Vancouver Soc/Alt Media Centre | Protocol 7
I’m just learning about all the new ways to try and connect with readers and colleagues online – whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social and professional networking sites. I’m a bit of a babe in the woods compared to some of my journalism colleagues for whom this comes so easily.
But I get the whole idea behind the growing importance of online media. So do many of the journalists who cover the Olympics. A week ago today the International Olympic Committee’s press commission – which includes colleagues from major news agencies and publications – held a robust discussion in Vancouver after Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley opened debate by suggesting there needs to be a fundamental rethink about how the Games are covered.
So it was a bit surprising to discover that the Vancouver Organizing Committee seems reluctant to include some types of online reporters in its planning for the 2010 Games. On Thursday Vanoc was asked in an open letter from Dave Olson, an online writer with Raincity Studios, to allow some of his colleagues to attend the World Press Briefing.
They didn’t get an answer. But on Sunday, Renee Smith-Valade, a.spokeswoman for Vanoc, sent the following hopeful email to me.
[Note: numerous spelling /typographical errors corrected from original email from Renee Smith-Valade – see original]
“Undoubtedly online media and the Internet as a news source and forum for discourse continues to grow phenomenally. That’s why we have spent considerable resources to make our website our number one source of information and why we will continue to look for ways to make it a platform for discussion as well as information and purchasing. We welcome online media interest from all sources and were encouraged to see online media representatives registered for the recent World Press Briefing.
“The IOC is the ultimate arbiter on the representation on the Press Commission, and each country’s National Olympic Committee determines which media get accredited for the Games. As the Organizing Committee we can and will encourage both entities to recognize and facilitate the immense growth of online media, however ultimately decisions for press commission membership and Games accreditation lie with them. We have not yet responded to the open letter from the social media group but will do so in the coming days.
“Overall, we were extremely pleased with the World Press briefing. Tours of the sport venues, press facilities and accommodations were well received, our tourism partners really stepped up with warm hospitality and Mother Nature even helped show off Vancouver and Whistler at their finest in the sunshine. There was healthy discussion on a range of logistical issues and topics, none of which came as a surprise: accommodation rates, travel and how the major media centers will work, to name just three. We have more work to do to build on our solid progress to date to get ready for the arrival of the world press. They all seemed to leave satisfied with the work we’re doing to make sure they will be able to do their job to take the 2010 Games stories to the world.”
It will be interesting to see how willing Vanoc and the IOC will be to adopting new forms of journalism. One of those I’ve also interviewed for a story running today in The Vancouver Sun is former Los Angeles Times sports editor Dave Morgan, who is now chief executive of Yahoo Sports, and who told me that Yahoo’s solid presence in Beijing in August drew more than 32 million unique visitors to their micro Olympics site.
You can read the complete story on our Road to 2010 page.
Thanks for the excellent journalism Jeff – i think the social web media and “traditional” media have a lot to learn from each other.
Ultimately it comes down to providing more than “one size fits all” coverage and allowing a more diverse variety of viewpoints and delivery methods so interested readers can experience the stories of the Game that they care about personally.
No matter the delivery method, insightful writing and high-quality photography/audio/video always floats to the top regardless of the credentials of the creator.
Looking forward to hearing back from VANOC and continuing the conversation for the joint benefit of media makers, worldwide audiences and even the IOC and rights-holders.
November 24, 2008 3:57 PM
The decision to exclude the likes of the Raincity gang is quite puzzling, even without a social media strategy in place.
In Dave’s full letter, he highlights the history of the fan-based, non-intrusive coverage they’ve done at previous Olympic Games, and it’s clear that this kind of participation only benefits the host city, the Games and even the holders of exclusive broadcast rights.
I’m holding out hope that Vanoc (and our Canadian Olympic committee, apparently) will take great strides, not only to appear to appease social media creators, but instead fully embrace the concept and help to redefine citizen journalism’s role in Games coverage. With some creativity, they should be able to do so inside of the confines of the above-mentioned (archaic in these times, if you ask me) broadcast rights.
November 24, 2008 8:02 PM
Interesting article. I think VANOC is looking at this the wrong way. Promotion of your own website as the only source of information is counter-productive to embracing social media. Social media is about getting your message out to where people already are vs. fighting to bring them in to you. What would be productive is finding those champions who want to rally and bring all those sources together via social networks; like the team at Raincity, for instance.
November 25, 2008, 2:00 PM
A social media strategy is essential to any major worldwide event in the 21st century. By the time the Olympics get here there will have been even more exponential growth in social media adoption and its hybridization with mainstream media. It’s a no-brainer for VANOC to now consider major Vancouver social media players as the press. Raincity, Miss604, et al are more than hyper-local citizen journalists. Their audience is world-wide, and I believe they have the experience and savvy to respectfully help solve any potential media rights issues. This IS the nature of journalism now.
November 25, 2008, 9:16 PM
Fantastic work by DaveO and Jeff in bringing this issue to light for many.
“No matter the delivery method, insightful writing and high-quality photography/audio/video always floats to the top regardless of the credentials of the creator.”
I know I’ll be covering it for my site regardless come 2010.
November 25, 2008, 9:58 PM
Great points, Dave, but I’d make one addition: “…the joint benefit of media makers, worldwide audiences and even the IOC and rights-holders.”
And athletes, of course.
November 26, 2008, 1:54 AM
Indeed Derek, there was been controversy about whether or not athletes can blog and what they can talk about. At the Opening ceremonies of recent Olympics, many athletes are taking photos, making video, live phone calls, etc.
What are they allowed to do with the footage they create? What happens if an athlete live-streams their experience from a camera phone (ask Roland how ;-))? Does it matter if they are streaming live to “just the folks back home”? Whose jurisdiction is this to enforce?
Remember many athletes performances’ never it make it to TV despite their best efforts, and many athletes’ families aren’t able to attend the Games and certainly want to feel part of the experience.
As Carol and Michelle point out, this “social” content is, by nature, made to be found by anyone, anywhere – and by an audience of enthusiasts who expect to interact with both the media and the makers.
When the Olympics call forth “the youth of the world to gather in four years …” in the closing ceremonies, they are also calling the youth as fans who aren’t reading newspapers nor be they want the plain ole’ TV coverage (which is geared to an older generation anyhow).
The youth expect a richer media choice and with diverse points of view. And they want coverage provided by people who they can relate to (like Rebecca ;-)), who are finding unique stories on the ground. Oh yeah, and they want it anytime they want.
An article from Vancouver Sun discussing upcoming social/alt/indie media organizations and movements leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics by Gillian Shaw.
Shared here in entirety (minus photos) for posterity and permanent record as original link is broken. Accessed from Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
Note: Cross posted from:
Vancouver Sun Article helps spread the fan-centric MovieSet Vision
The article ran as a full page on the Entertainment section and you can explore two versions online in both the Technology and Entertainment sections. The print edition includes a screenshot of the Behind the Scenes vidcast show with Shaun and Eric, while the online version features a video with Director of Fan Communities Dave Olson giving a tour of MovieSet.com (including
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus).
The article kicks off by asking: Care to wander onto the set of a movie shoot, chat with the actors, see the inside story on the stunts?
Well, do you?
This kind of set access has been the goal of MovieSet CEO Colleen Nystedt since 2005 and she continues to educate and push her industry forward with the belief that there is a universal interest in how movies are made and that the action on-set is something fans care about. MovieSet seeks to satisfy that hunger by delivering value to both the film industry, with the suite of production tools, and to all passionate movie fans, by providing exclusive access to great content.
The article quotes the erstwhile leader of the “social media renegades,” Dave Olson, who relates the focus on fan participation as the key to traffic growth and enthusiasm for the site, using our recent Death Warrior campaign as an example (links added):
For small very specialized films, such as Death Warrior, a mixed martial arts film that included livestream video among its offerings for fans, Movieset allowed it to find a core audience that shared a passion for the action film.
“We found out where fans of that genre hang out, we communicated with them in their language and we invited them to take part,” said Olson. “We even gave away the bloody sweatshirt that Georges St-Pierre was killed in to a fan at the end of it.”
Finally, Ms. Shaw’s article outlines some of the other tactics we’ve used to bring movie fans behind the scenes and a call to action for movie makers of all kinds ~ from indies to majors ~ to hop aboard the MovieSet cluetrain:
While it still goes against the grain to loosen their grip on content, traditional studios are stepping aboard.
“Studios one by one are starting to realize there is some value here,” said Olson. “They see it is a conversation that is going on and it will go on without them.
“They are saying ‘we should start to participate whether we want to or not.’”
Indeed, there are now excellent examples which demonstrate the power of MovieSet’s two-headed monster. Cast and Crew members are employing our tools to streamline their daily workflow, they deliver content directly to their movies page including still photos, videos, news, or blog posts.
Once uploaded, the rich content gives the social media conversationalists an opportunity to reach out to an engaged community of fans interested in the film. Fans then become active contributors by following, supporting and commenting throughout each phase of production. And so on, and so on …
Read the full article: Online and on the set by Gillian Shaw (@gillianshaw on Twitter) in the Vancouver Sun, June 9, 2009 – please consider leaving a comment or sharing with your movie fan and filmmaker friends.
Online and on the set Attached as .pdf
Countdown: 35 weeks until the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. June 12, 2009 By Bob Mackin
NOTE: From Business in Vancouver by Bob Mackin, comes a discussion about the True North Media House including quotes from Kris Krug and comments about the “Open Letters to VANOC” i published via Raincity Studios in November 2008.
Posted here for archival purposes. Grab Print version as needed.
Countdown: 35 weeks until the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
VANOC slow to get into new media game
Kris Krug is among a small group of Vancouver new media trailblazers aiming to revolutionize how the Olympic Games are covered in this wild Web 2.0 world.
They have devised the True North Media House, and they say it will also be strong and free.
It’s going to be a Downtown Eastside-based alternative for outlets big and small that don’t qualify to be inside the fence at the main media centre in the Vancouver Convention Centre or in the non-accredited provincial facility at Robson Square.
“With the explosive growth of online journalism, citizen journalism and new forms of journalism, we’re going to have huge demand for the services we’re offering there,” Krug said.
The concept was borne out of meetings last fall among disaffected members of the local new media community. Early on, VANOC was wide-eyed about the new media. Krug and others briefed VANOC executives and staff on a new media day back in 2005. But as the Games approached, things changed.
I remember Krug sitting crestfallen outside the Pan Pacific Hotel last November, ruing the fact that VANOC didn’t let him join in the world press briefing. That week, his Raincity Studios’ colleague Dave Olson extended a hand with his famous “Hello VANOC, we’re nice, local and invite you for a coffee and a talk” open letter.
Any VANOC forays into the virtual world have been on the coattails of telecommunications sponsor Bell. The Cultural Olympiad’s intriguing Canada CODE digital collage is the best example. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are used by many individuals at VANOC, but not VANOC itself.
The reluctance apparently comes from top-down. The IOC has tiptoed around the Internet, not fully embracing the new media. To its credit, it opened its own YouTube channel during the Beijing Games while liberalizing its rules to allow athlete blogs. Krug said the IOC’s top Canadian, Dick Pound, told him that the Internet is the second-biggest threat to the Olympics movement, after performance-enhancing drugs.
“They haven’t figured out how to harness the Internet, so they view it as a cannibalization of their broadcast revenues,” he said. “By not figuring out ways to engage the media, particularly the new media, they’re missing out on a whole generation.”
So Krug is intent on showing the IOC the potential.
“We have lots of people who are stoked abut it. You might have a Swedish ski blogger, and we’ll have the Christians blogging about Christians in the Olympics,” he said. “We’ll have other people who are probably anti-Olympics there, too. It’s like a big house, and everyone’s welcome in. It’s about open access for all these locked out, independent new media.”
Independent Media Center and the year 2010 with Dave Olson
Dave talks about the early plans for an independent media center to support media makers from around the world. http://www.raincitystudios.com for more.
More videos from Jess
Attention BC-based eco-savvy folks, Vancouver-based web community start-up – happyfrog.ca – releases social networking features for green minded enthusiast to share tips and reviews of local businesses and organizations.
In the beginning, happyfrog.ca was created to help green-minded citizens find businesses and organizations which fit their values and displayed the results sorted by proximity to conserve transportation resources.
Then, happyfrog invited the public to add reviews to the thousands of listings, as well as engage in a community Q&A project to share tips and solve problems.
Now, all the frogs can “auto-magically” share their green favourites with the public with Myhappyfrog. Here’s the low-down …
Sharing your eco-smarts
All registered happyfrog members now automatically have a Myhappyfrog page with a unique address to share with friends.
Once you login to your happyfrog page, you’ll see all the reviews, questions & answers, and blog posts you’ve submitted so far.
To see the new page, just click “Myhappyfrog” on the happyfrog navigation bar – Your personal address looks something like mine: http://happyfrog.ca/user/daveo
Meet the new tools!
Show off your favourites
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Outreach to talented, interesting people seeking to exchange tips, share best practices, or get involved in new activities. Add your pals and see their blog posts and other content right on your happyfrog page.
Write a blog article
Have something to say? Step up and let it out on your happyfrog blog. You’ll have an instant audience, a unique address and RSS feed, and your best stuff will be promoted to the “Frogblog” for even more readers (and accolades).
Share your knowledge
Your brilliantly written reviews, probing questions and wise answers are now grouped together on your personal page to show off your wisdom and show people your contributions for fame and fortune.
Haven’t written anything yet? Getting started is easy – you just need something to say!
Check out the Myhappyfrog help desk with annotated screenshots and step by step instructions to use each of the new tools.
Many “frogs” and listed businesses and groups already have a blog, and some bloggers only write about happyfrog relevant content on occasion, so we are crafting a way to import your feed and display on your Myhappyfrog page or directory listing page.
Also on the list is personal tagging to help finds frogs with similar interests. Stay tuned and of course, we love hearing your opinion.
Thanks for your help
We appreciate your help reporting bugs and oddities so we can make your experience even better. Drop happyfrog a note with your observations and thoughts.