Accepting new clients

Posted: August 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

Let’s collaborate… 


Picture 1

You, savvy, charming PR person, connected with a journalist, casually mentioning a prime upcoming event/launch/photo opportunity.

Journo agreed to cover it, asking you to send details.

Send, you did. You haven’t heard back. You follow up. No reply.

Key point: Reporters (generally) don’t assign themselves. Editors or producers decide what they’re filing on any given day.

Following up again, your efforts are either forgotten, ignored, or blown off.

What’s up with that?

Don’t they know how hard you worked, coming up with such witty, irresistible, not-too-pushy banter?

Chances are, it’s one of three things.

1. Journo is buried in e-mail/texts/calls/lookaheads, plus assignments galore. Cameras freeze, batteries die, the competition tweets a scoop … Your pitch may have been forgotten, or ‘snoozed’ to a later date.

2. Journo pitched the story to an editor or producer, who immediately dismissed/denied/shut down the notion of covering your prime upcoming event/launch/photo opportunity. Journo may not want to acknowledge the reality of being a peon, thus burying his/her head in the sand.

3. Journo knows your prime upcoming event/launch/photo opportunity is a bust, and/or wouldn’t be covered by their media outlet, and didn’t want to hurt your feelings. It’s akin to ending a date with “I’ll call you.”

Here’s betting it’s Number Two.

As you might already know, reporters don’t run the show in a newsroom.

They’re. At. The. Bottom. Of. The. Totem. Pole.

Let’s get supremely specific. Reporters, well, report to editors and producers. All are categorized as journalists.

Now you know why, so forget about the reporter.

Here’s how you’ll follow up: Contact the assignment editor. Phone – don’t email – the newsroom’s city desk and mention the reporter’s name. “I met Journo at ________ event … by the way, thank you for coming to that. It really helped us get the message out. Anyway, I wanted to follow up and see if there’s any chance you’ll be able to cover our _________.”

(Everyone likes being appreciated. Journalists are rarely thanked).

Assignment editors are simultaneously juggling 86.5 things, so you’ll probably have an answer on the spot. It could be a hasty ‘no’, but rejection is better than being tuned out, isn’t it?

Try this, and let me know how it goes.


Picture 8

A common newsroom rant often begins, “One day, when I get the chance to tell PR students…”

Kidding. There would be at least four f-bombs, interlaced with less offensive profanity, if that quote were to run.

Anyway, I was recently given the opportunity to speak to a class at Durham College*.

Talking points on winning with journalists:

1. Anticipate needs

2. Answer/acknowledge a media request, even if you have no information to relay

3. If you can’t deliver by deadline, TELL US

*Random names on the blackboard were shouting out PR all-stars, Brad Ross (Toronto Transit Commission) and Bob Nichols (Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation).

Cheers to Matt from MELD PR for this post

Leland Warren has been at home, instead of school, for more than a week.

The autistic seven-year-old isn’t receiving enough support from the public board to accommodate him, his mother told the Sun.

“I’ve made it clear, they need to find a solution,” said Debra Warren of Gloucester.

“They’re not fit to deal with Leland’s needs.”

Leland functions at the level of a two or three-year-old, she said, and is enrolled at Queen Elizabeth PS, near St. Laurent Blvd. and Montreal Rd., where he’s in Grade 2.

“The sad part is, across the hall from his class is a specialized program for autistic children,” said Warren.

Leland was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, said Warren — specifically DSM-5.

He doesn’t qualify for the specialized class, because, Warren said, “he speaks very well … to them, he’s fine.”

School staff are pegging Leland’s as behavioural, said Warren, even throwing around attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as a cause.

“They keep calling me to pick him up every time there is an undesirable behaviour, despite me telling them I cannot lose my job,” said Warren.

The school has proposed Leland attend for three hours each day, from 9 a.m. until noon, she said, adding Nov. 13 was Leland’s last day in class.

Olga Grigoriev, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board’s superintendent of learning support services, wouldn’t comment on Warren’s case, calling autism “a complex exceptionality.”

Along with medical documentation, “we absolutely rely on what the parent tells us,” said Grigoriev.

In addition, “we do need a collaborative relationship,” she said.

The Warren family moved to Ottawa from the Prescott-Russell area about two years ago in the hopes of finding resources and options for Leland.

He was initially with the Catholic board, then made the switch this school year.

“It’s a process,” said Grigoriev.

“It’s not a quick fix.”

There’s no wait list for special education programs geared to children with autism, Grigoriev confirmed.

Nonetheless, Warren is now exploring legal action.

“It’s a really outrageous story,” lawyer Kevin Butler, adding, “somehow, he’s falling through the cracks.”

“He has a right to go to school,” Butler said.

Warren said she just wants her son placed in a supportive environment where he can learn.

Special streams in the public system:

Who qualifies for specialized programs?

We follow the tiered intervention approach and when schools have been unable to successfully support the children in experiencing success in collaboration, and with the support of parents/care givers, it may be appropriate to consider admission to a specialized program.

Which schools offer such programs?

We currently have 35 specialized classes (K-12) serving 192 students.

Is there a waiting list at any school?

As a result of our move to a geographic model for autism classes, there are currently no children on the waitlist for ASD. There are no children on the waitlist for DD classes.

Source: OCDSB

Witnesses are being asked to come forward after a cyclist was killed after colliding with a garbage truck in Nepean Thursday morning.

Emergency crews were called at 8:05 to Clyde Ave. and Lotta Ave., just north of the Merivale Ave. split. The victim, a man, was dead when paramedics arrived, spokesman J.P. Trottier said.

It appeared both the cyclist and garbage truck were southbound on Clyde when they collided, but cops are working to confirm the details, said Ottawa Police Sgt. Wally McIlquham. They are trying to determine if the man was on his bike or walking it across the intersection when he was struck.

A blue tarp covered the victim’s body, while investigators waited for the coroner to arrive.

A maroon Supercycle mountain bike was lying on the road, with a white shoe a few metres away.

Police and Ministry of Transportation inspectors were at the scene examining a blue BFI garbage truck.

The southbound lanes of Clyde and the westbound lane of Lotta Ave. were taped off.

The road was closed for most of the morning while police investigated.

It’s “way too early” to know if charges will be laid against the truck driver, said Ottawa Police spokesman Const. Marc Soucy.

“It’s going to take a while.”

The garbage truck driver was “shaken up” and being comforted by family and friends.

“It’s a horrific thing that nobody wants to be in,” McIlquham said.

A spokeswoman for BFI Canada, the company that owns the garbage truck, called it a tragic accident and expressed condolences to the victim’s family. The company and its driver were co-operating with the police investigation, she said.

“It’s a sad day for the company,” said Chaya Cooperberg, a vice-president for BFI, whose parent company Progressive Waste is headquartered in Toronto.

Cooperberg said she didn’t have any information about the experience of the driver or the route he was on Thursday morning. The truck was collecting garbage on one of its commercial routes, she said.

Martin Settle said he’s been cycling for 25 years “in four different countries,” and feels “a deep sense of loss, even though I have no idea who (the victim) is.”

Word of a fellow cyclist being killed took Settle back to his own experience in Nepean in 2012.

He said he was hit at Merivale Mall while heading south.

“A light had changed as I approached — heavy traffic, as usual, on the street,” said Settle.

“Essentially, without signalling, a large SUV just turned right into the parking lot.”

Settle said he was beside the SUV.

“I managed to pull myself onto the curb but the truck hit my shoulder, and I ended up going down, and rolling across the intersection … I’m not sure that the driver even noticed.”

Two motorists behind the SUV stopped to check on Settle, he said.

“I was kind of scraped and bruised,” he said.

Settle said he was planning to join a group of cyclists for a “critical mass” ride on Bank St. later Thursday.

Witnesses to the Clyde Ave. fatal are asked to call 613-236-1222, ext. 2481.

Sina Fattizzo recently moved to Kemptville and has no problem heading south on Hwy. 416 at the end of the workday.

“I always found when I lived in the city, by the time I got home, I was still just jacked from the day,” said Fattizzo.

“I’d almost have to go into a room just to decompress.”

Now, it takes Fattizzo 25 to 30 minutes — time she uses to catch up on phone calls or blast tunes.

“By the time I come home, I’m relaxed,” she said.

“I’m ready to come in the house and start supper right away.”

Turns out Fattizzo isn’t the only who doesn’t dread the drive.

Canadians actually enjoy their commute and find it relaxing, says a report released Wednesday from Toronto advertising agency Bensimon Byrne.

Three quarters of commuters reported being in a better mood after their haul.

“The results are an eye-opener and contradict the prevailing narrative of commuting, which is often conveyed as long and negatively affecting our work-life balance,” said Bensimon Byrne’s managing director of strategy, Max Valiquette.

“In fact, our findings show that having some time to relax and rest, or a few quiet moments to reflect, is what makes commuting so important and desirable.”

D’Arcy O’Donnell of Carleton Place has a 15-minute jaunt to Perth but said he doesn’t mind commuting “upwards of a half-hour. It’s reasonable. You can relax … have your coffee,” said O’Donnell.

Two-thirds of Canadians gauged their commute at 30 minutes or less.

But forget carpooling — the study revealed 75% of respondents wanted time alone, something Valiquette called a “precious commodity that commuters are embracing.”

While transit users may face a more difficult commute, they relax or rest during that time.

Half of the people polled said they drive a car, truck or van as their primary mode of transportation, while 25% use public transit, 14% are automobile passengers, and the remainder walk or cycle.

Nearly three quarters of drivers reported listening to AM or FM radio often, if not always, compared to public transit users, who tended to consume a wider range of media.

“Listening to music is a big part of it,” said Fattizzo.

“That, alone, makes you happy, right?”

Valiquette said it has marketing implications for everything from radio ads to billboards.

Twitter: @kellyroche6


-44% of Ontarian commuters look forward to their commutes while only 13% dread them.
-79% are generally in a better mood after their commute while 25% are in a worse mood.
-Commute times in Ontario are more likely to be longer; 43% of Ontarians have a commute of 30 minutes or more while only 36% of all Canadians have such long commutes.
-Ontarian commuters are more likely to primarily use public transit than the average Canadian (31% vs 25% nationally); 18% bus or streetcar, 10% subway or elevated rail, and 3% commuter train.
-In terms of the mental, emotional and physical health impacts of commuting, Ontarians are no different than the rest of Canadians; in as much as commuting has any effect on health, it is overwhelmingly positive.
Source: Bensimon Byrne

Picture 5
Carlos Saavedra looked at his parents for inspiration during a national open data competition.

With friend Jason Ernst, they created newRoots, an app helping immigrants — before they’ve arrived in Canada – determine which city to settle in based on their background and credentials by “looking at unemployment rates, looking at labour industries, cultural group populations, and really determining the probability of you being successful in different cities across Canada,” said Saavedra, 27.

The Kitchener-Waterloo resident said his parents hail from Poland and Ecuador.

Now he’s taking the application to the next level, “connecting you to other service providers as well … YMCAs and United Ways, immigration consultants, immigration lawyers,” said Saavedra.

The 2.0 version is called Imminy.

newRoots took the top prize, voted fan favourite, at the Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE) last March.

The app is just one of the creative possibilities using open data.

Treasury Board president Tony Clement kicked off the 2015 CODE competition during a press conference at the Chateau Laurier Monday.

“Open government, at its heart, is about giving Canadians more access to information,” said Clement.

The 48-hour coding sprint draws teams to build the best app using data from the feds’ open data portal.

The competition has the potential to improve lives and drive change, added Clement.

Roughly 931 people took part in the 2014 hackathon.

“It was so exciting,” said Clement.

Subject matter is divided into three categories: Youth, commerce, and quality of life.

Participants aren’t limited to federal data, Clement said, noting it can be combined with provincial and municipal data.

Last year, the second place app went to a submission titled A Healthier Commute, giving users personalized feedback about the costs of their daily commute.

Third place went to A Deep Breath, an app collecting and analyzing toxic emissions and comparing results among cities using Environment Canada data.

“I’m a big, big believer in hackathons,” said Ray Sharma, founder of Toronto-based XMG Studio, a critically acclaimed gaming developer.

Sharma said last year’s event had a shortage of women — something he’d like to see change, given females are rabid consumers of video games.

The CODE competition takes place Feb. 20 to 22.

Visit for more information.

Twitter: @kellyroche6

CODE 2014 Quick Facts:

-931 participants
-290 teams
-111 open data apps
-2 apps have been acquired or submitted to market
Source: CODE

Gary Boyd is applauding the National Capital Commission’s decision to deny the city’s request for an LRT extension across federal land.

“That’s what we were hoping for,” said the Fraser Ave. resident.

“We really don’t want it to go by here at all and have the disruption.”

NCC officials held a surprise press conference downtown Friday morning, announcing two options for the city and its massive transit project: Bury the stretch near the Sir John A. Macdonald Pkwy., or use Rochester Field.

“That was always, what we felt, was the best option … to go across Rochester Field,” Boyd said.

The city is now left finding an acceptable preferred route.

Boyd has been considering selling his home for at least a year now, due to the project.

“It is getting very busy; another condo being built behind us so I don’t think anything’s changed that way; move somewhere quieter,” he said.

But many residents are staying put.

Kitchissippi Coun. Katherine Hobbs said the community was never happy about the prospect of Rochester Field being an option for an LRT cut-through.

“I think now it looks like we’re going to have to look at that corridor,” Hobbs said, adding she believes it’s a “valuable piece of land” that should be used for something “green-related.”

Hobbs’s term as councillor ends Nov. 30 since she was defeated in the municipal election.

Jeff Leiper, the councillor-elect for Kitchissippi, said any impact to the green space in Rochester Field would be “unacceptable.”

The fear in the community now is that the Byron linear park could once again be in play after the city found a route that avoided eliminating the strip of parkland.

Leiper said it would be a surprise if council agreed to any option that would sacrifice the Byron linear park, something he’s “adamantly opposed” to.

“I’m still digesting the implications of the announcement,” Leiper said.

A spokesman for federal minister John Baird said the NCC’s move isn’t political, noting the city can’t take federal land availability for granted.

“The NCC has an important responsibility to protect our nation’s capital and its green space. The city’s job is public transit,” Adam Hodge wrote in an e-mail.

The feds “remain confident” the NCC and city “can come to a decision that is beneficial for the people of Ottawa.”

-With files from Jon Willing


Nearly all of Eastern Ontario residents have a primary care provider, but less than half can access care the same or next day, according to a report released Thursday.

That puts us lower than the provincial average of 60%.

Measuring Up, the annual report from Health Quality Ontario, found province-wide, slightly more than half of people surveyed (54%) report evening or weekend access to primary care — without going to the emergency room — is very difficult or somewhat difficult.

“For each of us in Ontario, health plays a central role in our lives, and we rightly expect to have a top-quality health system that is there for us when we need it,” HQO president and CEO Dr. Joshua Tepper said in a statement.

“Knowing how healthy we are and how well our system is working helps us all identify what needs to improve.”

But overall, HQO found Ontarians are living longer and feeling better about their health.

Life expectancy in Ontario has improved to 81.5 years — second-highest among Canadian provinces, after British Columbia.

Ontario’s health system is performing better in some areas versus five and 10 years ago.

When it comes to how we view our health, two-thirds of Ontarians rate their health as excellent or very good, more than in most other peer countries in the world.

Many Ontarians have unhealthy lifestyles, though, with nearly half inactive.

One in five still smokes.

And challenges surrounding access to care may depend on geography.

Up north, there are significantly higher rates of obesity and smoking, and twice the rate of premature avoidable death than those in other parts of the province.

This translates to a five-year difference in life expectancy between the healthiest region in the province and the north.

Patients receiving emergency department care are being discharged more quickly than they were several years ago, but targets have still not been achieved, the report reads.

“It’s very important to identify what works and what could be better,” said VP of health system performance Dr. Irfan Dhalla.

“We all deserve a system that provides great care, and that allows each of us to flourish.”

Twitter: @kellyroche6

How Champlain stacks up:

-93.7% of people in the Champlain LHIN region have a primary care provider -Only 44.1% can see a primary care provider the same day or next day when they are sick -The median number of days to access a long-term care home is 59 from hospital, and 143 from home.

– 62% say they are in very good or excellent health (0.6% lower than the provincial average) -9.8% say they are in fair or poor health -Life expectancy at birth – 81.9 years – 6th highest of the 14 LHIN regions

Source: HQO