Edmonton New Media Roundup 28

MediaCamp Edmonton 2012

It’s about time I got around to writing about MediaCamp, which brought more than 80 people to the World Trade Centre on Feb. 4 to explore the intersection of journalism and technology. I’m still thinking about that intersection, and the other roads that feed into it.

For a recap of what we did and learned, check out the amazing on-the-fly summaries put together by the MediaCamp newsroom. Huge thanks to my co-chair, Mack Male, and the organizing committee: Jeff Samsonow, Owen Brierley, Brittney Le Blanc and Tamara Stecyk, with assistance from Bruce Winter, Sylvia Schneider, Kerry Powell and Chandra Lye.

What follows are my thoughts alone, as the committee hasn’t had a chance to meet yet to discuss the event and our next steps.

Our mission for MediaCamp was to get storytellers and coders together to see how they could help each other do what they do. Did we succeed? Sort of. Because it was programmed instead of being an unconference, we were able to gear the agenda towards teaching tech skills to journos and story skills to devs. The storytellers greatly outnumbered the coders, however.

Part of this may have been timing. Startup Hackathon and Global Game Jam took place the weekend before. I suspect, however, that a lot of the people we were trying to attract just didn’t see what was in it for them. I wonder if it would be easier to go where the techs are instead of trying to lure them over to hang out with the word-mongers.

Startup Edmonton’s recent announcements may provide such an opportunity. I’m intrigued by the courses and workshops that are starting in April. Most are aimed at those who have built something cool and need help to make a business out of it, but some look applicable to working journalists and communicators of all stripes.

Startup Edmonton has also launched Startup Support Communities, an effort to kickstart “local connections and conversations around creative and startup culture here in Edmonton.” And the new space in the Mercer Warehouse aims to be a place to get designers, developers and entrepreneurs together to see what emerges from the collision of their worlds.

I’d like the journalism world to get in on that collision. I don’t know what that looks like yet, or if Startup Edmonton is interested, but I’m keen on anything we can do to infuse the spirit of entrepreneurial thinking into those who spend their days finding stuff out and telling people about it. As Jeff Jarvis suggests, it’s the only practical way to keep journalism happening as the old business models crumble.

Anyway, I’ll keep thinking about that. Stay tuned for more on what MediaCamp plans to do next.

Not that you’d know it if you’ve been waiting for an update, but I have been consuming as much Edmonton new media as usual lately. I just haven’t sat myself down to write about it. Which is a problem, because then it piles up, and the thought of catching up becomes daunting. So here I am, catching up. Consider this one big ICYMI.

— Jen Banks has been writing up a storm on Tech Mommy. She has just the right mix for me: a eulogy for a dead computer on the tech side, a harrowing tale of childbirth on the mommy side.

— I’m way late on this one, but Linda Hoang’s feature story on Edmonton’s Awesome Foundation is definitely worth a read. When she covers something, she covers the heck out of it. The next pitch party is March 29. By the way, Awesome grant recipient Words with Friends holds its fifth event on Feb. 23 at Bohemia.

Paul Matwychuk and Heather Noel have replaced DVD Afternoon with a new show call Trash, Art and the Movies. Not only have they changed the format in a way that makes it more accessible to the likes of me, but they’ve also brought in Erin Fraser, who has her hand in all kinds of interesting stuff, including Metro Cinema, Graphic Content and Sequential Tart. The first episode was lots of fun, and I’m looking forward to more.

— Speaking of comic books and podcasts, I’m listening for the first time to Podcast! The Comics, which is part of the Comics! The Blog juggernaut fashioned by Brandon Schatz and James Leask. As I have said before, I’m more an admirer of people who like comics than a reader of comics themselves, but it seems to me this is quite an impressive effort.

— In other podcast-related news, Jay n’ J have a new feature called Jay vs J, in which the two movie buffs debate the merits of a film and ask you to vote. Very slick. Lots of fun episodes lately, too, whether it’s the “sliders” or the most recent full episode with Aaron Clifford. (Also, Aaron, who was awesome at MediaCamp, is making me want to try Pinterest. Aarrgh, no time! And yet…)

(Addendum: Unbeknownst to me when I wrote this post, James Leask is the guest on the actual most recent Jay n’ J podcast. Spooky. Plus he likes The Princess Bride, which is my favourite movie, so obviously, this is a must listen, even though I will never ever watch Ghost Rider.) 

— The Unknown Studio is back on track after illness and busyness got in the way of regular podcasting. In the spirit of ICYMI, do listen to the small but mighty Flu Episode to hear Alex Abboud talk about being the Edmonton Journal’s first blogger-in-residence. In my admittedly biased estimation, Alex has been hitting it out of the park, both on his own blog and at The Journal, where he consults, blogs and observes under the aegis of the media lab that I co-ordinate.

OK, way too long, and still too much to say. I should blog more often — then I wouldn’t get so pent up. Comment, tweet or Google+ at me if you like.

(Thanks to Mack Male for the photo, which comes from his Flickr stream under a Creative Commons licence.)


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