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TODD SMITH — Consumers have confidence brands can lead in Coronavirus response

Edelman’s trust barometer has previously identified a shift in consumer sentiment where more people are valuing the actions of brands over institutions like the media and government. That trend has jumped to center stage in a more significant way as countries around the world scramble to respond to a coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in a climbing human toll and upturned industries. ...

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PHIL HARDWICK — Mortgage process illustrates solving pandemic economy not simple

It will be a sad and desperate time in a few months when millions of laid-off homeowners receive foreclosure notices. Add to that, the thousands of renters and commercial leaseholders who will face eviction. Is this a problem that can be solved now? And who will solve it? One idea is to simply call a timeout. Consider how a timeout ...

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JACK WEATHERLY — ‘Blackwood’ takes us on a journey into the darkness

‘In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray.’ – Dante’s Inferno, Canto 1, lines 1, 2 Michael Farris Smith has taken two Southern jokes and turned them on their literary heads. Kudzu and ghosts are not worthy of serious fiction unless in the hands of a master storyteller, such as Smith in his ...

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Analysis: Reeves gets his Katrina with challenge of virus

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves was a first-term state treasurer when the state was rocked by a massive and expensive disaster with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He worked with then-Gov. Haley Barbour to shape the short-term response and long-term recovery. Now just a few months into his own time as governor, Reeves is in charge of Mississippi’s response to the coronavirus ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Trump changes tune, but will his followers?

Personal freedom stands as the most liberal innovation of human civilization. How ironic that it stands as a key political manifesto of today’s conservative movement in America. Adopting the mantra that limited government empowers personal freedom, conservative groups for the past two decades have been promoting the need to tear down what they see as over-reaching government authority. Donald Trump became their ...

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TODD SMITH — Local news surges as a hungry public seeks the latest on the Coronavirus

Local news is seeing an increase in audience as people seek the latest information on the Coronavirus crisis. In a new report, Nielsen says that news viewing in the top 25 markets was up 6.9% for the week of March 9, compared to the week of Feb. 3. Different age groups showed different levels of increase. People 25 to 54, the ...

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Analysis: Virus upends Mississippi budget writing process

Mississippi legislators are supposed to set a state spending plan before the new fiscal year begins July 1. The coronavirus pandemic has scrambled most of the planning that budget writers have done the past few months, leaving uncertainty about how a shaky economy will affect tax collections. “We’ve never seen anything like this in our lifetimes, much less our political ...

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TODD SMITH — How to keep the public informed during the Coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced the world into a new normal! This crisis – like all major crises that grip society – greatly impacts business, industries, organizations and communities of all sizes. While the circumstances surrounding a crisis vary greatly, there are general best practices PR professionals should be prepared to deploy, according to the Public Relations Society of ...

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PHIL HARDWICK — Image is everything, even in Mississippi

When I taught a college Communication course a couple of years ago I would begin the first class of the semester with having students interview each other and then introduce the person they interviewed to the rest of the class. Then, without giving them any information about myself except what they could see in front of them I would give ...

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Analysis: Mississippi wise to close Capitol because of virus

The Mississippi Capitol is a germ and virus factory during any normal legislative session because of all the glad-handing, back-slapping and random hugging. It was clearly in line to become more perilous than usual during the coronavirus pandemic. Legislators voted last week to suspend their session until at least April 1, acting on the recommendation of the state health officer, ...

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