Watching the Obama inauguration ceremonies on TV, I felt disappointed by poet Elizabeth Alexander’s “Praise Song for the Day”…but  agree with Martha Swartz of  Philadelphia, who points out in her email newsletter that that the poem works better read than heard.  It’s included below.

Martha, a lawyer who regularly sends out political commentary,  also offers links to photos of the inauguration:

Inauguration photos by Wilmington, DE photographer Kathe Kahn Morse are posted at .\

If you’d like me to link to your photos, commentary or anything else regarding the inauguration…or actually…anything else at all…please leave a comment to let me know!


Here’s the poem:
by Elizabeth Alexander

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others’ eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair. Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice. A woman and her son wait for the bus. A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, “Take out your pencils. Begin.” We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider. We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, “I need to see what’s on the other side; I know there’s something better down the road.” We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see. Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of. Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables. Some live by “Love thy neighbor as thy self.” Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need. What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance. In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun. On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking forward in that light.

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.


Thought you might like to know that my client, Scientia Advisors, is offering five free Webinars aimed at helping major corporations, emerging companies and innovative startups choose strategic directions.

The Webinars, in February, 2009, will present Scientia’s latest industry reviews. The reviews are based on interviews with scientists, clinicians, manufacturers, and product developers as well as on traditional market research.

The Webinars will initially be presented live, with opportunities for interactive participation.  Less-detailed Webcasts will subsequently be available for download from the Scientia Advisors Web site.

Here’s the schedule; click on any of the titles for more information or to register.

· Riding the High Value In Vitro Diagnostics Wave: Translating Promise Into Clinical Reality With Managing Partner Harry Glorikian, 11 AM Tuesday, February 10

· Back to the Future: Cell Market Entrance Strategies, Post-Stem Cell Deregulation

With Partner Arshad Ahmed, 11 AM Wednesday, February 11

· Drivers of Success in Functional Foods
With Principal Bob Jones 2 PM Wednesday, February 11

· Molecular Diagnostics: Identifying Candidates for Success in an Innovation-Driven Market

With Harry Glorikian, 11 AM Thursday, February 12

· Point of Care: Enabling Broad Product Adoption Through Maximized Access to Health Care Sites
With Harry Glorikian, 11 AM Thursday, February 19

Scientia Advisors, based in Cambridge, MA and Palo Alto, CA, is an international management consulting firm specializing in growth and operational strategies for major and emerging companies in health care, life science and biotechnology.

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group, of Cambridge, MA.

In the last few days, I’ve been in on several Webinars–some more effective than others.

Hubspot’s “5 Tips for Advanced B2B Business Blogging” was well organized and to the point. ****

Although  host and Hubspot Marketing VP Mike Volpe insisted on calling potential customers “personae,”   (in my book, the persona is the character telling the story as opposed to someone you’re trying to reach)–he did a good job of explaining that instead of using blogs to push your products,  you should offer information that will interest potential customers in order to draw them in.  Among other suggestions:

  • Offer a mix of posts–news, features, opinion, photos video, audio, lists, bold statements, funny bits, email  or videocam interviews–and information about how to get photos, via flickr.
  • Format in a readable way
  • Be patient: this sort of marketing is a marathon, not a sprint,

The webinar video and slides are available at:;
you can find  a basic introduction to business blogging at

Elizabeth Marshall’s “Striking Content Marketing Cold” with Newt Barratt, Chris Brogan, and Paul Gillin, the authors of “Get Content Get Customers” was a bit roundabout. **

With four panelists,  it was difficult to know who was speaking.            The authors, who also used (and perhaps coined?)  that peculiar
term “persona,”   focused on what they call “content marketing,”
which involves using (or possibly employing the authors?)
to   use  “story” to bring in customers.

Despite the confusing format, the authors must  have done
something right because here I am spreading the word on their

The webinar may be downloaded from:
Audio is available  at
/getcontent1.mp3 and a  written summary, in blog form,  at

Teleseminar: -Build Your Proactive PR Strategy for 2009 , featuring the increasingly visible Peter Shankman founder of  the Geek Factory and HARO (Help a Reporter Out )and Kim Keelor, PR Director of Gaylord Entertainment, was informative  but  included a few discouraging words.

The Vocus moderator, in  good social media  marketing form,
kept discussion of Vocus’ media relations outreach offerings to
a minimum.

I felt  encouraged when Keelor pointed out that PR consultants
seeing “free media” stand to do well as dollars for expensive
advertising sink  in the current flailing economy.

I also  found the advice to target a few key reporters rather
than send releases to huge  list and to use social media tools
like Twitter and Gawker to find out what reporters are
covering–to be right on–especially with reporter layoffs, and
remaining journalists increasingly assigned to  numerous

I was not shocked when Shankman predicted the imminent
demise of the press release–to be replaced by social media
tools used to reach individual reporters who have specific
informational needs.

I was, however, taken aback  when one speaker (perhaps the
unnamed moderator?) expressed anger when  asked
how to find reporters’ Twitter addresses– because he’d
posted instructions several months ago, online. If you can’t
figure  out how to Google to find that information,” he asked,
do you really belong in this [PR]  business?

As a long-time PR practitioner who is relatively new to
Twitter,   I have to ask whether insulting potential Vocus
customers–I mean… personae– who ask honest  questions is
an effective marketing tool.

That webinar and others are available at

The New Cambridge Observer is a publication of  the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

On a freezing cold January afternoon, my companion and I decided on a quick getaway to Boston’s beautiful new Institute of Contemporary Art.

With Tara Donovan’s fantastical landscapes (composed of everyday objects like paper cups, toothpicks and drinking straws) now dismantled and a show of  street-artist (and Obama portraitist) Shepard Fairey yet to launch,   my companion and I were able to focus on highlights of previous exhibitions,  the work of emerging artists chosen as finalists  the ICA’s 2008 Foster Prize, the wonderful late afternoon light, Peet’s coffee  ($1.80) and huge brownies ($3.00) in the ICA cafe, which overlooks the water.

My companion, a college student just back from a semester in Israel, was particularly taken with Rania Matar’s  photographs showing moments of stability in wartorn Lebanon: an elderly woman in a business suit eading the same newspaper as black-dressed muslim women,   children playing amidst the rubble, and a stately home, seen through building ruins.

I liked having the quiet time to ponder acquisitions from previous shows:  Paul Chan’s digital animation of shadows,  and Roe Ethridge’s photograph of Countyline Meadowmere Park, in Long Island, New York.

A favorite oddity–by the French-born artist Kader Attia–  was  what appeared to be a relaxing video of  ice cube slowly melting and shifting against a brick backdrop …until closer inspection  (and the writeup) revealed that we were watching  oil turn sugar cubes into black, oozing goop–in a statement on global environmental decay.

I’d expected dancing in the streets in the People’s Republic but perhaps because of deep snow and freezing cold, instead found a friendly breakfast gathering at Upstairs on the Square (photos and video to follow, if people send them to me).

Watched Obama’s eloquent speech with Harvard students at Quincy House–most listened with rapt attention, even standing for the national anthem, hands over hearts.

I was most impressed with Obama’s suggestion to those who blame the West for the state of their own nations that populations care about what governments can build, not what they can destroy–and distressed when, after the address, viewed enthusiastically by millions, the stock market took a 300 point drop.

In the evening, went back to Upstairs for drinks with Mark Hoffman, of Burlington, and Marc Kessler, of Cambridge, whose photo (above) I took with a larger-than-life cardboard Obama cutout.

We were sorry to miss free skating and hot chocolate at the Charles Hotel, readings of various inaugural addresses at the American Repertory’s Arrow Street Theater, the Harvard Bookstore’s “winedown,” and numerous house parties but, unlike the Obamas, who attended ten inaugural balls, we couldn’t be everywhere!

The New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.

With the ever increasing fall of bookstores and impending newspaper layoffs, I’d like to echo Alex Beam’s call for readers to reach for their wallets.

In case you missed his January 9 column, “Closing Costs,” in the Boston Globe, it opens: “Here is a dispatch from the Land of No Suprises: Bookstores–buffed by the recession, by Amazon, by electronic reading devices–are closing their doors”. He points out that, easy as it is to go to Amazon for books and read newspapers online for free, by behaving normally, “you kill the things you love.”

In Boston, after several waves of reporter buyouts, people keep telling me that they’ve dropped their subscriptions to the Globe because it’s gone downhill, and, anyway, they can get it on line, for free. Duh.

My apologies for stating the obvious, but many of my friends don’t seem to get that, in  a vicious financial cycle,  with fewer paying customers,   the paper can get fewer advertisers, revenues go down, and, as a result, the Globe and many other papers have had to  “encourage”  their most senior,  talented reporters to leave.  The Globe announced  a new round of editorial layoffs just last week.

I’ll be writing more about this–but for the time being, please support the  free press–by paying for it.

The New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group, of Cambridge, MA.

Cambridge consulting firm Scientia Advisors says that big pharma could begin to reap profits from personalized medicine much sooner than predicted by marketing new diagnostics tools along with drugs that are already on the market. (Most pharma companies are currently using personalized medicine tools only in developing new drugs–which won’t bring any profits for years down the road).  Based on quantitative and qualitative research, Scientia’s study, published in the January, 2009 Pharmaceutical Executive describes how  three companies grew their profits and improved their relationships with prescribing physicians using the new model.  According to Scientia Managing Partner Harry Glorikian, the method will also improve patient care, lower costs and lead to health system reforms.  More info is available at

Scientia Advisors is a client of the Harris Communications Group.

Anita Harris