Illinois faces questions in implementing health overhaul

Inside a conference room at Mount Sinai Hospital shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday, board members broke into an extended applause. [Read more]

Suburban hospitals applaud court ruling

“Because of this legislation, people in Illinois will no longer have a diminished quality of life, be at risk of dying merely because they lack health insurance, or be forced into bankruptcy because of a devastating diagnosis,” said President and CEO Maryjane A. Wurth of Naperville-based Illinois Hospital Association. [Read more]

The evolution of the exclamation point…!!!!

Once reserved for moments of extreme emotion, the exclamation point has infiltrated social media, becoming an obligatory ending to every sentence.

There are now so many posts and tweets peppered with exclamation points. “Hey!! Check out this link!!! It’s so cool!!!”

According to AP style, the exclamation point should be used only for “emphatic expressions” to express a high degree of surprise, incredulity or strong emotion.

When used sparingly, the exclamation point can scream, shout or demand attention, but when overused (especially in the case of the dreaded exclamation point train “!!!!!!”) the power is lost.

In a Facebook post or in a tweet, where every character is precious and getting your audience’s attention is the top goal, make your prize fighters count. Use exclamation points wisely.

Ready? Go!

-  Jennifer Koppelman

Compliment vs. Complement

Well, hello, kind reader. You look wonderful today. I love how the color in your shirt complements your eyes.

This is an example of a compliment. I have shown you an expression of admiration.

This color wheel  shows the perfect match for each color, also known as each color’s complement.

Another example of a complement is how an excellent communications strategy can complement an organization’s strategic plan.

Or, how the right headline can complement the details of your story.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ve enjoyed spending time with you and appreciate the attention you have paid to my words.

Have a great day!

- Lisa Soard

Mark Decarlo kayaks the Chicago River

Watch as Mark Decarlo joined by Steffani Fort, the Aquatics Director at East Bank Club in Chicago, shows how kayaking can help you get more physically fit.

TSA Agent Is A Model Communicator (Huh?)


Portland International Airport. Sunday morning. Spring Break. Long lines at security.

“Ladies and gentlemen, hello. As you can see, it is very crowded here today, and there are long lines. And, because we didn’t expect this today, we are short-staffed. So, look around, talk to one another, and smile…

“Why do I tell you this? Because I want you to know that we are as unhappy about this as you are, and I want to do whatever I can to help you get through this as easily and quickly as possible. Please bear with us. We really are here to help…

“So, I want to remind you of a few very important things. First, have your boarding passes out. Make sure that each person – even your child – has their own boarding pass. Second, and this is VERY important, please make sure you finish your Diet Coke, your water, and any other liquid refreshment you are enjoying before you get to the checkpoint…

“I know TSA agents aren’t known for their friendliness, so you are probably wondering why I am talking to you this way today. I was nominated, because I am less unfriendly than everyone else I am working with here today…”

And, so it went, for the 20 minutes or so it took to get through the security line. The result? The line may or may not have moved more quickly, but people were smiling, talking to one another and there was very little passenger grumbling during this security process.

The TSA agent entertained us, informed us and expedited the security process. He was doing PR, whether he knew it or not. I submit that he did know what he was doing, and I say it was brilliant. His upbeat patter, reminiscent of a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, caused more smiles and fewer complaints than I have ever seen in an airport security check line.

-  Kathy Schaeffer

Your readers aren’t crash test dummies


People tend to worry about how a national trend might “impact” folks in Chicago, or want to talk about the economic “impact” of a certain industry.

In most cases the word they are looking for is affect, or influence. Impact, when used as a verb, primarily means to strike forcefully or come forcibly into contact with another object.

That hasn’t stopped bloggers, whitepaper writers and even journalists from misusing the word. In fact, it seems as though misuse of impact has reached an all-time high, leaving today’s readers feeling like crash test dummies.

Colloquial terms and usage can be tricky. I can’t help but think of a scene from the old HBO show “The Wire” in which a grizzled Baltimore Sun editor rebukes a rookie reporter for writing that “the Fire Department evacuated 120 people.”

He explains that you evacuate a building, not people (“evacuate: to make empty”).

So remember – car accidents, knockout punches and shifting tectonic plates can impact something. Economic studies, not so much.

- Tim Frisbie

Retrofit Chicago plan will cut energy use, create jobs

Jay Wrobel, executive director at Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, addresses Chicago’s reputation as the nation’s leading “green” city in the Chicago Sun-Times[Read more]

Aging boomers, elderly face difficult housing market

“Selling can be a very emotional experience for seniors,” said Mike Rickert, chair of the Senior Service Task Force for the MainStreet Organization of Realtors and a guest on Monday’s Eight Forty-Eight on WBEZ. [Listen]

Newsprint for breakfast

Literally, I did have newsprint for breakfast when, as a paperboy, I would buy doughnuts on my way home from working on my route, but that’s another story…

These days, I’m ingesting my news the old-fashioned way – on the train, on my way in to work. The Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times are always on the menu because they set the news agenda for the city, and, to some extent, the state. The ride always goes smoother when our clients are featured in positive pieces in either publication.

But that’s just the main course. I also seek out:

  • WBBM-AM, which is a great way to wake up to the news (in fact, I groggily heard Felicia Middlebrooks TELLING me it’s time to get up this morning. It did help, believe it or not).
  • The Daily Herald, which covers the Chicago suburbs like no one else.
  • NPR/WBEZ, which is the best combination of local and national news (and I enjoy its Marketplace show as a nightcap as much as possible).
  • The New York Times, thanks to a phone app that highlights the top stories and the print edition.
  • The Wall Street Journal, which we receive in the office every weekday.
  • Chicago’s TV morning shows, when I get a chance.
  • And, Capitol Fax, the most influential blog in the state.

News is the stuff of life for people who work in issue-oriented PR, or anyone who wants to be an involved, informed citizen. Pull up a chair and enjoy the menu.

-  Bob Musinski