One of the cooler and more intimidating elements of the upcoming Northern Voice weblog conference is that being slated to moderate a panel on “The Blogger as Citizen Journalist.” It’s a notion that has dominated much of the discourse around weblogs in recent years… and as I’ve been known to complain, the subject generates a considerable amount of webloggaphobic stupidity in the discourse concerning personal publishing.
And while in many respects the mainstream media have begun to learn from and adapt to the rise of weblogs, the relationship is still often antagonistic. As Dan Gillmor recently observed: “This is a time when professionals and citizen journalists should be finding common ground, or at least listening to each other with growing respect. Instead, I fear, the gulf is growing.”
Lots to chew on. Thankfully, we have four amazing panelists to bash the topic around:
* Stowe Boyd, President/COO of Corante (host to an array of essential weblogs), “a well-known media subversive, and an internationally recognized authority on real-time, collaborative and social technologies.” I’ve enjoyed his string of posts on the myth of objectivity and hope he touches on those themes Saturday.
* Sean Holman is the driving force behind Public Eye Online, which is a very lively ongoing skewering of British Columbia’s provincial political scene, covering all sorts of angles I never see anywhere else. He’s indicated that he’ll be focusing on the realities of the actual practice of citizen journalism.
* I remember reading Jeff MacIntyre’s fine profile of Don DeLillo back when it first appeared in Salon. Though his weblog is currently in hibernation, he’s used it effectively to complement his dizzyingly active freelance writing career. I’m especially pleased to have Jeff along because he introduced me to the other organizers of the conference, and also because he has led public discussions on this topic before.
* A late addition (thanks to Seb Paquet) is Hossein “Hoder” Derakhshan, an Iranian now living in Toronto who maintains blogs in both English and Persian. Hoder has justifiably received considerable attention for his efforts in This Magazine and BlogsCanada, and elsewhere…
Given the formidable array of panelists, my style of moderation will definitely tilt toward “shut up and stay out of the way”…
BTW, pre-conference registration for $20 ends today… It is also my understanding that we are near full, so while ‘day-of’ registration should be available at the door ($30), there’s no guarantee spaces will be open.