Reporter Confidential: “What it’s like reporting in rural America?”

Written by FCP Communications on . Posted in Stuff We Like

Full Court Press’s Dan Cohen recently interviewed Caitlin Fillmore – a former reporter and current nonprofit communications professional about her experiences reporting in Northern Iowa. Below is a fascinating look into her job as a rural reporter.  Caitlin now serves as the Executive Director of Association and Brand Advancement for the Central Coast YMCA in California.

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Photo from just another day on the job — inside a Chinook helicopter

What inspired you to become a reporter?

I am the baby of five, so the allure of knowing something first and having people say to me, “I didn’t realize that!” was irresistible. I’ve also always had a natural affinity and passion for writing and a deep belief that everyone has a meaningful story worth telling, especially in underserved and forgotten places.

What was special about covering small-towns in northern Iowa?

In small towns, it’s all about “who your people are”. Every time I would introduce myself to someone or set up an interview, the second question was almost always, “Where are you from?” “Are you related to so-and-so?” That sometimes made it challenging to get the job done because I did not share DNA with anyone I was interviewing, but a welcome challenge because it provided a great foundation for my future career in philanthropy: know who you are, always be authentic and genuinely curious and build relationships built on trust.

FCP Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week

Written by FCP Communications on . Posted in Stuff We Like, Uncategorized

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and while teachers around the country will be treated to apples on desks and Starbucks giftcards, here at Full Court Press we’re honoring teachers by reflecting upon the powerful impact a teacher can have. In our work with education organizations such as EducationSuperHighway, Peralta Community College District, and the California Acceleration Project, we’ve seen how much work is being done to try to improve education systems. One thing we can agree upon is the need to appreciate, encourage, and cultivate more life-changing teachers like the ones we celebrate today.

Today and every day, FCP celebrates a lifelong love of learning, and a deep appreciation for those who teach and cultivate it. We had the FCP staff share some reflections on teachers who have had a lasting impact on them below:   

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3×3: Three Experts Answer Three Questions on Social Media

Written by FCP Communications on . Posted in Stuff We Like

Full Court Press sought out the perspectives of some social media experts on how they would answer some of the challenges faced by social enterprises looking to build up a social media presence. We discovered diverse and varied ways to navigate some of the trickiest social media challenges— from building a presence, to facing the trolls, to finding success.

3x3 blog

First, What Advice do you have for a social enterprise or business that is starting toes into advocacy on social media?

Ginna Green, ReThink Media, Managing Director, Money in Politics and Fair Courts: Be authentic. Be strategic. Be patient. And understand the explicit reason you are engaging in social media beyond the fact that everyone is doing it. Social media can feel like it is its own world, and that is true to an extent. But it is the world that we make it, an extension of ourselves, our brands, our personalities, distilled, but also expanded. To me this means a requirement that we are always our most true selves, as individuals and organizations, and is probably even more true for brands and firms than for just folks.

Alicia Trost, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Communications Manager: Hone your message and workshop it to death until it is where you want it. Don’t just jump in and start tweeting what you think. Everything should come from your strategy message. Have facts, data, and examples at the ready to use at any given moment. Make sure you know where you can quickly point folks to more information. Anything you would say to the media on the record can be said on social. Humanize or at least visualize your advocacy using videos, pictures and graphics.  

Don’t just send out canned messages and retweet, you HAVE TO engage and have a conversation with people. If you do it correctly and at the right time, people will look at your timeline and see how you responded. BART has received earned media about the conversations we have had on Twitter and how they incorporated our strategic messaging.  

Dan Cohen, Full Court Press Communications, Founder:  Leave nothing to chance.  Start slowly.  Be humble. Ask your customers or audience where they are, what tools they use, and how they want to engage with you.  Some social media tools prioritize one-way communications while others are meant for back and forth.  Choose wisely.  And if there is one thing we’ve learned, its that you should seek to perfect your approach by trial and error and measurement on one channel before starting another.  


Everything I Learned, I Learned at Cheerios

Written by FCP Communications on . Posted in Stuff We Like

Early in my career, I had the opportunity to work at General Mills. Working with leading and trusted brands like Cheerios, Wheaties, and Betty Crocker was an eye-opener and powerful learning experience.

May 1 is the anniversary of the original launch of Cheerios in 1941. In honor of Cheerio’s 76th anniversary, here are three reflections from my time in Minneapolis working at General Mills.

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The Inheritance:  Sometimes you build a brand, but sometimes you inherit one. Thousands of people worked for 50 years on the Cheerios “brand” long before I got there. And thousands more will continue to do so for years to come.

FCP Celebrates Earth Day

Written by FCP Communications on . Posted in Stuff We Like

This weekend the international community is celebrating the world’s 47th Earth Day. US Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day to raise public awareness about environmental protection. The first Earth Day resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Now, Earth Day is celebrated around the world. It is as important as ever to advocate for environmental protections that are now under attack.

In honor of Earth Day, the FCP staff  is sharing some of our best communications tips for environmental clients— as well as the wisdom we’ve gained from working with them.

 

Dan’s Reflection: Connecting to the Community is Key

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Dan working the Press Riser at the 1990 Earth Day celebration in New York’s Central Park

FCP helped an organization in the South Bay called Valley Verde launch their Plant, Eat, Share Campaign, with a goal to plant 20,000 gardens in the Silicon Valley area. The idea was to help Latino community members and families that were struggling financially to build gardens and grow their own vegetables. Not only would it help increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables, but it would teach a new generation about healthy eating and encourage families, across generations, to be outdoors together.

The lesson for us was in how to extrapolate the impact of one single backyard in San Jose to the larger goal of changing an entire community’s relationship with food and nature. We accomplished this with powerful and personal storytelling paired with key statistics that indicated that there was indeed an existing problem and that this initiative was a part of the solution.