Appearing (sort of) in London…

In about an hour, I’m participating in a debate at the Frontline Club in London, a wonderful gathering place for UK journalists. As much as I wish this meant that I was somewhere near Paddington Station, nursing a pint and getting my notes ready, what it actually means is that I’m at my desk at home, wearing my Jason Varitek t-shirt and googling my co-panelists.

Actually, I don’t have to Google most of them. Also participating by phone is my friend Alaa Abd El-Fatteh (who evidently decided that flying in from Cairo wasn’t very convenient…) The moderator is Richard Gizbert of Al Jazeera English, host of the Listening Post, who I was lucky to meet in Doha a few weeks back, and Ben Hammersley, blogger and photojournalist extraordinary.

The only participant I don’t already know is Kevin Marsh of BBC’s internal college of journalism. I’ve heard great things about BBC’s training program, and a number of my BBC friends are anxious to see the network open these courses to the general public to help bloggers understand journalistic standards they might want to adopt, ala Dan Gillmor’s Center for Citizen Media. And Kevin’s got a blog, which offers some hope that we’re unlikely to have a full rehash of the bloggers/journos debate that we’ve all had dozens of times…

That said, the description of the event gives some sense for the tensions the organizers would like to see come out: “Join us as we discuss the role of blogging on World Press Freedom Day, weighing up whether political blogs are the only platform for meaningful critical discourse or whether they are digital narcissism, insular and error-ridden.”

Hmm… I don’t think anyone ever claimed that blogs were the only platform for critical discourse, and I’d certainly admit to insular, error-ridden digital narcicism, at least occasionally… as long as my press colleagues admit to some of the same flaws. This should be fun…

The event will be streamed live from frontlineclub.com – please join us if you’re able. Starts in just about an hour…

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