Thursday, December 26, 2013

YouTube Views from The Modern Connection's Jessica Turner


Jessica Turner of The Modern Connection
The power of video to market, persuade and inform is only going to grow, said Jessica Turner, account director at Charleston's The Modern Connection.                              

On Nov. 20 Turner, spoke to my "YouTube and You: The Societal Impact of Online Video Sharing" class. It was an illuminating visit from this seasoned digital
marketing and public relations professional who hails from Kansas and has worked in the Los Angeles mega-market.

The Modern Connection, located near the College of Charleston campus on Calhoun Street near East Bay, is a cutting-edge digital marketing agency. Turner and company founder Ashley T. Caldwell can be heard on local radio station 105.5 FM The Bridge every Wednesday morning talking about social media issues.

Here are some key points Turner made to the students about her company, digital marketing, YouTube and effective video production and presentation:
¡What is The Modern Connection?
§A B2B (business-to-business) digital marketing firm (founded in 2009)
§Helps small businesses that don’t know how to use social media or   
   that want to step up their efforts and success in this area
¡TMC’s services include:
§Building websites
§Writing blogs
§Handling text messaging campaigns
§Day-to-day social media management for clients
§Google advertising (AdSense, etc.)
¡Turner maintains that while social media networks come and go, there will never not be social networking
¡Social networking has “completely switched the power from business to consumers” and has “shrunk the world like never before”
¡Turner cautioned against “creating video for the sake of creating video”
¡Have a purpose to it and a desired outcome

¡Have a “call to action”
¡Ways to use video: §Showcase new products§Demonstrate products
§Show personalities of owners and managers and to introduce new teammates§Hold contests§Testimonials from satisfied customers
Turner offered other things to consider regarding business videos:
¡Hire a spokesperson
¡Be funny- try to anyway-don’t be afraid to show humor
¡Don’t be afraid to show personal, human side and personality
¡Link and share videos via websites, email, social networks
¡“Optimization” is the key on YouTube- effectively use titles, descriptions, tag words, and link URL to related, appropriate sites
Other video tactics and approaches shared by Turner included:
¡Use of Vine and Instagram for marketing is growing as public use grows
¡“Crowdsourcing” can engage the public and customers by seeking video and photography input in contests and projects
                 §airbnb video example (article and submission rules)
§See completed video

§Did this project expand awareness of airbnb?
Video "Do's and Don'ts" according to Turner:
§Make sure your message is clear
§Have a “call to action”- something you want viewers to do and/or take away from the video
§Include where people can find you
§Stress name of the brand
§Have way for people to connect, to “opt in”
  ¡Let video be overly long- keep it tight and focused¡Let background noise or music overwhelm voice-over or narrative ¡Have poor lighting ¡Have excessive zooming, panning ¡Over produce- don’t let special effects supersede shooting quality
Additional Turner thoughts and tips...
¡“Never quit traditional marketing,” Turner advised. “Never put everything online.”
¡The key to YouTube success is “optimization”
¡TMC clients pay for the staff’s expertise, experience and time
¡Yes, the tools of social media are free, but the time put into it is not free- especially to bring in pros who really know how to market digitally
¡Viral videos cannot be made- you can make a great video, the people will decide if it goes viral
¡Trying to make a viral video will only look like you tried to make a viral video
                                          After class, Jessica Turner and CofC communication major Taylor Dixon
Thanks so much Jessica Turner!!! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Aruba Snorkeling

As winter approaches I find my mind drifting to the wonderful vacation my family and I enjoyed in Aruba earlier this year. Snorkeling in the clear Caribbean waters was definitely a highlight. Here is a video I put together of our snorkeling adventures at different beaches around Aruba. My underwater snorkel camera performed well, though still takes much getting used to... Enjoy!
Check out this other video from our Aruba Vacation!
Bon Dia!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New Book Receives College of Charleston Support

Reposted from the Magnolia Cemetery website (

Patrick Harwood
I am pleased to share the news that the new book I am currently writing about Magnolia Cemetery is receiving financial support from the College of Charleston's School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Special thanks goes to the school's dean, Dr. Jerold L. Hale, for approving my application for special funding to assist faculty involved in research initiatives.

As I work to soon complete the manuscript of "In the Arms of Angels: The History, Mystery and Artistry of Magnolia Cemetery," these funds, nearly $700, will help in the steps toward publication. I am optimistic the new book will be out early next year.

"In the Arms of Angels" follows my 2011 release of "The Birds of Magnolia Cemetery: Charleston's Secret Bird Sanctuary" available at the cemetery office and more than a dozen Charleston area bookstores and historic site gift shops, as well as through Amazon.

Stay tuned for updates on the new book and thanks again to CofC for the support. Many thanks also to Magnolia Cemetery Superintendent Beveryly Donald for her ongoing assistance, support and friendship. 

I have worked at the university since 1991 in college relations then as a faculty member in the communication department.

To be notified about the release of "In the Arms of Angels" please contact me at

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Radio, TV, Newspapers- Natalie Caula's Been There, Done That

Natalie Caula, a staff reporter at The Post and Courier in Charleston, has crammed a lot of what some call "legacy" media experience into the six years since her college graduation. Since graduating in 2007 from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications, Caula has held news reporting positions at radio and television stations and now at a daily newspaper.

Post and Courier reporter Natalie Caula
"The more things you can do, the more valuable you will be to employers," Caula told communication students in my multimedia reporting class recently. "You have to set yourself apart, and you will do that by really owning the web movement."

Caula just marked one year at The Post and Courier where she covers crime and courts. She's part of the paper's three-person Quick Response Team, which is at the ready to report "breaking" news such as crime, accidents and fires online and via social media.

Previously, Caula worked five years at Charleston's ABC affiliate, WCIV-TV Channel 4 where she covered all types of local news such as this story about North Charleston's image as a city:

While at the University of Florida, Caula, who is from Miami, worked for nearly three years at news and information radio station WUFT.

With such diverse journalism experience, Caula is uniquely equipped for- and comfortable with- today's 21st century multimedia reporting. She says she likes the in-depth writing opportunities available at her newspaper and is also skilled at producing online video reports for The Post and Courier's online presence, She's also active on Facebook and Twitter, sharing news briefs and soliciting story ideas and contacts. And oh by the way, she is fluent in Spanish as well.

To the students, she emphasized the importance of social media savvy. "If you don't get on the train, you'll be left behind," Caula said. She told of longtime journalists who not only don't get promoted for being on the social media "train," they get demoted or fired.

Caula shared examples of her storytelling for both television and print. She shared a fine feature report she and her videographer produced for WCIV-TV about a "clock whisperer" working at Charleston's venerable St. Michael's Church. From her work at The Post and Courier, she spoke about a recent court hearing she covered. The defendant was very stoic but Caula noticed a tear tattoo under one of his eyes. That observation was worked into a compelling lead to her story.

"Pay attention to your surroundings, pay attention to the details," she told the students. "Add color. Always be thinking about what your lead will be."

In her six years since college, Caula has seen great changes in the news business, and she's prepared for more change. "I can't tell you in 10 years there will be a Post and Courier paper" she said. "But it will be online. If I ever get laid off, I know I can go back to radio and television."

With her skill set and positive and professional attitude, Caula's multimedia reporting and producing talents are in demand more than ever.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Baldacci's "The Hit"- Isn't

Best-selling novelist David Baldacci's latest, "The Hit" (2013, Grand Central Publishing, $27.99 hardcover) misses the mark. If your two lead characters are CIA assassins, it would help if they were at least a little likable and personable and not cold, ruthless robots who Baldacci gives only a few compassionate moments, and minimal back stories.

Friday, July 5, 2013

South Carolina Troops at Gettysburg Speech

I had the opportunity and honor to speak on July 1, 2013 at a Battle of Gettysburg sesquicentennial memorial held at Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery where 82 S.C. soldiers killed at Gettysburg were reinterred in 1871 from graves on the Pennsylvania battlefied.
(See Charleston Post and Courier coverage- for P&C Warren Peper video do Google search)
This headstone at Magnolia Cemetery marks the remains of nearly a dozen S.C. soldiers who fell at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863
I spoke about the role of South Carolina troops at this momentous Civil War battle. Here are the key excerpts:
Gettysburg and S.C. Soldiers
South Carolina was well-represented at the Battle of Gettysburg, which began 150 years ago today.

Nearly 5,000 South Carolina soldiers fought in the battle. They were an integral part of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, which numbered 70,000 going into Gettysburg. Union Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac had 94,000 men.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Grandson Humanizes Baseball Titan Ty Cobb

Book Review by Patrick Harwood
Heart of a Tiger: Growing up with My Grandfather, Ty Cobb
By Herschel Cobb
ECW Press
288 Pages

Gentle, patient and giving may not be the qualities most people would use to describe Ty Cobb, one of baseball's all-time greats. Gritty, aggressive, even dirty and racist might be the Cobb many people, past and present, perceive.

But readers get to see a different side to the legendary "Georgia Peach" in "Heart of a Tiger: Growing up with My Grandfather, Ty Cobb," by his grandson Herschel Cobb.

If you want a rich, insightful baseball story, you won't find it here. It's page 175 before young Herschel begins to realize his granddad's extraordinary exploits, which included an incredible 90 Major League Baseball records when he retired in 1928 after 23 seasons, all but one as an outfielder with the Detroit Tigers.

"Heart of a Tiger" is about relationships, especially about fathers and sons. In Herschel's case, as depicted in much of the book's first half, his father was an abusive tyrant who enjoyed teasing Herschel and his sister to the point of torture, on occasion. His mother was no gem either. She was a drinker (as was her husband) who sometimes said and usually acted like she wished she did not have children.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

JFK Murder Conspiracy Finally Solved?

This Nov. 22 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. One of America's darkest days will be remembered and still persistent conspiracy theories will be resurrected.

But in case you have not heard, there is finally closure on that conspiracy question. The answer is, yes, there was a second gunman and a third shot. At least that's what Stephen Hunter says really happened, according to his latest Bob Lee Swagger novel, "The Third Bullet." (2013, Simon & Schuster, $26.99 hardcover).

Swagger is Hunter's heroic and laconic former Marine sniper who becomes quite the snooper after being asked to investigate a journalist's murder, which leads him to probe one of America's ultimate murders.

Hunter, a former Washington Post film critic, is the author of 18 novels, most of them starring Bob Lee Swagger and before that, Earl Swagger, Bob Lee's father.

     In "The Third Bullet," Hunter crafts a convincingly complex conspiracy involving, at various levels, the usual suspects- the CIA and the Soviets. Lee Harvey Oswald is the triggerman, but is not the only (or most  accurate) triggerman.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Multimedia Reporter Enlightens Multimedia Reporting Students

Standing before the class, cameras hanging from his neck, pockets full of smart phones and a police/fire scanner, Andrew Knapp looked and talked the part of the 21st century multimedia reporter. It wasn't hard for him to do since that's exactly what he is.

They're called different things: sojos (solo journalists), mojos (mobile journalists), e-journalists (electronic journalists), one-man-bands (no explanation needed) and multimedia reporters. Knapp represents the new breed of journalist who can, by himself, do all of the types of reporting that in the past required several skilled professionals. At Charleston's The Post and Courier, Knapp writes, photographs, videotapes, edits, posts, blogs, tweets and will voice reports too if there's the need. 

Andrew Knapp of Charleston's The Post and Courier
I could not think of a better guest speaker to talk to my class of 20 multimedia reporting students. On Feb. 13, Knapp lead us along his career path, shared some news coverage"war" stories, and brought and talked about the various electronic tools of his trade.

A native of Princeton, Maine, Knapp graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maine with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He went in interested in sports reporting but came out more interested in news.

"A teacher persuaded me to switch to hard news," he said. "I had the police beat and that kind of got me hooked. It's more hard-hitting than sports journalism. When you write about public service agencies, it tends to affect people more."

After graduation, Knapp decided to go right to graduate school. He chose American University in Washington, D.C. where he earned a master's degree in journalism and public affairs. "I wanted to expand to a more vibrant media market," he said.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wintertime Birds at Magnolia Cemetery

Last Friday I was at Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery doing more research on my book when I saw several types of birds in the back pond.  Winter is an excellent time for birding, if you know where to look!  It was chillly out but that didn't keep these birds from chillin' in and around the water. In this photo are three types of coastal birds, from left:  a Great Egret, Great Blue Heron and White Ibis.
I have always found it ironic that at Magnolia Cemetery, obviously a place of death, there is often so much life- albeit bird life. Opened in 1850, Magnolia Cemetery is one of America's oldest, most beautiful historic cemeteries. Being a "secret" bird sanctuary makes it an even more special place.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Must you Musburger? Keep your Lust and Advice to Yourself!

It's the latest sports coverage misstep since last NBA season when an mobile writer ran the headline "Chink in the Armor" next to a photo of then-New York Knick's player Jeremy Lin, who is of Taiwanese ancestry.

Monday night, during the college football national championship game on ESPN, veteran commentator Brent Musburger stepped into it with his lengthy rave about Alabama QB A.J. McCarron's girlfriend.