Media Monday Edmonton: Update #231

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

New legislation would get big money out of politics 24221
Photo by Premier of Alberta

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

  • Marc Edge argues in the The Tyee that “a mindset shift is…needed among both federal regulators and journalism educators” to treat news media as “a public service of enormous social and political importance.”
  • The Outline has launched. It’s “a new kind of publication for a new kind of human.” Haven’t looked at much of the content yet, but the homepage certainly brings me back to my Geocities and Tripod days!
  • 10 million digital subscribers: that’s the new goal for the New York Times. As of September, they had 1.6 million but they have been growing by as many as 10,000 per day since Trump won the election.
  • Voice of San Diego has one of the most successful membership programs and now they’re going to share what they’ve learned with others through a new initiative called the News Revenue Hub.
  • Craig Silverman has been named media editor at BuzzFeed. He’s going to remain in Toronto, where he was formerly the head of BuzzFeed Canada.

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for December 4, 2016

The deep freeze has arrived. After hovering just below the freezing mark for a few weeks, temperatures in Edmonton are dropping fast and are expected to be as low as -30 on Friday. On top of that, we’ve got some fresh snow which means City crews are clearing & sanding roads. Better bundle up and give yourself more time this week!

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:


The Viewpoint
The Viewpoint, photo by Jeff Wallace

Upcoming Events

Crossing the street
Crossing the street after a game at Rogers Place

Chicago, Trump, and what comes next for journalism

I was in Chicago with Sharon a few weeks ago when Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election. It seems like a distant memory now, but I sensed quite a bit of optimism the day before the election as we explored the city. Maybe it was just residual joy from the Cubs winning the World Series and the massive parade that had taken place just a few days before, but it was there. The lines at early voting stations were incredibly long and we marvelled at the Americans patiently waiting to do their part for democracy. People wouldn’t wait that long back home, we thought!

Early Voting in Chicago

The next day was the election. We spent some time downtown and were approached by GOTV volunteers who asked if we had voted yet (how’s that for blending in!). We told them, “sorry, we’re Canadian” and they chuckled. We wished them good luck as we moved past and they responded, “thanks – we’ll need it!” A crack? Later that day we were taken on a tour of Chinatown, which included visiting some polling stations. It was business-as-usual for the most part, but at the second polling station we encountered a heated debate between an elections officer and an activist that someone had complained was getting saying a bit too much to voters. There was passion there, a real sense that this mattered!

No Electioneering

That evening we went back to our temporary home and watched the results come in. Like many people, we couldn’t quite believe it. We stayed up to hear Trump’s speech and made sure to watch Clinton’s the next morning. Then we ventured back out to explore more of Chicago. Gone was the optimism we felt a few days earlier as a sense of shock set in. We overheard people talking about the election everywhere we went. We walked past the beautiful Trump tower as a police officer stopped to take a photo of it. I wondered why he wanted it.

Protesting Donald Trump in Chicago

That night we stumbled into the massive protest against Trump that wound its way through central Chicago. We saw the large gathering at the base of Trump tower and we saw the protesters marching again later in the evening near Michigan Avenue. On social media we could see that similar marches were happening in major cities all across the country. For the most part it was peaceful, but the heightened police presence did make us feel a little uneasy.

On Thursday, two days after the election, I attended the People-Powered Publishing conference in downtown Chicago. The purpose was to discuss “innovative projects and practices that build stronger connections between reporters and the publics they cover.” Understandably, the room full of journalists wanted to talk about the election and what happened and why. And about what will happen next.

There have been a few positives, of course. The New York Times has seen subscription growth that is ten times the same period last year and donations to organizations like ProPublica are up significantly. Journalism leaders like Marty Baron and Margaret Sullivan have used their platforms to reiterate the mission and purpose of journalism and to articulate the importance of holding the powerful accountable.

But most of the news has been negative. Trump continues to denigrate the media while the media continue to amplify his lies. Questions about access abound, especially after Trump called the media in for a major dressing down. That’s likely just a taste of what’s to come. Fake news is a big topic of discussion, with calls for Google and Facebook to do more to stop it, raising fresh concerns about just who a modern media company is. And to top it all off, “post-truth” was named word of the year for 2016.

So, what did happen? How did the media fail to see a Trump victory? And what comes next?

Maybe social media and the echo chamber that often results is to blame. “Psychologists and other social scientists have repeatedly shown that when confronted with diverse information choices, people rarely act like rational, civic-minded automatons,” wrote Farhad Manjoo in the New York Times just days before the election. Instead, they look for sources that confirm their existing preconceptions and biases.

Or maybe it had more to do with the campaign Trump ran against the media. “As a result of Trump’s attack-the-messenger strategy, for perhaps the first time in U.S. history no mainstream outlet has any influence over the voters backing one of the presidential nominees,” wrote Jack Shafer in a popular Politico piece. Trump received billions of dollars worth of free publicity as a result.

Or maybe the media just refused to believe it was possible that Donald Trump could win, as The Atlantic’s Salena Zito wrote back in September: “The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

Of course, the reality is that Trump won the election by getting millions of Americans to vote for him. The views of his supporters were too often dismissed by the media, wrote Kyle Pope in the Columbia Journalism Review. “Now a new era needs to begin, a period in which reporting takes precedent over opinion, when journalists are willing to seek out and understand people with whom they may have profound personal and philosophical differences.”

That can’t be done by simply visiting the so-called flyover states. It can’t be done by perpetuating the “us vs. them” attitude that often permeates newsrooms, even unintentionally. It will require listening. Not just hearing, but genuinely listening “for the sake of understanding and building truly reciprocal relationships with communities,” as Josh Stearns wrote in 2013.

If Trump and Brexit are just the latest in a growing wave of populism, then we should expect more uncertainty, more uncharted territory, more previously unthinkable becoming possible and even likely. Good journalism that serves the community is going to be more important than ever, but we can’t keep doing it the way we’ve always done it. We can’t just tweak things and hope for a different result. We need new approaches, new business models, and new experiments. Some will fail, but that’s okay. We need to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Importantly, we need to support good journalism wherever we can. Both to keep the good stuff coming and to provide opportunities for new experiments. That post has some great suggestions on how to find and support trustworthy journalism. Of course if you’re in Edmonton, I hope you’ll consider supporting us at Taproot Edmonton!

Listening is central to what we’re doing at Taproot. The curiosity of our community drives the stories we produce and the collective knowledge and insight of the community helps us to make those stories come to life and to have impact. I was thrilled to find a great deal of interest in our approach at the conference in Chicago, and I was grateful to hear about all of the other interesting experiments that are trying to achieve similar objectives. A little bit of optimism returned as I listened to others talk about how we can change journalism for the better.

We don’t have all the answers, but with Taproot we’re doing our part to produce good, trustworthy journalism and to figure out what the future of local journalism looks like. If this is important to you too, help us by becoming a member!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #230

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • The changes resulting from the latest round of buyouts and layoffs at Postmedia are starting to trickle out. Long-time theatre critic Liz Nicholls is leaving the Journal. Her last day is December 2 and she is reportedly starting her own theatre review website called in the near future. Also leaving is music writer Sandra Sperounes who called taking the buyout “the toughest decision” she’s ever had to make. She doesn’t know what’s next but thanked Edmonton’s music scene. Both departures leave major gaps in the Journal’s local arts coverage. On top of that, Arts & Life editor Keri Sweetman has confirmed to me that she too will be leaving, at the end of January.
  • CBC Edmonton’s Janice Johnston let me know that she has heard through her contacts of 7 departures plus 2 vacancies that won’t be filled at the Journal/Sun/Postmedia (I’ll update when I have confirmed who they are). And she said “after subscribing to the Journal for 30 plus years we are going to cancel our subscription.”
  • UPDATE: Barb Wilkinson has confirmed her last day at Postmedia will be January 31. I can also confirm that Gary Lamphier will be leaving, his last day is December 9. He told me he is “sad to go” but feels “fortunate to have worked with so many great people for so long.”
  • A petition was launched last week to “save Edmonton Journal’s arts coverage”. It currently has 561 supporters with a goal of 1,000.
  • As mentioned last week, Postmedia’s local editor-in-chief Mark Iype announced changes to the Journal. He spent some time answering questions in the comments on that story and on Twitter. He confirmed that flyers “are incredibly popular”, said “our standards for journalistic objectivity have never changed”, and on local book coverage clarified that “it is not being eliminated, but it will look different”. In response to a question about local news, he said “Our focus will remain local. And we will do our best to cover the city to the best of our ability.”
  • After a lengthy battle with cancer, Dave Valentine passed away on November 26. He was “a beauty of a guy” tweeted Ryan Jespersen. A GoFundMe page has been setup to support Dave’s wife Dawn and their four children this holiday season. You can make a contribution until December 4.
  • Friday was Marion Warnica’s last day at CBC Edmonton. She’s off to Toronto to be CBC’s hourly newsreader. Best of luck!
  • Paul Brown is leaving 100.3 The Bear to head to Hollywood. Will he be missed? You be the judge! Yukon Jack joked about Paul’s departure on the November 25 episode of his big yap show too. Paul will stay with the show until the end of December.
  • Candice Ryan is going to start co-hosting at CFWE on December 12. Congrats!
  • Get to know Dave Sutherland, one of the contributors and City Ambassadors at Skyrise Edmonton. He was also on CBC’s Edmonton AM this morning to talk about the expanding website. (Full disclosure, Dave and I work together at Questionmark.)
  • Marty Forbes takes time in his latest column to thank the Edmonton Sun, Capital FM, and many other media folks for their support of the Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree and other worthy holiday causes.
  • In case you missed it: Ryan Jespersen interviewed Bob Cole on his show last week.
  • Here are the latest blog and podcast roundups from Seen and Heard in Edmonton.
  • The Alberta Legislature press gallery is marking its 100th anniversary this year, but the number of Edmonton based-journalists there now number fewer than ten. Is the increase in public relations and government creating their own stories to blame?
  • Wednesday is the deadline to apply for the St. Albert Gazette’s full-time photo journalist position.
  • The Journal has made its rules for commenting easier to see in one page (it looks like a new article, but Mark pointed out to me that the rules themselves are not new).
  • This tweet cracked me up. Who knew the CFL commissioner was so witty!

All is Bright
CKUA was at All is Bright

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for November 27, 2016

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:


Stop Kinder Morgan Vigil, Edmonton, AB
Stop Kinder Morgan Vigil, Alberta Legislature, photo by

Upcoming Events

CN Christmas Express, St Albert, Alberta
CN Christmas Express, St Albert, photo by Jeff Wallace

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 33

Tonight was Edmonton’s 33rd DemoCamp which took place at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus. Here is my recap of DemoCamp Edmonton 31 from back in May. I presented with Karen at the last one in September and didn’t actually post about it! More on that later.


If you’re new to DemoCamp, here’s what it’s all about:

“DemoCamp brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to share what they’ve been working on and to find others in the community interested in similar topics. For presenters, it’s a great way to get feedback on what you’re building from peers and the community, all in an informal setting. Started back in 2008, DemoCamp Edmonton has steadily grown into one of the largest in the country, with over 200 people attending each event. The rules for DemoCamp are simple: 7 minutes to demo real, working products, followed by a few minutes for questions, and no slides allowed.”

In order of appearance, tonight’s demos included:

Flock is a web-based tool that crawls and analyzes a website to surface useful, actionable insights about your content. For instance, it can determine how many pages you have, if there are any broken links, and some general SEO information (it can also connect with your Google Analytics account). It can also tell you word counts, reading level, and other information about your content. Flock is geared toward agencies and developers who are building websites for other people. It looks very useful!

Instead of just walking through the features of the app, TradePros told a story from start to finish and worked the app into it. I loved it – their demo was very well done! TradePros is an app available on Android and iOS that connects homeowners with home improvement professionals. If you’re not very handy, you can use the app to connect with someone who can help you get the job done. TradePros currently has around 500 contractors, more than 1300 users, and have been live for five months.

DemoCamp Edmonton 33
TradePros doing their demo

Cappsule thinks video is a better way to make recommendations so they’ve developed an app that is kind of like a video-oriented TripAdvisor or Foursquare. Users can upload 15 second videos tagged to physical locations. It’s available currently on iPhone, and so far users have left more than 1000 cappsules. The app uses Google Maps and Google Places API which means the geotagging should be pretty good.

The Lounge is a web app that helps business owners manage their IT infrastructure in the cloud. They’re focused initially on Windows platforms because that’s what most of their customers are using, but all of the technology they use is open source. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much of a demo, so I can’t say much more beyond that.

CargoTapp is kind of like an Uber for freight. It consists of two apps: one for the customer shipping products, one for the drivers doing the deliveries. It doesn’t appear to be for sending single packages, but rather palettes of cargo and other large deliveries. Pricing is based on current standard industry pricing based on distance, dimensions, weight, the type of truck being used, etc. CargoTapp is still working out how insurance will work, but they envision that truckers will be responsible, as they see themselves as a platform.

DemoCamp Edmonton 33
Demoing CargoTapp

Some upcoming events to note:

If you’re interested in demoing at a future DemoCamp, you can apply here. And because I neglected to write about it, here’s the list of demos from DemoCamp Edmonton 32:

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 34!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #229

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Christmas Bureau 2016 Campaign Launch
630 CHED went with the Trump theme for their gingerbread house

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for November 20, 2016

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:


Edmonton ATC
Edmonton ATC, photo by Jeff Wallace

Upcoming Events

Santa's Parade of Lights

Your Guide to Winter 2016/2017 Festivals & Events in Edmonton

Here’s my listing of winter festivals & events for 2016/2017, powered by ShareEdmonton. Below you’ll find dozens of events with a website, dates, and links to social media and ShareEdmonton for each. I hope you find this listing as useful as I do.

Christmas Lights Amidst City Lights
Christmas Lights Amidst City Lights, photo by Dave Sutherland

Festivals & Events

For winter, I’m generally looking at events that take place from mid-November through March. Those with a winter or holiday theme are more likely to be included. Here’s the listing for 2016/2017:

Event Dates Links
Christmas on the Square Holiday Light Up November 12 SE 
Hazeldean Christmas Craft Sale November 12-13 SE  
Santa’s Little Helpers Shopping Extravaganza November 13 SE  
All is Bright on 124 Street November 19 SE    
Santa’s Parade of Lights November 19 SE    
Leduc Festival of Trees November 19-20 SE  
Royal Glenora Club Christmas Gift Show November 20 SE   
I Heart YEG Winter November 20 SE   
Indie Handmade November 24-27 SE    
Festival of Trees November 24-27 SE    
Make It Edmonton November 24-27 SE     
Hand2Hand Christmas Market November 26 SE  
Silver Bells Winter Market November 26 SE   
Shop the Hall November 26 SE   
The Great Sweater Run November 26 SE  
A Christmas Carol Nov 26 – Dec 23 SE     
So This Is Christmas Nov 30 – Dec 3 SE  
The Legislature Light-up December 1 SE    
Butterdome Craft Sale December 1-4 SE    
Winter Wine Festival December 2 SE   
Celebrate the Season December 2-23 SE    
Winter Patio Kick-off December 2-4 SE  
Winterfest at Snow Valley December 2-4 SE    
Luminaria December 2-4 SE   
Royal Bison Craft & Art Fair Dec 2-4 & Dec 9-11 SE    
Santa Shuffle Fun Run & Elf Walk December 3 SE   
A Festive Mosaic December 3 SE 
A Christmas Karol: The Karol Wojtyla Nativity Play December 3 SE 
Gold Bar Craft Sale December 3 SE   
Old Strathcona Horse-Drawn Sleigh Shuttle Dec 3, 10, 17 SE     
The Many Moods of Christmas December 5 SE 
Carrot Christmas Arts Bazaar December 9-10 SE    
Zoominescence: Festival of Light December 9-18 SE    
ETS Christmas Lights Tours December 9-18 SE   
Leefield Community’s Gift & Craft Sale December 10 SE  
Trains, Toys and Christmas Traditions December 11 SE  
Candy Cane Lane Dec 11 – Jan 3 SE    
Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree December 15-18 SE     
Christmas Reflections Dec 16-23 SE     
#YEGlongnight December 21 SE  
Shumka presents Clara’s Dream! December 29-30 SE   
New Year’s Eve Downtown December 31 SE    
Swing ‘n Skate Sundays Jan 1 – Feb 26 SE 
Southeast Winter Fun Festival January 14 SE   
Deep Freeze: Byzantine Winter Festival January 14-15 SE   
World Snow Day January 15 SE     
Edmonton Whisky Festival January 18 SE 
Ice on Whyte Jan 26-29 & Feb 2-5 SE    
Winter Walk Day February 1 SE   
The Flying Canoe Adventure February 3-4 SE   
Parka Patio February 4 SE   
Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival February 10-11 SE   
Silver Skate Festival February 10-20 SE   
Hypothermic Half Marathon Feb 12 & Feb 26 SE   
Valentine’s Day Disco Skate February 14 SE 
Winter Cities Shake-Up 2017 February 16-18 SE  
Family Day at the Alberta Legislature February 20 SE    
Coldest Night of the Year February 25 SE    
SkirtsAFire Festival March 9-12 SE    
Winter Warrior Challenge March 11 SE   
Western Canada Fashion Week Mar 23 – Apr 1 SE   

You can check out a calendar view of festivals here or you can download the iCal feed for your own apps.

I’ll do my best to keep this list updated as new events are announced. For instance, Ice Castles is expected to return in 2017, weather permitting!

Winter in Edmonton

Edmonton is a winter city, and we’re working hard to reclaim the joy of winter and embrace the season! You can learn all about the WinterCity strategy and associated events and ideas here. You can also download the Winter Excitement Guide in PDF.

Happy New Year 2015!

For some in our community, this time of year is anything but merry. Lots of organizations do great work on behalf of the less fortunate, and they’ll especially need your support this year given the poor economy. Consider supporting the Christmas Bureau, Santas Anonymous, The Salvation Army, Edmonton’s Food Bank, or one of the many other serving agencies in Edmonton.

There are of course many more events listed in the ShareEdmonton calendar, so check it out! Have I missed something that should be included? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it.

Happy winter!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #228

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Fresh FM Christmas

And here is some slightly less local media stuff. This week, it’s very election-related:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.