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     Speak Up! employs various means to connect with students, including real-life speech examples and hundreds of hand-drawn illustrations that bring public speaking concepts to life with clarity and humor. The fifth edition of Speak Up!, newly published this year, includes a new “Speech Choices” case study feature to help students understand and relate to the concepts and principles behind speech preparation.


      This feature presents a case study of one student, Rafaela, as she prepares for her persuasive speech assignment. In our book, we explain the speech preparation process to students as a series of manageable steps.  At each stage, we discuss how students can make smart choices that will help them craft and deliver a successful speech. The Speech Choices feature follows Rafaela as she considers and makes these decisions throughout the preparation of her speech.


      Since the feature appears at the end of most chapters in the book, the boxes help students review the concepts of each chapter. They see the choices that Rafaela is faced with, and follow her as she uses the principles discussed in the chapter to make her decision. For example, in Chapter 5 on Audience Analysis, Rafaela considers how to make her speech about women running for office relevant to the men in her class. She ultimately decides to employ one of the methods recommended in the chapter, interviewing your audience, to get their perspective and incorporate that perspective into her speech. And in Chapter 7 on Evidence, Rafaela finds that she needs to check the credibility of her Internet sources.



     The Speech Choices boxes include questions at the end, asking the students what they thought about Rafaela’s decision and a question about how they will use the principles to develop their own speeches.  The latter question helps students make connections between what they have read in the book and their own speech preparation. One typical use of these questions is to have students discuss the questions as a class or while working in groups. Students could also answer these questions for a short homework assignment, and even cite principles from the chapter that they used as the basis of their answer for even deeper understanding. This provides an alternative to quizzing students to see if they did the reading assignment and provides instructors with another way to determine what students have learned.


     After following the various steps that Rafael has taken in her speech preparation, students can see the complete, annotated outline of Rafaela’s speech in the appendix. This can be used to show students an example of a completed preparation outline and give them a model as they prepare their own outlines. They could also watch a video of Rafaela’s full speech, which is available in LaunchPad.  Students can see how all her work and all the choices she made culminated in her final presentation. This video can also be used as a sample persuasion speech or as a speech to spark student discussion. There are sample questions and answers provided, or instructors can create their own questions. Finally, there are video clips of segments of Rafaela’s speech that did not go well as she was practicing. These can be used to show students problems that speakers sometimes encounter. There are also sample questions and answers for these clips.


     The new Speech Choices feature in Speak Up! adds another tool to your public speaking toolbox. Whether you use the features in the text, the videos in LaunchPad, or both, Speech Choices provides a way to help students follow the development of a speech and consider how they can use textbook concepts to prepare their own speeches.



Douglas M. Fraleigh is a professor and chair of the Department of Communication at California State University, Fresno and serves on the faculty of the university’s Smittcamp Family Honors College. He has taught public speaking courses throughout his career and also coached intercollegiate speech and debate at CSU Fresno, UC Berkeley, Cornell, and CSU Sacramento. His research interests include freedom of speech, argumentation, and legal communication. For more information about Speak Up!, please visit our website at

“No textbook is created by one person,” writes Steve McCornack and Joe Ortiz, the authors of the groundbreaking new edition of the human communication textbook Choices & Connections. “What we teach, and how we teach it, can have a transformative impact on our students.” I’m proud to be one of the many people who helped Steve and Joe create this new edition, as a founding member of the editorial board for Diversity, Inclusion, and Culturally-Responsive Pedagogy (DICR). Collectively, what we accomplished with this new edition of Choices & Connections is to create a book that all of our students can see themselves in. In doing this, I believe this new edition will transform the lives of our students for the better. To me, that’s the ultimate mark of achievement.


In 2018, the National Communication Association (NCA) published nine learning outcomes for courses in the communication discipline. The Learning Outcomes in Communication (LOC) project was a faculty-driven initiative to voice specific learning outcomes for the discipline and stakeholders—students, graduates, parents, employers, and even college & university administrators. In all, these nine outcomes form the essence of teaching and learning in our discipline. Of these nine LOCs, one in particular addresses a key issue often overlooked by publishers and institutions yet nonetheless fundamental to the notion of equity in education and society--embracing diversity and promoting inclusion: “LOC #8 Utilize communication to embrace difference.” This learning outcome, which can be read in its entirety here, was the foundation on which our DICR Board and the revision of Choices & Connections was built.


The DICR board was formed by eight diverse communication scholars from around the country, including me, who have taken on leadership or demonstrated a passion for advocacy for diversity and inclusion. We had one distinct task: together, we would re-examine the photography, graphics, examples, and the text to create a better, more inclusive set of learning materials. 


I believe that's what we did. Working with the editors at Macmillan Learning, and in partnership with Steve and Joe, we were able to collectively create a more diverse and inclusive text, through the photo program (see the photo of Serena Williams on the Chapter 2 opener, which I discussed in my previous blog), examples (see the example of Dolores Huerta in Chapter 1), and topic coverage (see new Chapter 3: Culture and Gender). For more on these examples, take a look at the DICR microsite here.


So, I’m especially excited that together we are undertaking an effort that can exponentially change the publishing industry. We know that diversity and inclusive representation is sound, culturally-responsive pedagogy. We know that what this textbook looks like will matter to students. And, we are just getting started.


The board has reconvened for a second term to work on another Macmillan Learning text that you will be learning more about in the future. We remain committed to our mission: "to advance and evolve our understanding of diversity, inclusiveness, and culturally responsive pedagogy to promote their fundamental, not ancillary, place in the development of learning materials.” I see our editorial board as the beginning of a movement to transform the development of higher education learning materials, one textbook at a time.


             Professor Martin speaks on college success, as well as diversity & inclusion. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram at ThreePsPodcast.

             Learn more about the DICR editorial board here.

In the introductory human communication course or public speaking course, it can be challenging for students to see speech preparation as a developmental process. Many students come into introductory courses having done oral presentations for other academic classes. For example, they may have had a presentation assignment in an art history or business class. As a result, these students are accustomed to planning their presentations by using a PowerPoint template or simply writing down a “grocery list” of topics to cover.


 To encourage students to be more intentional in their speech preparation, I teach a five step model: Think, Investigate, Compose, Rehearse, and Revise. Think about your topic and audience; investigate or research the topic; compose an outline; rehearse your speech, and revise the outline according to feedback received from your rehearsal. This five step model is the basis for both lessons  and learning activities.


Students are expected to apply this five step model in preparing their speech assignment, and to make their preparation visible through a portfolio assignment. Specifically, written documentation of how the student has applied each of the five steps is organized into a folder and submitted for grading. Figure 1 below outlines the five step model along with the type of evidence to be included in the portfolio.


The portfolio assignment encourages students to be more intentional in developing their speeches, and helps them see speech-making as a developmental process. Additionally, it provides instructors with a complete “snapshot” of the preparation that went into the speech, which then supports meaningful and constructive feedback to students.


Five Steps in Making Your Speech Preparation Visible




  • Brainstorm inspiration for the topic
  • Analyze the situation and the audience
  • Narrow the topic
  • Develop a working thesis statement

Brainstormed list or written rationale for topic choice.

Complete audience analysis survey.

Written notes that show the process of narrowing a topic and the development of a working thesis statement.


  • Locate resources:  articles, books and websites
  • Keep research cards or notes with bibliographic citations
  • Frame your thesis statement

Sampling of search terms, bibliographic citations, and notes to show research efforts.

Final thesis statement.


  • Identify main points and supporting material
  • Develop a working draft of the outline of the speech body
  • Prepare introduction and conclusion
  • Develop a polished draft of the speech outline
  • Prepare presentation aids


Preparation outline drafts.

Notes or outline drafts of speech introduction and conclusion.

Notes on possible presentation aids.


  • Prepare necessary speech notes
  • Give the speech aloud
  • Practice with presentation aids
  • Work on vocal and nonverbal delivery
  • Obtain feedback from another person

Drafts of speaker notes or delivery outline.

Date/time record of rehearsal efforts.

Written summary or notes from another

person on rehearsal feedback. 



  • Develop a final speech outline as indicated by practice feedback


Final speech outline.




For more information on this and other communication topics, please see Choices and Connections, Third Edition, by Joseph Ortiz and Steven McCornack, newly available at

About three years ago, my former institution was considering a book adoption of a standardized introductory human communication textbook. This practice is fairly standard with textbook publishers across the country—we vote, we adopt and our college students are required to use the book. Our voting cluster was comprised of all full-time Communications Faculty.


My institution, Palm Beach State College, had just retired a black male president and we were now getting acquainted with our first female college president. We were progressive, I thought. Our faculty was smart, innovative, resourceful and forward-thinking. They were the best colleagues, some I still call friends.


However, when reviewing this textbook, I started noticing these small slights. Out of our top three selections, Macmillan’s Choices & Connections stood out above the rest...for all the wrong reasons. For example, the chapter “Self & Perception” included a brilliant photo of Serena Williams, seemingly taken after she won a match. By itself, the image was grand, powerful and authentic—she was shining as she does best, on the court, a successful professional athlete.


But in relation to the other images in this chapter on perception, she appeared angry. Most of the other images in the chapter featured non-black people smiling, happy, and glamorous. The chapter’s copy spoke about Serena’s condescending taunts to her opponents and her childhood in Compton, “the area of Los Angeles made famous by rappers for its poverty and violence.” Thus, Serena stood out, in a full page spread on critical self-reflection, looking like an “angry black woman... from the ‘hood.” I’m sure that wasn’t the intent. But perception matters. I know that Serena Williams is Compton, but she’s also Palm Beach Gardens, fashion, travel and philanthropy.


And this is where my colleagues and I disagreed. It’s not just the content of the materials for me. As a former journalist, I know that words and images matter. Images are especially important for the black community. We know that the media can be our friend and/or enemy. We also now know that if we can see something, we can believe in its possibilities. For this reason, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates stands out.


For almost 20 years, I’ve been teaching at colleges and universities throughout Florida. Just last year, I moved north to Atlanta, GA, and started working as a Visiting Professor at Georgia State University. Often times, I go unnoticed. I’m the quiet one, bespectacled, always in the back of a faculty meeting, convocation or graduation. I’ve only somewhat enjoyed the administrative highs and lows, but I have always loved the students. They bring something so unique to the classroom that makes the early years, late nights on campus, and even long hours grading speeches worthwhile. For me, it has always been about bringing 100% of my best self to my classroom. My students deserve this. And they have actually paid for this academic experience.


It was five years ago that I actually started noticing things in the media that made me uncomfortable. As a journalism educator then, these small slights to black women made me uncomfortable. Such as, in late 2014, when The New York Times said the beloved Viola Davis, a remarkably talented Academy, Emmy and Tony award-winning actress who shines eloquently against Denzel Washington, was “less classically beautiful.” It hurt. She looks like my girlfriends and female relatives. That is, she is brown-skinned.


It wasn’t just about black women. I recall that in 2016, Asher Nash, an adorable baby boy with Downs Syndrome, was denied an opportunity to model children’s clothing for OshKosh B’Gosh because, it was alluded, of his disability. Also in 2016, April Reign began her social campaign for #OscarsSoWhite. The campaign focused on more representation and recognition in film for black actors. Today, similar efforts include all people of color.


Back then, I was also a Palm Beach County resident, and two of our most famous sisters, Venus and more so, Serena, were often picked apart and critiqued in the media on things like appearance, body image, and physicality. So, when I saw that photo, I had had enough. I just couldn’t sit idly by being comfortable. Because these were people that could have easily been my students or my future students. As an instructor, my job is to teach and reach as many students as I can—so we can’t afford to lose one. These students often come from a range of backgrounds—age, race, gender (and gender identity), and religion—as like the real world around us. As faculty, we (hopefully) leave our biases and prejudices behind. Our goal is to educate and prepare them for the future.


As a woman of color, the Serena image was the same, hurtful. I am a black woman, tenured Professor and mother of five brown-skinned children. If that’s how they see her, how do they see me? My black- and brown students? My kids?


By the time Macmillan’s sales rep Allen Cooper made it to my office, I was already vehemently advocating against Choices & Connections, for this reason and others. I also learned that no one had ever asked for feedback from a diverse group of educators about diversity and inclusivity in the making of the book. And, one bundled copy of The South Side wasn’t going to win me over.


As Allen, a young white man, sat across from me, a seasoned communications professor, I had one question in mind: “Do the people making decisions look like me, or do they look like you?” Because, in my classrooms, many of our South Florida students look more like me, various shades of black and brown faces. Palm Beach State is recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. That only means, the institution has reached a 25% Hispanic student population.


Allen did his best in trying to understand, to reach out, and offer consultation with others at Macmillan. In the process, he wanted to learn too. Two years later, now an editor based in NYC, Allen reached out to me with a new idea, a concept for an editorial board of diverse faculty from around the county to review the previously mentioned college textbook.


From there, we took our weekly conversations and turned them into a learning experience. Today, about 10 unique and diverse faculty members from around the country consult and review college textbooks with Macmillan Learning staff. This editorial board for Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Culturally-Responsive Pedagogy, or the DICR board, crafted a mission statement: “To advance and evolve our understanding of diversity, inclusiveness, and culturally-responsive pedagogy and to promote their fundamental, not ancillary, place in the development of learning materials.”


Our recorded conversations on this experience reflects a first-of-its-kind undertaking in the publishing industry where we converse on diversity, inclusiveness and culturally responsive pedagogy. We know that change can happen slowly, but for all of us involved, the Choices & Connections review has resulted in one textbook that is richer, more accurate and inclusive. That’s a win-win for all of us. And yes, we did replace the photo of Serena, with a photo that better emphasized her beauty and her strength.



It’s important to know that our work is just beginning. This blog, my “Three Ps in a Pod” podcast, the Macmillan Learning video on diversity and inclusion, the DICR board and its review work, and this website are all a part of our efforts to educate and inspire action in colleges & universities for all of the students we serve. Join us on this journey.


S. Lizabeth Martin is a visiting professor of Communications at Georgia State University, Atlanta, and a member of Macmillan Learning's Editorial Board for Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Culturally-Responsive Pedagogy. For more information about , the DICR Board, or Choices & Connections, check out the Choices & Connections microsite here, or check out Lizabeth's video on the home page of this Community.

"To take from an artist is to take greatness from this world."


So says Matthew Cuban in the following video from a group of Los Angeles street poets about copyright and its importance to creativity and innovation in America. We are thrilled to partner with Macmillan Learning to create this inspiring project, which will debut on the LaunchPad for Media Essentials, Fifth Edition, this fall. We hope its message will resonate with faculty and students alike as they create, research, cite, and consume content across the digital world.


A bit of background about this project: My name is Ruth Vitale and I run CreativeFuture, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles. I started this advocacy organization almost seven years ago because I have worked with creative people my entire professional life (first-time filmmakers, musicians, artists, writers, etc.) and know that what they do takes enormous effort, talent, and love. As I watched the digital landscape change around us, I could foresee a world in the very near future when they would be unable to make a living.


Why, you might ask? It all comes down to the dawn of the internet and the explosion of global piracy that has directly impacted our creative communities’ ability to earn a living. Here are two things I know for certain: first, most people think that piracy is a victimless crime or, at the very least, a crime only against very wealthy individuals or corporations. And, the second thing I know just as certainly: the people who are truly hurt by piracy are the millions of Americans who work in the creative industries who are not rich and rely upon their paychecks to afford the basics – things like feeding their families and paying rent.


In 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) mandated that colleges take meaningful action to curb piracy over their campus networks. One of the requirements of the Bill is an annual disclosure to students describing copyright law and how violating it goes against federal law and campus policies. Every school must provide all incoming students with these materials. Unfortunately, this important message tends to get wrapped up in a lot of legal language that does little but scare or repel students and faculty, while failing to convey why anyone should care about copyright other than being caught.


That’s where CreativeFuture’s collaboration with Macmillan comes in. We partnered to ensure that this message will not be a boring legal letter, but instead a positive message that can inspire students to do better in their daily content searches online. The LaunchPad for Media Essentials will now give teachers the ability to easily distribute this video to all of their students. And, hopefully, that will spark the type of conversation that changes attitudes and opinions in the next generation of creators and consumers.


If we can only cut through the legalese, we can impart to students that copyright is a creative right afforded to all Americans, a legal structure that helps creative people to be compensated for their work. Without it, there would be no marketplace for creativity – just creative people and their hobbies.


As I said, copyright infringement doesn’t just hurt big companies and their profits, it prevents creative individuals from making a living. And, while that one stream or download may feel like a victimless crime, there are billions of people around the globe thinking and doing the same thing. Piracy isn’t victimless. In fact, the piracy ecosystem threatens the livelihoods of people everywhere.


With this new video, Macmillan and CreativeFuture have set out to create a resource that explains to students, in a compelling and engaging fashion, why copyright matters to them personally and why it’s worth protecting.


The street poets who appear in this video are Angelena Aguilera, Aman Batra, Matthew Cuban, Kito Fortune, Tonya Ingram, and Alyesha Wise. They represent the types of individuals that the copyright system is designed to protect. These Los Angeles-based performers are passionate, hardworking creators doing what they love. As you will hear in the video, they sell “CDs and chapbooks out of the trunks of their cars” – and a $10 purchase of one of their works can mean the difference between “feast and famine.” This video is a window into their lives, showing us how they make a living.


For artists like these, even a small act of copyright infringement can affect their ability to pay even basic expenses, let alone pursue their craft as a viable profession. And yet, despite the basic obligation of federal law to educate students about copyright infringement, piracy on college campuses is more the norm than the exception.


For most students, learning about something as nuanced as copyright is about the last thing on their list of priorities when going to college. What’s more, many have little disposable income, making piracy an appealing alternative. Add to that a culture in which creative content online has been devalued by the prevalence of free, and it is no wonder that copyright infringement is an everyday occurrence.


With the rise of online streaming, digital theft has become easier and more prevalent. For many young people born and raised in this digital world, such consumption is an expectation, not a violation.


We can hardly blame students for this mindset, but we hope our video can convince them that it has serious ramifications. Copyright safeguards the original works of writers, musicians, filmmakers, software and gaming developers, and other innovators whose collective contributions keep our country strong and competitive and our culture fascinating and diverse.


This is what led the U.S. Supreme Court to single out copyright as “an engine of free expression.” What could be more important than protecting the vibrant creative industries that not only entertain, inspire, and provoke us, but that export our democratic ideals around the world and often reflect the best of America?


Indeed, copyright is more than the fuel of a mighty cultural engine – it is the foundation of one of our economy’s most essential pillars. The core copyright industries (film, television, music, radio, books, photography, newspapers, and software in all formats) collectively added an estimated $1.3 trillion to the U.S. GDP in 2017 – or 6.85% of its total value.


Not surprisingly, revenues of that magnitude generate a massive number of jobs – jobs that many students may one day have. Core copyright industries employed over 5.7 million people in 2017, while total copyright industries employed nearly 11.6 million workers. Piracy causes massive harm to these individuals and companies. In some cases, such as the music industry during the era of Napster, it can become an existential threat.


So, it has become more important than ever to educate students about the importance of copyright and the harms that occur when people minimize it. By putting a fresh and real spin on this urgent yet frequently sobering topic, we hope that our video will, if even just for a moment, snap students out of the overwhelming clamor of college life and allow them to spend a moment thinking about how infringement affects the lives of real people.


Users of the Launchpad for Media Essentials will be able to access this video and an accompany activity when the LaunchPad goes live in November. In the meantime, please watch and share the video as seen above in this post.


We hope that you, an invaluable community of educators, will use our video in your classroom, regardless of how directly copyright seems to impact your coursework. If you teach a creative subject, or a subject that might lead someone toward a creative career, this video and the accompanying materials are essential. But, even in a field that seems unrelated, it is always important to remind our next generation of professionals, creative or otherwise, that copyright law has allowed American creativity to be a beacon of hope around the world.


All of us should be setting an example for the next generation of how to use the internet responsibly. We are pleased to offer this one small yet impactful opportunity to do so. We only ask that, at a minimum, you devote a moment or two of your valuable class time to draw attention to this compelling video resource. That, at the very least, “you think,” as the poets implore, “before stealing from [their] plate.”


Ruth Vitale is the CEO of CreativeFuture, a nonprofit coalition of over 550 companies and organizations and more than 240,000 individuals devoted to promoting the value of creativity in the digital age. She has held top posts at Paramount Classics, Fine Line Features, and New Line Cinema.


When A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking came out in its 6th edition last fall, its LaunchPad got so much more than just a refresh. It’s a totally revamped experience for your students! Let’s check out all of the new features...


So that students can do all course work in one place, there is now an e-book built into LaunchPad for online reading. Or, if students do not have access to the Internet, they can read the mobile-friendly downloadable e-book.


Having an e-book in LaunchPad for Pocket Guide also means that our LearningCurve adaptive quizzing now has interactive links to the readings, rather than simply page numbers, as in the previous edition.


We have a whole slew of new video options in this edition! Each Part from the book has its own video in LaunchPad that shows the concepts from the chapters in action. In addition to a new full-length sample speech, “Going Carbon Neutral on Campus” in chapter 22, we also have the “Needs Improvement” version of the speech, so students can see a shining example and a what-not-to-do example of the same presentation, to allow for comparing and contrasting. As always, the speech video is cut into small chunks as well, to highlight particular aspects such as the introduction, source citation, and delivery styles.


Lastly, LaunchPad for the 6th edition of A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking comes with our video assessment program powered by GoReact. Speeches can be recorded right into LaunchPad through the website or through a mobile app, and then can be assessed using time-based comments, markers, and rubrics. You can see our COMMunity post on video assessment here:

If you’d like a personal tour of LaunchPad, sign up for a session with me, your Learning Solutions Specialist:

With a new co-author, a new chapter on Gender Communication, new Making Relationship Choices case studies, and new Video Assessment tools, Reflect and Relate, along with its corresponding LaunchPad, offers more interpersonal communication coverage than ever before.


The resources available in LaunchPad truly do live up to the title of the book. Students work through reflection activities such as journal entries and self quizzes, and then relate to the material with our flagship offering – Making Relationship Choices case studies, featuring “The Other Side.”


Making Relationship Choices activities immerse students into a situation they’re likely to experience in real life – Choosing Between Friends, Struggling with Family Transitions, and Dealing with Mixed Messages. Students are provided with a communication concept for background, then are presented with the “Case Study,” which lays out the scenario. Then, they are taken to “Your Turn” – 5 short answer questions that require reflection on the situation. Next, we see “The Other Side,” a video in which the other person involved tells his or her side of the case study story. As in many real-life situations, this video shows information which wasn’t available when crafting a response to the Case Study. The video reminds students that even when we do our best to offer competent responses, there always is another side to the story that we need to consider. Lastly the student is asked to take an interpersonal competence self-assessment to evaluate their previously submitted responses and is given a chance to think about what he or she might have done differently. New to the 5th edition are MRCs for Gender Communication and Workplace Relationships.


Also new to the 5th edition is our video assessment program, which provides students with the space to view, analyze, and practice interpersonal communication skills. Both instructor and students can record, upload, embed, or live-stream video to share with the class and analyze together. Multiple comment-delivery options are available including text, audio, and video to deliver powerful feedback. Customizable visual markers allow the user to pinpoint critical aspects of video being discussed. The possibilities are endless.


Other resources available in this LaunchPad include Journal entries for topics such as Ineffective Listening Behavior and Self Quizzes that look at skills such as Evaluating Empathy. Our video library contains 60 clips that show communication concepts in action, such as “You” Language and Avoidance. Of course, we also have a full test bank, pre-made quizzes, and our popular LearningCurve adaptive quizzing has been completely updated.


To learn more about LaunchPad, schedule a one-on-one session with your Learning Solution Specialist: Macmillan Learning Support Center 

As insults go, “fake news” has not yet reached the point of vacuity of, say, “your mother wears army boots.” Because of its excessive and less-than-strategic usage, it is edging into cliché territory. That is a knife that, though dulling, cuts both ways. That it’s being used to the point of triteness means that many are comfortable slinging that particular bit of slander about.

This former journalist repudiates the ease with which the phrase is used to denounce or discredit critical or unflattering reportage. That the term is inelegant is a bit beside the point, I think, because those who are inclined to reach for it are not hunting for le mot juste. They are most likely scooping up verbalisms that they imagine are more cutting than cunning.


Peers in classrooms and newsrooms have asked me on many occasions to weigh in on what “fake news” means and how to respond to or guard against it. My response has most often been that responsible reporting is its own defense. Bluster won’t quiet a bully whose purpose is to cow and not correct so I hardly ever broach the matter of silencing a crank. Dotting I’s and Crossing T’s, eschewing cut corners and holding firm on never publishing supposition or rumor is the truest armor of a news reporter.

I have, however, given more thought on ways to help news consumers better identify reportage that falls short of traditional journalistic standards either because of incompetence or fraudulence. I call them the Three C’s of Fake News:

Content. News consumers should first examine the content of the article or report. Consider these questions: What information is being shared and is the information attributed to a source that is named. If the source is unnamed, is it clear why the source is not being named – that is, is it clear to you what is at stake by revealing this information – termination of employment, bodily harm? Does the threat seem reasonable based on the nature of the information?

If the information is challenging previous reports or popular thinking about some issue, is there evidence being offered as support or is the challenge more a matter of perception or viewpoint? Ask yourself why you should abandon what you have believed was true about the matter for something that is not demonstrably or verifiably true.

Additionally, you should ask if other sources have reported similar findings or if the information being shared is an “exclusive.” Exclusives can indeed result from the industry and resourcefulness of a news organization, or it can be information that was dressed and planted – or leaked -- with the hopes it of passing inspection, especially when deadlines are looming or it’s a slow news day. Much mischief finds its way into the news hole that way.

Construction. News consumers should also consider the news’ construction because clues to fraudulence might be found in its crafting. Consumers might consider if the article or report focuses on the authenticity or truthfulness of its information by citing sources by name, attributing all facts and opinions and letting what is disclosed speak for itself.

However, if the article is crafted around innuendos and suppositions and masks facts in inferences and hedges conclusions, red flags should go up. These constructions are often marked by language like “believe,” “think,” or “feel” to refer to sources other than the writer. The article might contain large sections of unattributed information, leaving readers to wonder whose perspective or viewpoint is being represented. This could be a sign of fictionalization.

News consumers can gauge the authenticity of a report by the number of times the writer uses the construction “source + said,” as in “Mayor Brown said on Monday ….” Reports that are thoroughly attributed and transparent are much less likely to be hawking fakery. Verification and corroboration are the pillars of responsible journalism. Articles that include personal experiences for which there were no other witnesses and thus cannot be verified are not necessarily fake; they should be weighed differently and the information assessed with the understanding it is the speaker’s account. Articles that refer to other reports should include citations or working links to the source material. Examining the linked material for political or promotional affiliations would be wise.

Common Sense. And, finally, readers and viewers should consume news with healthy portions of common sense. Most simply put, news consumers should ask if the report makes sense based on common knowledge, previous reporting or even their personal experiences. Do some events seem too good, too appropriate or too convenient to be true?Just because an article does not make sense or smells funny does not necessarily mean the item is fake; it does mean one should handle the information with caution and scrub it using the guidelines above.

If, in the end, the article writer’s position seems to be more combative or confrontational than informative, then the news consumer is likely not dining on news or at the very least competent reporting. It might be propaganda. And, as we all know, propaganda was “fake news” before fake news was cool.

Macmillan’s first edition public speaking text, Speech Craft, has a personality of its own. Fittingly, its corresponding LaunchPad reflects that personality, as the book’s author, Joshua Gunn helped develop several of the activities for it! As your Learning Solutions Specialist for Communication, let me walk you through these features as unique as the author himself.

One of the most exciting New LaunchPad feature are Digital Dives, written by Joshua Gunn himself. Students often struggle to apply what they read to their actual presentations.  These were designed to help with that. Each chapter (except for chapter 12) engages students in topics at a deeper level through the use of podcasts, videos, and critical thinking questions, ranging from speeches given in the real world to real student speeches. They also promote Community Building by engaging students to think about the audience as a community.

An example of a speech from the real world can be found in Chapter 9, on Style and Language. It focuses on the use Repetition and Rhythm, and asks students to first read the transcript of a eulogy given by Barack Obama and then watch a video of it. What students take away from this is that while writing repetition into a speech seems silly or pointless, seeing and hearing that repetition (and the rhythm of it – the way in which its repeated) helps students to realize it’s importance and impact. 

Chapter 11 on Presentation Aids looks at understanding the slide in a classroom speech. Students get to looks at its role in a speech - which is meant to enhance your presentation, not give it for you or distract from it. See sample screenshots below:

Student presenting speech with slides  Student presenting speech with slides


Clearly, one of these is great, the other…not so much. So, students are asked the Questions: Which speaker presented their slide show more effectively? How could each speaker improve his or her delivery? 

      The author has also left his mark on our new sample speeches. The Car Cookery full length Informative Speech is actually a speech he presented, and in LaunchPad it is delivered by a student. And, we can’t forget about the instructors. Joshua helped design the chapter slides, and the instructor resource manual was written by Joshua’s mentor, Laura Sells.

      Of course, the LaunchPad also contains all the other great LP content you’ve come to expect from Macmillan, including an ebook, outlining tools, LearningCurve Adaptive quizzing, and our new Video Assessment Program – Powered by GoReact.   

      If you’d like to learn more or get assistance setting up your LaunchPad course space, sign up for a demo with your LSS Specialist:

What's Your Love Language?


Have you ever received a gift from a friend or romantic partner, only to wish you could spend more time with them instead? Have you ever given someone a hug only to find that physical touch makes them uncomfortable?


According to Dr. Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages, that may be due to a predisposition in how we prefer to receive and give love to others. Though this book was originally published in 1995, new editions and online quizzes have ensured that the concept is still highly discussed in academia, friend circles, and (of course) social media.


For those unfamiliar with love languages, the theory suggests that there are five main ways in which we show our affection for others, and that we each have a preference for both how we receive affection, and how we give affection.


For example, if you enjoy baking cookies for your friends, that doesn't necessarily mean that you want your friends to bake for you in exchange. Instead, you might appreciate having your friends offer to help pick up groceries, or hearing them praise your baking skills. Of course, while your friends might be grateful for the time you took to make them, they might have preferred that you spent that time with them instead.



These individual preferences can lead to communication problems, especially when we unknowingly prioritize our relationship goals over theirs (#relationshipgoals, anyone?). When you bring your partner out to a nice restaurant, you may consider that a sign of love, but they might be wishing you'd just clean the kitchen instead. 



Whether or not you subscribe to this theory, it's important to consider the ways in which we express our affection for others, and make sure that we're paying attention to their preferences for how they want to be treated. It's also important to recognize how we want to be treated. Once we recognize and communicate those distinctions, we can ensure that we're giving and receiving love in the ways in which our loved ones - including ourselves - deserve.


See below for a list and a brief description of each of the love languages discussed in Chapman's book. Of course, you'll likely enjoy expressions of love in all five categories, but the theory of the five languages is that there are one or two you respond to more than the others, whether or not you realize it right away.


Words of Affirmation - Verbal or written communication that encourages, validates, and offers active support and appreciation. Examples: "I love you," "I really admire you," "I'm here for you."


Acts of Service - Helpful, thoughtful deeds that show your attention to their needs and your willingness to help ease their burdens.  Examples: Offering to help with their cleaning or cooking, driving, or running errands.


Receiving Gifts - The thought, effort, and care that goes into the choosing of a gift can mean a great deal to those receiving it. 



Quality Time - The act of giving someone your undivided attention (that means not looking at your phone, but at your partner) while talking or participating in an activity together. 


Physical Touch Physical touches like hugging, kissing, or even holding hands can prove a powerful way of providing support, attention, and a feeling of togetherness. 



What do you think of these five love languages? Can you think of other examples of showing someone you care about them? How might understanding another's primary love language help you improve your relationship with them?


Whatever your primary and secondary love language, I hope you have a great Valentine's Day!


That ubiquitous rhetorical query “know what I’m sayin’”? – which actually shifts the real work of comprehension from the speaker to the listener – has become a motto for too many of the young people whose work I grade. Along with hours devoted to citing comma faults, run-ons and wacky elliptical sentence structures, I spend a great deal of time wandering through the thickets of convolution, imprecision and excess that are growing in my students’ heads. Exchanges with colleagues in communications and other disciplines indicate that, as I suspected, I am not alone. Is it just that K-12 educational priorities don’t appear to be articulating with post-secondary approaches and expectations? Is there also a cultural shift among young people underway? Is intuitionreplacing explication? The writing of my young charges is plagued with wordiness and disorganization.




America’s third president is attached to the quote “The most valuable of talents is never using two words when one will do.” The pithiness of this remark models Jefferson’s stated principle, which might also be rendered, “say what you mean with precision and dispatch.”  


My students’ overwrought renderings might point to a lack of proficiency or imprecision in word choices. But I feel it is more complicated than substituting “rapidly” for “very fast” or “because” for the dreaded prolixity of “due to the fact that.” All of these are encoding choices that all writers wrestle with.


I suspect my students’ problems are also rooted in idea formation, the step that precedes encoding in the familiar simple communication model. Students struggle with written expression partly because they are inexperienced wordsmiths but most often because they’re not sure what they want to say.


Sometimes while reading responses to prompts, I feel as though I’d walked in on a student mid-cogitation, before the idea had set and settled.


“What is going on here?”


My markings tend to be less about “correcting” structural faults and more about “coaxing” or “teasing” out the passage’s purpose. Rather than jot “this is what you might say ....” on a section made muddy by verbosity, I highlight or circle the passage (I still prefer pen and paper grading) and insert in the margin, “What is it you’re saying here?” or “Rethink this section. Your point gets lost.” Thus putting the responsibility of comprehension where it belongs -- on the writer.


I often direct students back to their thesis statement – provided one has been crafted – and ask how the highlighted passage relates to what the statement promises. Does it add a dimension, elaborate on an earlier point, support an argument? In conferences student frequently admit they’re unsure.


“So why write so much?”


“I’m trying to meet the assignment word count” was too often the response.


An idea without substance or concreteness is easily lost in the woods, I’ll say. Certainty can hack through acres of wordy brush. “Go back and think some more.”




I frequently find myself following my student’s meandering prose into a thicket so dense I have difficulty determining where I am or how I came to be where I was. Lost.


Occasionally the brush has been made thick by compound, complex and compound-complex sentences that are overly burdened with subpoints, caveats, asides and parentheticals that don’t deepen the argument or expand the point. They simply radiate without clear direction or inclination. They are, as the kids say, “just some random stuff.”


Outlines are not an absolute cure for such disorganization – having an idea with layers that merit exploration is the true cure – but charting a course before pushing off from shore surely can’t be a bad idea if one intends to do more than just paddle around, if one intends to actually go from point A to point D.


Aside from forcing a sequencing onto ideas, outlining, to my mind, helps the writer-thinker determine if the trip is, indeed, worth taking. If, in fact, point A is substantively different from points B, C and D.  If there are no identifiable or palpable distinctions between the points then the journey would be “pointless.”


If, on the other hand, these points are related but different, and markedly so, then an outline would be useful in laying out the comparison, the pros and cons, the chronology, the evolution or the flow. That is, an outline would be a useful map from thesis statement to conclusion.


No, you can’t have “good writing” without “good mechanics.” But, more fundamentally, you can’t have “writing” without “thinking,” for as celebrated author David McCollough says, “Writing isthinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard.”  (My emphasis.) If our students are reminded of this and are coached through the fog of their hazy thinking they might actually find their writing more productive and enjoyable.


Know what I’m sayin’?

Video is a crucial feature across all Communication courses, and Macmillan wants to make it easy to implement, effective for students, and, hopefully, fun to use as an instructor!


The Video Assessment Program - powered by GoReact - is a feature that we're going to revisit many times this year on Tech Tuesdays, so we'll start off with just a brief introduction today, and go into more detail as the semester goes on!


The program allows both instructor and students to record video, from a laptop, video camera, or mobile device, directly into LaunchPad, where time based comments and rubrics can be used to leave feedback and provide assessment. Comments and grades appear right alongside the submitted video!


As always, if you'd like to learn more about LaunchPad and/or the Video Assessment Program, feel free to sign up for a demo with your Learning Solutions Specialist: 


Here it is in action!

By Ernest L. Wiggins


Though a journalist by trade, I developed an abiding interest in persuasive communication during graduate school.  I have formally studied the intersection of media messages, group identity and social justice, focusing most of my attention on advertising. I routinely teach a course in mass media criticism, and 1/3 of class time involves the close reading of commercial advertising and cause / idea promotions. I am constantly searching for material that reflects contemporary popular culture. I recently discovered sexuality and gender roles front and center in ad campaigns from around the globe and not just as subjects of promotion. We are finding them as framing devices to convey other messages. For example:


Service with Pride

Volt, Sweden’s print campaign sponsored by the Swedish Armed Forces for the 2018 EuroPride festival in Stockholm, features separate male and female models dressed in battle fatigues and gear, sans helmets, applying rainbow-colored camouflage paint to their faces. They are standing in front of a wooden fence or scaling wall, suggesting they are preparing for training.  The copy in English reads: “We don’t always march straight. But no matter where or when we march, we always stand up for your right to live the way you want with whoever you want. Read more about how we work to protect freedom and the right to choose the way we live at”



The ad’s messaging works on several levels. Most obviously it is reminding viewers that male and female members of the LGBTQ community (those not marching “straight) serve in combat roles in the military. The copy also places personal liberty at the center of Sweden’s national identity and as part of the military’s defense mission. On another level, the campaign also serves as a recruitment tool targeting the LGBTQ community, particularly those skeptical of the army’s support. That the soldiers are shown applying the paint rather than posed with the paint already applied suggests individual agency, openness and decisiveness. This small motion challenges the notion of hiding among the ranks. Additionally, both models are facing the camera, eyes locked on the viewer, their bodies open, all of which suggests boldness and courage.  These are familiar themes at Pride Festivals around the world.



The Havas agency’s E45 skin cream 30-second spot features British Olympic champion turned professional boxer Nicola Adams sporting her trademark partially shaved head, what might be described as gender-nonconforming outfits and athletic apparel.  She is shown engaging in her training regimen in various international locales as her voice-over says: “In my life, I never like to sit still. All the traveling, the training, the hard work, everything I do, it takes a toll on my skin. Some days it needs a little bit more. New E45 rich. It’s everything my skin needs. Just straight-up skin care.”



Adams, who publicly identifies as bisexual, is an LGBTQ icon in Great Britain. As a celebrated face and national treasure, Adams lends substantial gravitas to the endorsement of a product that is not targeted at the LGBTQ community, people of color nor women. Casting Adams as spokesperson acknowledges, yes, her renown but also her substantial appeal across a spectrum of potential consumers.  Additionally, Adams delivers the message that hard work and self-care are companions, challenging the perception among some that female athletes are indifferent to their appearance outside of the arena or the ring.


Playing with Clichés




MullenLowe’s series of spots for Aruba Tourism Authority turns around the male-centric marriage proposal trope – and acknowledges that it’s doing so -- to cut through viewers’ gender-role expectations in service of a unique promotion. In each 60-second ad, a male-female couple in their early to mid-30s is show vacationing together – strolling along a beach, dining al fresco, sunning on a sailboat. The woman tells her companion she has enjoyed their time and wants to take their relationship to the next level. She presents a boxed ring (a solid band) and presents it to her companion, whose face then, in slow motion, bursts into a broad smile and tears. They embrace and the moment dissolves into a love weepy song and the pitch. “Let’s keep the cliché of proposing in front of the sea. Let’s end the cliché of men doing it. Win a trip to Aruba to propose to your boyfriend.”



While being played for laughs, and targeting women viewers, the ad, commendably, asks audience members to consider the social convention at the heart of the commercial’s narrative: Why does the man have to be the one to propose? But, not so commendably, in one instance the campaign overplays the man’s reaction to the point of grotesquerie (see above), leaving viewers to wonder if this is how the ad creator views a woman’s response – as ridiculous. In each of the spots, the female character includes in her build-up to the presentation of the ring a status report of a relationship that might appear static– we’ve lived together for five and half years,we’ve been together for seven and half,you can’t live with your parents anymore. Again, if the ad messenger is turning around familiar scenarios, then the messenger is suggesting that marriages liberate adult women from their parents. While it is likely that this accurately represents the reality for at least some women in the targeted audience, the commercials’ narratives would indicate the ideal customers for this promotion have status and means and are not lodging with Mom and Dad.


These campaigns take refreshing views of sexuality and gender roles and put them to use in selling products and / or ideas while challenging viewers’ conventional notions and expectations.  Each strikes me as affirming (perhaps even celebrating) the richness of human diversity.











Erika Gutierrez

A Back-to-School GIFT

Posted by Erika Gutierrez Sep 28, 2018

Congratulations on the new academic year! We hope your students are off to a grand start and are well on their way to a successful fall semester. Time flies, and it is surprising that we are already a month into the semester. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Erika Gutierrez, and I'm the Senior Program Director for Communication & College Success here at Bedford/St. Martin's and Macmillan Learning. It's been a pleasure to read  and share the Back-to-School posts from our authors. Joseph Ortiz, Choices & Connections, started off the series with a post called, “Back to School Tips 2018: Trigger Scripts,” that presents a compelling way to draw students into course concepts by using communication based dilemmas or trigger scripts. Christopher Martin, Media & Culture, wrote an excellent piece, “The End of the Summer of Media Merger Mania,” to spur conversations about current mergers, their goals, and their potential impact on culture and our media experience. Thank you Joe and Chris! Also, I want to send a thank you to our associate editor, Melanie McFadyen, for her work on the Communication COMMunity site.  


We created this site to provide a space for instructors to connect with one another and with our authors and to share teaching ideas and professional resources. Now that September is almost over, we have one last fall Back-to-School post to share that we hope you will enjoy and that will help you accomplish your teaching goals. We are sharing Communication in the Classroom: A Collection of GIFTs edited by John Seiter, Jennifer Peebles, and Matthew L. Sanders all from Utah State University. GIFTS is a popular term for Great Ideas for Teaching Students. Organized in chapters by research area, each GIFT selected for this professional volume includes information about the author(s) of the activity, a detailed explanation, and a debrief drawing on the instructors' experiences. There are 100+ teaching activities included! If you are interested in sharing new GIFTS on the community site, reach out to us!



This book is an invaluable resource for anyone teaching a communication course who is looking for new ideas to spice up their classroom and engage students. This resource, as well as our other professional resources, are available for you to download from the community site. To access them, register for an account at the top right-hand corner of the screen, and download GIFTs here.


Student engagement is key, and it's our goal to provide you with the professional resources to help, from class activities and video assignments, to blog posts with tips and tricks from other instructors, and now to GIFTs. Look for emails this fall about upcoming webinars with our authors and an upcoming webinar on our new video assessment program powered by GoReact. We hope that you make use of the community’s open resources and events and have a wonderful and successful semester!


Very best,

Erika Gutierrez 

The summer of 2018 has been a momentous one for media merger mania. Although this sounds like a topic for a high-level economics course, the approved and proposed media mergers involve a number of name-brand companies, and will have a significant effect on media culture, journalism, and what we’ll be watching and streaming on phones and other screens in the coming years.


Among the proposed mergers:


  • AT&T’s takeover of TimeWarner
  • Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox
  • Sinclair Broadcasting’s acquisition of Tribune Media,
  • a Sprint and T-Mobile merger
  • a re-merger of CBS and Viacom


The most recent wave of mergers waited upon the decision of a lawsuit between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and AT&T over its planned purchase of TimeWarner, which would signal whether the Department of Justice would prevail in enforcing antitrust law. A federal judge approved the merger on June 15, which put Warner Bros. studios, HBO, and Turner under the corporate umbrella of AT&T, one of the two major mobile phone companies. The DOJ decided to appeal the decision, but AT&T still proceeded with its work, renaming its new subsidiary “Warner Media.”


AT&T’s reason for the acquisition was to control a huge flow of media content to stream on its mobile phone network so it could compete with other digital giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Netflix. AT&T’s CEO says they want to deliver a “mobile-first entertainment experience.AT&T has a head start with HBO, which is already streaming premium content, but it will need to continue to produce hits like “Game of Thrones” in the coming years to compete with all of the other digital media companies that have the same idea.


Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox (including its movie studio, but not Fox News FS1 sports, or Fox Broadcasting Network), approved in July, was proposed for the same reason. Disney now adds to its roster films like Avatar, Titanic, and the X-Men franchise, along with shows like “The Simpsons” and “This is Us” (broadcast on NBC, but produced by 20th Century Fox Television), along with cable channels FX and National Geographic, and majority ownership of Hulu. Disney reportedly will roll out three streaming offerings: 1) an entertainment channel (with Disney animation, Marvel films, Pixar Films, Star Wars, and everything else in the Disney and Fox film libraries) – people are already dubbing this Disneyflix, 2) a sports stream (Disney owns ESPN), and 3) Hulu, of which Disney now has controlling ownership, for streaming television shows. Disney looks to be a formidable challenger to Netflix.


Still awaiting approval are a Sprint and T-Mobile merger. There are only four main mobile phone companies in the U.S, and these two are the third and fourth largest, after AT&T and Verizon. A&T tried to buy T-Mobile in 2011, but it was rejected by the Antitrust Division of the DOJ on the basis that it would have hurt competition in the business. Will this merger survive the same standard?


After splitting in 2006, CBS and Viacom may re-merge, too, although that story has become complicated by the bad blood between Viacom’s leadership and CBS’s Chairman and CEO Les Moonves, who also became subject to a sexual misconduct investigation this summer after another blockbuster report of a #MeToo case by Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker magazine.


Sinclair, already the largest local TV station owner in the U.S., would have become even larger with the TV station properties of Tribune Media, reaching about 70 percent of U.S. TV households. Of particular concern is that the Sinclair, which has a history of imposing right-wing politics on its local stations’ newscasts, would have created a broadcast version of Fox News. As the FCC began to make regulatory approval more difficult, the deal fell apart in August.


Historically, half of all mergers and acquisitions are failures, and the planned synergies across the various subsidies are never realized. Consider, for example, the disastrous AOL–Time Warner merger of 2001 or News Corp.’s expensive bad bet on the success of Myspace in 2005. Time will tell with the mergers of 2018. Did AT&T and Disney invest billions to create even better (and more profitable) media experiences for the post-cable world, or did they waste their money by misreading the path consumers would be taking in the future? Like with earlier mergers, we should know in a few years.