May 24, 2009


The Future of Journalism panel: Kirk LaPointe (Vancouver Sun), Marsha Barber (Ryerson University), Me and Alfred Hermida (UBC). Photo by Jason Wang.

I just got back from a weekend in Vancouver at the annual Canadian Association Journalists conference and I'm feeling a renewed sense of optimism about the future of newspapers and journalism as a whole.

Here are some highlights of the weekend:
  • Tony Burman, managing director of Al Jazeera English and former editor-in-chief of CBC News, talking about the media landscape in Canada and around the globe. He's also proposed bringing an AJE bureau to Canada, which is currently being looked at by the CRTC.
  • An in-depth presentation about online services the reporters can use and how to use them by Alfred Hermida, UBC journalism professor and veteran BBC News vet, and Saleem Khan, a Toronto-based independent journalist who has worked for the Globe, TorStar, CBC and the New York Times. The rebirth of my blogging is solely due to them.
  • The brainchild behind the online mag, The Public Eye, Sean Holman and his views on the future of investigative journalism. He's come up with "chapter-book investigation," which are like installations of the stories as they unfold, reaching a wider audience and pushing a story's momentum.
  • Well, ahem, my presentation with Vancouver Sun managing editor Kirk LaPointe, Hermida and Marsha Barber, director of broadcast journalism at Ryerson University and former longtime CBC senior producer, on the future of journalism. And, for as much as I complained about nerves and whined about public speaking, it was an incredible experience.
  • Learning about the role, if any, of citizen journalism with Kara Andrade from Spot.Us, TRU journalism professor (my ex prof) Alan Bass, LaPointe and co-founder of NowPublic Michael Tippett was really enlightening.
  • Ken Hegan is the hilarious man behind everyone's boyfriend, George Stromboulopoulos, at CBC-TV's The Hour. He was a really interesting person to meet and had some wicked stories to tell - like the one about porn stars on campus that he was writing for Rolling Stone.
  • Professionalizing journalism with Bass and independent journalist Deborah Jones, working for Agence France-Presse and has worked for the Globe, the New York Times and Time mag. The idea of going pro - officially and regulated - was a concept I'd never thought about. I'm curious to see where it goes.

And these were just the workshops that I attended. So, clearly, it was an incredibly educational and rewarding weekend. I've got a ton of ideas for Kamloops This Week, the paper I work for, as well as thoughts on how to improve myself as a journalist. My boss is going to hate me tomorrow. . .


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