#3TYVR Meetup – Social Media & The 2010 Olympic Games… Unaccredited Bob’s Fear of the “J” Word…

I came home last night from the Vancouver Meetup of Third Tuesday.Third Tuesday Vancouver - BobBlahBlah.com

The subject was Social Media and the 2010 Olympics:  The Future of Citizen Journalism.

I had been to tweetups before, but never one from this group, or one as large… (150 people RSVP’d)

It was held at the Vancouver Pub Ceilis.

The questions posed, were ones that had not occurred to me… because I had not believed I was Media.  I did not apply for credentials, because I felt my reporting held no weight, and that I had no journalistic background to fall back on. (I have to believe that just because my father worked for the BBC, CKWX and the CBC… I did not inherit a typewriter and fedora as a birth right.)

However, I DID report on events at, and surrounding the Games.

Some of my pieces had an Editorial Slant.

I do not get “paid” for any posts I have put on my Blog, and I do not receive, expect or accept any “freebies”.

When I write a review of a Tea Shop, an Art Opening or a Restaurant… I pay for what I receive, and try to make notes and take pictures surreptitiously, so as not to draw attention to myself, or garner exceptional service.

Yes, I had an ad on my Blog, selling the “Beyond Blogging” book… but I bought the book myself, before I was offered the opportunity to sell it, as an affiliate.

My niece is enrolled in the Journalism Program at Kwantlen.  I have a number of friends who are “accredited” media, and report on events, varying from the Provincial budget to missing children.

But I hadn’t EVER thought of myself, as Media.

I guess that I have to accept that, as we saw at the 2010 Games, Social Media IS having an effect on mainstream Media… and I am a very small part of that.

It was mentioned that CTV wasn’t going to broadcast the Paralympic Opening Ceremony on the night it happened… until Social Media caught wind, and applied pressure, and CTV changed their plans. (In BC, at least.)

I guess that is part of the larger question…  but the rules are being made up, as we go along.

I know that when I write something, I take responsibility for it, and believe everything I write, to be factual, and correct.  I stand behind what I say, and have taken “heat” for voicing my opinions on, amongst other things, Parliament being summarily prorogued.

The opinions on my Blog, are expressly my own, and although I don’t say that anywhere, I believe it is implied in the tagline:  A brief and terrifying journey through the mind, music and musings of Bob Gray.

True North Media House - Media Accreditation - BobBlahBlah.comAt Third Tuesday, we were invited to apply for accreditation to True North Media House, which, according to their website is:

A media collaboration campaign to encourage social coverage of major events, highlight emerging media and provide a venue for discussing the increasing use of social media in society, particularly at events of global importance like the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver Canada.

I believe that Media is changing.  Social Media is causing Mainstream Media to adapt and evolve.  The way that we receive our news, and the sources of that news, are changing.  The face of Media itself, is evolving.

I embrace that change, and welcome the evolution towards a grass roots Media, from what seemed to be a few massive News conglomerates, with vested interests.

However, I don’t know that I am prepared to call myself a Citizen Journalist… even though, by participating in Social Media, we all are becoming that.

I guess I’ve got some evolving of my own to do !!!


  1. Monica Hamburg on March 24, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Hi Bob, thanks so much for attending the event & for sharing your thoughts on the subject. The “citizen journalism” label is an interesrting one because, as you (& Carol) pointed out, many in social media don’t feel it applies to them. During the question period what occured to me is how much it’s a question of degrees… Some bloggers are jounalists and are comfortable with the label, some feel they merely give friends or readers a glimpse into their world and so are not. What’s fascinating is that the labels are not only designated by the blogger him/herself but by the audience – and the broader world.

  2. Heather Crosthwaite on March 24, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Hi ‘CJ’, You are doing a great job. You are writing, reporting and posting and I and others are reading your posts. Some days you are in the ‘Arts & Entertainment’ section, other days Political or Editorial or a ‘columnist’…all Journalism

    • Bob Gray on March 24, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      No… No… No… No “J” word !!! : ) Thanks !

  3. John Biehler on March 25, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Monica brings up a good point…I’m not that comfortable with the CJ label…but a lot of people apply it to me.

    To me, the term implies more than I have seen in my own ‘coverage’ and many others – a lot of the coverage is superficial…few people dig deep and earn the journalist label.

    In my case, I’m a photographer first that happens to have a blog where I post my photos. I take photos of an event, rarely do I have the back story that lead up to the event nor do I comment on how the event unfolded…I leave that up to the viewer of the photos to draw their own conclusions.

    • Bob Gray on March 25, 2010 at 10:34 am

      Hey John –
      I appreciate you taking the time to make a comment, and I understand your point.
      Like many at the #3TYVR meeting, I am not comfortable with the same Citizen Journalist tag being applied to EVERYONE… because in the shades of grey, I am the whitest of whites.
      In the same way you label yourself a Documentarian… I believe I am just an observer. I Blog about my observations, and share them with whoever stumbles over them.

      Folks like yourself, Rebecca, Kris… Tweeps like @TheLeftCoastca and @RealReporter… are (IMHO) a world apart from Bloggers like me.
      But, because we come from the world of Social Media, we are lumped together, as one homogenous entity… which we know we’re not.

      I believe a photo journalist, photographer or documentarian has a different set of hurdles than a print journalist, blogger or “wordsmith” ?
      (NO disrespect intended.)
      Where a picture says a thousand words… we need a thousand words to describe a picture, and the words we select portray the glass as half full, or half empty.
      Your photo shows the glass, and it’s contents, and compells the viewer to supply their own context and interpretation of events. (Unless, as Kris Krug discussed in the forum, the Photographer provides text with the photo, in which case there is also an editorial context that applies.)

      There is further, the issue of agenda… and many bloggers and Social Media tweeps have a pre-disposed viewpoint, which makes impartial reporting difficult.

      I think the explosion of Social Media has caught the establishment of Mainstream Media by surprise, so, we are lumped together… which is dangerous.
      In the same way I would consider information from World News Weekly or The National Enquirer different than I would CKNW or The Vancouver Sun… I would hope that someone would view information from Salim Jiwa, Stacey Robinsmith or Kris Krug differently than they would view my Blog. (Although my Post on the Fuzzy Steering Wheel Cover was DAMN compelling reading.)

      Hopefully the word “Citizen Journalist” dies a quick death, and we can all get on with our respective roles in the spectrum of the Social Media News Department !!!

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