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Steve Piacente


Steve Piacente was a print journalist for 25 years, including 15 years as a Washington, D.C. correspondent for two Southern newspapers, the Tampa Tribune, and the Charleston (SC) Post-Courier. He also holds a Masters in Fiction from Johns Hopkins University and is the author of two novels, Bella and Bootlicker. Steve recently left his post as manager of the web and social media team at a large federal agency to become creative director at a PR firm in downtown Washington, D.C. He also teaches communications classes at his undergraduate alma mater, American University.

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Posts by Steve Piacente:

  • Public Speaking: The Next Generation

  • Public Speaking: The Next GenerationMay 17th, 2016
    Considering the brain-rotting influence of text messaging, video games and TV in all its current incarnations, I thought I might have to enter the 5th grade classroom on Career Day riding a unicycle and juggling Persian [...]

  • Talking Journalism in the Math Building

  • November 11th, 2015
    Robert De Niro got lots of attention last May when he told graduates of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts they were screwed. The verb he used was actually harsher, and followed by the suggestion that they [...]

  • Postcard from Italy: Fall 2015

  • September 30th, 2015
    Rome, Italy – You might have expected Roman eyes to be fixed on giant TVs blaring every word, move and inch of the motorcades last week as Pope Francis wowed Washington, New York and Philly. Indeed, Italian media [...]

  • Locals Bid Farewell to Hometown Paper

  • June 29th, 2015
    The recent obituary for our hometown paper began: We have made a sincere and earnest effort to keep our free two community newspapers financially viable. However … If the words sound familiar, it’s because newspapers [...]

  • Sweating to Get a Workout

  • May 28th, 2015
    Four times a week I slip out of the house and drive to a place where I’d rather not be seen. I check the rearview en route, though I know it’s silly. No one would be shocked or upset to learn where I go. Or would [...]

  • What Goes in Our 2015 Time Capsule?

  • January 9th, 2015
    What were Paul Revere and Sam Adams thinking 220 years ago when they packed a time capsule that would sit beneath the new Massachusetts State House? What clues about their state of mind should we take away from the newspapers, [...]

  • Family Matters: When The Kids Opt Out Of Xmas

  • September 22nd, 2014
    The eyes dim as we get older, but our vision is in some ways stronger, for all that experience helps us see what’s coming, right? Not always. How about when the kids decide they want to opt out of the holidays? Too [...]

  • Censorship: Never Worked, Never Will

  • Censorship of social mediaApril 9th, 2014
    A recent study by Pew’s Global Attitudes Project confirms what we might have surmised even without a survey – that emerging and developing nations want freedom on the Internet, and that young folks are especially [...]

  • Blizzard of Nasty Tweets Prompts Call for Cyber Civility

  • March 5th, 2014
    “Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.” -British environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy It began with the threat of a December snowstorm. Then the student tweets started falling, some crude, some [...]

  • A Super (Bowl) Lesson In Personal Branding

  • January 27th, 2014
    Back in the day – like maybe five years ago – it took a bit longer for an athlete, celebrity or CEO to wreck his or her reputation. Heading into this year’s Super Bowl, we’re reminded again of how fast news [...]

  • Resolve To Reach Your New Year’s Resolutions

  • December 30th, 2013
    I enjoy the gym most when it’s quiet, which is why my favorite month to work out is December. The treadmills are not only free; they’re nearly free of fingerprints. Not so in January, when all who’ve pledged to [...]

  • Five Ways Authors Can Pump Up the Volume

  • December 12th, 2013
    The lure of social media is powerful, particularly for artists, authors and other creative types who’d rather produce than promote. Technology has made it possible to talk, influence, monitor and interact without leaving [...]

  • Wanted: Leadership In The Nation’s Capital

  • November 5th, 2013
    Heard the joke about the Redskins? Evidently the team, due to the hatred, violence and hostility tied to its name, is dropping the word “Washington.” That of course would leave only “Redskins,” a name reviled [...]

  • A Rudeness Born Of Desperation

  • September 27th, 2013
    Siem Reap, Cambodia She is perhaps five or six, with dark eyes, straight black hair that touches the back of her neck, and skin the color of teak. She dances up to the picnic table with a white smile and 10 postcards [...]

  • Detergent Pods: Use With Extreme Caution

  • September 17th, 2013
    For those stuck doing the laundry, they’re great – the most concentrated liquid detergents ever created. They’re convenient, pre-measured, and easy to use. Each is sealed in a film that dissolves in hot [...]

  • Family Circle: Accident Or Design?

  • August 20th, 2013
    Michael John Bellomo was the oldest son in a family of eight. A Brooklyn boy who was six when the Great Depression struck, he would leave high school after 11th grade and become a decorated soldier, printer, husband, [...]

  • Trayvon Martin: A Florida Footnote

  • July 30th, 2013
    The setting: Fort Meade, Fla., 34 years before Trayvon Martin will be shot dead by George Zimmerman in Sanford, 99 miles northeast of this small Central Florida city that briefly made headlines in the late 1970s. Imagine [...]

  • Journalism Degree: Priceless

  • July 8th, 2013
    Had my mother known that zoologists would be able to pay back their student loans faster than journalists, I might be wearing a beige Safari hat and managing the Reptile House today. The kids would have liked that growing [...]

  • Digital Detox? Just Put The Phone Away!

  • June 18th, 2013
    Want to ruin a nice walk, dinner out, or scenic drive with your significant other? Pull out the phone, tablet or laptop. We know it, and yet we do it anyway, all the time and in nearly every situation. We are on the [...]

  • Podcast: Choices In The Dark

  • June 3rd, 2013
    Listen Here: Former journalist, Steve Piacente, spent years writing about the deals public figures cut behind closed doors and ethics is a key part of the communications class he teaches at American University in Washington, [...]

  • Mark Sanford’s Tricky Path To Redemption

  • May 24th, 2013
    Ike Washington is a made up character but Mark Sanford – U.S. Congressman Mark Sanford – has a story that is stranger than fiction. Yet the two are connected. Both commit a grievous wrong that begins in secret and [...]

  • Seinfeld Defies Comedy Expiration Date

  • May 15th, 2013
    What makes Seinfeld funny? Most of us look at the silliness of modern life – satellite technology that we use for help changing tires, the overuse of e-mail and texting, airport faucets that dribble out water – and [...]

  • Mike Tyson’s “Undisputed Truth”

  • May 1st, 2013
    As much as you want to root for Mike Tyson – to hope that he’s done with drugs, violence, and public spectacles, the future is far from certain and his “truth” is not undisputed. Tyson’s one-man show, which [...]

  • Social Media Success Linked To Basic Communications Skills

  • April 17th, 2013
    Social media isn’t new, but it’s probably a lot older than you’d imagine. Think ancient drawings etched in rock and shared cave to cave. Think Flinterest. The challenge for communications professionals who remember [...]

  • Rutgers Players Didn’t Need Bullying

  • April 8th, 2013
    Look no further than the earnest face of Louisville guard Kevin Ware to learn the real lesson of the Rutgers basketball fiasco. Ware, you’ll (painfully) remember, is the player who crashed to the ground with a compound [...]

  • March Madness Lessons Transcend Basketball

  • April 1st, 2013
    Want to learn how to speak in public, turn negative to positive, or handle an aggressive reporter? Watch a few of the savvier March Madness coaches. Want to meet a spectacular athlete whose most impressive gift will [...]

  • Alzheimer’s: Relentless, Costly, Incurable

  • March 25th, 2013
    This year 450,000 Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease will die.* A number that large is hard to understand, so let’s cut it to, say 40. That’s roughly the number of people I saw a few months ago when I visited [...]

  • Spectacular Social Media Blunders & The Lessons Learned

  • March 14th, 2013
    Remember the days when getting angry meant writing a letter, putting it in a drawer, re-reading it next morning, and only then deciding whether to send it? Well they’re gone, same as rabbit ear antennas, carbon paper [...]

  • Yahoo, Best Buy Pull Plug On Telework

  • March 8th, 2013
    Want to be a reporter but hate the idea of a noisy newsroom? Get in, get known, and get yourself assigned to a bureau. That’s how I worked it for years, first covering North Tampa, the state legislature and finally [...]

  • Models, Comics And Hamburgers: Look Past The Packaging

  • March 1st, 2013
    A friend of mine is in consumer packaging. That is, his firm helps companies sell more stuff by bringing their products to market in snazzy boxes and cartons. He says people are drawn to things you’d expect: eye-grabbing [...]

  • DC’s Homeless Find Creative Shelter At Miriam’s Kitchen

  • February 26th, 2013
    It’s the hands that you notice first. Hands that spend much more time outside than in, and which are chapped and a little raw, not what you’d want to begin expressing yourself with paint and palette. Inside the church [...]

  • Carnival’s Cahill Salvages PR Triumph

  • February 15th, 2013
    Don’t you wonder about that first call from the Carnival PR team to the CEO? Um, Cap, problem in the Gulf. What time is it? And don’t call me Cap! The Triumph’s stranded; 4,000-plus on board. CNN’s leading with [...]

  • Choose Some News That Doesn’t Fit

  • February 11th, 2013
    Where do you get your news, and why? Do you like the ease of TV, the speed of online sites, or the feel of a newspaper in your hands? Maybe you like the slant your outlet puts on the news because it matches your own [...]

  • Anyone Buying The Guilt-Free Coke?

  • February 5th, 2013
    The invention of Coca Cola. When Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton invented Coca Cola in 1886, chances are he couldn’t have imagined that one day in the distant future: –       A major news organization, [...]