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CrowdJustice Platform Launches in the US with Legal Aid Justice Center Case

By | Public Relations | No Comments

Our work in public relations and social media strategy sometimes intersects with fundraising efforts, as it did this week when Legal Aid Justice Center launched a crowdfunding effort through CrowdJustice, a platform designed to raise funds specifically to support legal cases.  We think legal help should be available to anyone who needs it, and CrowdJustice was established on that premise. The case Legal Aid is asking to support is Aziz vs. Trump,

“Just hours after President Trump signed his executive order on immigration, Tareq and Ammar were handcuffed, detained, and forced to sign papers that they had neither read nor understood.  Those papers signified a “voluntary” waiver of their legal immigration status.  They were then put on a plane to Ethiopia, the location of their layover on their way to Dulles.  As of this writing, they are still in the airport, unable to leave and with no place to go.”

The goal of Legal Aid’s litigation is to force the United States government to bring Tareq and Ammar back to the United States and to restore their immigration status.  The organization is seeking the same for each of the other ~60 Visa holders and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) deported from Dulles under similar circumstances.

If you’re inspired to give to this case, or others like it on CrowdJustice, you can do so here. The CrowdJustice platform brings legal aid to the masses, which should be of interest to all of us.

Is it News? Check Your Pitch Against the 8 News Values

By | Media, Public Relations | No Comments

Seasoned PR people and journalists know what makes something news, and what doesn’t. We all hate to see any kind of brand or organization wasting time spinning its wheels pitching news that isn’t newsworthy. What makes something news? Check it against these eight standard news values:

  1. Proximity
  2. Prominence
  3. Significance
  4. Timeliness
  5. Human interest
  6. Unusualness
  7. Conflict
  8. Currency (newness)

Even if you’re clear on what value your pitch holds, you may struggle. “Is it enough?” In fact, it’s better for a story to have proximity, for example, AND unusualness. Conflict AND timeliness. Prominence AND human interest. More value leads to greater likelihood your story will get picked up. If you’re still unclear, scan through a list of headlines in your local paper or favorite online news source (local news may have more diversity in values than that on the national or global level) and see if the values jump out at you.

Piedmont Housing Alliance and the Redevelopment of Friendship Court

By | Public Relations | No Comments


Our client, Piedmont Housing Alliance faces many challenges. Their mission is to help provide access to affordable housing to people in central Virginia. They do this by providing Piedmont Housing Allianceeducation to help people save, clean up their credit scores, and purchase a home. They do their homework and connect people with sources to get mortgage assistance or subsidies. They purchase, renovate, and build properties to help shrink the affordable housing gap in our community. Currently, they’re working on the redevelopment of a big community called Friendship Court, a 12-block, 150 unit, Section 8 subsidized housing development in the heart of downtown Charlottesville.

Piedmont Housing is a nonprofit organization, so they raise funds from private donors, through government funding, and through grants to support their mission. They share the information about the work their doing through an e-newsletter, a blog on their website, and for the Friendship Court project, on  Both Piedmont Housing Alliance and Friendship Court Apartments have Facebook pages. They keep the public informed through press releases shared with local media, and staff stays in close communication with the residents they serve in all the properties they own or manage.

We believe that affordable, safe housing is essential for everyone in our community. We are pleased to help Piedmont Housing share the word about what they offer, raise funds to support the good work they do, and seek opportunities to tell their story.

What to Do When You’ve Been an Idiot in the Past

By | Social Media | One Comment

Were you an idiot, once upon a time? (“Yes.”) Did you share your idiocy publicly, say, via social media? (Hangs head, “yes.”) Are you an idiot now? (“NO!”) Well, good. There’s hope for you.  The internet in my immediate geography is buzzing over some old tweets from a person who is now in elected political office. Wait. That could be misconstrued. Not recent tweets from our president-elect — OLD tweets from a city councilor. It’s different.

The tweets are offensive and the owner of the account has since apologized publicly (on Facebook) and is no doubt, hoping this issue goes away.

The wonderful and for some, terrifying thing about social media is that it allows people to publish their thoughts freely and without editing. That can be pretty hard for people who don’t possess an internal filter and who have thoughts that are offensive to others. And if you’re a person who cares about your reputation, or has thin skin, or who wants to craft a certain persona, it might be wise to stay away from social media altogether.

If it’s too late, however, and you were an idiot in the past, but you’re MUCH BETTER NOW, proceed with caution. Know that people will be watching you now more than ever before, and that for those who want you to be successful, they want to see you proving how authentic you are by continuing to share your thoughts. Could you be an idiot again? Possibly. But that’s the beauty of an unfiltered form of media — the real person behind the account can come shining through.

How to Talk about the Election as a Brand

By | Communications | No Comments

know you’re thinking you know what I’m going to say . . . that I’m going to say, “Just. Don’t.” but that would make for a very short post, and isn’t, in fact, what I’m thinking at all. (You don’t know me!)
For many brands, the election and its aftermath are totally irrelevant and they should, in fact, not try to leverage the news cycle and trending topics. BAD IDEA; don’t do this.

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