Archive for the ‘communications’ Category

Unfriending Parti Quebecois supporters

August 20, 2012

I recently posted a status message on my Facebook profile, explaining the fact that I ‘unfriended’ a couple of individuals who went ahead and ‘liked’ the Pauline Marois Facebook page. Now, to some this would seem like an act of intolerance and exclusionary behaviour. But the truth is, it’s actually a gesture of pure Federalism, pure and simple, nothing more.

We all use the term ‘friend’ loosely on Facebook. Many of us have throngs of acquaintances we don’t really know. Due to my radio program in Montreal, I have a lot of listeners and fans of the show that have found and added me on Facebook. I accept most of the friend requests because I want to be grateful that they are faithful to my show, and also to let them feel like they have access to me.

It’s also worth noting that I generally don’t post any pictures of my kids or family on there, and don’t give out too many details of my private life. To me, Facebook is a social networking tool, designed to better seek out and reach people with whom you are interested in communicating and monitoring.

So when a couple of people decide to celebrate a politician whose only goal in public life is to break up the country that I live in, well, I took great exception. As a result, I HAD to delete those that encouraged the dissolution of the only nation that I have ever lived in.

If I don’t stick up for what I believe in, how could I look my kids in the eye. Sure, it would be the politically correct decision to ignore the Parti Quebecois support of a couple of Facebook friends for the broader appeal of me and my public dealings. But I am not wired like that.

Any party that encourages the limiting of religious freedoms, the separation of Quebec from Canada and the crackdown on the English language in every facet, cannot be something that I act indifferent towards.

Don’t get me wrong, I know my actions don’t amount to a major ripple in the political waters of this country. But it’s a way to vent and to have a non-destructive outlet. I had a satisfactory exhale upon my ‘unfriending’ exercise and was able to move on with my day. Non-Quebecers don’t understand how emotional and anxiety-causing the Quebec separation issue really is to some La Belle Province natives.

It’s definitely a cathartic activity for frustrated English-speaking Quebec citizens. Simply visit the Marois Facebook page and see what common friends of yours have liked it. You will then know who to delete right away from your friends list.

I am sure these guys will never notice that I am no longer friends with them. I have no illusions about my at-best “E level” celebrity status in this town. But, if they were thinking of sharing the Pauline Marois Facebook fan page with me at some point, they have another thing coming.

Matthew Ross is a communications professional and freelance journalist. His sports radio show has been on TSN 990 since 2004. 

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Straddling the line between communications professional and journalist

April 11, 2012

So far in my career, I’ve been fortunate, very fortunate. I’ve accomplished a lot of things in so many genres. As a journalist, I’ve managed to hold down a part-time sports program on TSN 990 in Montreal since 2004. I’ve also been published in the Montreal Gazette, National Post, and on TSN.ca, to name a few.

But I’ve also had some success as a public relations professional, landing clients media attention on television, in print and on major online portals.

However, because I have the good fortune of being on both sides of the media, the lines can become blurred. Recently, I had a PR client who approached me looking for sports media coverage. Simple enough, right? Well…. not exactly.

The client was elated with the results from our work on the campaign. But it was the process that became a little sticky at certain points. When you’re PR itching the very same people that you consider journalist colleagues and friends, you have to tread lightly and proceed with extreme finesse.

In the end, it all worked out. I didn’t manage to alienate anyone and I didn’t cross any journalism ethics codes. But, the whole experience did make me stop and think.

I’ve always viewed my versatility and diverse communications background as an asset. But in this particular situation, it almost hindered me.  I thought a sports client would be the ultimate, drawing on my years of experience as an industry watcher and commentator. But in the end, it turned out to be just as challenging.

Would I do it all over again? Absolutely! I’ve always been one to say that things happen for a reason. So the public relations campaign, deemed a success by my client, was but another experience to learn from and to draw on in the future.

Follow Matthew on Twitter @matthewrossmtl

Top 5 Rock n’ Roll Voices of All-Time

May 12, 2011
Let me start this list with the required disclaimer that any list like this is subjective. Everyone has an opinion, and here’s mine. Here we go.

5. Bono – I know, you’re thinking U2‘s Bono isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think of Rock singers. But based on his

Is anyone bigger than Bono

body of work, his versatility, longevity and incredible following, we’re putting him on this list. Bono himself has been critical of his own singing abilities on occasion. But who is he to argue with millions of albums sold and countless accolades. My dad dimisses Bono as a whiny voice. I prefer to think of his sound as soulful, expressive, pouring directly out from his heart. Every lyric resonates, every story told is impactful. For all of these reasons, Bono is on my list.

4. Steve Perry – Lately, my young daughter has forced me to listen to Wheel in the Sky over and over. I never really mind (well, okay, after the eighth successive time I do) because Steve Perry’s voice IS music. You can’t have a list like this without considering Perry for a spot in the top ten or even top five. One true testmanent to his unique, powerful and exciting sound is that very seldom are Journey songs ever remade. No singer wants to be compared to what Perry brings to the mic.  You can’t even sing one of his songs in the shower, because invariably you get annoyed that you can’t sound even a tenth as good as him. Hell, if he can make Oh Sherrie a hit, you know he’s got a heck of a voice.

3. Chris Cornell – No one has ever made alternative music sound as deep or as meaningful as Chris Cornell. He’s probably the least

Chris Cornell doesn't get his due

known on this list and probably lags behind in terms of commercial success. However, Chris is so good he can even mumble in a song and it sounds fantastic. Cornell grew famous with Soundgarden, but also headed Audioslave and went out on his own. He’s sort of an enigma, but his sound is so unique it hits your ears like a freshly prepared rock sermon every time. Personally, he’s my favorite of all-time, but I had to recognize the talents of the two men that sit 1-2 on this list as well.

2. Robert Plant – The man, the myth, the legend. Robert Plant’s high octave voice is unmistaken. No singer ever put more energy into every verse than Plant. He’s the top singer for many, many rock disciples. Plant is another one of those unique talents that’s simply too good to ever be covered. Plant’s voice almost sounds like an instrument, finely tuned and ready to be rocked at a moment’s notice. I’m not the biggest Led Zeppelin fan in the world, but I can certainly respect the talent that is Robert Plant.

1. Elvis Presley – If you’re going to start a revolution and get the world to listen to a new sound, you better have a damn good

Elvis - The King of this list

voice. Elvis wasn’t just an icon for rock and roll, he had the chops to back it up. Preseley demonstrated range, he connected with audiences and he put everything he had into each and every song. Whether he was young Elvis or fat Elvis, he was the man when he stepped to the mic. When they’re still talking about you almost 60 years later, you know your voice had the ability to reach anyone, anywhere, any time. The King is the king of this list. Thanks you for reading, thank you very much.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group or become a follower of Matthew at Twitter.com/matthewrossmtl.

We have to better value life

March 2, 2010

In the wake of another natural disaster, another opportunity for humanity to rise above its surroundings materializes. Only, instead, we continue to see misery, lack of compassion and lack of valuing life and principles.

As it is, it’s hard to fathom and grasp the concept of suicide bombers, monsters that not only don’t value their own life, but are prepared to end the lives of others. Now comes the sickening and depressing anecdotes of victims being victimized – again. It seems that looters are prepared to rob others of anything they need or want, at the worst possible time. Looters in Haiti and Chile don’t discriminate. They target large stores, mom & pop stores, it really doesn’t matter, all in the name of taking advantage of a situation, no matter the cost to others.

As humans, parents and citizens of the earth, shouldn’t we be bound to instill decency, mores and compassion  into our youth? How is it actually possible that we are raising people who can commit such hateful and disrespectful acts?

What goes through the mind of someone when they are committing a murder or robbing the already victimized? Is it mental disturbance? Morbid satisfaction? Brainwashed purpose? What is it? And furthermore, how can a functioning brain process ending the life of a fellow human being? It’s just something I can’t wrap my head around.

This sadness, this senselessness, its’ enough to wreak havoc with your ability to hope and rationalize and forgive.

We must do something as a collective. But what? There can really be only one answer – education. It’s the only weapon we have in the fight against evil. Educating the young. Educating the incarcerated. Educating the enemy. The fight can’t merely be on the battlefield, it has to spill over into the academic realm.

Right and wrong isn’t innate, it’s taught. Everyone has their own variation of what’s right and what’s wrong. The key is to simply be on the same page, worldwide.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group or become a follower of Matthew at Twitter.com/matthewrossmtl.

Education fixes all

May 8, 2009

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group or become a follower of Matthew at Twitter.com/matthewrossmtl.

Everyone wants to know how to combat terrorism, how to get rid of prejudice and how to stop the spread of disease. It might be the most elementary and simple explanation of all-time and it can be said with one word; education.

Indeed, it is my adamant stance that if the U.S. wants to curb terrorism abroad, they are going to have to help fund state schools. The supply of suicide bombers will undoubtedly dry up once these young souls see how much they have to live for and what they can do to fix their current situation.

Imagine if you will, a smarter world, where common sense, diplomacy and rational thinking prevail rather than shooting from the hip and religious fundamentalism.

And how about the spread of HIV in poor countries? Educating the population on how sexually transmitted diseases are spread is the obvious key to slowly down the title wave of death.

Governments don’t need to fund militias in other countries, they need to fund and build schools. But, because the results are not seen right away and because it’s not seen as a popular move for politicians, we don’t see enough of this.

A solution as simple as broadening the mind can actually change the world for the better.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group or become a follower of Matthew at Twitter.com/matthewrossmtl.

In this case, activist=vandal

March 17, 2009

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group.

Dear Word Press Reader, it’s been several months since my last entry. I am sorry for this inexcusable sin. We will try and make things right with this attempt at eyeball entertainment.

So, what’s gone on in the world since my last entry, anything? Well, if you count Obama being sworn in (twice), the stimulus package, the Madoff scandal and the harsh economic climate, I guess there are some items worth commenting on.

However, my ire is reserved for those that demonstrated in a violent and destructive manner. Living in Montreal, you can’t help but pick up the paper read about someone demonstrating about something. The latest malcontents were out and about to draw the public’s attention to police brutality.

It seems there have been more than a couple of recent incidents of excessive force by the police around North America. It’s always been like that. That doesn’t make it right, but it’s definitely a part, no matter how small, of law enforcement, to be sure.

But, the spectable that these recent demonstrators made in Montreal, on an otherwise fine Sunday afternoon, was shameful. Over $200,000 in vandalism was caused by these so-called demonstrators against brutality.

So let’s see. To speak out and show your contempt for violence, you (the demonstrators) chose to cause havoc, chaos and damage to the property of innocent merchants. Hmmm, yeah, sounds like a constructive plan. Well done. Well thought out.

Now, as is the case with any of these activist groups, they say that the vandalism was caused by a few bad apples and that this was not their fault. Riiiight, these vandals were just out for a stroll with ski masks and rocks in their hand. That Jim Carrey quote from The Mask comes to mind, “It wasn’t me, it was the one-armed man!”

Why does destructione of property have to be the solution to a plight or problem? What do these mindless, moronic, idiotic, inbred, classless, ignorant fools hope to accomplish with their actions? Perpetuating their stupidity? If so, well done!

But the best part of all of this was that this activist group refuses to cooperate with the police and the city of Montreal to let them know about their demonstration route. Are they hoping to incite disorganization and foster ill will? What is the point of not cooperating?

Any group that either encourages violence or vandalism, or does very little to prevent it, should be looked upon as a problem in society. The truth is, just as police brutality is a problem, so too are anarchists who don’t offer solutions and who add to society’s problems. This bunch may not have brutalized anyone gravely, but they certainly didn’t help anyone or anything, either.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group.

Little Options for Israel

December 29, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

I am not the most opinionated person when it comes to the middle east conflict between Israel and Palestine. However, it’s hard not to weigh in after the latest clashes in the region. It’s a very troubling time for Israelis and Palestinians and it is very unfortunate that violence has once again escalated on both sides.

As far as my take goes, I never like to see innocent men and women killed in any country for any reason. However, there really are very little options right now for the state of Israel when it comes to Hamas. As demonstrators denounce the recent attacks by Israel on the Gaza Strip, the sight of thousands of people voicing their displeasure with only the Israeli side has really started to eat at me.

Let’s examine the situation here, shall we? Before people scoff at the reasons Israel has for eliciting such casualties and death tolls in Palestine, we must look at the entire picture.

First, the mere fact that Hamas’ mantra is the destruction of Israel makes the avenue of diplomacy a little difficult, to say the least. How do you negotiate in good faith with an organization that wants to wipe you off the map? What can you honestly do to appeal to their needs and wants?

Next, the constant barrage of rockets being fired on Israeli citizens necessitates Israel exerting themselves in some fashion. The question then becomes how much force is too much force.

Yes, the West Bank settlements may or may not be just by Israel. Are a few hundred homes on disputed land really worth the wrath, ire and trouble from Hamas? The answer, in my opinion, is no. But the problem isn’t with the settlements angering Palestinians, the problem is that even if Israel removed the settlements, it wouldn’t change a thing.

Again, we have to remember that Israel is dealing with an entity that wants to completely eliminate their existence. So, do you really think giving small land concessions is going to change anything? Not likely.

And what about how it would look to the rest of the Arab world if Israel stood by and did nothing following recent attacks by Hamas? Wouldn’t they then appear to be vulnerable to the rest of the Arab world? Wouldn’t it then open them up to subsequent attacks from Hamas allies? Maybe. Maybe not. Tough to say. Restraint could be looked upon in a favorable light. Or, as we mentioned, it could be a sign of weakness.

So there really isn’t any simple recourse right now for Israel. They MUST protect themselves at all costs. Critics will argue that there is such a thing as over-aggressiveness and blanketed violence is simply irresponsible. That is true to a point. The killing of innocent Palestinians is not the way to go about achieving peace.

But where are the constant condemnations of Hamas or of the daily rocket launches into Israel? Why do we not see daily demonstrations against Hamas for wanting to eliminate Israel and for not wanting peace? Where are the Palestinians standing up and denouncing terrorism and wanting peace?

If it was only about tenements in the West Bank, this would be about diplomacy and we wouldn’t have violence on both sides -but it’s not. It’s about a terrorist organization that’s not interested in open dialogue.

Moreover, to condemn Israel’s recent attacks and denounce their policies as genocidal is extremely ignorant. Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets to protest Israel’s actions but not the reason for their actions in the first place!

Do you think Israel wants to be at war and wants to risk the lives of their citizens with intense fighting? No. They want peace and they want prosperity. Yes, there are extremist Zionists who want more than they should and who aren’t willing to negotiate with Palestine or recognize its existence. It does go both ways, to be sure. But the bigger issue right now isn’t Israel defending itself by going on the offensive, it’s the mere purpose of Hamas and how they are not interested in political channels.

It’s a topic that is very personal to many people and for someone like myself, who has never been to Israel and who has no interest in visiting any time soon, even I can see the bigger issue and realize that it seems to always come down to terrorism and it’s not simply about excessive force.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

One Word – Passion

October 30, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

Passion. It’s something that helps to drive me in anything I undertake. I have to have passion about something in order to really push myself to succeed. But, passion can also get me into trouble if I want it too much. Passion. One word – and yet it’s says so much about me.

Being a sports nut, passion has always fueled me to give it my all (no matter how insufficient that may sometimes be) all the time. It doesn’t matter if I am playing in a softball league or in a pick-up game of ball hockey. I play to have fun and I have fun when I am competing hard to win. I don’t necessarily need to win. But, I do need to feel as though I and my teammates are playing our hardest. Unfortunately, when you are playing a meaningless game of ball hockey at 10pm on a Friday night in a local gym, it’s kind of hard not to look like a jackass when you are hollering and howling.

Having passion means I can’t stand it when others don’t try. Indifference is a turn-off. So is laziness. I have always battled for everything I have ever gotten, so it pisses me off to see someone doggin’ it. I was once playing ball hockey with this goofy big guy (playing forward) who would never come back and help on defence. His explanation made me want to punch him square in his ridiculous chicklets. He said “I don’t run that hard. I have an office job now.” What? Are you kidding me? Exactly what is the point in competing if you are not going all out? Do you enjoy embarassing yourself by looking like you don’t care? Do you like appearing incompetent?

Passion is also what excites me about my work. The notion that I can cleverly craft content and make it intriguing and attractive to others gets me hyped. My passion for this high lets me step on the gas and get the job done. Whether it’s entertaining listeners on my radio show or completing a marketing project for a client – if I don’t have passion driving me, the project is going to just plain suck.

And so it really is a double-edged sword wearing my passion on my sleeve. My highs are sometimes too high and my lows are pretty low. The key is to put things in perspective and maintain an even keel. For the most part, I tend to stay grounded and keep the big picture in mind. And what is my big picture? Well, it’s providing for my family, advancing my career in various disciplines and seeking out the next great passion in life.

Passion. One word – and yet it says so much about me.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

Going Negative

October 7, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of www.ContentServicing.com, a content and communications-providing company. You can also view/join the company’s Facebook group.

In marketing and communications, you try and always spin things in a positive way. You try and ensure that your company or entity is always looked upon in a positive light. Makes sense, right?

Well, in politics, the notion of positivity is second to the notion of going negative. Each side, no matter how many times they initially say they are above attacking the other, eventually goes negative. It’s not enough to merely dispute an opponent’s claim or to refute a claim by the other side. Instead, the flavour of every election is to go for the throat as many times as possible – no matter what side you’re on.

It happens in Canadian politics and it certainly happens in American politics. No matter how many polls reveal that the general public doesn’t enjoy seeing negative ads, everyone invariably goes negative. Why? Well a different survey comes to mind. A couple of years ago, CNN conducted an experiment. They tested the subconscious activity in the brain when subjected to various types of political messages. The results were quite interesting. Even though we all believe that negative ads are simply cheap and hit below the belt, we apparently are affected by them – and in some cases, influenced by them as well.

But the Republicans in the U.S. and the Conservatives in Canada already knew this. Their usage of various scare tactics have become legendary over the years.

Recently, the Conservative Party of Canada has been running ads portraying their chief rival, Stephane Dion, the head of the Liberal Party of Canada, as a risky choice that would raise taxes and be too unpredictable for the country. Down south, GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin recently accused Barrack Obama of “pal-ing around” with dangerous world leaders. In both cases, the insinuations are mostly off-base, but it doesn’t matter.

These scare tactics are effective, regardless of the messages’ merit. It’s incredible to think that simplistic mud-slinging can yield such great results. But unfortunately, many voters in North America think simplistically when it comes to how they view their leaders.

The problem with the left wing negative ads, is that for the most part, their attacks usually focus on the narrow-minded thinking and potential dangerous decision-making of their right wing opponents. Everyone knows the usual risks with right wing candidates. Tell us something we don’t know.

The bottom line is that right wing parties on this continent are good at what they do. They use voters’ fears as fuel to lasso as many votes as possible. Usually, the key for them is to identify the biggest fears of the time and craft their attacks around these issues.

In 2004, 9/11 was still on the minds of voters and so the Republicans focused their efforts on their seemingly tougher stance on terrorism. It worked. In 2008, the chief issue WAS the war in Iraq. Now, it’s all about the economy. And with more and more Americans identifying the GOP’s de-regulation ideals in finance as the root cause for America’s economic meltdown, it appears as though Democrats finally have enough fuel for their most effective negative ad campaign in years.

Time will tell if another issue trumps the economy prior to the U.S. election in November. For John McCain’s sake, he certainly hopes so.

Matthew Ross is the founder of www.ContentServicing.com, a content and communications-providing company. You can also view/join the company’s Facebook group.