The Lab; Portnoy Media Group Blog

Mr. Portnoy, the Professor?

This past fall I was invited to the campus of Pepperdine University to talk with students in the PR/Marketing major and those involved in the local PRSSA chapter abut what life after college looks like. After several visits I was struck with a notion.

What if I walked with a class through some real world experiences while still enrolled in school?

Not exactly an internship, something with more of a safety net. A bit of a group think with direct input from a professor as well as a real world coach. The more college students I talk with or have worked with experience a wake up call when they hit the workplace. That seemed like an issue, so I did some thinking and found that there were some resources at my fingertips.

So I pitched an idea to my contact at Pepperdine (Dr. Emily Kinsky) and it looked like this:

The Project

Engage 10,000 college students to move from awareness to volunteers to advocates. Using all forms of PR (new and traditional media tools) to aid in the current campaigns created by URM and it’s partners – The class would work to catalyze the masses to being the solution to homelessness in Los Angeles.

Portnoy Media Group and Union Rescue Mission would work with the team to navigate the waters of Los Angeles non-profit PR and would formulate a feasible, real world plan with the chapter and then put it into action.

How Pepperdine wins:
Hands on creativity and implementation on a real world scenario. It’s a great resume piece for the students and provides instant feedback on success or failure. The students gain access to a client that is involved in every form of media production (print, film, broadcast, radio, web). URM and PMG could also give feedback on the process and the presentation from each team.

How URM wins:
Additional creative minds thinking about the plight of homelessness in Los Angeles. The result would be a microcosm of how URM engages college students and would then have solutions for maximum involvement.

How Portnoy Media Group Wins:
Additional minds creating content/ideas to aid with a current client.
I’d be looking for new ideas to accessibility and with all that brain power helping PMG aid URM in their endeavors of fundraising, awareness, volunteerism and advocacy.
An easy way to work along side and interact with students to identify good intern candidates.

The Final
The final presentations were several weeks ago and URM’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Jacqui Groseth, was on site for the final. All three pitches showed some similarities on how best to reach the students on their campus. Each team had identified a low cost/no cost option that would have maximum effectiveness for talking to college students throughout the Los Angeles area. I couldn’t have been happier with the way the project turned out and look forward to similar collaborations in the future. Big thanks to Dr. Kinsky for her risk taking!

Are you a school looking for a guest lecture? Contact Dan here

Click to check out Union Rescue Mission

Click to check out Pepperdine’s School of Communication

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Portnoy Media Group uses the influence of social networks to expand your organization's voice and tell your story. We connect people with your mission and enable your brand to be shared, discovered, and connected. Work with us as we empower your organization to dramatically extend your online presence and increase donations.

Portnoy Media Group is proud to join Radar LA and What Gives!? for this production.

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The Hardly Normal Cup of Coffee

Join Social Media maven Mark Horvath (@hardlynormal) for your morning cuppa at South by Southwest in Austin, TX. (SXSW)

Each morning Mark will chat about using Social Media for Social Good with a panel of genius communicators in the world of tech and non-profit. His guests have each set the standard for “now communication” within their niche.

The show films live in The Beacon: Lounge with a Conscience (NonProfit Lounge) March 13, 14 & 15th and will be airing online at The What Gives Ustream account.

Guest Lineup

Chris Brogan
President of the New Marketing Labs (, widely-read blogger, trendsetter, and co-author of the breakaway book, Trust Agents.

Beth Kanter
Author of “Beth’s Blog: How Non-Profits Can Use Social Media,” expert consultant to the non-profit world on Social Media strategy.

Jeff Pulver
Technology Anthropologist, Entrepreneur, Storyteller and Producer of the #140 Conference.

Kari Saratovsky
VP of Social Innovation, The Case Foundation (

Chris Noble
President of Cause Media Group

Tony Steward of
Known for their large-scale community creation muscle, will share about the ins and outs of community interaction.

The Hardly Normal Cup of Coffee is a morning broadcast not to be missed. These discussions will infuse tech heads with an informational buzz sure to wake the mind and heart. Mark Horvath, a homeless advocate and hope coach by nature, will lead an new interview conversation each day at the non-profit lounge. Each episode will stream live to his website.

With the world getting flatter and flatter, the lines of best practices on the web for non-profit and for profit businesses is becoming slim, the distinction is in the approach.

Strategic Partners


The Beacon is located on the 3rd floor of the Austin Convention Center, Room 8B—smack in the heart of the Greater Good Campus.

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The Idea Camp, One Year Later

This post will most likely blur the lines between personal and professional and I’m ok with that.

Last January I met Charles Lee. We connected through Twitter and we met for a cup of coffee.

Believe or not I was nervous to meet him. He was the first Pastor to ever reach out to me in LA and he was also the creator of The Freeze Project (The international Flash mob that brings awareness to human slavery) Just One and Laundry Loves. He had major street cred and he wanted to talk to me. We met that day and talked about the work I do and the role that Portnoy Media Group plays with organizations. Then we talked about what he was working on and ways to possibly further the scope. A few weeks later, I got to join the guys from Deidox in facilitating a session on communication with film.

Since then I’ve been fortunate to be involved with Charles in a few other instances. (Idea Camp DC, guest lecturing in his class) The thing is, Charles is a thinker. He doesn’t waste time with half baked ideas. If I’m getting a phone call from him it’s because he’s got a lot worked out already and wants to get my take on a project that I’d be involved in.

Which is why I will always take his call.

Idea Camp
It was the first un-conference I’d ever been to and will have a unique place in my heart. What happened on that weekend I don’t think can ever be fully duplicated again. The timing for many of the facilitators and attendees was at the intersection of a communication shift. A bunch of like minded rockstars and gave all there ideas away for free. The difference between the facilitators and attendee was minimal. All barriers and egos removed. If you had a question for someone they had time for you – it was wild.

There’s another opportunity to experience that same kind of openness and it’s The Ideation Conference – Check it out here

Daniel Li
We didn’t actually meet at The Idea Camp but I heard that the web developer for International Justice Mission was going to be there and geeked out a little. So I reached out on Twitter – what followed was coffee in DC a month later. And a few months later I got the chance to collaborate with IJM on their film: At The End of Slavery. We also share a love of the Red Sox.

Dawn Carter

When I first met Dawn at Idea Camp she was holding a tutoring session for a few people about tech communication and the power of information in the now. But it was really after the event that I got to find out who she was. She’s super dynamic and I can’t even wait to get to collaborate with her at SXSW this year. See for yourself, watch this short doc about her – Click here

Josh Roberts
Josh has been/is responsible for my matriculation to the SoCal lifestyle. He’s introduced me to my first fish taco and is a great guy to just chill with. Many times when hanging with church staff/pastor it can feel like he/she’s doing me a favor by gracing me with their presence. Nothing could be further from the truth with Josh. He’s just a solid guy – he genuinely cares for people, has a lot of responsibility and doesn’t shy away from it at all.

Eugene Cho

I had never heard of Eugene prior to Idea Camp but I instantly became a fan of his while there. There a lot of people in my life that I’d categorize as cool and then there are those who just ooze it, Eugene is the latter. He does a whole bunch of inspiring things like One Days Wages. Hopefully he won’t remember me from my exploits at the Idea Camp facilitators meet up.

Most embarrassing moment of Idea Camp
The only was for embarrassment not to have any power is to share it so, here goes: All the facilitators for Idea Camp were gathered together before the sessions and we had a chance to share a bit about ourselves. Cynthia Ware facilitated the session and encouraged us to “really take your time and share who you are…” Then she looked at me and I took her up on it. I dominated a room full of brilliance for far too long by giving my life story. The worst part was I didn’t feel bad about it until after the session ended and the teasing began. Completely oblivious to my communication faux pas during the entire session – it felt like the verbal equivalent to a Cannonball at your Aunt’s wake at the country club. Dave Mahanes was the funniest in the aftermath, “Sometimes when they say share who you are, you don’t have to share all of you”

There’s also a slew of so many others like Marc Payan, EloraNicole, Russell Ramirez, Mel McGowan, Jim Gray, Laurence Tom, and Amanda Jones (there really are too many to mention)

Charles, you’re responsible for all of this and I love you for it. I’ll be watching my phone for the next adventure.

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How Gaming Could Change the World

Last week the Design Innovate Communicate Entertain Summit (D.I.C.E.)

Check out this video from Carnegie Mellon University Professor, Jesse Schell. He predicts that we’re moving into a world of game development which will emerge from the popular “Facebook Games” era. Check out the video.

Whether this change continues to become all that Professor Schell suggests, it’s wild to think about the implications for marketing and yet another change to the commerce landscape. I found the video to be challenging and informative at how pervasive gamer culture has influenced so many facets of today’s living and also why I’m not accepting Farmville, or Mafia Wars invites on facebook.

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The Power Of An Ad

Sunday’s Superbowl was definitely one for the ages, the game was great and right down to the wire. The game also set records for the most watched program in the history of Television at 106.5 Million people. As the morning after talk started and the Monday AM Quarterbacks started giving their take on the game at the collective water cooler that is Twitter, there was one prevailing theme, “That Google ad was amazing!”. I heard that over and over, references being made, emotional pleas of tears thinking about love’s completion. It was a beautiful ad, and maybe it wins the day as best ad.. but more than that. It changed a landscape. Google has been under some fire recently and as a conglomerate , their hands are in virtually everything – from phones, to vids and of course they dominate search.

Since it played at the Superbowl it ‘s been watched online an additional 2Million times. Plus it’s been ReTweeted 32,000 times.. Of course the big deal is that it wasn’t made for the Superbowl and in fact, has been on the web since mid November. It’s safe to say that Google is pretty happy with the ad and the Search Stories campaigns that this ad is apart of is sheer brilliance.

What amazes me is the human connection and transference that has so many relating and connecting with this story. The bigger deal is that this commercial can be done for a budget, with the right people, for less than $5,000. Which puts a high quality, highly impacting brilliant ad in the reach of any organization.

What we can learn from the Google Ad “Parisan Love”:

    Use your product to make a connection.
    Tell a story and tell it well.
    Talk about the intersection of life and your product or service.
    Make it available for all to see
    Cream rises to the top – Good quality may take a little time but it will be found out.

Please leave a comment if there’s something you think I’ve missed or that you specifically came away with.

Also yesterday I was sent this amazing ad for seatbelt safety and the tag line was, “If you like Google’s ad yesterday, you’re going to dig this.”

What was the part that you connected with most?

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Another stop on the road to the Academy awards for Gregg Helvey and crew as this mornings nominations came out. I was absolutely elated that this fine, fine film is now considered one of the best from the last year! If you get a chance to see it, please do. I’m not new to the crux of the entertainment/art world working with the non profits that help those who have been caught in human trafficking and bring awareness to the masses. Hands down, KAVI is the best thing I’ve seen on trafficking since Taken. Where KAVI is more accessible is that it’s the story of a boy caught in a terrible scenario and it’s much more easy to identify with. (I’m still waiting on the Kung-fu lessons to kick in though!)

The quote below is not long after I’d seen the film and it stopped me dead in my tracks.

After watching the film, (It won the audience award at the IFFLA) myself and the Media Group partners (specifically Outthink Group) were quick to snap into work to make sure that as many people as possible could hear about this movie. Using social media to augment the film impact and using the gorgeous design of Blue Ember to enhance the web presence of

I can’t even begin to imagine this 3 year journey has felt like for Director Gregg Helvey – he’s got just 33 days left until the next chapter is done. From the bottom of my heart I hope that this film wins and becomes a lightning rod for people to hear more about trafficking and it prompts action in communities across the country.

Again big congratulations to Gregg Helvey, Margaux Helvey and John Harrison – Great Work!

Check out these previous posts on Kavi for further info and PLEASE check out Kavi’s website

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Over 17K Downloads in 2 Weeks

In just 2 weeks time the Drop has had over 17K downloads of the podcast.

Best of 2009

Click the picture and download it today!

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The Drop Launches Best of 2009


Just released for your musical pleasure, The Drop launches their final podcast of the year. What made the cut? Download it here!


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Collide Magazine just announced their nominations for best of the web according to their readers and we couldn’t be more pleased. Several of the projects we’ve been involved with this year are up for nominations and we’re thrilled for them.

COLLIDE readers, we need your help! Every year in COLLIDE we ask you to nominate and choose your favorite media, technology, blogs, and podcasts in our Readers Choice Awards. The time to vote has now come! So get cracking, and be sure to tell all your democracy-loving friends, too.

This is the place to cast your votes for your favorite things of 2009! Choose wisely, and only vote once please.

This year’s categories include:

* Favorite Film of 2009
* Favorite Church Media Short Film of 2009
* Favorite Church Media Producer
* Favorite DVD Curriculum
* Favorite Presentation Software
* Favorite Web App of 2009
* Favorite Gadget of 2009
* Favorite Twitter Client
* Favorite Book of 2009
* Favorite Viral Video of 2009
* Favorite Theology/Ministry Blog
* Favorite Faith & Arts Blog
* Favorite Faith & Pop Culture Blog
* Favorite Tech Blog
* Favorite Blogging Platform
* Favorite Sermon Podcast
* Favorite Non-Sermon Podcast

Voting will remain open until Monday, December 14 at 9am CST. Winners will be announced in the January/February 2010 issue of COLLIDE.


It’s great when other artists realize what good art and story telling looks like. It’s especially great when they’re your friends. Dave Mahanes and Brent Gudgel have been really striving all year to tell stories about “How God uses everyday people”
We recommend voting for Deidox in the Favorite Church Media Short Film of 2009 and the Favorite Church Media Producer categories – VOTE HERE


Stories from Skid Row has been a top 20 podcast on iTunes for the past year (non profit, video category) and it’s great to see Union Rescue Mission receive a nomination from the best of the web for 2009. These stories and snapshots show people around the mission putting their lives back together. We recommend voting for Stories from Skid Row in the Favorite Non-Sermon Podcast of 2009 category – VOTE HERE

Other notables – Congrats to:

Phil Cooke
Blaine Hogan
Francis Chan
Josh Blankenship
Anne Jackson
Tony Morgan
Matthew Paul Turner
John Acuff
Church Marketing Sucks
Donald Miller

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