The Importance of Media Literacy in the Age of “Fake News”

The Importance of Media Literacy in the Age of “Fake News”

By Donna Vandiver, TVG President & CEO and Laura Vandiver, TVG VP of Research & Strategic Insight

Long before there was “fake news”, there was disinformation, propaganda and censorship. Many Americans are able to evaluate and decide if something they are reading is real or not. But many also have difficulty discerning “fake” news from actual, factual information. This is especially so when false stories can be shared in an instant across the globe via social media channels. Read more

The Business of Storytelling

The Business of Storytelling

By Andy Likes, TVG Senior Vice President

Over the last 11+ years in PR, I’ve had the opportunity to work with nearly every type of subject matter expert, including doctors, engineers, lawyers, financial planners and everything in between. One thing is certain with subject matter experts- they know their job and the company better than anyone. Read more

Honor A Teacher this Valentine’s Day

Honor A Teacher this Valentine’s Day

By Donna Vandiver, President & CEO

All of us can remember a teacher who made a difference in our lives. I listened to Stone Phillips (formerly of NBC’s Dateline and a Parkway West graduate) talk about Dr. Al Burr at a memorial service a few months ago. Along with many others at that service, he talked about how Dr. Burr changed his life. Read more

Going the Distance for Girls on the Run: The Queeny Meanie

The Queeny Meanie

By Laura Vandiver, TVG VP of Research

Every year on Dr. Martin Luther King Day, we honor a man who championed civil rights so that others could have opportunities, experience freedom and equality, and feel a sense of community. Here at TVG, we spend MLK Day serving our community in some way in order to honor Dr. King’s memory. So this year, I spent some time creating awareness about and fundraising for Girls on the Run St. Louis through unconventional means – an ultra run.

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After several years of competing in Ironman triathlons, I was looking for a new challenge in 2017. An ultra run (any distance beyond a marathon distance of 26.2 miles) sounded fun. I started researching ultra marathons in the region, but nothing stood out to me. I kept having this recurring thought – what if I ran an ultra at Queeny Park? It’s one of my favorite places to run, so why not? You know that saying “If you want it done right, do it yourself?” So that’s what I decided to do. And it’s how I came to the conclusion that running 32 miles in Queeny Park on March 11, 2017 would be my next challenge, and I’m calling it The Queeny Meanie!

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I didn’t just want to run an ultra. I wanted to run an ultra for a cause. After my first season as a head coach for a Girls on the Run team last fall, it was an easy choice! The Girls on the Run curriculum not only coaches girls how to run a 5K at the end of a 10-week program, but also teaches topics on self-esteem, positivity, standing up for yourself and others, empowerment, healthy habits, goal setting, teamwork and cooperation, and identifying bullying behavior. These aren’t just running skills—these are LIFE skills. And seeing each of my girls succeed in their own big goals was an incredible experience. Girls on the Run builds confidence, and as a result encourages girls to work together and to impact their communities in a positive way.

You can learn more about my efforts and make a donation here:

DONATE NOW

Everyone should spend some time reflecting on how you can impact your community in a positive way. Find your passion and figure out a way to help others. I hope my small contributions will have big impacts- even if it’s only on one person. Then, I’ll know I made a difference.

 

Do you run for a good cause? Want to participate in The Queeny Meanie? visit us on our website to let us know! We are passionate about getting our employees involved in our community to make a difference and we are inspired to help others find that passion, too!

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Random Acts of Kindness, Inspired by Dr. King

Random Acts of Kindness: TVG Day of Service

By Patty Olsen, TVG Senior Project Manager

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was more than just a single day of giving back to the community where I have lived, worked and flourished. It was an opportunity to model what principled citizenship looks like to my elementary-age son. Read more

TVG’s 2017 Day of Service: St. Patrick Center

What Are You Doing For Others? TVG Day of Service

By Andy Likes, TVG Senior Vice President

For more than 20 years, TVG has been giving back to clients in St. Louis and across the country. When you look at dollars and hours donated over that time, our firm and our employees have given more than $3 Million back to the communities we serve. Read more

College Athletes in the ‘Real World’: What Lacrosse Taught me about Work Ethic, Leadership and Accepting Challenges

College Athletes in the ‘Real World’

By Annie Spewak, TVG Intern

Up until a year ago, my life revolved around lacrosse. My dedication to the game often dictated everything I did from my social life to my class schedule, but it also earned me a scholarship to play Division I in college. Over the years, I’ve encountered people who think sports are rather useless; after all, most athletes will never go professional, and will never earn a paycheck playing the sport. Read more

8 Tips for Strategic Pitching

8 Tips for Strategic Pitching

By Donna Vandiver, President & CEO

What you learned in Scouts is true—it’s best to be prepared. At TVG, when we teach staffers to pitch reporters, we talk about a number of things to make a pitch memorable and get the story picked up. Here are 8 of our best pitching tips:

1. Make it personal

If you were sending a note to a friend, you would know something about them. It’s no different with reporters. Know their beat, what they write about, and mention a piece they’ve done if you’ve read it and can say something relevant about it. Connecting to a reporter on a personal level will make your pitch stick out.

2. Do your homework

Gather good information and put it together in a compelling way. Think/Act like a reporter. What would you want to know? What would grab you? What’s grabbed you in the past?

3. Do your media research!

Keep your media contact list up-to-date. People move around. There is nothing worse than getting a bounce back, because the reporter has moved on. Make sure all of your contacts are current and accurate before sending your pitch.

4. Proofread!

Spell their name correctly. Don’t you automatically delete an email if your name is spelled wrong?

5. Get to the point

Don’t send an email asking if you can send them a pitch. This is like asking if you can ask a question. Don’t waste their time and yours with two emails, when one would do.

6. Maintain contact

Everyone’s busy. If they don’t respond, follow up within a few days. After that, it’s like starting over.

7. Say no to clickbait

Make sure your subject line matches the topic. There’s nothing wrong with being creative, but be sure you stay on message and on point.

8. Practice makes perfect!

Don’t be easily discouraged, and don’t take it personally if a reporter doesn’t like your idea. Get better at packaging your ideas. Accept the challenge.

What are your best tips for pitching reporters? Tweet us @VandiverGroup, and let us know!

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So, You Want to Start a Blog…

So, You Want to Start a Blog…

By Katie Miller, TVG Account Executive

So, you want to start a blog? If you answered “yes” to this question, chances are you follow several blogs that have made you think, “I want to do that!” Whether they’re about food, travel, fitness, fashion and beauty, or pets, a good blog and an eye-catching aesthetic will make almost any avid reader want to become a blogger themselves. Read more

The Art and Science of the Exhibit Hall: Presentation Skills for Conferences

Presentation Skills for Conferences

By Andy Likes, TVG Vice President

How many of you have been to a conference in the last year? You probably remember lots of helpful breakout sessions and keynote speakers you’d love to hear again. Now what about the exhibit hall? Read more

Make Kindness a Habit

Kindness

By Laura Vandiver, TVG VP of Research & Strategic Insight

The election is finally over, and the holiday season is upon us. How are you feeling after more than a year of contentious campaigning, mudslinging, angry rhetoric and political commercials? Drained? Stressed? Maybe a little mean? Read more

Why is Corporate Reputation So Important?

Corporate Reputation

By Donna Vandiver, President & CEO

At TVG we do a lot of crisis communications work, so we are constantly assessing the damage a crisis can do to a client’s reputation and image. Read more