My Big Digital Adventure
A fortunate few of the Cardiff postgrads went to cover the Society of Editors Conference 2008 in Bristol as reporters for the Society’s webiste. That in itself was exciting- a fantastic experience to get bylined on an industry body’s website (shameless self-promotion perhaps) not to mention getting to listen in on a huge range of opinions about the buzzword ringing in everyones ears: CONVERGENCE.
But what was more thrilling was the ‘unofficial’ coverage the group did via Twitter under the hash tag #soe08. I think I’m right in saying Cardiff students set this tag up last week, and although I have no doubt the system would have been set up by someone else if we hadn’t, it gave me a real buzz to see the number, and calibre, of people who got involved using the same tag and providing practially minute by minute coverage. With over 10 pages of tweets, contributors included Press Gazette, Journalism.co.uk, the Guardian’s Jemima Kiss, lecturer Paul Bradshaw, MediaUKPress, online journalist and blogger Martin Stabe as well as pretty much every one of the student contigent.
Another limitation was pointed out to me by Rob Alderson, my partner in crime in this most digital of adventures. Dacre’s speech was at 7pm, but its contents was embargoed until 10pm. No matter how instantaneous the internet is in itself, there are still real world restrictions that can limit this immediacy.
On an unrelated point, there is an important demographic observation to be made. The majority of people at the conference were white, old-ish men. Of the handful of women it was disheartening to be told that many of those were the wives or partners of the male professionals and I saw just one black journalist. It struck me as odd that we were talking about massive change when some of the basic demographics at the top end of journalism seem to have a way to go.
In her interview with Cardiff’s Hannah Waldram, Jemima Kiss highlights that for this reason, the conference was probably most valuable for people like us because we will be the ones to change things.