Continuing on with archiving the digital artifacts from my Olympic experience and True North Media House campaign… here’s a photo essay by my compatriot Vancouver photographerKris Krug for PBS Media Shift blog in which he profiled a variety of people on the ground in Vancouver producing social coverage of the Olympics.
Be sure to explore the entire photo set – Citizen, Alternative Media Converge at Olympic Games in Vancouver – for some real treats but i’ll include a couple of my best pals here plus Kris’ intro which sets up the piece:
It has become second nature for people to capture experiences, events and news using their phones, cameras and computers. We live in a world were journalism is an action — and citizens have stepped up to answer that call to action.
As a result, the story of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games is by no means limited to the version being told by official media sponsors. Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and Tumblr are enabling citizens and independent media to provide real-time coverage of the culture, events and community that are part of the Olympic Games. More stories are being told than ever before — and most of them have nothing to to do with the athletic events.
Kris Krüg is a photographer with Static Photography and a prominent member of the citizen and alternative media community in Vancouver. He is out in the city covering the broad spectrum of events that are occurring during the Olympics.
This is his photographic recap of citizen and alternative journalism at the Olympic Games.
Citizen journalists John Biehler and Dave Olson hold up the media accreditation badge for theTrue North Media House. TNMH is a virtual and independent media house operating during the Olympics. It provides media accreditation to citizen journalists of all types and also aggregates their reporting.
Official media accreditation for the Vancouver Olympic Games is issued by VANOC, the organizing committee — and only the official Olympic media partners are eligible. But other forms of accreditation, such as the one offered by True North Media House, have also been created. Robert Scales, who runs the site Vancouver Access 2010, is holding up his British Columbia International Media Center accreditation badge. This center is created and maintained by the British Columbia government, and is home to a wide variety of Canadian and international media. A few spots were also offered to independent media and bloggers.
Almost hidden amongst all the Olympic media coverage created by the True North Media House campaign were articles by legacy media about the campaign’s origins, purpose and logistics. While some kinda glossed over the real story behind the erstwhile media revolution others dug deep. In this case, Stephen Hui of the venerable Vancouver arts and culture weekly, Georgia Straight took my quotes and ran ’em long so i could really express some important background for the record.
With the future in mind, I’m reposting the article here but encourage you to read Geek Speak: Dave Olson, True North Media House in it’s entirety in context.
Dave Olson is the communications wrangler for the True North Media House. Photo Kris Krug
Dave Olson knows the 2010 Winter Olympics will look completely different on the ground than they do on television. So, he wants to use the Internet to share a “street-level view” with the world.
As the communications wrangler for the True North Media House, Olson is the “ringleader” behind a project that he expects will bring together over 300 bloggers, podcasters, photographers, and artists from all over during the Games. In contrast to the W2 Culture + Media House, a Downtown Eastside facility that will host non-accredited bloggers and journalists covering the Olympics, the True North Media House is billed as a “media collaboration campaign”. “Social reporters” can join the project by signing up for “self-accreditation” and agreeing to publish content under aCreative Commons licence and label it with a common tag.
Olson, who’s 40 years old, was born in Saskatoon, grew up in Surrey, and now lives in North Vancouver. He covered the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, uploading photos and video of 28 events in 13 days. In January, Olson joined HootSuite as its community director, following stints at MovieSet andRaincity Studios. He’s a contributor toVancouver Access 2010.
The Georgia Straight reached Olson on his cellphone at work in Railtown.
Why was it important for you to organize the True North Media House?
I think documenting the people’s history of how we see our communities ourselves is critically important to augment the mainstream media’s impressions of Vancouver that they’ll be spreading.
How is the True North Media House turning out differently than you first envisioned it?
It attracted more attention than I imagined at the beginning—from all over the world—and it’s become more of a thought-leadership, educational project than a resource centre.
What form will True North Media House take during the Olympics?
A series of meet-ups, events, get-togethers, photo walks, field trips to what I like to call internationalize—meaning hanging out and collaborating with international people hanging out and collaborating to make media.
How would you describe the people who are going to participate in the house?
People like me and my other colleagues who have organized this project, but from other countries. So, for all of us, there’s social-media doppelgangers from all over the world, and, just like here in Vancouver, we’re all ages and all backgrounds and work in all sorts of different media—photography, writing, audio, and so on. Those kind of people but just coming from, you know, somewhere else.
What are the main differences between the True North Media House and the Olympic social-media centre at W2?
Well, I can’t really speak for W2, but I know that they’re focused on community media and they have a physical space, and they’re also hosting the legal-observers program and the BCCLA, where True North Media House is about thought leadership, education, workshops, meet-ups, and so on.
What kind of stories do you expect people involved in True North Media House to tell during the Games?
I think hidden Vancouver gems; unique art projects, like the stuff that’s coming through the CODE program—the Cultural Olympiad Digital Edition; hospitality houses and what’s going on there; stories of lesser-known athletes—skiers from Ghana and Nepal, for example; and also shining a light on the civic and community conundrums that we see here in the city; and really tell the stories of the communities outside of the core Olympic area. I’m talking about places, like Squamish and North Van and even Surrey and Prince George, that aren’t getting as much throughout the Olympics. I think Squamish, in particular, is a great example of that.
What will you personally be doing during the Games?
I’m a guy with a day job and so I’ll have some flexibility. Pretty much every day, whatever I’m doing, I’m going to be listing it up as an event and inviting people to come along. So, for example, meet up at Gassy Jack’s statue at five o’clock with your True North Media badge and we’re going to a special tour of the police museum or the Vancouver neon exhibit, or we’re going to a live site, or we’re going to the Switzerland hospitality house, and so on. Everything I do, I’m going to be doing it publicly and inviting anyone that wants to come along to come along, and other people are doing the same thing as me. Throughout the day, they’re leading photo walks, they’re doing trips out to here, there, everywhere.
One of the most valuable things that we’ve done to kind of make this all happen is we put together a huge reporter’s toolkit, which also includes a guideline of cans and can’ts—what you can and cannot do throughout the Olympics—as well as practical tips about blogging and Twittering and how to tag things and how to track trends and stuff like that.
How do you think Vanoc has treated bloggers and citizen journalists?
They’ve missed a massive opportunity by not embracing and deputizing it—social-media makers. To compare and contrast that with London and what London and Sochi have done, London and Sochi have both embraced social media, where Vanoc has ignored and just simply missed a huge opportunity, especially in light of Mayor Gregor talking about promoting Vancouver as a creative-industry hub. Vancouver is a creative-industry hub, especially in this new-media field, and by not promoting the social-media activity and companies that are going on here, it’s a massive economic opportunity lost.
There’s some sort of badge, so it’s an alternative accreditation?
It’s really to kind of snub our nose at the whole accreditation pecking order. You’ll see during the Olympics everyone has some kind of laminate on. Like, everyone has something dangling from their neck. So, it’s kind of a little bit to say declare yourself to the world, and if you are saying you’re a reporter and you are following these best practices, then your work is of value.
Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? Tell Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui
Starting in 2009, Andrew Lavigne, Jon Ornoy and crew of filmmakers have documented the origins of the True North Media House campaign as my colleagues and I sparked a conversation about the role of social reporting during the Vancouver Olympics in a film called “With Glowing Hearts.”
In all my projects, I extol the importance of recording and contextualizing the changes in the civic landscape in the midst of significant world events and these indie filmakers are demonstrating a stellar example of the role of creative arts in the offering this context.
Along with True North Media House, the With Glowing Hearts crew documented the W2 Woodwards arts project and April Smith and AHA Media.
I encourage everyone which an interest in social change and media r/evolution who living in, or visiting to, Vancouver to watch this clip about True North Media House as well as the aforementioned clips.
Andrew Lavinge sets up the clip thusly:
“The latest webisode highlights the folks at True North Media House, featured are two local social media gurus, Vancouver photographer Kris Krug (@kk on twitter) and his counterpart story maker and social media activist Dave Olson (@uncleweed on twitter)”
More With Glowing Hearts:
With Glowing Hearts on You Tube
@wghthemovie on Twitter
Animal Mother films on Flickr
More True North Media etc:
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.”