Fresh Media: A re”fresh”ing perspective on the future of new media

Yesterday, I attended the Fresh Media conference in downtown Vancouver. The grassroots media event took place at the W2 space, an old building built in 1903, located on W. Hastings street across from the Woodward’s building.

The multi-floor building is still very bare bones and the whole event took on a very underground feel as attendees moved from room to room to participate in a variety of workshops. The crowd was eclectic, from City of Vancouver employees to bloggers to social media gurus to artists to mainstream journalists.

Keynote Speaker Sudha Krishna kicked things off in front of a sell-out crowd. Krishna, former CBC journalist and current news director for citizen journalism network Now Public, said when he first started working in newsrooms in 1992, journalists were still using typewriters. Now, they are getting breaking news leads from user generated content sites like Twitter.

Now Public has 197,000 members pumping out breaking news from around the globe 24/7 and only a handful of staffers to filter the massive volume of news. Sudha says that is the greatest challenge ahead is figuring out what to say and how to say it.

A lot of discussion between panelists and guests centred around the current crisis in mainstream media and where it is going in the future. New media maven Amber MacArthur strongly believes that there is a way for new media and mainstream “old” media to forge lasting partnerships. Whether it’s a social media podcast crew partnering with Discovery Channel or daily newspapers working with key bloggers, Amber Mac says the key is to involve users in the process.

One of the highlights for me was Rebecca Bollwitt’s blogging workshop. Also known as Miss604, she has been blogging since 2004 and shared with her eager audience her wealth of knowledge.

David Beers from independent online newspaper, The Tyee also participated in a panel on the future of local news and opportunity for citizens to become involved in both their local governments and their local news. The Tyee has also just won a Jack Webster award for online journalism.

“The Tyee succeeds because social media has grown around us,” said Beers.

One of the most inspirational things I came across during Fresh Media was the myriad of collaborative media projects. Here are some links to a few groups to watch for:

These are exciting times for anyone involved in the media and going forward, transparency will be essential in all forms of our society, from government to corporations to the media. I’m looking forward to participating in the conversation.


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