Thursday, April 22, 2010

Future Midwest Looks to Rebuild Detroit

Change is happening in Detroit, are you a part of it?

That was the theme of the first annual Future Midwest conference, held this past weekend in Royal Oak, Mich. Headlined by former Digg CEO and native Detroiter Jay Adelson, the conference focused on growing businesses and spurring local entrepreneurs by bringing together the best and brightest digital minds from across the country.

From digital marketing to PR and social media, Future Midwest addressed how technology can be used to lift Detroit and pave the way for its future. As the conference’s keynote speaker, Adelson framed a positive vision for Detroit and urged young creatives to seize their opportunity.

“If you want to make a difference in Detroit, I would say think about those limits that have been set for you — anything you’ve been told is impossible — find one and break it, because there’s no people better qualified to do that than the people in this room,” he says.

Marred by economic woes and a poor public image, Detroit needs to overcome many negative stereotypes. Overcoming these challenges starts with every conversation and interaction that Detroiters have with those outside the city. Whether it’s with friends, investors, or business leaders, it’s our job to be the change that Detroit needs.

“This is the right pool from which to build business, there’s just no question about it,” says Adelson. “What’s missing is that leap of faith.”

Taking that leap will ultimately be the difference between Detroit floating in economic obscurity or cementing its name into the future of the country.

So ask yourself - Are you making the difference? Are you taking that leap?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

3 Tips to Conquer Your Fear

Public speaking is my biggest fear. The anxiety from being under the spotlight gets my heart pumping and makes the right words hard to find. For someone who wants to be a lead spokesperson one day, this is a problem…

To battle my fear of public speaking, I attended a few media-training seminars hosted by EMMY Award winning producer and national PBS host Shawne Duperon. Shawne has trained many business owners, professionals, and executives to be better on camera and grow their fame – and she’s damn good at it. While Shawne’s seminars are geared towards PR people and those who want to better promote themselves in the media, her tips apply to many areas of life. Here are just a few of them to help manage fears:

Get out of your comfort zone. Engage the uncomfortable situation head on. Suck at interviewing? Attend interview-training sessions on campus or call employers to chat about their company. Having trouble approaching that girl on the other side of the bar? (Yeah, me too.) Make an effort to go strike up a conversation. Remember, shame is overrated. You’ll be surprised as you open yourself to others how they reciprocate your openness. Living out of your comfort zone will give you the strength to overcome your insecurities.

It doesn’t matter what you say – it’s who you are being. Smile. It’s all about your attitude and personality. If you convey confidence, the people you are speaking to will feel confident. Practice this wherever you go, even if you’re not speaking to a group or interviewing for that big job. Practice does make perfect.

Everyone messes up. And people relate to that. Whether you’re nervous or just make a mistake, people are forgiving – it’s how we’re designed. Don’t let it affect your confidence or routine. Acknowledge your misstep, then quickly recover and get back on track.

Whether it's public speaking, interviewing, or influencing others, living in discomfort will prepare you for pressure situations. While easier said than done, overcoming your fears will open up new opportunities and make life a lot more enjoyable.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tim Tebow Brings His Message to the Super Bowl

So there’s a storm of controversy surrounding a Super Bowl ad starring Tim Tebow and his mother Pam Tebow. The ad illustrates how Pam ignored the advice of doctors, who feared she would die during labor, to terminate her pregnancy. Instead, she chose to have Tim.

Much has been said about why or why not the ad is appropriate for CBS to air during the Super Bowl. One of my favorite talking points against airing the ad comes from sportswriter Dave Zirin. In his article “How Tebow’s ad corrupts the Super Bowl,” Zirin writes-

“The cultural power of the big game cannot be overstated, and that's exactly why CBS' decision to air an anti-abortion ad funded by Focus on the Family was so terribly wrongheaded.”

Yes, the shining beacon of American sports and culture - The Super Bowl. A pristine event full of wardrobe malfunctions, commercials objectifying women to sell products, teams whose players shoot themselves in the leg and are convicted of dog fighting, and maybe some more objectification and steroid use. The sanctity of professional football - unmarred by the fringes of our culture who believe in the inspirational story of how a woman’s decision to go through with her pregnancy led to the career of one of the greatest college football players and role models of our time.

Considering no one in the general public has even seen the 30-second spot yet, it’s interesting to see all the vehement opposition to the ad and their labeling of it as “anti-abortion.” From what has been reported, the ad asks people to choose life, not ban abortion.

The outrage comes from the fact that the ad’s storyline goes against the opposition's assumptions and narrative of reality. If the people who oppose the ad were genuinely pro-choice, they would celebrate this inspirational story of Pam’s choice and the hope that it brings to women everywhere. The tolerant pro-choice group who oppose the ad are showing their true colors and looking more like an intolerant pro-abortion group.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Is the Tiger Woods Brand in Danger?

No athlete has experienced such a drastic fall from grace as Tiger Woods. From being on top of the sports world to becoming a punch line on late shows everywhere, Tiger finds himself in a public image nightmare. A notoriously private personal life is now under the spotlight of the tabloid circus, which flips and shapes the story to fit every new claim made by a Hollywood waitress.

No doubt this is a trying time for the superstar athlete. But does he deserve such intense media scrutiny? And is the multi-million dollar brand that is Tiger Woods threatened?

As much as Tiger says this is a “private” matter, it is not. While he himself didn’t open the doors to his private life, his position as an immense public figure warrants the attention. Unfair as it may be, his golf skills made him a superstar; his private affairs will bring him back down to reality.

Tiger himself never asked to be framed as such a squeaky-clean persona. The media and his endorsements painted him as such. Consequently, in the age of the 24-hour news cycle, perception = reality. With millions made from selling that flawless public image, he now has to defend it against the same people who just weeks ago did nothing but sing his laurels. That’s just how it is.

The chance of Tiger losing his corporate sponsorships is still unlikely. However, the volatility of this continuing saga may be beginning to catch up with him. Bloomberg reports advertisements featuring Tiger Woods have disappeared from prime-time broadcast television and many cable channels following reports of his extramarital affairs, according to data from Nielsen Co.

The longer the tabloid-driven story continues to gain momentum, the greater the danger it has of permanently tarnishing the Tiger Woods brand. As many PR gurus have suggested (who I won’t even pretend to be in the same league as), Tiger needs to get ahead of the story and come clean. The devil is in the details, and right now the tabloids are filling in the details. Staying silent will only continue to fuel the fire.

In the end, Tiger can take a page from Kobe Bryant and Michael Phelps – by putting as much as possible out in the open, apologizing, and then immediately begin rebuilding himself and his family.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Jordan's Best On-Air Moments

All the best moments from the hottest show on Ann Arbor Community TV, "Senior Moments!" Enjoy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Net Neutrality: Both Sides of the Issue

Net neutrality is a hot-button issue on the web and in the media, pitting the FCC and companies such as Google against Internet service providers like Comcast and Time Warner. But what does net neutrality mean?

The debate centers over whether an ISP’s ability to “discriminate against” certain data on its network should be regulated by the government. This debate reached my Electronic Media Operations class (by me arguing with my professor) after the TA showed the following video and proclaimed, “All corporations care about is money.” Check it out...and beware the evil corporation spaceships.

The video makes some very legitimate points, but blatantly expresses an ideological point of view. (Did you catch it?) If you missed it, here’s some knowledge…

Free Press, a so-called non-partisan media advocacy organization founded by Robert McChesney, sponsors “Save the Internet.” McChesney is a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the former editor of the socialist Monthly Review. Here is an example of what McChesney believes, taken from his article, “The New New Deal Under Obama.”

"These gains will only be made through an enormous class struggle from below. If won, they will not, we underscore, eliminate the evils of capitalism, or the dangers it poses for the world and its people. In the end, there is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles."

A radical far-left statement, if I could say so myself. And I can. While it is perfectly understandable to support net neutrality, the previous comment does not help the cause, and is extremely concerning.

Regardless of personal opinion, I only ask of my professor to show all sides of the issue, not just the one he or she deems correct. So I’m going to do something my teacher didn’t, and allow people to make their own decisions about the issue. Take a look.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Proud to be a Detroiter

The past few years have not been kind to Detroit, most evident in the fact that its unemployment rate sits at 28.9%—the highest in the country. That figure, along with a government full of corruption, doesn't give Detroiters a lot to brag about. The city has become the brunt of many jokes in the media and its reputation as a graveyard to those outside the city seems to have spread.

So where is the light at the end of the tunnel?

Detroit is looking to become the epicenter of the green job revolution. The Green Jobs Initiative, as it is being called, will invest $6 million into training for jobs that can be classified as energy efficient. However, unlike the energy sources this initiative promotes, green jobs themselves have yet to be proven sustainable in our economy.

Still yet, Ford recently posted a surprise third-quarter profit of $997 million, its first profitable quarter in North America in more than four years.

Finally, Forbes recently released a study that places Detroit as the 12th safest city in the U.S., ahead of Chicago and Pittsburgh among others. This announcement comes just six months after the magazine named the Motor City the most dangerous city in the United States. For a place that used to have the highest rate of violent crime in the country, that ain't too shabby.

Detroiters have always been a proud and hard-working people, and this attitude continues to shine through in the face of adversity. Detroit is still the beating heart of the auto-industry, the birthplace of techno, and Hockeytown.

The next time someone makes an unwarranted comment about my city, I may have to call up the boys down on 8 Mile and Gratiot to pay them a visit.