From typewriters to the moon

Last weekend, for the first time I walked through the Linguistics Department at UO. A display case highlighted machines used by researchers throughout the department’s history. Of course, the one that caught my eye was a typewriter, despite the unfamiliar and inventive other options. But it wasn’t just any typewriter; it was a Yiddish typewriter. The placard said researchers carried it with them in the field to record notes. As much as I’m a typewriter fan, I can’t imagine hauling one around with me, but that is indeed what researchers and reporters did back in the day.


I snapped a photo of it with my iPhone and texted that to my aunt, who showed it to my grandmother whose parents spoke Yiddish to her as a child in Brooklyn. She’d never seen a Yiddish typewriter, which surprised me although I guess it shouldn’t have.

Since then I’ve been thinking about that Yiddish typewriter from years past and the blogs my students are creating today. It seems we’ve come so far yet someday 100 years from now some college instructor may walk (or hover) past a display case of blogs and social media and be bemused by what they saw.

Until then, here’s your weekly insPiRation:

The Rogue: Oregon’s Southernmost AVA a Hot Spot for World-Class Wine and Tourism (Oregon Wine Press)
Wine Enthusiast named the Rogue Valley and Ashland one of 2016’s Top 10 global wine destinations. How might this impact the area? Press attention is often seen as positive, but how should Oregon’s Southernmost AVA retain the characteristics that make it popular while growing in appeal? Can an area’s image withstand additional attention?

Women’s Fitness…

Walking Together for Health and Spirit (The New York Times)
Can nonprofits use PR tactics to advance women’s health and address racial health disparities? How is GirlTrek using social media to attract its audience?

College sports…
Chris Beard Hired by Texas Tech Weeks After Accepting UNLV Job (
Will this have any negative repercussions for Beard or Texas Tech – or do fans just want to win? What PR challenges will the new UNLV coach face with everyone knowing he/she was second choice?

The Stigmatized Olympians (The Wall Street Journal)
What are the PR challenges for U.S. Olympic shooters given the current debates over gun control and gun violence? Are they “stigmatized” or is it fair to question the sport and not celebrate it? How would you represent an Olympic shooter? Or would you not, if you are pro-gun control?

Sports…event planning…
Report Tells FIFA to Protect Human Rights or Move World Cup From Qatar (The Huffington Post)
How can big sporting events create “good” or “bad” PR? In today’s connected, digitized world, do sports officials have new responsibilities toward humanity as they plan large events? In other words, who are the audiences for global events in today’s world and how can sporting officials manage all their publics?

What Freedom Looks Like (The New York Times)
What do you think about the debate over fashion brands that make Islamic collections? Will the move earn them new audiences – both observant Muslims and others – or will it backfire? Does a global world require brands to adapt? Is fashion betraying a long-time aesthetic and raison d’être – individual expression – or promoting it?

‘Don’t Be Mean’ Beer: 36 N.C. Breweries Sign Up to Sell Brew Aimed at HB2 (NPR)
Should beer companies take stands on social issues, such as LGBT discrimination? Will this attract new audiences or diminish existing ones? 

How One Harlem Entrepreneur Got Her Craft Beet Onto Walmart’s Shelves (Forbes)
How does this compelling story help the Harlem Brewing Company brand? What are the pros and cons for a craft beer based far from traditional craft beer hubs? Will being distributed by Walmart in New York help or hurt HBC’s “craft” image?

U.S. Soccer Star Carli Lloyd Takes on Women’s Wage Gap in New York Times Op-Ed (Mashable)
Will this move alienate or impress women’s soccer fans? How is U.S. Soccer handling this PR moment?  How is Lloyd using media (both traditional and social) to further her message?

PR Takeaways From Maria Sharapova’s Doping Crisis (Ragan)
Do you agree with this analysis? How have other athletes unsuccessfully managed doping accusations?

Is Hornets Guard Jeremy Lin Slighted By NBA Officials When It Comes to Foul Calls? (The Charlotte Observer)
From a PR standpoint, what do you think of how Lin has handled the controversy? The NBA?

Race… Ad & PR…. TV & Cinema….
Kerry Washington Said She Didn’t Recognize Herself On Adweek’s Cover (Well+Good)
What will be the effect on Washington’s image now that she spoke out? How is advertising creating a PR issue? Many actors and models are Photoshopped these days, but how does Washington’s admission that this touched a nerve because of Hollywood’s differing expectations of beauty for women of color add texture to the PR debate?

TV & Cinema….
Lawsuit Says Dora Likes Vaping Too (PR Newser)
Is this a PR disaster for Nickelodeon? Or are people jaded? What about the girls’ private school? What are the PR consequences of giving different penalties to a TV star and a “regular” student?

Ad & PR… tech…
Facebook To Allow Media Companies, Marketers to Post Sponsored Content (The Wall Street Journal)
What are the implications for PR? Might some consumers be turned off by sponsored content intruding on their personal social media space?

Tech…AD & PR….
Three Ways Brands Can See Success On Messaging Apps (News Whip)
What do you think of the idea that “social media has made it so brands can be closer to consumers than ever, and messaging apps take it a step further, letting consumers and brands interact”? What opportunities and challenges does this present? How might this help smaller-sized brands?

4-H Execs On The Brand’s Renewed Focus On Youth Empowerment (PR Newser)
Thoughts on 4-H’s rebrand? Why is it emphasizing food and youth empowerment?

Tourism… environment…
‘Pure Michigan’ Campaign Under Fire as Water Crisis Worsens (PR Daily)
Is this really a PR crisis for the ‘Pure Michigan’ brand? How is social media affecting the debate? Should environmentalists latch on to this to further their own PR needs?

Let’s Not Turn the Arctic Into an Adventure Playground (The Guardian)
How can environmentalists convince adventurers to stay home without alienating them? Do tourism companies have a responsibility to “leave no trace”?

Airports, Designed for Everyone but the Passenger (The New York Times)
Have airports gone overboard? How do the publics for airports and airlines differ? What leverage do passengers have (since they’re unlikely to stop flying)?


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