Category Archives: Uncategorized

Television is still the King

A lot has been written about how  digital media has numbered the days of more “traditional” news outlets, such as newspapers and television. A report out today from Gallup would tend to indicate, as Mark Twain would say, the demise of television has been greatly exaggerated.

Gallup reports today that television still dominates as American’s first choice for news. Fully 55% of Americans get their news about current events from television, followed by 21% from the internet. While digital news has swamped newspapers (only 9% indicate newspapers as their primary source), it has not displaced television.

I’m old enough to remember the news about crazy men like Ted Turner, who had a vision of 24/7 information delivery via cable channels. At that time, Americans got their news primarily from newspapers and the three large networks, ABC, CBS and NBC. The reaction Turner received varied between “give it a year” and projections of his imminent bankruptcy. Within a few years, that scorn had changed to clarion calls that the Big Three broadcast channels were staring at extinction. Neither extreme proved to be true.

What happened was the delivery channels were split, with news consumers getting more options. The pie, in other words, was merely split into smaller pieces. The same is now happening with the advent of digital media and the internet.

Yes, an increasing number of people are looking to digital for news. Yet television still dominates the market. Newspapers have taken a distinct hit in their market share, but I believe they’ve hit bottom and with aggressive moves into the digital space will find their balance. The pie has merely been cut into smaller slices yet again.

For our clients, it’s important to be everywhere: television, radio, print and internet. When we need to drive the news, we do it in a coordinated fashion. This not only ensures we hit our audiences, but gives us repetition in news cycles. There is no “silver bullet”…you have to be everywhere your audience is looking.

Television is a unique medium. It combines important moving visuals with delivery by news people you (hopefully) trust. If you don’t trust that host, there are hundreds of other options. It allows a vast amount of programming and entertainment options due to its 24/7 nature and bandwidth. And among other news outlets, it is uniquely situated to augment itself in the digital space.

Whether television remains at the top of the news business is yet to be seen. My money says it will.


Leave a comment

Filed under Legislative Affairs, Paid Media, Public Affaris, Uncategorized

The High Price of Low Rent Coaches

I doubt if anyone today at Auburn is saying, “But hey, at least they won the championship!”

Former Iowa State University and Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik is facing grade-changing accusations. Former New York Times and Sports Illustrated reporter Selena Roberts said Chizik changed the grades of as many as nine Auburn players leading up to the 2011 BCS National Championship. Chizik was fired from Auburn last season. The report on details many allegations of NCAA violations during Chizik’s tenure at Auburn. It would seem the bromance between Auburn and Chizk has long since passed.

This week also saw the firing of Rutgers University’s men’s basketball coach. Words don’t do justice to how terrible former Coach Mike Rice was to his players. The video says it all. All I can say is that he ought to count his blessings that his large, physical players never banded together and took him out behind the locker room. In my opinion they would have been more than justified in doing so.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Rutgers apparently now owes Rice over $100,000 for lasting the entire season. This bonus is on top of his $622,500 annual salary.

I’ve been blessed with four children who are all physically talented and enjoy sports. Soccer, track, cross country, softball, baseball, football and swimming have been mainstays in our house for as long as I can remember. Like most parents we’ve given up logging the miles or hours we pile up in support of our student athletes.

Through all of their sports we’ve seen the power of individual dedication that each athlete brings to the competition. We’ve also seen the incredible positive influences good coaches can have on an athlete’s performance and love for the sport.

This week serves as a reminder of how disastrous bad coaches can be. To be sure, Auburn and Rutgers universities are embarrassed by the disgraceful behavior of these coaches, as they should be.

But think for just a moment about the ruined lives and dreams of the athletes these low rent coaches have left in their wake.

For them, I feel truly sorry. They deserved so much better.

Leave a comment

Filed under Public Affaris, Reputation Management, Uncategorized

I Wear a Black Band on My Wrist

The following remarks were given by Gabe Haugland, Iowa National Guard, at the 2012 Memorial Day service in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Good morning. Thank you for allowing me to share some thoughts with you on such an important day, as we remember all who have fallen in the service of their great country.

Last year I spoke here in this same cemetery as I was still mourning the loss of SGT Brent Maher of Honey Creek, Iowa, who I served with in Afghanistan. He lost his life in an IED attack on April 11, 2011. I wear a black band on my wrist with his name on it every day so as to be constantly reminded of his sacrifice. We are now one year removed from his passing, but I still miss him just as much today as I did one year ago, and I can hardly imagine the pain his wife and children are experiencing today as they remember him too.

We also remember the sacrifice of a local hero, Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, of Rockford, Iowa who was one of 22 special operators who died when a Taliban RPG hit their Chinook helicopter on August 6 of last year.

Unfortunately, these two weren’t our only losses last year. In total, there have been 110 U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq since the first of this year alone.

So today, I thought it would be appropriate for us to recall exactly what it is that they have sacrificed their lives for.

Our Founders believed that our Creator had endowed us with certain inalienable rights – rights that could not be surrendered to the state because they created by God –  the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Our fallen have died to secure those rights.

Our Founders also recognized a few other rights they determined indispensable to our Republic:

1. Freedom of speech, press, religion and petition
2. The right to keep and bear arms
3. Conditions for quarters of soldiers
4. The right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure
5. The right to due process and the prevention of unjust government takings
6. The right to a speedy trial
7. The right to a trial by jury
8. Freedom from excessive bail and cruel punishment
9. The protection of other rights not listed in the Constitution
10. States rights, or the principle of federalism

We know these rights collectively as the “Bill of Rights.”

But what is a Soldier’s role in defending, protecting and preserving these rights?

Perhaps a Union Soldier during the Civil War would’ve told you he was defending the right of the slave to be free – the right to liberty.

Perhaps an American Soldier during WW2 would’ve told you he was fighting to defend our very homeland after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Had the Germans or the Japanese succeeded, all of the rights we just mentioned under the Bill of Rights would’ve ceased to exist.

Perhaps an American Soldier during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts would’ve told you he was defending our way of life against the spread of Communism, a system that killed between 85-100 million people during the 20th century alone. Perhaps he would’ve told you he was fighting to prevent mass killings that were commonplace under Communist regimes, or terror campaigns, or the brutal treatment of political prisoners in Communist “re-education camps.”

Perhaps an American Soldier during Desert Storm would’ve told you he was fighting to prevent further use of chemical weapons and poison gas, which Saddam employed against the Kurdish people in the Halabja prison massacre on March 16, 1988.

Perhaps an American Soldier during the Global War on Terror would tell you he was fighting to prevent the spread of radical Islam, a system which strips women of their rights and treats them as property; where the terrible ideology of Sharia law allows for honor killings and public stonings for women who have dishonored their families.

I know from my own experience in Afghanistan that we were fighting not only to exact revenge against the Taliban and al-Qaeda for 9/11 and prevent an attack like the from ever happening again, but for the little girls in the villages who were being poisoned by the Taliban for trying to go to school and get an education.

And of course, as every Soldier will tell you, he was fighting to protect his buddies to his left and his right.

But can you imagine the global spread of these ideologies if it weren’t for the American Soldier? Can you imagine our way of life today if the Germans had succeeded? The Rebel South? The Imperial Japanese? Communist Russia? Fascist Italy? The North Koreans? The Vietcong? Saddam Hussein? Al-Qaeda?

I can. I can imagine it because history is littered with examples of what happens to a society that refuses to honor and protect these rights that we so often take for granted.

You see, all of these countries and their actors adhered to different principles – dark principles. And as they threatened our own, the American Soldier was called upon to secure them by force.

So if you like to read the newspaper on Saturday morning without fear of being put in a re-education camp for being on the wrong side of a political issue, thank a fallen American Soldier. If you like the fact that we have newspapers at all, thank a fallen American Soldier.

If you like to worship in peace on Sunday, free from the terror of Sharia law, or suicide bombings, or state control of the Church, as was the case in pre-war Germany, thank a fallen American Soldier.

If you like knowing that the government can’t just enter your house and take your things without due process, or that you’ll have a fair trial if accused of a crime you didn’t commit, thank a fallen American Soldier.

If you like to travel to Europe, visit France and Germany, experience foreign cuisine and practice those language skills you learned in high school, thank an American Soldier. After all, not only did he liberate these countries, he then proceeded to rebuild them.

If you like going to the mall, or to dinner, free of the thought of rocket attacks from a hostile neighboring country, as is the case in Israel, thank a fallen American Soldier.

If you like going to school, or sending your kids to school, especially your daughters, with the ability to study as they please and get an education without fear of being poisoned by acid attacks, as is the case in Afghanistan, thank a fallen American Soldier.

Or maybe you’re a protester and you feel the urge to burn an American flag, secure under the First Amendment right of free speech to do so; you too should thank a fallen American Soldier.

And if you simply like to sit on your porch in the evening, look out across the amber waves of grain, or corn, or soybeans and watch your kids play, in peace, thank a fallen American Soldier.

I would like to share a poem that has stuck with me for many years. The author is Charles M. Province, a veteran of the U.S. Army and is entitled: “It is the Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press

It is the Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us the freedom to protest

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial

It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

The only issue I take with Mr. Province is the idea that the Soldier has given us these rights. In truth, the Soldier hasn’t. And it wasn’t our Government either. No, God gave us these rights; soldiers simply stake their lives to defending them against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Today we are grateful for each and every American Soldier who has given their life in defense of their country and these grand ideals, which have secured our place in the world as the longest standing form of government in recorded human history.

Today we are grateful for their families, who have born the sacrifice of war and loss.

But today we are also hopeful for a new generation of warrior-statesmen, who will again rise up to meet the challenges of the 21st century and the bad actors sure to challenge these ideals again soon, just as their fore-fathers have done since 1775.

Please join me in a moment of silence, as we honor all those men and women have given “the last full measure of devotion.”

Thank you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

About the Author

Gabe Haugland served in Afghanistan as an Infantry officer in 2011. He now serves in the Iowa National Guard as a reserve JAG officer. Gabe lives in Clear Lake, Iowa, with his wife Carolyn and their two children. These opinions are his alone and do not represent those of the DoD, U.S. Army, or the Iowa National Guard. He can be reached at

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized