Like summer camp, but with social and mainstream media

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I’d like to be honest with you: I have a bit of “camp” overload. It seems like every other event in this city uses the suffix “-camp” as a descriptor. DemoCamp, ChangeCamp, TransitCamp, MediaCamp… The unconference model is alive and well in Edmonton. And it’s everywhere. And I feel that it isn’t always the most successful model for conferencing, though I suppose the same could be say about more traditional conference formats. So I was a little apprehensive about how the day would go.

And I have to say, the organizing committee unconferenced Saturday’s first MediaCamp Edmonton to great success. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

The day started out with a normal conference panel discussion which included Sue Heuman (from Focus Communications), Mack Male (local blogger and developer), Dave Cournoyer (local blogger and occasional political pundit), and Paula Simons (columnist from the Edmonton Journal) — the panel was moderated by Karen Unland, also from the Edmonton Journal. Many of the questions that arose were related to the differences between bloggers and journalists — there were tons of great questions from the audience (who apparently numbers almost 200).

After the panel, conference attendees pitches session topics for the rest of the day, and proceeded to engage in group discussions on a variety of topics (the ones I attended included “What makes a journalist?” and “Getting advertising and sponsorship for your website/blog”); there was also a series of Lightning Talks just after lunch. There was a diverse range of opinions present — journalists from all types of media including radio, newspaper and television. There were also a lot of different social media types represented, including our colleagues from the League of Extraordinary Media — including Jeff and Sally from and Brittney Le Blanc from You can see some of the tweets from MediaCamp Edmonton here.

I don’t know what the ultimate outcome was from MediaCamp; I suspect people got different things out of it. I got some great ideas for trying to earn the Unknown Studio some money so we can do awesome new things with out content. I also learned that the journalists, at least in Edmonton, who provide us with news and opinion every day have a great respect for the local social media community — bloggers and Twitterers alike.

Thanks to the organizing committee and the MediaCamp Edmonton sponsors for making the day not only possible, but extremely worthwhile. Sorry for doubting you. 😉

If you were at MediaCamp, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the day. Leave a comment.

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8 Responses to “Like summer camp, but with social and mainstream media”

  1. Sam
    May 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    What’s happened to the classification of independent media? Did it die? Outdated? Shuffled off the paper coil?
    Perhaps this came up as a topic in the “should we use collectives” discussion I saw was going to happen, but I couldn’t make it to.

    • Adam Rozenhart
      May 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

      Hey Sam!

      That’s a good question… Whereas before I tended to view these categories as “mainstream,” “independent,” and even “underground” media, now I view it more as “Radio,” “Print,” “TV,” etc. But I think that might have more to do with the fact that I work less in media now, and more in PR and marketing.

      Do you think “independent” vs “mainstream” is still an important differentiator?

  2. Sam
    May 10, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    Definitely. I think it changes the mandate of your organization if you are independent, as well as the issues you are going to cover. It would change the advertising you are willing to accept and your responsibilities to your community, which often are direct participants in the creation of the media output.

  3. Sam
    May 10, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    I mean, we’re talking about a question of ownership. In one sense the community owns the resource, or as an independent, you are beholden only to the values you choose. I’ve only worked for independent media, and a lot of the media I consume is independent, public or collectively owned, so ownership plays a big part for me in what I choose to read and listen to.

    I could go on this topic for a while, so maybe I need to find a blog of my own to spout off. I do think it was an important question that journalists need to ask themselves as corporate ownership is up, but faltering, and that new media publishers need to consider as the market is yet to be shaped in who purchases and owns their content. Who do you want to work for, I guess, is part of the question.

    • Adam Rozenhart
      May 10, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

      Good points, all of them. Admittedly, I never really considered whether I was an independent and what the implications of that are.

      I want to work for myself, but ultimately my readers as well.

      Oh, and please spout off here as much as you want!

  4. Sam
    May 10, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    I want to work for myself, but I also want to pay rent, so independent media works well for me. I find it more responsive to the community, especially as it is often made up of the community it reports to.

    I was reading the Media Co-op site out of Vancouver tonight looking for some stories, and it occurred to me that bloggers and social media types are doing exactly what citizen journalists and co-operatives have done for years, and are still fighting for the recognition of being “legitimate” journalists.
    When I was at CJSR doing radio as a volunteer, I often would not have PR or government people call me back. I found it interesting that if I left the tag “Producer” of whatever news program I was doing, and eventually News Director, I seemed to get a better response.

    Here’s the link to the Media Co-op site. I don’t know if people have seen this initiative. The Dominion. Sometimes I question their research, but overall they do good work. Especially considering they are composed of, primarily, volunteers and freelanceres. – they have locals in Halifax, Vancouver and Toronto – is the overall collective. They are focused on media training and collecting stories.

  5. Jeff
    May 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    I think independent news organizations (certainly those of the non-profit, alternative-news variety) are closer to what we say bloggers are doing. But, just as there’s a difference between blogs and traditional media there’s a difference between mainstream and alternative news.

    When I reference bloggers I’m talking about anyone writing about their community, newsy topics, opinion, etc…

    Independent and alternative news sources write about topics and ideas and issues they feel are not being covered in the mainstream media. I think blogs have sprung up from some of the same passion; especially those of hyper-local and political variety. They’ve also sprung from the desire of some to get their information from computer and phone screens.

    I would, however, say the debate is two-fold. Traditional media to me is print, TV, radio. That includes the mainstream stuff (Journal, CBC, CTV, CHED, etc…) and alt/indie (CJSR, Vue, etc…). While I would say new or blog media is stuff happening only online, in apps, etc…

    But it’s certainly true indie media and blogs are in the same boat when viewed from some in the traditional, mainstream media. We don’t get no respect.

    Probably some lessons to be learned, some ideas to be exchanged…

    I felt that some of the comments Saturday, in a few of the sessions, could have applied to indie and alt news outlets and even freelancers as much as bloggers.


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