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30 Ways To Piss Off Reporters

This is good. This is VERY good.


During media training sessions, I share examples of easy ways to completely piss off a reporter — not as a tutorial — but as a cheeky way to say DO NOT do these things ever if you want to maintain any kind of healthy relationship with media.

Below you will find the ones that bothered me when I worked as a journalist. There are definitely others so feel free to share in the comments section below. I had some help from some friends and former colleagues. So, please do add to the discussion.

Do any of these things, and you’re in for a world of fun. Trust me.

1. Tell a reporter how to do their job – They love that. Criticize the subjective tone or focus of a story while you’re at it. Bonus points if you can do this while never mentioning that the story was technically 100% accurate.


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On the Road Again, AGAIN!

Veteran Hobo via Shorpy

Veteran Hobo via Shorpy

ICYMI: I’ve been trying to buy and live in a converted schoolbus for the last year and a half or so. I finally OWN the bus, but it’s full of black mold and would need to be stripped back to the frame and rebuilt, by myself single-handedly thanks to budget constraints, and completed before mid-September, when my pet-sitting bookings dry up. The bus currently has a rocket stove as its major heat source, and I have it on excellent authority that this particular form of heat source, ie an open wood stove, will NEVER EVER IN A BILLION YEARS pass inspection, and it must pass inspection in order for me to drive this bus anywhere.


I have to be in Ottawa in September, to spend the winter and possibly longer.


If I cannot insure the bus, I cannot drive the bus. If I cannot drive the bus, I cannot use the bus. So, it becomes about selling the bus (and all its contents that are mold-resistant; it has some useful and valuable stuff like a gas generator, etc).

I may put that money into an RV or a car and trailer. My friend the Bus Whisperer insists that trailers are not fashionable, and are therefore a much better deal than RVs, so that’s tempting. Also way more versatile; I could hardly take a bus to the grocery store, or go downtown with it. The question is, can I get both a car that can drive 3,000 miles AND a trailer I can live in for whatever I can sell the bus for? The Bus Whisperer says if I strip it out right to the bones, ie no glass, no rubber, nothing in the box, I could sell the aluminum body and then sell the rest and maximize my take, rather than just letting them do it. I can certainly do that; demolition isn’t a fine art, is it? Lots of exercise though.

I’m moving to Ottawa to take care of a family member with a chronic condition who just needs someone around in case. In exchange, I get to live rent-free for the winter, and concentrate on my writing rather than this pet-sitting treadmill which is taking up easily half of my working hours and getting me rent plus $20 a day. I can do a LOT better than that by writing.

And I’d get to visit all my friends in Montreal, Toronto, and New York. Heck, I’ve never even BEEN to NYC. Might even see the Maritimes, who knows? If I had a car and a trailer, I’d basically have complete freedom. Could pick up the pet-sitting again, could just do my own thing, wifi permitting. And nothing says I can’t do some custom, hackery renos on the trailer and/or car.

So, since there’s a hard deadline, and a three thousand mile journey, suddenly several decisions have become very simple. If something’s not possible, it’s just not going to happen, so what else can happen and how can that help me? I’m going to miss the coast like anything, but I fully plan on returning when I can. And you know, somehow I have a way of getting things done if I really, really want them.

24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear

Copy all of this! I did finally donate my Laura Ashley sailor collared dress with the big bow, and also my blue pinwale pinafore, but hey, I didn’t fit either of them anymore anyway.

warning:curves ahead

This morning, as I was perusing my Facebook timeline, I happened upon an article that a lovely friend shared. It was entitled “24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30”, and it triggered Maximum Eye-Rolling from everyone who took the time out to read it.

Written by Kallie Provencher for RantChic.com, this “article” (I use the term loosely) highlighted things such as “leopard print”, “graphic tees”, and “short dresses” (because “By this age, women should know it’s always better to leave something to the imagination”). Kallie, it seems, has a number of opinions on what women over 30 should and shouldn’t be doing, having also penned “30 Things Women Over 30 Shouldn’t Own” and “20 Pictures Women Over 30 Need To Stop Posting Online”. (What is this magical post-30 land where women are suddenly not allowed to do or own so many things?!)

Motivated by Kallie’s “article”, I decided to…

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Marketing the Unmarketable: The PineApple Case Study

A little thing me and Steve Wozniak did.

raincoaster media


How to market a mystery? That was the challenge faced by Nathan Newman and his team at Time Over Distance (t/d), a UK social media PR company, earlier this year. Their task? To spread the word that Steve Wozniak, inventer of the Apple computer, had a new project, PineApple, which would launch on Apple’s 40th anniversary, April 1.

I worked as part of the team, drumming up interest in North America via social media. But it ain’t easy when you can’t actually tell people what it is you’re talking about. What’s PineApple? How did we spread the word? What roadblocks did we encounter on the way? What lessons can you learn from our experience? We had to market the mystery itself.

Here’s how it went down.
Everything was timed around the Business Rocks conference in Manchester, April 21-23 of this year. That was the actual client, and the actual…

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come see me at social media camp in Victoria, May 5-7

Who likes free lunches? EVERYONE! Who likes saving money? Pretty much those very same people! Now you can attend Canada’s biggest and best purely social media conference in one of the world’s prettiest cities, save $100 on registration, and have lunch on and with me. Given the number of lunches other people have bought for me, it’s kinda the least I can do.

Kittens explain social media, they explain everything.

Kittens explain social media, they explain everything.

Yes kittens, I’m headed back to the #YYJ for another Social Media Camp, Canada’s largest social media conference, in gorgeous downtown Victoria. I know that’s a cliche, but it’s literally true and I don’t know anyone who isn’t thrilled at an excuse to go to this spectacular city.

This year I’ll be speaking on Marketing the Mystery; in other words, how to use social media to drum up interest in something when you’re not actually allowed to say what it is. I’m using the @WhatsPineApple campaign that we’re running for Steve Wozniak as my specific material here. What’s PineApple? All will be revealed by Woz at the Business Rocks conference in Manchester, April 21-22, which means I’ll finally be free to talk about it by the time Social Media Camp rolls around.

social media camp

I may or may not also be doing an informal chat-style talk on how writers can use social media to boost readership and sales. That depends on finding a room for it, or alternately on attendees buying me pints at the pub. I’m easy, and Victoria is the spiritual home of the Canadian brew pub tradition.

AND thanks to organizer Paul Holmes, I’ve got a juicy discount code for you, kittens! Regular camp tix are $699 and go up to $999 for the Rock Star pass, but a limited number of camp tickets have been made available at $599. But with this sweet, sweet discount code you get $100 off whichever package you buy, and you get a free lunch, on me. And with me. This is good news for you, as I am a restaurant snob and will take you somewhere nice, I promise. Your super-secret discount code is: Raincoaster.

Clicky, clicky, you know you want to. $200 off Canada’s best social media conference AND a free lunch with your humble editor in one of the world’s best undiscovered foodie destinations. DO EET. Guy Fawkes mask optional, we’re not formal here.