Author Archive

Media Roundtable: Linda O’Bryon

September 8, 2008

Linda is the Chief Content Office for KQED and believes there is no other place in the world that places such emphasis on thought leadership as in Silicon Valley (big ocean, big mountains, big sky…and big thinking). We live in an area of open spaces and open thinking – what happens in Silicon Valley does not stay in Silicon Valley.

Sees the online tools creating communities of people who have never met in person, which is drastically different than 30 years ago where you [mostly] only associated with the people who lived in your neighborhood or you worked along side with.

I love the program KQED launched over 5 years ago, called Digital Storytelling, where they encourage high school students to come in and share stories of interest.  I love the fact that KQED has positioned themselves in three various key roles: Enabler (getting kids excited about creating content and sharing their items of interest), Mentor (educating kids on how to use the new tools) and Publisher (pushing content which will help bring traffic back to KQED and show they are playing an active role in their community). It is a win-win-win.

Key takeaway is the need to provide media when and where people want it – whether online, mobile, print. Media’s role is to help cultivate as well as create.

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Media Roundtable: Raj Jayadev

September 8, 2008

Raj is the Founder of Silicon Valley De-Bug and is working to empower underserved communities by educating them on how use the tools to share their voice/opinion and make a difference in their community. I already love this guy and he is only one minute in.

It does not take a lot of resources to become a ‘media mogul’. Most of the younger generation is using the free online technologies (Facebook, MySpace) and text messaging to communicate with one another and using news/civil actions to organize, like the recent march for the rights of immigrants. The march was self organized via MySpace and text messaging, and turned into the largest organized protest in the Bay Area’s history. This is extremely powerful. People who understand this will be able to effect change.

He shares the thought that media has become synonymous with community organizing. Also sees ethnic media replacing traditional media in certain areas, though would like to add that merely going ‘in language’ does not automatically make it an ethnic media source (i.e. just because you print in Spanish does not mean you are reporting on issues that affect the Latin community).

So the big question is now…how do we make the newer technologies accessible to all?

Technology & Innovation Roundtable: danah boyd

September 8, 2008

danah shares a great case study of how people used the Social Media tools (wikis, Twitter, blogs, Flickr, etc.) to help educate people around Hurricane Gustav. It provided a vital resource for people affected in the area that got the attention of Rick Sanchez and the folks at CNN who realized quickly a small community was able to produce the news and gather resources faster.

The key thing to remember is innovation is not always around the technologies themselves, but how people converge and use the tools around them.

Technology & Innovation Roundtable: Chris O’Brien

September 8, 2008

Chris starts off by admitting he is a Twitter user. Funny. Almost like it is a guilty pleasure. He works for the San Jose Mercury News and is one of the few journalists that is excited by the innovations happening in his industry. Granted, he is slightly younger than the folks on the previous panel and I am sure that plays into his mindset greatly.

He is finding alternate ways to connect with their local community, whether through podcasts people can listen to while commuting to work to posting (gasp!) printed flyers on campuses to get the word out to the younger generation. They are experimenting with what works best for the people they serve.

Something he said hit home and sums up ANY business these days: “You have to be a center of innovation to retain relevancy”

Technology & Innovation Roundtable: Mike McGuire

September 8, 2008

As the VP of Research at Gartner, Mike has been around long enough to remember the days when Steve Jobs used to wear dress shirts and bow ties to work. Not a diss towards him at all, in fact, I find it interesting as he is someone who hails from a very traditional outlet, and is intrigued by the new media tools.

Re-emphasizes the thought, people will pay for content if it is valuable. This of course begs the question (from him) Why we are whacking reports and editors – wouldn’t it be smarter to cut the sales staff if they are not finding ways to monetize the content?

Likes the power of search and tagging to help bring people of like interests together and tools such as Twitter as it has the possibility to change the landscape of broadcast news.

Media Roundtable: Linjun Fan

September 8, 2008

Linjun created the Albany Today blog a year ago to provide local news to the 16,000 residents in her community. Does not post personal commentaries – stays true to journalism values. Uses photos, slideshows and videos to enhance experience.

Compared to a local newspaper, her blog is richer in content and provides a better user experience. Interesting to note, Albanydoes not have a local newspaper. Started with 50 pages views a day, now at 6k views. Shows demand is there. LOCALLY.

She receives announcements from parents, neighbors, local offices and others to share their news through her blog. She has become the ‘trusted source’ in Albany. Interesting note: Linjun moved to Albany less than a year ago and her actions have stirred the local school to launch a new series of classes to teach online publishing skills. Teach the teacher. Love it.

Exploring possiblities to commercialize the project and ensure longevity.

I love hearing personal success stories like Linjun’s as this shows all it takes is one individual willing to put the time and effort in to effect change.

Commissioners Q&A on Unmet Community Info Needs

September 8, 2008

Question from Danah Boyd: Seeing a big difference between push and pull strategies. In the past, information was pushed out to the communities. Now, it seems most organizations are focused on pulling information to aggregate it. What are some of the push strategies you are using to help people who are not online or now pulling news on their own?

  • Judy – Using public libraries to get information to the public and making information available that will engage people to do things they like to do. Need to focus on the younger generation to show the value of community and educating them on civil actions.
  • Muhammed – Creating communities of interest with a subset, i.e. working with teachers to start Math Clubs or Science Clubs to engage younger generation and get information to them that way.
  • Matt – Going to the trusted organizations within the communities (churches, schools, etc). Most people don’t know their neighbors – the key is to get people in the same room to solve problems together, then use new technology to get/keep them informed. Just about everyone has a cell phone so they found sending text messages out was a great way to communicate.
  • Kim – Think it is more about push information out who will ‘pass it around’ – using things like email from people who signed up for announcements.

Question from Michael Powell: Feels the power of integrating information around ‘place’ (community, neighborhoods, etc). Is this the key?

  • Matt – most everyone in CA knows the school system is broken. Just having an informed public is not enough. Need to find organizations or institutions who can take information and then DO something about it.

Media Roundtable: Jim Bettinger

September 8, 2008

Jim sees the adoption of online news resources as both a benefit, and a detriment to existing ‘traditional’ papers.He lives in an environment where they are training future journalists, but can’t honestly say where those new journalists will be employed once they graduate.

He shared an interesting survey around a local action (widening of Oregon Expressway project in Palo Alto) that found most of the stories generated around this ‘event’ came from traditional outlets, not independent websites, blogs, etc. – and Palo Alto is in the center of the tech industry.

Information wants to be free (be accessible to all), and by nature, it wants to be expensive (to support costs of this initiave). The tension between both ideals will not go away. They key is to find a path that allows for both for long term success.

Unmet Community Info Needs Roundtable: Kim Walesh

September 8, 2008

Kim is the Chief Strategist for the City of San Jose and spends a lot of time finding ways to engage the public and disseminate information for them.

Some major challenges they have experienced over the last couple of years:

  • Getting people to care about local community – almost a prerequisite to there being a need to gather information. As San Jose is the largest city in the Bay Area (went from 100k to 1 million in the last 30 years) – it has made it difficult for people to connect.
  • People view themselves as global citizens – see success contributing to global community not as much to their local community.  They also don’t seem to get information from local outlets, like the Mercury News, instead they source it via NY Times, Singapore News, etc. How people get information has complicated ability to engage the local community and made it more expensive for the media outlets. Experimenting with Peak Democracy and The Alliance for Innovation – using Art, employment networks, etc to connect wiht the younger generations (under 35) as they don’t come to ‘traditional’ news sources and seem separated.

On a positive note, San Jose has been a leader in putting the business of the local government on the web with public calendars, videos, archiving of meeting notes, etc. to help get information out there. Also done well in cultivating neighborhood networks, with 22 neighborhoods working to help distribute information within their own local community – solely to determine how they should use their human and financial resources (i.e. should they be buying more books, or more computer terminals for the library?)

This goes a long way towards serving the local needs and interesting to watch leaders and communication networks emerge naturally.

Unmet Community Info Needs Roundtable: Judy Nadler

September 8, 2008

Judy is a Senior Fellow in Government Ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University whose focus is helping people disseminate the information provided to make better decisions.

She shares the power of ethics and transparency in government agencies and the need for civil engagement. A nice example she gave was around the San Jose, CA city government offices opening up their calendars to the public to show when they were meeting, who they are meeting with and why they were meeting – all in an attempt to educate the public on what was happening in their local community and how resources were  being spent. It is bringing more people to the town halls and getting the community better engaged.

In her eyes, ‘providing information to the public is not a luxury – it is a necessity’ and is critical to building and sustaining healthy communities.

Judy suggests more local news needs to be produced, using more friendly and easy to understand language. Journalists should have an understanding of how the government works, and the channels we feed news through.
As content and usability vary greatly from county to county (some use webcasts that are archived, others use blogs, many do nothing) these differences need to be addressedto ensure news is received by those that need it and they continue to find ways to engage the younger generation to ensure longevity of the media outlets and the strength of the community.