Inside This Issue:
FORUM 2008's opening general session, reflecting the organization's broader focus on all communications professionals, will kick off the conference with a panel of leading communications executives from national media, entertainment and cable companies. The panel will touch on subjects such as daily press relations, communicating during a crisis, building effective internal communications teams, the importance of strong media relationships, managing your PR agency, internal communications, reaching out to customers and other key audiences through the press, management of government affairs, leveraging new media opportunities and assessing performance. This panel is guaranteed to give audience members key take-aways including proven techniques for effective communications, professional tips and experienced insights.
Speakers include Carl Folta, Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations, Viacom, Senior Vice President Communications, and D'Arcy Rudnay, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, Comcast Corporation. Check the ACC Web site often for panel updates and other conference new. For more information on FORUM 2008, go to http://www.cablecommunicators.org/forum.php.
ACC to Host First Online Chat about Cable Blogging on February 6
As part of the association's ongoing efforts to broaden the array of services and professional tools available to members and incorporate interactive features into the Web site www.cablecommunicators.org, the Association of Cable Communicators (ACC) will host its first online chat on Wednesday, February 6 at 2:00 p.m. EST. Entitled Cable Blogs: Tapping into the Blogosphere to Achieve Company Goals, this chat will enable cable communicators to discuss how best to use this medium with an interactive public relations expert and three cable trailblazers in the world of blogging.
ACC's first, online chat will be accessible to all via www.cablecommunicators.org. Following up on the ACCbrief Blogs and Beyond, this chat will feature Lance Helgeson, vice president, v-Fluence Interactive Public Relations and a contributor to this brief; Jerilyn Bliss, vice president, corporate communications, Scripps Networks; Anthony Surratt, executive director, public relations, Cox Communications; and Brandii Toby, press and publicity manager, DIY Network. One of the first cable companies to blog was Cox Communications. In October 2005 Cox launched Digital Straight Talk, a blog that allows Cox to present views and news on the many issues affecting broadband providers and consumers. DIY Network used its Blog Cabin in 2007 to drive "tune-in" for on-air and "logon" for online programming with positive results.
ACC will post a transcript of the chat on its Web site. If you have a question that you would like to ask Lance, Jerilyn, Anthony or Brandii but will not be able to participate in the live chat, please send an email to Michelle Butler with your question.
Discovery Communications' "Planet Green" Partners for Environmental Advocacy
Planet Green, Discovery Communications' multiplatform environmental initiative, has joined forces with ten, leading, non-profit, environmental organizations and advocacy groups. Ashoka, Earth Pledge, Earthwatch Institute, Environmental Media Association (EMA), Global Green USA, Global Inheritance, National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Oceana, Ocean Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy will collaborate with Discovery's Planet Green on a broad range of activities and initiatives including grassroots community outreach, public affairs and content creation. Working with each organization, Planet Green will use its television, marketing, digital media and education platforms to raise awareness for the critical issues facing the planet today and highlight action-based solutions and initiatives.
Discovery created Planet Green, a cross-company initiative, in an effort to document, preserve and celebrate the planet. In 2008, Discovery Home channel becomes Planet Green— the first, 24-hour, eco-lifestyle channel dedicated to providing tools, information and content in order to educate and entertain. For more information, please visit www.PlanetGreen.com.
Donations Needed for the 2008 Silent Auction
For more than a decade, the Silent Auction has been the highlight of FORUM's opening reception. This year's auction, to be held Sunday, March 30, 2008, will again benefit the Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media. The Foundation offers minority youth the support, education and skills needed to obtain jobs in the media industry. Over the past nine years, ACC members have raised and contributed more than $100,000 to the Foundation through the auction.
ACC is currently accepting donations for the Silent Auction. Popular items in the past have included iPods and MP3 players, HDTVs, gaming systems, jewelry, children's items, vacation packages, tickets to shows or sporting events, DVD sets, and dinner with cable executives or celebrities. Platinum level donations, valued at $1,000 and up, will be given special emphasis and featured at the front of the bid book.
For the second consecutive year, donors will also have the option to sponsor a prize by giving a cash contribution of $1,000. The Silent Auction committee will then use your donation to create a gift for the auction with your approval.
To make a donation, please fill out the donation form and fax it to 202-222-2371 or mail it to ACC. Donation forms must be received by March 10, 2008, to guarantee listing in the bid book. Items may arrive separately between the dates of March 24-27, 2008, and should be shipped to ACC at 25 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20001. For more information, contact Alex Danoff at 202-222-2370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cable Center and C-SPAN Team Up for the "Road to the White House"
In anticipation of the 2008 presidential election, The Cable Center and C-SPAN are working together to give college students an inside look at the way we elect our president and to help them make informed decisions about the presidential selection process. "Road to the White House," a winter distance learning course made possible by a partnership between The Cable Center and C-SPAN, is the only college-level class of its kind in the country that provides close-up access to influential politicians and press.
Taught by Steve Scully, C-SPAN senior executive producer and political editor, the program gives students from University of Denver, George Mason University and Pace University a rare, upfront view of the 2008 election and offers analysis of the current presidential race with leading newsmakers, political commentators and journalists. Noted guests for the winter course include Ari Fleischer, former Bush campaign press secretary and White House press secretary; former Vice President Walter Mondale; Doris Kearns Goodwin, award-winning American author and historian; Janet Brown, executive director, Commission on Presidential Debates; and Brit Hume, Washington, D.C. managing editor, FOX News Channel.
The class is broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on the C-SPAN networks, including every Friday at 5 p.m. ET on C-SPAN3 and can also be viewed at www.c-span.org. For more information, contact the Cable Center's Joanne Dant at 303-346-5527 or email@example.com.
First Round of Beacon Award Judging Completed
ACC members from across the country gathered at the NCTA building in Washington, D.C., on January 16 and 17 to serve as first round judges for the 2008 Beacon Awards. The two days of judging began on Tuesday evening with a reception hosted by NCTA for all Beacon Award judges at Capital City Brewing Company, near NCTA's headquarters in Washington D.C.
On Wednesday morning, executive director Steve Jones and ACC President Peggy Ballard, Vice President of Strategic Communications for Scientific Atlanta, A Cisco Company, welcomed the judges and thanked them for volunteering their time over the next two days to review the 477 Beacon entries. Amy Cohn, executive director of public affairs for Cox Communications and Todd Eachus, senior director of government affairs for Comcast provided an in-depth review of judging procedures.
The final round of Beacon Award judging will be held on Thursday, January 31. More than 50 senior cable communications professionals will review the entries that advanced from the first round to the final round. ACC will announce the finalists in February and the winners during the 2008 Beacon Awards Gala on April 1, the final event of FORUM 2008.
Thanks to all 44 volunteers who participated as a first round Beacon Award judge last week:
John Bairos, Comcast
The Weather Channel Honored by United States Coast Guard
In recognition of its contributions to safeguarding the American public, The Weather Channel (TWC) was presented the Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award from the United States Coast Guard. The award was accepted by Debora Wilson, president of The Weather Channel, on behalf of the company.
The award recognizes the Weather Channel as a source of timely weather reporting that has prepared the maritime community and coastal residents by providing essential education and warnings to increase readiness. Among the specific contributions were the availability of 24-hour, real-time, weather information for coastal residents and prime-time programming that has increased the public awareness of the heroic acts of Coast Guardsmen during hurricanes and other natural disasters. For more information
on the award, contact Connie Malko at 770-226-2180.
Lifetime and Marcia Cross Deliver 20 Million Signatures to Congress
Actress Marcia Cross joined Lifetime and Members of Congress from both political parties on Wednesday to deliver 20 million signatures collected on www.myLifetime.com urging Congress to end the practice of "drive-through" mastectomies and pass the bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007. The bill, championed by Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), would allow a woman and her doctor to decide if she is better off going home or staying in the hospital for at least 48 hours following difficult breast cancer surgeries.
The more than 20 million signatures gathered on www.myLifetime.com in support of ending "drive-through" mastectomies is part of Lifetime's nonpartisan Every Woman Counts campaign to encourage its viewers to get involved in the political process and speak out on issues important to their lives. Cross, known for her role on "Desperate Housewives," is joining several other celebrities as part of the year-long Every Woman Counts initiative in television spots and vignettes to raise awareness of critical issues like "drive-through" mastectomies and to encourage women to register, vote and consider running for elected office.
The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007 has 204 co-sponsors in the House and 18 in the Senate. The legislation, modeled after a 1996 law that banned "drive-through" baby deliveries, would: guarantee a minimum hospital stay of 48 hours for a woman having a mastectomy or lumpectomy, and 24 hours for a woman undergoing a lymph node removal; require health plans to include notice of these benefits to plan participants; and require plans to provide full coverage of second opinions should the patient seek one.
Lifetime was made aware of the problem of "drive-through" mastectomies by Representative DeLauro and by viewers in 1996 and responded by creating an online petition. The petition at www.myLifetime.com has been signed more than 20 million times since its launch. For more information contact Nancy Bennett at 800-834-1110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walter Kaitz Foundation Delivers More Than $1.5 Million for Cable Diversity Organizations
The Walter Kaitz Foundation announced that it awarded more than $1.5 million for 2008 to fund programs and activities of three cable diversity organizations: the Emma L. Bowen Foundation, the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT). The 2008 grants exceed the previous year's funding by more than $300,000, or 25 percent. The funds will be used to help the organizations offer mentoring, leadership and training programs that expand diversity and assist diverse cable executives with professional development.
Funding for grants is derived largely from the proceeds of the Walter Kaitz Foundation Annual Fundraising Dinner held during cable's diversity week in New York City each September. More than 1,300 executives attended the 2007 dinner that collected more than $1.7 million in donations from the purchase of tables, tickets, advertising and other sponsorships. The 2008 Walter Kaitz Foundation Annual Dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, September 17, 2008, in New York. Ticket sales will begin this summer.
For more information contact Joy Sims at 202-222-2350.
Suddenlink Uses Blog, Suddenlink FYI, to Reach Out to Customers
In mid-December,Suddenlink Communications launched a Blog entitled Suddenlink FYI, primarily to provide customers with regular updates about The NFL Network, and it has become an effective communications platform to inform customers about other service issues.
As part of a dispute between Suddenlink Communications and Austin, Texas, NBC Affiliate KXAN, the channel was removed from the cable company's lineup. Suddenlink used its new blog to keep Austin-area customers and news media informed about the dispute and the steps the company was taking to restore NBC programming to its line up in the greater Austin area. On January 3, 2008, Suddenlink launched the Temple, Texas, NBC affiliate KCEN to its Austin service area. Between December 31 and January 3, more than 10% of Suddenlink's 30,000 customers in its Austin service area visited the Suddenlink FYI blog. Many of those visitors published their own blogs, including a prominent TV writer for the Austin-American Statesman, and used information from Suddenlink FYI in the posts they shared with their readers. In the end, a combination of the new, company blog and active monitoring and response to comments left at other blogs helped Suddenlink earn and keep the trust of its Austin-area customers during this time.
Given the success of the blog during the KXAN dispute, Suddenlink Communications has now expanded the scope of the blog to include posts on other subjects and issues and positioned it as an ongoing news resource for the press. For more information on Suddenlink's blog and how it is used, please contact Pete Abel at email@example.com.
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Join and support ACC by becoming a corporate member. For more information on how your organization can join ACC as a corporate member, please contact Steve Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-222-2373. For membership details, go to http://www.cablecommunicators.org/cmember.php.
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