One year ago, I left the Edmonton Journal. The overlap between what I was spending my time on and what I wanted to be spending my time on was not big enough, and it was making me crazy. So I quit.
I spent a few weeks thinking, talking, imagining what I could do now that I was free. And then I did it. I started a business. I taught. I spoke. I wrote. I consulted. I spent a lot more time with my husband and children.
I did that thing I always do, which is to make a job for myself that is a little bit too hard, but on the whole, I have been very happy and very busy, with a much bigger overlap of the “want” and “do” circles of the big Venn diagram of my life.
Part of the reason I could do all of that was, well, The Journal.
Barb Wilkinson and Sandra Marocco gave me the opportunity last summer to make something, which turned into the media lab, which turned into a pilot project with City Hall School, which has now turned into a full-fledged Edmonton Journal School. I’m excited to continue to help make that project go with the inimitable Sandy VanRiper.
Now I have another chance to try something new and make a difference. Starting May 7, I’ll be leading a project whose working title is the Edmonton Experiment. We’re setting up a sandbox on the first floor of the Journal building downtown to come up with new ways for The Journal to be useful to its community. Our mission, as stated by our sponsors at Postmedia, is to “transform our city by inspiring everyone to share their expertise.” What that actually looks like in real life is up to me and my team (and a team in Toronto that is trying the same thing there).
Clay Shirky says a newspaper is a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist anymore. Our task is to see what problems this news organization can solve, and how. We’ll be trying our best to operate like a startup — problem-solving, testing, learning, and most of all, doing. I’ll be blogging about our efforts as we go.
So I’m back, sort of. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. But seriously, how could I turn down an opportunity like this?
P.S. I have been horribly delinquent with my new-media roundups. This will be rectified soon.