Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

My Letter to the Orlando Sentinel regarding the arrest of Mildred Fernandez

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Good Afternoon,

As an Hispanic (Puerto Rican) member of the community who is very involved on the political scene. I am very disappointed in the actions of Commissioner Fernandez. She was considered a Central Florida Hispanic leader and very in touch with the her culture. The facts will reveal themselves and what will be will be, but I question why someone in her position would risk all she has earned for recklessly collected donations. I am however, very confident in the young latino leadership that is currently rising from Central Florida. This generation will learn from this experience and lead with Integrity, Intelligence and compassion for Orange County and their Hispanic heritage. I am sure of it.

Respectfully,

Frank Torres

Brand Identity

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2010 at 10:25 pm

I meet a lot of professionals here in Orlando, that are making the same jump I made about a year back. They are putting the necessary pieces together to start a small business. Talented individuals or partnerships slaving over all the details to make sure their operation hits the ground running and never stops moving. They have the smarts, they have a plan but they are neglecting one of the most important aspects of starting their business that will help them connect with their target market; who they are.

Establishing a brand identity is so important in this Internet, Youtube, Facebook society we live in. Does your business effectively reflect who you are? Does your ideal consumer or client identify how you can help them? We all have a vision for how we want our business to look and operate, the style we conduct our business and how we communicate.

I like to be able to look at a website or a business card and not only have the information needed to decide whether I want to go with your business but also an undertone, a feeling on how you go about serving your clientele. If you’re a computer repair service, does the copy on your site communicate what kind of an operation you run? Are you coming across as the friendly next door neighbor kind of service or something more of a secret Geek Squad type of an operation?

This is not only important, but fun! Exercise that right side of the brain! Hire talented, creative designers and writers to help you get the right kind of message across.  People love customization, making something especially for themselves to show to others, who they are. Your business should be no exception.

Space and Teacher Merit Pay

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Today, let’s talk about Mike and Mary Robertson. They live in Madison, Wisconsin and have two kids. Mike is an accountant and Mary is a schoolteacher. They’re comfortable and are raising their two children the best they can. They have been cutting back their activities a little, renting movies instead of hitting the theaters, eating in instead of out, they did the “staycation” this year and a gift swap at Christmas.

Mike is watching the nightly news and notices that the President will be at a Space Summit in Florida this week. There is the possibility of massive job losses and while Mike is sorry, he believes that cutting space programs might be the way to go…”Times are tough” he mutters under his breath. Like a lot of Americans outside of Florida, he doesn’t know the benefits of space travel. He doesn’t know that the heart pump that keeps his mom alive, the cell phone his wife is speaking on or the GPS that keeps him moving in the right direction are all because of space exploration. The purified water he insists on drinking, the satellite TV he is watching or the Lasik he would some day want to get for his daughter are all because of those people at NASA. Those brilliant minds who went to school all of those years in subjects like physics and engineering that he still can’t put together. He forgets about the trip to visit his brother in Detroit after the auto industry fell apart and what the environment in city dependent on a certain industry was like. Mike would feel a lot different about the whole entire space program if he knew how it affected his life.

Mary is on the cell phone that space travel helped make a reality and talking to her sister Michelle, who is a school teacher like her sister in Florida. Governor Crist has a bill he can veto or sign that will determine how much Michelle makes by how well her students do. Mary is floored by the entire concept “I don’t get enough time with my students” Mary says “with all of the distractions they have and I don’t know what their environments at home are like”. It occurs to her that she hasn’t seen her kids studying a lot recently and maybe she had better check their assignments. Mary asked “How could lawmakers let that happen?” Michelle responded “We were too busy teaching, and paying for school supplies out of pocket, to monitor legislation” Okay, Michelle didn’t say monitor legislation but you get the point.

Let me get to MY points. NASA doesn’t do enough to communicate to Mike just how important the work they do is. Every business must be able to communicate to the people that matter what it is they do. That’s where community outreach and effective awareness campaigning comes into play. If Mike knew what NASA did for him, wouldn’t he along with so many of the unaware voters in this country be in contact with their representatives in government?

Teacher merit is more complicated. One lawmaker called it a “gutcheck” for Florida educators. I don’t have kids but I know that parents are busy, teachers are busy, and kids have everything from algebra, to growing up, to Twilight Vampires being throw at them. It’s a lot more complicated than it use to be when I was in Orange County schools. I hope that we can look back in a couple of years and realize we made the right decision.

Anyways, NASA and Florida public schools will hopefully take guidance from their public relations/affairs department and keep people in the know. As professionals in this field we must constantly be communicating with the people we advocate for and the audience we seek.

Let’s see a debate among Mayoral candidates

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I am a big fan of debates. I believe that laying out your solutions and explaining why your way is the right way, directly, to your opponents face is as real as it gets. It frightens a lot of politicians and their people because they fear their solutions might not get across as well while being attacked. It frightens them, not only of what comes out of their mouths, but what their body language is saying to the voters. You want to see what a candidate is really like? Go ahead and put them in front of a camera and sit them besides their opponent. Ask questions about the issues and let them slug it out…to a point.

It was brought up by one of the Orange County Mayoral hopefuls that debates be held amongst them. It’s a terrific idea. To this point the only thing we have seen come out of each candidates respective camps are flimsy releases that aren’t concentrating on the difficult issues facing Orange County, but finger pointing and tacky insults. Is this all the voters are going to have to make their decisions on Election Day? It doesn’t seem right does it? Let’s get to the nitty gritty, and find out who is for real.

I have met all of the candidates (except for one) and on a personal level all of them are pretty cool. They probably had no clue what I do for a living and were just running lines from their stance on the issues that sound good, but I can tell. I have read the releases and statements that have come from these candidates and recently they have just been trying to attack each other with spoons. Yeah, if they keep at it they might hurt the other candidate eventually but the attackers themselves look pretty silly.

Let’s pick a format, let’s pick a moderator and let’s get this thing going! I myself would be happy to help put this thing together (I am still undecided). This would be a real opportunity to finally get everyone together and debate over whose vision is the best for Orange County. The residents certainly deserve it.

The effectiveness of opinion leaders

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I was having lunch with my family on Easter Sunday (Happy belated Easter by the way) when one of my younger family members in her teens asked me out of the blue “What do you think about the President’s plan to drill offshore?” This family member had never taken any interests in politics before and now she was asking me to chime in on one of the region’s most controversial issues. I had no idea that I would have to issue a statement over appetizers to the youngest person at the table.

She had found out about the President’s plan through her surfing buddies on the coast. She didn’t have any details but still… I was wondering about the scores of surfers throughout the state who were all of the sudden brought to the table on an issue that effected them because of the powerful opinion leaders in their sport asked them to get involved. These opinion leaders got teens, tweens, and young adults to lobby their parents to get involved on a very important issue in Tallahassee. The parents out there know that there is no stronger call to action than making their children happy. It would not surprise me if big oil hired Miley Cyrus to run ads from an oil rig on prime time TV.

Celebrity spokespeople are nothing new. Voters knew that when they were getting robo-calls from sitcom stars and athletes during elections but we often forget that the right face for your cause can make the difference over whose side the community takes on an issue.

They don’t have to be national celebrities; the local opinion leaders who have earned the trust of the people can be very powerful. Local radio or TV personalities wield a lot of power in politics, and the thousands of viewers and listeners in the greater Orlando area might re-think their positions when they find that the voice on the radio during the ride to work or that familiar face on the television before bed disagrees with them.

If this trend keeps up I might have to don a Spiderman costume when appearing with my clients.

Special thanks to The Next Great Fighter who put on a great event at Lyman High School Saturday night. Muay Thai Kickboxing at it’s finest. Thanks guys!