Super Bowl novelty bets and our demand for distractions

One of today’s most successful news stories? Novelty bets on the Super Bowl. From NPR‘s Morning Edition to FOX Sports Daybreak, this morning’s talk-radio roundup included plenty of discussion about so-called proposition bets. Also known as “prop or gimmick bets,” proposition bets provide viewers of the Super Bowl to gamble on virtually any aspect of the…

Beyond public awareness: reports on poverty require actionable outcomes

A Common Wealth reader recently asked, “How do I volunteer for [anti-poverty] coalitions of community leaders…?” Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find to an answer to their question. As a marketing communications professional, I urge clients to remember the all-important call to action. What do we want people to do with the information once they’ve…

The need for home economics — with a modern-day twist

Last October, Ruth Graham of The Boston Globe wrote a spirited article, “Bring back home ec!” Her assertion is based on the practical knowledge required to prepare healthier home-cooked meals as well as the evergreen virtues of financial literacy. She touts the class’s benefits, which include fundamentals for better living, from food safety to smarter…

Do we reserve outrage for the rich?

From Mayor Lovely A. Warren’s campaign speeches to readers’ essays in the Democrat and Chronicle, the “tale of two cities” storyline continues to remind us of the widening socioeconomic gaps; there are some who earn $273 to $3,000 per day while many others earn only $30 or less per day. Yet, when we read about…

Why I’m giving up the term “poor people” in 2014

I recently wrote about resisting the temptation to categorize, classify, and label people living in poverty. As a person of privilege, it’s easy to steep myself in cold hard data. Perhaps I find greater comfort with facts and figures standing between myself and the undesirable realities of living below the poverty. Then there’s the dispassionate,…

What One Direction and Tom Richards share in common

One Direction, the English-Irish boy band, is one of the world’s biggest losers. In 2010, the youthful ensemble lost in the finals of Britain’s “The X-Factor” to earn third place. That didn’t stop them, however, from going on to become an international phenomenon and household brand. The key to their explosive success? Building upon connections with a…

Still in need of a New Year’s resolution? Take the Pledge of Community

On Jan. 5, 2014, representatives from Rochester’s interfaith community joined for a service to celebrate the inauguration of Mayor Lovely A. Warren. Spiritual leaders of Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith shared blessings for the City’s newest leader in a momentary symbol of unity across the Flower City. Mayor Warren’s brief remarks reminded the community of…

Jobs: Rochester’s much needed metric to monitor progress toward change

When architectural firms unveil proposed plans for new construction or renovations in the urban center of Rochester, N.Y., there is an unspoken assumption about the illustrated vision; the simulated people surrounding rendered buildings are young and employed with good-paying jobs. After all, they’re usually depicted strolling to lunch from their office or leaving a late-model…

A stronger Rochester demands more details, less drama from media

Photo Credit: Annette Lein (@bikebizzle) In Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, the President, from the perspective of his brief time as a U.S. Senator, reflects on early experiences with the news media and their role in moving along a political plot. Commenting on the back-and-forth between Democrat and Republican PR machines, Obama contends, “Part…

“Common Wealth” to propose new solutions for a stronger Rochester

Pencils down. These two words were once capable of causing me to panic. The clock’s second-hand would sweep around, as if in slow-motion, signaling the end of an exam. My time had expired; whatever thoughts failed to make their way onto paper were now seemingly useless. This nostalgic feeling returned last December as I completed my one-year term…