Friday, January 27, 2012

Pants on fire

I was checking out PolitiFact’s Twitter feed last night as I watched the GOP debate….

What is PolitiFact, you ask?
“PolitiFact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times and its partners to help you find the truth in politics.”
Basically, they go out and examine statements made by US politicians and “anyone else who speaks up in American politics” to see whether or not the statements are true.
The best part of it all is how PolitiFact rates the accuracy of what politicians say—they use a highly scientific tool called the Truth-O-Meter.

The Truth-O-Meter uses a scale consisting of:

Mostly True
Half True
Mostly False
Pants on Fire (my favourite)
I thought a blog post about Truth-O-Meter was timely given the focus we’ve had this week on critical thinking and media law. Does this sound familiar, CreComms?:

Truth-O-Meter is based on the concept that – especially in politics - truth is not black and white.

PolitiFact writers and editors spend considerable time researching and deliberating on our rulings. We always try to get the original statement in its full context rather than an edited form that appeared in news stories. We then divide the statement into individual claims that we check separately.
When possible, we go to original sources to verify the claims. We look for original government reports rather than news stories. We interview impartial experts.”

It’s a website worth checking out, and one that I would spend more time looking at if I had those extra four hours in my day…

Friday, January 20, 2012

What's your mission?

This week I was asked to write a mission statement in my public relations class. Seems like a fairly straightforward assignment --- but it wasn’t a mission statement for a business, organization or group… it was a mission statement about me.
I didn’t know where to start. Should it be light-hearted? Should it be serious? Should it be about my professional life? My personal life?
I had all of ten minutes to write it, so what I handed in wasn’t exactly a masterpiece.
But it did get me thinking.
In general, a mission statement should be short and easy to understand. It should also identify the purpose, business and values of whatever you’re writing about.
Sounds easy, right? Wrong.
The “problem” I have is that I want to be and do everything. I’ve made leaps and bounds in terms of what I want to do with my life career-wise since starting the Creative Communications program, but I still find it hard to settle on “just one thing.”
I understand that I can do an array of different jobs and roles—which is good news, but that doesn’t make it any easier when sitting in a class with the clock ticking and a mission statement due in a matter of mintues.
All that was going through my mind when I was trying to write it was different lines from movies and books:
Derek Zoolander: Who am I? 

Derek's Reflection: I don't know.
Mr. Mayer: You should have been a lawyer, Miss March. 

Jo March: I should have been a great many things, Mr. Mayer.
Terry: You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it.
You can only imagine how difficult it was for me to complete the branding assignment for my advertising class last term (What’s your brand? What do you offer? What do you stand for?).
But I’m happy to say that despite having little time left in the day to ponder about grand philosophical questions about identity (see how I tied in the theme of the blog here?), I am happy to report that I’m figuring it out.
So, what does this have to do with mission statements? A lot. You gotta start somewhere and, it’s cliché, but figuring out who and where you want to be is just as much about figuring out who and where you don’t want to be.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Politics and popcorn

Last night I put away the books for two hours and took advantage of an opportunity to see the premiere of The Iron Lady starring Meryl Streep. The movie is a biopic about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Ms. Streep can do no wrong, in my opinion. Combine her acting talents with politics and that’s my idea of a great night.
I won’t get too much into the nuts and bolts of the movie because Ms. Dow over at will have that taken care of this weekend.
All I’ll say is that Streep is unbelievable. But the movie, directed by Phyllida Lloyd, left me wanting more: more about Thatcher’s political career, more about the time she governed, more about her relationship with other leaders, more about the riots and strikes…
When I got home I spent a good hour looking up clips of Thatcher and reading about her. There are many other women (and men) in politics that I’m interested in learning more about, too.
....the first female head of state and woman president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is one of them.
In short, Finnbogadóttir is incredible:
“She was a divorced single mother and breast cancer survivor.
"How could she be president," alluded one male contender, "She's a woman and half a woman at that."
Her response? "I'm not going to breastfeed Iceland- I'm going to lead it."
And sure enough, in 1980, Vigdis was democratically elected as Iceland's first female president and served four consecutive terms.” 
Now, if I had it my way, I would live my life out as a character in The West Wing. Until I figure out how to make that possible, I’ll continue to keep an eye out for more political films (that I can live through vicariously).
When’s the movie about Clinton coming out? I’ve heard something about the one profiling Sarah Palin and the 2008 US presidential election called Game Change (is it a comedy?).
Any other recommendations for books and films about politics?

Monday, January 2, 2012

I autofailed my holiday list...

So, it was a busy Christmas break for me.

I didn't get around to giving my blog a facelift (nor did I make a single post), and I pretty much autofailed my holiday checklist that I made before the break (see below).

However, I did have an incredible experience as an intern at the Winnipeg Free Press. For three weeks I was writing articles, making phone calls, trying not to panic, but most of all... learning.

My head is still swimming and I'll have more to write about it soon. A sneak peek: my adventures include going to the scene of two fires, trying to get an interview with Don Cherry, trying to decipher government press releases and more!

Until then, here's a report on how I did in terms of checking stuff off of the list of things I was planning on doing over the break:

1)      Read a book. Any book.: I read half of a book, and a good half it was.

2)     See a movie. Any movie: I didn't go to the theatre-- but I did watch The King's Speech on TV one afternoon. That counts, right?

3)     Eat good food: I didn't go out to eat, but had tons of great meals at home thanks to my foodie brother.

4)     Go to the Festival of Trees and Lights downtown: YES, did that.

5)     Spend some time at McNally Robinson: Nope, didn't make it there.

6)     Get in touch with friends and family I haven’t seen since CreComm orientation: I saw some of them on Christmas Day for a few hours...

7)     Go on a steady diet of Christmas cookies: YES-- very successful. 

8)    Go to the Canad Inns Winter Wonderland: Nope, but still hoping to.

9)     Go skating at The Forks: Nope, didn't even get near The Forks.

10)  Recharge for term 2: HA! No way--- but it's here nonetheless!

Looking forward to seeing all of the CreCommers tomorrow morning :)