Eight Zapwater colleagues and I hopped on the bus and headed to Maggiano’s for our monthly trip to the PCC Lunch. We sat at our table and anxiously awaited the food to arrive (by the way, it was quite delicious—chopped salad, fried zucchini, baked ziti, chicken marsala and cheesecake).

As the meal wound down and we were sipping iced teas and coffees, the panel for “Solving the Suburban Media Market” was introduced. Editors from WGN/CLTV, the Daily Herald, and the Sun-Times Media West group shared insider tips regarding how to get noticed in the suburban market.

We quickly learned that each and every one of these media groups has undergone some major changes within the past few years, including mergers, buyouts and the introduction of user-generated content. With these changes, they have learned the value of the web and have been experimenting to determine the most effective methods to get the news to their target audiences.

One of the most interesting points came from John Lampinen, Editor of the Daily Herald. He said that Facebook has become a really useful tool for journalists and editors to connect with PR people. Since it is different from other social media outlets, it allows people to build relationships and get to know one another in a social, as well as professional, environment. These strong relationships with media professionals are crucial to the public relations industry. On that note, I guess I better go and “friend” all my journalist contacts on Facebook!

Maria Leigh Mianecki