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The Gray Lady is flying in a different direction.

The New York Times has renamed its Op-Ed page, instead calling the articles on the page “Guest Essays,” reasoning that the term has become outdated in our digital age.

The Times Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury explained in a piece published recently that opinion page articles were first called “Op-Eds” because they were printed on the opposite side of the editorial page.

Though many believed they were called “Op-Eds” because the opinions written were opposite that of the paper’s, Kingsbury wrote that the true purpose of the page was to “stimulate thought and provoke discussion of public problems.”

“That important mission remains the same. But it’s time to change the name,” Kingsbury wrote. “The reason is simple: In the digital world, in which millions of Times subscribers absorb the paper’s journalism online, there is no geographical 'Op-Ed,' just as there is no geographical 'Ed' for Op-Ed to be opposite to. It is a relic of an older age and an older print newspaper design."

Kingsbury lauded the rich history of the Op-Ed page, recalling a quote from one her predecessors, former New York Times journalist John B. Oakes who helped create the opinion page:

todd smith

TODD SMITH

"Diversity of opinion is the lifeblood of democracy. … The minute we begin to insist that everyone think the same way we think, our democratic way of life is in danger.”

"A half century ago, Times editors made a bet that readers would appreciate a wider range of opinion," Kingsbury added. "We are making much the same bet, but at a time when the scales of opinion journalism can seem increasingly tilted against the free and the fair, the sober and honest. We work every day to correct that imbalance."

 

Twitter to Launch National Campaign to Boost Local News

Twitter is preparing to launch a major advertising and social media campaign urging people to follow local journalists and support their work, according to a report from Axios.

The social media giant will run full-page ads in 28 local newspapers across the Gannett/USA Today and McClatchy network that will direct readers to Twitter Lists of local journalist to follow. The lists will be curated by the local papers. Twitter also plans to push the hashtag #FollowLocalJournalists and organize conversations about local news on its Clubhouse clone platform, called Spaces. 

"Local journalists [are] so incredibly important to the conversation on Twitter," Niketa Patel, head of print and digital news partnerships at Twitter, told Axios. "We're viewing this as a way of ensuring that Twitter is giving local journalists a national spotlight."

The thrust of the campaign, she notes, is to help local journalists leverage Twitter Spaces and Twitter Lists to expand their audiences. "We think these two products in particular are a powerful part of the way journalists can have great conversations on Twitter and build a following," Patel says.

The initiative marks one of the first times Twitter is hosting a global campaign focused on news and journalism.

Last year, Twitter announced it would donate $1 million to the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women's Media Foundation ($500,000 each) to support newsrooms while covering the coronavirus. It has also worked with groups like UNESCO and various NGOs to protect local journalists.

The campaign was launched Monday, May 3 in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day, and will continue throughout the year. Hashtags like #FollowLocalJournalists, #WorldPressFreedomDay, #PressFreedom and #WPFD2021 will be available in 20 languages.

 

Zoom Unveils Immersive View Function

Zoom has launched a new immersive video feature to help businesses create more engaging and collaborative virtual meetings.

While a growing number of fledgling startups have adopted remote-first mindsets from the start, the transition for larger enterprises is fraught with challenges, given that they may have hundreds of thousands of workers spread across multiple regions and time zones.

Despite these hurdles, major businesses – Including Salesforce, Microsoft, Shopify, VMware, Dropbox and Fujitsu – have already confirmed a permanent shift to a remote-first or hybrid working policy. But better and more adaptable virtual collaboration tools will prove vital to the long-term success of these programs.

Zoom first announced its new Immersive View (then called Immersive Scenes) feature at its annual Zoomtopia event last October, positioning the technology against Microsoft Teams’ Together Mode, which had launched a few months before.

Video hosts can use Immersive View to arrange participants – anyone from employees to panelists – in a single virtual environment. This deviates from the established norm of displaying participants in a grid-like format with each individual’s personal background showing.

Immersive View supports up to 25 participants, and they can be placed in any number of environments, including a boardroom, auditorium or classroom, depending on the event. Hosts can manually move people around on the screen or let Zoom do it automatically.

It’s available now in Zoom’s desktop client (version 5.6.3 or higher) for Windows and Mac and is activated by default for all free and individual Pro accounts.

 

Spaced Out Mic: Taco Bell Shoots for the Moon in New Ad Campaign

The sky is the limit – literally – in Taco Bell’s new ad campaign.

The Mexican fast-food icon has enlisted a larger-than-life influencer for its first-ever global ad blitz – the moon!

On Tuesday May 4, the moon closely resembled a taco during its waning crescent phase, so Taco Bell is calling it the "Taco Moon." To celebrate, it handed out for free the most tacos it ever has gifted on a single day and kicked off a new ad campaign promoting its global expansion.

On that day, fans in the U.S. could pick up a free Crunchy Taco between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. local time if they ordered in-store – or any time on that day through the Taco Bell app. Other countries will celebrate the Taco Moon, too: restaurants in United Kingdom, India, Australia and other countries will be giving away a Crunchy Taco in addition to a specialized local offer.

A new digitally focused ad campaign is also launching called "I See a Taco," which marks the first time Taco Bell restaurants across 32 countries will participate in a unified marketing campaign. It has close to 600 international locations in addition to the nearly 7,000 currently open in the U.S.

Among other imagery, the campaign will compare London's famous Underground signage to a taco and will feature a promotion with the London Eye observation wheel. In India, Bollywood stars will be involved, and in Guatemala, so-called "taconautas" will roam the streets to raise awareness.

 

Sounds like an out-of-this-world experience!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

 

» TODD SMITH is co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Deane | Smith, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm – based in Nashville, Tenn. – is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, follow him @spinsurgeon and like the ageny on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deanesmithpartners, and join us on LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/company/deane-smith-&-partners. 

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