My brain exploded: 2.5 days at the Future of Civic News Conference

After 2.5 days at Knight’s Future of News and Civic Media conference at  MIT, my brain is happily stuffed very full. Approximately 150 (?) people convened at the Strata building to talk about the future of civic media, news in an informed democracy and how technology tools can support–and accelerate–change. 

For me, who spent a chunk of last year working with Knight to manage the Knight News Challenge, this was a thrilling chance to be part of the announcement event–ie be in the room; however, as someone who is about to dive into building a new hyperlocal site for Oakland, it was also a chance to talk with, meet with, and observe a brilliant cross-section of practicioners from around the world.

Amy Gahran was our mobile scout, and did a great session on what could be achieved with crappy cell phones. Eric Newton talked about the Knight ecosystem to a room full of Knight chairs and program leaders (fascinating), and there were semi-bar-camp sessions on alternative funding models, 

There were so many cool people and projects–ExtrACT got me super-excited; I would like to work with their tools and build Oakland-area data maps. And it’s always great to talk with Kevin Slavin of Area/Code; his brain is my brain’s soul brother. And Ryan Sholin, Dan Pacheco, Chris O’Brien and so many news-y folks have got it going on in the best way.
And…I cojuld go on and on; basic facts would be I came home with three books, tons of new ideas, refreshed and new connections and so much excitement about what is possible.

And did I mention that the kick ass Lisa Williams led a team that proposed tweetbill–and that they won a small competition for $3K in funding to make it live.  Whee!