Talking turkey: Thanksgiving by the numbers


Winter Fantasy at Sawdust in Laguna Beach

Winter Fantasy kicked off at the Sawdust festival grounds in Laguna Beach and I visited for this community news feature on Facebook.

Study: Civic engagement strongly tied to local news habits

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-10-05-17-pmThe Pew Research Center has released an intriguing new study that finds local voters and those who feel attached to their communities stand out, and how they stay informed  via local news organizations plays a key role in their community life.

The study, in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation reveals that “overall, the civically engaged are indeed more likely than the less engaged to use and value local news. But two particular aspects of civic engagement stand out as most closely associated with local news habits: a strong connection to one’s community and always voting in local elections. Americans with one of these two attributes, the study finds, consistently display stronger local news habits across a range of measures: news interest, news intake (the number and types of sources they turn to) and news attitudes – their views of local news organizations. [Read more…]

California is not forgiving Liberty Mutual for misleading consumers

A screen shot of one of the misleading television ads [Source: YouTube]

A screen shot of one of the misleading television ads [Source: YouTube]

Marketers can learn a valuable lesson from Liberty Mutual Insurance today, but it’s one that is hopefully taught in most Marketing 101 classes: review your advertisements for all regulatory compliance or it could cost you big time. In Liberty Mutual’s case it’s to the tune of $925,00 in penalties in California, not to mention the very real damage to its reputation and brand.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s office announced today in a press release that a consumer protection lawsuit against the Boston-based insurance company has resulted in a settlement. The civil complaint alleges violation of California’s false advertising laws by failing to disclose to consumers in the ads that “accident forgiveness” was in fact not available in the state yet countless advertisements had been running in California for over two years. State law requires that all advertising must clearly and conspicuously disclose any material facts that viewers need to avoid being misled. It is alleged in a complaint filed in the case that the disclaimers in the Liberty Mutual ads were unlawful because these ads could convey “an overall impression that California consumers would receive this benefit as part of Liberty Mutual car insurance,” which was not true.

[Read more…]

McDonald’s needs more than a bunch of Millennials doing social media

[photo via Facebook]

[photo via Facebook]

A headline in the WJS this week piqued my curiosity. “McDonald’s Turns to Social Media to Draw Millennials: Fast-food chain recently hired 200 people to bolster its digital efforts and win back young adults.” Julie Jargon writes that McDonald’s is beefing up its corporate digital marketing team in hopes that this fresh team of 20-something’s will revitalize slumping sales among younger consumers with their magic social media wands. I found no press release regarding the digital hiring boom but clearly this article was pitched by a P.R. firm to garner coverage implying that this new endeavor is going to help McDonald’s get a bigger bite from the Millennial market.

How is it that, in 2016, one of the world’s largest and most valuable brands is just now realizing the importance of a strong digital team? This pivot by McDonald’s represents a prime example of ineffective corporate culture that Unilever CMO Keith Weed calls a generation of marketers leading business today who are bluffing about their knowledge of the digital landscape. Maybe that’s a reason why, at the same time the company is on-boarding Millennials in droves, a number of senior executives are leaving.

[Read more…]

My day at the OC Auto Show

The OC Auto Show was held at the Anaheim Convention Center and I spent the day filming at the event on Saturday. Here’s a short montage of some of the footage – the exhibitors amazed me, especially Jeep and Ford. Don’t miss this event next year!


The Taste of Laguna is Delicious

I visited the annual event hosted by the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce for this short story (and I think I gained about 10lbs). It was fantastic – over 30 local restaurants sampling their fares.

Cool time-lapse at Main Beach

The layer of clouds gave way to another lovely sunset at Main Beach in Laguna Beach, CA.

A stunning light show from mother nature

I captured this time-lapse during a photo shoot in Laguna Beach, which shows how quickly lighting conditions can change but also a cool light show from mother nature.

Two minute tour of luxury rental available in Laguna Beach

Some real estate eye candy for you from Laguna Beach, California – check out the video tour I filmed of this luxury rental available for lease. Who wouldn’t want to live at this place? 2419 S. Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.

For more info:



What was in the Dana Point time capsule?

What was buried for 50 years in the time capsule at Dana Point Harbor? Watch my story to find out.

Full moon drum circle

At sunset on every full moon evening, a group of locals gather in Laguna Beach, California for a drum circle. Here’s my video story from the August full moon:

Storytelling: how to cover events with video

A look at how I cover events with these commencement packages for social media (with filming assistance from Gustav Deutsch and Eric Smith) garnering tens-of-thousands of views on Facebook.


[Read more…]

Front page feature story about 64-year-old graduate

tn-tn-dpt-me-0529-brandman-grad-2-jpg-20160528Reporter Alex Chan, who writes for the LA Times and Daily Pilot, visited the 2016 Southern California Commencement ceremony for Brandman University for this story and feature photos about a 64-year-old graduate who has had quite the journey:


CBS-LA feature on commencement speaker

It was a pleasure to work with reporter Laurie Perez on this feature for CBS News in Los Angeles. Laurie visited the Brandman University Southern California commencement ceremony because of a graduate from the Santa Maria campus. Monica Careyette went from rock bottom to college graduate, and shared her deeply personal story as the student speaker, with the compassionate judge who changed her life by her side. The single mom overcame addiction to thrive and turn her life around.

This 64-year-old is about to graduate from college

From prison to purpose: Joe Blackburn proves it’s never too late in life.Joe-croopped-400x331

Statistically speaking, Joe Blackburn probably shouldn’t be here talking to me on this spring afternoon in Santa Clarita, Calif. But, as he’s proven through an unwavering commitment to finishing a bachelor’s degree at Brandman University, he is determined not to be just another statistic.

[Read more…]

From rock bottom to college grad: Monica’s story

Monica Careyette rose from the depths of addiction and got her life back on track thanks to a compassionate judge. It has not been easy for the single mother who works full time, but in May she’ll be realizing the dream of a bachelor’s degree in sociology from nonprofit Brandman University. This is her story.

New Grant Brings Journalism Innovation Opportunities for ASU Cronkite Students

ASU cronkite schoolOne hundred years after the birth of the late Edith Kinney Gaylord, a journalism pioneer and philanthropist, the foundation she established is finding new ways to invest in journalism’s future.

The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation has awarded Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication an $800,000 grant for students to learn and experience news innovation and to spread new ideas across journalism.

The new grant funds the Edith Kinney Gaylord News Innovation Initiative at the Cronkite School. The program will serve as the innovation hub for Cronkite News at Arizona PBS, a multiplatform daily news division operated by the Cronkite School with 15 full-time editor/professors and more than 120 ASU students who produce daily news content on TV and digital platforms for Arizona audiences.

[Read more…]

A special video for Valentine’s Day

We set up a camera in the lobby at the Brandman University central administration building in Irvine and asked students, faculty and staff “what do you love about Brandman” for this special video in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

[Read more…]

Help wanted: education career events draw hundreds

Brandman University partnered with county education offices and school districts from across the state to host education-focused career events like the one in San Diego that is featured in my story this week (video above). The Brandman campuses in Antelope Valley, Irvine, Modesto, Ontario, Roseville, Santa Maria, Visalia, Walnut Creek and Yuba City held career fairs on Saturday where hundreds of Brandman students, alumni and job seekers from the community turned out. The Palm Desert campus hosted a similar career expo on Thursday evening, and the Fairfield campus is hosting its event this Saturday.

New Year’s Resolutions Campaign for 2016

I partnered with Nielsen Media Research to conduct a Harris Poll (on behalf of Brandman University) regarding New Year resolutions for 2016. The survey results were shared with news media across the country via an online newsroom. News stories about the poll conducted for Brandman University ran on more than 200 television stations in the U.S., numerous radio stations and was even mentioned in newspapers such as the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and the Sacramento Bee & Modesto Bee newspapers. I made live TV appearances on “Good Morning San Diego”, “Good Day Sacramento,” “Good Morning Arizona”, and was interviewed on radio talk shows including KOMO in Seattle, WCBS in New York City and KNX radio in Los Angeles.


Why aren’t more working adults pursuing a college degree? New survey reveals insight into barriers

Brandman University surveyAs employers demand better-educated staff, the job world is changing for both traditional and nontraditional students while barriers grow larger for those not pursuing a degree. In a recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Brandman University, 63 percent of employed adults who don’t have a bachelor’s degree, and are not pursing one, cite tuition and textbook costs as the biggest barriers, followed by 37 percent who say they don’t have time to pursue a degree, while 27 percent believe they are “too old” to work towards a bachelor’s degree.

Why currently employed adult workers are not pursuing a bachelor’s degree [Read more…]

How did you get that national news coverage?

IMG_5817Here’s how I landed a story that ran on 107 different T.V. stations across the U.S. and made CBS This Morning: a media relations case study.

One might think that in today’s hyper-connected world, getting media attention is easier than ever before. It’s actually quite the opposite. The news cycle is bustling with world affairs, politics, crime and a seemingly never-ending onslaught of drastic weather events in the U.S. Moreover, PR people far outnumber journalists today, more so than at any time in the past. And, let’s be honest, many of these PR people are not adept at with the news media.  [Read more…]

National News Placement: MyPath

MyPath, Brandman’s new competency-based bachelor’s program where students earn a bachelor’s degree entirely on an iPad, made a lot of headlines this week. A story with CBS News reporter Chris Martinez, featuring an interview with Chancellor Gary Brahm and student Colin Grieg, landed on CBS This Morning and was aired on over 100 local CBS affiliates across the United States. In all, the story was seen by more than 10 million people. Below you’ll find clips from some of the markets where Brandman University operates in California, and Seattle.

National buzz about Brandman University

MyPath, Brandman’s new competency-based bachelor’s program where students earn a bachelor’s degree entirely on an iPad, made a lot of headlines this week. A story with CBS News reporter Chris Martinez, featuring an interview with Chancellor Gary Brahm and student Colin Grieg, landed on CBS This Morning and was aired on over 100 local CBS affiliates across the United States. In all, the story was seen by more than 10 million people. Below you’ll find clips from some of the markets where Brandman University operates in California, and Seattle.

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70-year-old graduates college, a lifelong dream

Labor of Love

I spent the morning on Labor Day this year with my friends at Good Day Sacramento for two live in-studio segments about the teacher shortage in California, and an exciting new program launching at Brandman University. Check out the clips below.




The cool, modern way to attend college

First-of-its-kind, online program is providing affordable access to higher education that is specifically designed to prepare students to meet the challenges of today’s business environment. 

For many adults looking to further their careers, fall is the time when they explore their back-to-school options. They recognize the complex challenges of juggling family, a job that may not be fulfilling or offer upward mobility, and tight finances. Those who want to get back to college and earn a bachelor’s degree now have the most modern way to attend at their fingertips with a just-released app called MyPath, an innovative platform from nonprofit Brandman University. More than two years in the making, the first-of-its-kind online program represents an entirely new path to a bachelor’s degree, allowing students to earn an accredited degree at a fraction of the cost.

Key features of MyPath include:
[Read more…]

Cutting the cord: more Americans streaming TV

digital communications studyAccording to latest Deloitte Digital Democracy Survey, nearly one-third of consumers binge-watch three or more episodes at least once a week

Streaming video services, now used by more than 42 percent of American households, are heavily changing media consumption habits across generations, according to the ninth edition of the Deloitte “Digital Democracy Survey” released today. The study reveals that streaming content has overtaken live programming as the viewing method-of-choice, with 56 percent of consumers now streaming movies and 53 percent streaming television on a monthly basis, as compared to 45 percent of consumers preferring to watch television programs live. Moreover, younger viewers have moved to watching TV shows on mobile devices rather than on television. Among Trailing Millennials (age 14-25), nearly 60 percent of time spent watching movies occurs on computers, tablets and smartphones, making movie viewing habits decidedly age-dependent.

[Read more…]

Hundreds Flock to Sacramento Valley Career Event

The Folsom Community Center was bustling with activity on Friday as more than 600 hopeful job seekers came to meet with some 65 companies looking to hire at the Tri-County Job Fair. They could connect directly with recruiters, tap into resources for the unemployed and even get a free professional photo for that perfect LinkedIn profile. Staff from the Brandman University campus in Roseville helped organize the event and I was there with the Brandman news crew was for this video story.