Tech & The District » Uncategorized Tech the way we see it: insights and musings on technology PR, policy and the District, from H&K’s D.C. Tech Team. Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:06:44 +0000 en hourly 1 Tech in 5: Sam Whitmore Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:06:44 +0000 Lindsay Campbell We recently sat down with the founder and editor of Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey, Sam Whitmore himself, for some insights on the media landscape and what to expect from the journalism industry. With the significant increase in tablets coming to market, consumers are more interested in receiving their news visually – including infographics, video and even comic strips.

Check out more in the video below to hear us chat about all things from Jersey Shore to the future of media consumption.

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Some of Sam’s upcoming guests include:
Tues. Aug. 9 Roger Cheng, senior writer, CNET News
Tues. Aug. 16 SWMS Tech Edit Spotlight on content development tools
Tues. Aug. 23 Irina Slutsky, SF reporter, Ad Age
Tues. Aug. 30 Jacob Lopez, reporter,

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Tech in 5: Mark Bohannon Fri, 10 Jun 2011 21:12:30 +0000 Ben Breit We recently had the good fortune to sit down with Mark Bohannon, Red Hat’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Global Public Policy. Mark had I had an engaging discussion on Red Hat’s leadership within the open source community as well as the increasing importance of open source initiatives within the tech community. In this interview, he offers his take on open source’s impact on DC policymakers and everyday software users alike.

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ColorComm Lunch Series Fri, 27 May 2011 18:09:12 +0000 Lauren Wilson Last Thursday Amanda Miller Littlejohn (founder of Mopwater PR) and I hosted a luncheon for women of color in communications at Oya Restaurant  in Washington, DC. The event is called ColorComm and will be a bi-monthly luncheon series during the summer and fall.

Why did we do this? What is the purpose, you may ask?

For some time now, I’ve been thinking about ways to bring women of color in communications together in an intimate setting with the real chance to get to know one another. For me, I kept hearing certain names and seeing certain faces at events that I didn’t know—but whom I wanted to know and wanted to learn from.

I believed that I wasn’t the only one who had a desire to build a stronger network among women of color in communications, and Iast week I was proven correct with 30 women in attendance.
The event is designed to foster mentorship and friendship  through a dialogue on career and professional development.

Some very accomplished and dynamic women were in attendance including: Traci Otey Blunt from RLJ Companies (a producing company for the movie “Jumping the Broom”); Brigitte Johnson, President of the PRSA National Chapter; and Almina Khorakiwala from Walker Marchant Group just to name a few.  Several agencies were represented including women from Edelman, Burson-Marsteller, The Hatcher Group, and others. Additionally, women from the entertainment and media fields were also present.

Tara Jones, my mentor and VP of BET Networks, served as our guest speaker.  Tara is a remarkable woman and she offered tips that apply to anyone who is trying to build and grow their career.

Tara’s Tips:
1)  Don’t ever let anyone get in your head not even yourself. You can conquer anything, you just have   to go for it; don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.
2)   As you climb career ladders, reach down and bring someone with you.
3)   Continue to build and strategically manage your networks. Break all your contacts into groups, for example: Mentors, Advocates and Trailblazers.
4) Make time for the things that are important in your personal life. There is no joy in success if there is no one to share it with.

Stay tuned for tips from our next luncheon in July!

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“Tech In 5″: Marc Gunther Thu, 28 Apr 2011 19:52:03 +0000 Lauren Wilson Welcome to Spring!

H&K was fortunate to have Marc Gunther, contributing editor at Fortune and senior writer at, join us in our studios for an afternoon discussion on the future of our environment.

Marc tells us how he became an advocate for sustainability and corporate responsibility practices. He even gives us PR professionals’ pointers on what makes a compelling sustainability story, so be sure to take notes!

Check out this interview and be sure to listen to his end remarks where he shares one thing that we as Washingtonians should get out and do this spring.

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Technology Making Us Green with Efficiency Tue, 29 Mar 2011 21:50:24 +0000 Andrew Cuneo One exciting element of technology is its ability to change the way we live. Most would view technology as a key contributor to enhancing the way we operate and communicate.  Smartphones, e-readers and GPS all have changed the way we access the Internet, read, communicate and travel. I would also argue technology has made us smarter – and more sustainable.

As one of the leaders of Hill & Knowlton’s Green Team, I’m always looking for ways we can reduce our environmental footprint. And over the weekend, I read an article that gave me hope that technology can and will serve as a guide to a cleaner, more sustainable future. Reporter Susan Wilson Solovic provided examples of mobile applications on smartphones that can help consumers be more socially and environmentally friendly.  For example, she talked about an iPhone app that allows consumers to scan in a bar code and receive information about a product’s social responsibility. Another application allows consumers to reference listings compiled by environmental organizations to decide what bathroom tissue to buy and a third application that helps commuters find folks to car-pool with, saving gasoline and time.

My favorite application that Susan mentions is called GreenDrive. This application actually helps you increase your automobile’s fuel efficiency by providing the driver with road conditions and real time driving directions to avoid congestion – something everyone here in DC can attest would be quite useful.

Mobile applications aren’t just games and entertainment, they’re making us smarter and more efficient. The mobile industry is helping us become greener and smarter, one application at a time.

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“Tech In 5″ with Don Rainey, Grotech Ventures Mon, 07 Mar 2011 20:06:04 +0000 Lauren Wilson In this installment of “Tech in 5,” we sat down with Don Rainey, General Partner at Grotech Ventures in Vienna, Virginia, to discuss why the DC/Maryland/Virginia region continues to be a hot-bed for technology start-ups. Grotech Ventures focuses on local early stage investments and has helped guide some of the region’s top companies such as BroadSoft and LivingSocial to national prominence. Check out the video below to see what all the local start-up buzz is about and check out the Grotech website to learn more about their current portfolio of investments.

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Technology Straight Up! Fri, 11 Feb 2011 22:21:34 +0000 Lauren Wilson Last week I attended Tech Cocktail: Winter Mixer, a technology media mixer for emerging technologies and innovations, at Slaviya restaurant in Adams Morgan.  The event was hosted by Digital Capital Week’s co-founder Frank Gruber and Eric Olson. The purpose for this mixer is to help entrepreneurs by educating and better connecting local technology communities. In attendance were tech influencers, and enthusiasts as well as members from the media (rumor was that the Washington Post’s Rob Pegoraro was there!).

One of the coolest things I came across was a social networking platform called WatchParty. WatchParty is a community that allows people to interact with one another who are watching the same TV show.  Once you are in a WatchParty, there are four features you can use to express yourself and communicate with other audience members (Blip, Flips, Traks, Slide).

This is a really great measuring tool for those who do researching analytics for television networks. This community enables participants to share their opinions on their show in real time.

Several WatchParty’s for you to be on the lookout this week include: Glee, The Good Wife, and Parenthood.

Start a WatchParty or join one!

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Mobile Apps Reach Higher Power Fri, 11 Feb 2011 21:40:08 +0000 Andrew Cuneo The evolution of mobile applications has transformed the value of mobile devices. We’re seeing apps used in a variety of ways, from traditional games and social media, to ones like mobile health and GPS that improve daily life experiences. But for those who thought we already had an app for everything, guess again.

A new application, published for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch devices will help Catholics prepare for going to confession. Created by Little iApps, and blessed by the Catholic church, The Catholic Confession App (available to download for $1.99) is making it easier “for Catholics who frequent the sacrament and those who wish to return.” The application appears to be an educational tool for those who have been away from the Catholic church and wish to re-acquaint themselves.

No matter which religious affiliation you follow, this is another great example of how mobile applications are improving our lifestyle.

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TheDaily Launches Today! Wed, 02 Feb 2011 16:44:19 +0000 Lindsay Campbell TheDaily, the first iPad only newspaper launched by News Corp., is set to hit stands the Apple app store today at noon ET.

 When looking for reporters that would be sure to make this new outlet a true hit, they plucked some of the finest journalists from well-known publications to help build this new paper. Some of the A-list reporters now contributing to TheDaily include:

  • Jesse Angelo –executive editor (formerly from The New York Post)
  • Elizabeth Eaves – op-ed editor (former Forbes columnist and editor)
  • Sasha Frere-Jones – culture editor (formerly The New Yorker’s pop music columnist)
  • Peter Ha – technology editor (formerly at TIME)
  • Bill Bradley – reporter (formerly a contributor to Vanity Fair)
  • Heather Havrilesky – staff critic (formerly at

 Rumor has it, the content pushed out will target a younger, tech-savvy demographic looking to get their fill of news during their morning commute. Content will include robust 360* pictures, interactive graphics and other features which no print publication would be able to accommodate.

As someone in their target demographic, I’m thrilled about this new outlet and can’t wait to see what kind of stories they will produce. The tablet generation offers a great outlet for this news brand. As Rupert Murdoch said himself, “New times demand new journalism.”

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Communication is Key to Successful Pitching – No Joke Wed, 26 Jan 2011 22:11:04 +0000 Evan Lapiska I made it through roughly 45 minutes of last night’s State of the Union (SOTU). It wasn’t the content of the address, the annual crowd shots of childish behavior as adults decide to clap or not clap based on the capital letter next to their name, or this year’s mingling of high school cliques to show unity – it was a joke that led me to the remote control.

“Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car,” President Obama said. “For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down.”

When it comes to political speeches, that’s gold. And yet, it received only mild applause and laughter? Come on! There is no harm in responding to a joke about an over-sensationalized news story with genuine laughter, which would have provided a rare, public opportunity for politicians to show an unguarded emotion.

The instinctive – and let’s face it, irritated – response I had is something that is not unique to me, and frankly something we in the PR industry should be conscious of at all times. In short, reporters are people. In our line of work, we call and e-mail reporters daily, generally wanting something from them in response to something a client has going on or an issue they would like heard. Often we will even have something similar to a script of what we want to make sure we tell them, but it is important to avoid reading to the reporter like a recording with no human qualities.

Say hello, ask how they are doing. If you’ve spoken to a reporter before and they mentioned an article they were working on or a vacation they had coming up, ask about it. You don’t need to over-do the small talk, reporters have deadlines, but it is vital that we all make an effort to connect with them on a personal level so your call feels like a conversation to the reporter rather than them feeling like they are being spoken to.

Who knows, they may be more receptive to your pitch or at least give you critical feedback for why they are not interested. Or it could pay dividends down the road when the reporter remembers your name and client when you call, or vice versa when they remember you have a client in a particular space and call you.

Regardless, by attempting to connect, it increases your chances that they won’t tune you out.

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