Buzzing after #KaiNagata Talk at SFU

Is TV News Journalism Salvageable?
Photo credit: SFU Woodward’s

Why do we continue to watch TV news when the end product is superficial and designed to either placate viewers or play to our fears?

Is TV journalism salvageable?

That was the starting point for Kai Nagata’s talk at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts earlier this week.

Rebuttals were made by long-time broadcaster George Orr, CBC Radio’s Kathryn Gretsinger,‘s Steve Anderson, and SFU communications instructor Bob Hackett who is also the co-founder of Media Democracy Day. Veteran journalist and UBC instructor Deborah Campbell moderated the discussion.

Since Nagata left his position as CTV’s Quebec Bureau Chief this summer and published Why I Quit, the blog post has generated 500,000 hits and 1,450 comments.

So I was excited to hear from him in person. Nagata didn’t disappoint. He’s passionate about the institution, and hopeful for the future and the potential to empower citizens to become “volunteer journalists” (a la volunteer firefighters) using open-source, online training that doesn’t leave students in debt like traditional j-schools.

By his own admission, it’s a working idea that’s still baking and will likely change and evolve over the course of three years—a self-imposed time limit.

But, of course, it’s his commitment to his craft that I find most compelling and magnetic.

Plus, I admire his willingness to show a clip of his own work and critique its shortcomings in front of peers, mentors and strangers.

I also enjoyed hearing from George Orr who made it clear that the idea of a “golden age” of Canadian reporting is a myth, idealizing a past that never existed. He also succinctly revealed the pitfalls of modern reporting, but didn’t just glibly mouth tired excuses about deadlines and diminishing resources. For example, Orr outlined the desk’s overwhelming desire for conformity that punishes reporters who stray too far from what their competitors produce. And how Google has helped dumb down media, lulling reporters into doing a simple browser search instead of doing their own research over the phone or in person.

It was an excellent discussion and I walked away buzzing with all that’s possible when professional journalists and citizen media start collaborating together.

Julie Ovenell-Carter live tweeted the evening so I’ve pulled together a transcript below of her tweets if you’re interested in a post-by-post replay of the evening.

Geeks for Good: Join #WiringSE this Saturday in YVR

A couple of weeks ago, Leah Nielsen (@LeahLink), Fairware’s Online Communications and Project Manager, alerted me to Wiring the Social Economy, an event aimed at “integrating community economic development, social enterprise and technology.” The event grew out of Vancouver ChangeCamp, an unconference held earlier this summer and where—incidentally—I first met Leah.

Why attend?
In the words of the organizers, this first-time event “is a day of discovery and connection…for getting out of our silos and comfort zones.”

It’s an all-mighty mixer where the social media and technology community meets the community of causes to sort out where and how we can work together to move social change forward.

Who should go?
Geeks of all shapes, sizes and causes. Really.

If you’re code is flawless, then there’s a social change agent in need of you. Crafting tweets that trigger actions? Share your best practices. Struggling to build awareness for your cause? Kindly turn to the techie on your right.

Basically, if you’re an expert or are in need of one, go to this event.

Organizers are also looking for volunteers to help out on the day of the event. Attend for free if you can help with event logistics, facilitation or note-taking.

What should I expect?
Wiring the Social Economy is a hybrid event that combines traditional conference features–such as Keynote Speakers Carol Madsen, Tim Beachy and Irwin Oostindie–with those of an unconference, including an opportunity to pitch your own session.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Registration starts at 8:45AM

W2 Storyeum
201-112 Hastings Street West, Vancouver

$20 CAD plus $1.49 fee
Prices for groups and students are also available or contribute what you can afford.
Buy tickets now