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I chatted with lots of people about my involvement with G20Voice and the G20 summit last week, but a few of them happened to be journalists who ended up quoting me in their pieces.
Rory Cellan-Jones on the BBC dot.life blog was looking for the angle on how social media can be used to organise protest as well as report news:
Also among them is Lloyd Davis, a British social media consultant who told me that 25 years ago he’d stood on picket lines during the miners’ strike but was now a little old for that kind of thing. “They might say we’ve all been ‘captured’,” he told me, “but I’m interested in the issues here, and how we can organise our way through this recession or depression.”
Mr Davis and his fellow bloggers have had security clearance so that they can get into the Excel centre and attend the press conferences, which means there could be an alternative view of events from that provided by the mainstream media.
Laura Oliver on journalism.co.uk asked me more generally what we thought we were doing, of course I told her I haven’t a clue:
Yet while coverage has been opened up beyond traditional news organisations and platforms, the independence of reports from NGOs and other interested parties must be considered, Lloyd Davis, who is involved with both the G20 Voice project and the Reuters events.
“How do people like me get to report on thinks like this without getting some help from somebody – including technically?” he tells Journalism.co.uk
“I have been lent an iPod Touch, lent a camera by Canon to do some photographs and video – this enriches what I’m going to produce but in a political environment like this, there’s a question of patronage and sponsorship.”
There is an opportunity however to find new things to say other than the mainstream media, who ‘will already have got an idea of what the story is’, says Davis.
“I think there’s a gap to be filled in the middle that’s not mainstream media and the people on the streets. There are people being brought in to for some kind of semi-social thing,” he says.
“I have to admit we don’t really know what we’re doing. As usual as bloggers we’re jumping in and seeing what we can do.”
Then Lisa Devaney chatted wiith me on home turf at the Tuttle club and reported on her BrandRepublic blog and caught me rambling about what it all meant:
I saw Lloyd today following his exciting experience being part of G20Voice and got to hear his thoughts:
“What gets me is trying to understand what $1 trillion dollars really is, and how it will make a difference in our everyday lives. There is also a huge gap between the content of what was discussed in the communiqué planning, and how this information translates to ordinary people. The people at the top aren’t very good at communicating what the ideas mean to the rest of us and I think we need layers of communication to push through the concepts and better understand the complexity of what is happening. I don’t understand it all, and that leaves me, and others, to have to trust our leaders. But do we and can we trust these leaders? What also struck me is that here was a gathering of great leaders from 20 of the world’s leading economic powers, and not too long ago we were all in a tense situation of possibly killing each other. It is really important that we are at a point in history they were able to sit down and talk to each other about the economy.”
I decided that much of the time, the most value I could add would be to give you a feel for what it’s like in the press room, on that floor that you, watching at home, could see behind any TV presenter reporting live from the summit.
Of course, the press room itself is “behind the scenes” of the summit itself. The 22 leaders and their delegations were off in the Red Zone working out the detail of what was agreed and published. Only occasionally would red-lanyarded people wander into the press & TV area to be ambushed by crowds of bored journalists eager for a story. But what I’m sure you saw most of was well-crafted, polished presentations of those moments and the pieces to camera on the TV stage.
So I’ve three bits of video that show you what’s going on from another angle.
First, here’s Simon Berry getting ready to talk to Bob Geldof. We’d spotted Bob talking to our colleague Todd Lucier and Nick Booth had encouraged Simon to go round and talk to him too and show him the idea of colalife. Nick filmed the real substance of the exchange here but my clip tries to show that even when the people filming and being filmed are fellow bloggers, there’s some further enrichment to come from seeing how it was set up.
Sticking with Geldof, I captured a little of him being interviewed (by someone in the studio) for Channel 4 News (I think). He’s a great performer, as I noted when I saw him at Innovation Edge and you see here the point at which the feed goes live to him and he launches into his spiel. I think it’s good to see what’s going on right next to the camera – can anyone find a clip from C4 to compare with this?
Even when we were in the briefings with Brown and then Obama, pretty much the same pictures were being taken throughout – the great man, at the podium – I was as guilty of that as anyone. So finally, if you watched the Gordon Brown press conference on the telly, you’d have seen a few flashbulbs going off. This is what it looked like from the floor where I was kneeling next to the press photographers.