Archive for the ‘Collective Soul Blog’ Category

Let Us Tell Your Story

At A. Larry Ross Communications, we believe in the power of story.

Our team is, in essence, storytellers, working with clients to passionately share their story within the framework of traditional news value. We seek help our clients interpret, transpose and transmit their messages in a cultural context in a way that doesn’t manufacture an image but rather establishes and projects its existing identity.

While we are wordsmiths who value the ability to share a written story, we recognize that our society is becoming more visual. Now a days, a short video can receive millions more views than a written article, even more so as it is passed from person to person via social media.

Video combines every element used in story telling. The images, words and music all combine to evoke an emotional response from the viewer to greater impact them.

That’s why we are thrilled to announce the newest video component of ALRC’s offerings headed by the talented Richard Ross.

Richard has extensive experience working in lifestyle marketing and brand communications, increasing brand affinity and loyalty through digital and online videos. His expertise allows him to develop a variety of film styles to suit our client’s needs, from creative and quirky to documentary-style.

Take a look at the latest example of his work, and consider letting him tell your story next.

You Probably Won’t Read This In The News…

As an account executive at A. Larry Ross Communications, I’m supposed to be an expert on the news media. So I’m rarely surprised when the media sensationalizes a trivial story or pays insufficient attention to an important one. I figure that’s just the way the news business works because of the general public’s appetite for celebrity news and quirky stories.

Image via The Catholic Herald

One developing story in recent months has been particularly troubling to me, though not many individuals – even in Christian circles – likely know about it unless they follow more internationally focused outlets such as The New York Times and the BBC.

Bob Fu, the president of ChinaAid and an advocate for religious freedom and human rights, reports that the Chinese government has destroyed about 300 churches or removed their crosses.

Bob Fu, Founder of China Aid

Much of the persecution has taken place in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, where government officials told one congregation that its “cross was too shiny, too tall and too big.” When the congregation refused to take it down, the government began to demolish the church.

Fu calls it the “worst persecution in China since the Cultural Revolution” in the 1960s and ’70s, when one Communist leader said, “Christianity in China has been confined to the history section of the museum. It is dead and buried.”

In reality, the Christian population in China is currently booming. Because so many Chinese belong to underground churches, there are no reliable figures, but a  Pew study in 2011 estimated that about 5 percent of the population – 67 million at the time – was Christian. Some experts even say China could have the biggest Christian population in the world by 2030.

Fu, the author of “God’s Double Agent,” says that government documents reveal that Chinese president Xi Jinping is trying to “contain the over-heated growth of Christianity.”

Religious persecution in China and other countries with less-than-tolerant attitudes toward certain religions is nothing new, and every experienced newsman knows that, because humans tend to prioritize the concerns of the near before the far, the public typically cares more about local and national news than international news.

At a time when the media reports on every move the Kardashians make and highlights stories with headlines like “The 26 Best Brows on Instagram,” it shouldn’t be surprising that so little attention is paid to religious persecution in China.

But if you want to find out what’s going on there and show your support, visit www.chinaaid.org.  You’ll learn that China is not only half a world away geographically, it’s also a different and much harsher world for followers of Christ.

 

 

Put me in, Coach!

ALR_collage

Larry Ross is pictured across the top with Dick Helm (l), Wheaton North athletic director and head coach, also pictured with David Dick; Lee Pfund (c), head coach at Wheaton College; and Wesley Dusek (r), Wheaton North JV coach. The bottom photo includes returning players from back-in-the-day, including Kerry (back, second from left) and Randy (front, second from left) and David Helm (front left).

Earlier this month, I re-connected during the 50th Anniversary homecoming weekend at Wheaton North High School in Wheaton, IL, with the three basketball coaches in my life: Dick Helm, Lee Pfund (c) and Wesley Dusek (r), as well as returning players from my era as a member of the first class to attend my alma mater for four years.

Beyond modeling a competitive spirit, desire for excellence and drive to win, I was especially encouraged by the reminder of the strong character development, values impartation and rich spiritual heritage these men infused into their players.

In his remarks at a ceremony announcing the annual MVP award to be named in his honor, Coach Helm shared how in 1964 he regularly “prayer walked” the perimeter of the building as the foundation was laid and later the hallways as the walls went up, asking God to bless every teacher, staff and student that would work or study at the school.

Coach Helm then asked every returning player who had been on a Wheaton North team for any sport to stand, saluted the group and thanked the Lord for the way He blessed them, their attitudes and accomplishments. He said he appreciated the myriad life and career success that many individuals he coached had achieved, but explained that he instead saw them as blessings, for which he had prayed more than half a century ago.

Coach Pfund, who celebrated his 95th birthday the previous week, reinforced that ministry heritage during our conversation together.  He shared stories of being one of the few players willing to sit next to Jackie Robinson on the bus to training camp in Cuba during the rookie year of the first black player signed to a Major League Baseball team.  his rookie.  During the 40-minute ride to, and from, the ball park in Cuba, they discussed their respective testimonies and common bond of faith.

I, in turn, was able to regale Coach Pfund with a conversation I had in a bank vault in Brooklyn prior to a local branch event with his former teammate, Joe DiMaggio, for whom I was privileged to handle media liaison as spokesperson for my client, The Bowery Savings Bank.

I explained that when I asked Mr. DiMaggio if he remembered his co-player, Lee Pfund, he replied, “You mean the preacher?  That’s what we called him, because of he had it written into his contract that he wouldn’t play on Sunday.”  More than four decades after his successful career, including a consecutive game hitting streak that will likely never be broken, that testimony of faith and Gospel witness had made a lasting impression.

I was also intrigued to realize the curious interconnectivity of these men and families. After Lee Pfund coached Dick Helm on his Conference Champion team at Wheaton College in the mid 1950s, Coach Helm went on to coach all three of Coach Pfund’s three sons, John, Kerry and Randy, in high school, and later took over as head coach of the Wheaton College team after Coach Pfund retired.

Subsequently, Dick Helm and Randy Pfund competed against each other during their distinguished tenures in the NBA, while respectively coaching/managing the New York Knicks, Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors (Helm) and L. A. Lakers and Miami Heat (Pfund). And, my mother taught the children of Coaches Helm and Dusek in second grade before I was later associated with their teams — not quite Mayberry, but close…

So with hats off to the past, and coats off for the future, I remain grateful to these great men for their example and influence in my life.