Elephants of the Low Himalayas

Joe Bradfield is senior writer for Ellenbecker Communications.

I had begun to think I was out of luck catching a glimpse of elephants while covering two tunnel stories in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s northernmost state. Monkeys, yes. Monkeys were everywhere, mothers with babies clinging to them, one hand out to passing cars, illegally panhandling from fence posts and curbs.

It was two days before I saw the Tata cargo trucks for what they were. Each brightly painted truck was uniquely adorned with garland, tassels and extra metal bits welded on. Handwritten script in any of a hundred or more languages blessed travelers, repeated wise sayings, or invoked protection from one or another of India’s 33 million deities. These brutes were ponderously slow in an infinite procession, straining up the mountain grades. High up in their cabs their mahouts pulled fast and hard on their steering wheels, negotiating hairpin switchbacks while smaller traffic spilled around them precariously close to poorly guarded ledges of ravines and cliffs.

The tunnels between Srinagar to the north and Jammu to the south will provide a straight, level, all-weather route that allows travel at highway speeds and protection from Himalayan rockslides and snowstorms, ultimately removing elephas metallicus spectacularus from the endangered species list.

Liz Martin joins Ellcom as PR specialist

As many of you know, we’ve been a bit short-handed for the past month or so. We’re happy to announce that Liz Martin has joined Ellcom as our new Public Relations Specialist.

Liz comes to us with a communications degree and a specialization in public relations and advertising. She will be the primary PR department contact and will work with Matt to make sure that our clients’ need for well-written and perfectly targeted PR material is met.

Adding Liz to the team increases our capabilities and we expect her to be an important contributor to our continued growth in the months and years to come.

Welcome aboard, Liz!

Liz’s photo and a brief profile are posted on the “Who we are” page.

Telling our clients’ stories

Sara Schmuck is the Managing Editor of Client Publications for Ellenbecker Communications.

I read about Pixar story artist Emma Coats’ series of tweets on “story basics”—things she has learned about creating appealing stories. Here are some of her tips that, believe it or not, hold true for our magazine articles and press releases as much as they do for Toy Story and Finding Nemo:

•   Keep in mind what is interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

•  Trying for a theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

•  Once upon a time there was___. Every day, ___. One day___. Because of that, ___. Until finally___.

•   Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

•   You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best and fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

•  What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

Much of our work is about telling stories. We may not write about feisty septuagenarians flying in their homes lifted by balloons, but we tell the tales of our clients. And we try hard to get it right. Most of the time, we do.