Poor and Tired But More Than This (Part 2) SHORT STORY

“Jacob!? Jacob are you ok!?”. A flashlight was directly on his window now.

“Dad, I’m ok.” he was scared.

The officer pulled on the door as hard as he could, “We’re gonna get you out of there, just hold on! Are you ok? Is everyone in the car ok!?” He pulled on the jammed door with all of his strength, so much so that when it finally broke open he fell backwards but immediately got back up and ran up to the man in the driver’s seat whose arm was now free. “Are any of you hurt!? Are you ok!?”

“My wife, officer….my wife, she isn’t waking up.”

“How many of you are in the car?”

“Three of us, there’s three of us. My wife won’t wake up, my wife won’t wake up. Thank God you’re here. Thank God you’re here.”

the officer looked at the crying man and turned his head around to talk to the other officers who had just arrived a minute or so after him. “Unresponsive woman on the passenger side! Child in the backseat!” He turned his head back to the man in the driver’s seat, “Everything is going to be alright, we’ve got you.” He started to try and pull him out of the car but the man protested.

“My son! Let me get my son!”

The officer continued pulling the man out who was trying to resist his efforts but too weak to do so. “You’re son’s gonna be fine! We need to be careful getting him out, he might be injured. Just relax, please relax. You’re safe now. Your son is safe, we ain’t gonna hurt him. I promise you sir.” He guided the man to the side of a tree and gently sat him against its trunk. “What’s your name, sir?”

He was gasping for air when he answered, “My-my-my name…my name is Bryan Cleighton”

“And your son and wife, sir?”

“My wife is Janet, my son is Jacob. My son is Jacob, call him Jake, officer.” Bryan watched as an officer carried his son out of the car and another officer who was trying to rescue his wife shook his head to signal the others that there was no bringing her back, she was gone.

The officers face and voice of compassion changed right at that moment as he realized the grave nature of what might have just happened. “Sir, I need you to listen to me and I need you to be completely honest with me right now.”

Bryan was distracted by the fact that his wife couldn’t be saved and he sobbed as he slowly shook his head and repeated “No..no..no..no..no”

“Bryan! Mr. Cleighton, I need you to listen to me and be honest with me. Look at me!”. Bryan didn’t. “Look at me Mr. Cleighton!” but Bryan couldn’t bring himself to even open his eyes as he continued rambling, his head still shaking but facing the ground now. He couldn’t answer, he couldn’t focus on the officer’s words.

“Have you been drinking tonight, Bryan!?”

Bryan Cleighton looked up at the officer and said nothing.


After Speaking to Dan Lankford of iHeart Radio….

I typically spend little to no time listening to the radio. The music that plays on Harrisburg area radio stations is typically very different from my own personal musical preference. So, a lot of time had passed since I had listened to the radio. It wasn’t until last summer that I was re-exposed to radio and all of a sudden, all I would hear about is iHeart Radio. Over the summer of 2014 I worked at a warehouse that constantly had various radio stations playing. iHeart Radio was on nearly every station I had no idea what it was or why it existed. I sort of figured that it was some sort of way to try and save the radio industry by syndicating bigger and national radio shows. After the summer ended I once again began my prohibition of local radio.

After speaking to Dan Lankford, Regional Market President of iHeart Radio in central PA, pretty much every question that I had formed over the summer was answered. I think one of the things I was most interested about was the fact that iHeart Radio WAS Clear Channel and that the subsequent change in name was practically a really good public relations move that helped to shed any antiquated or formerly disadvantageous image of the company. It was a very clever move when it comes to the public, considering that a fairly educated person like myself had no idea what iHeart Radio really was, I just knew the it was a new big name due to all of the exposure it was getting on various stations.

While Mr. Lankford seemed like a pretty nice guy who was passionate and honest about his job (especially his “we don’t care about politics, we care about making money” remark). I still found myself feeling as though I was critical of his company because it very much seemed like one of those “the big company comes and eats up the little guy” type companies. I still do have a sort of fondness toward the idea of local radio stations actually being run locally, although I understand that business doesn’t have time to worry about what I have a fondness for.

I very much enjoyed the experience of having someone who is a part of the largest forward movement of radio educate us about the subject. Honestly, I didn’t really know what was going on and I now feel like I’ve got a pretty considerable handle on the current state of the industry. I may not be quite as optimistic about the future of radio as Mr. Lankford is but I do think that iHeart Radio will have much more staying power over competitors like Cumulus in the coming years.

Poor and Tired But More Than This (Part 1) SHORT STORY

A gasp for air. He was conscious again but could barely open his eyes. He was right side up, thank god. Quiet was a way to define the moment, save for the sound of crickets. The last thing he remembered was flipping uncontrollably. He couldn’t tell the difference between up and down, then it went black. His eyes finally opened and started to regain focus. It was dark outside, too dark to see where exactly he was. The woods, maybe? Glass was everywhere. He looked to his left and saw her slouched over in the passenger seat, the only thing holding her up was the seatbelt that must’ve been locked by the force of her body during the crash. He caught enough breath to speak.

“Janet?” His tone was quiet and voice was scratchy at that moment. No response. “Janet!?” He tried to lean over and reach toward her but was jerked back into his seat. His left arm was pinned in between his crushed door and seat. He could move his fingers and wrist though. Nothing was broken. He reached over to his wife with his right arm and put his hand on her arched back and gently shook her, “Janet, I need you to wake up…” No response. He began to raise his voice, “Janet! Please! Oh my God, Janet, PLEASE!? Fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!”. The horror set in as he turned around to check the backseat. His son, slouched over on his seatbelt. Lifeless. “Jake!?” This is when all of the fear took over. He was alone and hysterical, the only thing that he wanted in this desperation was to hear the voice of his wife or son.

He screamed their names as loud as he could. He cursed everything he had ever known. No response. He cried and shouted, trying to loosen his pinned arm just so he could hold them. Over and over again. It was the type of desperation that can only be experienced in nightmares. And so he screamed as loud as he could without a soul to receive it. He almost felt as if he wasn’t making a sound at all, despite the fact that he was trying his hardest. As the red and blue lights began to flash across his face his screams turned into sobs and whimpers as he began to accept the fact that he was the only one who had survived this and while he knew someone was coming to pull him out of the car he wished that they weren’t. He wished that he would’ve just died there with his family. But as the flashlights began to come rushing toward him, beaming through the trees that he wished he would’ve hit, he heard a sound.


Comcast Cares Day. A Look Into Comcast’s Biggest CSR Push.

Just last Saturday I found myself participating in Comcast’s most important day of the year for their Corporate Social Responsibility program. “Comcast Cares Day” is a day where every single employee of Comcast and NBCUniversal is asked to participate in local community service.

I was invited by my uncle who works at Comcast’s Call Center in Harrisburg, PA. He asked if I’d be interested in volunteering at our local Boys and Girls Club chapter. I agreed to attend and soon after I received a formal invitation via email from Comcast. After giving them my shirt size and signing up a couple of other people to come with me, I was registered to participate in my first day of community service in well over a year which felt great to go through with. But, aside from the warm fuzzy feeling of volunteering, what intrigued me most was to observe just how a national CSR event for one of our countries biggest companies would play out in my local area.

The email gave off the vibe that this would be an event coordinated well and it was, of course. After finding the Boys and Girls Club building in Harrisburg my uncle, cousin, friend and I waited in line to sign-in and pick up free Comcast Cares t-shirts. After getting a brief glimpse of the facility we were asked to meet outside on an extremely well kept baseball field located behind the building. There, state representative Patty Kim made an appearance and gave us a forward on how important that particular Girls and Boys Club location was and how valuable our community service would be to the district she represents. After that the Executive Director of the Harrisburg chapter, Yvonne Echols took a moment to describe the mission of her establishment and to thank us for taking the time to participate. Of course, before the entire group dispersed, we had to take a group photo (all wearing our new matching t-shirts, of course) and with that, we separated into smaller groups and began working on a variety of tasks.

My group included all other members of the party I came with as well as several other parents and their children. Our project was simple, to mulch the gardens on the outside of the building. Our group carried out the task swiftly and besides some kids getting in the way that said they wanted to “help’ everything went along nicely. We went back inside, played in the gym with some kids and then had lunch. And that was that.

Helping was a wonderful experience and the honest truth is that it was wonderful because Harrisburg Comcast made it that way. I’ve always sort of been wary of large corporations and their practices but I can honestly say that participating in their CSR program was not only rewarding but it was also easy because of how organized it was. That wasn’t the only thing that I took in though. These employees actually bonded with each other while doing some real good in on one of the roughest neighborhoods of Harrisburg. Being placed outside of the comfort zone and rules of the workplace allowed them to get to know each other. Everyone was laughing the whole time, swapping stories, sharing jokes and just generally feeling good about what they were doing. I’ve never even set foot in Comcast’s Harrisburg offices but I could tell that this was going to provide positive energy in that workplace.

Comcast Cares Day allowed so many branches of a major corporation to enact good in the communities in which it functions. Beyond that, it allowed employees to have bonding experiences that can create a better workplace. However, most of all, what I participated in was something that so many others participated in around the country. And they all were local people volunteering in their communities. These aren’t large effortless donations or supporting some non-profit organization to get their name put next to a charity’s in a commercial. These are local people doing good things in their communities and that sort of intimacy makes this Comcast CSR initiative more effective than sponsorship. And as far as the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg’s bottom line goes, they got quality help for some difficult and would-be expensive work. Good was done to all and that is what an effective CSR program should be.

Mind Your Design Creative Studio Spoke to My Class Today…

Mind Your Design Creative Studio’s Paul Boger and Chyna Geib visited one of my classes to share their success story with us. They offered us a lot of insights to what their specific jobs entail and, what I consider more valuable to myself, insight into the journey that brought them to where they are right now.
Mind Your Design (MYD) is a design studio located in Doylestown PA that was founded, owned, and nearly completely operated by Boger and Geib. Together they distribute responsibilities and general tasks to provide fresh designs for anything that ranges from the entire look and feel of a restaurant to simple pamphlets that a company might need to spread information in an effective and aesthetically pleasing way. As the duo described, Boger tends to deal with a lot of the accounts management. Boger grew into that role over time and is generally the person who meets with clients regularly and leads them through the plans that MYD may have for a particular client. In the meantime, Geib devotes much of her time towards the creative aspects of their business (although both contribute to creative).
Something that I considered particularly interesting was the clientele that they deal with and how practically one account for a chain of restaurants is their main client. It seems so rewarding to have been able to contribute to the success of a hometown establishment that each of them has enjoyed since they were kids. It really made a list of a few establishments run through my mind that I wish I could do the same for in my hometown. Beyond that, I found it fascinating that they’ve dealt with so many different clients (over one hundred in just a few years if I remember correctly). That kind of variety really attracts me to the creative side of that work. To be able to work creatively on something new and fresh constantly would be in the realm of “dream job” to me, although I may not necessarily want to do that in design. Perhaps advertising?
What I think was the most valuable part of talking with Boger and Geib was hearing about their journey. They were my age when they started their business after trying hard to find jobs with little to no avail. So, they decided to just try and employ themselves. The very fact that their business has been able to exist and will continue to exist is certainly an inspiration to the entrepreneur in me. So often you hear of people trying and just not quite cutting it but then you meet young people like Paul and Chyna and it makes you think “what if?”. I’m glad to have had the experience.

So, Hilary is In….

A little over a week ago Hilary Clinton announced that she will officially be running for President in the 2016 election. The amount of people who were surprised, very few. The amount of people who were ecstatic, very many. The amount of people who were angry, also vary many.

Kicking off a political campaign in the right way is essential to each and every elected official in the United States and Ms. Clinton knows this. And so, she kicked off her campaign with a little video that tries to capture contemporary America with her announcement being the finale.

So, let’s take the time to see what her campaign team got right with this video.

1. The diversity of people in this video is clearly an attempt to appeal to as many people as possible. You’ve got interracial couples, homosexual couples, Hispanic and Black individuals, kids, and an old white woman for good measure. (No, not Hilary there’s another at the 10 second mark)

2. All of the people in this video are very obviously from different backgrounds and cultures but are all working on progressing toward goals. This sort of narrative shows a diverse, yet productive and hungry America. I suppose this is supposed to be the America that Hilary believes in.

3. She’s in the clip right alongside everyone else. It seems to present everyone else’s goals as “just as important” as her own. It’s a somewhat subtle “I’m just like all of you hardworking Americans!”. But it’s effective. She’s excited, like everyone else in the video.

That’s all well and good but there are a few things worth mentioning that could be considered detractions to the overall mass-appeal of the video

1. The appeal of diversity is something off putting to many conservatives. Particularly the ones marginalized by the issue of marriage equality. Homosexual couples are upsettingly unpopular in a lot of factions of conservatism. In actuality even a large amount of people who say that they are for marriage equality still claim to be uncomfortable by the sight of a homosexual couple. Long story short, there are a decent amount of people afraid of LGBTQ people. It is depressing and sad, but it is true and this can lead to people dismissing Hilary’s candidacy as “just another liberal”.

2. She said the word “I” a little too much in her monologue. Five times in about forty-five seconds, to be exact. Understandably, she was trying to be conversational. Referring to “you” and telling us what she wants to do for “you”. But sentences like, “Everyday-Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion” can be seen as a little too pushy or self promotional. There’s a line between confidence and cockiness. Many people will think that she’s blurring it after that sentence.

3. She’s a woman. I know that I just said she might seem too cocky to some people. That’s a reality. What contributes to that reality is that she is putting herself out there as a take charge individual. A “champion”. When I think “champion” I think Rocky Balboa, not Cinderella and so does most of America. Sadly, people will be uncomfortable with a woman who walks with such a strong stride and speaks with such overwhelming confidence. There are still people who think women should be in subordinate positions. There are still WOMEN IN THIS COUNTRY THAT BELIEVE THAT. This will subtly plague her entire campaign.

This is a good start for Hilary, though. I feel as though the direction of this campaign may be one that has already given up on the votes of the misogynist and homophobic crowds. And if that is the plan, this is as effective an announcement video as any.

Looking To Be Creative In Advertising or PR? LA Might Be The Town For You.

In California, many of the largest digital powerhouses have set up shop in Silicon Valley. This includes the likes of Google, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix and Twitter. But down in southern California, there’s a steady resurgence of businesses not only investing their money into Los Angeles, but also creating businesses.
An “Advertising Age” article by Tim Peterson discusses this second coming of investors willing to throw capital at the city of LA. The reason for this is content marketing. Content marketing has become a pretty large trend in advertising and PR. From the largest of businesses to the smallest, companies want to have their stories told and a room full of business women and men may not be the right place to find proper story tellers. This article highlights Los Angeles’ tendency to harbor creative types. Those so called “California Dreamers” whose creativity is stereotypically known to die once they “never make it” now has an outlet that companies deem profitable these days. Profitable means that they’ll pay these creative types for their works. People that are getting paid instead of being starving artists contribute better to a regions economy and thus Los Angeles is at the cusp of a new economic boom.
All of the digital powerhouses listed before have established centers in LA to utilize this talent for their respective businesses. And companies who are looking to start out their content marketing have placed production studios in LA, like Red Bull. Other advertising and marketing firms are either being newly established or they’re expanding to find people that can help to create content for businesses all over the world.
Worth noting is that mobile investors are also looking to Los Angeles following the success of apps like Snapchat, Whisper, and Tinder.
Content marketing has brought a rebirth to the economy of Los Angeles, but seeing if this trend in advertising and PR will be a lasting one is still a mystery. For now though, if you’re looking to create and curate content for a company, LA might be the town for you.