Archive for May, 2012


Friday, May 25th, 2012


Doug Simon, President & CEO of D S Simon Productions, spoke with Dan Rather of HD Net, and recent author of, Rather Outspoken, prior to being the key note speaker at The Big Apple Awards in New York.


Interview with Dan Rather

Doug: Welcome to the video blog. I’m Doug Simon of D S Simon Productions. My guest is as you see Dan Rather of HD Net, recent author of the book, Rather Outspoken, which I recently finished. Thanks so much for being with us.

Dan: Thanks for having me.

Doug: Now you’re speaking, you’re the keynote speaker at the Big Apple Awards here in New York, what are some of the key points you are going to talk about in your presentation?

Dan: Well the key point is a sense of public service. Public Relations at its best  serves the client of course, but it serves the larger public interest, and this stuff deals with reporters such as myself and journalism which at its best, quality journalism with integrity is in the public interest. Yes it can make money and yes it can serve the stockholders and stockholder value, but at its best it’s in the public interest. So I would say that’s the central point. The other is I take my work seriously, but  I try not to take myself seriously, so I hope to weave in some humor that’s telling about the need to listen very carefully to people. Also how CEO’s and other masters of whatever universe they’re in including anchor people can get big headed, and everyone needs to understand that well.

Doug: You quote Bill Moyers in the book with a quote along the lines of “What people don’t want to talk about is news and the rest is publicity”, can PR people actually do a good job by helping their clients change their behaviors to make the behaviors good so you can tell the truth and have it be good PR?

Dan: Absolutely, and that is Public Relations at its best. The quote which was originally isn’t Billy Moyers has his version and I have my version. But, it’s basically news is what’s important for people to know, that somebody somewhere mostly people in power don’t want people to know. That’s news. All the rest is mostly publicity and propaganda.

Doug: Among the most fascinating parts of the book are where you looked back and shared information about sort of  what turned out to be the end of your career at CBS involving the Killian documents and the investigation of whether former president George W. Bush had gone AWOL during his service, and during discovery there were documents that actually showed and maybe I think the public would be believing based on what they heard, oh that those documents were certainly fakes. You seem to find out otherwise.

Dan: Well number one the documents have never been proven to be fake. Someone may want to argue when they do, that we didn’t do enough to prove them. But I consider all that kind of a camouflage a veil if you will. We reported the truth, unpleasant truths that a young George Bush number one this is not somebody’s opinion these are facts number one he got in a so called champagne air unit of the Texas National Guard because his father was an important person and had influence. That’s a fact. Number two while he was supposed to be serving as an airman he disappeared for a year. In the military nobody disappears for a year without accountability and he did. That was the gut of our story. That was the spine of our story. Those two things were true. Now people who for their own personal, political reasons or either logical reasons didn’t want these inconvenient truths to be known by the public. So our story was true and that’s the reason that some good people who work with me lost their jobs and I eventually lost my own.

Doug: One of the tough things about the news for people now is I don’t know that people believe news can actually be non-partisan. Can the news be non-partisan?

Dan: Absolutely and I dedicated my career to being an honest broker of information. Everyone has their biases and prejudices. I think my own would surprise some people. But the test of a reporter worthy of the name and an American reporter worthy of the name is how hard he or she tries and how often they succeed to squeeze out their own biases as I say just be an honest transmitter of information to get the truth as close to the truth as humanly possible and to suck it up even if its controversial, even if you take heat tell people.

Doug: Last area of questioning because you talked about the dangers of the corporatization of the news. Now, Mark Cuban owns a business so that may be one type of corporatization of news, Sumner Redstone was in charge of overall CBS News at the time of your situation. Now Sumner Redstone supported Republican causes also had an issue before the government of making sure Viacom could maintain ownerships of those TV stations. If Sumner Redstone backed liberal causes do you think it would have been the same outcome even with the business issue of protecting the ownership of those stations?

Dan: Well we’ll never know I like to think so, and you raised a very interesting point, and I have no major argument with Sumner Redstone. Now what happened with me happened eight years ago , I left CBS news 6 years ago, I’m well past it I’m at peace with it. The differences between Sumner Redstone and Mark Cuban, there are two major differences. One, Mark Cuban sees the news as public trust and he wants to be responsible to that public trust and sees the news as a public service. Sumner Redstone as you made clear, number one he is interested in making money, there’s nothing wrong with making money. But what had been the paradigm if you will before was yes you make money off the airways but you give something back in public service in the public interest and that was your news division. Number two that gutsy reporting, the kind of reporting that is deep digging and investigating, it needs leaders at the very top who don’t back down, don’t back up and back their reporters. Mark Cuban does and Sumner I’m sorry to say didn’t.

Doug: Yea well thank you so much for your time. Fascinating reading and fascinating conversation, an American treasure.

Dan: Thank you very much, I appreciate it

Doug: My pleasure.

HD Net

Rather Outspoken


Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

To Link To Post:

A panel of health journalists including John George @JohnGeorgePBJ, Stacey Burling @StaceyABurling, Stacey Butterfield , Larry Blumenthal @lblumenthal, and Ellen Beth Levitt  share their top tips at the PRSA Health Academy Conference in Philadelphia. 

John George’s Vlog View:

“Read the paper or watch the news program or visit the website of…whatever the medium is you want to pitch, it’s the best way to learn what types of stories their interested in, what types of stories they run.”

Stacey Burling’s Vlog View:

“I think the phone pitch is still important, I think that there’s information you can convey in a conversation that’s hard to get a across in an email”

Stacey Butterfield’s Vlog View:

“Don’t forget about physicians as a potential audience for any kind of health care pitch, they have a different perspective on these issues than the general public…but a lot of the same stories will be relevant to physicians.”

Larry Blumenthal’s Vlog View:

“Think differently, because I’m online, because it’s all about the web for me, think differently, think beyond pitching the typical news story”-

Ellen Beth Levitt’s Vlog View:

“Journalists, no matter what type of role they play…they’re all trying to adapt to this new world of the internet and social media, playing a role in news and information.”-


John George @JohnGeorgePBJ

Health Reporter

Philadelphia Business Journal


Stacey Burling @StaceyABurling

Medical Reporter

The Philadelphia Inqurier


Stacey Butterfield

Associate Editor

ACP Hospitalist  , ACP Internist


Larry Blumenthal @lblumenthal

Executive Health Producer

Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News/


Ellen Beth Levitt

Senior Communications Specialist

Johns Hopkins Medicine



Friday, May 11th, 2012


Doug Simon, President & CEO of D S Simon Productions, spoke with Elise Mitchell, President & CEO of Mitchell Communications Group,  at the Counselors Academy  2012 Spring Conference about starting her own PR firm.


Elise’s VlogViews:

“You want to be on the journey intentionally, which means that whatever you are experiencing in your business you want to fully embrace it. But most importantly don’t be so focused on the destination that you miss the experience of the ride along the way.”

“I believe to be successful in whatever you do in business you have to be first and foremost passionate about it.”

“If we could learn to take that energy that a lot of times we focus on, the potential hazards and all the things that could go wrong and instead focus on where we want to end up we will be much more successful in life.”

“Be able to think about where potential opportunity lies and don’t be afraid to press into it. Which means take a bit of calculated risk; Invest in resources, staff up, look for opportunities to really drive your business forward and sometimes that takes a little bit of courage to do it.”

Mitchell Communications Group Website

Elise Mitchell on Twitter


Friday, May 11th, 2012


 Doug Simon, President & CEO of D S Simon Productions, spoke with Gini Dietrich, Founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich,  at the Counselors Academy  2012 Spring Conference about combining your personal brand with your business brand, and discussing her book, Marketing in the Round.


Gini’s VlogViews:

“And now enter in social media and you have to create this content that allows people to figure out who you are online…. So this face to face doesn’t happen as often as it used to, and so you have to create this opportunity to sort of bring in your personal interest and hobbies so that people feel like they get to know you.”

“It’s really about creating a personality in terms of who are the people you get to work with every day if you work with this company”

Arment Dietrich Website

Gini Dietrich on Twitter

Gini Dietrich

Marketing in the Round

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