The latest

December 31, 2011
Some exciting news

Starting this month, I’ve taken a full-time position with BerlinRosen Public Affairs as Senior Vice President of National Advocacy. BerlinRosen is one of the top public relations firms in New York, and an up and coming firm nationally among political organizations, labor unions and non-profits. I’ll be handling communications strategy for a number of fantastic progressive organizations and causes.

Accordingly, I’m not currently accepting any new consulting clients as a consultant. I hope that if you’ve found your way to my site, you’ll consider looking into working with me through my new role at BerlinRosen. The team there is strong and gets results. Feel free to email me, about work with BerlinRosen or anything else on your mind. Thanks for visiting.

March 21, 2011
Defining “Activism”

I’ve just returned from a short trip to Philadelphia, where I’m helping my former comrades at Design for Social Impact come up with a new name, to better communicate the scope of their work. The most interesting challenge we’re having is finding strong language that communicates what activism is today. The first time I worked with Ennis Carter, the founder of Design for Social Impact, was in 1998. Ennis had designed an incredible series of posters and campaign materials for a campus voter registration drive organized by the Center for Environmental Citizenship. Her approach to messaging - direct, clear, funny whenever possible - has inspired my work, and informed much of my thinking as a communicator.

For me and Ennis, activism is something tied to a clear impact, to a policy change or to voting. I’m even more political - I tend to view things like volunteerism as a “soft” activism, and politics as a harder, more essential form of engagement. But the more I read, the more I realize that younger people today see community service as the best way to get involved. That’s activism to them. And you have to question, in a moment where we’ve gone from the euphoria of the 2008 election to the frustration of today, what the best path is to change.

There’s no easy answer - but “what is activism” is a question Ennis will be taking on in the weeks to come. I hope you’ll learn a little more about her work. You can “like” them on Facebook here.

PS: You’d never think to eat it, but if you’re in Philadelphia you should try the Millet Muffin at Metropolitan Bakery. Millet! Really.

February 09, 2011
Winning the Future

If you’ve found your way to this website, you probably know that I’ve recently left The Nation Magazine after a great run as their Publicity Director. I’m out on my own, doing communications and media strategy work for progressive advocacy organizations, campaigns, authors and businesses. I’m extremely grateful to Katrina vanden Heuvel, Peter Rothberg and everyone at The Nation for their kind and supportive sendoff.

This site is largely a home for my consulting work. It’s an overview of my experience; what I do; some of my writing and some of my recent projects. I’ll also use this space to highlight some of the work my clients are doing, and to share links and ideas about progressive media and communications. Thanks for visiting; for more about me, start by viewing my biography, at left. (Thanks to Matthew Brown of muglug.com for getting this snappy website up so quickly.)

February 04, 2011
Free Transit!

A project I’m volunteering with is FreeTransit.org, an effort to re-invigorate the congestion pricing debate in New York City and build support for a plan that would use congestion pricing revenue to eliminate or reduce most regional transit fees. It’s an important and exciting project that could transform the New York region. You can get involved here.

January 31, 2011
Youth Speak Out About “Zero Tolerance” In Philadelphia

For years the School District of Philadelphia (my one-time home) has implemented an increasingly disturbing set of ineffective, “zero tolerance” policies. The policies, which apply an adult, criminal justice approach to school discipline, have left tens of thousands of students across the country suspended or expelled for minor infractions – kicked out of the school system after one mistake.

My old colleagues at the outstanding Design for Social Impact just designed this report, Zero Tolerance in Philadelphia.  What’s remarkable about the report is it was compiled and released largely by students, from the advocacy organization Youth United for Change. Ennis and her team at Design for Social Impact did a lovely job bringing the report to life- and the teenagers behind it proved to be exceptional spokespeople: the report has earned significant media in Philadelphia and nationwide. If you’re interested in the issue, give the report a read.

January 22, 2011
Defending a Hero from Glenn Beck

One of my last projects with The Nation was to aid the defense of legendary scholar and activist Frances Fox Piven, who is the latest Glenn Beck obsession. Piven doesn’t really need any of us to defend her - she’s been up against much tougher challenges than Beck, in her long career working for voting rights, economic justice and equality.

In 1966 (1966!) Piven and her husband wrote an important article for The Nation detailing a strategy to eradicate poverty. Beck has recently decided that the strategy is the crypto-socialist blueprint for the Obama administration’s war on America, and has spent hours attacking Piven, who is now getting death threats. Brian Stelter of The New York Times covered the story - and The Nation’s lead editorial about Piven - here, in an article that is helping to expose some of the gravely serious consequences of Beck’s rhetoric.