Dec 19 2008
When the 2010 Olympics come to Vancouver, will VANOC embrace alternative media, or will there be it be more of a fighting withdrawal to hold on to its traditional business model, which involves partnering with the media conglomerates? These are interesting times, with one company (interestingly, NOT a citizen news company per se, although that is part what they facilitate as web developers) acting as vanguard for the blogging and tweeting crowd (as reported here previously).
Olympics business strategy consultant and OlyBLOG author Maurice Cardinal takes issue with an allegedly overly critical characterization of alt-media’s Olympic citizen journalism organizing, by Financial Post contributor Jeff Lee. Cardinal writes:
In this latest article Lee described our group as follows;
“The plotters were ordinary people, young and old. Some had piercings and others, unusual shades of hair colour. Some brandished laptops. One had a tiny video camera. Others sat on the floor and simply listened.”
I don’t want to make a big deal of semantics, but not only is Lee’s characterization of our group skewed, once again he failed to tell the whole story. For example, there were also people in casual business attire at the meeting, plus I saw at least one UBC professor, and I think even an undercover police officer. Granted, people were sitting on the floor, but only because the turnout was so great.
Raincity Studios, where the meeting was held, is a hip working environment with long tables wired to support dozens of computers.
It’s a very cool heritage building, well maintained and stylishly decorated, but Lee described the room as follows;
“… four dozen people trudged up to the fourth floor of an old Gastown building mere metres from where Vancouver was born.”
Most of the info in his article was technically correct, and I concede that maybe a few people trudged, but Lee’s snarky attitude towards indie media journos is stuck in 2003, and ironically, this is exactly why we’ve bumped heads so many times in the past.
What’s the consensus out there? Was Lee’s report really a sign that the mainstream media as a whole is going to be at loggerheads with alt-meda even more as the Olympics draw closer? Or is there still time for the two sides to actually work together?
I’m convinced, due in no small part to Dave Olson’s evangelizing, that there are a whole lot of worthy Olympic stories out there that mainstream media never gets around to covering (not necessarily because of bias, but mainly because newsrooms have been heavily depopulated over the past 10 years — they just don’t have the human resources to cover all the great stories). When the big show comes to Vancouver in 2010, I expect Indie media to do an admirable, and unprecedented, job of filling in the gaps in the Olympic story.