Recent Reads is Questioning What’s Real

Ever wonder where all those crazy political headlines on social media come from? There’s a good bet they originated in Veles, Macedonia – which is (incredibly) treating fake news as a growth industry. They used to make porcelain there.

But, of course, social media isn’t all bad. As another RR entry notes, victims of recent hurricanes have used it to get help. We’re also reading about counterfeit shoes, a fabled Forbes editor, how zoos and aquariums deal with natural disasters and a podcast about the nature of self.

Also, make sure to check out Senior Vice President Pam Munoz’s post about Greentarget’s work with the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic.

With that, here’s Recent Reads.

The Fake News Machine – You’ve probably never heard of Veles, Macedonia, but it’s one of the origin points for fake political news  and its entrepreneurs are getting rich and ready for 2020 (with the not-so-tacit support of local government officials). This is a chilling account of what we’re facing as a democracy – as a world? – when it comes to finding enough shared beliefs to even function. With headlines like “Michelle Was Caught Cheating with Eric Holder – OBAMA IS FURIOUS!!!” – and the knowledge that 2017 isn’t even a major election year, I can’t imagine what the next presidential election will look like. – Paul Wilson

Hurricane Harvey Victims Turn to Social Media for Assistance – As a Houston native, my Facebook feed – typically filled with photos of babies, political frustration and bold asks from “friends” to buy the latest life-changing product – was flooded (pun intended) by people I grew up with asking for emergency assistance in real time in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. This article focuses on the use of social media relating to the storm, including the U.S. Coast Guard and the Houston Police Department urging people to call specific phone lines for disaster response instead of using social media. But as detailed in a recent Vogue story (which quotes a friend’s dad), when one man called an emergency phone line, the operator told him there were 2,000 calls ahead of him. A philanthropist with celebrity connections, the man reached out to his pal Montel Williams who made a plea via Instagram and got him the help he was looking for. Sounds to me social media was the way to go. – Lisa Seidenberg

Counterfeit Yeezys and the booming sneaker black market  Replica sneakers have taken street fashion by storm. Sneaker companies do what they can to stop counterfeits, but the buzz surrounding Yeezys and other designs boosts the replica industry even more. Sneaker collectors don’t feel the need to hide the fact that their shoes are replicas either  buying a pair that is indecipherable from the legitimate design is a badge of honor. This article explores the replica sneaker market and the global network of sneaker collectors that fuels it. – Scarlett Wardrop

Flamingos In The Men’s Room: How Zoos And Aquariums Handle Hurricanes  With much of the country dealing with major hurricanes and their aftermath, human evacuation becomes a priority – but what about the animals? This story highlights the unusual solutions zookeepers had to come up with to solve an impossible problem: what to do with the zoo animals when the hurricane hits? In my own career, I often find myself with my own flamingo problems. In PR, it is inevitable that you will need to create unusual solutions to impossible problems. Much like the zookeepers, we get creative and find a way to “make it work” even when it shouldn’t. Although the flamingo situation makes for an interesting photograph, it required some PR thinking to solve the problem. – Lauren Kokoskie

The instructive poetry of a legendary Forbes editor – The last six months of Jim Michaels’ 27-year reign as editor of Forbes were my first six months as a staff writer there. A former UPI reporter who broke the news of Gandhi’s assassination, Michaels gets a lot of credit for bringing classical journalistic discipline to business news. At Forbes we worshiped and feared him in equal measure. His editing notes in our stories usually took the form of profane all-caps whippings. For those of us who wanted to be good at it, the response was always “thank you sir, may I have another?” – Brandon Copple

GT Podcast Recommendation

The Road Back to You  Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile teach not only awareness of the self, but also how to develop an awareness of others in this podcast. Derived from the Enneagram personality type system, this program explores nine distinct personalities and the intricacies of each. Unlike traditional personality tests, the Enneagram is uniquely fluid in that it recognizes the adaptive nature of human personality. The test reveals each personality type’s tendencies when healthy, stressed out, happy, etc. Cron and Stabile interview nine individuals who each possess a different one of the nine personality types outlined in the Enneagram. The podcast provides valuable introspection while opening up a great capacity to empathize with the ways other personality types view the world.  – Aubrey Martin