Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Among Medill Journalism Graduate Students: Barack Obama & Chicago Cubs Both Reign

Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking to 55 graduate students at my alma mater, the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

The topic was “Journalism By the Numbers,” so I shared some pointers on numeracy—using numbers with common sense and context in story telling.

As part of my presentation, I coordinated with adjunct lecturer Desiree Hanford to conduct a survey that asked students about Chicago’s two Major League Baseball teams’ playoff chances and their current preference in the national presidential election.

Considering the students' ages (with a few exceptions, they were born in the early-to mid-1980s) and the Democratic Party bent of most journalists, I didn't think Barack Obama would face much of a challenge from John McCain in this gathering.

But the overwhelming nature of the landslide somewhat surprised me: Obama routed McCain, 47-2.

(Three said they are undecided, two said they are unable to vote because they are international students, and one declined to answer: “a journalist never tells,” the student wrote, doodling a smiley face.)

If I were to commit one of the numeracy no-nos that I rail against—settling for percentage claims without digging into the raw data—I could claim that journalism grad students who plan to vote for McCain possess a much more optimistic outlook about the Cubbies (100 percent all the way!) than those who plan to pick Obama (only 60 percent say the team will win it all).

That's because both McCain supporters (sample size: a whopping two) think the Cubs will win the World Series. Among the 47 Obama backers, 38 predict the Cubs will advance to the World Series, with 28 projecting a Cubs’ title.

White Sox fans (and that includes the South Side-residing Obama, reportedly): These students don't give your team much hope. Only 17 Obama supporters predicted a World Series appearance, with a mere two in that group forecasting a World Series victory.

Meanwhile, McCain's two backers don't see the White Sox making it to the Series at all. This is likely a clear-eyed assessment, since the team hasn't even made the playoffs yet, with a one-game showdown with the Minnesota Twins scheduled for tonight.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Chicago Tribune Has Designs On New Era

Today marks a new era for the Chicago Tribune, with a radically new layout and design.

I'm still wading through it, and it's going to take some time to adjust to it and give this re-invention a full assessment. Clearly, the Internet has wielded a major influence on the design and sensibility of the latest incarnation. Its graphics, splashes of color and layout include a quasi-navigation bar to guide readers throughout the various sections, for example.

Years ago, as newspapers were taking baby steps online, they often limited their cyber-layout with the print-edition construct in mind. This new Trib reflects editors' awareness that readers often are coming to their pages with a web-surfing mindset.

It's no coincidence that Jane Hirt (right) was at the helm of the paper's graphics-heavy, short-attention-span-friendly RedEye edition before her August appointment as the Tribune's managing editor.

It's easy to look at the Tribune today and dismiss it as a superficial and shallow product. But that would be a superficial, shallow judgment.

The truth as to the Trib's relative commitment to hard-hitting, public-service journalism lies in the content between and amidst the colorful layout. And if the layout can more effectively lure a new generation of readers to those stories, then the redesign will have been a success.

Full disclosure: I was a freelance writer for the Tribune most heavily from 1999 to 2005, largely covering local governments. I continue to maintain a freelance relationship with the paper, though I have not had a byline in the Trib this year.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Red Flag: Palin's Math Inflation Problem

Opinions are one thing. You and I can disagree, and neither one of us is right or wrong necessarily. Or maybe there's some truth in both of our stances.

But when it comes to two plus two equaling anything other than four, that's where we should draw the line. Through my Go Figure: Making Numbers Count training, I am a major advocate of clarity and accuracy in using statistics responsibly. It's a song I sing every chance I get.

So it got my attention when Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic pointed to GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin's inflated claim about Alaska's contribution to the nation's oil and gas production (she stated "nearly 20 percent" when it's actually 7.4 percent, says the
Energy Information Administration.)

As Sullivan goes on to note:

"According to authoritative EIA data, Alaska accounted for 7.4 percent of total U.S. oil and gas production in 2005. It is not even correct for Palin to claim that her state is responsible for "nearly 20 percent" of U.S. oil production. Oil production has fallen sharply in Alaska during her governorship. The state's share of total U.S. oil production fell from 18 percent in 2005 to 13 percent this year, according to the EIA."

Sullivan spells out 11 other discrepancies between what Palin has said on other matters, and other, credible accounts.

Some are more substantive than others, but taken in total, it adds up to serious questions--and doubts--about Palin's qualification to lead with integrity.

And don't even get me started on how she has been "keeping an eye" on Russia from her bedroom window.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama's PR Problem: Endorsing A Hack

Here in Cook County, the second-largest county in the nation, there is a population of more than 5 million, which exceeds that of 30 states.

It's a hugely significant place, with Chicago at its epicenter and a County Board President by the name of Todd Stroger. In case you're not familiar with him, Stroger isn't equipped to lead a county of five people, let alone 5-plus million. To put it as clearly as I can, Stroger is a political hack.

Yet two years ago, Barack Obama, along with fellow Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, endorsed Stroger in his race against Republican Tony Peraica. Of course, it would be naive to suggest they should have endorsed Peraica. But they had the option of simply steering clear of making any endorsement.

Instead, they must have had to hold their noses as they read the glowing letter that some staffer undoubtedly penned. You can see the letter right here, as part of Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn's archives.

The endorsement letter, which may well have been instrumental in tipping the narrow race in Stroger's favor, concluded:

"On Tuesday Todd Stroger is the only choice. You can make the difference. You can raise your voice. You can choose Todd Stroger, and let him lead us into a new era of Cook County government."

It's a new era, all right. A new, increasingly tax-happy, incompetent era that has made the county--and Stroger, in particular--a laughingstock. Except, in my household, nobody's laughing at being squeezed out of even more of our hard-earned money. And that's just the tip of a bumbling, unprofessional iceberg.

Type "Todd Stroger patronage" into Google and feast your eyes on the ways in which he's confirmed our worst fears--and raised new ones.

In the person of Todd Stroger, Barack Obama has one serious PR problem on his hands.

I covered local government in Illinois for some 15 years, about half of that time for the Chicago Tribune. One 2 1/2-year beat was the town of Cicero, shortly after its president, Betty Loren-Maltese, and six others went to prison for stealing millions in taxpayer money. So I have seen plenty of good, bad and ugly elected officials.

Time will tell how much the Stroger debacle will cost Obama. He's part of the Chicago Democratic Machine that Tribune columnist John Kass writes about so persistently.

I have followed Obama's career closely the past five years, ever since I first encountered an uncommon zeal in the voices of those who supported his burgeoning U.S. Senate campaign in my town of Oak Park, Illinois.

I am reading his first book, Dreams From My Father, and last year I read an excellent, and balanced, book (Obama: From Promise to Power) that Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendell wrote--a book that moved me to write a feature story about Mendell's journey.

And lately, even with the Stroger support nagging at me, I have wanted to believe that Obama is sincere when he lays claim to the mantle of reformer and bringing "change" to the political process. He's bright, he's charming, he talks a very, very good game.

But in this one crucial moment two years ago--when he held significant sway over an election of such import--Obama's actions sharply contradicted his lofty words.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The PR Benefits of Kindergarten Curiosity

I just got off the phone with a new client, from an industry that is largely foreign to me. I'm getting up to speed on terminology and context. When it comes to understanding the field, frankly, I am like a kindergartner on his first day of school.

There are more than a few publicists out there who have much more insight into the history and nuance of this industry than I currently possess. So why in the world did I get hired?

It helps that they respect my track record, including my long time in journalism. And I had a terrific advocate, whom they respect, going to bat for me. But beyond those ingredients, another key stems from something I have in common with my twin children (whose first day of kindergarten was all of four weeks ago): they ask an awful lot of questions. And, of course, my answers lead to still more questions.
I've never counted, but I wouldn't be surprised if I answer a few hundred queries a day (I can only guess how many my wife, who spends more time with them, answers.)

Sometimes my children ask silly questions. Sometimes they ask the same question over and over again. And sometimes they ask absolutely amazing questions that make me pause, really reflect, and then venture the best answer I can muster at the moment.

My journalism career was filled with thousands of assignments in which I was literally learning a topic on deadline. So it doesn't faze me when a prospective client, far afield from my own background, comes along.

A look at the wide-ranging list of my current and past clients underscores that point. With each new client, I apply the same fundamentals of identifying, developing and then sharing compelling stories across a variety of communications channels.

And each time, as long as I continue to ask questions as relentlessly as my children, I bring that much more insight to the next client.

Monday, September 22, 2008

In Dogged Pursuit of Chicago Columnist

John Kass, the Chicago Tribune columnist and a diehard Chicago White Sox fan, is dogging Chicago Cubs loyalists by nominating his brother's pooch, Little Wrigley, to be the Cubbies' mascot as they near the playoffs.

Previously, I've tried to entice Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown to make his mutt a part of I Do, Doggone It!, a Guinness Word Record "mass dog wedding" attempt that the Downtown Oak Park organization is waging.

Brown hasn't said "no," but neither has he done backflips over the idea.

But now Kass has opened wide the doghouse door for me to approach him--or, at least, his brother. I Do, Doggone It! already has its "first couple" selected, but who knows, maybe we could designate Wrigley as one-half of the record-clinching 179th canine couple.

Stay tuned as I embark on a dogged doggie-recruitment campaign.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Faith & Finances: Recommended Reading

Most of the time, this blog is devoted to PR topics. But on occasion, I'll read something so on-target, so timely, that I feel compelled to pass it along.

A commentary in today's Chicago Tribune, by Sojourners Magazine founder and editor Jim Wallis, is the latest example, as Wallis holds up the elements that led to our nation's troubled financial state against the backdrop of faith-based morality.

An excerpt:

"The behavior of too many on Wall Street is a violation of biblical ethics; the teachings of Christianity, Judaism and other faiths condemn the greed, selfishness and cheating that have been revealed in corporate behavior over decades now and denounce their callous mistreatment of employees. Read your Bible."


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Don't Mess With Forgettable Web Names

About a month ago, I received my first offer to buy a website name that I secured. Somebody out there wants www.dogwedding.info.

They'll have to wait until at least Nov. 8, when one of my clients, the Downtown Oak Park organization, tries to break the Guinness World Record for a mass dog wedding. Even then, I suspect I'll hold onto it awhile for post-event publicity purposes.

The overture underscores the wisdom of grabbing a memorable website name (or URL, as techies call 'em). Being memorable, of course, is one of the basic functions of public relations.

You may not be shocked to learn that nobody was clamoring to buy the behind-the-cyber-scenes online home for DogWedding.info: http://idodoggoneit.blogspot.com/. It's simply too long and clunky to even consider depositing into your memory bank.

Some other messy-to-memorable moves I've made in recent months:

Messy: http://300nkenilworth.blogspot.com/
Memorable: www.filmshootlocation.info/

Messy: http://www.scheckandsiress.blogspot.com/
Memorable: www.scheckblog.com

Messy: http://insideedgepr.blogspot.com/
Memorable: www.ieblogger.com (Look familiar?)

What inspired this spate of activity was this Mother of All URL Forwarding Coups that my wife, Bridgett, pulled off over a year ago for one of her online shopping portals:

Messy: http://bbaron.ordermygift.com/default.aspx
Memorable: www.realsimplegifts.com/

By the way, in most instances, you are able to "mask" the messy website name, so that all any visitor sees is your memorable one.

The moral of this post: if you've got a blog or another spot on the web that could use some sprucing up, you ought to consider going to GoDaddy or some other service and investing $10 (or less) so that you can have an easier, more catchy name to share with the world.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Partnering With The Illinois Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

One of my new clients this month is the Illinois Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ILaaom). Until a few days ago, I had met only a few of the board members of the thriving, 150-member group.

Then, on Sunday, ILaaom invited me to address members and their guests (see photo on right) at their Asian Moon Festival celebration at Furama restaurant in Chicago.

With a national conference coming to Chicago in mid-October, board members (some of whom are pictured below) figured the time was right to bring me onboard and see what I could do to help promote awareness of the association, as well as their members.

As I told the roughly 75 who gathered for the Asian Moon Festival dinner, I look forward to helping the group as a whole, and members individually, because I know they have numerous stories of how they are improving patients' quality of life. And by spreading the word about those stories, I am confident that more people will seek treatment and be glad that they did.

I've written features on acupuncturists' good work in the past, have been treated with great results by one, and my mother and sister both have extensive, positive experiences with acupuncture--my mom so much so that she worked for an acupuncturist in Massachusetts for nearly a decade.
It's always a bonus when you have such a positive first-hand experience with a client, and in the weeks and months to come, stay tuned for more good news about the Illinois Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blog A Vital Cog in Paralympian Coverage

How important are blogs?

Sometimes, they can provide essential information and help spur on media coverage. A recent case in point was Chicago Sun-Times reporter Andrew Herrmann's story on U.S. Paralympian Melissa Stockwell, the first female U.S. amputee in the Iraq War.

Over the past nine months, Herrmann wrote two fine stories about Stockwell.

The first time, last December, he interviewed her in person at the Oak Park location for Scheck & Siress, the region's top private prosthetic and orthotic provider and where Stockwell is interning. The second time, Herrmann caught up with her by phone while she was the Olympic Training facility in Colorado--no easy feat, given her jammed schedule after she qualified for the Paralympics.

But this time around, she was half a world away, in China, and essentially unreachable by traditional means. On Friday, keeping the media posted on Stockwell's efforts, I passed along her most recent blog update.

Three days later, Herrmann resourcefully tapped into the blog in filing this piece. And I believe the blog will continue to serve as a valuable resource for other media outlets that will consider profiling her journey upon her return to the Chicago area.

On a related note, to see a moving tribute about her amazing qualification for the Paralympic Games--she was a longshot to make the team--check out this 4 1/2-minute New York Times video.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Respect: It's About (Valuing Others') Time

It's been a while since I referred to something written by author-entrepreneur-marketing guru Seth Godin.

Well, today it's about time.

Specifically, about respecting others' time. With all of the communication tools at our disposal, there is little excuse for failing to alert someone when you are running late, or when you need to re-schedule, or otherwise convey that plans have changed.

A relevant excerpt from the Principles & Procedures manual that I provide to subcontractors before they begin working for Inside Edge PR:


Between two emails that are redundant and none at all, I’ll take the two redundant ones any day. Err on the side of over-communication. That means: keep in close touch with me, especially because we are typically working in our separate silos somewhere in the universe.

If you are going to be out of touch for a half-hour because something just came up, shoot me an email. If you think I may have overlooked an email you sent, call me.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Missing LinkedIn: Personalization

I've written about LinkedIn a time or two.

Here's another ditty, which dates back to two weeks ago, when a woman asked me to connect via LinkedIn. Problem is, I had no idea who she was. Then I did some cursory searching online and discovered that she and I share an alma mater.

One would think that would have been a relevant shred of information for her to mention when she tendered the invitation. Wait a second--scratch that. She didn't do anything that resembles a legitimate invitation. Instead, she clicked on a few buttons and triggered an automated message.

She's yet to follow up with me, and I've yet to respond to her.

So, here's a tip for anyone looking to add value to your LinkedIn experience: take a few moments and actually personalize the greeting. Maybe you can indicate why you think the linkage would be mutually beneficial. Or perhaps you can simply refer to some common ground. Or the weather.

Or anything, so long as it shows you are investing some thought into the process.

It's a nice start to the LinkedIn liaison, and it shows professionalism and personability.

I do it every time I make a LinkedIn invitation--even with people I know very well and interact with daily. Heck, I did it when I invited my own brother into my LinkedIn network. (Of course, he's not yet approved the invitation. "Yo, Andy, it's me, your brother!")

One final note: A recent LinkedIn partner of mine has some other worthwhile remarks you may want to check out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Later: "Type Headline Here"

Unlike most Americans, I didn't have a television on Sept. 11, 2001. So, unlike most Americans, I learned about the 9/11 attacks via another medium: e-mail alerts from the New York Times.

When I checked my e-mail that morning, this missive from the newspaper was my first inkling of the terrible events that had begun to unfold on that day:

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 -- 8:50 AM EST
Plane Crashes Into World Trade Center

A plane crashed into Manhattan's World Trade Center this
morning, causing heavy damage and fire to several floors.

I envisioned a single-engine plane and a tragedy that was nowhere near the scope of what had occurred.

Then this e-mail arrived:

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 -- 9:04 AM EST
Type headline here

A second plane has crashed into the World Trade Center
towers, according to the Associated Press.

It may seem peculiar to some, but to me, the biggest tip-off of the horrible magnitude of events wasn't that a second plane had crashed--after all, there's still no detail about the size of either plane.

Instead, I couldn't help but note that a Times editor had been so frantic that he or she failed to insert a headline before clicking "send."

I have many memories from that traumatic day: breaking the news to my wife through a prayer at breakfast, visiting her grandparents, reporting for Time magazine (the collective story was called "Day of Bombing") and talking to a college friend who was 100 yards away when the plane crashed into the Pentagon.

But my first memory from Sept. 11, 2001 is perhaps the eeriest:

When my eyes opened that morning, the digital alarm clock-radio read 7:47. "Like a 747 plane," I thought, then drifted back to sleep for a few minutes longer.

As I later learned, Flight 11 had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center about a minute earlier.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Show Your Value, Don't Just Talk About It

In story-telling, a key principle is showing, not telling.

In other words, rather than say someone was nervous, you would want to convey, via telling details, behaviors that illustrated the nervousness.

When it comes to offering a glimpse at my business value, I like to take the same approach: show it, don't just talk about it. That's why, typically, I prepare at least 10 tailored questions before meeting with a prospective client--and supply it to him/her/them before we meet.

By doing this advance work, I heighten the likelihood of a mutually beneficial initial meeting. This proactive bent has also given me an edge over competitors, many of whom, I am sure, focus on telling their own wonderful story rather than drawing out the prospective client.

On a related note, yesterday I invested about a half-hour to take it upon myself to edit a top business consultant's biography.

We know each other, and are LinkedIn with one another. But we're not especially close and he is not very familiar with my work. So I figured the best way to bring him up to speed was by simply doing something constructive, rather than merely talking about it.

Who knows where it will lead, but at least one thing is certain: his new bio, should he implement even only a few of my suggestions, will be markedly more compelling than the one that's been online for more than a year now.

What about you? What kind of service can you provide to someone else today--without asking, or even expecting, anything in return? What can you show someone?

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Burgeoning Blog: Scheck It Out!

In this blog-eat-blog world, increasingly I am guiding various clients as they develop an ongoing web presence. Among them is Scheck & Siress, a highly respected orthotic and prosthetic company for which I'm working as a senior associate of Plunkett & Associates, a leading Chicago strategic communications company.

To see some recent work I've helped facilitate, prosthetist David Rotter's trip to the Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, you can Scheck It Out.

Friday, September 5, 2008

PR Update: Five Seasons/Athletes For Life

This afternoon, as was my hope yesterday, I finished the news release on the Five Seasons Sports Club in Burr Ridge hosting the Athletes For Life mobile Cardiac Screening Facility, starting Sept. 16-17, taking a day off, and wrapping up on Sept. 19-20.

In all, I contacted about 15 media outlets, encompassing newspapers, regional magazines, television and radio, and offered slight modifications depending on whether the outlet was closer to Burr Ridge or Northbrook. Especially with weekly newspapers, it's vital to provide at least 10 days' advance notice. Depending on the timing of an event, even 10 days' notice sometimes provides only one pre-event placement opportunity.

As I often do, I also placed the release on the user-generated websites for the Chicago Tribune (Triblocal) and the Sun-Times News Group (Neighborhood Circle).

Marlene Karman, a part-time employee at Five Seasons, has been tremendous in providing me with information and photographs, including the one posted in this missive as well as the post from yesterday.

The one above shows the 48-foot trailer, aka the mobile Cardiac Screening Facility, and the other, on yesterday's blog post, is of Marlene with retired NFL player Willie Gault, co-founder of the AFL Foundation, from an event held at the Karman residence a month ago.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

PR That Goes To The Heart of the Matter

The past few days I have been working on a news release about Athletes For Life, and that organization's efforts, among other initiatives, to provide, at no charge, early detection of heart problems.

There are some major names associated with the group, starting with co-founder and former pro football star Willie Gault (pictured, with Marlene Karman--more on her in a moment). I sense that they just need a little PR support to reap exponential results, at least in terms of awareness.

I'm tying in the group's upcoming stops with one of my clients, the Five Seasons Sports Clubs in Burr Ridge and Northbrook. It's always fun when a win-win scenario emerges--by promoting Athletes For Life, in this instance, I am simultaneously promoting Five Seasons.

As so often happens with Five Seasons, it was the initiative of employees that tipped me off to the story. In fact, one of them is Marlene (pictured, with Willie Gault). She is a key volunteer for Athletes For Life. I've identified her as a focal point of the story, and some media may be interested in profiling her as much, and maybe even more so, than any of the more prominent names affiliated with the AFL.

First, though, I've got to finalize the release and gather photos from Marlene, who has been a joy to work with because she is so passionate about the cause. I'm hoping to wrap up the release by Friday, which would give 11 days' lead time before the first stop, Sept. 16-17, in Burr Ridge.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Video Persuades, Supports Media

Today there is a nice human-interest profile on Keeli Mickus (pictured with son, Hank) in the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest.

In addition to reporter Terry Dean's story, on its web site the Wednesday Journal prominently displayed three videos that I shot during an appointment that Keeli, a patient of Scheck & Siress, had about a month ago.
Posting those videos complements the writing, and not enough media take advantage of the opportunity. Fortunately, the WJ has some progressive, 21st-century minds at the helm.

Passing along links to supporting videos, as I did in this instance, carries a two-fold purpose: to persuade and to support.

First, videos more fully explain whatever story suggestion I'm making. The initial audience is the media member I'm trying to persuade to pursue the story.

Second, if a news outlet decides to pursue the story, the videos provide a relevant, supportive resource that it can share with its audience.

There's still another advantage to shooting, and uploading, videos: in doing so, you are not putting all of your eggs in the traditional media basket. Instead, you create a direct communication link to your audience--in this case, prospective patients of Scheck & Siress. If and when media coverage occurs, that's a welcome development but hardly the only barometer of success.

For example, before the story on Keeli appeared today, one of the videos now linked from the WJ website had attracted more than 220 views. And other videos I've shot for Scheck & Siress and other clients, dating back to May, have drawn thousands upon thousands of views.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Importance Of Being Like Ernest

William Faulkner, overly fond of overly long sentences, or Ernest Hemingway: which novelist would thrive in today’s Twitter-y 140-character-or-less, attention-span-challenged world?

Hemingway. No doubt. Mr. Brevity himself.

Besides having a realistic view of how much time your audience will devote to any given subject-word-predicate combination, “writing tight” helps aid comprehension. (At 23 words, that last sentence was pushing the limit, for example.)

If someone knows what the heck you are actually saying, then there’s an exponentially greater chance they will take the action that you are, directly or indirectly, recommending they take. A pretty notable trait, that, for marketers and publicists, among others.

These ruminations flow after I just read a Los Angeles publicist’s bio. His 43-word opening sentence spans so much tundra that by the time I reached the period, I had forgotten the stuff that came before the first of his seven (no kidding!) commas.

And it’s hardly an aberration. Two sentences later, he lays a 42-word whopper on readers.

Now, that's how he crafts his bio, which (you would think) would prompt some painstaking attention on his part. How clearly and cogently do you suspect he is conveying his clients’ stories?

(Of course, I checked out my website to see if I’m practicing what I’m preaching. On a per-sentence basis, the greeting page checks in at 19 words, my company profile at 20 words, and my bio at a relatively long-winded 28 words. Hmm, the prose behind that last stat is something to examine for my next site update. )

Make no mistake: effective storytelling is not about merely hewing to an oppressive word-count limit. Bathroom-wall scribblings tend to be brief, but that doesn’t mean they are worthy of anything other than a good scrubbing.

Next time you come across a powerfully told story, though, pay heed to the rhythm and flow. Amid the longer sentences, I would predict, are a liberal sprinkling of quick bursts of thought that pack a hefty punch.