Sully's Blog

In Academy Awards show lore, 2015 will be remembered as the Year of the Memorable Acceptance Speech.  Sure, the merits of the Oscar winners will long be debated and Neil Patrick Harris’ performance as host will be critiqued right down to his tighty-whities.  But more than any year I can remember, multiple acceptance speeches were praised in real time on social media and are getting heavy post-Oscar night attention – and not just for the political positions espoused by a handful of the winners. 

The keys to a memorable two-minute speech are pretty simple:

•    Connect with energy, gratitude and humility
•    Make it personal by telling a story 
•    Leave the audience with a call to action or something meaningful to think about

Three winners in... +Continue Reading

 

The conversation this week around Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s uncooperative performance at Super Bowl Media Day – and his lecture to the media, again without answering questions two days later - has largely missed a key point.  

We’re told Lynch is uncomfortable speaking to the media, but by manufacturing his own media circus – not once, but twice – he created a dominant storyline about his conduct, (called “unprofessional” by ESPN analyst and two-time Super Bowl champion Tom Jackson) and, most importantly, took attention away from his well-deserving teammates. 

By grabbing headlines this week, Lynch:

•    Created a potential distraction for his teammates
•    Left his teammates... +Continue Reading

 

Donald Sterling is finished as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.  It’s simple: Players won’t play for him.  More than a dozen sponsors have already bolted in fast break fashion.  And fan boycotts will begin as soon as the playoffs end, if not sooner.

There is no crisis communications plan, no apology, no talking points that can repair the damage created by the reprehensible, racist comments attributed to him on the audio recording that went public last Saturday.

New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will do the right thing and come down as hard as league bylaws allow.  Expect there to be an indefinite suspension and removal from any involvement with the team along with the maximum $1 million fine.

The debate has shifted to a legal one and the experts seem to think NBA... +Continue Reading

 

By Tim Clodjeaux

Yep, this is not your father’s baseball game.

When I was a kid growing up in Lafayette, Ind. with parents who – thank the good Lord – loved baseball, watching a ballgame was truly a wonderful family experience.

(At right, Bob Elson was a White Sox broadcaster from 1929-70)

My Dad taught me a lot of great things, and one of them was the art of multi-tasking while watching a baseball game.  You see, in a typical summer night in the Clodjeaux house, our TV would be tuned in to the Cubs’ road game (obviously a road game since any home game in that time could not be played under the lights) with the radio dialed into the Sox game and the soothing tones of the “Commander” Bob Elson and the entertaining Red Rush.  Mom only cared about the... +Continue Reading

 

USA Today tech writer Jefferson Graham writes that podcasts, "once an esoteric outpost devoted to heavily tech-oriented chats, is booming."  This is despite conventional wisdom that video is the online flavor of the month.  Maybe it's because podcasts take me back to a time when I enjoyed talk, news and sports on the radio (how great was Larry King in his pre-CNN late night radio heyday?), but I am a big fan of the medium. 

Here is a sampling of the podcasts in our regular rotation.  Please send your recommendations, particularly on the topics of media and communications, to ks@ksullivancomms.com.

 

ESPN's Pardon... +Continue Reading

 

Kudos to Major League Baseball for suspending Brewers star Ryan Braun for the rest of the season for violating the league’s collectively bargained drug policy.  If only Braun, who has defiantly asserted his innocence for the past 17 months, had done as well in his public apology.

Here is Braun’s statement, which was included in MLB’s suspension announcement:

"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the      consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization.

“I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in... +Continue Reading

 

By Tim Clodjeaux

Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rookie sensation who was called up to the big leagues on June 3, has been the focal point of baseball conversations for the last month.  The only thing is, Puig himself is not doing the conversing.

Baseball’s “it” player of the day did his first postgame interview on Sunday, July 7, after his 32nd game in the bigs.  And he only did that at the urging of his boss, Dodgers’ GM (and one-time Cubs’ PR man) Ned Colletti.

Clearly, Puig’s actions on the field have been doing most of his talking to this point - but in today's media world, is that enough?

The Cuban immigrant made a big splash upon his entry to Major League Baseball, collecting 44 hits in June for the second-most prolific debut in history after... +Continue Reading

 

To begin the process of repairing her reputation, here are three things embattled cooking icon Paula Deen must do – and one thing she should not do – Wednesday morning in her "Today" show interview with Matt Lauer:

  • Express regret and take responsibility for her reprehensible comments without offering rationalizations based on what year or in what region of the country the hurtful statements and jokes were made.
  • Sincerely apologize to everyone she has let down – including Matt Lauer for stiffing him last week – and thank those who have stood by her. 
  • Describe her plan to earn back the trust of those she has hurt – the actions she can take to show those statements were out of character and not representative of her beliefs.

And there is one... +Continue Reading

 

By Kevin Sullivan

When Pope Francis unexpectedly skipped a Beethoven concert at the Vatican Saturday due to “other commitments,” some media reports suggested the pontiff was once again sending a message against the Holy See’s tradition of “pomp and ceremony.” 

The imagery of the empty papal chair in a wire service photo was powerful.  According to the London Telegraph, the “Pope's decision to avoid the concert was given added significance by the fact that he chose instead to meet nuncios – who represent the Church around the world but have complained about little access in the Vatican's corridors of power.”

Upon his March 17 election, Pope Francis demonstrated abundant gratitude and humility – two sure-fire ways to connect with your audience.  His first... +Continue Reading

 

In 1988 Mark Langdale got new next-door neighbors in Dallas: Laura and George W. Bush.   In short order the Langdales and Bushes became fast friends and like most neighbors, George W. asked Langdale for an occasional favor.  But he wasn’t asking Langdale to loan him power tools or to pick up the mail when the Bushes were out of town.

The first major favor came when Bush asked Langdale, then President of Posadas USA, to help him run for governor of Texas. As governor, Bush asked Langdale to chair the Texas Department of Economic Development. Langdale later helped set up Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.  In 2005 Bush asked Langdale to serve as ambassador to Costa Rica, where he focused on ratifying the Central America Free Trade Agreement. To complete the circle, in 2008 Bush... +Continue Reading

 

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