Last weekend, I was proud to join a fascinating group of people in the first News Foo out in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m still thinking through what it all meant to me. Covering events in Washington has kept me extremely busy from the moment I returned.
Almost by definition, you can’t go to everything at an unconference. And by definition, an unconference is what you make of it, meaning that if you to a session to happen, you need to propose it. If you don’t like the one you’re in, vote with your feet. The open structure means that everyone will have a different experience, a reality that was reflected in the tweets, blogposts and feedback that have emerged in the days since the first News Foo concluded in Phoenix.
Newsfoo is a variant of Tim O’Reilly’s famed Foo camps, which have a wiki unconference format. People create the sessions as they go, and they camp out together. The social + intellectual experience is a bonding opportunity. There is also, for example, a Sci Foo camp which is consponsored by O’Reilly, Nature mag and Google. Now there is a push to do a Newsfoo, which would bring technologists and journalists together in a high-level discussion, that looks forward rather than back. It would tackle cool problems, both content side and business side.
To expand on that concept, posted before the event, News Foo was a collaboration between O’Reilly Media, Google and the Knight Foundation. Each hour or so, four or five sessions frequently competed for attention, along with freewheeling conversations in hallways, tables and in the open spaces of Arizona State University’s beautiful journalism center. As with every unconference, the attendees created the program and decided which sessions to attend, aggregating or disaggregating themselves.
If you’re interested in other reactions to News Foo, several excellent posts have made their way online since Sunday. I’ll be posting more thoughts on Newsfoo soon, along with book recommendations from the science fiction session.
- Fear and Loathing in Phoenix: News Foo
- Post-Newsfoo Meditation on Philosophy and Friction
- Newsoo Camp: Where TBD is Mainstream
For those who were not present, a post by Steve Buttry is particularly worth reading, along with the lively dialogue in the comments: “News Foo Camp: Not fully open, but certainly secret.” Buttry reached out to Sarah Winge, who provided a lengthy, informative comment about what Foos are about and how “Friend D.A.” works. If you’re not familiar with either, go check out Steve’s excellent post.
As he notes there, heavy tweeting was discouraged by the organizers, a request supported by the thinking that being “fully present,” freed of the necessary attention that documenting an event accurately requires of a writer, will result in a richer in-person experience for all involved.
Over the course of the weekend, I certainly tweeted much less than I would at the average conference or unconference. But then foo isn’t either.
I did take a few moments to share resources or stories I heard about at newsfoo with my distributed audience online. Following are 28 tweets, slightly edited (I took out the #Newsfoo hashtag and replies in a few) that did just that, rather like I’d microblogged it. If you’re confused about the “twitterese” below, consult my explainer on the top 50 Twitter acronyms and abbreviations and my thinking on how #hashtags on Twitter are like channels on cable TV. For many more tweets from other attendees, check out “Newsfoo at a Distance,” a Storify curation.
1. #Newsfoo is an unconference in Phoenix, AZ this weekend. Technologists & journalists talking about “what’s next.”
2. Foo Camp is about “making new synapses in the global brain,” says @TimOReilly. And being present. Here. http://twitpic.com/3cnxcl
3. ASU Cronkite School of Journalism. Beautiful. http://instagr.am/p/dLie/
4. Loving session on context with @mthomps @adamdangelo & @tristanharris. Some context: http://futureofcontext.com #meta
On the long form
5. In #longform discussion. Love this topic: http://longform.org | http://longreads.com | @NiemanLab: http://j.mp/9X9Php
6. More on #longform at @Guardian: http://j.mp/d5lhF5 @longreads @TheAwl @somethingtoread @longformorg @thelonggoodread
7. “Final Salute” http://j.mp/px3Vk Pulitzer Prize-winning story by @jimsheeler. @TheRocky closed last October.
8. Readability changed how I read #longform journalism online: http://readability.com @Pogue: http://nyti.ms/3Yu9KD
9. Learned about @audiopress from @wroush. Roll your own podcast playlists. @Xconomy: http://bit.ly/cuBm1G #longform
10. Good ooVoo test with @kmcurry. Virtual session with @jeanneholm& @davidherzog on data journalism at 1:45 MST http://bit.ly/etWw7R
11. Data tools at http://opendataday.org being used at #rhok & #odhd hackathons: http://oreil.ly/g4ibiF #opengov #gov20
12. There’s someone from http://scraperwiki.com at #newsfoo.
13. Moved to #Wikileaks session. Wonderfully deep. Useful take on #cablegate at @TheEconomist: http://econ.st/hyD7kM
14. “Former #WikiLeaks activists to launch new whistleblowing site”-Der Spiegel http://bit.ly/f4iP6Q #cablegate
15. Talking about #COICA: http://act.ly/S3804 http://eff.org/coica #ACTA & DNS issues. Important: http://nyti.ms/evvl6u
Trust and the media
16. Thinking about trust in institutions & the media. See: http://reportanerror.org & @ChangeTracker: http://j.mp/dEzAQw
17. RT @acarvin Same at NPR RT @drcarp Journalist participation in comments leads to reduced moderation and improved tone http://bit.ly/ex9FUx
18. Inspired again by @acarvin at Ignite. http://crisiscommons.org http://twitpic.com/3d15em http://twitpic.com/3d15q2
19. You can watch @acarvin do an Ignite on the same topic/preso here now: http://oreil.ly/9ZIEMs
20. Great Ignite on Twitter metrics by @zseward. Bad: http://twitpic.com/3d1qtz Better: http://twitpic.com/3d1qzz
21. Interesting Ignite from the CEO of @peoplebrowsr. Another tool to try: http://research.ly http://twitpic.com/3d1w93
22. “Curiousity is the cartography that allows you to see more finely grained maps of the world”-@tristanharris
23. Good morning! Talking how media biz models might work in with FTC #DNTrack. Context: http://oreil.ly/igZJso
24. Reminded of how ugly black hat SEO spammers & fraudsters act online after disasters. http://usat.ly/88pYMk
25. Absolutely geeking out in this #scifi news session. @GreatDismal & Douglas Adams would dig. Geektastic: http://looxcie.com
26. Wonderful moment: “Let me plug a book: “The Victorian Internet'”-@sbma44 “I wrote it”-@tomstandage http://j.mp/QX4tS
27. Yes. @NiemanLab: http://bit.ly/9xFLft RT @tomstandage: Anyone else at #newsfoo interested in the Gutenberg Parenthesis?
28. Bit hard to leave the warm sun of Phoenix & brilliance of the #newsfoo community for DC. Good to debrief with @jsb @rbole @Hari & @pergam.