Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Do you remember more if you read it in print?

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

A new study from the University of Houston (UH) says readers remember more from newspapers than online. That’s an interesting finding given that more and more people are looking to the Internet for their daily news.

It’s no secret that I still look to the printed newspaper each morning to start my day. But I’m also among those who read online news sources at other times of the day. Do I remember more from my morning newspaper reading habit? That’s certainly up for debate.   

The UH researchers used two groups of students who were told to avoid reading news stories for a period of time. They were then instructed to read the New York Times for 20 minutes – one group reading stories from the print version, the other browsing the NYT website. The study found that those who read the print version remembered an average of 4.24 news stories a short time later, while the online readers remembered 3.35 stories. 

The lead author of the study, Professor Arthur Santana, says there could be a number of reasons. He notes that there are more distractions in the online version. The online story placement and prominence are always changing so readers may be less apt to register which are the important stories of the day. He notes that the print newspaper is generally dedicated mostly to news and print readers may be more methodical.

The UH study was done to help newspapers become more aware of the differences in reading news online versus in print. It will be interesting to see if those who lead news operations are able to capitalize on these findings as the newspaper business continues to evolve.

What do you think? How often do you read a printed newspaper? Do you remember more when you read something in print as opposed to online?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Cure for Communication Overload

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Let’s face it…most of us are “connected” 24/7 these days. Do you even remember what it felt like not to have your phone next to you all day, every day? Do we really need to be connected all the time?  I can hear the shouting right now, “yes, Yes, YES!” 

O.K., I hear you. I’m one of you. BUT, after starting to feel like there was a never a break, I have been making a concerted effort to have some “disconnect” time lately. No phone. No iPad. No laptop. That means no Twitter, no Facebook, no email and no news. No calls from family, friends and clients alike (at least until I turn the phone back on). Yikes! Just the thought of that could put me in a panic.

But I have found that occasionally unplugging has been a really good thing. I try for a couple of hours a week, usually on Sundays. What do I DO on those days/times? Enjoy the quiet and think about everything or nothing; go for a walk; listen to music; read a book; clean a closet – uninterrupted. (That might seem odd, but for someone who really likes being organized, a clean closet is heavenly!).  Now, mind you, I’m not at the point where I could go all day without being connected but, even for a few hours, it turns out to be a really good thing. It’s relaxing and, in many ways, rejuvenating. Turns out, I never really miss anything. Eventually, I go back online and catch up with the calls, emails and news. Just like always.

So before you think or say you can’t possibly disconnect, I challenge you to try it. You might be surprised how much you actually like it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When was the last time you took a technology break?

By: Steve Scaffidi, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
I was sitting in a local diner early last week, enjoying a hot cup of coffee while tuning out the banter of other patrons so I could concentrate on my own activities.  As I sat there, periodically checking my phone or my laptop for any new emails, I thought about the pace of my day and how that has changed thanks to technology. 

In the amazingly fast-paced world we live in, with an almost continuous bombardment of messages coming at us from every direction, I thought to myself how incredible technology is. The world is now delivered right to the palm of our hands via smart phones, serving as virtual mini-TVs, always on and providing data to our brains.

What that means is a never-ending stream of messaging and information directed at us, with the sole purpose of capturing our attention. If you're like me, you're curious about what's happening in the stock market, politics or sports, and getting the latest updates should make us all better-informed citizens. But at what cost? When does technology become a burden or overwhelm our ability to process information? 

You can certainly make the case that this information flow provides the fodder for our water cooler conversations or whatever the 21st-Century version of that would be. A Keurig conversation perhaps? We've become a country of people filled with pretty strong opinions on the subjects that impact us every day. Has technology over-stimulated our information receptors? After all, how much do we really need to know about the Kardashians or the President's pets? 

I've read some great stories lately about folks "unplugging" from technology, some for as much as a week or longer. That length of time is not realistic for most of us, myself included. But, in small doses, maybe an hour or so a night, it might be a good idea to put the phone down and decompress. Take time to have a conversation with your spouse, your children or even yourself for that matter. The key is to have it without using technology or having it interrupt you. And don't talk about what the world is doing, talk about what you're doing and listen to what comes back to you in the form of an old-fashioned, face-to-face conversation. It might be the best news you've heard in a while.

Have you ever tried to escape from technology? If yes, for how long were you able to make it?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Finally, I can upgrade

By: Cole Buergi, VP of Business Development, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Like so many others, I’ve been anxiously awaiting Apple’s launch of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. 

Granted, I’m not crazy enough, nor do I have the kind of free time, to pull up a lawn chair and perch outside an Apple store for two weeks, wanting to be the first to get my hands on one. Yes, it’s hard to believe people would do this but, on the other hand, there could be worse things in life to waste your time on. In the words of my dad, “At least they’re not out stealing hub caps.”

My enthusiasm stems from the fact that I still have the iPhone 4. I passed on upgrading to the newer version, iPhone 5 or 5s, simply because the changes weren’t significant enough to warrant spending the extra money. Oh yeah, and also because I was still under contract which would have added significantly more cost to upgrade.

But alas, my contract has ended and the new phones are just what I was hoping for. For one, they are bigger which, I hope, also means the keyboard for typing is larger.  My wife giggles at me often for sending her the message, “I love you.” At least, that’s what I intend to type. Instead, because my fat fingers don’t do well on the little keyboard, I often text her, “I live you.” Mis-typed words happen frequently but, thanks to my wife’s keen deciphering abilities, she is surprisingly able to understand most of what I text her.

We are both grateful I’m not a high level government official sending texts to other world leaders. I’m pretty sure my texting errors would have started World War III by now. At the very least, a small border skirmish with Canada.

Besides the increased size, there’s also a better camera, faster processing and a host of new features I’m looking forward to trying out. 

My biggest problem now, besides determining whether I want the 6 or 6 Plus, is waiting the few weeks until they become available locally. Oh well, I’ve waited this long, what’s a few more days going to hurt?  

Are you planning to get the new iPhone? If yes, were you a hold out like me and which do you plan to get? What do you use your phone for, work or purely personal?

The PR Experts

Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
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