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Old McDonald’s Had a Farm…

February 21, 2012

…and tore down all the gestation pens holding sows. That’s the report according to Bloomberg –
McDonald’s to Phase Out Pig Crates…” According to the coverage, the fast food giant made a joint announcement with the Humane Society of the U.S. that it would no longer buy pork from producers who used gestation pens (which severely restrict the movements of reproducing sows).
My guess is that the last time you ate a McRib or McMuffin with sausage you didn’t think twice about the welfare of the pig that was responsible for your meal. That’s exactly the point. McDonald’s made its move BEFORE the animal welfare folks occupied booths or slowed their cars in the drive-thru lanes. McD’s went right past re-action to pro-action — even making its announcement in a joint statement with the Humane Society of the U.S. That move pretty well guaranteed that there would be almost no negative press. You might note that the best Bloomberg’s reporters could find was some minor grumbling from a pig farmer. Nice work, McD.

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What Steve Jobs Did for Me — One example

October 12, 2011

In about 30 minutes yesterday I shot, edited and posted for the world to see a video for Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. The process was somewhat extended because I only had a 3G connection. No wi-fi.

It’s the Red Elk Banks interview on DEGC’s Facebook page:

It wasn’t all that long ago that it would have required two people on the shoot, an editor, a satellite truck and a spot on a network television news show to make that clip available for the world to see. I did it myself on an iPhone. Thanks, Steve.

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Detroit and Fortune

July 1, 2011

Two years ago Time Magazine put the city on its cover with the title “Detroit, an American Tragedy,” and since then the Time family of publications has spent a lot of time here (including a year of almost non-stop reporting). All that familiarity has given them a lead in recognizing some of the more interesting stories of revitalization going on in and around Detroit. That’s my theory why Fortune just named Detroit number 14 among this years “100 Great Things About America,” published to coincide with Independence Day. If you are not watching what’s happening in Detroit that closely it may look more like sparks than fireworks, but either way there’s some heat and light here.

Here’s the link to the “100 Great Things” piece:

Fortune Magazine “100 Great Things About America”

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Grasping the Obvious – Eloquently

March 25, 2011

A mark of a good communicator is the ability to state an obvious truth as though it were a deep insight. For instance, I tell my running friends, “If you want to run faster, you have to  pick up the pace.”

I picked that example because I think the research described in this report on WWJ-AM is another great example that also refers to fitness. The headline is “Walking Dog Good for You and Fido.” According to the story, the key finding is this:  “New research out today from Michigan State University shows people who owned and walked their dogs were 34 percent more likely to meet federal benchmarks on physical activity.”

So, tell me. Didn’t they just “prove” that people who are active are more active than people who are not active? For this kind of research, they hand out PhDs!

And, of course it gets coverage because it refers to pets and fitness.

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Truth or Just a Good Headline?

February 16, 2011

Was this an accurate headline?

Bing’s plan to relocate cops blasted by council

It tops a The Detroit Free Press web story describing a Detroit City Council discussion of Mayor Bing’s plan to offer housing incentives to police officers who move back into Detroit from the suburbs.

It’s a valid question because the headline appears to be reinforcing the familiar negative storyline that in Detroit it’s always the Mayor vs. The Council. Certainly there has been enough of that over the years to establish the stereotype, but is this really a case of it?

In the actual story, only two Council members are quoted as asking questions. So should the headline have been:

“Two Council members question police housing incentives”?

Two Council members don’t make a majority of the Council. So, did other Council members have questions, but only Cockrel and Jones made it into the piece?  What really happened? The story appears to be coverage of a Council meeting, so is there a real split on this issue with the Mayor on one side and the Council on the other?  Or are we still at the point where it’s a few Council members raising questions — which is what we would expect whenever any Mayor proposes a significant program of any sort?

The sad part is that reading the coverage doesn’t answer those basic questions for us.

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