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STUDY GUIDE

MEDIA GENIUS
Communications at the Intersection of Media and Intelligence
INTRODUCTION
WELCOME TO THE 2020 STUDY GUIDE
Last year we introduced the Media Genius Study Guide to help business leaders navigate rapid media CHRIS PERRY
change.

With societal norms transforming and technology rapidly advancing, the communications landscape is
increasingly dynamic and complex — especially given the world-changing impact of the COVID-19
pandemic.

Our Media Genius 2020 research takes a deep dive into five new territories. The aim? To provide VIVIAN SCHILLER
actionable landscape guidance that helps marketing and communications professionals understand,
prioritize and act in a constantly fluid environment.

The Study Guide summarizes the territories and their relevance, and highlights online resources that
allow for deeper learning. Check it out, jump between sections, take a few classes, click on some links
and let us know what you think.
RANDA STEPHAN
Thanks to all those who engaged with last year’s guide. As always, you can shoot us an email at
cperry@webershandwick.com with any thoughts, feedback or examples to consider for the newsletter
and future updates.

WHERE YOU SEE THIS SYMBOL, YOU CAN CLICK TO ACCESS EXAMPLES AND CLASSES.
JULIA DIXON

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INTRODUCTION
HOW WE GOT HERE
Last year we looked at “digital” through four waves of change: early web, social platform ascendance, content explosion and
the age of intelligence. Intelligent technologies continue to upend industries. But rapid disruption resulting in
bad actors, content overload, tech-fueled anxiety and addiction have overwhelmed us at a dizzying rate.

Unrelenting technological advances have led to unprecedented and confusing


Coherence Crash?
events in media, politics and culture that we struggle to understand As we near a societal
despite constant updates. A growing lack of collective inflection point,
emerging businesses
sense-making indicates we’re approaching seek to bring
a coherence crash. Artificial intelligence perspective back into
begins to pervade a chaotic world.
existing services and
enables the creation of
new businesses that
Mobile phone + social weren’t previously
network ubiquity possible .
precipitate an explosion
in content creation and
self-expression by
Smartphones and the use of individuals and brands,
apps create an opening for the further disrupting
platform economy and everything from
Web 2.0 disrupters like Uber and DTC commerce to politics.
Web 1.0 Social media connects ecommerce startup.
Closed systems battle the people at scale and
open web for dominance, opens new avenues for
culminating in the birth of distribution of content.
blogs and self-publishing.

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INTRODUCTION
2020 TERRITORIES
MEDIA INTELLIGENCE 5
We’ve organized the study guide around five key
territories, highlighting their underlying components along
with examples. The territories build on each other other

POLYCULTURE 12
and often overlap. All are essential to understanding our
current environment — and their relevance is accelerated
by the global pandemic.

For those familiar with our 2019 Study Guide, you’ll see
certain territories took on renewed urgency this year while
NEW INFLUENCE 18
MODERN CONTENT CANVAS 24
new opportunities emerged. Platform Economy and AI +
Machine Learning have become so pervasive and
nuanced by industry that it is difficult to document impact

DATA ETHICS 30
and applications at a universal level. As such, they have
“graduated” out of Media Genius as they continue to
become a part of our daily fabric.

FOR A DEEPER DIVE INTO THE TERRITORIES ASK ABOUT OUR MEDIA GENIUS MASTER CLASS.
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MEDIA
INTELLIGENCE 5
MEDIA INTELLIGENCE
UNDERSTANDING HOW MEDIA IS
CREATED
DISCOVERED SHARED
CONSUMED
IS MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER TO GAINING BUSINESS ADVANTAGE.
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MISINFORMATION IS ACCELERATED BY A GLOBAL CRISIS

MEDIA INTELLIGENCE
Conflicting and/or competing
information from federal, state
and local sources

Financially Dangerously
weakened news
institutions under
COVID-19 false, polarizing
content and
increased pressure “INFODEMIC” faux ‘experts’
and scrutiny run rampant

“Expert” sources and government


institutions struggle to message
effectively via modern media channels

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MEDIA INTELLIGENCE
The more business leaders understand how

MEDIA
content is created, shared and consumed, the
more competitive — and safe — they can be
with their media strategies.

INTELLIGENCE Due to bad actors and technology that allows


for easy creation of mis- and disinformation,
Helps companies brand safety has taken on new complexity
balance risk and reward beyond just ad placement. At the same time,
through a deeper businesses have an unprecedented ability to
understanding of how uncover white space and new ways to create
information travels. business advantage using data and analytics.

Implementing a proactive media and analytics


strategy to recognize risk and unearth
opportunity has never been more important.

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MEDIA INTELLIGENCE
MEDIA AND HIDDEN RISKS
INTELLIGENCE Unsafe Ad Placements

CAN REVEAL
Brand safety has long been a challenge, but the
scope of what is objectionable (or perceived as
such) is expanding.

OPPORTUNITIES… Perilous Information Environments

CULTURAL ACTIVATION MOMENTS Only four of the 15 top stories on Facebook in


September can be considered legitimate news.

NEW STAKEHOLDER VOICES Cultural Missteps


In a connected world, media and audiences are quick to

TOPICAL MESSAGING OPPORTUNITIES


call out inconsistencies and cultural missteps.

The Era of Fake Everything


REPUTATIONAL WHITE SPACE Computer-generated and artificially-created photos, audio
and video are becoming increasingly common and
increasingly difficult to differentiate from reality. 9
SOURCE: DATA & SOCIETY

WHEN NAVIGATING SYNTHETICALLY-CREATED CONTENT, REMEMBER

MEDIA INTELLIGENCE
NOT ALL FAKES ARE CREATED EQUAL
More expertise and technical resources required Less expertise and fewer technical resources required

DEEPFAKES CHEAP FAKES


TECHNOLOGIES

Recurrent Neural
Network (RNN); Relabeling/
Hidden Markov Models Generative Video
Dialogue After Effects, Free real- Free speed Reuse of
(HMM) and Long Adversarial
Replacement FakeApp/ Adobe Sony time filter alteration In-camera existing
Short-Term Memory Networks
(VDR) Model After Effects Premiere Pro Vegas Pro applications applications effects video
Models (LTSM) (GANs)

Face- Speeding Face- Speeding Lookalikes Recontextualizing


swapping and altering/ and
TECHNIQUES

Virtual Virtual Virtual Face- Lip- rotoscope slowing swapping slowing


performances performances synthesis swapping synching
Rana
Ayyub (not
pictured
because of
image
content)

Deepfakes: Gal Gadot Belle Delphine:


(not pictured because of Hit or Miss
image content) Choreography
EXAMPLES

Suwajanajorn et al. Face2Face: Posters and Howe’s: Mark Zuckerberg Paul Joseph Watson: Acosta Video
Synthesizing Obama

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Mario Klingemenn: Al Art Jordan Peele and Buzzfeed: Obama PSA Huw Parkinson: Uncivil War Snapchat: Amsterdam Fashion Institute Unknown: BBC NATO newscast
DIG DEEPER: ONLINE CLASSES

MEDIA INTELLIGENCE
Identifying and Tracking Manipulated Media Helping Kids Be Safe, Confident Explorers of the Online World
Reuters News Agency Google
This course draws on Reuters News expertise to show you real To make the most of the internet, kids need to be prepared to make smart
examples, hypothetical cases and insight into the evolving technology decisions. Be Internet Awesome teaches kids (and anyone else) the
used to create and detect manipulations – including the new threat of fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online
so-called deepfakes. world with confidence.

Get Smart About COVID-19 Misinformation World Wide What


News Literacy Project Tumblr
As part of a comprehensive effort to combat misinformation about Tumblr and @ditchthelabel have partnered to help make the internet a better,
COVID-19 and the new strain of coronavirus that causes it, NLP safer, more fun place for everyone with a little campaign called World Wide
created this resource page to provide accurate information about the What. Think of it as a guide for navigating conversation around a healthier
pandemic and free resources to educators and the general public. relationship with social media.

Securing Digital Democracy Deepfakes and Cheap Fakes


University of Michigan Data & Society
In this course, you'll learn what every citizen should know about the Do deepfakes signal an information apocalypse? Are they the end of evidence
security risks — and future potential — of electronic and internet voting. as we know it? The answers to these questions require us to understand what
We'll take a look at the past, present and future of election technologies is truly new about contemporary AV manipulation and what is simply an old
along with computer security, human factors, public policy and more. struggle for power in a new guise.
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POLYCULTURE
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POLYCULTURE
HEY, LOOK, THE MONOCULTURE IS DEAD (AGAIN)

2008 2015 2017 2019

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OR IS IT?

POLYCULTURE
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NOW MORE THAN EVER,

POLYCULTURE
BRANDS NEED BIG, BOLD IDEAS TO
BREAK THROUGH THE MAINSTREAM
AND ARE DOING SO WITH... BUT BOLD CHOICES (OR LACK OF THEM) COME WITH RISKS...

Culture-first Marketing Inauthenticity


Planned and reactive culture-based marketing Media and online audiences are quick
has become table stakes in some categories. to call out inconsistencies, and consumer
sentiment can cause stock price volatility.

Corporate Social Activism Cancel Culture


People are looking to businesses to drive Social media has fueled the risk of external
cultural change, and our current COVID-19 cancel culture which can be bad for reputation
situation has amplified this expectation. and the bottom line.

Authenticity Rise of Employee Pushback


Brands that operate while staying rooted in The majority of employees believe that they are
their own values create authentic right to speak up for or against their employers
exchanges that get noticed. when it comes to hot-button issues.
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POLYCULTURE
Consumer perception of culture is shifting.
There was a time when culture was defined

POLYCULTURE largely by celebrity, social trends and the


popular arts. But in today’s more complex
environment, everything from heritage,
Underscores a more language and politics have become part of
modern and inclusive cultural identity.
definition of culture that
helps business leaders Navigating polyculture becomes a delicate
identify authentic ways balancing act as consumers expect private
enterprise to lead and drive cultural change.
to create growth,
However, missteps can disrupt everything
advantage and
from stock price to long-term reputation.
opportunity amidst fluid
societal change. In this section, we’ll examine the process of
translating corporate and brand ideals into
authentic cultural value.

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DIG DEEPER: ONLINE CLASSES

POLYCULTURE
Cultural Insights from the US
Conversation on Twitter Arts and Culture Strategy
Twitter University of Pennsylvania
Understanding what’s happening matters more than ever, because Being an effective leader means constantly adapting and cleverly using the best
consumers care about a brand’s cultural relevance. The trends in this tools to reach as many people as possible. This course is designed to help
report represent the fastest-evolving topics on Twitter. leaders at any level do just that.

Social Media Trends:


How Brands Can Tap Into Culture Sustainable Business Enterprises
The Social Lights University of Illinois

Dive into culture and the brands that have tapped into it seamlessly by This course will explore current challenges and opportunities facing firms in the area
understanding their audiences and knowing when (and when not) to of environmental sustainability. Topics include unsustainable consumption/consumer
join in on a cultural conversation. behavior, market research, sustainable product design and sustainable value.

Corporate Sustainability. Understanding


and Seizing the Strategic Opportunity Intercultural Communication
Bocconi Future Learn
The course will help you understand the macroeconomic and In this course, learn how to understand the nuances of cross-cultural
microeconomic consequences of key global issues, and learn how interaction, understanding your own and others’ cultural identities. You’ll learn
individuals, organizations and systems can analyze their behaviors and shift different communication styles, and how values can change across cultures.
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NEW
INFLUENCE
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NEW INFLUENCE
POPULAR PROFESSIONS
TODAY’S CHILDREN Influencer and YouTuber
were the second and third Teacher
9%

DREAM OF GROWING
most popular professions 13%
Veterinarian
that children wish to pursue
for their careers YouT uber 14%

UP TO BE A... Social Media Influencer

Doctor
17%

19%

SOURCE: AWIN

INFLUENCER MARKETING GLOBAL SPEND


$10B
Over the last five years, $6.2B
influencer marketing $6.3B
grew from an ancillary
$4.4B
marketing tactic to a
$2.5B $5B
$5-10 billion dollar industry $3.2B
$4.1B
$500M $2.4B
$1.5B

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

Higher Spend Forec ast Lower Spend Forecast

SOURCE: MEDIAKIX
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NEW INFLUENCE
The value of engaging with people viewed as
authorities to persuade and bolster opinion
hasn’t changed. But everything else has —

NEW INFLUENCE including outlets, channels, personalities,


content and platforms.
Mapping today’s more
Experts of all kinds have multi-platform
complex and fragmented
audiences. Employees have found a voice to
influencer landscape, affect change in their companies. And the impact
identifying critical voices who of advocacy groups continues to accelerate.
drive value in today's
polyculture. A more advanced influencer approach that
leverages internal and external voices is
required for messages that resonate.

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NEW INFLUENCE
TODAY’S INFLUENCERS RANGE FROM...
MACRO TO MICRO AND STEM FROM NEW PLACES

Celebrities From Byline to Personality


YouTube has become a popular side The line between journalist and lifestyle
hustle for Hollywood stars. celebrity has become increasingly blurry.

Social Media Stars From Expert to Network


A recent survey shows 50% of Makeup artists, healthcare providers, financial
millennials trust social media experts and tech executives have gone from
influencers for brand advice. leaders in their field to major influencers.

Micro Influencers From Minority Voices to Main Stage


92% of customers trust a micro Influencers are bringing minority voices
influencer more than a traditional ad or from fringe to front page.
an endorsement from a celebrity.

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NEW INFLUENCE
EXTERNAL
SOCIAL
CELEBRITIES & MEDIA CONTENT
FEEDERS

BLURRED LINES
NOTABLES CREATORS AND
CURATORS

INTERNAL MAINSTREAM

REQUIRE AN EMPLOYEES MEDIA


NICHE

INTEGRATED EXECUTIVES
BRAND OR
COMPANY LOCAL

INFLUENCER BOARDS OF
DIRECTORS/

APPROACH.
OWNERSHIP
GOVERNMENT
SHAREHOLDERS

ACADEMIA

ADVOCACY
INDUSTRY GROUPS
CUSTOMERS EXPERTS &
PROFESSIONALS
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DIG DEEPER: ONLINE CLASSES

NEW INFLUENCE
Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content Leverage Industry Influencers
University of Pennsylvania LinkedIn Learning
Examine the science behind making ideas stick. This course will help you Most industries have experts with significant influence. Learn why
increase your influence, generate word-of-mouth and harness the power of influencer marketing is important and how it can help increase traffic,
social networks to promote products, ideas and services. promote brand awareness and generate leads.

Influencer Marketing is Here to Stay The WIRED Guide to Influencers


LinkedIn Learning WIRED
Discover how to use influencer marketing and key partnerships with WIRED provides everything you need to know about engagement, power likes,
influential peers and personalities to promote your business. sponsored content and trust.

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your


The Top Instagram Virtual Influencers Business with Influencer Marketing
Hype – Journal Single Grain
Discover the top virtual influencers and learn why they have almost This guide covers everything you need to know about reaching new audiences,
three times more engagement rate than the real influencers. increasing brand awareness, and boosting marketing ROI and the bottom line.

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MODERN
CONTENT
CANVAS 24
MODERN CONTENT CANVAS
WE’RE LIVING IN A WORLD OF CONSTANT
UPDATES THAT CONTRIBUTE TO...
LACK OF CONTROL
AND LACK OF COMPREHENSION

Today, the disconnect between updatedness vs. understanding is more important than ever.
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MODERN CONTENT CANVAS
MODERN
CONTENT
CANVAS
As we reach peak attention, consumers have
fled to new forms of media and private
groups. From increasingly shorter forms of
In today's platform-centric world, content, to slow media, to reimagined
a Modern Content Canvas helps newsrooms and distribution considerations —
leaders leverage diverse media modern formats allow for new kinds of
formats to reach consumers in activation that give stories more impact, drive
ways that resonate. shelf-life and contribute to societal value,
understanding and perspective.

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CONTENT CREATORS ARE REQUIRED TO DISCOVER

MODERN CONTENT CANVAS


NEW WAYS TO BREAK THROUGH AND BE RESPONSIBLE.
ENTER...
… NEW STORYTELLING CONSIDERATIONS … SHIFTS IN FAMILIAR MEDIUMS

The Reign of Short-Form Content Stories


On apps like TikTok, young people are churning Instagram stories have grown in popularity and
through images and sounds at warp speed, feature new offerings like AR filters.
repurposing reality into ironic, bite-sized content.

“Slow” Media Gaming


Projects like Tortoise Media are responding to Streaming and mobile gaming communities
content overload with a different type of connect with increasingly diverse audiences.
newsroom for a slower, wiser news.

Maturing Visual-Based Formats Meme Culture


Shoppable media, visual-based As crises arise, memes have emerged as a
search and interactive videos enable massively popular coping mechanism.
new customer experiences.
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MODERN CONTENT CANVAS
Press release Online video

Deskside briefing Mobile augmented reality (AR)

CREATORS RELY ON A Media open house Immersive virtual reality (VR)


NEW MODUS OPERANDI
WHEN IT COMES TO B-roll Multi-channel social video

MEDIA Press conference Live video

INNOVATION Press release quotes Executive social channels

IN THE AGE OF Video vignettes Social ”stories” (Snap, Instagram)

DISRUPTION Interviews

Media kit series/data viz


Podcasts

Social visual

Q&A Chat, AMA, DM

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DIG DEEPER: ONLINE CLASSES

MODERN CONTENT CANVAS


The Strategy of Content Marketing Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
University of California – Davis Google Digital Garage
Learn how to develop, organize and implement a content marketing Master the basics of digital marketing with our free course accredited by
strategy; analyze and measure the effectiveness of content marketing; Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University. There are 26
write compelling copy; use a strategic framework when writing; and modules to explore, all created by Google trainers, packed full of practical
build your professional brand and authority through content marketing. exercises and real-world examples to help you turn knowledge into action.

Bring Your Business to Life with Stories Building an Integrated Online Marketing Plan
Facebook Blueprint LinkedIn Learning

Stories on Instagram, Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp (Status) Successful marketing is holistic: it considers every channel, from email to search
offer you an immersive, full-screen vertical format to bring your business to social media. It is also focused: on the business’s core values, customers and
to life through photos, videos, text and effects. Learn to connect with goals. What keeps all these moving parts in check? An effective strategy. Learn
audiences via organic Stories and through ads within Stories. how to build an integrated online marking plan for your organization.

The Essential Guide to Digital Marketing With Facebook VR Video and Photography: Storytelling
Facebook Blueprint LinkedIn Learning
The Facebook family of apps and services offers several powerful free In this course, learn how to leverage one of the most cutting-edge technologies
and paid tools to market your business. This series of courses prepares out there, virtual reality (VR), to practice one of the oldest art forms, storytelling.
you to put these tools to work to help you grow your business.

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DATA
ETHICS 30
DATA ETHICS
WE ARE AWASH IN ABUSE AND MISUSE OF DATA
SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM
DATA BREACHES

DATA HARVESTING ALGORITHM BIAS


Racial bias found in widely
used health care algorithm

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DATA ETHICS
Consumers are increasingly — and rightly —

DATA ETHICS concerned about abuse and misuse of data.

Tech companies are attempting greater


As data continues to promise transparency, to a degree. Governments are
unparalleled consumer insight beginning to regulate. Media coverage about data
and access, a sound approach bias and its impact is increasing. And consumers
to data ethics is required to are pushing back where they can.
navigate the potential pitfalls
of a hyper-customized, on- Companies face risk and opportunity when it
demand world. comes to navigating data ethics and are required
to do more than just mitigate risk. They can lead.

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DATA ETHICS
A DISORDERED INFORMATION ECOSYSTEM
DEMANDS A NEW ETHICAL COMPASS
REPUTATIONAL HITS ARE ADDING UP BUT CONSUMERS AREN’T UNMOVABLE

Consumers are Pushing Back Sometimes by Choice


Some users try to reclaim their online 67% of customers will swap certain data
footsteps by avoiding major platforms for better, personalized experiences.
like Facebook.

Some Technologists are


Finding their Conscience Sometimes Not by Choice
Movements around decentralization and Sometimes “just quitting” apps that
paying users for their data are reimagining share our data is easier said than done.
what the web can be.

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DATA ETHICS
THIS IS THE

PRIVACY PARADOX GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

(And we’re stuck)


Finding our way out is
a shared responsibility

CONSUMERS

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DIG DEEPER: ONLINE CLASSES

DATA ETHICS
Building Digital Trust:
Data Ethics The Role of Data Ethics in the Digital Age
LinkedIn Learning Accenture
Decision-makers in every industry can benefit from a basic understanding of Accenture Labs launched a research collaboration with leading thinkers
the goals and concepts of applied data analysis. This course focuses on the on data ethics to provide these guidelines for security executives and
fundamentals of data fluency, or the ability to work with data to extract data practitioners and to enable development of robust ethical controls
insights and determine your next steps. throughout data supply chains.

De-Risking Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Humane Design Guide


McKinsey & Company Center for Humane Technology
The added risk brought on by the complexity of machine-learning models Use this simple, actionable worksheet to to identify opportunities for humane
can be mitigated by making well-targeted modifications to existing validation technology in design.
frameworks. Learn more here.

Everyday Ethics for Artificial Intelligence Algorithmic Accountability: A Primer


IBM Data & Society
This guide represents the beginning of a conversation to define Everyday This resource explores issues of algorithmic accountability, or the process of
Ethics for AI, focusing on specific virtues that AI systems should possess, assigning responsibility for harm when algorithmic decision-making results in
and guidance for designers and developers building and training AI. discriminatory and inequitable outcomes.

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INTRODUCTION
FOR WEEKLY UPDATES
ABOUT THE TERRITORIES
AND EXAMPLES IN THIS
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NEWSLETTER HERE.

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MEDIA GENIUS?
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Michael Connery
Kelly Sullivan
Greg Young

THANKS
Marcha Johnson
Angela Mears
Megan Koppel
Cara Tocci
Carrie Lauterstein
Brad Burke
SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL WHO CONTRIBUTED TO David Aglar
Adam Wall
THIS GUIDE AND OUR MEDIA GENIUS OFFERINGS Cindy Sato
Justin Ruess
Greg Scraper
Rose Zhang
Erin Griffin

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