MSM and big bloggers react to the Global Voices conference

Jane Perrone spent the full day with us at the Global Voices summit, representing The Guardian. Her article on the conference is spot on (as is her accompanying blog post) and begins with a lead that’s going to be one of my favorites of all time:

The Global Voices conference called to mind a United Nations of blogging: there was a Cambodian sitting next to an Iranian sitting next to an Indian sitting next to a Kenyan sitting next to Richard Dreyfuss.

The article goes on to explain what the Oscar-winning actor was doing, listening attentively from the back of the room and chatting, one on one, with different global bloggers. (Dreyfuss actually attended all three days of the Berkman conference – I got a good chance to talk with him about his current interests, which include intercultural dialogue and diversity and neutrality issues in journalism. Very much hoping to hear his reactions to the conference – perhaps he’ll start a blog and let us know what he thought.)

Jane was one of several “influencers” to mention her openness to hearing story ideas and suggestions from the Global Voices crew. Another was Robert Scoble, who joined us for a good chunk of the afternoon. He offered an excellent one-liner – “I wish blogger prominence were measured by the number of people you link to, not the number of people who link to you” – as well as an invitation to our international bloggers to pitch stories to him via email for his amplification to the blogosphere. He also good naturedly handled some criticism about Microsoft’s opposition to free software, and its policies associated with MSN Spaces, commandeering a back room at Reuters for a meeting with a prominent Chinese human rights advocate to talk about MSN Spaces.

Scoble also has a post about one of my favorite features of Reuters HQ – truly enormous video screens that broadcast video, headlines, images and views from around the world. He had the chance to talk with Matt Hassock, Reuters’ technical operations manager (and Global Voices lifesaver – Matt spent his Saturday stage managing the entire Global Voices conference, solving one technical problem after another), who told him the screens cost a million dollars each, and use RSS to bring in information from regional servers around the world and display them to Reuters workers and guests.

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Upstairs, in the Reuters Newsroom

(Matt is such a phenomenally nice guy that after spending a full Saturday making our conference possible, he took me aside after the conference to give me a personal tour of the Reuters newsroom – a vast room filled with 250 workstations, each featuring a pair of computer screens, a pair of video screens and a truly terrifying telephone. Each workstation is the domain of a Reuters editor who writes the stories that end up in the world’s newspapers. Matt tells me that he spent the whole day at our meeting in part because he’s fascinated by the contrast in working methods between our hyper-mobile bloggers and the Reuters news room…)

Lucy Hooberman, who works on R&D for the BBC, was inspired by the Global Voices conference to do a bit more marketing for her pledge on Pledgebank to mentor people in the developing world on their use of new media tools. Given how much of this mentoring I find myself doing on the average day, this is an easy pledge for me to sign on to. The full text of the pledge follows below – with my name, the pledge now has 141 of the 250 names it needs…

“I will mentor a minimum of two people in the developing world in the area of my skills base and expertise (media, communications, broadcasting , democratic media building, participatory media, community video). I will do this for free for a minimum of six months (in my free time). The mentoring will be in person or via email/skype and the mentoring connections will be established by a website and database that I am willing to take responsibility for creating but only if 250 other people will mentor a minimum of two people in their skills.”

There’s a healthy crop of photos of the conference posted on Flickr, under the gv2005 and globalvoices tags. Links to some of my favorites:

As for the reactions from our bloggers… give everyone a day or two to get home and catch up on email (me included) before we start seeing the really interesting posts about issues raised and projects started.

Thanks to everyone who made the conference happen and to everyone who’s expanding the impact by writing and talking about it.

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10 Responses to MSM and big bloggers react to the Global Voices conference

  1. John Palfrey says:

    Huge congratulations Ethan, Rebecca, and the whole GV crew on a job well done in London, and a job well done over the past year.

    -JP

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  3. Neha says:

    Still recovering from the flood of ideas on Saturday! It was an incredible experience Ethan – to finally meet fellow GV-Authors after all the bashing up on IRC.. and the summit was extremely well conducted – Thanks for making the sessions so un-intimidating and free-flowing.

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  6. Beth says:

    Thanks for inspiring Summit — and for making it interactive. I’m filled with new ideas, new energy, and above all so appreciative for the opportunity to meet so many bloggers face-to-face that I’ve only known virtually. Okay, now to catch up, process, and reflect. I’m very interesting in helping move forward curriculum around training and outreach …

  7. ThaRum says:

    It was a great opportunity to meet people of Global Voices Online in person in London. I had a lot learn from most participants who have done such amazing job for the whole as a whole.

    And of course, the lead article of Jane Perrone is my favorite too.

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