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Social Reporting from Vancouver 2010 – Open Letter #3


Open Letter #3 – Social Reporting from Vancouver 2010

With the impending Olympics in sight, here’s an update on True North Media House’s ongoing campaign to encourage and inspire social reporting of the arts, civic and sports stories happening in Vancouver in February 2010. This missive also contains a Olympics Media Toolkit to prepare you for creating and publishing your documentation during the forthcoming events.

The True North Media House (TNMH) campaign began in earnest a couple years ago with the intent of starting a conversation about the role of social media at Vancouver/Whistler 2010 and to share experience from covering previous Olympic Games and other significant world events. Further, we aimed to gather info and experience for coverage of future games as well as having some enjoyment building international relationships and audiences. Here’s a recap of progress of the campaign objectives so far.

Spark the conversation

From the first video dispatch outside the Worldwide Press Briefing (and ORN Press Conference), TNMH aimed to introduce “social media/journalism/reporting” as a viable and vital enhancement to the accredited Olympic coverage. By inspiring and educating content creators, we felt unique stories – including often controversial civic and community concerns as well as lesser-known athletes – could find a larger audience.

Indeed, from the remarkable worldwide reaction to the first Open Letter to VANOC, the conversation took off across both “social” and “traditional” media outlets who looked to our experience and research to understand the ‘lay of the land’ for citizen coverage in this age of ubiquitous web publishing tools (much of which was recapped in the Open Letter #2). Since starting the conversation, several co-working spaces have opened their doors to visiting reporters and local-centric media outlets are soliciting documenters with a story to tell to contribute heralding a tremendous opportunity for grassroots journalism.

Within this conversation, we explored conundrums like: “What is media?” “What is allowed?” “What is encouraged?” “What sorts accreditations are available?” and “What are the stories no one else will be covering?”  We also researched IOC’s intellectual property federal legislationVancouver’s host city by-lawsVANOC’s brand protection policies, and what regular folks are able to do in light of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the recent Canadian Supreme Court decision regarding journalism. We then shared our findings with anyone who expressed interest.

Share best practices

Along this campaign, we’ve demonstrated and educated other about the tips and tactics learned by covering the past 3 Olympics on the ground. Along with the web publishing skills, we prepared a dossier of educational resources including original sources of laws and distilled this research to produce a Media Cans and Can’ts by interviewing diverse people with different points of view to define the grey area between IOC’s guidelines and a citizen’s right to self-expression.

The joy of covering world events comes from creating interesting content and publishing it to an enthused audience. My collaborators and I shared this passion and knowledge publicly with other community media organizations including presentations at Fresh Media at W2, Capilano College, Northern Voice, Vancouver Blogathon plus participation in Journalism that Matters, and dozens of other events about the nuts and bolts of publishing content within the new media paradigm. Additionally, my colleagues and I have mentored others about media literacy and creation including W2 Bladerunners program and Purple Thistle’s Youngunz program.

Pass it around

At their recent Copehagen congress, the assembled IOC members heard a lecture called “The Digital Revolution” in which Martin Sorrell explained the landscape of citizen coverageand admonished the IOC to adjust IP regulations to embrace fan-driven media creation, especially from the youth. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see how rights-holding media embrace and deputize the “folks on the ground” to enrich their coverage. As background, the rights-holding media will have exclusive use of the IBC at Canada Place 2and a 2nd tier of accreditation will use the BC IMC at Robson Square.

By pro-actively welcoming and collaborating with social media making visitors to Vancouver, TNMH will spark locals to share their area knowledge beyond the standard tourist circuit to enhance visitor’s experience and share the true spirit of who we are as a community.

Further, by documenting all the operational and academic knowledge we gather, this campaign can pass info along to for evolving coverage in London and Sochi – along with social reporters and documenters at other world events. The same way, concerned citizens in Vancouver (and everywhere else) looked to citizen reporters for unique and forthright coverage of cataclysmic world events like the Iran election and Copenhagen climate summit, this is an opportunity to tell the world about the impact of this global event in the communities we know best.

Demonstrate openness

No matter what your personal opinions about the Games are, it is important to understand your rights to share your stories with an audience. This impartial view is very important as the Olympics coming to Vancouver raised a litany of controversies and divided the citizenry in many ways. However, whether you wish to protest or celebrate, the TNMH campaigns feels your story is important to share if you so choose.

While not always easy, the campaign has kept most all communication public, meetings accessible, and outreached to other organizing, security and media entities to plainly state intentions. In fact, the producers of “With Glowing Hearts” – a documentary film project exploring the intersection of social justice, social media and social change in Vancouver – attended many TNMH meetings, events and lectures to create a segment about the campaign which tells more of the backstory of our efforts – foibles and all.

Find the stories

World news stories are regularly broken and enhanced by regular people using new web tools but important to have context with the content. What will be the compelling stories which will live on for decades after the Games? What ground-breaking story will break on Twitter first? How will the protests and celebrations go-exist? Will Vancouver really turn into a “big brother” zone? How will visitors view Vancouver in light of the social issues affecting the DTES?

No matter what the stories are, this will be the first Olympics in which people may collectively have a voice as loud as huge media conglomerates to place these experiences in the proper cultural place.

Further, communities like Squamish are almost ignored as they are not “Official” Olympic cities and/or some visitors may hesitate to trek out to suburban events like the Olympic live sites in Surrey. TNMH will provide a context to organize field trips to meet one another and share skills and find compelling stories beyond the athletic events.

A Moveable Feast

With prevalent wi-fi and data networks, “space” is less important than in years past. Like the stories themselves, social media making is a distributed experience. Rather than one physical location, the TNMH campaign will continue from a variety of locations throughout the Games.

Throughout the Olympic fortnight, TNMH will be a “moveable feast” with photowalks, museums trips, impromptu interviews, and meet-ups at international hospitality houses. Encouraging a smorgasbord of activities will leave room for exploring the issues of concern, developing international friendship,  and fostering spontaneous journalistic and artistic collaboration.

If you have a museum, hospitality house, commercial enterprise, symposium, or event and would like share your message with an audience, consider hosting a TNMH meetup event and inviting a group of blogger, photographers, podcasters, videographers, etc. to spread your news. Fill out the contact form or ping @tnmh on Twitter with details and we’ll add to theTNMH Event Calendar.

It’s all of us

The True North Media House is wherever you are and what you make it. It’s all of us making the people’s history. For me personally, the idea of sharing grassroots coverage of the Olympics began in Nagano pre-Olympics, blossomed in SLC 2002 and grew working on innovative coverage with my collaborators during Torino 06 and Beijing 08 ~ Now, with all the jamboree in our backyard, I can’t wait to see what we produce together in Vancouver/Whistler 2010.

2010 Social Reporter Toolbox

To prepare for documenting your Olympic experience, here’s a reading list and handy resources (Note: This toolbox will become a growing resource page – for additions, please submit info via contact form or ping @tnmh on Twitter):

Reporting resources

The Cans and Can’ts of Media During the Olympics on True North Media House

TNMH resources including IOC, VANOC, City of Vancouver and more

Independent Reporters Guide to 2010 on Rabble.ca

IOC’s Internet Guidelines for Written Press and other Non-Rights Holding Media (.pdf)

2010Vanfan’s Olympic Venue map

Vancouver wi-fi map (thanks Noah)

Vancouver host city “getting around”

Co-working spaces

For media makers needing a desk and/or equipment, physical work space is abundant – here are a few to investigate:

BOB co-working centre – Building Opportunities through Business program has a drop-in co-working space and is hosting some CODE activities

Network Hub – a entreptrenuraial co-working space renting desks by hour or month

W2’s Media Arts Centre (also hosting the Legal Observers program) – call for pricing details

BC International Media Centre – run by the provincial secretariat and hosting some accredited trad. and social media outlets

Beyond these resources are dozens of coffee shops, bars and studios from which to work – see wi-fi map.

Publishing outlets

Several Vancouver-centric media outlets are welcoming writers, photographers to publish content to their communities – inclusion in this list is not necessarily an endorsement, research to find a publishing home which best fits for your interests and work.

Vancouver Observer Olympics – Contribute

Rabble.ca – Interested in covering the 2010 Olympic Games? email: editor [@] rabble.ca

Now Public Olympics channel + photo pool

Orato – hiring online journalists

Media Co-Op /Dominion Olympics

Get your own free WordPress blog

Bonus reading

Bob Mackin’s 2010 Gold Rush – reporter with full access and experience covering Olympic Games

Kris Krug “Doin’ it for the love – Reflection on the future” essay from Journalism that Matters conference

Vancouver blogger Miss 604’s Olympic coverage

@KK Vancouver 2010 Olympics Twitter list

“Social Media and the Olympics” panel video from Northern Voice

Vancouver 2010 Olympics Roundtable video

OlyBlog.com – Maurice Cardinal’s punditry

TNMH social bookmarks on Delicious

Stay in Touch

Social search for “True North Media House” and/or “TNMH”  content (RSS)

Public Mailing list group

TNMH Twitter

TNMH Media contact

Extra Thanks

Along with other organizational compatriots who contributed in meaningful ways along the journey, Sixty4Media.com and Catalyst Internet contributed key design and development efforts, consider these fine companies for your web development needs.

Posted in Culture, Fans, Vancouver 2010Comments (0)

British Columbia International Media Centre


The 2010 Winter Games will welcome media from around the world to a state-of-the-artunaccredited British Columbia International Media Centre (BCMC) at the heart of downtown Vancouver in Robson Square Plaza. The BCMC will be open to serve media from February 1 to February 28, 2010.

The BCMC is a full service broadcasting facility, which includes comfortable, secure, and fully wired networking and operating space. The Centre will provide access to athletes, dignitaries and government leaders, as well as contacts to stories happening outside official Olympic venues. Programming will also occur at the Centre and throughout Robson Square Plaza to showcase B.C. through special events, displays and celebrations.

A prime hub for members of the working press, the BCMC will promote British Columbia, its businesses, communities and tourism opportunities to the world. It will also be a key provider of support services tailored specifically to meet media’s needs.

Accreditation for the BCMC is now closed. For accreditation enquiries please click here.

Accreditation Badge Pickup

Members of the working media who have been approved for accreditation to the BC International Media Centre can collect their accreditation badge before Games-time by visiting Robson Square from January 25 to 29 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (PST). Media badges will be available in room C245 on BCMC Level C. Please follow signs from the UBC Lobby.

Robson Square is located at 800 Robson Street (between Hornby and Howe). The UBC Lobby entrance is located on the west side of the GE Ice Plaza.

(Media badges will be available again beginning February 1, 2010 at BCMC registration).

Note: You must pickup your own badge and you must present valid picture ID to receive your badge.

Badges must be worn and clearly displayed at all times while at the BCMC.

BCMC Accreditation Policy:

The British Columbia International Media Centre (BCMC) at Robson Square Plaza in Vancouver will be open February 1, 2010 to February 28, 2010 to all journalists representing news organizations covering the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The Centre will provide working space for media who do not have an Olympic accreditation card from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – referred to as unaccredited media.

Unaccredited journalists include media professionals with journalistic status, including radio, television, print and online reporters, photographers and videographers wishing to cover events in Vancouver, Whistler, and British Columbia during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Obtaining an accreditation card to the BCMC will allow media to cover all events at the Robson Square Plaza, including press briefings, and will provide access to work spaces and the many services provided at the Centre. Accreditation will not allow media access to events at any official Olympic venue.

BCMC Application Procedure:

BCMC staff, or designated service suppliers, will assess accreditation applications for media wishing to gain access to the BCMC based on the criteria listed below. Media will not be permitted on-site without prior notice and acceptance by BCMC staff. To obtain credentials, media must prove employment and assignment by a recognized media outlet based on:

  • A byline, in print or online, from a recognized media source (recognition will be authorized by the BCMC)
  • Letter from assignment editor of a recognized media source (recognition will be authorized by the BCMC)
  • Photo identification proving employment with a recognized media source (recognition will be authorized by the BCMC)
  • Proof of employment (screen capture with byline) from a website in existence and defined as “covering related news” (recognition will be authorized by the BCMC)

Due to limited capacity, the BCMC will offer no more than 30 accreditation cards for online media. Online journalists wishing to obtain accreditation for the BCMC must submit detailed information about the website they provide content for, including, but not limited to, number of unique visitors and recent major events covered by the website. Applications for accreditation will be assessed by the BCMC on their individual merits.

Journalists meeting the required conditions will receive an electronic confirmation letter which must be presented to BCMC accreditation staff to obtain photo identification credentials. Accredited media will be able to claim their credentials beginning on January 25, 2010 at the Centre’s Robson Square location.

The B.C. International Media Centre will be a prime gateway for timely information and services, including transportation, technical assistance, Internet, and some catering and entertainment. We are unable to offer any expense assistance for visiting media.

Media not able to obtain accreditation at the BCMC will still have the opportunity to access a range of services provided at Games time. If media wish to cover Games-related activities remotely, they can do so by accessing the BCMC website, where up-to-the-minute information will be available around the clock in the form of live and archived news conferences, high-resolution photos, and news releases.

Contact Information For The British Columbia International Media Centre:

Lara Gerrits
Phone: 604.252.3613
Email: Lara.Gerrits@LBMG.ca

Notes on Accreditation:

  • During the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, journalists who wish to use the BCMC should register according to the rules and regulations posted by the BCMC.
  • Provide valid identification documents upon first entry to the BCMC and go through the security check.
  • After completing the registration procedures and receiving a BCMC accreditation card and a journalist’s kit, you will be an accredited BCMC journalist and will be eligible for all BCMC services and events.
  • If the photo provided through online registration does not meet BCMC requirements, you will be required to have another photo taken in the accreditation hall.
  • We recommend that journalists wear the accreditation card whenever covering or reporting on events in Vancouver as well as in the BCMC.
  • Accreditation for the BCMC closes November 30, 2009.

Notes on the BCMC website:

  • Media unable to visit Vancouver during the 2010 Games, but still wishing to cover Games-related activities, will have the opportunity to do so remotely via the BCMC website: www.BCMediaCentre.ca.
  • All news conferences and other events, including athlete appearances, taking place within the BCMC press theatre will be available in real time, live streaming video on the BCMC website.
  • All partner news releases and advisories available to media within the BCMC will be posted in a timely fashion on the BCMC website.
  • During the Games, the BCMC website will act as the prime source of information for media wishing to cover stories related to the Games as well as the Province of BC.
  • Media using the BC International Media Centre are encouraged to monitor Twitter for up-to-the-minute information on events, athlete interview opportunities and other happenings at the BCMC.

Posted in Fans, Featured, Vancouver 2010Comments (0)

Citizen Media and the 2010 Olympics


Coverage of the Olympic Games is dominated by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) contracted rights-holder and accredited major media conglomerates. However some feel there is a role for crowdsourced documentation of both sporting events and the cultural context in which it happens.

This expert panel discusses changes, challenges, and opportunities facing grassroots media makers around the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games.

From Northern Voice 2009.

Posted in Culture, Fans, Vancouver 2010, VideosComments (0)

MDD2008 Vancouver – Panel 3 – The Battle for New Media and Open Communication


Speaking about Citizen Journalism and Gonzo Olympic coverage at Media Democracy Day Vancouver 2008: Panel 3, The Battle for New Media and Open Communication from www.workingtv.com/mdd2008.html .

More information at www.mediademocracyday.org/vanc ouver.

Posted in Beijing 2008, Culture, Fans, Featured, Vancouver 2010, VideosComments (0)

Walking around the Olympic green in Beijing, China


Short video that I made while walking around the Olympic green in Beijing, China in August 2008…

Posted in VideosComments (0)

The Holland “Heineken” House at the 2008 Beijing Olympics


What a party.. walk with me in the Holland house for what could be one of the best party here in Beijing!

Open every night until 2am..
Live music and lots of Orange!
Amazing beautiful people and always loads of fun.. If you’re looking for me after midnight, you know where I’ll be!

Posted in Beijing 2008, Culture, Featured, Venues, VideosComments (0)

Streets of Beijing – Scales eating a Snake


Walking the streets of Beijing and exploring the night market..
I always wanted to eat scorpion, snakes and a few other things..
This is not the snake i am looking for, but will do for now..
24 hrs later i am still alive and not sick!

Posted in Beijing 2008, Culture, Featured, VideosComments (0)

kk and Scales from the Olympic rowing venue, Beijing 2008


Checking out the rowing venue at the Beijing 2008 games..
Picture by Kris Krug (cc) 2008

Posted in Beijing 2008, Culture, Fans, VideosComments (0)

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