Online News Association Panel on Citizen Media

Last week, at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto, I spoke for a few minutes on at the Online News Association's pre-conference workshop on citizen media. With Lisa Williams, proprietor of, a community site for residents of Watertown, Massachusetts, we were scheduled to talk about what's missing from local news coverage, but both chose to talk about the lessons we learned as outsiders in developing sites designed to get people talking about their respective cities in conversational ways that big press outlets can't seem to be able to. I will discuss, in future posts, the lessons I talked about for Urban Vancouver, a community site run by myself and three others (Roland Tanglao, Kris Krug, and Boris Mann, whose name came up later in the workshop); the lessons the workshop had for citizen/participatory journalism in general, if such a thing exists; and finally what I learned about my presenting.

Before I do tackle Urban Vancouver, I want to point out some bloggers who took notes and posted them to the web, some instantaneously. Omar took brief notes of each session; Barbara Iverson added more detail, continued covering Lisa's portion of the talk, and then when I talked about Drupal. Most of the websites presented at the Citizen Media workshop are powered by Drupal, which I pointed out during my portion of the talk. Although I didn't see him at the workshop, Travis Smith's thoughts on the ONA conference and citizen/participatory journalism are a must-read.

I found those two from Google Alerts for my full name. If you have notes, commentary, photos, etc., please point them out in the comments and I'll link to them here.


Getting a sustainable model for the hyperlocal sites is something I just can't get enough of. With newspapers going to way of the dodo, what's left are the websites and leaders like you and Lisa Williams speaking out so that others have a sense of what's ahead of us.