Friday, April 1, 2011

Ground Rules for the Discussion Period After Public Talks

We all been there. You know ... some public talk where there are great speakers and everyone is pumped for a lively discussion. And then it's wrecked by people that don't have much of a clue how to interact in that kind of situation.

So after long experience running public events, I thought I should draw up a few ground rules to read to the audience at a panel I organized yesterday evening. And even though I didn't read more then first phrase of most of the points, my message did seem to register with folks.

One of the attendees asked me to forward her the rules; so I thought I'd just post them here for public use. Add and subtract stuff to fit your own needs. Hope they come in useful.

Ground Rules for the Discussion Period After Public Talks

1) Be respectful of other people - while debate is encouraged, ad hominem attacks are not.

2) Avoid making stump speeches rather than asking questions of the panel. If you have some especially brilliant ideas, let's talk afterwards and maybe we'll do a panel featuring you in the near future.

3) Listen to what other people are saying - if someone asks the question you were going to ask, be aware of that and let someone else take your turn.

4) Do not ask two or three (or 12) part questions. And if one of our speakers asks you to respond to their answer, keep it to one response and don't start a lengthy back-and-forth.

5) And finally, let's try to keep some gender balance. I don't want to see a bunch of guys rush to speak first and suck up all the air in the room.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

All Jason, All the Time ... This Week on OMB ... (d'oh!)

Wowzers. What a busy week. Working last weekend covering the Second Life Community Convention - and running their party/meetup last Friday. Doing that story, plus our weekly editorial, plus an audio recording and blurb on Prof. Charlie Derber's Solving Climate Change talk. Plus working on tomorrow's Public Media Camp Boston that I've been organizing with folks at WGBH and other outlets. Plus preparing a presentation for that event. Plus photos for a lot of this stuff. Plus work on the business side of our operation. Boo hoo. Poor me. [I can hear the world's tiniest violin playing already.]

So after getting all these ducks in a row, I realize that I've produced every single thing in this week's issue of Open Media Boston. Which hasn't happened in a long time. It's like a harmonic convergence of ... I dunno ... no one else filing any articles this week.

Which brings me to my point. Although I know other OMB staff will be filing pieces this coming week ... if you're a non-profit or union or nice person or whatever, please, by all means, file an op-ed for our Opinion section this week.

It'll help diversify our next edition. And it'll let me take a little break.

(Woohoo!)

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Open Media Boston Gets Nice Plugs from Noted Media Mavens

When I first launched Open Media Boston in March 2008 (although I actually started preparatory work back in July 2007), I knew it was probably going to be a long time before the publication got much recognition from nationally-known media experts. That's because OMB was not only a new news outlet, but we were trailblazing a new news model - the specifics of which I will soon begin discussing more in public - that I wanted to present in a low-key way in practice over many months. Rather than in hyperbole-laden press releases. I figured that if we did a decent job, OMB would get noticed in new media circles. And it's obviously important that we get some attention if OMB is really going to succeed and stick it out over the long haul. But there was no way to know in advance if that would ever come to pass.

Then suddenly, over the last couple of weeks, we've started getting more positive attention in a shorter time span than we have heretofore. Which is certainly gratifying. We've been working hard week in and week out for almost two years now - quite a long time for an experimental social media operation like ours. So it's nice to get some validation of our efforts from people that think deeply about the promise and perils of the new journalism.

First, Michele McLellan of the Reynolds Journalism Institute added OMB to her list of "promising online news organizations" on her Knight Digital Media Center blog. That was way cool of her, so I called her up and told her how much we appreciated our inclusion.

Then, through friends at Free Press, the entire OMB staff had the opportunity to hang out a bit with Robert McChesney and John Nichols (both Free Press founders) at the Cambridge, MA stop on their speaking tour in support of their new book "The Death and Life of American Journalism." Which was a fun and informative evening from start to finish. And not only did they say nice things about us to the crowd at the Cambridge event, but they went on to plug us on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now show two days later.

I don't automatically assume that either development will lead to exactly the kind of outcome that can improve Open Media Boston's chances of long term success. But it's still an excellent sign that our project is getting some positive vibes sent our way by people who are key figures in the construction of a new (and hopefully better) journalism.


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