Lots of good stuff to share this week. Here are five worthwhile posts and articles, each equipped with a money quote to whet your appetite for more. Enjoy these morsels.
1. Let’s calm down about higher education is a refreshing perspective from The Atlantic. It comes at just the right time, too, with all the hand-wringing about the state of affairs of higher ed these days. (I’m not immune to a bit of that hand-wringing, myself.)
The money quote:
The point here is not to deny the existence of problems in American higher education. That would be absurd. The point, rather, is to say that much of the writing about the current “crisis” in American higher education is meant to scare, not to inform; to back agendas, not to enlighten or improve. The worries that afflict us are as old as the Republic. American higher education is not going down the tubes.
2. 7 basic types of stories. Which one is your brand telling? A look at the archetypes of stories from a panel of branding and storytelling experts, put together by Ad Age. Quote de money:
“Brands are stories,” [Droga5 executive creative director Ted Royer] said. “They want to embody a story. When we start working with a client, we don’t want to take a brief. We don’t want to just say, ‘What’s your problem?’ We want to go right back to, ‘Why was your company started? What’s your mission?’ We talk about mission all the time, and it’s just another way of saying, ‘What kind of story are you on? What kind of story do you want to tell?’ … Part of our job as an agency is to reignite that and really figure out what that story is.”
3. 11 PR observations from the first presidential debate is PR Daily’s analysis of the way the two presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, came off from a public relations perspective. Sharp observations, all the way down to the way the candidates dressed (although the writer, Brad Phillips, failed to mention how huge and prominent Romney’s American flag lapel pin was compared to Obama’s). Worth the read if you’re interested in PR, branding and personal communication. Money quote:
It’s important to point out that as flat as President Obama was tonight, he didn’t have a particularly “bad” single moment; nor did Mitt Romney have a strong one-liner that will become a memorable debate moment. … Still, don’t mistake this analysis for a prediction of what’s going to happen in November. The two presidential candidates will debate two more times this month, and a strong showing by President Obama and/or a weak showing by Mitt Romney will inevitably change the media narrative yet again.
4. Universities are failing at teaching social media, from Fortune and CNNMoney, quoting William Ward (@DR4WARD on Twitter), of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Quoth Ward:
Digital and social skills can be applied across majors and discipline, not just in a social media class. Faculty must change how they research, learn, communicate, and collaborate and model this behavior in all their classes and for their students.
5. Measuring the real value of a college degree, by Jeff Selingo of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Show us the money quote, Jeff:
[B]efore we buy a car, we can find various measures on everything from gas mileage to results of safety tests. We can turn to objective sources, like Consumer Reports, to check comparisons of similar vehicles and the Kelley Blue Book to see which cars hold their value over time. But when it comes to potentially one of the most expensive purchases in a lifetime, the attitude from colleges has always been that we should just trust them on the quality of their product.
Good weekend, all.