I’ve just arrived in Sydney, Australia, to participate in, and speak at, OURMedia/NUESTROSMedios 6 Conference, 9-13 April 2007.
There are over 130 presentations planned over the 5 days from representatives from over 85 international and Australian organizations and over 35 countries. I’ll be talking about ‘Communicating Under Duress: The Children of Tsunami experience’ on April 10 afternoon.
According to the conference website:
OURMedia / NUESTROS Medios is an international network and forum founded in 2001 by a group of engaged academics interested in advancing the democratic potential of community, alternative and ‘citizens’ media. Recognising that the intellectual and policy frameworks for citizens’ media are often out of touch with the on-the-ground reality, the purpose of OURMedia is to connect scholars, practitioners, activists and policy-makers towards defined outcomes. OURMedia is now a network of over 500 people from 50 countries and has generated an extensive body of practical and theoretical knowledge primarily in English and Spanish. It constitues a unique space of dialogue between academics and practitioners, advocates and artists working in community, alternative and citizens’ media.
Past OURMedia conferences have been organized in the United States (2001), Spain (2002), Colombia (2003), Brazil (2004) and India (2005). These conferences have consisted of scholarly and academic presentations, media activism initiatives, policy workshops, community cultural development roundtable debates, new media labs, research-led forums and engagements by local media producers.
I’m not an academic, although in my media and communication work I often work with researchers and academics, always asking them to say things in simpler words. I speak and write in very practical, pragmatic terms — not in academese. I sometimes wonder how it goes down with academic colleagues who typically utter four jargon terms out of every ten. But somehow, I must be doing a few things right because I often get invited back!
Which reminds me what John Naughton, British columnist on new media and academic said about the double-life of a journalist-cum-academic (or the other way round):
When I was an undergraduate I became heavily involved in student politics and in the process got to know some newspaper editors who asked me to write articles for them. So I did — and to my astonishment they sent money in return. Figuring that this was a great racket I continued to do it. One of my famous fellow-countrymen, Conor Cruise O’Brien has also been an academic and a journalist all his life. He describes it as “having a foot in both graves”. I try and keep the two sides of my life separate. My journalistic mates think I must be a good academic on the grounds that I’m not much of a journalist, while my academic colleagues think I must be a good journalist (on the grounds that…). They’re both wrong.
John wrote A Brief History of the Future: The origins of the Internet. He writes a weekly column about the Internet in the business section of The Observer newspaper in the UK.