A Handful of Tips and Tricks

The best flavoring a hostess can add to her entrees?

Hungry guests.

Tricks of the trade can give anyone an edge. Here are a few I’ve learned. For some of you, at least some of this information is old hat, but hopefully I can pass along some useful trivia to help make your life a little brighter.

Use triangles in photo composition.

background-2516984_1280They don’t have to be perfectly symmetrical, of course, but three points in a photo that create a triangle make for a pleasing image.

Use parsley to get rid of garlic breath.

Ever wonder what the sprig of parsley is doing on your plate? It’s not just decorative. It’s nature’s breath mint (well, a couple of mint leaves will help too).

Call TV news stations after lunch but before your afternoon siesta.

ReporterWant your local news to cover your event? Generally speaking — and on any given day, this can change — your local television news staff has the most time between 12:30 and 2:30. The morning news program is over, and they still have plenty of time to pull together the evening news. So they have time to listen to your pitch.

Rub a walnut on scratched wood furniture.

walnuts-1049558_640It’s basically the oil in the walnut that does it, of course, but you feel so ingenious doing this.

Baking soda does wonderful things.

Scour out your kitchen sink. Mix it with hydrogen peroxide and gob it on insect bites. Sprinkle it in your shoes. The list goes on and on…

And I’ll say it again, hungry guests are happy eaters.

Any helpful tips you’d like to add?


Image Credits: Triangles, Walnuts and Tip icon courtesy of Pixabay; Background on header © Dreamstime; Reporter © Bigstock.

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Who, What, Where, When — and Why Should I Care?

Know your audience. The first rule of communication, whether it’s newspapers, entertainment, preaching, or whatever. Makes it difficult for me to find an uninteresting news item, because as a journalism major, I know how reporters think. What’s more, I worked as both a reporter and a public relations media specialist, and I can find something interesting about dirt. You just need to know how to work it.

girl-with-newspaper-smThat’s not to say every news item is going to hold a high level of interest for every reader of a local newspaper. That would be impossible. It’s why most people have a section or three they typically skip, or perhaps have only one section they’ll read on a regular basis. Newspapers, as a rule, aren’t particularly expensive, so most readers can afford the luxury of throwing away something of which they read less than 10 percent.

Still, it’s impossible for me to call any story uninteresting, because I can almost immediately identify its audience and understand their concern about the issue. What I’m better at doing is calling out the reporter on how they covered the story, and I’m sympathetic even there — sometimes time constraints, poor direction from editors, unwilling witnesses & experts and always, always, those pesky deadlines get in the way. Add the final insult to injury, that is, sloppy late-night editing and headline writing and you may have a story you cringe at seeing the next day.

Of course there’s always the story that comes together beautifully, and you pray everyone you love and everyone you hate reads it with jaw-dropping admiration. The story that’s so compelling people who don’t generally care about the topic can’t put it down and post the online version to their Facebook pages. The one that makes them say, now I get it.

What’s more likely to happen if a story is truly uninteresting is that it’s poorly written, sadly researched and half-heartedly pulled together because the reporter doesn’t care or isn’t experienced enough to consider their audience.

Media Signpost Showing Internet Television Newspapers Magazines And RadioThere are major news organizations who’ve created a niche market — sometimes an exceptionally large and influential one — because they’re savvy about the audience they’re catering to and have talented, experienced editors & reporters who target that audiences’ wants & needs, hopes & fears. They exist for all forms of media.

Their stories are less likely to be uninteresting to anybody and more likely to be divisive because of the skill of those developing & writing the material. Local news has a far greater risk of being boring than national news, by its very nature.

Still, anything published likely has its readers, and anything on the air has its viewers, or it will soon disappear. So if you wonder why that terrible magazine or godawful news program is still around, it’s because they know their audience.


Image Credits: © GraphicStock.com