It’s official: I hate Portland Oregon

April 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm | In just_so, local_not_global, notes | 4 Comments

As I write this, I’m shaking – with shock and with indignation.

I have a Cairn Terrier named Jigger. He’s 14 years old, he’s deaf, he’s very very mellow, and he prefers to spend his time nosing around for food. He’s not territorial or bad-tempered, and is in fact one of the happiest, “jiggiest” dogs you’ll ever meet.

He grew up socialized around other dogs and has never picked a fight with another mammal, excepting the raccoons that live in the back garden of the house we used to own in Victoria British Columbia. He’s never been in a fight with another dog, not even a cat (once, in Rockport Massachusetts, a shop cat swiped him across the nose, but he just wanted to run away, not fight).

But in Portland in the past few months, I have met more neurotic, unsocialized dogs than I can count. It’s the norm for owners here to forbid their dogs from interacting with other dogs on the sidewalks or even in the parks. The one exception to this is that some dog owners take their pets to the “off leash” areas in parks, but even those areas are not frequented much. Eight times out of ten, when you pass one, it’s empty. Of course that might be on account of all the shitty weather you get in Portland.

Anyway, we finally got some warmth and sun in the last few days. Jigger is older and less likely to want long walks anyway, so this afternoon the spouse and I just went around the block with him and then sat at the shady chairs and table set out by Pix Patisserie across the street to have some coffee, and to let Jigger enjoy some more “outdoor” time without forcing him to walk in the afternoon heat.

I’ve mentioned before (on Facebook) that I think Portlanders don’t know how to keep dogs or socialize them properly (our neighbors seem to think their Fox Terrier is a cat that can be left alone at home for hours upon hours on end, for example), but this afternoon’s experience took the prize.

I’m still shaking.

We’re sitting at a table, Jigger is resting under my chair. He has his back turned to the rest of the sidewalk. He’s deaf, and therefore is oblivious to approaching noises. An older woman who looked, frankly, like a demented bat out of hell, approaches with four (4!!!) Scottish Terriers – one of which is wearing a muzzle. That should have been our warning, I suppose.

As they approach, her dogs see Jigger (who hasn’t seen them, nor heard them), and before I know what’s happening, one of them has set upon him and is biting the hell out of him, dragging him into the middle of the Scotty pack. Then the others have at him. I jumped up and started pulling dogs off my dog, but the stupid asshole of a dog owner just fucking stood there instead of moving on! They were biting his side, his ears, anything they could get a hold of. Every time I got one dog off, another would lunge. The spouse got into the act, and I managed to pick my dog up. Another Scotty got a hold of his tail and bit it, literally hanging on my dog’s tail with his teeth, and I nearly dropped my dog – who was by now in a total panic. I’ve never seen him so panicked.

I picked my dog up again, my husband is trying to pull these shitty, vicious creatures away, and the emotionally retarded excuse of a dog owner is just fucking standing there, mouth open, instead of helping to pull her dogs away and fucking move on! I was wishing for an extra pair of legs with which to kick her dogs at this point.

Then the waiter from Pix comes running out and for some reason assumes that the dog I’m holding and cradling, the dog I’m trying to pull away from his attackers, is attacking me! What an idiot. It must be the typically endless rain that softens their brains. So he’s pulling Jigger off me and nearly strangling him in the process (Jigger was of course on the leash, which by now is wrapped 15 times around me and god knows what else – the poor dog is choking by now).

Finally the asshole woman has moved away a few paces and I grab my dog again, trying to calm him (he is freaking out and crying), and I ream her out. She then actually tried to accuse us of being responsible for not telling her that we had a dog with us (can you believe this???), and I remind her with as many expletives as I can that my dog was resting under my chair, minding his own business, and that she’s parading down a fucking PUBLIC sidewalk with a team of neurotic, vicious, ill-socialized terriers.

Meanwhile, my chin is bleeding from where Jigger’s claw strafed it in his struggles, and my legs are cut up from the other dogs (I was wearing a skirt since it was warm).

Like I said, I have never met so many badly socialized dogs as in Portland, and it is due, every single time, to the owners not having a fucking clue. These people should not be allowed to have dogs – they clearly do not understand dog psychology nor understand that dogs need to be socialized with other dogs.

For example, one afternoon, at Jamieson Park in the Pearl, a guy apologized because his dog came up to mine and was friendly, wagging his tail, wanting to play. He said, “Oh, I’m sorry, he hasn’t learned yet not to go up to other dogs.” And I thought, “right, you nutcase – you’re going to socialize your dog right out of being friendly with other dogs, aren’t you, you moron?” I mean, he actually apologized for the fact that his dog did something totally friendly and natural. In a park. On a stroll. On a Sunday afternoon.

No shit, Sherlock, you’re gonna make a great dog daddy. Not.

This afternoon’s incident is just the icing on the cake. Four dogs attacking my dog (at least one of them was muzzled), and the asshole of an owner just standing there, dumbfounded. I don’t want to live in a neurotic, anti-social town like this.

I would say Portland is for the dogs, but that would be an insult to dogs.

Jigger last year, at Gonzales Hill in Victoria BC



December 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm | In arts, local_not_global, politics | Comments Off on Re-entry

The biggest problem with letting regular blogging slide is re-entry – at least, that’s my experience. For the past month, I let the posts slide …and then eventually dwindle to mere Sunday links updates. I’d like to pull up my socks and re-enter.

Here’s a peek into a small piece of what I’ve been up to…

One of the reasons for my recent hiatus from blogging was my commitment to the CRD‘s Arts Development Office, where I am fortunate to be able to volunteer on the Arts Advisory Council. Around this time of year, my fellow AAC members and I read about 30 (this year it was 34) applications for Operational Funding from local arts organizations (all the details about eligibility and criteria are on the CRD website). We have a budget for Operating Grants of just over $2million, and – in my previous four years of doing this – the budget increased annually by 2%, and even up to 3.5%. This year, the increase was 0%, and, to complicate matters, most of the arts organizations that apply for CRD funding were also hammered by cuts at the Provincial level – which meant they need more help than ever.

Long story short: the request for funding was significantly larger than what was available to distribute.

On Saturday we held our plenary meeting where we determined funding recommendations. These will be presented for approval to the political arm – the Arts Committee, consisting of politicians from the participating municipalities (not every municipality in the CRD participates in funding Arts Development). At this point now, my work is done, but this was the hardest year of five to come up with recommendations. Our organizations range from small (a $50K annual budget is a minimum criterion for applying for Operating Funding) to larger (budgets of several millions of dollars), and all of them need support. Some of the larger orgs might have access to connections and fundraising strategies that allow them to reach wealthy donors; many of the smaller ones need to crowdsource that appeal and raise cash through possible micro-installments. Either way, raising funds is a non-stop issue – as is donor-fatigue.

If everyone in the public sphere understood what the arts accomplish on relative shoe-strings (the arts are not profligate, but are instead super-efficient!) and what they manage to give back to the community (including via the economic multiplier effect), citizens would be more willing to support funding, both individually and through public grants.

Concurrently, every art organization must do what it can to get its message out, to demonstrate its vital role in cities and towns across the country.

To the Province: restore arts funding fully in British Columbia. Provincial government is collecting lots of “new” money via its recently-instituted 12% HST – event tickets are now taxed with HST, which is an additional 7% tax on ticket prices that wasn’t there when only GST (5%), but not PST (7%), applied to tickets (prior to the introduction of HST). The arts organizations aren’t readily able to pass that 7% increase on to their patrons, which means many of them are “swallowing” the tax. Come on, BC, give some of that new cash back to the arts.

Victoria's Theatre Inconnu: newest offering, "Moscow Station"

Dirty Wall Project: slums and cities

September 24, 2010 at 11:59 pm | In cities, guerilla_politics, housing, ideas, innovation, land_use, local_not_global, philanthropy, street_life, urbanism, victoria | Comments Off on Dirty Wall Project: slums and cities

I saw an amazing photograph in the temporary gallery Ryan Kane of the Dirty Wall Project has set up on Fort Street.

The photo is one of many that Kane is selling to raise funds for his venture: it’s a flat, saturated, picture-edge-to-picture-edge frontal view of one small piece of a slum in Saki Naka bordering the rail line. Its complexity makes Where’s Waldo look minimalist.

Monday Magazine published an interview with Kane last month. An excerpt from the introduction:

You’ve heard of guerrilla gardening and guerrilla marketing, but what about guerilla volunteering? The concept to “see a need and fill it” without worrying about paperwork, bureaucracy or religious bias is exactly what 28-year-old Kane Ryan strives to do with his one-person, not-for-profit organization called the Dirty Wall Project. Ryan just recently returned from India where he was working in the slums of Mumbai, organizing health camps, distributing tarps for the monsoon season, funding emergency surgeries and building a school for the children living in the Saki Naka slum community, among other initiatives. All of the money he raises—75 percent of which comes from here in Victoria through fundraising events, private donors and by selling his travel photography—goes directly to the Dirty Wall Project. Ryan pays for his own travel, food and accommodation out of his own pocket by working odd jobs during the months he returns to Victoria. The Dirty Wall Project is proof that one person can indeed make a difference. (source)

If you’re in Victoria, make sure you get to 977A Fort St (formerly Luz Gallery).

I can’t find an online version of the photo that grabbed my attention this afternoon. Here’s a substitute, which hints at the complexity:


Visit Ryan’s site, or check out his photo book, Dirty Wall Project (on Blurb). See a need and fill it, make a donation.

Cougar (in Victoria)

September 15, 2010 at 11:07 pm | In cities, just_so, local_not_global, victoria | Comments Off on Cougar (in Victoria)

Late Monday night, my next-door neighbor spotted a cougar on the patch of lawn in front of the townhouse across the street from us on Rockland Avenue. She had intended to move her vehicle from her property to my street (Pentrelew) around the corner, but the cougar – which did not appear frightened by the sudden presence of a human and instead stared her down – changed her mind.

A passing jogger said that he had just passed the hedge in front of The Laurels (a former mansion converted to apartments – and yes, the hedge is laurel), and that the hedge had been shaking violently. The Laurels is directly across a narrow lane that leads to Langham Court Theatre (the lane separates The Laurels and the townhouse where the cougar was seen).

The jogger assumed some animal like a raccoon was in the branches, but then realized it must have been the cougar. After some time, the cougar continued down Rockland and disappeared down the alley that runs behind Linden Street.

We live 3 blocks outside the official downtown/ Harris Green border. Our neighborhood (Rockland and Fairfield) has a population density of several thousand people per square kilometer. But we’re also infested with deer – and we have plenty of rats and raccoons. I’m not surprised that predators move in where there is prey to be found – and somehow I can’t help but think it’s the deer that are really drawing them. I’m not sure why we continue to tolerate deer around here – it’s not exactly a rural scene.

More local stories about recent cougar sightings:

Cougar Sighting (June 30, 2010: this one is from the Westshore; the cougar was seen at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre)

Reports of cougar sighting in Oak Bay (July 27, 2010; Oak Bay is contiguous with Fairfield; the area described is hardly “densely wooded,” if that’s supposed to suggest a forest – there is nowhere you can stand in Walbran Park without seeing a house)

Cougar spotted in Saanich this morning (Aug.15, 2010; Saanich is the next municipality over; it has less populated areas, but is mostly built up and densely populated)

Joggers unworried by cougar sighting along Elk Lake trails (Aug.24, 2010; Elk Lake is in Saanich, a bit further away from downtown Victoria)

You can almost discern a pattern here: from the “wilder” Westshore with its easy access to the Sooke Hills; to Saanich / Oak Bay, with its increasing proliferation of rabbits at the University of Victoria and deer everywhere; to Fairfield/ Rockland and basically downtown Victoria.

rockland ave and pentrelew place victoria bc - Google Maps
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On re-reading Biophilic Design: Taking Love to the Street

August 7, 2010 at 11:49 pm | In cities, FOCUS_Magazine, green, johnson street bridge, land_use, leadership, local_not_global, nature, victoria | Comments Off on On re-reading Biophilic Design: Taking Love to the Street

Since I’m fuming in a conversation over on Facebook about the City of Victoria’s Department of Engineering (which seems to me benighted), I was reminded of my 2007 article, Biophilic Design: Taking Love to the Street (the link goes to the Scribd version).

Not to sound too much like I’m tooting my own horn, but that was such a good article, and such a great idea – and it was instantly shot down in a committee meeting of council without so much as a second thought by then-Director of Engineering Peter Sparanese, who told Councilor Pamela Madoff that the scheme floated by me in the above-linked article would be too expensive: as far as anyone could tell, he quoted a $12million price tag seemingly on the spot – amazing, how quickly that particular variation of a Class-C estimate materialized…

In the Director of Engineering’s mind, it was seemingly more expedient to build yet another paved road, …and that’s exactly what happened. And how did the Director get his way? By conjuring a figure that was 3 times more expensive ($12million) than what his conventional fix would cost ($4million). No one ever questioned him on how he came up with his numbers, and from what I’ve seen he has been given free rein ever since: “…Coun. Helen Hughes pointed out the last time the council looked at the project [to fix the View and Vancouver Street intersection] the cost was estimated at $1.55 million, less than half the $4,080,000 of the latest estimate.” (source) and let’s not forget how mercurial the Department of Engineering’s financial estimates regarding the Johnson Street Bridge refurbishment and/or replacement have been…

That this city has no imagination is something I’ve suspected ever since, and my suspicions have been proven again and again in every twist and turn regarding the Johnson Street Bridge fracas – where the only imagination shown is in quoting increasingly bizarre budgets for either option.

For the record, here’s my August 2007 article in full:

“Biophilic Design: Taking Love to the Street”

We know that regular exposure to nature is good for us, and yet we perfect designs that keep nature out, sometimes even erase our awareness of it. Protected from nature, we control and limit our exposure – we stay warm in winter, cool in summer, which affords us greater productivity and increases our comfort. Like most people, I’m happy to enjoy central heating and storm windows. But an over-armored life isn’t ideal, either. Think of dinosaurs or giant turtles next time your car has you imprisoned in a traffic jam or your office window won’t open because that would disturb the air-conditioning.

Today’s eco-conscious designers point out that excessive barriers to nature produce lowered quality of life as well as boring, mediocre built environments. But designing with nature, they argue, contributes to health, creates excitement, and even fosters love. Love of nature, termed biophilia by E.O. Wilson, refers to a deep-rooted need “to experience natural habitats and species.” Wilson’s colleague Stephen Kellert writes of biophilic design: a conscious bent to design access to nature into what we build in cities. It’s a mandate that can shape buildings, parks, …and streets.

Earlier this spring, the City asked for the public’s input at several Parks Masterplan workshops. Planners wanted to know how we use parks, and where we might create new ones. During one workshop, there was an electric moment when a participant suggested turning part of View Street into a linear park. She noted that traffic volume on Fort and Yates (both one-way arterials) is heavy, while it’s relatively light on View. While still allowing cars, the city could nonetheless create a linear park – which would function as a badly needed beautification project, too – and, she added, let’s incorporate exercise stations for seniors.

View crosses Vancouver Street, already blessed with an unparalleled canopy bestowed by majestic chestnut trees whose massive trunks suggest outdoor sculpture. Under the trees, wide grassy boulevards suggest to the many pedestrian commuters that here, indeed, is an urban park – or should be. The intersection of View and Vancouver is sinking, however, and presents a major engineering conundrum. But this problem could become an opportunity.

As we know from Jennifer Sutherst’s research (“Lost Streams of Victoria,” map, 2003), that intersection is built on what was a wetland fed by seasonal streams and rainwater run-off. The wetland in turn fed a stream that coursed along Pandora (accounting for Pandora’s odd bend, between Douglas and Government): the stream marked the boundary between Chinatown and “white” Victoria. It was treated badly even in the 19th-century (apparently turned into an open sewer), was soon contained, put underground, paved over. Its remnants still drain into the Inner Harbour.

Sutherst’s map shows the wetland directly at View and Vancouver. Today, its asphalted surface is impermeable, while drainage codes mandate that run-off from roads and neighbouring buildings diverts to storm sewers, versus flowing back into the marsh. Consequently, the now-hidden wetland is drying up, and as it dries, its layers of peat shrink and compress, causing the roadbed to sinks. To “fix” that problem, we’ve in-filled additional layers of asphalt, making the surface even heavier – and contributing to increased compression of the underlying stratum.

It’s in many ways a classic vicious circle, and a lesson in living peaceably with micro-ecosystems. In effect, by building yet another protective barrier between nature (the wetland) and us, we have also paralyzed the wetland’s hydrological functioning. If the land were a body, what would the wetland be? Perhaps kidneys, absorbing fluid, treating it, discharging it. By putting impermeable asphalt over that natural organ, we’ve desiccated it, and now it’ll cost a pretty penny in engineering surgery.

Since we have to throw money at it anyway, what if we did something truly innovative to that diseased organ? What if we practiced biophilic design to restore its ecological function – and gained a unique urban focal point in what could be a fabulous linear park project? Imagine, for example, an intersection with a permeable steel-grid “road-bed” suspended slightly over a daylighted wetland, the latter slowly restored to full hydrologic function. In the restoration field, daylighting typically refers to excavating and restoring a stream channel from an underground culvert, covering, or pipe. In the case of the View/Vancouver wetland, it would more appropriately refer to removing an impermeable surface, and planting appropriate vegetation that allows the wetland to resume its normal function as a water filter. Restored urban ecology also provides both an educational tool for stewardship and an aesthetic community amenity.

The art-technology-engineering challenge lies in marrying restoration with normal urban functioning: traffic (automotive and pedestrian) has to flow. But consider the value that could accrue for Victoria with a project like this. If Dockside Green, locally the symbolic heart for sustainable development, attracts worldwide attention, perhaps a brilliantly restored kidney could turn a few heads, too.

Behind the scenes at the RBCM

July 29, 2010 at 10:22 pm | In arts, local_not_global, victoria | Comments Off on Behind the scenes at the RBCM

Yesterday I went on a “back of the house” tour of the Royal BC Museum: wow. British Columbia residents, take note – this is your museum, and you can organize small groups and ask to go on one of these tours. It’s staggering to learn just how much is tucked away in storage, including significant Emily Carr works, the British Columbia Constitution (with its huge waxen Great Seal attached), and a trove of First Nations art and artifacts.

Among the latter was one object that took my breath away – a Sitka tunic, probably made in the 1920s, from Alaska. Find the museum’s page for the tunic by searching for “tunic” in the “ethnology” section (sorry, can’t link directly); if you scroll down the page, you get a complete set of images, including close-up details.

Here’s what the front looks like:


And here’s the back:


This piece is fantastically modern looking – I was convinced it was from the late 20th century. But it’s from the beginning of the century. Lots to learn about design here…

The collections are a great resource that BC residents (in Victoria or visiting) can take advantage of, and if you’re not actually here, visit the museum’s resources online here. Be forewarned: the search functions are a tad complicated, definitely not intuitive or especially user-friendly. But the museum will be switching to a new collections management software soon, from MINISIS. It’s supposed to make online access truly easy – a welcome improvement, given how much of the collection is archived and/or in storage, and how useful the collection could be to everyone in British Columbia, including those who can’t easily travel to Victoria to visit in person.

Edit: Two more images of the view from the 12th floor of the Fannin Tower.

First, looking toward the Empress Hotel, Conference Centre, and condos and offices beyond:


And next, looking toward Inner Harbour and Upper Harbour (with the Johnson Street Bridge top right):

What prompts a municipal CAO’s expenses?

July 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm | In johnson street bridge, local_not_global, politics, victoria | Comments Off on What prompts a municipal CAO’s expenses?

Victoria British Columbia hired a new City Manager one year ago (July 2009). Recently, the city released its 2009 Public Bodies Report (PDF), which itemizes the city’s expenditures. On p.8, we read that the City Manager’s 2009 salary was $186,418.09 – and that her expenses were a staggering $168,443.94.

What prompts expenses that come to ~90% of annual salary? No one else comes even remotely close.

Knowing the cost of buying a house around here, I have some guesses. But if I’m right, it’s a shame that property tax paid won’t go back to the City of Victoria – its manager, according to what she told me in conversation, lives outside the municipality.

PechaKucha Night Victoria, Vol. 2

May 24, 2010 at 10:19 pm | In architecture, arts, creativity, ideas, innovation, local_not_global, victoria | Comments Off on PechaKucha Night Victoria, Vol. 2

Three months ago, on February 25, 2010, Elisa Yon and some friends helped instigate Victoria‘s first PechaKucha Night. That was Vol. 1, and it was a blast.

Now, get ready for Vol. 2, happening this Thursday, May 27 at the Victoria Event Centre.



I know I’ll be surprised by Vol. 2, just as Vol. 1 surprised me with Victoria-based presenters who had fascinating stories and experiences and talents to share.

But here a few I’m particularly looking forward to: architects Keith Dewey of Zigloo (houses made from shipping containers) and Ayrie Cunliffe (who will perhaps tell us about tree houses?, not sure…); Manjinder Benning of Karmetik (“…a think tank of artists and engineers exploring a digital renaissance, seeking to question and redefine the boundaries between music, the visual arts, and technology” – read more or check out Wired Magazine‘s video of the Karmetik Machine Orchestra); designer Tara Tyreman, who also designed the poster (used as illustration, above) that advertises Thursday’s Vol. 2; Quinton Gordon of the amazing Luz Centre for the Photographic Arts; and Rhonda Ganz whose blog is all about getting rid of stuff.

That list, by the way, represents fewer than half the participants, so I know I can expect double the interestingness alluded to via the above links.

The event starts at 7:30pm, but doors open at 7pm. Judging from the throng that attended the first event, my advice is to get there early.

The brilliant folks at Anonymous Advertising put together a fun video, filmed on the spot (during intermission) at the Vol. 1 event: 10×10 (10 audience members who speak for 10 seconds each), which gives a sense of how energizing that first evening was. Check out the other videos (Vimeo) of Vol. 1 presentations – great stuff.

Follow PechaKucha Victoria on Twitter for updates. Can’t wait to see Vol. 2 in action!

Some resources for Victoria’s MSM

April 29, 2010 at 10:13 pm | In free_press, local_not_global, media, newspapers, social_critique, times_colonist, victoria, web | 7 Comments

Someone named Adrian (not sure if it’s the same Adrian, different email address) just …um, remarked that I haven’t yet responded to the comments thread on my No policy …no strategy, either post.

Ah yes, newspaper and MSM people get to complain about being understaffed, but we bloggers are expected to be on 24/7/365 (for free!)…? 😉

As I mentioned in yesterday’s brief post, my internet went down around 3pm. It didn’t come back till this afternoon, so my usual method of snatching a moment here and a moment there to go online, to listen in, to read, and even to write was down the tubes for nearly 24 hours. I don’t own a smart phone (mobile telephony – drool, one day, one day!), nor do I ever seem to have the luxury of taking myself off to a third place to be alone and work in peace – my first and second places are one and the same, and they get crazy. When I go out, it’s for meetings (as happened today) or to walk the dog. So, if I can’t glean a minute inbetween other minutes, it seems it doesn’t get done.

But let’s see if I can now expand into some sort of follow-up on No policy …no strategy, either.

First: I was very impressed by Bryan Capistrano’s comments, who commented initially via Twitter and then on my comments board. Among other things, he noted:

I’ve mentioned that radio stations can sometimes get into an easy habit of talking AT a listener and not TO a listener. The social media that we use has allowed us on a number of occasions to be an ear and not just a mouth (I thought of that while walking back to my car last night and kicked myself for not saying it)! If that’s not considered a strategy, I would at least consider it a good starting point.

This is of course one of the basic tenets of markets are conversations (see Cluetrain Manifesto), a kind of blueprint (now 10 years old) for what new media (and new business) is all about. I would really really encourage local media people to familiarize themselves with the Cluetrain’s theses. Of course you don’t talk AT people, you have conversations. This means you can forget about hierarchies, too.

Bryan gets this when he writes,”I’m a firm believer that the only way to learn about something is by looking at it from all sides.” I would argue that Adrian doesn’t quite get this. In his comment, he writes, “The notion that everything in daily papers is suddenly a bunch of bunk seems to be rather overstated.” That’s an unnecessarily defensive statement since neither I nor anyone else on the comments board said “everything in daily papers is …a bunch of bunk…”

After all, a cardinal rule of conversation is that you also learn to listen.

Bryan was one of the panelists, along with Dana Hutchings, who I thought would have the best overview of the managerial/ revenue questions since his station isn’t owned by some corporate overlord(s). (I think his station is independent – I could be wrong; happy to be corrected if so.) In his comment, Bryan wrote, “social media has in no way affected our medium’s revenue stream.” I wish I knew more about the radio business, but I don’t. TV and radio are two mediums I rarely pay attention to (I don’t have cable, so no TV for me; and I listen to radio once in a blue moon – say, while driving, which means for ~10 minutes at a time). But it’s obvious from Dana Hutchings’s CHEK TV saga and also clear from Bryan Capistrano’s comments that these two do have incredible potential for steering their own destiny. I also wonder if it’s a condition specific to Victoria (which still has a deep digital divide) that revenue streams have not been affected.

Bryan and Deb (not sure if I should note which organization she’s from since she didn’t provide that link in her comment) noted that my body language further into the evening spoke volumes – and yes, while I was initially intrigued by what people were saying, I grew more impatient as the panelists began to respond to questions from the audience.

If anyone was making this an “us and them” issue, it was, I’m sorry to say, the panelists themselves who grew increasingly defensive at being questioned.

This was all really bizarre since, at the very end of the evening, Sarah Petrescu in particular sketched out a fairly detailed vision for what her ideal online news world should entail – and it’s one that absolutely includes the participatory “we.”

But as long as the wall between editorial and management persists, any visions will exist in silos – and the editorial side stands to lose because, as newspapers die, their jobs will evaporate.

Janice commented:

There was an interesting discussion on CBC radio the other day about the increase in citizen-generated news (and its credibility as real news!) on the internet and in SM, often around things that MSM deems un-newsworthy like re-zoning.

This speaks to revitalizing local coverage. We are terribly under-served right now: City Hall makes important decisions that directly affect us where we live, but we don’t hear about them. Social media can be way ahead of traditional media in being able to cover this (via that mobile telephony I don’t have, or if City Hall ever gets its act together to provide wi-fi), and the only way that traditional media can catch up is by including bloggers and others who will cover these news. It’s not rocket science.

Overall, I’d say Tuesday’s meeting was a great start – props to Social Media Club Victoria and Paul Holmes for organizing the event. There should be more, there should be follow-ups.

Speaking of follow-ups, did anyone see if the MSM that attended reported on its own participation? (I get my news online, and since the internet was down, I missed whatever was on. Give me a link if it was reported, thanks.)

As I noted in my comments board yesterday, this is a huge topic – presumably this isn’t the end of it in Victoria, unless the MSM want to shut down the dialog and leave it to social / new media to sort things out. My follow-up, such as it is, is already too long, so let me wrap up with a list of what I’d call must-read resources.

My favorite post is now nearly three years old: Ryan Sholin’s 10 obvious things about the future of newspapers you need to get through your head. Must-read. Ryan posted a follow-up in 2008, 10 obvious things, one year later, which reports on how well (or not) the industry has dealt with the points he raised in 2007. Pay special attention to #5 (I heard a few rumblings from some panelists that maybe charging for content is a good idea. It’s not. Don’t go there.) And of course those who think it’s an “us v. them” issue, puh-leeze: check out #7. The next point, #8, is really great, too. Just go read the whole thing now.

Clay Shirky, the here-comes-everybody (and long-tail) guy. Read his The Collapse of Complex Business Models (which I blogged about here), and watch his superb presentation, Clay Shirky on Internet Issues Facing Newspapers (on Youtube). Shirky delivered this talk at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society in September 2009. Must-see.

Dave Winer, who writes about many things – often technology, and very often with a special focus on media. Check out his January 2010 entry, Why newspapers should host blogs, for a glimpse of innovative thinking around both content and business models.

Why should news orgs host blogs for members of their community? Because the business of news organizations is information. Gather it up, sort it, organize it, keep it current and do it again. People have a huge thirst for new information, more these days than ever and increasing all the time. It’s ridiculous that information-gathering orgs should be shrinking in a time where what they do is in such high demand. (source)

Pop in on his blog or tweets to see what he’s up to with Jay Rosen of NYU, too.

Ok, that’s it for this evening. I’m deeply embarrassed that my list has only guys on it. I know there must be women I’m forgetting/ leaving out. Maybe something for another follow-up …or comments?

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