How to Spin Bad News

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

“I wonder what kind of spin they can put on that!”
Any News Broadcast
You hear about this all the time in the media, mostly relating to news coming out of some political venue. They are talking about how someone can present negative information in a way that makes it sound like it’s a good thing. It’s not really lying, it’s not “disinformation” but it’s not a straight-forward presentation either. In many ways, it’s the essence of politics. The same technique is often used by corporations to present less than favorable financial news.
Very often, it isn’t possible to know when this is happening because the people doing it are very, very good at it. If it’s not done properly, however, it’s obvious and transparent, and nothing good will come of it. Here are some steps that will help you get an idea of how to use this technique should you find yourself in a position that requires it.

Steps

  1. Research the event: You need to know, to the last detail, what happened. If you don’t have this knowledge, you will do better to gloss over the event until you do know. Note dates and times, things that led up to the event, people involved and most significantly, the immediate results.
  2. Create a timeline: This is not just for the past but for the future too. Use your research to build this, then project as many repercussions as you can into the future. If, for example, a retail corporation had a very poor fourth quarter, will you need to close stores; lay off people; borrow money? Identify all the bad things that are likely to come of this.
  3. Create alternate event descriptions: This is where you will build the “spin” for the public. You can’t do anything about things that happened – they happened – but you can present them differently.
    • People didn’t buy from lower-priced competitors; they delayed premium buying decisions.
    • You didn’t have ineffective marketing; you delayed premium advertising to coincide with the delayed buying decisions.
    • You aren’t going to close stores; you’re repositioning for market acquisition.
    • You aren’t laying off sales employees; you’re elevating the consumer’s experience through added independence.
  4. Roleplay and improve: To do this properly, it takes a group of people dedicated to the result. You will need several “devil’s advocate” types to listen to the presentation and slice it to pieces. You want to know every possible argument ahead of time. Use small focus groups and make the presentation, then tweak it, then do it again. Each time the backlash is reduced, you’ve made an effective improvement. Eventually (after 4 or 5 sessions) you should get to a stable point.
  5. Prepare your audience: You’re not going to just jump in and make your presentation. You want the audience to be receptive to your information. Start leaking information that is favorable to your position and negative to any alternate position. You will neither confirm nor deny this information, but you will caution people that any information about your corporation will come from official sources, only.
  6. Pause: Don’t release your information immediately following the leaks. Let the audience have time to absorb and process the information – they need time to reach equilibrium.
  7. Go Public: Release your information. Publicly and loudly. A surprise press conference (that was rumored to be in the works) is an effective and time-tested method. Whether you have a Q&A session after will really depend on how good your spin is and, to a large extent, how prepared you are. It’s also a matter of personal taste.
  8. See Step 1: Spin only lasts just so long. Eventually, the future catches up to your timeline, and you’ll need to make new announcements. Start planning for how you’ll do that, now. This is really an endless cycle and there is strong job security for somebody that’s good at it.

Video

A video by Iowa State Political Science Professor, Steven Schmidt, explaining how to use the “good news, bad news” spin technique. The examples used are from the 2008 US Presidential Election Campaign.

Tips

  • A positive attitude is a must. You absolutely may not allow yourself to exhibit even the tiniest bit of indecisiveness. If you don’t believe it, they won’t.
  • Credibility is critical. Your audience must believe you without any question. You are appealing largely to their emotions.
  • Have diversity in your focus groups. You want the members to be as varied as possible so they will have different views on your presentation.

Warnings

  • This can have a serious backlash if there are holes in your presentation. Be as critical as possible.
  • Be sure about the loyalties of the people that help you. Select your focus groups carefully.
  • Don’t fall for your own spin. It sounds good, makes sense… but seriously, you know better. You built the twist – don’t let it go to your head.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Spin Bad News. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

How to Use VLC Media Player to Stream Multimedia to Another Computer

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

VLC is arguably the best media player out there.
It’s free, runs on almost any operating system, plays almost all video and audio files natively, can stream audio and video over networks using a myriad of different protocols, can be controlled remotely through a web browser and much, much more!
These are instructions on how to get your VLC to stream a multimedia playlist to another single computer on your network.

Steps

  1. Download VLC media Player (Videolan)
  2. Install
  3. Run VLC
  4. Click File, then choose Open File or Disc, depending on what you plan on streaming. For this example, it’s an avi file. The Directory option does not allow Stream/Save.
  5. Click the Browse button at the top right of the Open dialog box that opens. Choose the file you would like to stream and either double click it or click Open.
  6. Now check “Stream/ Save” in the bottom left corner, and click the Settings… button.
  7. You will be greeted by the Stream output dialog box. Check the Play Locally box if you want the file to play on the computer you’re setting up. Click the UDP box, fill in the IP address of the computer you are going to be streaming to, and leave the Port as 1234.
  8. Click OK to go back to the file open dialog.
  9. Click OK again to begin the streaming. Depending on if you chose to play the file locally, the video may or may not begin playing on the local machine.
  10. Go to the computer you are streaming to. Install VLC (if you haven’t already) and run the program.
  11. Click File, then choose Open Network Stream. Don’t change any settings and click OK.
  12. If everything has gone right, the file should start playing on the remote computer after 10 seconds or so!

Tips

  • You need to get your IP address from the computer you are using to receive the files. On Win XP, go to Start, Run, type cmd in the text box, and then Enter. When the new window opens, type ipconfig after the > . The first number should be the IP address of the machine you typed ipconfig on.
  • If you’d like to stream more than one item, get the first one streaming and then open VLC’s playlist editor (Ctrl+P for XP) on the streaming computer. You can easily add files to the list from there. Alternatively, you can choose more than one file (using the control and shift keys) when initially opening one to stream.
  • VLC can be controlled via web browser, so no having to run between computers. On the streaming computer, click Settings, Add Interface, Web Interface. Now, just type the address of the streaming computer plus the port numbers :8080 into your browser’s address bar. Mine looked like this: 192.168.1.103:8080 . Now you can add files or almost anything else from right inside your browser!

Warnings

  • You probably won’t be able to stream anything of very good quality over the Internet. Because of the bandwidth video files demand, the average home internet connection probably won’t work well enough, although you can probably stream music nicely. You need a good upload speed to send the files out at the speed they need to play smoothly.
  • Don’t use IPChicken or Whatismyip or a STUN server to get your IP address for this. This method depends on your Local Network IP address, which is somewhat different from the public IP address used for the Internet.
  • If you are streaming over the internet you should use IPChicken or Whatismyip or a STUN server to get your IP address for this. This method does not depend on your Local(private) Network IP address, which is somewhat different from the public IP address used for the Internet.
  • Make sure you use UDP and keep the port numbers the same. This makes it very easy to just click, click, click in VLC on the computer receiving the files.
  • If you are behind a firewall you need to create a rule to allow this type of traffic on the port you select to go through it.
  • If you are behind a router, you will need to create a port forwarding rule for the port you choose for it to work correctly. Logging into your router is normally achieved by placing your gateway’s IP on your browser (i.e. http://192.168.1.1).

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Use VLC Media Player to Stream Multimedia to Another Computer. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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