Blog 4470- Cooks Scandal

Angel Bell

Journalism 4470

The Cooks Source Scandal

Is it nice to make a mistake and tell the offended person to quit crying about it and be grateful the offense wasn’t worse? Well, Cooks Source Magazine believes so.

Cooks Source magazine had the nerve to steal part of a blogger’s recipe article, put in their profitable magazine and tell the blogger what they did is not wrong.

Their excuse: Anything on the computer is public domain. Are these duds not familiar with copyright laws?

Most agree that Cooks’ actions were unethical, but many debate on the nature of the offense. Is it copyright infringement or plagiarism?

Plagiarism is taking someone’s ideas and/or words and passing them off as your own. The magazine did not pass the work off as its own. They did make it seem like the blogger wrote for them or submitted it to the publication.


Copyright infringement suggests the copyright agreement was violated. Copyrighted works cannot be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. The material was reprinted without the blogger’s consent.


In my opinion, Cooks is guilty of copyright infringement since they received no permission from the copyright holder. This type of offense is punishable by punitive damages, monetary compensation etc.


Either way, they are going to pay for what they did. Print journalists and publications alike need to know and understand there are consequences for stealing other people’s work. Warning: You will get caught.



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Journalism 4470-Blog 4

Angel Bell

Yes Men Hijinks: Protected Speech or “True” Lies

Isn’t the First Amendment right to free speech wonderful? Many people would say so. On the other hand, Chevron probably hates this freedom applies to the Yes Men also.

Chevron suffered at the hands of yet another Yes Men hijink. One would think companies would be prepared for these guys after the stunt they pulled with Dow Chemical. Nevertheless, Chevron’s new PR campaign was hacked and re-done by the anti-capitalist group.


The fake advertisement above was accompanied by a fictional press release and website. That alone is scary. What’s even more frightening is the fake campaign’s similarities to the real “We Agree” Campaign. These guys put a lot of work into this.

Opinion is protected under the First Amendment regardless it is true or not.  Though the amendment does not protect harmful speech (damaging to one’s reputation), People still have a right to say what they feel when they feel like it, especially about public figures and big companies. Their really isn’t much protection for these entities. In order to prove defamation and slander one must prove actual malice, which in my opinion, is dang near impossible. Trust and believe, The Yes Men know this too.

In the FAQ portion of their website, the group answers this question, “Can I get in trouble for this stuff?” Their answer summarizes their understanding of the consequences that could come. “Almost certainly! But we, at least, haven’t figured out how to do it yet (” They also warn their victims not to sue with a reference to the McLibel trial. It is obvious they are willing to go the extra mile to fulfill their mission.

According to their website, The Yes Men are dedicated to “Impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Our targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else, (”  Though big corporations may not like their methods, the guys are able to back up at least some of their arguments with facts.

Founder of Reel Green Media Lauren Selman validates the Yes Men’s concerns about Chevron and their Ecuadorian Drilling practices. Chevron drilled in Ecuador for three decades. Selman compared the drilling to the BP Spill and asked her readers to imagine a spill of that magnitude happening for 30 years.  Ecuadorians have sued Chevron for the eviromental hazards they caused, but have not been successful. Selman quotes Amazon Watch to summarize Chevron’s actions.

“Chevron has used legal maneuvers and smear tactics to delay and disrupt the Ecuadorian trial, drain the resources of the plaintiffs, and deny justice to thousands of people in the Amazon region of Ecuador who continue to suffer from the oil giant’s toxic legacy (”

As with any group, people should check all the facts before believing anything. Though a group may seem credible, any group is capable of stretching the truth to get others to belive them. Don’t politicians do this stuff all the time?

Ethically, the Yes Men should not have sent out these fake ads without attribution. Yet, they would most likely claim their ethical approach aligns with the communitarian model of ethics. In their eyes they are doing what is best for the people suffering from big business practices.

There is a fine line between malicious actions and satire, but both expressions are protected. Either way, all the companies can do is be very transparent about their business practices. Maybe, this will extinguish some of the fire behind the Yes Men’s arguments. What do you think?

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Blog 10- Social Media

Angel Bell

Social Media is Not BS

HubSpot blogger Mike Volpe must have been having a bad day when he wrote Why Social Media is BS on November 2nd.  Is he serious?

I think the worst thing about the blog wasn’t necessarily his short, non-supported blog, but the dumb comments made by some people who actually believe like he does. I really hope these people do not have clients depending on them to make their business any better.

Obviously, this guy has not done any research about the effects of social media.

Maybe my blog will help him and anyone one else who denies the power of social media.

Here are some random facts about of social media:

(Read them and weep Mr. Volpe)

  1. 38% of bloggers post brand or product reviews. (
  2. Social media played a major role in 2009 holiday shopping — 28% of U.S. shoppers say social media has influenced their purchases
  3. 44% of Twitter users have recommended a product
  4. 58% of people said if they tweet about a bad experience, they would like the company to respond to their comment

(Last three from

Though social media cannot make the product itself better, it does affect the way consumers view your product. Consumer perception of the product effects how much of it they buy because it I directly influenced by how their friends feel about it also. Everyone knows that certain “luxury” cars are not much better than a Honda, but because of the “status” associated with luxury brands, people buy them.


Social Media is not just a tool. It is one of the most important vehicles used by many companies to get into the public eye. Almost everyone I know participates in some type of social media, whether it is Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.  How they feel about anything usually goes on their personal and/or business pages. If a company is not monitoring public perception/opinion about their product or service, they will suffer greatly.

The bottom line is:  Companies need social media to satisfy various customer demands. Customers expect fast answers to their questions and on the go access to the products and services they want.  Get on the Social media bandwagon or get run over.



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Jour 4460- Blog 9

Angel Bell

Things a PR Firm Does Not Want To Hear

Clients who do not understand PR can be a practitioner’s worst nightmare. Often, these clients have unrealistic goals and/or expectations and expect us to grant their wish like some genie in a bottle. Unlike the immediate satisfaction depicted in Aladdin, PR goals and wishes take time. Far fetched executive ideals do not make our job any easier. writer John Terrill explores this idea further in his article, 5 Scariest Things To Tell A PR Firm. In this article, Terrill addresses client’s misconception about the concept of “going viral”, media relations, their role on regulating the firms activities, how PR works and mimicking other company’s campaigns.

Indeed, all of these are scarier than a two-headed monster with a big appetite. At least a good meal will satisfy him. He is definitely more likely to be satisfied than a disgruntled client who does not understand the PR process.

First, clients have to understand that awareness does not equal adoption. Awareness aids adoption. Just because a certain campaign is launched and reaches many, does not mean they will adapt the suggested product or idea.  A little quality PR is better than a lot of terrible PR.

Second, the client must know their place. It reasonable to check a PR firm’s every move in the beginning stages, but making the “inch-eye private eye” routine a habit tells the firm they can’t be trusted. Do they really expect PR practitioners to work effectively in such conditions?

Lastly, clients must understand one size does NOT fit all. Media outlets and campaigns that proved successful for one company may not go as well for another. In PR, the practitioner prepares media kits and campaigns suited to the client’s individual style, responsibilities and mission. Like an elephant in a tutu, some outlets do not fit certain companies.

All client misconceptions cannot be blamed on the client. Though it is challenging, it is the PR firm’s responsibility to educate their clients beforehand. PR practitioners need to give the client a realistic view of their abilities while they are pitching to them. Instead of fluffing the clients head, one should be honest about what they are capable of and the time it will take to reach company goals.

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Coach Leach- 4470

Angel Bell

Journalism 4470


Coach Leach and ESPN

Objective broadcast coverage is a necessity. When objectivity is sacrificed willingly by a news station, it is a problem. ESPN’s treatment of the Coach Leach controversy was not objective.

ESPN assigned Craig James to call the Alamo Bowl. His son, Adam, is a Red Raider football player who filed a complaint against Coach Leach. Coach Leach was relieved of his duties. The real reason behind his leave of duty has yet to be determined. However, James’ commentary suggested otherwise.

ESPN knew about the controversy, and still decided his Alamo Bowl assignment was a good idea. What were they thinking?

According to ESPN Ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer, ESPN has always allowed parents to call games their kids participated in, they didn’t think it was big deal. They believe familial coverage gives a “beyond the veil” look at the game. Get real. Most parents are not going to talk bad about their child, no matter what. This approach does nothing for the audience.

The station’s credibility is diminished when the audience is aware of their non- objective coverage. Viewer’s want a chance to draw their own conclusions based upon facts, not feelings. Individual announcers involved could be discredited by association. The audience and other news stations may chose not to follow their analysis of a game based upon their association Craig James and the station.

To safeguard confidences and ensure objectivity, the station could have assigned different analysts to the game. Analysts with no association to James or his son and those who were not directly involved in the pending case should have been considered.

In this case, ESPN used the Utilitarianism approach.  They decided to allow James’ to cover the story believing this decision wouldn’t hurt anything. Sacrificing the reputation of Leach was the least of their concerns.  The “behind the veil” commentary was more important than maintaining objective coverage.

ESPN was wrong. Viewers were affected by their decision and promptly voiced their disappointment. Objectivity in coverage should never be exchanged for another perspective.

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Jour 4460- GAP

Angel Bell



Has GAP ever heard of Coca-Cola? : Rebranding Gone BAD

Another brand catastrophe has graced US soil. Gap changed their logo without warning their customers.

Maybe their CEO wasn’t around in 1985? This was the year Coca-Cola attempted to rebrand and reformulate a 100- year- old beverage. They prepared their customers for the change, but did not tell them the new formula would replace the old. This was not a good idea. Let’s just say, in 10 weeks the people caused such a ruckus, Coca-Cola was forced to give them back the original formula.

Companies need to learn and understand customers have psychological attachments to their brands. These attachments become stronger each year the company survives.

For GAP, The Helvetica type with a blue box in the right hand corner, struck many loyal customers as… cheap. Think about it, this cheap unattractive logo would be placed on all their shopping bags and some of their clothes. Shouldn’t the people carrying the bags and wearing the clothes have a say so?

Well, whether invited or not, the people cried out. Feedback flooded the Internet in the form of blogs, article comments and feedback on their Facebook page. Inevitably, the company changed the rebranding to a “crowd sourcing project.” This project encouraged consumers to submit new logos and reassure them that it would not change to the proposed logo. If you ask me, GAP did this to save its behind.

Companies must realize customers that buy the brand need to have some part in major decisions. They deserve to given fair warning about changes and told pertinent details. Without objective research, the change can and will cause public uproar.




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Jour 4460- The “It” Campaign

Angel Bell


Breast Cancer Awareness -“I Like it Campaign”

I like it on the floor. I like it by the bed. I like it on the counter.

If you saw statuses like these flooding your mini feed, wouldn’t you be compelled to ask what “it” is?  Believe me, that is exactly what the creator wants you to do.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an anonymous source started the “I like it” campaign via Facebook. The “it” is a purse, but no one would know that without asking.

The goal is spark conversation about breast cancer. After engaging them in conversation, one would ideally forward the e-mail to friends. Recently, the campaign has gone viral.

Mashable author Benn Parr, believes the campaign has been so popular because of its “sexual connotations.”  I agree. Let’s be honest, did you think I was talking about a purse in first three sentences?

Sex gets attention. The anonymous creator simply used what people like, engage in and dream about to get what he/she desired.

Advertisements use this tactic every day to sell products or services. Some kind of way, even a Big Mac can be sexy. At least this time, it was for a good cause. It’s simply genius.

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