Archive | August, 2008

Attaining a better workplace, better air, and a better future

20 Aug

Excuse the possible soapbox nature of this post – but I was inspired to write it after attending a meeting that was both depressing and inspiring at once. It’s a cause that we all need to rally around and work to improve – else we at risk further hurting the economic growth of our community.

In a nutshell, our air quality is bad. The Boise Valley airshed has now crossed the threshold into unofficalnonattainment – exceeding federal standards for ozone (for those interested in the science – ozone is created by the combination of Nitrogen Oxides, Volatile Organic Compounds/VOC’s and sunlight. Hence why we have issues in the summer.)  For years we’ve been warned about it (after having trouble with carbon monoxide and particulate matter pollution) – with experts saying our growth, industry, transportation issues, etc were leading us down this path.

So now we are here – so what?

Well, if the EPA keeps moving towards formally designating our airshed as being in nonattainment in 2010 – land planning, business recruitment, big business growth and all things tied to them (like jobs!) will be placed under tight restrictions for nearly 30 years. I’m preaching to the choir here – we don’t need any more barriers to workforce recruitment and business relocation in Idaho.

But according to Idaho DEQ Director Toni Hardesty, we have a small window to try and reverse our current path.

Individuals, and small to large businesses need to step up and take action – or keep their mouths shut when we get slapped by the feds for not working hard to clean our air. Some action options include:

  • Employee alternative transportation plans
  • Flex workplace options / telecommunity policies
  • Anti-idling policy for company fleets, company property
  • Utilizing low or no VOC products
  • Switching landscaping to minimize or eliminate lawn mowing

DEQ handed out some pretty useful tools – templates for businesses to use in implementing the above policies. We’re already working at putting the first two bullets into place at our office (we don’t have a lawn – so can’t help with the mowing one!).

Would be curious to hear what you are doing – or can start doing – in your own workplace to help avoid the dreaded official nonattainment.

As part of this commitment to improving our world – we’ve also embarked on a cool challenge with some cross-town marketing colleagues, High Dive Marketing.  The High Sky Challenge was designed to promote health and wellness in our respective workplaces, but maybe one day it will extend deeper into the community. Each participant at our two offices set their own personal goals in three arenas: community, health/nutrition and fitness. What’s a challenge between marketers without a mascot (Olaf) and a blog?! You can check out how we’re doing as we go… and maybe someday Olaf will pay you a visit to lay down a challenge.

– Jess

Movement in the Media World

12 Aug

Quick update on the latest turnover news from the Treasure Valley media world:

The Idaho Statesman’s Heath Druzin has left the paper to work for Stars & Stripes – an independent US military news source covering the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (and US bases worldwide). Good luck and stay safe Heath!

Druzin’s beat at the Statesman was mainly legislative, and it will be interesting to see how the paper handles the loss of this Statehouse reporter (following former Statehouse reporter Greg Hahn’s move to editor) during this crucial election year and the ongoing Statehouse renovation.

KTVB: Reporter Monique James is gone from the station, making a move out of state to be closer to family

IPTV: Another blow to legislative coverage, the loss of Jim Peck. The IPTV producer and reporter accepted a position as Executive Producer at Michigan State University, leading a team creating programs for the Big Ten Network.

Word from Idaho Radio News is that Michelle Mahoney is out after only a year on the morning news talk show

“KIDO/580 AM parted ways with morning host Michelle Mahoney. Her last day was yesterday. Brian Holmes and Dave Burnett are holding down the fort for now. Mahoney joined KIDO last August.”

And – it may be old news to some, but a quick note about some new (in the last 5 months!) faces at the Idaho Business Review courtesy the Idaho Press Club

Idaho Business Review welcomes its three new reporters. Zach Hagadone is covering high tech, health care, transportation and energy. Simon Shifrin is covering law and government, as well as the City of Boise, including the CCDC. Dani Grigg is covering construction and development in Ada and Canyon counties.”

– Jess 

Inklings of a Dangerous Idea

7 Aug

A few weeks ago I posted the ‘Dangerous Idea’ [DI] put forth by the Council of PR Firms – and asked for anyone’s thoughts…

When it comes to the profession of public relations—the business models, traditions and assumptions — what is the most dangerous idea? Dangerous ideas challenge popular conceptions and, if true, threaten to cause major shifts in what people do and how they think.

As I’ve turned this over in my mind – a DI directly addressing the PR industry hasn’t fully revealed itself.  But I keep coming back to the concept – and DI – of a blatantly partisan media industry.  One that we are all conscious of and accept as is. That dangerous idea won’t just impact the journalism field but all who consume it and interact with it.

I was recently reading a political fiction novel set several years in the distant future (is it still fiction when it is obvious who the characters are mimicking?) where one of the leading characters stated that the media was upfront about its biases because the audience wanted to hear only from those that thought like them, played to their biases, and fed them information they were comfortable with. (i.e. “Do you want to believe going to war was the best choice? Then this newscast will feed you information that supports that.”)

In other words – all pretenses of objectivity are gone. We are all fully conscious of that – and seek out and consume media that only speaks to our particular way of thinking.

That is the Dangerous Idea I’ve mulled over – that we are on the path towards this future of communication. In many people’s minds – we may already be there. But I believe the difference is – right now hardly anyone outside of the blogging community fully admits to putting forth biased or filtered communication.

How will this change how we seek, consume, interact with, and influence communication in the future? That’s the core of the Dangerous Idea.  Look forward to hearing what you think. (Keep in mind – a Dangerous Idea doesn’t have to be one that you support or necessarily look forward to!)

– Jess

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