Category Archives: Journalism

MediaCamp Edmonton 2: Storytellers+Developers

Unwilling to change my Twitter name from @journalistjeff, I figured I best keep up on the journalism world, less the Twitter mob demand a name change for accuracy sake. So, I am happy to announce that you can now buy tickets to the 2nd MediaCamp Edmonton.

Buy! Buy! Buy!

Lunch will be provided.

The first MediaCamp was an attempt to bring together journalists, bloggers (known as “storytellers” from here on out), coders, web-builders, app developers, and Internet-savvy folk (known as “developers” from here on out) in an unconference format. An unconference is where participants choose the session topics at the beginning of the day. It got some ideas flowing, some connections happening, and just scratched the surface of what was happening to news and information in our Internet age.

MediaCamp - courtesy of Mack Male

Enter MediaCamp 2 (unfortunately not known as “Electric Boogaloo” from here on out). It’s going to be more of a standard, programmed conference. There will be four sessions of discussion and four of hands-on examples and learning (so bring yer laptops!). The point is still to bring together storytellers and developers, but in a more meaningful way.

We want Edmonton’s storytellers to use new tools available to them, and we want developers to work with our large and small media outlets. Edmonton storytellers not aware of just how many “apps for that” are being created here in the city will likely be in for a pleasant surprise on February 4 (spoiler alert: Edmonton’s got a happening development and web scenewe’re even selling tickets through a local web startup).

Using terms like storyteller and developer also allows us organizers to keep things a little broader. This day isn’t just for the busy newshounds in corporate newsrooms, it’s for bloggers, journalists, freelancers, and those working on any platform, of any scale, and audience size to tell stories. And developers aren’t just those deep-coding the most complex of websites or building the next million-downloaded app, it’s for those with tech know-how, eyes for design, zest for open source tools, and all things online.

That’s really what the new information world is about. People from all over, with varying interests and backgrounds, telling stories in new ways in all kinds of places.

I’ll see you February 4.

More details from our ticket page:

Hands-on learning sessions:

Panel discussions:

  • Self-branding and crowdsourcing — Web and Communications Consultant Jay Palter and Radio/Online Reporter Brittney Le Blanc
  • How do I get an app for that? — Game/Web/App Developer Aaron Clifford and Edmonton Journal Publisher John Connolly
  • How do developers get their story out? — Writer Todd Babiak
  • Demystifying SEO and analytics — SEO provider and Online Marketer Dana DiTomaso

February 4, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the World Trade Centre Edmonton on the sixth floor. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

Lunch is included and wi-fi will be available. Please bring your laptop for the hands-on sessions.

Thanks to our sponsors:
Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC)
Edmonton Journal
Global Edmonton
MacEwan University
Yelp Edmonton

Murder Math

The man behind Everybody in this City is Armed is again pointing out the failure of Edmonton news media to accurately portray our homicide rate.

What Mack is talking about is not totally difficult. It’s doing 5 minutes of critical thinking on top of plugging in he said/she said quotes into a story.

If the police chief gets the numbers wrong that’s his problem. It’s repeating the wrong information that paints a false picture of Edmonton. It becomes the impression to citizens of our city and to everyone outside of Edmonton that sees the same story picked up by corporate newsrooms (CTV Edmonton’s story runs on CTV Regina, the Journal story goes into the Calgary Herald, etc.)

What Does MediaCamp 2 Need? (Short answer: Your ideas)

If you’re a storyteller (journalist, blogger, photographer, public relations, etc.) or developer (building apps, a whiz with open data, designing software, etc.) we want you at MediaCamp 2.

The first MediaCamp was an unconference – a day to talk about where journalism and storytelling was at and where it was going. This second go-round is all about finding new, efficient, cool, and better ways to tell stories. And developers are going to have some ideas on the tools available and the work needed to make some of that happen in our digital world.

So, whether you’re interested in learning about open data and how to stay relevant in the blogosphere or how your new app could help a newsroom and which media property could pay you for some developing, this should be a great day of ideas and new partnerships.

MediaCamp 2 is also going to be programmed, which is why your input is so important. Let us know what you want to learn about/talk about/teach others by filling out a really easy 3 question survey.

Also, there will be lunch.

More media bias please!

Here’s an item Karen Unland brought to my attention last night. Since moving to the Internet as a journalist I’ve become more and more interested in the “objectivity” that sits as a cornerstone of our news.

I don’t think objectivity, as is so often heralded by newsrooms and journalists, exists. Certainly one can write a story from a fairly neutral standpoint, especially if there’s plenty of facts and figures to get through, but simply by choosing to report that story there’s been a subjective choice. I’d much rather have more transparent reporting, including that from a biased perspective.

I don’t think “bias” is as bad a word as some journalists, and news consumers, think it is.

(Update: Karen has already tracked down a response to the above link.)

Personal Attacks and Cats

I don’t ever look at for entertainment news. So I cannot confirm if this story from the Edmonton Journal is just par for the course, or a departure into tabloidy personal attacks.

Needless to say I would hope Edmonton’s “paper of record” would hold itself, even in the entertainment section, to a high standard of journalism. News reports need to inform and educate. Sure, they can entertain, but they can still do so with an eye to informing and educating. Or, they can at least keep from stooping to low levels of discourse.

I’ll be honest, I clicked through to the story because I like making fun of So You Think You Can Dance (Canada). It was a go-to joke of mine during the municipal election because CTV Edmonton ran it election night. I also have concerns about the amount of original programming produced in Canada. So, I could have accepted criticism of that sort, even criticism that simply said it was a waste of airtime.

(The actual paper version of the story did not include the trashsy attacks. I’m not sure what that says about the web editing or what the Journal thinks about its web audience.)

An audience needs to get something from you: information, ideas of where to find more details, how to engage and act on the issues at hand. When a newsroom just throws around trashy zingers it’s not helping the community conversation.

In other news…

Now, I was originally going to end this post right there. But Karen Unland’s Pecha Kucha presentation last night touched upon trumpeting good journalism in this changing time for news.


Vue Weekly’s Samantha Power has a good story on oil protests happening at Southern Alberta’s Bloood Reserve.

The CBC did some good digging last week on a sort of secret email address used by former Alberta Conservative cabinet minister (and current candidate to be our next premier) Ted Morton. That launched an immediate investigation by the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

CJSR’s Terra Informa is doing awarding-winning environmental journalism.

The Journal’s summer series Living on the Edge was a great example of in-depth coverage.

We do need to praise good journalism. And we, as the audience, should demand the best kind of storytelling.

That can not only push journalists (of the traditional and new varieties) to create better content, it can push people to create their own journalism if nothing else is getting the job done. Those are important points for folks trying to convince us they deserve to be paid, or have businesses advertise with them.