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Melissa Schwartz
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Melissa Schwartz leads the public affairs practice at The Bromwich Group. She is a strategic and crisis communicator with two decades of experience in government, the private sector, and at nonprofit organizations. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter at @MSchwartz3.

Entries by Melissa Schwartz

If Donald Trump Becomes President, It's on You

(1788) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 9:03 AM

Enough is enough.

For months, political scientists have looked at the strange spectacle that is the Donald J. Trump for President campaign and have largely come away with one of two opinions.

For some, Trump is a caricature, a buffoon saying the most outlandish things to get screen time,...

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Michael Brown Should Take Responsibility for his Hurricane Katrina Mistakes

(30) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 12:41 PM

As the country commemorated the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed lives and livelihoods across the Gulf Coast, former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Michael Brown paid tribute unlike any I've ever seen.

In a 4,000+ word declaration for Politico Magazine titled -- wait for it -- "

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The Difference Between Activism and Advocacy

(3) Comments | Posted June 24, 2015 | 9:10 PM

It's a painful confession: I am no longer an activist. I am an advocate.

I loved being an activist. I loved losing my voice at rallies and participating in sit-ins. But the problem with spending too much time in Washington, D.C. is that after years of rallying against the man,...

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Addressing Conflicts of Interest

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 10:10 AM

It's common sense: third-party validation is generally more effective at convincing someone to support an organization or purchase a product than a pitch from the seller itself.

This is precisely why the creation of the biased validator has been so detrimental.

Anyone who has had a bout of insomnia...

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What Jon Stewart Taught Me About Advocacy

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 11:58 AM

In December 2001, I watched my boss do an interview on The Daily Show. I had never heard of the program, but our research indicated that the host (some guy named Jon Stewart) would be receptive to our advocacy messages about the dangerous language inserted into the Patriot...

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Brian Williams and the Anatomy of a Comeback

(2) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 12:29 PM

Full disclosure: I make my living creating, enhancing and protecting brand reputations. That said, the ability of politicians and celebrities to reinvent themselves and make successful comebacks to public life never ceases to amaze me.

The country - and Washington, DC as a microcosm - have short...

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Why Feeding Online Trolls Only Feeds Online Trolling

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 10:57 AM

When a child comes home from school to report bullying to a parent, a common refrain is that the child should ignore the bully - that ignoring a bully takes away their power, and that if you fail to give the bully attention, he/she will direct their abuse toward someone...

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Getting Up After You've Been Knocked Down

(0) Comments | Posted August 15, 2014 | 3:05 PM

I have a client who was fond of saying that he had "made it in D.C." once he'd gone through his first media firestorm. While he was using the humor to mask his own terror at the personal and professional experience he was undergoing, he wasn't far off. In some...

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Hot Mic Moments Are Nothing New

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 1:58 PM

Most communications professionals in politics have a story to tell about the time their boss was caught - or nearly caught - on a live microphone. We have leapt across tables, knocked over podiums, or grabbed a principal's lapel to muffle a microphone when realizing that an unscripted moment was...

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Stop Blaming the Intern for Social Media Gaffes

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 1:54 PM

It happened again. While everyone was out enjoying their Fourth of July holiday, an intern for American Apparel used a photo of the Challenger space shuttle explosion on its Tumblr page, "mistaking the image for a fireworks display." In posts across social media, American Apparel pointed...

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Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2014 | 10:35 AM

Money buys power and influence, and the rich have a disproportionate share of all three. With the well-documented growth of inequality in recent years, there has been a growing fear that the middle class and the poor are losing the ability to influence our public life. For all but the...

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Advocacy and Making Policy Personal

(3) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 6:14 PM

In my first job out of college, a supervisor mocked me for fighting for issues that I "could not comprehend" because they did not directly affect me. I had spent a year working on public education campaigns around racial profiling and gay equality, yet I was neither a person of...

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If It Bleeds, It Leads

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2014 | 6:03 PM

Early Tuesday morning, my friend and beloved D.C. actor Frank Britton was attacked and robbed by four men on his way home after an Opening Night celebration in Silver Spring, Maryland. Frank, who does not have health insurance, will have to undergo surgery to repair his shattered cheek....

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When Hashtags #FAIL

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2014 | 2:56 PM

A post began circulating on social media last week:


The post was spurred by the reaction in the United States to the kidnapping of more than 200 girls from their school in Nigeria by Boko Haram....

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Why Not Even Olivia Pope Can Help Donald Sterling

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 5:04 PM

When people ask about the similarities between ABC's Scandal and consulting on crisis communications, I am quick to point out that huge sums of cash in briefcases are generally not at my disposal to buy off witnesses/complainants and I have rarely, if ever, seen a major scandal adequately addressed in...

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The 'Front Page Rule'

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2014 | 12:47 PM

Earlier this month, a New York Magazine article went viral, detailing the sordid stories of an anonymous personal assistant who was tasked with everything from breaking up with her boss's boyfriend to acting as a drug mule for the celebrity employer.

"The Devil Wears Prada" chronicled a nasty,...

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The Road to Redemption for Self Magazine

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 5:11 PM

Self magazine has long prided itself on staying above the fray of the gossip, cattiness and Hollywood-obsession of many women's magazines. In fact, the magazine is dedicated to health and self-help, its media kit promoting that it is "the magazine that makes living healthy easy and fun." And yet, with...

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