Talking sMACk: 7 Tips and Tidbits from Media and Communications (MAC) Days

Last week, I spoke at the Media and Communications (MAC) Days for Palomar College, CSU San Marcos and MiraCosta College. Along with Matthew T. Hall, U-T San Diego; Chris Nichols, North County Times; and “Rick I. The LinkedIn Guy,” I sat on the panel: “How can journalists and PR professionals use social media?”

I also had the opportunity to listen in on the broadcast journalism and magazine writing panels, with speakers from KPBS, 10News, CBS 8, the San Diego Reader and San Diego Magazine. The speakers were refreshingly candid compared to other professional events I’ve attended (I think the college kids loosened everybody up).

Here are a few things of note:

  • Short Attention Spans – Everyone kept referring to the public’s shrinking attention spans and the need for interesting bite-size info. – so keep it brief and brilliant!
  • “Or rather …” – CBS 8’s Barbara-Lee Edwards’ tip for if you make a mistake on-camera. Quickly correct yourself by starting out with this phrase.
  • Reaching the Lazy Reader – San Diego Magazine’s Erin Meanley discussed how when most people read magazines, they are “being lazy,” so shorter writing just “looks better.”
  • The iPad Effect – Meanley referenced the five year olds that are on iPads today (or my two-year-old niece!) and predicts that they will not be reading magazines when they grow up.
  • “It’s Not What You Know, But …” – “Rick I. the LinkedIn Guy” made the smart comment that it’s not just about “who you know” any more, but “who knows about you.”
  • How Many Unique Visits Do You Have? – The U-T’s Matthew T. Hall explained that unique online visits matter to reporters, especially with U-T bosses expecting a 30 percent (!) increase in unique online visits (per IP address) over the next year.

Check out more of the conversation at

CORRECTION May 2, 2012, 4:51 p.m. : The last bullet originally referred to “page views,” but U-T reporters have confirmed it is “unique visits” that are being calculated.