Tax Time and Weekend SMUG Class Readings

One of the nice simplifying factors about running a tuition-free online university is that you don’t need to fill out a request for 501(c)(3) status or other federal tax-related forms. With no revenue, the Internal Revenue Service isn’t interested in us. We can focus on our non-profit educational mission.

Alas, the IRS has not shown the same disinterest in my personal life, so in addition to attending some of my daughter’s basketball and volleyball games this weekend, I’ll also be doing this:

So while I’m meeting my obligations to the U.S. Treasury and the State of Minnesota, it’s a good opportunity for you to catch up on some SMUG homework and extra-credit readings:

First, here are the most recent SMUG class offerings, in the Podcasting track

During the past week your Chancellor was continuing his education (and hopefully helped some others with theirs) at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit 2008 in San Francisco. Here are some of those highlights, and while they don’t involve direct homework assignments, you will find them helpful for your capstone project:

I’ll also maybe let you know how long TurboTax took. Of course no self-respecting do-it-yourself on-line Chancellor would do anything but electronic filing. I’ve used TurboTax before (though usually not this close to the deadline), and I like how it carries forward my information from year to year. Hopefully its servers won’t be slammed by fellow procrastinators.

Blogger Relations

Jon Greer is moderating this session. He is Jon (at) jongreer (dot) com.

Craig Newmark is the founder of Craigslist. He says most of his role is customer service. He has a sense of mission, speaking up on behalf of the lobbyist industry and PR, who are just trying to get a fair shake for their clients. His personal blog is He says he is a libertarian moderate, not a socialist, despite those who think that his site has undermined for-profit media. In response to a question about people fraudulently posting ads that lead to houses being looted, he says they’re not very smart, because IP addresses can be traced.

Tom Foremski writes Silicon Valley Watcher, reporting on the business of technology and media. He mainly considers himself a reporter. He did an experiment, “Pitch me only through Facebook” and recently discontinued it mainly because Facebook’s email management isn’t good. Basically he recommends that people should connect by following on Twitter. He was the person who basically kicked off the social media release with this post. Don’t call and ask: “What have you been writing about?” Tom says: “I don’t have time to read my latest posts to you.” Exclusives or access to a CEO are interesting to him. He doesn’t want to just add to the white noise by writing what everyone else is doing.

Carolyn Pritchard is from GigaOm. (They are on, too.) She is the editor for six blogs. They are all niche sites, and PR people should be pitching to those sites individually instead of her. Following the conversation is key; sometimes knowing what people have said in the comments on recent posts would help engage. The principles of media relations hold for blogger relations, too. Do your homework.

Tom says media professionals will be increasingly moving into blogging where they will do journalism, but with a different cost structure. They are now “always on” and don’t have the high cost structure of massive skyscrapers. When he left the Financial Times, he decided he didn’t want to be on the sharp pointy end of the disruption.

Tom thinks a social media release is a better way of distributing information because it’s more modular. Fundamentally, though, all he was asking for was more links in press releases, and tag things, and organize the information better. Check out Businesswire says there is no additional charge for this, but getting the buy-in from PR people is limited.

Another great session. I had read Tom’s blog (it’s even part of my presentation tomorrow), and everyone knows Craig. It was great to get to see and hear them in person.