Enough for the new year

Enough for the new year

It seems fashionable to be talking about intentions rather than resolutions, and I’m not fully sure where these ones fit. But here’s a little of where I’m heading in the next year, and some blogs I’m finding inspiring on that front. While this isn’t about journalism or science, I am posting here because I do think these relate directly to living better with a smaller footprint. Have more space And by this I mean, have less stuff. There are a lot of reasons for this, here are two. I pay a substantial chunk of my income toward mortgage on my Vancouver home. It’s a condo, but of ample size, and I want it to feel ample to us. Does x piece of stuff really deserve a square foot in a housing market where each square foot runs $300 to $400? (As much as I like numbers, I don’t actually calculate each belonging’s owed rent, but it is a way to think about it.) The other reason is less practical, but just as important. When I’m travelling, I really enjoy how everything that makes it in the backpack really deserves to be there. (It fits, looks good, works, whatever.) I’m not going to reduce my belongings to a backpack, but I’d rather feel that way looking around my home. Lately, I’ve found Vancouver blogger Minimalist Mom inspiring on this topic, and I still think about some lessons learned from the Clean Bin Project people. Cook more We already cook, and eat out seldom, but I’d like to have less stress around getting home from work and wondering what’s for dinner…without...
How (Should) Journalists Use Social Media

How (Should) Journalists Use Social Media

This weekend at the Northern Voice conference, Kirk LaPointe from The Vancouver Sun and I spoke on a panel called “How (Should) Journalists Use Social Media.” The visuals I used, created using a new-to-me online tool called Prezi, are posted online here. I won’t recount the whole thing, but here’s a couple of key ideas I talked about. Social media makes my city smaller Smaller, more interesting, perhaps even more friendly. In my talk, I told a story about my first job at CBC: a short-term stint as CBC Radio’s Nelson bureau reporter. There, it was a lot easier for the public to reach me, if they wanted to. No security desk, no switchboard in Toronto, just a one-room office and the phone number was in the book. In a big city newsroom like CBC Vancouver, it’s very different. It would be easy (though not smart) to avoid “the audience” almost completely. In my opinion, good journalists don’t — with or without social media. I use tools like Twitter to reach out beyond the people I would otherwise know, to get to know my city better. My networks are bigger, and that makes my city smaller. Social media as “social scanner” So, if you see something on Twitter, do you go report it on air? No, of course not. It’s like a police scanner to me. People who work in news sometimes listen to chatter on the police scanner to find out what’s happening. A fire in Coquitlam. A fatal MVA in Abbotsford. Just because you hear it, doesn’t mean you immediately go on air with it. You need...
Shrinking my city with social media

Shrinking my city with social media

I’m going to be speaking at the Northern Voice conference this weekend, joining Kirk LaPointe from the Vancouver Sun on a panel called “How (Should) Journalists Use Social Media”. One of the tricky things in trying to prepare my presentation is that the subject matter is my job, but this is supposed a “Personal Blogging and Social Media Conference” — something the conference organizers reminded speakers about, oh, five or six times. So, what to do? Well, quite a few people are talking about their jobs, actually. Take uber-science communicator David Ng for example. Science is his work, but it looks like his Northern Voice talk will be a human take on the world he works in, and a project he’s passionate about. And that’s what I’ll be aiming for. Using social media as a journalist is guided for me by personal interest and my own judgement of where lines are that shouldn’t be crossed, not just by CBC corporate policy. [See below for more discussion of this point] If you’re at Northern Voice, maybe you’ll check it out. Or, just say hi in the atrium. Update: We discussed this a bit in my talk, and I’d like to add in text here what I said there. I am mindful of CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices, and know I could be called on by my bosses to defend anything I write online. But the official rules haven’t kept up with the changing technology and ways of working, so I have to use my own judgement to decide how to apply them to new situations. And, I use social media...