3×3: Three Experts Answer Three Questions on Writing

Written by FCP Communications on . Posted in Stuff We Like

3×3: Three Experts Answer Three Questions on Writing

Working in the communications field, writing— of emails, press releases, reports, memos, and pitches— becomes your bread and butter. Full Court Press sought out different approaches to writing, from experts in three different fields, to consider how writing differs in different industries, how young people can up their game and prepare for career success by improving their writing, and how we can continue to stay fresh and creative in our own approach to writing.


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Thanks to our experts:

Matthias Gafni, @mgafni

Matthias Gafni is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group. He has reported and edited for Bay Area newspapers since he graduated from UC Davis, covering courts, crime, environment, science, child abuse, education, county and city government, and corruption.

Akilah Monifa, @Kiki_Thinks

Akilah Monifa is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder/Co-Publisher of ARISE 2.0, a digital global publication with news, issues, and opinions impacting the LGBTQ of color community and allies. She also is a contributor for The Huffington Post, Progressive Media Project, and Divorced Moms. She has published two e-books, both collections of her essays.

Dan Cohen, @dcstpaul

Dan is a veteran public relations, political communications and media strategist.He founded Full Court Press Communications in 2001 with a vision of providing public relations, public affairs and crisis counsel to companies, foundations and nonprofits who wish to use strategic communications to make social change.

Resistance Resources — 6 Ways to Fight Back and Stay Sane

Written by FCP Communications on . Posted in Stuff We Like

Since November 8th, and even more prescient since January 20th, one can sometimes feel a palpable tension in the air. Between the never-ending news cycle, the real and pressing fear caused by shifts in policy, increased reports of hate-crimes, and what feels like an increase in divisiveness and hateful dialogue, it’s been hard not to feel discouraged or overwhelmed. In the face of all this, the FCP put their heads together to gather some our favorite “resistance resources”— ways to take initiative, be engaged, fight back, and stay sane in a political environment that can feel like the eye of a hurricane.

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To Listen: Pod Save America

As mentioned, it feels almost impossible to keep up with the news cycle these days. It has the potential to make one feel powerless and overwhelmed. Enter: Pod Save America. This podcast was created by four former Obama White House officials following the election of Donald Trump last year. The podcast is a self-proclaimed “no-BS conversation about politics where you can laugh, cry, scream, share your ideas, and hopefully decide that you want to help fix this mess too. Many, including the FCP team, have found it to be a valuable resource for parsing out what is important, what is not, what is politically realistic and what is socially responsible for members of the progressive movement. We highly recommend it for anyone who is in need of a straight up explanation of our current political climate without self-serving spin or speculation.

We also suggest giving a listen to their spin off podcasts: “Pod Save the People,” “Lovett or Leave It,” “Pod Save the World” and “With Friends Like These.”

To Organize: Indivisible

Indivisible a national group with local chapters in every Congressional district in the country, including the East Bay and San Francisco. Stemming from an online guide drawn up by former Congressional staffers, the group works to unite citizens across the nation in resisting Donald Trump’s disastrous agenda. These groups are creating local strategies to target individual members of Congress, and developing a defensive approach purely focused on stopping Trump from implementing an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption. Weekly meetings are held in your city.

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.

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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.