Guest: Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s Matt Maiocco, also founder of the Instant 49ers blog, brought an incredible amount of advise and expertise when visiting our class. It is always fantastic to get the chance to speak with someone who spends so much time with one team and seems to inherently know pretty much everything about them.

One thing I especially found striking is his connection with the general public. I suppose that is probably one of the true benefits of the advent of the whole world of blogging; a writer has a real connection with his audience, so much so that he is essentially a fan. I got the sense that Maiocco is the quintessential fan of the 49ers and connects with his readers to such a great extent that he can properly be grouped in the same category as all of his fanatical readers. The clincher to this realization for me was when he talked of following Michael Crabtree to the hotel where his 49ers deal was struck, something any fanatical person would do if he knew the correct location. And to top it off, Maiocco received the tip from one of his own readers, a fan. To me, this was just an amazing example of blogging at its finest: a real relationship with the fans whom you are writing for.

I also found his talk on sourcing and getting information tremendously helpful. Something that has always been in the back of my mind is how writers develop such strong relationships with certain people and acquire the multitude of sources they can draw from. While Maiocco never told us of his “top secret” sources – not that I expected him to – he gave us a lot of great info on how to create bonds with people in the know.  Something I didn’t know before he visited was what to do with info that’s “off-the-record.” I had no idea that “off-the-record” pieces of information could be used as long as the source isn’t revealed. After I he told us that, I really began to realize how writers with such crucial “insider” information retrieve that. Supplying “off-the-record” info things that are “on-the-record” is definitely teh best way to put together a good story, because, as Maiocco said, “real info doesn’t neccessarily come out in press conferences.”

Matt Maiocco was a great guest to come and talk to our class and I’m really happy to have gotten the chance to meet him. He seems like a really down-to-earth guy who is also quite busy with all he does with his newspaper and his blog – even in the NFL offseason – and I’m glad he found the time to drop by St. Mary’s to speak with us. I got the feeling he enjoyed his visit as well, as right after class when I logged on to his blog I saw a little note about us on his Twitter feed.

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