Seattle newspaper for the People by the People

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Jeff Jacobs

Jeff Jacobs has 256 articles published.

OpenAI Hits Research Milestone

OpenAI - Elon Musk Photo

OpenAI Trained Robot Detects Can of Spam

OpenAI has created the world’s first Spam-detecting AI trained entirely in simulation and deployed on a physical robot. OpenAI posted their success in a blog post titled, “Spam Detection in the Physical World” on April 1, 2017. OpenAI is a non-profit AI research company, discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence.

OpenAI’s co-founders are Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, Elon Musk, and Sam Altman. OpenAI has a full-time staff of 60 researchers and engineers. These individuals are dedicated to working towards their mission regardless of the opportunities for selfish gain which arise along the way. The long-term research, work on problems that require making fundamental advances in AI capabilities. A recent blog post by AI researches displayed an important milestone in AI advancements. The blog post stated, “Our vision system successfully flagging a can of Spam for removal. The vision system is trained entirely in simulation, while the movement policy for grasping and removing the Spam is hard-coded. Our detector is able to avoid other objects, including healthy ones such as fruit and vegetables, which it never saw during training.”

Musk has expressed his reservations towards artificial intelligence, one of the reasons he started OpenAI. He is not shy about expressing his fears and worries about humans becoming the mouse and AI becoming the cat. Musk was quoted in the Guardian saying, “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So, we need to be very careful,” said Musk. “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.”

While this is just the beginning of cracking AI barriers and there is still much to learn, it is an exciting accomplishment for the research team. They will continue to build off these findings to learn more about what the robot is able to differentiate. Read the OpenAI blog to follow their future work.

Seattle’s Most Popular Theaters and Concert Halls

Paramount-Theater in Seattle

Watching a play or a concert in Seattle is a fun experience. This is the case because Seattle theaters and concert halls offer a fantastic selection of concerts, plays and operas to see.

5th Avenue Theater
The 5th Avenue Theater offers visitors a great selection of plays and concerts. The 5th Avenue Theater has been a Seattle institution since 1926. It was once Seattle’s largest silent movie theater. Today, it hosts productions of classic 20th century plays and contemporary works by local playwrights. It also hosts concerts, lectures. The theater’s main drawing feature is its cozy environment. It features stadium-style seats and a superb sound system that creates an intimate atmosphere. As a result, the 5th Avenue Theater is one of the theaters in Seattle that must be seen to be believed. (www.5thavenue.org)

Seattle Repertory Theater
Located on 155 Mercer Street, the Seattle Repertory Theater is one of the Queen Anne District’s premier destinations. It presents contemporary plays that were written by local playwrights on a stage that’s surrounded by stadium-style seats. The theater also features a cafe that offers American fare, coffee and deserts. Moreover, be sure to visit this theater during the holiday season to take advantage of the discounts they offer in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. (www.seattlerep.org)

Benaroya Hall
Concert lovers will enjoy seeing a concert at the Benaroya Hall. Benaroya Hall is one of the premiere concert halls in Seattle. It’s home to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and several local jazz groups. As a result, Benaroya Hall is host to over 100 jazz and symphony concerts a year. Benaroya Hall is one of the premiere concert halls in Seattle because it also hosts a fantastic variety of flamenco concerts, solo performances by today’s leading opera stars and children’s concerts all year long. As a result, be sure to visit the Benaroya Hall box office for more information about the venue’s current concert schedule. (www.seattlesymphony.org/benaroya)

Paramount Theater
Concert lovers will also enjoy seeing a concert at the famous Paramount Theater. The Paramount Theater is located at 911 Pine Street. It was constructed in 1927 as a Vaudeville theater and silent movie house. Today, its spacious stage and large vaulted ceilings make the Paramount Theater a great place to hear a concert. The Paramount’s concert schedule includes over 200 events that include rock concerts, jazz concerts and gatherings sponsored by local artists. Moreover, several nationally known artists make an appearance each year. As a result, concert lovers have a good chance of seeing their favorite musical act perform at the Paramount Theater. (www.stgpresents.org/paramount)

Moore Theater
Finally, be sure to see a concert or a play at the Moore Theater. Located at the intersection of Second Avenue and Virgina Street, the Moore Theater is Seattle’s oldest theater still in use. The theater was built to satisfy demands for an opera house in 1907. Today, it hosts several plays, operas and concerts produced by local music groups. Moreover, tourists will also enjoy seeing some of the country’s leading comics perform here. Be sure to visit the Moore Theater’s website for information about its current events schedule to see why it’s one of the most popular theaters in Seattle. (www.stgpresents.org/moore/)

Three Relaxing Gardens in Seattle!

Seattle Gardens

There are many gardens in Seattle, Washington that can provide a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere. Filled with flowers and plants and hens and chicks from around the world, here are 3 gardens in Seattle that can offer a great outing for the day.

Washington Park Arboretum
Located on the shores of Lake Washington, the Washington Park Arboretum is a part of the University of Washington’s Botanical Gardens. The Arboretum extends over 230 acres and offers plant exhibits from the Pacific Region, a Woodland Garden, Japanese Garden and the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden.

The Arboretum also includes nature trails throughout the gardens to provide a peaceful and serene experience while exploring the gardens. The gardens also feature kayaking and canoeing on Ducks Bay and around Foster Island on the east side of the Arboretum.

The Washington Park Arboretum provides classes to learn more about the Seattle gardens exhibits as well as more about the care and conservation of the native plants. For more information on the Washington Park Arboretum, visit: https://botanicgardens.uw.edu/washington-park-arboretum/.

Kubota Garden
The Kubota Gardens are part of the Seattle public parks system and offer a number of exhibits in Japanese culture and gardening. The Kubota Garden was created in 1927 by Fujitaro Kubota and has grown to a 20 acre display of exotic Japanese plants among waterfalls and ponds.

As a self-taught landscaper, Kubota’s dream was to provide a place to display the native Northwest flora in a Japanese setting. The Kubota garden has grown from it’s beginnings on 5 acres to a thriving and peaceful setting for locals and visitors of the Seattle public parks.

The Kubota Garden includes nature trails for self-guided tours through the park and guides are provided for group tours. The Kubota Garden is also a great place to hold weddings or special events. For more information, go to: http://www.kubota.org/index.htm

Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden
As one of the preeminent Seattle Gardens, the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden provides exhibits of local horticulture year-round. Guided tours are provided through the garden and classes are also offered to educate the public on the care and cultivation of the plants and flowers.

The Miller Garden Trust also provides classes on horticulture from around the world. The Miller Memorial Lectures are offered annually at the University of Washington’s Meany Hall for the Performing Arts.

The Miller Botanical Gardens include many varieties of Alpines, Ferns, Woodland Plants, Ground covers and more. A renown horticulturist, Elisabeth C. Miller attended the University of Washington and lived in the Seattle area for most of her life. She was responsible for the creation of the Center for Urban Horticulture as well as the University of Washington’s Elisabeth C. Miller Library. For more information, go to: http://www.millergarden.org/

These and many other Seattle Gardens make the city a great place for those who enjoy the peace and comfort of beautiful garden environments.

Top 5 Attractions Seattle Has to Offer

seattle washington

Seattle, Washington is a fantastic location to experience the Pacific Northwest. Since it is also the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, there are quite a few attractions in Seattle that visitors can choose to enjoy. The “Emerald City” is home to many attractions and cultural landmarks known around the world. The following list features just a few of the best things to do in Seattle.

Seattle Space Needle
The Seattle Space Needle is a signature landmark of not only Seattle, but also of the west coast of the United States. Space Needle guests can take a quick elevator trip to the observation level of the tower and enjoy a spectacular view of the landscape of Seattle and surrounding areas. The top of the Space Needle also is home to the Sky City restaurant which gives guests a complete panorama of the city as the restaurant rotates 360 degrees throughout the course of a meal. (http://www.spaceneedle.com/)

Seattle Center Monorail
Built for the 1962 World’s Fair along with the Space Needle, the Seattle Monorail is the first commercial monorail system in the country. The Monorail takes riders on a 10 minute journey above the streets of Seattle between the Westlake Mall in downtown Seattle, and Seattle Center where the Space Needle is located. In addition to the Space Needle, visitors to Seattle Center can also enjoy the Pacific Science Center and Children’s Museum.
(http://www.seattlemonorail.com/)

EMP Museum of Music
Another Seattle Center attraction is the EMP Museum which has a variety of exhibits in one location. In the Sci-Fi galleries, guests can get an up close look at many props and sets of some of Hollywood’s most famous science fiction movies. The music museum features a sculpture made from 600 guitars and a gallery featuring over 50 very rare guitars dating back to the 1700s. Guests can also try out a variety of musical instruments and take home a recording of their own performance. (http://www.empmuseum.org/)

Seattle Aquarium
To get a look at what life looks like in the waters of the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Aquarium gives guests a glimpse of what lives in the ocean just outside the city in Puget Sound. The underwater dome lets visitors stand in the middle of a 360 viewing room surround by a 400,000 gallon tank featuring rockfish, cod and sharks. Divers also talk to guests about the care they give the various organisms living in the aquarium at the Window on Washington Waters tank. (http://www.seattleaquarium.org/)

Seattle Underground Tour
In 1889, a fire destroyed 31 blocks of downtown Seattle. In response, city planners regarded the streets to be two stories higher than they were before the fire. As a result, many of the original 1st floor buildings and sidewalks were buried underground the new raised streets. Guests can now descend underground to the original street level and take a walking guided tour of several 19th century Seattle streets. (http://www.undergroundtour.com/)

Facing The Truth About Political Lies

Politicians telling lies

One thing is true – you can’t fix stupid.  Its been proven over and over again that American is one of the dumbest countries around and this includes its people.  From education, spending, healthcare, and voting to name a few – we are simply the dumbest in the land.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you.  There have been many International tests that have proven this. I see them driving and I see them in Walmart. Stupid is everywhere and we can’t avoid it.

What really gets me is just how ignorant people are about the political process.  They believe our leaders are here to really help us but in reality their agenda always comes first.  They will all lie like dogs to protect their leadership perception and of course none of them makes a mistake.  Fingers are always pointed in the other direction when it comes to mistakes or the truth is twisted to make it sound better.

It’s interesting to me how gullible people are when it comes to their news and media.  They are so convinced their news channel is not bending the truth.  It doesn’t matter if you watch Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC, they all bend the truth to get their agendas out.  They also favor sides (Republicans vs. Democrats).  The truth is they all these channels are controlled by their respected political parties.  How often do you hear them talk about the Libertarians Presidential candidate?  You know there are more parties than just the Republicans and the Democrats right?  Over the years, we’ve been molded to just believe in two parties and you should support one side or the other depending on what channel you watch.  However, if you talk to a Fox News viewer or a CNN viewer they both believe their channel is less evil and “more truthful”.

Slavery:
There is no doubt the African American votes go to Obama and Hilary.  This question is why?  I’ve talked to many blacks and they are passionate about Obama.  They love him and will vote for the democrats (including Hilary) with their last dying breath.  There is no re-considering or logically analysis for their decision to support the democrats.  Even if I said the democrats block every attempt to abolish slavery – they would still vote for them.  “Well that was a long time ago”, I’ve heard which is the most pathetic answer.  Grudges are held against a white man like me but not against the party that voted against abolishing slavery every step of the way.  Hate to tell you but Republicans ended slavery folks.

19th Amendment: A Women’s Right to Vote
We all know Hilary has the women’s vote.  She (and the democrats) have played that card very well.  The perception of republicans being against women’s right has been molded for many years.  There is a whole strategy in fact to dupe a lot of disenchanted voters into the democratic heard to support them.  You may have heard about the “War on Women” talk that’s been planted against the Republicans the Democrats are doing a fantastic job of winning that war.  That fact is simple – in 1878 a California Republican who goes by the name A.A. Sargent introduced the 19th Amendment only to see it voted down by a Democrats.  Just like slavery and women’s rights, Republicans pushed these laws forward against the constant push back from Democrats.  Over the years, the Democrats have wised up and realized they really need these people’s vote so now they are on the other side of the fence.

To make a change you must vote:
Americans actually believe our presidential process is fair. I believe more and more people are wising up to this process. It was much more obvious this time around, however. Bernie lost before he even started. News and documents were published about how the Democratic bigwig leaders developed strategies behind the scene to oust him and they did just that. Hilary locked up the super delegates before Bernie even realized what they were. Trump was saying that all along about the process and probably one of the reasons Trump is falling under the Republican umbrella. Lets look here in Washington State. Bernie Sanders won this states Democratic caucuses by a landslide. It was devastating to Hilary. Bernie preached a lot about taking Wall Street back from the billionaire class. The final results were 72.7% in Bernie’s favor over Hilary. Bernie won every county in Washington State. It was a slandering over Hilary and “the people” spoke their minds at the polls. People wanted a real change. Unfortunately, our political leadership sided against Bernie and “the people”. The truth is Hilary had the super delegates in her pocket so it didn’t even matter. It turns out some of our leadership is corrupt and continue to side against what “the people” really wanted. Gov. Jay Inslee turned against the people and pushed for Hilary after the people side with Bernie. In addition, there is U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and all six Democrats in the state’s U.S. House delegation will turn their backs on the people and vote for Hilary. Right after hearing Bernie won this state, these super delegates were standing by their position for Hilary winning the presidency. The process is corrupt and so is our Washington State leadership. The fact that they are not supporting the views and votes of the people clearly shows this as being a fact. Bernie was done before he started.

Bernie turns his backs on his supporters:
Bernie gained a lot of traction and supporters during his campaign. A lot of people wanted to support the democrats but wanted a candidate who appeared to be more truthful and real. With Obama and Hilary, they come across very political in the way they speak and over the years its become a turnoff. We have the Benghazi incident and many feel “hope” wasn’t really delivered as promised. Bernie offered a different perspective and sided more with the public. It turns out, however, Bernie wasn’t exactly honest and after he dropped out (Hilary wins) he immediately endorses Hilary and starts campaigning for her. It was odd how that turned around so quickly. It’s still a mystery how someone who is “for the people” quickly supports his main rival. It’s common for deals to happen after a candidate drops out. It’s common for the other side to support the loser financially (it’s expensive to run) while getting his support in return. That is what I suspect happened but honestly we will never know. One thing I do know is that it was extremely shady behavior.

Some items to think about as we move closer to the election.

Dr. Robi Ludwig Featured Interview

Dr Robi Ludwig Interview Emerald City Journal

Dr. Robi Ludwig, a New York resident, is a nationally known psychotherapist, author and award winning reporter. She has been appearing on broadcast media since 1997, and is sought after for her psychological insights on a wide range of topics. She is currently a relationship contributor for Investigation Discovery Network’s Scorned, which presents reenactment and analysis of marital homicide stories. She also hosted two seasons of TLC’s reality show, “One Week to Save Your Marriage” as well as GSN’s reality game show, “Without Prejudice?“.

Where did you go to school?

I received my doctorate in psychology (Psy.D) from California Southern University; got my post-masters certificate in advanced clinical work from Hunter College, received my masters degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and got my bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Cedar Crest College.

What motivated you to get into this field?

I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a therapist. I believe it was while I was walking home from elementary school my chosen profession to become a therapist became fully crystallized. I always loved delving into the intricacies of interpersonal dynamics, and analyzing people and situations. Any psychological subject captured my interest and attention. It wasn’t until I became a teen, around the age of 14, that I realized I wanted to include television into this mix. My uncle is a prominent local New York City TV weatherman. He made the TV business look so glamorous and fun. When I first saw Dr. Joyce Brothers on a talk show combine psychology and television, I realized this was something I had to pursue. It was somewhat of an “aha” moment for me. I’m not sure when I knew I wanted to be an author, but this probably happened when I was in high school. It was very clear to me from an early age what my professional path would be. I was fortunate to discover what I felt passionate about when I was very young.

Can you share one of your more memorable experiences during your career or on TV?

The most powerful TV memory I have is definitely when I got my first TV reporting job at WETM, channel 18 in Elmira, New York. It was actually a job interview I almost didn’t go to. I knew that I wasn’t going to take the job I was interviewing for. I was going to interview for a job to be a full time morning anchor. The job would require me to relocate and move upstate, which I was not prepared to do. I took a six hour bus ride all the way up to Elmira from New York City, until I found my way to the studio. The news director at the time, David Schifter, told me in detail about the anchor job. I told him I didn’t think this job was exactly right for me, and then pitched my job idea to him, to be the station’s psychology reporter. He hired me on the spot, and I was on the air that evening analyzing Timothy McVeigh. This news director is one of my dearest friends, to this day. He was the one who gave me my first real start in the TV news business. And the rest, as they say, is history.

How do you find inspiration Dr. Robi Ludwig?

I really find my inspiration everywhere. From life. I’m inspired by my field, my desire to learn and know more, by the patients I work with, and by my friends and family. I love what I do and feel passionate about my work. I suppose it’s this passion which fuels my inspiration.

What are some project/s you’re currently working on?

I’m very excited about finishing my latest book, published by Harper One: Your Best Age is Now: Embrace an Ageless Mindset, Reenergize Your Dreams, and Live a Soul-Satisfying Life, which comes out in April. I compiled all of the latest research, combined with the research from my practice, to dispel some of the unsettling myths currently out there about midlife. I’m also excited to bring my jewelry line, Vise Mari, to Star Shop, a new shopping APP which makes shopping fun and easy, on your phone.

Where is your office in New York?
275 7th Ave
New York, NY 10021
My Yelp

You can read more about Dr. Robi LinkedIn or her official Instagram

Seattle Brewery Guide

Seattle Brewery Guide

Seattle is filled with unique neighborhoods and breweries.  I frequently hear people ask, “What is the best brewery in Seattle?”  To answer that question, I scoured every neighborhood in search of great beer, visiting over 30 breweries in Seattle and the surrounding metro area.  I hope this guide helps you discover Seattle’s great breweries and the tasty local brews they produce. Cheers!

Ballard
Hale’s Ales Brewery & Pub Beer + food
Hale’s, founded in 1983 in an area between Fremont and Ballard, was the first craft brewery in the region to introduce seasonal, cask conditioned, and nitrogen conditioned ales.  Cool building and pub, but perhaps past their prime as I find most of their beers to be average.  Bright spots include their world-class Kölsch and tasty Cream Stout. 4301 Leary Way NW, Seattle

Hilliard’s Beer Beer only (+ food trucks Saturdays)
Hilliard’s Beer is a new brewery in Ballard that opened in October 2011.  This is one of the cooler brewery taprooms I have visited and is home to perhaps the most comfortable bar stool in Seattle.  Hilliard’s is filled with a nice, 5-seat bar, several smaller tables, concrete couches and 2 enormous wood spool tables that each seat 10.  Hilliard’s is currently canning 2 beers, Amber and Saison, in 16 oz. tallboys.  The Amber is very good, although extremely hoppy for the style.  The Saison is a great-looking and tasting brew that is spot-on for the style. They have some additional beers available on tap: Regimental Scottish Blonde, Cast Iron Stout, and Hils Pils.  Visit on a Saturday and you can get some grub from food trucks such as Skillet, Where Ya At Matt and Snout & Co. 1550 NW 49th Street, Seattle

Maritime Pacific Brewing Company Beer + food
Ballard’s Maritime Pacific, founded in 1990, opened the adjoining Jolly Roger Taproom in 1997. Cool taproom with plenty of bar seating.  In the hoppy Pacific NW, Maritime stands out with solid maltier beers including its Flagship Red Alt and Old Seattle Lager.  Make sure to try the Jolly Roger Christmas Ale, if you visit during the winter months, or one of the 3 cask ales on tap. 1111 N.W. Ballard Way, Seattle

Capitol Hill
Elysian Brewing Company Beer + food
If you feel like tasty food and beer in a great brewpub atmosphere, look no further than Elysian. Founded in 1995, The Elysian now boasts 3 locations: the original Capitol Hill brewery, TangleTown near Green Lake, and Elysian Fields, a gigantic venue (the oval bar alone seats 50) near the stadiums. Elysian Fields is far superior to Pyramid for pre or post-game libations. Their year-round beer lineup has no clear superstar, but all are very solid. Elysian is also known for its world-class pumpkin beers and hosts the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival annually in October. 1221 E Pike St, Seattle

Downtown Seattle
Elysian Fields Beer + food
See full listing under Capitol Hill.

Pike Pub and Brewery Beer + food
The Pike Pub and Brewery, founded in 1989, is located near the namesake Pike Place Public Market.  Founder Charles Finkel has created a microbrewery museum on the walls, and the cool, multi-leveled pub is worth visiting just to see the venue.  Beers are solid, but nothing spectacular.  Malt lovers must try the Kilt Lifter or Tandem.  If you like drier, bitter beers, most of their other lineup will surely satisfy. 1415 First Avenue, Seattle

Pyramid Brewery & Alehouse Beer + food
Located right next to Safeco and the Century Link, Pyramid is the most convenient option for a pre- or post-game meal and libations.  Their flagship Hefeweizen, an American wheat ale (no banana or clove flavors here), is refreshing but nothing special.  Perhaps more exciting is their new Ignition Series lineup: Super Snow Cap and Discord Dark IPA are nice options for those looking for something more complex.  Pyramid has also started brewing again at this downtown Seattle location, which should spice up the lineup. 1201 First Avenue South, Seattle

Fremont
Fremont Brewing Beer only
It is hard to believe Fremont just began brewing in 2009.  Located in the self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe”, Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, Fremont Brewing has skyrocketed to the top of the Seattle craft beer scene.  Their Urban Beer Garden consists of a huge picnic table built on beer kegs and cool old school couches with a view of their shiny fermenters.  It’s a great community atmosphere conducive to striking up a conversation with other thirsty revelers, many of whom are drinking a pint and getting a growler to go.  But what really makes the brewery is the beer:  The Interurban IPA is one of the top examples of the style in Seattle, and the Universal Pale and Summer (Solstice) Ale are both crisp, refreshing and very tasty.  Fremont has also mastered darker brews, including the delicious Kentucky Dark Star Imperial Oatmeal Stout and Abominable Winter Ale.  And Fremont can really kick things up at beer festivals with the likes of Kentucky Dark Star Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout and Bourbon Abominable (Bbomb).  You can now find Bourbon Abominable deliciousness in a bottle each winter.   Fremont can do no wrong. 3409 Woodland Park Avenue North, Seattle

Georgetown
Georgetown Brewing Company Samples + Growlers
Georgetown, which moved to a new location in 2010, blends into its namesake industrial neighborhood with a grand entrance made of rusted steel I-beams.  While there is no food or pints here, they will gladly offer you tasters (they’re free!) to help with your growler or keg purchase.  Their sweet retail taproom, which includes a massive bar counter and a glimpse of the brewery, merits a visit. But what really makes Georgetown special is they pump out huge volumes of stellar craft beer kegs to be enjoyed at your local watering hole.  The ubiquitous Manny’s Pale Ale is on tap virtually everywhere in Seattle, but keep an eye out for the equally delicious Lucille IPA and Georgetown Porter.  Donkey Deux Belgian Dubbel and Bob’s Brown Ale are two must-try seasonals. 5200 Denver Ave S., Seattle

Greenwood / Green Lake
Baron Brewing & Pillagers Pub Food + beer
Baron, founded in 2003, specializes in German-style beers, so you might guess their taproom location would feel like a German beer hall or beer garden.  You would be wrong.  Baron’s taproom, Pillagers Pub in Greenwood, features a pirate-themed atmosphere, perhaps to match sister brewery Three Skulls Ales.  Both Baron and Three Skulls Ales are on tap at Pillagers Pub.  Look for Baron’s bacon beer on tap, which tastes like a bacon cheeseburger in a glass.  The crowd at Pillagers is usually sparse, and for good reason: Naked City is across the street. 8551 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle

Elysian TangleTown Beer + food
See full listing under Capitol Hill.

Naked City Brewery & Taphouse Beer + food
Established in 2008 in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle, Naked City began as a tap house and then added their own beers to the mix in 2009.  The end result is 24 incredible taps including Naked City beers and rotating Washington and regional craft beers.  This is a unique place that manages to attract and impress beer geeks and families alike. 8564 Greenwood Ave N., Seattle

SoDo
Epic Ales Beer + food
Founded in 2009, Epic’s Cody Morris brews the most unique beers in Seattle.  It’s possible you will either love or hate his beers, brewed with ingredients such as shitake mushrooms, peppercorns, and epazote.  A visit to the tiny tasting room in SoDo, which currently has 3 bar stools, provides an opportunity to sample 3 rotating beers and chat with the personable Morris.  The space was also recently expanding to house the Gastropod, a beer and food pairing collaboration with chef Travis Kukull.  Gastropod serves up 2 small plates on Saturdays paired with 2 Epic beers (currently on Saturdays 10-2). 3201 1st Ave S., Seattle

Emerald City Beer Company Beer only
Emerald City, located in the Old Rainier Brewery building, was founded in August 2010 by two UW alums. The Beer Lab, which features a nice long wood bar, leather couch and tables, has 6 beers on tap with a focus on American Lagers.  Flagship Dottie Seattle Lager, made from barley and hops grown right here in Washington State, is a solid, malty lager.  Whiskey Lager, Dottie aged for 2 months in Dry Fly whiskey barrels, has a cult following, and for good reason. Regular lineup also includes Betty Black Lager and Ivana Pale Lager (IPL).  The brewery takes a unique marketing approach by using a different pin-up girl on each of their beers, which are hand-drawn by an artist in Baltimore.  Definitely worth a stop on your SoDo brewery tour.  3100 Airport Way S., Seattle

Schooner EXACT Beer only
Founded in 2007, Schooner EXACT has quickly grown from nanobrewery to it’s much larger current operation in SoDo.  The family-friendly tasting room has plenty of seating at the bar, along with a nice outdoor seating area.  Their regular lineup, all very solid, is highlighted by 3-Grid IPA, an excellent choice for Hopheads seeking their citrus hop fix, and King Street Brown, bigger and bolder than your average brown ale.  I anticipate big things from these guys in the future, such as their new barrel-aged sour program.  I’ve had some sour samples straight from the barrel and they are tasting fantastic. 3901 1st Ave South, Seattle

Two Beers Brewing Co. Beer only
SoDo’s Two Beers has the philosophy that life’s a little more honest after two beers.  They have grown considerably and recently doubled the size of their production brewery and tasting room. The tasting room is especially good to hit during nice weather, when tables line the sunny loading dock.  I’m going to be honest here:  My palate finds all of their beers very average.  Cool website though.  Not a destination, but worth a stop if you’re in the area. 4700 Ohio Ave S., Seattle

South Park
Odin Brewing Company Appointment only
Odin Brewing Company’s tagline is “The Most Adventurous Brewery in America”.  They are certainly well on their way, having avoided the typical Pale Ale/IPA/Amber/Stout lineup of a Pac NW brewery.  They even released a “bacon beer”, Smoky Bacon Ale, which made some waves in 2010.  Established in 2009, Odin is a lean operation currently focused on pumping out kegs for distribution to bars and restaurants throughout Washington.  They will still fill growlers, but the tasting room is technically open by appointment only.  Their core lineup of Freya’s Gold Kolsch, Odin’s Gift, an ale brewed with juniper berries, and Odin’s Pearl, a Belgian Witbier, are all quite tasty.  I was blown away by their Thor’s Equinox, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, which was arguably best in show at the Seattle Craft Beer + Food event.  It was complex and a very impressive Belgian-style from a Washington brewery.  Looking forward to more gems from Dan Lee and the Odin team. 9130 15th Pl. S. Suite F, Seattle

University District
Big Time Brewery & Alehouse Beer + food
This University District brewpub has been crafting fine beer and serving tasty food since 1988.  Prime Time Pale Ale (2011 bronze medal winner at GABF) is their best year-round beer, but always some interesting specialty brews on tap.  Do not miss Old Sol Wheatwine in the summertime or Old Wooly Barleywine, released each winter on December 1. 4133 University Way NE, Seattle

West Seattle
Big Al Brewery Beer only
Big Al is located in White Center, in the south end of Seattle just north of Burien.  Beers can be enjoyed in the small tap room or the concrete patio out front, which regularly features bands on stage.  Or head upstairs to play darts and hang out on comfy couches.  Year-round lineup is solid, but middle of the road.  However, Big Al puts out some very interesting seasonal and one-off beers.  LÖWMAN BRÄU, which was on tap throughout West Seattle in summer 2011, was a very tasty and refreshing Kölsch.  I have also really enjoyed Hop Villain Black IPA, Sourlicious, and Ume Goma Supai (Flanders Red).  In the winter, they make a mean barleywine, Ol’ No. 1. 9832 14th Ave SW, Seattle

Elliott Bay Brewing Co. Beer + food
Elliott Bay has locations in West Seattle (since 1997) and Burien (since 2007) and opened a new location in Lake City in 2012. Great atmosphere to chill out at the bar or a dark wood booth.  Fantastic food, especially the burgers, outshines the beer, but still a solid list of taps.  Standouts include B-Town Brown, Demolition Ale and their Coffee Stout on nitro.  Family-friendly. 4720 California Ave SW, Seattle (plus 2 additional locations)

The Eastside
Black Raven Brewing Co. Beer only
The Eastside’s Black Raven, brewing since 2009, has been the rockstar of Washington breweries the last couple years.  Located 15 miles East of Seattle in Redmond, Black Raven has a slightly bizarre location in a suburban office park.  But don’t judge, all is good inside.  Thirsty Redmond office workers and regulars munch on complimentary peanuts and pretzels while relaxing at sturdy wood tables.  Black Raven brews some of the best and most interesting beers in Washington.  Highlights of their year-round lineup include Trickster IPA and Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale.  Their Wisdom Seeker Imperial IPA, occasionally on tap, is phenomenal.  Black Raven also excels at brewing up special treats for their taproom and festivals, so don’t hesitate to try any casks or seasonal taps. 14679 NE 95th ST, Redmond

Issaquah Brewhouse Beer + food
Located in historic downtown Issaquah, the Issaquah Brewhouse opened in 1994 and was acquired by Rogue Ales of Newport, OR in 2000.  The 36 taps feature Issaquah, Rogue, and Guest beers, and you will have no trouble finding something you like.  If you enjoy sweeter Belgians, make sure to try the Menage A Frog (Belgian Tripel) or White Frog (Belgian Wit). Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar and Shakespeare Stout are also extremely good. 35 W. Sunset Way, Issaquah

Mac & Jack’s Brewing Company Samples + Growlers
Redmond’s Mac & Jack’s, brewing since 1993, is purely a draft beer operation, with their retail store offering up kegs, growlers and merchandise.  Not a destination, but certainly a fine place to get your growler filled. When I first moved to Seattle years ago, I considered Mac & Jack’s African Amber a top example of Seattle craft beer.  My palate has since moved on to other things, but Mac & Jack’s remains a draft staple in restaurants and bars throughout Seattle.  I’ve had mixed results with some of their other beers. 17825 NE 65th St., Redmond

Redhook Brewery and Forecasters Pub Beer + food
Redhook, which celebrated its 33th birthday in 2014, moved to Woodinville in 1994, having outgrown previous locations in Ballard and Fremont.  Beer geeks may turn up their nose at Craft Brewers Alliance-owned Redhook, but they still offer the best deal in town: daily tours for $1; and that includes 5 tasters!  They also offer casino-night private events in the upstairs banquet rooms, which make for kickass corporate outings.   The Forecasters Pub, a large, lodge-like setting, is perfect for having a pint.  The beers may not be inspiring, but all are solid and have a wide appeal.  Best beers are their flagship ESB and Long Hammer IPA, a 44 IBU IPA on training-wheels. 14300 NE 145th Street, Woodinville

Snoqualmie Brewery & Taproom Beer + food
Heading East for skiing, hiking or wine country?  Or just looking for some good beer?  The new and improved Snoqualmie Brewery & Taproom is worth a visit.  The 2011 expansion added a mezzanine level and doubled the seating capacity.  The Steam Train Porter is best in class.  Black Frog Stout (on nitro) and Wildcat IPA also deserve your attention. 8032 Falls Ave, Snoqualmie

Kitsap Peninsula
Silver City Brewery Beer + food
Located on the Kitsap Peninsula in Silverdale, Silver City Brewery was established as a brewpub in 1996.  You can either drive around the water via Tacoma or take your car on the Bainbridge ferry and continue driving to Silverdale (which conveniently takes you through the brewery mecca of Poulsbo on your way).  Both ways take about an hour and a quarter from Seattle.  Located next to a mall, Silver City Flagship Restaurant is more of a gathering place for elderly folks and families than beer geek central.  The food is very good, so the old people may be onto something.  They do some fantastic big malty beers such as Copper Mountain Bock, Ridgetop Red and the must-have Fat Scotch Ale.  Silver City really brings their A-game to festivals with gems such as Fat Woody Bourbon Oak Aged Scotch Ale, Whoop Pass Double IPA, Le Fat and Punk Rauchen.  You can now taste beers and avoid the old people by heading to the newly-opened taproom in Bremerton. 2799 NW Myhre Road, Silverdale

Sound Brewery Beer only
Take your car on the 30-minute ferry to Bainbridge and continue another 20 minutes by car to Sound Brewery, one of 4 breweries that have sprung up in Poulsbo during 2011.  The taproom area includes 3 round cherry-wood tables and some additional seating at a long bar on the side.  When I visited on a Tuesday, the tasting room was a bit of a sideshow for the workers, who were busy with their brewing duties, but the service was fine.  I love what Sound is doing because they are making completely different beers than most other Washington breweries.  Sound sets itself apart by making some big, 9-10% Belgian-inspired beers.  Be on the lookout for stellar Sound brews on tap such as Monk’s Indiscretion, Dubbel Entendre and Humulo Nimbus.  I’m fully expecting these guys to skyrocket to the top of the local beer scene very soon, if they’re not already there. 650 NW Bovela Ln, Suite #3, Poulsbo

North Seattle
American Brewing Co. Beer only
American, located 17 miles north of Seattle in Edmonds, just opened in 2011.  I wasn’t sure what I was getting into walking into their unassuming entrance in the rear of the building, but the inside was a pleasant surprise with a nice big L-shaped bar with sports on 2 large flat screens.  There is no kitchen, but snacks are available for purchase or you can order in a Garlic Jim’s pizza.  Breakaway IPA, Caboose Oatmeal Stout and Ed’s Red are all very solid beers. With longtime brewer Skip Madsen at the helm, I’m looking forward to trying more beer from these guys. 180 West Dayton Street, Edmonds

Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro Beer + food
Located 90-miles north of Seattle in Bellingham, Boundary Bay is well outside the Seattle metro, but is worth a visit.  Boundary Bay, in business since 1995, operates a 17 barrel brewery in a restored historic 1922 warehouse in downtown Bellingham, across from the Saturday Farmers Market.  Multiple rooms are filled with mismatched wood tables and chairs and there is often some live music being playing.  Great service and extremely good food.  Their IPA and Imperial IPA are top-notch, but you also can’t miss with their Scotch Ale, Old Bounder Barley Wine or Dry Stout. 1107 Railroad Avenue, Bellingham

Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse Beer + food
Diamond Knot’s Flagship location, located near the waterfront in Mukilteo, has a bit of a scary external appearance, but don’t be afraid.  The nautical-themed interior has high ceilings, plenty of character and is filled with over a dozen red barstools, several tables and peanut shells on the floor.  Sure, there are several beer styles on tap, but you must go for the IPA and the kicked-up Industrial IPA, their specialties. 621A Front Street, Mukilteo (plus 3 additional locations I know of)

Foggy Noggin Brewing Beer only (+ an occasional food truck)
Jim Jamison has been serving up Foggy Noggin beers out of his garage in Bothell since 2010, and now has a loyal following of Fog Noggers who love their Fn beer.  The nanobrewery is in a residential neighborhood, but it’s a spacious lot and there are plenty of tables and chairs in the driveway to relax.  Foggy Noggin’s cool because, in addition to being an incredibly small operation, they are doing something different than every other brewery in the Pac NW.  Fn specializes in English style ales that are produced on a very small ½ barrel system.  Their flagship beer, Bit O’Beaver, at 3.4% ABV is the ultimate session beer.  You may recall Bit O’Beaver making an impressive run to the WA Beer March Madness Final Four in 2012.  You’ll always find Bit O’Beaver on tap here, along with Christmas Duck, a nice porter, and rotating seasonals such as Diablo del Sol and Kastrated Dawg.  Be on the lookout for the delicious Anniversary English Old Ale, released annually in March. 22329 53rd Ave SE, Bothell

Scuttlebutt Brewing Company Beer + food
Scuttlebutt’s new location, opened near the Everett marina in April 2011, is bright and modern with plenty of booths and a large outdoor seating area.  Not sure why, but taster tray was pulled off menu, although bartenders will give you a free 2oz taster.  If you like sweeter beers, you will be pleased with their nice Tripel 7, Belgian Winter and Porter. 1205 Craftsman Way, Everett

South
Airways Brewing Company Food + beer
The next time your wife sends you to IKEA, make a 5 minute detour South to Airways Brewing.  Airways was founded in Kent in 2010 and recently added a second location, Airways Brewing Beer & Bistro in downtown Kent.  Their standard lineup includes T-Tail Blonde Ale, Jet City ESB, First Class IPA, Starliner Stout, and Sky Hag Imperial IPA.  Of the 3 I’ve tried, the ESB and First Class are very good and the Sky Hag is phenomenal, perhaps one of the better Imperial IPAs in the state.  The newer Beer & Bistro also boasts 8-10 interesting guest taps from other Washington breweries.  I would consider their standard lineup a bit too standard for a new brewery, but looking forward to trying some special beers from these guys in the future. 6644 S 196th St., Kent

Fish Brewing Company Beer + food
Located 60 miles south of Seattle in Olympia, Fish is a lively brewpub filled with plenty of locals.  The “Fishbowl” is a bit dated, but comfortable.  Standard lineup can be a bit light on flavor, but seasonals such as Mudshark Porter, Starfish Imperial Red, Winterfish and 10 Squared Barleywine are pretty good.  Overall, an average brewpub. 515 Jefferson Street SE, Olympia

Harmon Brewing Co. Beer + food
Located next to the University of Washington Tacoma campus, Harmon’s wait staff and clientele are on the younger side.  Due to the university location, parking is hit and miss.  The low-lit brewpub is filled with exposed brick, numerous wood tables and a long 15-seat bar.  Great atmosphere and a nice place to have  a beer.  The Puget Sound Porter is roasty, chocolatey and very good.  The Brown’s Point ESB and Point Defiance IPA are also quite solid. 1938 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma

Trade Route Brewing Company
I first became acquainted with Trade Route at the Washington Brewers Festival in 2008 when they were known as Laughing Buddha Brewery.  They changed their name in response to a trademark dispute and also moved the brewery from Seattle to Pacific, WA in 2009.  The taproom is located off of 167 south of Auburn in an industrial area filled with parked semi trucks.  It’s pretty nice inside, with a large L-shaped bar and a few flat screen TV’s filled with sports.  Their original beers were Asian-inspired, but they seem to be all over the board now, with a lineup that includes an IPA and a rauchbier.  The Ginger Pale Ale, one of their original flagship beers, is their best and goes perfectly with spicy pad thai.  Their Mango Weizen is a perfect in summer if you like fruit beers.  The rest of their lineup is pretty average, including Hoppy Bitch IPA, which doesn’t quite live up to the great name. 1091 Valentine Ave, Pacific

The Hiking Trail to Fragrance Lake

Hiking Fragrance Lake from Seattle, WA

My cousin Damon is the go-to guy when it comes to finding good trails. Most of the time we plan two to three-day backpacking trips, but when doesn’t allow I can always call on him for a day hike that is worth my while. Fragrance Lake is no exception. Located in Larrabee State Park near Bellingham, Washington, this 5.5 mile loop provides excellent views of Samish Bay in a fresh, woodsy setting.

If you are not familiar with the Bellingham area the best way to find the trail is by going straight to the main entrance of Larabee park. The trailhead is directly across the street on Chuckanut Drive. A Discover Pass is required to park at any of the spaces in the park, so plan accordingly.

We began our journey around noon. Knowing this was not going to take all day, we figured there was no reason to hurry out. That’s the great thing about day hikes, you may not be able to truly escape civilization as you would on a backpacking trip, but at least you don’t have to do as much planning.

The trail to Fragrance Lake has an elevation gain of 950 feet, so be prepared for a bit of a climb. The good news is the climb is somewhat gradual, so you’ll be winded, but experienced hikers won’t find it terribly grueling.

It didn’t take long to discover that this trail was dog friendly. This is not uncommon in Bellingham as the city pays particular attention to its parks. From bike trails to campsites, Bellingham is full of options.

When we reached the main viewpoint, we were pleasantly surprised to see the San Juan Islands. Depending on one’s preferences this may in fact be the highlight of the hike. The viewpoint has enough space that hikers often pack a lunch just to eat and enjoy the view.

For those who seek solitude, the lake itself isn’t too far from the viewpoint. When you arrive you will note the lake is very quiet considering its relative distance from the city. In fact, one would never even guess that a city is nearby. The water is very calm, with plenty of space to explore around it. We saw several people throwing sticks in the lake for their dogs to retrieve them. If you want to get away from other hikers, the lake is large enough that there is bound to be a private spot somewhere along the shoreline.

Much to our surprise, it just happened that the one day we chose to hike up to Fragrance Lake was the exact day of Bellingham’s Ski to Sea Race. This relay race requires teams of skiers, mountain bikers, runners, and kayakers to race from Mt. Baker all the way into the Bay. From our vantage point we could actually see some of the Kayakers rowing into the finish line. It was quite a day!

Author: Nic Poe

Enchanted Valley: The Best Trail in the Pacific Northwest

Hiking Enchanted Valley Pacific Northwest

“Are there bears?” I asked my cousin Damon.

“I’ve been there two times and I’ve never seen a bear.” he replied, laughing. I had been on several hikes with Damon before, but never overnight. This would be my first overnight backpacking trip and we were heading on a three-day excursion into Enchanted Valley, an unbelievably picturesque destination in the Olympic National Park.

Enchanted Valley is home to the Enchanted Valley Chalet, a magnificent log cabin built in 1930 that rests along the edge of the Quinault River. The trail to Enchanted Valley is 26 miles with an elevation gain of 1700 feet, so it’s not impossible to complete in a shorter trip, but we really wanted to take our time and enjoy ourselves, so we made a weekend out of it.

The drive along Highway 101 is beautiful. From the town of Hoquiam, Washington, it’s takes about an hour and a half to get to the trailhead. You’ll want to turn east onto South Shore Road and go about 13.5 miles, then go right at the junction at Quinault River Bridge. After the junction, you will continue down a lonely stretch of road for about six miles until you reach the trailhead. This last portion of the trip may seem like the wrong way, just because there really aren’t any signs or mileposts, but as long as you go right at the junction you will know you are heading on the right path. If you hike pretty often you probably already know this, but remember your cellphone will likely not work at this point, or at any point within the National Park.

Hiking Enchanted Valley Seattle

Being that it was my first overnight backpacking experience, I was a little nervous as to whether or not I had packed enough food. Luckily Damon was a pretty experienced hiker, so he provided me with a list of what I should bring. All together, I packed about six Mountain House meals for both breakfast and dinner, along with several granola and energy bars for snacks along the way. Peanut Butter tubes are great for a cheap on-the-go alternative as well. Of course, the most important thing to pack on a long hike is water, and in our case that meant packing our Camelbaks and water filtration systems. For this trip, we brought along our Platypus water filter system. This trail runs along the river, so filtering water is not too much of a hassle.

One of the first things I noticed as we made our way from the trailhead was the incredible height and width of the old growth trees. Perhaps even more incredible than the trees was the behavior of the animals. Mice, chipmunks, and even deer weren’t even the least bit afraid of people. On the first night of our hike a deer came within about seven feet from me and didn’t even jump when I got up. I was able to snap a close photo of it. It’s amazing to consider how much human behavior dictates the behavior of animals.

By day two I was already starting to get used to being in the forest. In fact, I was really enjoying it. We rarely came across other people, and when we did, they were usually extremely friendly. The calm of the forest was such a welcome change from the constant buzz of traffic and activity in the city. On the trail, the only sound I could hear was the sound of the Quinault River. I was getting used to seeing deer and other small animals along the trail, but as we neared the seventh mile of our thirteen mile pathway we came upon a small herd of elk. As if the herd of elk wasn’t enough, rounding a corner I encountered a sight that is as fresh in my mind as if it had happened yesterday. There, in the trail, a mere twenty yards ahead of me, a large black bear glanced my way as it meandered down toward the river, stopping me in my tracks.

“Bear.” I whispered to my hiking mates. Just as soon as it glanced our way it simply continued on its path. The bear undoubtedly knew we were there, but it had no interest in us whatsoever. This feeling was not mutual. Damon had seen bears before, so the first thought he had was to break out the camera and snap a picture. On the other hand, my heart was racing, and I simply wanted to get as far away from it as possible. Fortunately Damon was able to snap this one photo, but we never saw it again. That night I barely slept. Although I knew there was absolutely no rational reason to fear the bear, my fight or flight instincts had kicked in and my adrenaline was still pumping well into the night. I couldn’t believe the awesome size and strength of this creature. As black bears go, it was probably only average size, roughly 300-400 pounds, but even an average bear makes for a large animal. I’d seen one from my car before, but seeing one up close when there is no barrier between yourself and the bear can be quite an experience.

Bear At Enchanted Valley National Park

We planned our trip so that the first day we only had to travel about 6.5 miles, then days two would take us an additional 6.5, so that the final day we would travel back the entire 13 miles. It’s not that it’s impossible to travel the 13 miles in one day, in fact one of the young park rangers did so regularly. We just wanted to take our time and enjoy the experience and we certainly did. By the end of day two we had reached Enchanted Valley, and I must say the Enchanted Valley Chalet was quite a sight. As you will see in the photo, it’s hard to imagine a better place to have a cabin. It’s used by the Park Rangers, so you aren’t really able to go inside, but if a Ranger is nearby I am sure they would let you have a look. We spent the majority of our time in the Valley just enjoying the view of the mountains and the river. Our 13 mile trek home the next day wasn’t too bad, considering we were on our way back we just took less stops and everything went fine. If someone were to ask me what the best hike in the Pacific Northwest is I would definitely say this is the one. It’s not the most challenging, but it’s certainly the most rewarding.

Author: Nic Poe

Nic Poe lives in Longview, Washington where he teaches English. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Writing from Marylhurst University. His short story The Batros, appeared in the November 2011 issue of Beyond Centauri.
Connect: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Nicholas-Poe.

Perry Rogers: How the Internet Has Changed Public Relations

Perry Rogers PR Partners Firm

The nature of marketing is changing. Not only is it getting more complex, but the growth is happening at an alarming rate. Identifying the nature of each marketing job is nearly impossible, and journalists and Internet experts are as involved as marketing as public relations. I have worked in PR for my entire life, and people approach Perry Rogers and PR Partners because we have managed to stay on top of the newest trends.

About Perry Rogers:
Serves as the President of PR Partners (Started in 2008). Graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in Accounting as well as attended the University of Arizona where he successfully completed his law degree. Mr. Perry Rogers is a board member of one of the most popular theme parks in the country, Six Flags. He knows business very well and he has several ventures which continue to be a success. One of those includes being a co-founder of Meadows Bank. He also has held an interest in PURE Nightclub which is located in Caesars Palace Las Vegas. [Full Resume for Perry Rogers]

His company, PR Partners, focuses on managing the careers, PR, and legacies, of the highest valued sports professionals. They offer a variety of services including endorsement management, NBA contract negotiations, media packets, TV, Radio, Print & Web exposure . A few of their clients include Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes, Todd Wilbur, George Whitfield Jr., and Shaquille O’Neal. His company has proven to be successful in their client’s careers and even beyond. One of the biggest benefits of his firm is not only his personal experience but to their contacts which can provide tremendous opportunities not only for sports professionals but actors as well.

You can read much more about him and his company on his LinkedIn below:
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/perry-rogers/98/b73/a79

The Changing Climate

How has my job changed? Well, today I do not just wriggle brands into the public eye using journalists. I need to influence people online using social medial. I market content to improve public image. My company deals with sports professionals as much as newspapers/media. Regardless of how much the field changes, there are two overriding principles I believe will always hold true:

1) Trust matters. If a person does not believe in my client’s brand, the client’s business suffers. Whether he or she fears the ability to perform a service or deliver a quality product on schedule, trust guides purchasing decisions.

2) The message must reach as many people as possible. It does not matter how great your message is or how trustworthy the brand appears. If nobody knows about a company, they cannot use their services.

Improving Reach

Speaking very broadly, the internet has divided reach into a two-pronged campaign for every client we take on:

1) Journalists. PR experts have historically relied on journalists to convey their message. Press releases and articles are written by or on behalf of clients, and they need to be published somewhere. Journalists are a trusted source of material. Reading the newspaper used to be a daily or weekly occurrence. The hard-working father reading the newspaper with his morning coffee was a stereotype for a reason.

However, a journalist’s reach is limited by what medium he or she uses to reach the public. There is a stark difference between publishing in a local paper versus The Washington Post.

2) Online. Influencing customers online and establishing trust is perhaps more dynamic than using traditional print and TV media, but the basic principles are the same. Customers have to be aware of the brand, the company’s message, and its content. Content quality and customer interaction are much more important. Social media determines how effective a company is at interacting with and responding to customer’s criticisms and concerns.

Both of these outlets for improving reach are important, and each company needs to use them differently. A company selling software specifically to younger audiences will rely more heavily on internet marketing, while an established, respected corporation will likely use both more evenly.

Other companies strive to let their customers do their work for them. Not directly, of course, but there are a lot of industry bloggers carving out their online niches and customer bases by simply reporting on certain fields. The best PR firms know how to influence those bloggers, either directly or indirectly, by personalizing their reach and pitching marketing campaigns directly to those bloggers.

This is a great approach because the public more implicitly trusts bloggers than they do direct advertisements. Ads are created by a company, and thus they are biased. Bloggers and internet personalities are seen as a kind of defense: a public phalanx set to weed out potentially misleading material and promote what is best for the consumer.

Changes Due to Social Media

Social media is turning PR into the dynamic, challenging field it has become today. The question we often get is, “How do you use social media to control public image of my company?” This is a valid question because simple mistakes now go viral and can cost thousands, if not millions, of dollars in damage in a matter of hours.

Let us think back to the Encarta Encyclopedia. This was seen as one of the best, most powerful informational tools of its time. Developed by Microsoft, it appeared on the surface to have every possible advantage. After all, Microsoft is a Forbes 100 company with a near-infinite budget, and it had cornered the encyclopedia publishing market. This was not just due to marketing; Encarta was a great product that offered better information for a lower price.

Then Wikipedia came along, and in less than a decade, the Encarta giant was dead. In another ten years, few people will remember the name. Wikipedia was created for far less money and written by the public. Experts from all over the World have donated millions of hours writing billions of words.

Social media operates much in the same way. PR firms no longer write the entirety of their own content – the public does it for them. What companies need in a quality PR firm these days is the ability to guide that content and ensure the information spreading around supplements your brand and improves your overall image.

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