effectiveness, Leadership, media, politics, Reflection, reporting, workplace



When you are a reporter for the New York Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, the BBC and The Huffington Post and find yourself excluded from a White House Press conference this past Friday, you need help with bullying when it happens again.  So I looked online to find some advice:

 Act with Awareness, Calm, Respect, and Confidence

Projecting a positive, assertive attitude means holding your head high, keeping your back straight, walking briskly, looking around, and having a peaceful face and body. Staying aware also helps you to notice so that you can deal with it sooner rather than later.

Leave in a positive powerful way

 Leave in an assertive way, saying something neutral in a normal tone of voice like “See you later!” or “Have a nice day!”

Set Boundaries About Disrespectful or Unsafe Behavior

Your values are to have a welcoming and safe environment for everyone – and that being cruel or hurtful is wrong whether it happens in person, via social media, by texting, online or in any other way.

Use Your Voice

Leave and go to an adult to report what happened and get help as soon as possible.

Protect Your Feelings from Name-Calling and Hurtful Behavior

The reality is that, no matter how committed we are to safety and respect, not all places have the same commitment – and even when they do, people will still make mistakes. . . . saying, writing, emailing, or texting in ways that are hurtful to anyone makes problems bigger, not better.

Speak Up for Positive Inclusion

Being left out for reasons that have nothing to do with behavior is a major form of bullying

Be Persistent in Getting Help From Busy Adults

Learning how to have polite firm words, body language and tone of voice even under pressure and to not give up when asking for help is a life-long skill.

Use Physical Self-Defense as a Last Resort

Help for the kid in us all:  Excerpted verbatim  from https://www.kidpower.org


media, Pausing, Reflection, reporting



How do we cope with a Tweeting leader?  Should tweeting be subject to censorship when it spreads lies or hatred  by anybody – no matter who?  Are social platforms really publishers even though they think they are not?  What power does an ordinary citizen have? If I protest, do I deserve a backlash from people who voted for the leader – even though they think they had a numerical majority when most reliable sources say they didn’t –  but they believe the lie because a certain leader tells them so.  Now when the press is called the opposition party, I really wish Marshall McLuhan were around to help us straighten out the time worn phrase that the media is the message.

Social media have been professing themselves as merely the conduit of free speech for quite a while.  Perhaps it feels different lately.  Faith in letting people say anything they like seems to be wavering among tech leaders – especially when it affects their own employees as it did last weekend.  We all need to pay attention, reframe and rethink responsibility in a digital age.

Creating, effectiveness, Leadership, media, purpose, Reflection, reporting



Spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam, Lovely spam, wonderful spam   – Trump, Trump Trump Trump . . . . . . . .

Where are rhe Pythons when we need them?

My morning paper, The Globe and Mail, created the world of the day in its Saturday edition. Today’s editorial suggests we “Keep calm and carry on”.  So how does its content this morning help us do that?  I decided that it would be fun to put some headlines into a word cloud generator.  The result is what you see above and the answer is “Not so much”

I restricted my Word Cloud to two sections of the newspaper –  “News” and the one called “Focus”, which includes commentary and the weekly editorial. I didn’t have the energy to cut and paste the copy of the articles under these headlines or we would see the word Trump push every other word out of the cloud.

Yes, I know that an inauguration is news through I didn’t see it on TV.  I don’t generally watch the swearing in of Canadian poliiticians on TV either though I did attend a real-life one the fall and it was moving and made me glad to be a Canadian.

But if the fourth estate wants us to keep calm and carry on here in Canada, is it effective to be as obsessed with one person as it seems to be?  I don’t need Canadians to be happy about an inauguration.  But I don’t need reporters and columnists to encourage me to be as angry or afraid as they are either.  I also don’t need them to share their disillusionment or wishful thinking that a new head of government in the country next door would suddenly become presidential.

I did feel as though I were being spammed this morning.  Reality TV has created this person and the press seem taken in by it more than anyone else.  The values that this genre inspires are mixed. I hardly ever watch it though it is a favorite of my young grandsons – unlike their father who used to like shows like Barney Miller or Get Smart at the same age.  Sometimes the Reality TV participants in their endless competitions show courage and ingenuity but more often display winner-take-all and to hell with anybody else.  If we are expected to keep calm and carry on, we need a press that focuses more on facts and less on the personal fears, obsessions and anxieties of its writers.


Leadership, politics, Reflection, reporting



image1The press is fond of buzzwords and buzzfeeds. In a Twitter age, fast is quicker than deep. Like millions I have a personal Twitter account but my idea of its use is so 1990s. I make it a place to post a link a longer piece of writing that I hope contains some substance.  But I am clearly not part of the Twitteratti.

The idea of a president whose chief method of communication is Tweets ought to be so bizarre that we should burst out laughing and go away.  But the press – which should be at the head of the line on this exit – has turned these ramblings into news and has become its main conduit for those of us who have not become a certain leader’s Twitter “followers”.

In the game of “follow the leader”, there are options.  I remember my mother trying to persuade my son who was four years old at the time to eat something he didn’t like.  She cited several people she thought he would be impressed by saying. Mr. X eats broccoli.  Mrs. Y. eats broccoli.  His response was “I’m not playing”.  We do have choices here.

It’s a problem.  How do you stop bullying or exposure to lies?  You can walk away and ignore it, which many of us seem to be doing – saying we simply want to get on with our own life and focus on whatever grabs us – food, fitness, fun perhaps.  We can blame change.  What happened to the role of religion, or the strength of the family, or the economy before the rise of technology caused the loss of manufacturing?  Or we can invent new buzzwords and think we’re done.

Fake news – as Tabitha Southey notes in this morning’s Globe and Mail needs clarification

  • It’s not sloppy news that lacks validation by thorough research of reliable sources
  • It’s not news we would rather not hear or that we don’t like
  • It’s not news that contains simple mistakes that are improperly fact checked and can be corrected. While someone’s name is misspelled, the person named is rightly upset, but this can be set right.

What Southey goes on to identify is the use of stories that are totally false.  An example is a reprint from a newspaper that doesn’t exist, a location that does not exist, a headline and a story that is totally false.  It’s fake in every way.  These are the pieces currently attributed to Russian Intelligence.  If other publications or social media platforms present them or reprint them, what they are spreading is lies.  As I said in the previous post, the news creates reality for us by choosing what we will see.

The news I read every day is something I care deeply about.  I want its sources to be reliable and valid.  That doesn’t mean I like or agree with everything I read. But I want every reporter or commentator to aim for the truth.  Let’s get real.   What fake news contains is lies.  When public figures or the press dismiss lies as fake news or post truth and suggest we’ve dealt with it, they are saying that lies and truth are interchangeable. What is truth?  Does it matter?

I watched the press conference of the incoming president this week.   The bunch of reporters waving their hands to try to get attention reminded me of a primary classroom. Where was the West Wing’s Allison Janney when we needed her?  It was every man and woman for himself/herself to try to get the scoop.

But do the press have any sense of corporation social responsibility when one of their number is not chosen to ask a question – that might be valid – but openly bullied.  Remember the strategy of S.I. Hayakawa who cut the wires in a student protest to change the dynamic. Whether he was right or wrong, it was an immediate response.  Suppose the reporters with one accord had simply stood up and quietly left the room? Now that would have been a story.  What such an action requires of course is a united commitment to finding the truth –  that treating others in ways that one would want to be treated matters – and standing together as the fourth estate matters for us all.