CBS News, Hamptons Magazine, AARP Bulletin, American Way, and many others. She is also a weekly columnist of Parade Magazine's Community Table.

    The chat will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT on Twitter. To follow the chat or ask Janene a question, just follow the #ConnectChat hashtag. We’ll start the chat off with a few questions for her, but you can jump in at any time with your own questions.

    Upcoming Events for PR/Media Professionals

    Monday, July 13, 2015, 1:32 PM [Upcoming Events]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Industry events can be a great way to network and learn new strategies and techniques. Here are a few events from around the PR and media worlds that are coming up over the next few weeks. Have one you’d like to add? Email us the details and we’ll include it in our next post.

    Event: Spice up Your Headlines, Leads and Sound Bites With Wordplay
    Host: PRSA
    Date: July 21
    Location: Webinar
    Summary: Wordplay can help you captivate readers, get the media to steal your sound bites and make your messages more memorable. The good news is that wordplay doesn’t take talent. It doesn’t take creativity. Instead, it takes technique, tricks and time. In this wordplay writing webinar, you’ll learn techniques you can use to come up with the best headlines, leads and sound bites you’ve ever written.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: Measure up: Effective Communication and Engagement Research
    Host: IABC
    Date: July 23 – Aug. 20
    Location: Online Workshop
    Summary: Effective research and measurement is a business imperative, and gives communicators an invaluable tool to validate their activities, budget and resources. Yet, up to now, communicators typically avoid advancing their skills in this critical area. In five, one-hour sessions, you’ll learn to work knowledgeably in partnership with external suppliers, carry out your own research effectively and add measurement techniques to your own career portfolio.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: Happy Hour
    Host: PRSA Cincinnati
    Date: July 22
    Location: Cincinnati
    Summary: Enjoy the atmosphere of the newly opened BRAVO! Cucina Italiana in Rookwood, meet your fellow PR colleagues from throughout the community (including members of our leadership team), and enjoy complimentary bar bites.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: Master the Art of the Corporate Storyteller
    Host: Wylie Communications
    Date: July 29-30
    Location: San Francisco
    Summary: In this creative-writing workshop, you’ll learn how to write copy that grabs attention, keeps it longer, communicates more clearly, enhances credibility and is more likely to go viral. You’ll walk away with techniques for painting pictures in your audience members’ minds so they understand your points faster, enjoy your information more and remember it longer.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: Content Marketing Summit at LinkedIn
    Host: Ragan Communications and PRSA
    Date: July 30-31
    Location: Mountainview, Calif.
    Summary: When it comes to digital communications, content is king, community is queen, and commerce is the kingdom. This summit will show you how to take advantage of PR's greatest opportunity and tie it all together so you can unlock greater responsibility, reach and ROI for your communications program. During this conference, hosted by LinkedIn at its headquarters, you'll hear leading brand journalism and content marketing practitioners at Citi, Electronic Arts, Ford, Google, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Ogilvy Worldwide, Tyson Foods and more.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: CAR Boot Camp
    Host: Investigative Reporters & Editors
    Date: Aug. 2-6
    Location: Columbia, Mo.
    Summary: Learn how to acquire electronic information, use spreadsheets and databases to analyze the information, and translate that information into high-impact stories. In addition, NICAR provides follow-up help when participants return to their news organizations.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: Creative Writing Foundations: Magazine
    Host: Mediabistro
    Date: Aug. 3-24
    Location: Online course
    Summary: Every established magazine writer once had to learn the basics. This course will teach you the foundations of what makes great magazine writing, and will also cover how to write a great pitch, how to research your article and interview your subjects, a grammar review, and matching the tone of different publications.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: When Brands Collide: How to Avoid Branding Pitfalls in a Healthcare M&A Deal
    Host: HPRMS
    Date: Aug. 4
    Location: New York
    Summary: When brand strategy gets lost in the middle of a merger or acquisition, the deal can result in a loss of staff morale, a contentious internal culture, and patient and referrer confusion and dissatisfaction. How can Marketing and PR at healthcare organizations avoid harming the newly merged brand and instead make full use of the brand equity they purchased? Using examples of both successful and failed deals, we will explore the most common brand challenges faced by merging healthcare organizations and strategies to exploit the brand opportunities arising out of a deal.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: Mapping Boot Camp
    Host: Investigative Reporters & Editors
    Date: Aug. 7-9
    Location: Columbia, Mo.
    Summary: IRE and NICAR conducts this hands-on training using the latest version of ArcView GIS. We will look at noteworthy stories that have used mapping and show you how to uncover stories using census and other data. The sessions will include address geocoding, thematic mapping, overlaying and spatial analysis.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: Coming Home, Convention & LGBT Media Summit
    Host: NLGJA
    Date: Sept. 3-6
    Location: San Francisco
    Summary: Join more than 350 journalists, news executives, communications professionals and educators to celebrate the 25th year of NLGJA, Coming Home National Convention and 11th Annual LGBT Media Summit.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: Excellence in Journalism 2015
    Host: SPJ, RTDNA and NAHJ
    Date: Sept. 18-20
    Location: Orlando
    Summary: Hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Excellence in Journalism 2015 conference is set to be the journalism event of the year and will be host to top news professionals from broadcast, print and digital newsrooms around the country.
    Complete event info here.

    Event: 2015 Conference on Journalism
    Host: New York Press Club
    Date: Oct. 3
    Location: New York
    Summary: Planning is underway for the New York Press Club Foundation's 23rd annual Conference on Journalism. Save the date and plan to attend New York's most accessible and informative gathering of journalists, journalism students, academics, and those in the know. Conference details and program coming soon.
    Complete event info here.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

    The Ins and Outs of Corporate Writing

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 12:51 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Content is still king, and with the number of traditional media outlets shrinking, freelancers are turning to non-traditional outlets, such as content marketing websites, for writing opportunities. But writing for corporate publications is not identical to writing for news publications. There are a lot of variables to consider.

    We recently spoke with Matt Villano (@mattvillano), a freelance writer and editor who frequently works with corporate clients, to find out how he finds corporate writing jobs, what writers should consider before taking a gig, how to best work with corporate clients, and more.

    Villano has been writing and editing for more than 18 years. In that time, he has penned traditional journalism articles for publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Sunset, Backpacker, and Entrepreneur, to name a few. He covers everything from travel and family travel to business, technology, parenting, and gambling.

    Villano also has written and edited content for corporations and nonprofit organizations, including BSR, Software Secure, Dell, Comcast, and others. He currently serves as senior editor of the Expedia Viewfinder, an original travel content blog from Expedia; and Sonoma editor of Napa Sonoma magazine. He has updated and/or edited more than a dozen guidebooks, including nine different books about Las Vegas. He also blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod, and sits on the board of the Family Travel Association.

    Matt, how did you get into corporate writing?

    I have a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Medill School of Journalism. I started freelancing and wanted more money. Newspapers and magazines only pay so much (which is not a lot), so I started pitching companies.

    I started corporate writing by pitching companies I loved, like Jamba Juice, then branched out from there. Today, I have about 10 corporate clients in any given month (give or take a few). Corporate clients comprise about 40 percent of my workload and 75 percent of my income.

    So the pay is better, right?

    Generally speaking, corporate works pays 2-5 times what traditional journalism pays, sometimes even more. Expanding my freelancing business into corporate writing was an example of diversification. You cannot succeed as a freelancer without diversifying your business. Read more:

    Besides paying better, what are some of the benefits of corporate writing?

    More pay is a big one, for sure. I earned six figures in 2014 and more than half of that was from corporate work. Another benefit of corporate writing: breadth of perspectives. It's a great exercise to write in someone else's voice. Yet another bonus of corporate writing: being part of a team. Sometimes freelancing can get lonely! The final benefit of corporate writing: It often is very flexible in terms of hours. I do most of mine after 10 p.m.

    How is writing for corporations different from writing for news publications?

    There are lots of differences. The biggest one is that traditional journalism is objective, while corporate writing is subjective. In traditional journalism, it's all about your voice; in corporate writing, it's all about company's voice (and point of view). When writing for news pubs, you usually have one editor; in corporate writing, there usually are 3-4 decision-makers on content. Finally, the news cycle is very quick, while corporate content cycle can be verrrrrry loooooong.

    What might some writers not realize about corporate writing?

    Hands down, it's this whole write-in-the-corporate-voice philosophy. That's a lot harder than most people think. Corporate writing also is more strategic than traditional journalism. Every piece of content fits into a bigger picture. Also, corporate clients usually are very happy to work with professional writers and give a lot more love than traditional editors.

    Any negatives to writing for corporations? Any lessons you’ve learned along the way?

    The biggest potential landmine, of course, is ethics. It’s important not to double-dip and write about companies you write for. Ethical constraints could be perceived as a negative. My philosophy: Be open and honest, and everyone wins. Another potential negative: Politics. Let's face it, corporations have them. When you do corporate work, you must deal.

    Do you tell traditional media clients that you also do corporate writing, or only if a possible conflict of interest comes up?

    I'm open and honest about my corporate writing clients when that part of my business is relevant. Also, I make no secret about my corporate writing and the fact that I believe in it. See:

    If someone’s trying to break into the corporate writing market, what’s the first thing they should do/consider?

    The first thing any aspiring freelancer should do is build a website. Website = online portfolio, brand platform.

    If you want to break into corporate writing, find companies with which you identify and familiarize yourself with their content. Once you see what kinds of content your target companies produce, you can tell what kinds of content to pitch.

    It’s also important to target companies in which you believe. If you are anti-gun, for instance, don't pitch a shooting range. Generally speaking, when I cold-pitch new companies, I request an informational interview, which is a great forum to a) gauge the needs of the company, and b) prove you've done your homework.

    Who is the informational interview usually with?

    Target communications/marketing managers for informational interviews. A dirty secret: They all need writing help.

    For what it’s worth, if you get the interview, show up clean and on time, and offer to buy coffee/tea/lunch.

    What’s the best way to find corporate writing gigs?

    The best way to find corporate writing gigs is to do old-fashioned research: Study companies; track down managers; reach out. Another great way to find corporate writing gigs: in-real-life networking at conferences. Bring samples! Finally, if you've worked as traditional journalist, you know people in the corporate world. Work those connections -- hard. If you're on the PR side and you need writing help, reach out to journalists you know and respect and trust.

    How do you market yourself as a corporate writer when some of the writing is without a byline?

    Sometimes it's challenging to say, "I wrote this!" when your work has no byline. That's where references come in. Another challenge of marketing corporate work: Some of the stuff might be under NDA. Always ask clients before you share. I have some stuff on my website ( Beyond those PDFs, I provide samples upon request.

    Whether you write for traditional media outlets or corporations, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources and “real people” interviews. All you need to do is fill out a quick form telling us what you’re looking for, your deadline, and how you want to be contacted, and we’ll send it to the appropriate experts in our network. The best part? It’s free! Get started here.

    Is Self-Publishing Right for You? Three Authors Weigh In

    Thursday, June 4, 2015, 9:26 AM [Freelance Focus]
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    Whether you’ve just come up with a book idea or have already finished writing it and are ready to think about publishing, you’ve likely come up on the question of self-publishing vs. using a traditional publisher. There are definitely upsides and downsides to each, so I asked a few self-published authors for their input on the process. After all, who better to advise you than someone who has gone through it already?

    The authors:

    Deciding to Self-Publish

    I asked the three authors what led them to self-publish their books:

    “I pitched the idea for a humor book to a number of agents, but I kept hearing the same kind of response: ‘Love your stuff. It’s really funny. But humor is a tough sell,’” said Wojciechowski. “I knew I had a good idea, so I decided that I would do it on my own. I wanted the finished product to be just as good as something that would have come from a traditional publisher, so I hired an editor, an illustrator for the cover, and a designer to put the whole book together. It paid off: My book won a 2013 Outstanding Book Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors.”

    Rejection was also the impetus for Barbosa's decision: “I heard so many tales of rejection from traditional publishers that it actually put me off. I submitted a few stories and poems to traditional publishers and the answer was always the same: ‘We like your work, but...’ There was always the 'but.' Either the story was not commercial enough or there are too many submissions for that genre. At some point, you have to decide whether to wait or just do it -- so I just did it. Apparently, several known writers are opting now to follow the self-published route, because they can be more creative without worrying about catering to the masses. They get to write the story they want to read, rather than writing the story to please someone else."

    For Maurer, the decision was based on his book’s genre. “The traditional route to publishing novels is to get your short stories read and published by genre magazines, attempt to attract the attention of an agent, and use that agent’s leverage -- if they have any -- to get your work looked at by a publishing house. The problem is, almost all of the genre magazines have folded, as well as hundreds of publishing houses. Even if they hadn’t, that path traditionally takes years, and that’s just to get to a publisher’s slush pile. Your odds of hitting the lottery are higher. Self-publishing used to mean vanity publishing -- that is, you spent your own money to have your book printed, and then tried to sell those copies on your own, or you gave them to friends and family members. Today, everyone can download your book, so your cost to publish is next to nothing. As soon as I learned about Amazon’s direct publishing program, I was in.”

    Self-Publishing Surprises

    If you do decide to go the self-publishing route, know that it’s more than uploading your book and hitting publish. You have to take many other things into consideration.

    “While I knew my assistant and I would be ‘doing it all,’ I didn’t realize this meant doing things like buying an ISBN number and a bar code,” said Wojciechowski. “That felt really strange. It wasn’t difficult, but it was surprising.”

    Adds Barbosa, “Your dream of becoming a published author can actually become reality much faster than you think, but at the same time, it can take a lot of money, effort and time to market a self-published book. Patience is a must, because it's not as easy as it seems.”

    Maurer added that while getting a book out there can be quick -- “from the time I finish editing to the time my book is in front of Amazon’s customers is less than an hour” – you have to do a lot of work that has nothing to do with writing.

    “There are literally millions of self-published authors out there that are competing against you, and it takes more hours each day to market your work than it does to write and edit it,” he says. “If you’re not into marketing or you’re not willing to put that non-writing time in, self-publishing is not for you.”

    Tips to Get Started

    • Hire a professional: Although you’re self-publishing, it still needs to be a good book. Consider hiring professionals -- an editor, an illustrator, a designer -- to help you put the book together. “You want your book to be the best it can be,” says Wojciechowski. “If the book looks terrible on the outside, people won’t bother buying it. If it’s full of typos, incorrect grammar, etc., it looks unprofessional on the inside -- again, people won’t want to buy it.”
    • Don’t underestimate the importance of a good cover: “When designing or paying for a cover, make sure the title and your name can easily be read at thumbnail size, because that’s how customers are going to see it,” advises Maurer. “And if your title or cover doesn’t grab their attention, they’ll buy someone else’s book instead.”
    • Pay attention to all the details: “Make sure your book goes through beta readers and editors to iron out issues like sequence of events, continuity, spelling and grammar,” advises Barbosa. Maurer agrees: “Spell-check and grammar-check everything -- nothing is more embarrassing than putting out a book that’s full of grade-school mistakes.”
    • Get another opinion: Maurer recommends enlisting someone you trust – “not a family member” – to kick the tires on everything you write. “Your work is like your child,” explains Maurer. “It’s impossible for you to be objective about it. You need an editor who will mercilessly pick it apart and tell you where you went wrong, and you have to listen and seriously consider everything they say.”
    • Have a marketing plan: “Don’t just assume all your friends and relatives will buy the book, because not everyone will,” says Wojciechowski. “You need to have a plan before you publish your book. You want to get your name and the name of the book out there to as many places and people as possible.”
    • Start early: “Do as much planning for everything from marketing and public relations to book signings and sales before you publish your book,” advises Wojciechowski. “Once it’s published, you need to be able to hit the ground running with marketing and promotion. To do that, you have to have planned ahead of time. The more thinking and planning you do before you publish your book, the more sales you’ll have.”
    • Writing nonfiction? Use ProfNet: OK, this shameless plug was added by me, but if you need to find experts or real-life anecdotes for your book, try ProfNet -- it's easy and free! To send a request, just fill out the quick ProfNet Query Form. We'll take care of the rest.

    For more tips, check out “Getting Your Book the Buzz It Deserves,” my interview with Sandra Beckwith, publisher of the Build Book Buzz e-zine. Beckwith also teaches an online course about publicizing your self-published book. “I highly recommend it,” says Wojciechowski.

    More About the Authors

    Wojciechowski is the author of the award-winning humor book, “Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box.” “The best way to describe it is ‘War is hell. Moving is a close second.’ This book covers many of the hilarious things that happen to people when they buy a home, sell a home, and move. Anyone who has ever moved will be able to identify with it and laugh! People can purchase a signed copy of the print version of the book through me at The paperback is also available through Amazon, and the e-book is available through Amazon for Kindle and Smashwords for Nook. You can follow her on Twitter:

    Barbosa’s first book, “Massive Black Hole - Cibele's Hell,” tells the story of three young women who become friends, and while trying to survive and achieve their goals, they question the meaning of life, death and the existence of hell. Her second book, “Holes in Space - A Poetry Collection,” won the Five Stars seal from Readers' Favorite, a respected review and award contest site. Her third book, “Olympian Passion,” written under the pen name Andrya Bailey, is the first volume of the “Olympian Love” trilogy. Barbosa also currently serves as the author events director for the Houston Writers Guild, a nonprofit community of Houston-area writers whose purpose is to support each other in the author’s craft and writing career. You can follow her on Twitter:

    Maurer started off publishing short stories, most of them science fiction or horror, just to learn how everything worked. Eventually, he combined those into a collection called “Grimmer.” His first published novel was “The Ring Around the Rose,” which is the first book in a trilogy about the end of the world, with some comedy, fantasy elements, and mythology thrown in. His third novel is “Nerd Girls Go 2 Hell,” a supernatural comedy about a brilliant girl named Andi McCarthy who plays a mean guitar. He is currently working on a novel called “Rest Stop,” about alien ambush predators that get you when you sit on a toilet. It started out as a response to a dare from Stephen King, who said no one could write a good story about a monster that comes out of a toilet.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. All you have to do is fill out a quick form telling us what you’re looking for, your deadline, and how you want to be contacted, and we’ll send it to the appropriate experts in our network. The best part? It’s free! Get started here.

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: The Keys to Better Corporate Content

    Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 9:09 AM [#ConnectChat]
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    Content is still king, and with the number of traditional media outlets shrinking, freelancers are turning to non-traditional outlets, such as content marketing websites, for writing opportunities. But writing for content marketing publications is not identical to writing for news publications. There are a lot of variables to consider.

    For our next Twitter Q&A on Tuesday, June 9, we’ll explore the art of writing corporate content: how to find writing jobs, what to consider before taking a gig, and how to best work with corporate clients.

    Our featured guest will be Matt Villano (@mattvillano), a freelance writer and editor who frequently works with corporate clients.

    Villano, who says he’s proudly never held a “real” job, has been writing and editing for more than 18 years. In that time, he has penned traditional journalism articles for publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Sunset, Backpacker, and Entrepreneur, to name a few. He covers everything from travel and family travel to business, technology, parenting, and gambling.

    Villano also has written and edited content for corporations and nonprofit organizations, including BSR, Software Secure, Dell, Comcast, and others. He currently serves as senior editor of the Expedia Viewfinder, an original travel content blog from Expedia; and Sonoma editor of Napa Sonoma magazine. He has updated and/or edited more than a dozen guidebooks, including nine different books about Las Vegas. He also blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod, and sits on the board of the Family Travel Association. He lives in Northern California with his wife and two daughters.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, June 9, from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT on Twitter. To follow the chat or ask Villano a question, just follow the #ConnectChat hashtag. We’ll start the chat off with a few questions for him, but you can jump in at any time with your own questions.

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