There was a big turnout for Wordstock, the annual journalism conference held at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism in Toronto this past weekend, an encouraging sign in troubled times. Attendees seemed about evenly split between working, full-time journalists, and freelancers, and students. After a morning keynote (which I was lucky enough to deliver) the day was divided into three sessions offering 5 different workshops in each – a pretty jam-packed day. In addition to the keynote, I ran sessions on Blogging (jointly with Spec city hall blogger, Nicole Macintyre) and internet tools.
Presenters included people like Steve Buttry (former American Press Institute trainer and now the editor-in-chief at the Cedar Rapids Gazette), freelance writer Paul Lima, current and former colleagues Phil Andrews (Guelph Mercury – Small Markets) Thane Burnett (Toronto Sun – Short Features), Jon Wells (Hamilton Spectator – Novel Writing) and Kevin Scanlon (Toronto Star- Copy editing). And a big thanks to Bryan Cantley who retired from the Canadian Newspaper Association this past summer but has carried on organzing this monster.
I’ll post slides from my keynote and an abbreviated version of my text a little later this week. Right now I have to get ready for two days of teaching I’m doing at the Western Producer, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
There was quite a bit of noise in the media end of the blogosphere over the story of the reporter “twittering” a funeral of a small child killed in a traffic accident. I don’t happen to be one of those who are upset by it: sitting quietly in a church and tapping out short reports on a cell phone keyboard is mildly disresepectful, yes. But no more disrespectful than making those same notes on a pad of paper and putting them in a story later.
Reporters always risk disruption and disrepect by the mere act of doing their job, whether it’s at funerals, royal weddings or Olympic games. We watch, we record, we report.
The only material difference here is the speed with which the reports get out – and I see no increased disrespect there.
It’s a pretty non-invasive way of reporting.
What does anyone else think?