Wednesday, July 09, 2008

FIR Interview: Al Comeaux, Sr. VP, Corporate Communications, Sabre Holdings

When it began its life as an independent company, employees of Sabre Holdings—the company that (among other things) provides flight information to consumers and travel agents—mostly worked in the same physical location, making it easy to connect and share information. Today, with 9,000-plus employees, 55% of whom work outside the United States, it has grown much more difficult for employees to connect with one another and transfer knowledge and information from those who have it to those who need it. To address the problem, Sabre—under an initiative launched by the Corporate Communications function—introduced a proprietary social network called SabreTown, designed to address the issues unique to an organization with a geographically dispersed workforce.

The platform has proven so successful that Sabre Holdings has decided to make it available as a software product for other companies under the name Cubeless. In this interview, FIR co-host Shel Holtz talks with Sabre’s Corporate Communications Senior Vice President Al Comeaux about the evolution of SabreTown, the impact it has had on the organization, and its efforts to sell the software to other companies seeking to obtain similar results and address similar issues.

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About our Conversation Partner

imageAl Comeaux is senior vice president of Corporate Communications for Sabre Holdings, where he directs media relations, employee communications, and corporate social responsibility. In this role, he has helped Sabre through rapid workforce globalization and major large acquisitions, including the purchase of Sabre by private equity firms Silver Lake Partners and TPG.

In Comeaux’s previous role as vice president of public relations at Travelocity, he directed all public relations activity for the online travel agency. In that role, he repositioned Travelocity’s public relations from technology-based messaging to travel-related messaging, including building an extensive program to merchandise the brand’s travel expertise.

Prior to Travelocity, Comeaux worked for American Airlines, where his various positions included leading the airline’s public relations initiatives in Europe and managing its labor public relations activity. Before joining American, Comeaux worked for Conway & Company Public Relations in Washington, D.C., and as press secretary for U.S. Rep. F.I. Sunia.

Comeaux has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Manship School of Journalism at Louisiana State University.

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This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

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Posted by shel on 07/09 at 06:46 AM
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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

FIR Interview: Robert Cox, president, Media Bloggers Association

When the Associated Press issued a takedown notice to a blogger for citing AP material, a firestorm ensued. In the middle of the controversy was Robert Cox and the Media Bloggers Association. Cox met with AP’s Jim Kennedy in an effort to prevent legal proceedings against blogger Rogers Cadenhead, which led to a flurry of articles and blog posts containing exaggerations and misinformation.

In this FIR Interview, Shel Holtz joined in conversation with Robert Cox, to discuss the AP situation and the Media Bloggers Association’s role, the formation of the Association, and its current status. Cox also shared his views on the future of journalism in the era of citizen journalism.

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About our Conversation Partner

imageRobert Cox, who first began blogging in 2002, gained notoriety as a blogger in 2004 when the New York Times sought to shut down his blog, The National Debate, over his parody of The Times’ columnist correction policy. In what was one of the earliest “free speech” cases involving a blog, Cox prevailed and applied his experience to what later became the Media Bloggers Association.

Prior to attending business school at the University of Chicago, Cox worked on Wall Street. Since graduating from the Chicago GSB, Cox has provided strategy-consulting services to leading companies in North America, Europe and Asia. Cox spent three years creating and running a venture-financed startup Internet business and continues to consult to technology start-ups and serve on their corporate boards.

Cox has written numerous Op-Eds and articles for publications including Newsweek, The San Francisco Chronicle, Congressional Quarterly, The Washington Examiner, and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram where his article “The best test of truth” for the paper’s “American Voices Series” which was nominated for the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award in 2006.

He sits on a number of citizen media advisory boards including NewAssignment.net, Newstrust, Center for Media and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation and others. In 2006, he helped develop the Poynter Institute’s Guide to Ethics in Online Journalism and served on the sub-committee for User-Generated Content which issued its final report in 2007.

Cox received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. He currently resides in New Rochelle, NY with his wife, an Associate Professor at Columbia University, and their four children.

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Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future interviews, in the FIR FriendFeed Room. You can also email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); call the Comment Line at +1 206 222 2803 (North America), +44 20 8133 9844 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments; comment at Twitter: twitter.com/FIR or at Jaiku: fir.jaiku.com. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

To receive all For Immediate Release podcasts including the twice-weekly Hobson & Holtz Report, subscribe to the full RSS feed.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

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Posted by shel on 07/08 at 08:27 AM
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Monday, July 07, 2008

The Hobson & Holtz Report - Podcast #360: July 7, 2008

Content summary: Introducing the FIR community browser toolbar; next FIR Live on July 26; upcoming FIR Interviews; discussion: the dispersed staff; the Media Monitoring Minute with CustomScoop; News That Fits: Turner Entertainment’s multimedia campaign aims to raise the profile for South Africa, Twitter applied to blood donation, privacy challenge to Google Street View in the UK, how to live-blog a conference; Michael Netzley reports from Singapore on Facebook’s challenges with its Chinese-language site; listeners’ comments discussion; music from Jen Elliott; and more.

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Messages from our sponsors: FIR is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years, www.ragan.com; Save time with the CustomScoop online clipping service: sign up for your free two-week trial, at www.customscoop.com/fir.

For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report, for July 7, 2008: A 60-minute podcast recorded live from Concord, California, USA, and Wokingham, Berkshire, England, and Concord, California, USA.

FIR Show Notes links
Links for the blogs, individuals, companies and organizations we discussed or mentioned in the show are posted to the FIR Show Links pages at The New PR Wiki. You can contribute - see the show notes home page for info.


Share your comments or questions about this show, or suggestions for future shows, in the FIR FriendFeed Room. You can also email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); call the Comment Line at +1 206 222 2803 (North America), +44 20 8133 9844 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments; comment at Twitter: twitter.com/FIR or at Jaiku: fir.jaiku.com. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

Join the FIR Discussion Forum and extend your conversations with the FIR community. You can also join the FIR Facebook Community and become an FIR friend.

So, until Thursday July 10…

Posted by neville on 07/07 at 07:01 AM
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Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Hobson & Holtz Report - Podcast #359: July 3, 2008

Content summary: Shel and Ryan Williams have reviewed “Groundswell;” an interview with the Media Bloggers Association’s Robert Cox is set for next Tuesday; Dan York reports on identi.ca, among other things; CustomScoop presents the Media Monitoring Minute; News That Fits: UK opens gigabytes of data to a public mashup competition; UK and US unions merge to form a global “super union,” Rob Paterson uses Ning.com for project management, CIGNA creates a virtual world of health care; listener comments; music from The TVees; and more.

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Messages from our sponsors: FIR is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years, www.ragan.com; Save time with the CustomScoop online clipping service: sign up for your free two-week trial, at www.customscoop.com/fir.

For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report, for July 3, 2008: A 61-minute podcast recorded live from Concord, California, USA, and Wokingham, Berkshire, England.

FIR Show Notes links
Links for the blogs, individuals, companies and organizations we discussed or mentioned in the show are posted to the FIR Show Links pages at The New PR Wiki. You can contribute - see the show notes home page for info.

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Share your comments or questions about this show, or suggestions for future shows, in the FIR FriendFeed Room. You can also email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); call the Comment Line at +1 206 222 2803 (North America), +44 20 8133 9844 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments; comment at Twitter: twitter.com/FIR, or at Jaiku: fir.jaiku.com. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

Join the FIR Discussion Forum and extend your conversations with the FIR community. You can also join the FIR Facebook Community and become an FIR friend.

So, until Monday, July 7…

Posted by shel on 07/03 at 06:50 AM
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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

FIR Book Review - Groundswell: July 2, 2008

Groundswell is the highly-anticipated book by Forrester Research vice presidents and principal analysts Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. Subtitled “Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies,” the book seeks to show organizations how to tap into the power of customers connecting with one another.

The book includes 25 case studies from around the world. Focused almost entirely on customers and marketing, the book is supported by a considerable amount of data produced by Forrester’s research efforts.

In this FIR Book Review, FIR co-host Shel Holtz and TWI Surveys President Ryan Williams discuss their take on the new book, addressing their misgivings and ultimately recommending Groundswell.

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About our Co-Reviewer

Ryan Williams is President of TWI Surveys Inc. He specializes in behavioural and organizational research. He has ten years of experience with corporate, government and not-for-profit clients. Ryan recently completed his MA in Leadership studies at Trinity Western University. His thesis is explored the use of surveys as a leadership strategy and tool. He has spoken internationally, nationally and at local Universities and Colleges.

He has received a number of awards for his client work. In 2004 he was recognized by the International Public Relations Institute with their Golden Ruler Award of Excellence for Measurement 2005. Ryan has won three International Association of Business Communicators’ Gold Quill Awards, the most recent being in 2007 for the benchmarking and tracking the effectiveness of a series of leadership town hall meeting with employees at Suncor Energy.

Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
Publisher: Harvard Business Press
Hardcover: 224 pages
Published May 2008
ISBN-10: 1422125009
ISBN-13: 978-1422125007

Purchase at Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or Amazon UK.

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Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future reviews, in the FIR FriendFeed Room. You can also email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); call the Comment Line at +1 206 222 2803 (North America), +44 20 8133 9844 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments; comment at Twitter: twitter.com/FIR or at Jaiku: fir.jaiku.com. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

To receive all For Immediate Release podcasts including the twice-weekly Hobson & Holtz Report, subscribe to the full RSS feed.

This FIR Book Review is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

Podsafe music - On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

Posted by shel on 07/02 at 11:22 AM
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Monday, June 30, 2008

The Hobson & Holtz Report - Podcast #358: June 30, 2008

Content summary: Neville’s in Manchester; Michael Netzley reports from Singapore on a Text 100 survey of Asian bloggers, and on a professional conference in Singapore and an academic conference discussing China’s Internet; the Media Monitoring Minute with CustomScoop; News That Fits: Neville’s reflections on Chicago and the Social Media Academic Summit 2008, how social networking saved New Orleans, preparing to mobilize your company; Heidi Miller reviews TypePad Mobile; listeners’ comments discussion; music from Geoff Smith; and more.

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Messages from our sponsors: FIR is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years, www.ragan.com; Save time with the CustomScoop online clipping service: sign up for your free two-week trial, at www.customscoop.com/fir.

For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report, for June 30, 2008: A 54-minute podcast recorded live from Concord, California, USA, and almost live from Manchester, England.

FIR Show Notes links
Links for the blogs, individuals, companies and organizations we discussed or mentioned in the show are posted to the FIR Show Links pages at The New PR Wiki. You can contribute - see the show notes home page for info.

FIR on Friendfeed
Share your comments or questions about this show, or suggestions for future shows, in the FIR FriendFeed Room. You can also email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); call the Comment Line at +1 206 222 2803 (North America), +44 20 8133 9844 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments; comment at Twitter: twitter.com/FIR, or at Jaiku: fir.jaiku.com. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

Join the FIR Discussion Forum and extend your conversations with the FIR community. You can also join the FIR Facebook Community and become an FIR friend.

So, until Thursday July 3…

Posted by neville on 06/30 at 01:33 PM
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Speakers & Speeches: Social Networks and Business Communications - June 25, 2008

Content summary: Shel Holtz presents “Social Networks and Business Communication,” a session during the “All-Star” slot at the IABC International Conference in New York City on June 25, 2008. (The All-Star track features speakers who have received high ratings during previous conferences.)

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Share your comments or questions about this show, or suggestions for future shows, in the FIR FriendFeed Room. You can also email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); call the Comment Line at +1 206 222 2803 (North America), +44 20 8133 9844 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments; comment at Twitter: twitter.com/FIR or at Jaiku: fir.jaiku.com. You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

Join the FIR Discussion Forum and extend your conversations with the FIR community. You can also join the FIR Facebook Community and become an FIR friend.

Messages from our sponsor: FIR is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years, www.ragan.com.

Posted by shel on 06/26 at 05:19 PM
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