ONA09 debrief and the swagger

Well, it’s been a pretty awesome week.

I spent most of last Thursday through Sunday at the 2009 Online News Association conference in San Francisco, and if you follow me on Twitter or spotted a short post on my blog over the weekend, you know that Publish2, my current employer, was honored with a rather pleasant award on Saturday night at the Online Journalism Awards.

And earlier that day, I helped lead an unconference session on “Context and the Coming Link Economy,” which turned out to be one of my favorite conversations of the weekend, with help from Matt Thompson, Elaine Helm, Jay Rosen, and other journalists who turned out to talk through the ideas we had in mind.

Meanwhile, I caught a few excellent panels each day, including one about the Journalist as Entrepreneur moderated by Mark Briggs of Serra Media and Journalism 2.0.

Mark was one of many people I was excited about meeting for the first time in person at ONA, and we had a good time and a managed a solid conversation or two, but I think we both saw something had changed in the attitudes we saw from the journalists in the room, or at the very least, that there was something different about this conference.

He was using the word “swagger” to describe it. In this post, he outlines exactly what he means:

“Instead of simply feeling positive about the future, many people I talked to had confidence that their organization was on the right track. Even people who were looking for jobs didn’t seem to be scared.”

That’s a shift. A big shift.

The time of handwringing has past. Anyone still tearing their shirt over what comes next for the news business should take note: The news business is moving on. It’s time to get on the boat. Train’s leaving the station. Put up or shut up. Demos not memos. Your metaphor of choice, but the message is clear:

It’s time to get busy building a new ecosystem for news.

Some of us have a head start.

Hence, swagger.

Publish2 Wins Gannett Foundation Award For Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism

At the Online Journalism Awards banquet this Saturday, Publish2 had the honor of receiving the first Gannett Foundation Award For Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism.

Here’s our big thank you to all the journalists that made our success possible.

The avatar problem

I’ll be at ONA09 for the next few days, where I’ll meet, probably, a few hundred people I know from the Internet.

But they don’t know me.

I mean, they know what I say and write and produce online, but most of them know my avatar better.


That’s the one.  I’m sitting outside at a Cambridge, Massachusetts metro stop in December 2006 on a cold day during a break in an epic walk around Boston with my wife, wearing a (beloved, but now lost) hat she knit for me.

That’s the story of the avatar, but frankly, I’m considerably larger than a 73px by 73px image.

An example of the reactions the avatar problem leads to, from a much later date in Cambridge:

Picture 1

Of course, meeting in person largely solves the avatar problem.

Look for me at ONA. I’ll be the guy wearing the name tag that says “Ryan Sholin” on it.